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 · Thursday January 31, 2008
Editor’s Note : In this new website column for 2008, Frontstretch Managing Editor Tom Bowles points out a few short, pointed observations about the Nextel Cup Series each week that you might not have noticed or seen. Once a Frontstretch Newsletter staple, look for Did You Notice? every Wednesday starting next week.
Did You Notice … All the hubbub surrounding Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s “missing memorabilia” at DEI? Of course you did, because that’s all everyone keeps talking about these last few days – during an offseason where news has been so slow people are resorting to manufacturing some.
Now, I’ll preface this rant by saying I wasn’t there … unlike most of my media comrades, I actually get to take most of January off, bypassing a lot of the testing and preseason hype that’s constantly thrown at us to keep NASCAR on the radar screen. But based on what I’ve heard, the story goes like this – more than 250 people came to DEI for a luncheon where the team was going to speak about the upcoming 2008 season. Now, anyone that’s been in some of these race shops knows there’s not necessarily the type of room to have a dainty media luncheon for that large a group; so, what the organization did was clean out a section so everyone would be able to sit comfortably. It was an area that happened to house some of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s old cars and memorabilia; and after it was cleaned out, there was plenty of room for everyone to file in. That’s the irony – the team was actually doing the media a favor, but in hindsight, they should have dumped the luncheon and left out a cheese plate to go with the whine that followed.
That’s because when some of my esteemed colleagues came in, they didn’t see as much Junior stuff as they would have liked; and that’s a problem, because when you deal with these “Preseason 2008 Hype Tour” type of things you get a couple of media people who, well, don’t cover the sport full-time and couldn’t tell Kevin LePage from Kevin Spacey. But they do know the name Earnhardt, and they did know Dale Jr. used to drive for his dad and doesn’t anymore; and that’s the easy story they need to go with when no good alternative comes along, the one that’s generic and attracts all sorts of rabid Junior fans. So, when they didn’t see any memorabilia, too many silly people see a quick and easy story, make a little something out of nothing and – voila! – all of a sudden DEI is trying to hide the memory of the man that helped put them on the map.
Frankly, I can’t believe we’re talking about this “controversy” right now because the whole thing is ridiculous. But here’s the way I look at it; while DEI and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were linked together in the past, the bottom line is that they’re not linked together now. So, as far as I’m concerned the team’s not even under an obligation to show any memorabilia in the first place. It’s just like when you leave a job, do you honestly expect the company to put your desk in a Hall of Fame? Sure, you’ve got friends there; you may have even accomplished quite a bit at the company, and no one will forget who you are and what you did. But life goes on, business keeps going, and both you and the company will survive without each other. Eventually, they’re going to get someone else to fill that desk … because more history can’t be made if everyone else is spending all their time celebrating yours.
That’s exactly what’s going to be happening this season for both Junior and Dale Earnhardt, Inc – both entities will be making new history independent of one another. And as it is, the memorabilia should be a non-issue; several sources have said Max Siegel of DEI is telling the truth, that the memorabilia is there and proudly displayed — it just was moved around for the media luncheon. Earnhardt and Siegel have since made public statements to try and put the whole matter to bed.
But what this showcased, besides trivial news turning stomachs everywhere, is that there’s an underlying unwillingness for a lot of people to face some facts no one would have believed 12 months ago. Well, I’m sorry to break the news again, but DEI is still here without Junior – might even thrive without Junior – and everyone needs to come to terms with that. Junior’s about to go win some races with Hendrick; why can’t DEI start concentrating on doing the same without being unfairly criticized for not building a bronze statue of a driver who’s no longer there? It’s over, people … the decision was made, and if both parties have moved on, why can’t you?
One other thing, while I’m on this subject – no disrespect to Dale Jr. (a man whose career is about to be back on track), but you know what the three biggest pieces of hardware DEI owned for a long time? They’re a Watkins Glen trophy from Steve Park in 2000, and not one, but two, Daytona 500 trophies Michael Waltrip won in 2001 and 2003. Those were the biggest wins to DEI’s credit before Junior’s career really took off in 2003 and ’04 … another note that, contrary to popular belief, this company didn’t always revolve around the Budweiser No. 8. It just ended up that way; and perhaps this is another sign that maybe the two entities are in better shape apart.
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a link to David Poole’s thoughts on this subject … not only because I agree with some of what he says, but the fan responses below are easily worth the trip there.
Did You Notice … Along these same lines that we just can’t get away from trivial NASCAR news lately? You know, this plays into a larger issue with sports nowadays – it’s a 24/7 business. There’s the regular season, the “playoffs,” and then the offseason time where you spend it hyping up the following regular season to come.
But here’s a novel concept – whatever happened to just not reporting about a sport for a little while? What about not forcing news and giving fans a little time off to, well, miss the roar of the engines and want the regular season to come back around? I’ll tell you one thing … if I had to run down to all these preseason tests and tours in January instead of fly to Daytona February 6th and start anew, I’d be a little burned out before the year even began. After a little time away, I can’t wait for the season to start … and wasn’t it just a couple of years ago where everyone else got to enjoy that lull, too?
