Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
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.
Bowles - Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday August 25, 2008
There were differing opinions on the quality of racing Saturday night; but if we learned anything from the new Bristol that everyone can agree on, it’s that the Kyle Busch – Carl Edwards battle is officially the sport’s newest rivalry. With one angry swipe on the cooldown lap – and one angry slam hit in retaliation – NASCAR’s two most successful drivers of 2008 also decided that they didn’t like each other all that much.
But what the sport has yet to understand – and what they’ll be watching – is whether this is the battle fans in the stands are looking to see.
Make no mistake, though; those battle lines are being drawn. After leading 415 laps in one of the more dominating short track performances of recent years, Kyle Busch found himself vulnerable after the night’s final caution flag for debris bunched up the field. Edwards was on his back bumper, and the challenger knew the only way he could get to the front was by hounding Busch on the restart. But despite being all over the No. 18, neither driver would give an inch in the closing laps as the two appeared equally matched.
That is, until Edwards took matters into his own hands. Just a little bump – tame by Bristol standards – sent Busch a little squirrelly and opened up the inside line for Edwards to streak to the win. It was a two, maybe a three at best on the one-to-ten scale of historical Dirty Driving; but it’s a move that would come with no apology from the man that pushed the envelope.
“That’s one of those deals where I couldn’t get by him and I couldn’t get by him and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?’” Edwards said of his rival. “And he has before, so that’s the way it goes.”
“All I could think about was Richmond in a Nationwide race when he was trying to get through the field, and he pile drove me. That’s just the way it is. I have a lot of respect for the guy and he was real fast, but we can’t give up points when they’re right there for us to take.”
But taking anything away from Busch by force always comes with a price. The point leader couldn’t get back to Edwards’ bumper before the end of the race – but his reaction was swift and severe once the checkered flag flew. Busch’s slam into Edwards showed an obvious displeasure at losing points, prestige, and the battle of aggression that he usually dominates.
“He spun me out,” Busch said of the man he referred to as “Mr. Ed”-like after the race – comparing him to the famous TV horse from the 1960s. “So I got into him a little bit and let him know that I didn’t appreciate the way he passed me.”
“He’ll always come back and say he’s sorry. He did it at Milwaukee [with Clint Bowyer], and he’s done it a few other times. It’s just his normal fashion — that’s fine.”
“He was mad and I can completely empathize with his anger,” answered Edwards later. “I probably would have done the exact same thing [if I were in his position]… if I could have passed [Busch] without running into him, that’s what I would have done.”
But he didn’t, and so now we’re left with sore feelings and soaring testosterone that’s not coming down anytime soon – and a war that’s likely to play out during the playoff races of September, October, and November. The two have now combined to win 14 of 24 races this season; no one else on the circuit has won more than two. In fact, this was the fifth time this season both Busch and Edwards have taken the checkered flag first and second; Busch leads those battles 3-2, although Edwards has closed the gap with wins in each of the past two weeks. It’s clear that up to this point in the season, both drivers have established themselves as the class of the field in Sprint Cup.
But the unanswered question remaining is whether this is the act millions of fans across America signed up for. We see it all the time in stick ‘n’ ball sports: there’s an ultra-competitive World Series, but no one watches because the fans could care less for either of the two teams involved. San Francisco – Anaheim? Yeah, that’s a World Series from six years ago … a competitive one, at that, but hardly anybody outside those two cities remembers what happened or who won. It’s a surefire sign that the people and the places make the memories in sports as much as the actual competition itself.
With that in mind, early results seem to indicate this is one twosome that still has some growing to do. Kyle Busch may be compared to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. on his best days, but the booing from the stands trumps all else on his worst ones. Carl Edwards used to come off as the Goody Two Shoes of the Cup Series, but recent problems with his temper and his tongue threw some cracks in the Dudley Do Right routine. Both men’s flaws make it hard for fans to universally accept them for who they are – neither started the season as the circuit’s most popular driver, and both are left with an almost insurmountable hill to climb in that department even after all the success.
