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.
Thomas Bowles · Monday July 2, 2007
Editor's Note : Due to a family emergency, Matt McLaughlin was unavailable for Thinkin' Out Loud; Managing Editor and SI.com contributor Tom Bowles filled in for this edition. Matt will return next week; in the meantime, please keep the McLaughlins in your thoughts and prayers.
The Key Moment: Crew chief Mike Ford finally figured out the best way for the No. 11 pit crew to keep costing the team a race win; don't leave the outcome in their hands. Ford gave Denny Hamlin two tires during a pit stop with 44 laps to go at New Hampshire, putting the No. 11 car out front in clean air. The sophomore sensation responded by holding off a frantic late charge by Jeff Gordon to snag his first win of â€˜07.
In A Nutshell: A mixed bag. Take a racetrack already hard to pass on, make it ten times harder to pass with the Car Of Tomorrow, and you've got yourself a bore. Still, it's a race that got mildly interesting at the end; intense racing among Hamlin, Gordon, and Truex ended with a close finish that left everyone on their feet.
What They'll Be Talking About Around The Water Cooler This Week:
Alright, it's been over 48 hours and I'm still scratching my head. How can Brian Vickers can be sent home after a post-qualifying violation one week after Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were put in the field without even turning a lap? Vickers' violation was for the car being too low, but at least he had a time good enough to make the field on time; that's more than Gordon or Johnson could say, as they got in on "provisionals" at Sonoma. Without a guaranteed starting spot, Vickers had no such protections, and as such he packed his bags and handed his starting spot to "44th place" Chad Chaffin. That's ironic, as it was Chaffin who got sent home at Pocono last year when a similar violation occurred with his old team; other than that, this decision hardly seems fair when compared to the special slots given to the No. 24 and No. 48. Isn't it time to fix a rapidly destructive provisional system? Or is it time for Red Bull to pony up and become NASCAR's official drink of choice? Maybe then their car would actually have been allowed to start the raceâ€¦
Speaking of being too low, the No. 5 and No. 70 cars failed post-race inspection this week for the exact same violation as Vickers. If they're convicted, that means four Hendrick-supported cars were caught "cheating" in a 10-day time span. This time around, the penalties will likely be worse; if NASCAR's willing to shell out six-race suspensions for violations on Friday, you can only imagine the carnage that could ensue from problems discovered during the actual race itself. Eight races? Ten? Stay tuned on thisâ€¦
It looks like I'm going to need more than one tutoring session this week. Please, someone make me understand why someone would try to jack a car back up by using a wheel hub. When the jack fell on Carl Edwards' pit stop, the response of the jackman was to try and lift the car up by putting it where the left rear tire would go! And with the approval and support of the pit crew coach, no less! No matter what the coach thinks, that blunder easily made the difference in Edwards falling a lap down after the stop; as Kyle Petty said best on TNT, "That's not very efficient."
David Ragan is having a surprising rookie year, but he's got to stop running into everything that moves. If Kurt Busch wasn't on probation, he'd be searching for his head on pit road after it was promptly severed in two. Believe me, that's not a veteran you want to anger.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Carl Edwards spent most of this race tearing through the field like a bat out ofâ€¦well, that place down below. But as soon as he snagged the lead after starting way back in 22nd, that dropped jack on a pit stop led to his crew falling into chaos; 47.6 seconds later, his chances for the win were all but over, although the Lucky Dog gave him a chance to salvage a respectable 13th.
Fellow Roush driver Greg Biffle appeared to have a car that was reasonably strong as well, and was on his way to trying to impress before a bad tach reading gave him three pit road speeding penalties within 100 laps of each other.
Dave Blaney won the pole, but switched his car with a Caterpillar bulldozer before the race, a move that might have cost him. In all seriousness; for whatever reason, Blaney lost the handle on his Toyota and finished 29th, one lap off the pace to kill what had been a promising weekend. All in all, it was an awful day for every Camry in the field, as David Reutimann lost a cylinder and Jeremy Mayfield's front splitter broke in two.
Clint Bowyer had a Top 10 car until finding Ryan Newman's air hose on pit road. At that point, he just became another car with a broken oil line. Bowyer wound up 37th.