I guess that’ll never happen again, as we’re in the Information Age; but there is such a thing as too much information. If there’s no news, it’s OK NASCAR’s not on the front page for a month or so … people aren’t going to forget about it, I promise. I wish in the midsts of getting to the point where we have three official “preseason tests” in January to go along with a weeklong “Media Tour,” people would remember that. Trust me, leave fans wanting more … not less. They’ve got a 38-week season as plenty to get excited about.
Did You Notice … All the sponsorship announcements that accompanied the grand media tour? No, I didn’t either. But in the meantime, Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ Elliott Sadler – the Elliott Sadler who scored a total of one Top 10 finish following the Daytona 500 last year – has not one, not two, but three companies vying for primary sponsorship. Best Buy, McDonald’s, and Stanley Tools could all sponsor a full NASCAR team themselves in a lower-cost environment; instead, they’re sharing space on one car while a half-dozen full-time teams head into the season financially strapped.
So while I’m patting some GEM marketer on the back for some solid work, this three-pronged deal doesn’t make sense – especially when it sounds like third GEM driver Patrick Carpentier isn’t even sponsored for all 36 races. On a side note, I wonder if the sport could have a budget problem? Hold on … I couldn’t hear what you said, my ears were blown out by the $2 million wind tunnel test going on behind me.
Did You Notice … Bill Davis Racing looked to be up to sale to the highest bidder back in October; namely, to Canadian investor – ahem, Jacques Villeneuve business manager Craig Pollock. Fast forward to January … coincidentally, this deal never goes through and all the rumors die down, all but confirming Pollock was the one trying to buy the team. Coincidentally, Villeneuve’s No. 27 still doesn’t have any sponsorship and may be forced to a limited schedule after the first five races, depending on where the team winds up in owner points. And coincidentally, Villeneuve and Pollock now have an “amicable” parting of the ways after fifteen years together.
Sorry, I just don’t buy the word “amicable” – too many coincidences. There’s obviously a story here … the only question is whether anyone will ever give us enough information to find the answer.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The blizzard of non stories concerning NASCAR every season is not so hard to understand . Competition . Every NASCAR column and blog has to put out something every day , because they only write about NASCAR . So on most days they have to invent news , ‘cause NASCAR just isn’t as interesting as the constant gushing by “ racing journalists “ would have us believe . But if the competition is writing something about JR today , then everyone needs to write about JR today . And speaking of “ racing journalists “ Jenna Fryer who helped start the bottom feeding frenzy over the DEI memorabilia non story , should really stick to what ever she writes about when not covering racing . She doesn’t seem to be interested enough in the sport to do actual reporting . Of course , she certainly isn’t alone in that respect .
“Frankly, I canâ€™t believe weâ€™re talking about this â€œcontroversyâ€ right now”…so why did you write this column?
“the bottom line is that theyâ€™re not linked together now.” Of course they’re linked. Dale Jr will always be the son of Dale Earnhardt.
After Dale died, Dale Jr. kept that company in business until Teresa “chose another path” as she put it which resulted in a failing company.
“Itâ€™s over, people â€¦ the decision was made, and if both parties have moved on, why canâ€™t you?” WHY CAN’T YOU????
You forgot to point out that there are two Busch Championship trophies that Jr got for DEI, before Waltrip got his Daytona wins. Jr’s career took off before 2003, he won the Winston All Star race before 2003 along with his 2 Busch Championships. When the 2003 season started the boy had 7 of his 17 career wins not counting the All Star race. Your facts are not accurate.
I can understand their decision of not displaying past drivers trophies and awards BUT the other drivers were just that for DEI drivers. Jr has Earnhardt blood running through his veins and IS part of the legacy… the very legacy that Teresa works so hard to keep alive.
The hoopla broke about Jr being erased from DEI and Mad Max gave the excuse that they are concentrating on the current drivers. Wella as time marches on and the hoopla gets bigger then Mad Max says the cars were moved to make room for the luncheon. I can buy the moving of the cars but where is the rest of the history that Jr created for DEI? Did they have to move trophies and pictures to make room for the media too? This smells fishy and I know who the fisherman is that is doing all the reeling in.
I am so glad that Jr has broken away from the clutches of the controlling evil step mother and has gone to a team that respects and gives their drivers moral support. Thank you Mr Hendrick for signing Jr to drive for you….
According to Jayski.com, Dale Jr. basically confirmed Max Siegel’s story. (i.e. Junior’s memorabilia and cars were moved out JUST for the media luncheon.)
If that is the truth, IMHO it makes sense. The media shindig is about the future and Dale Jr. is in DEI’s PAST. And that’s how it should be.
Now, according to Jr., now that the media shindig is over you can go to DEI offices and see his Busch championship trophies and some of his winning cars.
Tom, you got to the rant before I did. I just did it in my living room while the hubby tried to make me see why everybody was so upset…There was testing this week, wasn’t there? I’m sure there was. You know…racing news! lol
Have all Jr. fans gone crazy?
Some of the comments over at the link to David Pooleâ€™s thoughts are flat out scary.
Do not sterotype ALL Dale Jr Fans there Max.
There is lot of Sports Writers and Critics that want to hold onto the past rather than let it go because Dale Jr. vs. DEI sells in the headlines. So perhaps you need to tell the MEDIA to get over it because this Dale Jr Fan is embracing for the 2008 year, new team, new number, new strategies, and new management, means we will have new outlook on racing to look forward to!
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