Fans are still hesitant, adjusting; these were clearly not the two men they were expecting to have thrown at them week in, week out at the beginning of 2008. This year was supposed to be about Jeff Gordon’s Drive For Five, Jimmie Johnson’s Drive For Three Straight Titles, and Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth’s bid to unseat them both. In the background, the most popular driver’s move to the most powerful team – Junior to Hendrick – was to grab constant headlines. But 24 races in, Kenseth, Gordon, and Stewart are winless, while the primary focus revolves around two men who faced unpredictable futures as little as six months ago.
That backdrop makes it hard for this rivalry to become Petty – Pearson, Allison – Waltrip, or Earnhardt – Wallace … yet. There’s certainly potential for growth over the coming years, as both drivers are locked into their rides in long-term deals that make them the No. 1 focus of their respective organizations. Both are in their 20s, and both have the primes of their career ahead while former champs Gordon, Kenseth, and Stewart enter their late 30s – suddenly ancient history in the age of the “young gun.”
But short-term success is what NASCAR is after … and they’re after it now. In a year where NASCAR has taken so many hits from all different sides of the coin, they can’t wait for this thing to grow roots. It needs to be a full-blown tree of verbal jabs, on-track aggression, and side-by-side sparks to the finish line … something that gets fans as psyched as America was to see Michael Phelps swim for those eight gold medals.
At least both sides have drawn first blood, with bad blood simmering for the first time in the six months they’ve been thrown in the national spotlight. Now, it’s up to the fans; and we’ll know very soon whether enough headlines have been stirred to keep from having them change the channel and wait ‘till next year.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
YES we love it ..and most of us have been warning that folks would start racing kyle like hes been racing others !!…what comes around goes around !!! GOOD JOB CARL !!
I agree sparxmoore. I have been waiting for the other drivers to race him like he races them. I don’t understand his mentality. He can do what he wants, but he whines when a driver does the same thing to him. I just wish Carl had put him into the wall when he bumped him.
I could count about 40 other drivers out there that would be a better fit to carry the title of champion than those two, both need to grow up and act like real men!
Short tracks are where it’s at. They provide stuff like this. Too bad they aren’t in the mega markets NASCAR craves so desperately, or we’d have a lot more of stuff like this to talk about each week.
Personally, I think it’s great. Carl has already shown that he doesn’t like being moved out of the way. Remember his slam of Jr. last year in the Busch race?
What I find funny is how many people dislike the tactics of Kyle Busch but thought Earnhardt Sr. doing the same thing was wonderful.
Now we have the two best drivers this year, the two best teams this year locked in a head to head battle for wins and the championship.
I’m pulling for both of them and at the same time neither of them.
Buckle up boys, the race is on.
I agree that whinny boy got what he has been giving out all year. And Billie what is wrong with a little “get even” fron Carl. Does that make him less of a man? I also was a Earnhardt Sr. hater for his driving tactics and wanted someone stand up to him. Now for the important thing, the little man Bush should be careful how he makes fun of someone else’s looks, for he is far from a movie idol, besides Carl Edwards would beat him like a red-headed stepchild. I for one would like to see it happen!
It’s a shame NA$CRAP allows this bumping thing to take place in the first place!
And the BIGGEST problem with the “bumping” a car out of position, is NA$CRAP itself in who and when it chooses to penalize for such infractions!
If this is what NA$CRAP wants and allows, then simply state clearly this is within the rules! Then eliminate ALL doubt that it is “legal”! No matter what car, no matter what position!
Then I would accept it as real racing!
Just another NA$CRAP gray area!
it’s about time … especially if NASCAR wants to get back to their “roots”. what should have happened at the hauler was to give the two of ‘em some boxing gloves and let them slam it out for about 10 minutes!
Personally I can’t stand either one of them. They have the same characteristics like two peas in a pod. Let them fight each other until the Chase begins, and them maybe a driver that deserves to win the Chase will come to life.
“and them maybe a driver that deserves to win the Chase will come to life.”
And let me see if I can guess just who that might be.