The "Seven Come Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Hamlin was lucky to be in contention for the win after nearly spinning out after contact with Juan Pablo Montoya early on; the bump â€˜n' grind left an impression on Hamlin's left rear bumper panel.
It was clear that having their crew chiefs "suspended" did nothing to diffuse the luck of both Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Both finished in the Top 5 with ease, and Gordon would have won if he had another five laps in the race.
Jeff Green joined Hamlin in taking two tires on his last pit stop; the move brought him up to 4th and he was able to hold on for a solid 6th place finish, matching his best effort of the season to date.
Brian Vickers' loss was Chad Chaffin's gain; he took a car that originally didn't even make the starting field (or 11 other races this season) and brought him off in 36th without any major incidents.
What's The Points?
When the top two drivers in points finish 1-2 in the race, it's a given they'll remain on top of the standings, and that's exactly what happened. Finishing second, Gordon's margin on Denny Hamlin shrinks to 156, but that's still enough for nearly a full race cushion on his closest challenger.
Behind the top two, the rest of the Top 12 drivers remained the same, although quite a few moved around. Matt Kenseth holds the third spot, with Jimmie Johnson moving up to fourth and Jeff Burton moving down to fifth. Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Carl Edwards remain 6th, 7th, and 8th, with Kyle Busch jumping to 9th and Martin Truex, Jr. holding serve in 10th. Clint Bowyer drops two spots to 11th, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. holding the 12th and final Chase spot. Junior's margin over 13th place Ryan Newman now stands at 127; Newman's the only driver within striking distance to knock someone out with nine races until the Chase.
Overall Rating (with a one being a stinker and a six being a classic): I'm going to give this one three cans of generic local brewery stuff. The Car Of Tomorrow made New Hampshire a bore for most of the race, but another exciting finish was right in line with what this car has provided almost every time out.
Next Up: NASCAR finishes the first half of its 36-race season right where it began; at the hollowed ground of Daytona International Speedway. Although plans are for the CoT to run restricted engines at Talladega, the Pepsi 400 will be the final race of plate madness with the Car Of Soon-To-Be-Yesterday, marking the end of an 18-year-era of nail-biting excitementâ€¦with all-too-tragic results far too often. Catch the race Saturday night at 7:30 PM on TNT; the network plans "Wide Open Coverage," making it the first time any Cup race has been shown flag-to-flag without commercial interruption.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I guess its who you know , along again the arrogance of nascar regarding Brian Vickers, When are they (nascar) going to get it?
What’s so hard to grasp about the Vicker’s thing? He’s out of the top 35 so he doesn’t get on of those guaranteed spots. Jimmie and Jeff were in the top 35 so they did.
I don’t think its right to give 35 provisionals every week, but that’s how the rule reads and its very simple to follow.
Vickers’s punishment for failing post-qualifying inspection wasn’t being sent home it was having his qualifying time disallowed. Having to go home was the effect of having your qualifying time disallowed when you aren’t in the top 35.
People need to start reading what the rules and rulings actually say instead of what they want them to say, what they think they ought to have said, or what they thought it said when they weren’t paying attention very well.
M.B., you mean there are rules somewhere that you can read? Tell me where and I’ll check them out. Hendrick will continue to push the envelope. He’s winning races and getting his wrists slapped and has no qualms about openly cheating. It makes you wonder if they are actually doing a great job of hiding something important and letting NASCAR find the obvious.
Sounds like we will still be waiting for the first race shown flag to flag even after next week. Even though the hype was ‘no commercials’, the promo now says ‘shown with limited commercials.’ This past race they showed 130+ commercials for over 60 minutes during the broadcast. There was even one time they came back from 3 minutes of commercials to show 1 minute of racing then back to 2 minutes of commercials. So when they say limited – do they mean 100 commercials taking away 45 minutes of race time and actually seeing 2 straight minutes of the race between commercials – all the while having a big company logo plastered in the corner of the screen?
“Hendrick will continue to push the envelope. Heâ€™s winning races and getting his wrists slapped and has no qualms about openly cheating.” Well you need to remember that Hendrick is a convicted felon that had to be pardoned by another crook(R. Nixon). So what do you expect? Now what does that say about NASCAR.....In the NFL he would have been banned from ownership.
