NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro announce Fanschoice.TV
posted by Mike Neff
Wednesday March 12, 2014
Free live streaming of events will allow fans to view previously unavailable live events online
AMA Pro, NASCAR and IMSA announced the launch of Fanschoice.tv today. The free service will stream motorcycle races, sports car races and regional touring and local short track events. The first event will be the AMA Pro flat track 200 from the 1/4 mile dirt track at Daytona International Speedway.
Fans will have access to multiple camera angles, live timing and scoring and a feed from the track’s PA system. In addition to the touring events from IMSA, AMA and NASCAR, three NASCAR Home Tracks have already signed on to be part of the release. Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH., and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. will have all of their races available for viewing on the new service.
NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour will all be shown on Fanschoice.tv. The awards banquets for both the Whelen All-American Series and the Touring Series will also be streamed.
IMSA coverage will include streaming of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the two IMSA national sports car series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of the recently-announced five-year agreement with Fox Sports.
NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Summer Bedgood · Tuesday May 3, 2011
Hot tempers, beating and banging, and language that could make a sailor blush … and that was just Kurt Busch!
While Busch was using vulgar analogies to describe his racecar and Martin Truex Jr. was firing his pit crew, Kyle Busch was up front dominating and clinching the victory for the third straight spring race at Richmond International Raceway. Meanwhile, Ryan Newman was threatening Juan Pablo Montoya within an inch of … the NASCAR hauler, and Jeff Gordon was again reminding NASCAR which tracks need to install S.A.F.E.R barriers. Sounds like just another short track race to me.
Oh, and there was also a Nationwide Series race on Friday night, but bringing that series up always seems to distract everyone from the race itself (see: Mirror Driving).
Busch has obviously been “hot” all season through all three series, so let’s take a look back through the rest of the field this past weekend in Richmond and see who deserves a mention:
David Ragan – If you’d have told me Ragan would warrant a position in the “hot” spot this season, I’d have pointed and laughed at you with one hand while writing yet another positive piece on his Nationwide Series teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. with the other (Note: Previous sentence typed with BOTH hands). No offense meant to Ragan, but I had failed to be impressed for all but a few shining moments in his career.
However, Ragan has quietly put together a solid string of top-10 finishes, finishing in the top 10 in three of the last four races and earning his first top-5 result of the season in Saturday night’s race in Richmond. The short track hadn’t exactly been kind to Ragan in the past either, with only one previous top-5 finish to Ragan’s credit back in 2007. His previous five starts at the track had turned into ho-hum 23rd, 24th, 33rd, 23rd, and 32nd-place endings, respectively.
UPS has a contract with Ragan and Roush Fenway Racing through the end of the season, and four races ago it looked like Ragan was giving them little reason to re-sign. Even a challenge for the Daytona 500 victory went awry with a botched restart, a moment that went from possibly defining his career to just another unimpressive statistic added to his resume.
Ragan is largely the “other driver” at RFR, with teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth already scoring a victory this season and sitting 1st and 9th in the points, respectively. With RFR’s improvement to 2010-2011 well documented, it looked like Ragan was running out of excuses for his lackluster performances. Now, Ragan is putting down numbers that are getting harder and harder to ignore.
Elliott Sadler – Sadler has been living proof this year that sometimes taking a step back in your career will give you the boost you need to take two steps forward. It’s not an approach very much welcomed by most in the industry since the ultimate goal is to make it to the Sprint Cup Series, but in an industry as competitive as NASCAR sometimes you’ve just gotta do what ya gotta do.
Sadler moved from Richard Petty Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series to compete full-time for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the Nationwide Series over the offseason, and so far the move has paid dividends. Sadler currently sits second in points, six points back from leader Justin Allgaier. Compare that to last season when after nine races in the Sprint Cup Series, Sadler was a distant 29th in points and had yet to finish any higher than 18th. Yeah, it was that bad.
However, Sadler began running some Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series last year for KHI, laying down some impressive finishes and even posting his first victory in any of NASCAR’s three national series since 2004 when he grabbed the win in the inaugural Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. Now he’s looking to make a solid run for the Nationwide Series championship, and may even be able to grab a victory or two before the 2011 season is out.
Yes, even with the Cup Series drivers taking over. Seriously.
Honorable Mention: Denny Hamlin (won his “Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown” charity race on Thursday, dominated and won the Nationwide Series race on Friday, and finished second to teammate Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series race)
Kenny Wallace – Wallace was undoubtedly the underdog performer of the race in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race, running in the top five for most of the night and even challenging for the lead. In fact, Wallace was on average running in the fourth position and never ran any worse than 14th.
Unfortunately, fuel mileage was not on his side on Friday night. Wallace pitted under green with 14 laps to go and wound up with a disappointing 13th place finish.
