NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thomas Bowles · Wednesday April 22, 2009
Did You Notice? … Just probation for Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? Did you really expect the sanctioning body to do anything more after their little post-race altercation at Phoenix? We already have the U.S. Army spread out in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere across the globe… there’s no need to dispatch an additional battalion to protect Brian France and Co. should they have made the bold, unprecedented move of suspending Earnhardt for aggressive driving — or taking away points that could possibly keep him from Chase-ing with the season he’s had.
Looking back at the past year, probation is the exact same penalty Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart got for their on-track altercation at Daytona last February, as well as what Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch received for their Bristol brouhaha. The new precedent has been set, ladies and gentlemen…the question now is whether more drivers not named Robby Gordon will take advantage of it, understanding that throwing a little temper tantrum now and then won’t put you in position to lose a title.
What’s my take on the whole thing? Thank God. It’s about time some sort of small-scale fireworks ensued on what’s been a dud of a 2009 Cup season to date. It’s just too bad it happened with two drivers who didn’t really have an impact on the final outcome of the race itself.
Did You Notice? … This whole ideal this week that since Mark Martin won, that made the bad racing OK? On message boards and fan sites all over the place, people are talking about how boring the racing was this weekend – yet Martin’s win is good enough to sweep all the bad blood under the rug.
To me, that’s a little hypocritical. Look, I appreciate the magnitude Mark Martin’s win – as I explained in Monday’s article – but you can’t call the sanctioning body out for single-file racing and then proclaim it’s all OK just because a classy driver won. If the racing sucked, it sucked… simple as that. Fans looking to effect permanent change can’t flip-flop based on which driver is in first place. Personally, I’m in the minority concerning the race at Phoenix, because I thought there was some pretty hefty competition between spots back in the pack. But if you disagree…claiming Martin’s win made the racing acceptable doesn’t make much sense to me.
Did You Notice? … The Daytona 500 is less of an indicator of season-long success than ever before? Heading into the second restrictor plate race of the year, no less than six of this year’s top 10 finishers in the Great American Race have yet to better their runs from February (and that’s not including winner Matt Kenseth, who’s tumbled to 12th in points after starting 2009 2-for-2 with Victory Lane). Desperate for the draft to salvage what’s left of their season, let’s take a look at each of these men who left their mojo down in Florida:
As I wrote about a few weeks back, Harvick’s poor start can be attributed in part to a history of poor performances on “cookie cutters” like Fontana and Texas. Fontana was actually Harvick’s first DNF in over two years – stopping short his quest to pass Herman Beam in that category – and the team really hasn’t seemed to get back on track since. What’s really appeared to hurt Harvick more than anything lately is his pitiful performance at the short tracks. In three starts in Bristol, Martinsville, and Phoenix this year the No. 29 has an almost-unthinkable average finish of 23.7 – without many extenuating circumstances other than a set of poor-handling race cars. That’s the epitome of shooting one’s self in the foot during what’s usually RCR’s strongest stretch of the year.
Instead, that disaster’s left the team just 16th in the Sprint Cup standings, 77 points behind Matt Kenseth for the final spot in the Chase. In the meantime, Harvick’s self-owned programs continue to excel, with Harvick finishing fifth in his No. 33 Chevy at Phoenix Friday night to score his third top 5 finish in just five Nationwide Series starts this year. He’s also seemed to find a possible home in announcing, critically praised for his role in the ARCA broadcast this Sunday. But if Talladega leads to a terrible disaster, you wonder if maybe, just maybe, DeLana should go run the shops for a month while Harvick focuses on the ride he’s paid to drive. Michael Waltrip can tell him a thing or two about the consequences of putting too much on your plate… and unlike Waltrip, Harvick actually runs the risk of getting fired on the Cup side if he fails.
In some ways, it’s deceiving for the ‘Dinger to make my list, since he’s run well enough to earn himself a contract extension through 2010. That RPM was willing to lock up the open-wheeler without enough sponsorship for a full season (yet) speaks volumes as to how they feel about his potential. But while I do think he’s always been the real deal, it’s notable the man’s had the extra incentive of fighting for a job for oh, about the last 12 months. Now that Allmendinger’s finally received the stability he seeks, the key is to keep the fire burning and not get too comfortable in an age where far too many are content to settle for 20th place. Finishes of 34th and 35th the past two weeks have made the Chase a long shot at best; now that the ‘Dinger’s shooting for wins and a top 20 points finish, will that be incentive enough to keep his development on track?
There’s no question Sadler’s looked the worst of these restrictor plate one-hit wonders. He’s been so invisible this year, sometimes I even forget the freaking guy’s on the race track. But for this one, it seems the biggest problem appears to be Mother Nature. If the rain had come just one lap earlier, it’d be Sadler, not Kenseth, as your 2009 Daytona 500 winner – and that loss appears to have taken the wind out of this Virginian’s sails.
