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
Tuesday March 4, 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!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Summer Bedgood · Wednesday June 8, 2011
Any diehard NASCAR fan with a favorite driver they’ve stuck with for any period of time knows the highs and lows that go right along with being an avid supporter of theirs. From the thrill of victory that seems to last well into the next race to the agony of defeat that leaves you feeling like you’ve been punched in the stomach, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions that most fans are more than happy to endure. It’s the loyalty and passion of those folks that stick by their driver though thick and thin that make NASCAR and motorsports fans in general some of the best in all of sports.
Lately, no group of fans has known more heartbreak than those of Junior Nation. Between the last two Sprint Cup Series races that happened to be determined by fuel mileage, NASCAR’s most popular driver (Dale Earnhardt, Jr., if you’re new to this) came agonizingly close to victory on both occasions—so close yet so far.
In the Memorial Day weekend spectacle that is the Coca-Cola 600, Earnhardt looked to be on his way to a sure-fire victory when he took the white flag as the leader. Running low on fuel, everyone held their breaths as the No. 88 Chevrolet rounded the backstretch and headed into turns three and four…
…and then either sighed (or screamed!) in disbelief, heartbreak, or a combination of the two as Earnhardt’s car slowed coming to the checkered flag, losing several positions as Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick blew on by and won for the third time this season. Earnhardt would wind up seventh.
Last weekend, Earnhardt again saw a chance at victory slip through his fingers when his protégé Brad Keselowski was able to outlast him in yet another fuel mileage gamble at Kansas Speedway. It definitely wasn’t near as heartbreaking, but coming within just a few seconds of victory for two straight weeks has to be grating on those that have been waiting for nearly three years for a victory—including Earnhardt himself.
It doesn’t matter, because eventually Earnhardt will win a race this season, and all will be right again with the NASCAR world.
To a point. For every avid driver fan, it seems as though there is yet another naysayer in the wings, waiting for said driver to screw up so they can pounce at the opportunity to spew vitriol like it’s sour milk one year past the expiration date. Almost every driver—especially the more popular ones—has more than enough of those “haters” that give them endless hours of entertainment via Twitter, now that the barrier between driver and fan has basically been broken down using the social media site. However, there are always those folks more than willing to boo their displeasure at the track during driver intros or shout “Hey, you suck!” (or worse) as drivers are walking by to do their duties.
One particular insult detractors of Earnhardt and his fans like to use is “overrated.” It’s a term that’s tossed around at the track like a verbal game of hot potato and, one could argue, holds quite a bit of truth to it. After all, if Earnhardt’s success equaled that of his fan base, he’d be in Victory Lane every other week and have more championships than you could count on one hand, right?
Well, of course. And unfortunately for Earnhardt, he will never live up anywhere close to those expectations. But “overrated” is a term that is used way too loosely and somewhere along the way changed from “not as good as everyone thinks they are” to “not good at all.”
Here is a typical comment you hear from some of Junior’s worst detractors: “That damned Dale, Jr.! Living off of his father’s name and getting handed all the sponsorship money and best equipment in NASCAR even though he has no talent! He shouldn’t even be in this sport!”
Let’s just take a look at the two main parts of that statement. Is Earnhardt living off his father’s name, legendary NASCAR driver and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr.? Well, sure, that definitely helps in generating sponsorship revenue and fan support and he and Hendrick Motorsports would be wrong not to use that to their advantage. That doesn’t mean Earnhardt doesn’t have fans that like him just the way he is.
But what about the other statement? Is Earnhardt indeed a no-talent driver that is just wasting space on the racetrack?
Absolutely not! Sure Earnhardt has hit a rough patch in his career and is most likely past his prime, but that doesn’t make him a talentless driver overall.
Consider these statistics: In 412 career Sprint Cup Series start, Earnhardt has 18 victories, 94 top 5s, 157 top 10s, an average finish of 17th, and 6754 laps led out of 118,492 laps run. Of course those statistics pale in comparison to those of his HMS teammates Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, or Jimmie Johnson, but talentless drivers don’t win 18 races in their careers. Take a look at Jeff Burton, who entered the Sprint Cup Series full-time several years before Earnhardt did, but doesn’t have statistics all that much higher than Earnhardt’s: 21 wins, 128 top 5s, 237 top 10s, an average finish of 16th, and 6410 of 168,977 laps led. Burton certainly has a fair amount of talent as well, yet doesn’t face the same criticism that Earnhardt does.
The overrated and talentless myth holds true for other drivers as well. Aside from Earnhardt, two drivers that have received much more hype than necessary in recent years were Joey Logano and Danica Patrick—both for very different reasons, but the sound of their name eventually began sounding like nails on a chalkboard to those who tuned into NASCAR every weekend. Eventually, enough is enough.
Logano and Patrick have also failed to live up to the media hype and their surrounding fan bases, and have plenty of people more than ready to tell the world how little talent either one of them has and why they have no use in this sport anymore.
While I’ve been hard on Logano this year, I don’t doubt that he has talent. His ability to outdrive teammate Kyle Busch in several Nationwide Series races in 2009 was nothing short of incredible, considering the fact Busch has been all but unbeatable since he moved over to the Joe Gibbs Racing stable in 2008. In fact, even with Logano’s rather pathetic performance through 13 Sprint Cup Series races this year, last season he finished up the year with a rather impressive run of finishes—7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, and … 39th. I guess you can’t win ‘em all right?