To be fair, the finish wouldn’t have been as disappointing had Wallace not shown such a strong car throughout the race. With virtually everyone crying out that the Nationwide Series needs its own identity, it was encouraging to see a Nationwide Series regular putting up such a fight.
Wallace is competing full time for RAB Racing with sponsors University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH), Federated Auto Parts, and Family Farmers behind him, and currently sits ninth in points 58 points back from leader Justin Allgaier.
The three time Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver, the “Hermanator”, is actually starting to move towards being known more for his racing abilities than his antics on the SPEED Channel … which is what he’s wanted all along.
Kasey Kahne – Kahne’s third-place finish in Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series race was a break in a long line of miserable finishes, finishing outside of the top 20 in Talladega, Texas, and Martinsville.
Kahne’s move over to Red Bull Racing from Richard Petty Motorsports hasn’t exactly spelled “success” this year, though he has one more top 10 finish than teammate Brian Vickers (Kahne has 4, Vickers has 2).
Kahne’s third-place finish at Richmond over the weekend was his first top five finish of the season, leading 29 laps and having one of the strongest cars of the night aside from the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
To be honest, I expected more out of Kahne this season, a driver who won six races back in 2006 and has 11 total career victories.
Red Bull Racing isn’t exactly a Hendrick Motorsports level team, the powerhouse that Kahne will be racing for next week, but if Kahne can get consistent top-10 results at RBR he should be able to get them anywhere, right?
Honorable Mention: Josh Wise (grabbed his second top-10 result of the season in Richmond with a sixth-place finish)
Jeff Burton – I’m not sure which is more embarrassing: The fact that one of last year’s Chase contenders and driver of one of NASCAR’s powerhouses is currently 20th in points, without a top-10 finish or the fact that he’s getting beat by Paul Menard.
Yes, THAT Paul Menard. The Paul Menard that is sponsored by his father’s company. The Paul Menard that has been a running joke in NASCAR since he first entered the circuit. The Paul Menard that has two top 5s, three top 10s, and is sitting 15th in points. That Paul Menard.
There aren’t many excuses for Burton at this point in the season. As mentioned above, teammate Menard has had a stellar start to the year as compared to previous years, and Richard Childress Racing’s other two drivers are competitive as well. Kevin Harvick already has two victories this season and is fifth in points, while Clint Bowyer has been fast, has 5 top 10s, and is seventh in points. So what’s up with Burton?
Well don’t look at me! If I recall, four cars didn’t exactly work out very well for RCR before, and maybe the No. 31 car was left hanging when resources were spread too thin. It’s interesting to say the least since Burton just re-signed with the team, but what choice did Burton have exactly? It’s not like any top tier rides are available, and unless someone like Stewart-Haas Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing decide to add an extra team—thus spreading their resources thin—Burton made a good choice in staying right where he is.
Chris Buescher – Kudos to Buescher for hanging tough in the face of adversity. On Friday night, Buescher—cousin to Camping World Truck Series driver James Buescher—subbed for Trevor Bayne in Richmond, who is being hospitalized in the Mayo Clinic for symptoms thought to be related to an insect bite contracted last month. Though Bayne has since tweeted that he thinks the symptoms are unrelated to the insect bite, Buescher was left to take over Bayne’s ride which has already earned some impressive numbers this year.
Buescher finished 17th, and was two laps down to the leader at the conclusion of the race.
The finish may not have been a Bayne-esque result, but it was impressive enough for the driver in his debut Nationwide Series race. He was clean, consistent, and 17th isn’t all that bad considering the fact that only five cars finished on the lead lap.
The finish dropped the No. 16 machine two spots in the owner standings to 12th, and the team is now 69 points out of the lead. Skipping the race also cost Bayne two spots in the standings, putting him seventh and 45 points out of the lead.
Buescher may not have turned a lot of heads on Friday night, but I can guarantee you one thing: Jack Roush noticed. Keep an eye out for this young driver
Honorable Mention: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (finished 21st in Richmond, his second finish outside the top 20 in the last three races)
Jamie McMurray – Remember the dude who cried in Victory Lane in last year’s Daytona 500 and followed it up with a win in the Brickyard 400 and the fall race at Charlotte? Remember how he won over the hearts of fans with his emotional wins and by being an all around nice guy?
That guy was Jamie McMurray, and so far in 2011 is nowhere to be found. Other than winning the pole at Martinsville earlier this year and finishing seventh, McMurray has yet to finish any higher than 18th (twice: Daytona and Richmond) and is mired back in 24th in points and 128 points out of the lead.
Heck, even his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya is making more noise with his two top 5 finishes and, oh yeah by the way, his infamous temper (just ask Ryan Newman!).
I can’t help but wonder if 2010 was just a fluke or if McMurray and team have just lost their mojo.