Matt, please don’t forget Roush got caught cheating 2 times last weekend. Kvapil’s engine gone to the R&D Center and Edwards got an interesting right-rear shock too. Not only HMS cheating.
Even if the rules were available for the fans to read, they’re written in such an ambiguous way that they can be interpretted in any one of a hundred ways. This is a definite problem. The rulebook is only about 24 pages long according to what Kenny Wallace said last year on the Race Day show.
Hendrick bought his pardon from one William Jefferson Clinton, not Nixon. He made a donation of $300,000 to the Clinton Library in exchange for the pardon.
If Red Bull wants to make more races, they need to become the “official energy drink of” and Toyota needs to call in another one of its’ favors from NASCAR that they paid $93 million for.
“ The Car Of Tomorrow made New Hampshire a bore”. Oh really, it was the car! ‘Cause I’m racking my brain for those exciting Loudon finishes, and coming up empty. I’m sure someone will point out one, but I’m trying to make a point. This track needs to go away.
Aman to M. B. Voelker.
John shows the typical ignorance of most Hendrick-bashers…first, Rick Hendrick was not pardoned by Richard Nixon; his pardon came courtesy of one William Jefferson Clinton, no average crook himself. And what is it with all these bashers who have to use the term “convicted felon”? There is no such thing as an “unconvicted felon”.
Thanks MBV (3KB:) for pointing out the obvious regarding why the 24 & 48 were guarenteed a spot last week. Mr Bowles mentions the provisional (top 35) rule and then asks a question that he just answered.
M.B. et al,
Thanks for your comments. The difference with the No. 24 and No. 48 compared to the Top 35 rule is simply that they didn’t even turn a lap of practice. So, just because they show up on a given weekend they get an automatic spot in the field? I’m a little unclear and frustrated by that. If you’ve read my stuff, you know I didn’t agree with the penalties given…but at the same time, rules are rules. The last I checked, racing was about speed on any given weekend, not past history guaranteeing future starting spots.
The Top 35 rule should be in place for people who actually attempt to qualify. The 24 and 48 neither qualified nor practiced, but they still earned a spot in the field anyways. It’s logical to think that if those teams could be given a reprieve, why should NASCAR automatically knock out the 83 when he actually took laps on the track?
More NASCAR inconsistencies!
If I am not mistaken, at this years Daytona 500, the #24 car was found, after qualifying, too low! The NASCAR inspector himself removed the “offending” part, explained it was simply a “failure”, and let Jeff start at the rear of the field!
I am going from memory, but believe I am correct!
NASCARS rule book, if one exists, is written in pencil subject to be changed by any NASCAR official!
I would think that anyone that would put on a NASCAR OFFICAL’S SHIRT SHOULD BE EMBARRASED BY ALL THIS!
It’s not that hard to understand. MB explained it above quite well. If you are in the Top 35, no matter who you are, you are guaranteed a starting spot. Had Brian been in the Top 35 he would have started the race at the back of the field. Since he is not in the Top 35 he doesn’t have that privelage and so he was sent home. Just like guys in the Top 35 are guaranteed a spot in the field, with the others having to qualify on time. You don’t have to like it, but it is the rule. And I wonder how many people would be complaining if it had been Jr. instead HMS teams last weekend.
I don’t care who gets a penalty as long as they are handed out evenly. I’m frankly quite tired of everyone making a judgement that criticism of one team means that you are a fan of another. I am not a fan of any particular driver or team anymore. I think that there are favored teams and drivers and that NASCAR often hands out penalties based upon that status. It is quite apparent that the Hendrick teams historically cheat and that they have favored status. Whether Hendrick was pardoned by Clinton or George Washington is immaterial. The fact that he is a felon, convicted or otherwise is germaine only because his teams consistently cheat, an obvious trait of one who flaunts the law. JR. Johnson is a “convicted felon’” but he never made any pretenses about it and certainly didn’t pretend to be something that he wasn’t.
“Take a racetrack already hard to pass on, make it ten times harder to pass with the Car Of Tomorrow, and youâ€™ve got yourself a bore.”
Mr. Bowles… the quote is from you lifted from the “In a Nutshell” section.
I like baseball games where the pitchers can’t waste pitches… a 1-0, or a 2-1 game is far more exciting than a 13-9 slugfest.
YOU say boring, I say, “what great racing drivers do!”
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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