I agree Ginger. I liked Edwards when he first started in Cup, but the Aw shucks “cousin Carl” (jeez I hate that nickname) is obviously a facade, reference the Kenseth incident last season. Maybe it’s the old school coming out in me, but to have two guys who have been given top flight rides right off the bat carrying on like grizzled veterans and trying to emulate Terry and Earnhardt, DW and Earnhardt, etc. chaps me something fierce. Let’s get a Cup before we start getting that entitled feeling boys ok? You guys have a few wins, but you really haven’t proven squat!Notice Kyle did his talking with his car? Edwards would tear him up. There’s no doubt Kyle dominated the race. However, when it’s all said and done, he lost. You’ve won plenty this year, live to fight another day. The “rivalry’ is going to have to wait at least til Richmond because any retaliatory move before then borders on criminal at those speeds. I think Kyle can ask his older brother how his little spat with Jimmy Spencer turned out. It’s easy to be a badass when your car is your weapon but stepping out of the driver’s seat will tell a different story. David Pearson would have jack-slapped you both for being such women out there.
As for the race, I have never napped during a Bristol race. Passed out yes, but never taken a 45 minute nap, until Saturday night. These CoT’s are garbage. I always used to say I’d like to see IROC at Bristol. Well Saturday I got my wish and I didn’t like it. Little action, little passing for the lead, and if it weren’t for the wrecks, Kyle would have won and 3 cars would have been on the lead lap.
When NASCAR implimented the rough driving rule I didn’t accept it on the short tracks but in time I understand that “bumping” is basically required on the short tracks. Carl did nothing wrong in my book! I love the new rivalry. Keep it up guys!!!
As the presumed “Dream Team” at Hendricks has failed to materialize, the Roush-Fenway vs JGR has magically appeared and the two best drivers in NASCAR (neither is Junior) will battle it out for the a seat at the head table in New York. While Hendrick’s Jeff Gordon continues to blame pit crews, Jimmie Johnson blames setup woes and Junior & Cousin Tony can’t agree on what to blame, the goliaths of NASCAR — JRG & Roush-Fenway are displaying their talented drivers — eight of the top twelve Saturday night were from these two camps. Fans, don’t wait to see the “changing of the guard…it has already changed.”
Lemme tell ya, 4 things from the crowd caught my attention from the crowd Saturday night:
1. The number of people who got up to leave with 100 laps to go, when the Shrub had been leading so long and it appeared that no-one could catch him…seats around us suddenly opened up!
2. The serious cheers that would have raised the roof, had Bristol had a roof, when Carl used Kyle’s own tactics on him to FINALLY get by him on that last restart.
3. The exact same thing happened when Carl spun Kyle on the cool down lap after Kyle tried to drive him into the wall.
4. The even LOUDER Boos when the Shrub was interviewed after the race.
Is this a rivalry like days of old? Maybe on the short-term…we’ll see if it carries on though the years…but if the fans at Bristol have any say in it, the majority seemed to love every minute of it. LOL
Uuuhh, Douglas. I can see you’re proud of yourself for using the clever term NA$CRAP. Brilliant!
Don’t count out Hendicks or Gordon. We’ve all been around Cup long enough to know that there’s always an ebb and flow. Recall the ups and downs and championships of Earnhardt Senior.
Look at Hendricks dominance last year with the new car.
Look at the quick rise of Kyle and Carl. For a multitude of reasons, they can go into a tailspin just as quickly.
I’m thinking Smoke and J Gordon will be there for the chase, right along with Kyle and Carl.
You can quote me on that.
Interesting article, Mr. Bowles. You do a pretty good job when you dispense with political correctness.
Somehow, I just don’t see Smoke in the mix. He has a lot of talent, but face it, does it do JGR any good if Smoke wins the cup at the expense of Hamlin and Kyle then immediately goes to Haas Racing next season? He’s not going to get the cream of the crop in JGR parts because it makes bad business sense.
If anyone, I would not count out Jimmie Johnson or Greg Biffle, and I’m not even a 48 or 16 fan. There is not a track on the schedule that is a weak spot for either guy. I sense a little less tenacity from Jeff Gordon. Maybe it’s fatherhood, I dunno, but he doesn’t stick his nose in there like he used to.
I am no fan, of either kyle or carl, of the two, i will take kyle. use to like carl, untill he went to jr. in victory lane and grabbed his arm, and jr. told him that was not cool and what finished me with houdy doody, was when he again went in front of the camera and drew, his fist , back to hit matt, and showed his big hody doddy grin, just finished me ,ever being a fan of his. SO, GO GET HIM ,KYLE!!!!!!
I think they’re both a couple of babies. Run each other into the wall and the crowd will go wild because we can’t stand either one of them. They can both dish it out but can’t take it.
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