Regardless, yes, Logano is (or was—the hype has since died down) incredibly overrated, but his statistics show a hidden gem just waiting for the right chance to shine.
On the flip side, Patrick is one driver most of us could spend an entire afternoon ranting about how and why she got where she is, but the fact of the matter is, she’s taken those opportunities and ran with them (to a degree). Fuel mileage or not, the IZOD IndyCar driver’s historic win at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway in Motegi City, Japan was a tremendous boost to her credibility, and some strong finishes in the points haven’t exactly hurt her reputation either. She may not be a great driver, but she has shown enough strengths in both IndyCar and her limited starts in the Nationwide Series to show that she at least has enough talent to run with the big guns. Now that it looks like she’s heading to NASCAR full-time next season, the sooner people get that in their heads, the better.
I could continue on with lists of drivers, athletes, and pop culture celebrities who were given much more publicity and attention than their numbers might suggest, but nevertheless, typically don’t deserve the amount of criticism they receive either. Most overrated drivers still have enough talent to stay relevant if you give them the chance, and it’s a chance I wish more fans were more willing to give.
So, the next time you hear a name that makes you want to rip your hair out and/or throw the remote through the TV/computer screen … well, ok, yeah, I probably will too. But before you begin a tweet, Facebook post, comment, blog post, etc. about how little talent they have, it might do you some good to stop, think, and maybe take a glance at the numbers. Because, chances are, if you or a lesser driver were in their position, you wouldn’t have half the accomplishments they do. Not all drivers can be great, but it doesn’t make them terrible, and it certainly doesn’t make them irrelevant.
Even if it does make them obnoxious.
©2000 - 2008 Summer Bedgood and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Imagine that, another Jr. and Patrick apologist article.
And just WHO were you referring to in your last line?
Musta been one of the”… pop culture celebrities….” say, like for example, for instance, Michael Bolton.
BTW, Summer, this is not meant for you. This is for those who hate without reason.
Perhaps an article could have been written about the most overrated driver ever to strap on a car…Michael Waltrip. Now there’s a dude who still drives occasionally and his first name should be Overrated. To suggest a driver is overrated who has 2(two) Busch championsips, 18 wins and a history of good racing is absurd. But most members of Jr Nation have quit trying to defend him for the simple reason he doesn’t need defending. The fact is he has more fans than the next 5 or 6 drivers combined for a reason. According to Racing Reference here are some stats to chew on:
Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, here are some stats on Dale, Jr. thanks to Racing-Reference.
One of 24 drivers to win at least one Cup race
Six second place finishes since 2008, ranked eighth most among all drivers
Nine podiums (top three finishes), ranked 17th among all drivers
18 Top 5s, ranked 15th among all drivers
36 Top 10s, ranked 15th among all drivers
3 poles, ranked 14th among all drivers
Has completed 35,765 laps, second rank to Tony Stewart with 35,843
1,269 laps led, 10th rank of all drivers
Running at the finish of 113 races (of 121 starts), ranked eighth among all drivers
80 lead lap finishes, ranked 14th among all drivers
17.7 average starting position, 15th among all drivers
17.7 average finishing position, 16th among all drivers.
Want more stats?
Bear in mind Jr came to HMS the same year as the COT. Nobody in Nascar really had a handle on the car. A new shop, a new car, new crew, new surroundings. There are a myriad of circumstances that nobody wants to consider, but they are there nevertheless.
I agree with Pepper. Michael Waltrip is hand down the most overated driver ever and how he has managed to hang onto a ride is beyond me.
Logano is nothing but another Casey Atwood just more hyped and will wind up as a start and park driver like Schradder and Nemechek
The last few years the most overrated drivers are also the drivers NA$CAR and their media lap dogs have hyped to high heavens and the drivers don’t live up to the hype.
Both Michael Walttip and Dale Jr. are the most over rated Restrictor plate drivers ever, neither has won a plate race since they lost their DEI HP/Aero advantage. Just a fact.
Over-hyped Dale Jr. has moved to the next level from being overra88ted, up to Has Been. With only 1 Na$crap assisted fuel milage win in the last 5 years, that would be half a decade now. Just a fact.
While Jr. and Danica are overrated its easy to understand why they are still in the game. THEY SELL MERCHANDISE. Hendricks is probably making more money off Jr. by the streak continuing then if he were to win.
The stalker is back again! Over888ted and his man-love gone bad is getting to a scary level! He used to tweet Jr as @Jrs-luv-bunny, but he couldnt get the love back, so he turned stalker!! Get over it dude, he likes chicks. Besides, you post the same crap EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Go stalk Justin Beiber or something!! LMFAO
AB in Ky, did you miss Susan’s rational, serious, fact based criticisms of Jr.
Guess he turned her down when she offered her services as well.
Facts will never convince people like them. They are not worth Jr’s time or mine or any other fan of his to get annoyed by them.
AB in Ky……Isn’t your mom your cousin? And you married you brother’s sister. Only in KY! Just a fact.