Kelly Bires – After starting and parking for the first four Nationwide Series races this year, Bires was absent from the series until Friday night’s race at Richmond. In mid-April, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Bires would compete in two races for them—Richmond and Chicago—with sponsor International Comfort Products providing funding.
Bires took full opportunity of the advantage on Friday night and came home with a top 10 finish.
Bires was, in fact, the ONLY caution for the night, spinning in turn four on lap 124 and finishing out the evening in 30th, 8 laps down.
I almost feel bad for Kyle Busch, who was forced to sit on the sidelines and endure a night without racing. I’m not intentionally trying to make that sound overly-dramatic either. He emphasized several times how much he HATED not competing in the Nationwide Series race. Sure, it didn’t hurt him any, but a bored Kyle Busch isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Either way, hopefully Bires will take better advantage of an opportunity in JGR equipment in Chicago and maybe earn himself some more non-start-and-park rides.
Honorable Mention: Matt Kenseth (since his win in Texas, has finishes of 36th and 21st)
©2000 - 2008 Summer Bedgood and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m pretty sure Bires got spun out, a very different situation than simply spinning out. I might be wrong about that, but that’s what I remember happening.
he also bounced off the wall in that spin and i think he also tore up his spoiler
The 17 has wrecked in the last 2 races, even though he had a top 5 car in each.
Is there anybody else that thinks this Hot/Warm/Cool/Cold rating isn’t very indicative of the real world? Driver X can knock off 5 consecutive top 10s and be a perennial chaser and never get mentioned. Driver Y can have one top 5 and run in the 20s for the other weeks and be a 25th place guy in points and will get the “Hot” or “Warm” rating. I know the article would end up with the usual suspects in the same categories each week if were really tied to their performance, but isn’t it kind of pointless if it isn’t done that way?
Example – Kenseth gets an honorable mention for “cold” and Kahne is tops in “warm”? They are 9th and 18th in points, respectively. Kahne’s last four race finishes – 39/21/37/3. Kenseth’s last four – 6/1/36/21, preceded by two additional top 5s. Because a driver has issues while running well two straight weeks they drop to “cold”? Wow, don’t put you in control of the Vegas odds!
Kenny Wallace has two top 15s preceded by a 20th and 25th in NATIONWIDE and he gets a “warm” rating??
Anyway, I have given up on reading this article. I just can’t get my head around the rating system as it ignores almost all the top contenders, with only Rowdy mentioned at top. Again, I know it is a boring read with only putting the top contenders in the “hot” category but that is they way it is. This rating system is artificial otherwise.
Keeping it REAL,
That’s exactly what it’s meant to do… try and give attention to those that aren’t necessarily getting as much. Also, I make it a POINT (or at least attempt) to not use one driver from one consecutive week to another.
Kenny Wallace is in the warm section because he’s an underdog and his performance in the Nationwide Series wasn’t exactly expected. I thought he deserved a mention but wasn’t exactly “hot” material.
Basically, I don’t really have a number crunching system where I hold up a God-awful long sheet of numbers and say “VOILA! “Driver X” is hot/warm/cold/cool.” I just look at the results and finishes from the past few weeks and try and make it as unique as possible. I intentionally try and add drivers people either don’t notice or wouldn’t predict would be in the column. I’m not always great at it, but I certainly try!
Anyway, thanks for your comment and don’t think so much! I don’t have a number system. It’s basically just my own observations and week-to-week performances.
Summer – that helps, honestly. Maybe I have read a few too many power rankings and couldn’t get that approach out of my mind.
If your goal is to highlight drivers who unexpectedly had a good finish or maybe a string of better than expected finishes, then honestly you are doing a great job at it as you do mention names that most people don’t. Maybe the article re-naming or some disclaimer up top could clarify that. Honestly, I think that is admirable. One of my favorite drivers used to be Johnny Benson. he got plenty of screen time in trucks but other than his rookie season in ’96 and a strong Brickyard run and the one lonesome win, he got next to no coverage from mainstream media.
Anyway, thanks for your quick and clarifying reply. With a better understanding of your intentions with this article I’ll keep reading ;-).
Hey no problem! I totally understood the frustration and have had it pointed out in the past. I try and give a “disclaimer” at the beginning of the article at the beginning, but sometimes people miss it.
That’s what this was supposed to be: “Busch has obviously been “hot” all season through all three series, so let’s take a look back through the rest of the field this past weekend in Richmond and see who deserves a mention:”.
It’s ok, though. No biggie. I totally understand and it was kind of easy to miss and probably somewhat unclear. Thanks for reading! :-)
And as you can tell, it’s very late and my typing is suffering because of it. I’m used to having editors I guess. ;-)
What, you make typing errors at 1am? For shame ;-). Thanks again for the direct (and middle of the night!) responses. It is refreshing to see a writer who cares enough about the comments on their articles to clarify any confusion and discuss things with their readers. Thanks!