Of course, let’s not forget this guy needed legal action to put him back behind the driver’s seat this year, too…and that’s bound to mess up team chemistry just a bit. Sadler and RPM look to me like a married couple who’ve gotten back together just because it’d be more of a pain to break up. But marriages of convenience in this sport tend to come with a ticking time bomb attached… and for Sadler, the clock is quickly running out.
Who would have guessed that Ragan’d be on this list? Armed with both a high-dollar sponsor and that always tenuous “driver about to have a breakout season” tag attached to his back, the Chase appeared to have already put together a golden throne for this man’s arrival. Hopefully, it won’t be that expensive to make a return, because there’s no way that’s going to happen at this point. You could count the number of laps Ragan’s led on your thumb, and at 30th in Sprint Cup points he’s already over 220 points out of the Chase. Thank God for Ragan both youth and exuberance are on his side, or Jack Roush would have actually had to stop and think for a minute about whether he should actually release Jamie McMurray after all.
And on a side note, you’ve got to feel just a little sorry for sponsor UPS. The year after they bolt from David Reutimann, Michael Waltrip Racing suddenly rises from the ashes and puts him in position to both win and make the Chase. In over eight seasons of sponsorship in NASCAR, the company has just eight wins – six of which occurred in its first two seasons – and has never had a driver finish higher than fifth in points in its car.
You better believe Waltrip was going to make this list! Since his surprising performance in the Great American Race, the driver/owner’s watched both Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose push forward while his own No. 55 is stuck in reverse. Despite arguably the best crew chief within the whole organization – (“Bootie” Barker), the most money (NAPA), and the most experience, he’s yet to even score another top 10 while plummeting to 25th in points.
One thing about Waltrip you should know, though, is that whole theory he’s only good at plate tracks is actually a bit of a myth. Yeah, his four career wins all came at Daytona and Talladega. But since 2002, Waltrip has just eight of his 42 top 10 finishes at those two tracks, and he actually has run more consistently at Michigan and a handful of other speedways.
Oh, well … according to Robby Gordon, Waltrip’s strengths and weaknesses won’t really matter by February 2010, anyways. Forget about the jayski; I’m getting all my Silly Season news from Gordon from now on …
Is it just me, or is it appropriate considering how poorly the No. 43 has run in recent years the worst of RPM’s four driver fleet is assigned to that car? In the past year and a half, Sorenson has come up with just three top 10 finishes…and two of them have occurred at restrictor plate tracks. How running well at four races gives you a ride for all 36 is beyond me…but at this point, that’s the only consistent success the Georgia driver has on his resume. For his sake, let’s hope full-season sponsorship for Allmendinger comes through…because you gotta believe he’s the one most likely to get canned if it doesn’t.
So there you have it, folks: Six drivers who started the Daytona 500 with a bang that have fizzled ever since. Combined, they’ve scored just two other top 10 finishes in 42 starts this season – but the crapshoot that is restrictor plate racing gives them a chance to contend three more times this year.
Looks like they better make the most of it …
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
“Personally, I’m in the minority concerning the race at Phoenix, because I thought there was some pretty hefty competition between spots back in the pack.” TBowles.
Yeah, I agree… but there was also one heckuva hammer and tong, knock-down, drag-out between Martin, Stewart, and Kurt Busch all race long! Ask any of them; they’ll tell you! There were passes amongst them… and none never got far enough away from the others to quit wondering, “Where is he now?”
I say, “disregard the people that need passes for the lead to have a good race!
I so appreciate your point how the perception of the race suddenly became good when “Sara Lee” (everbody likes Sara Lee) won the race. If the “quality of the racing” is a matter of the popularity of the winning driver, then we’ve abandoned racing and entered the popularity contest.
And the last time I checked, most popular wins the “Most congenial” while the winner of the race on the track is something far superior.
You think Robby Gordon sitting 35th in points is worried about a points deduction “putting him in position to lose a title.” Putting him out of the top 35 is more like it.
Michael Waltrip WAS good at plate tracks because DEI WAS good at plate tracks…he and Junior won something like seven out of eight at one point. At plate tracks it’s all about aero and has nothing to do with the driver.
Gordon82Wins, the driver is very important at Talladega. He has to manuver a car drifting all over the place, not just off the car beside him, but to the front of the pack without causing a mass pileup. He is not just within sight of the leader in second place, but right up under the bumper, with 41 other cars breathing down his neck. So I’d say for the record it takes one helluva driver to win at Dega. And oh by the way, I have watched at least 20 races at Talladega from the seats, not in front of the tube, and it is a lots closer looking in person than on TV.
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Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief
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