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.
Bowles-Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday July 6, 2009
Two restrictor plate races, two last lap finishes, and two frightening crashes. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly the last time out at both Daytona and Talladega, with battles for the win turned battles for survival in little more than the blink of an eye. The way these wrecks unfolded were eerily similar, the type of Twilight Zone moments that remind you just how easily history repeats itself.
Of course, there is one glaring exception made readily apparent only after the checkered flag flew — the way each “victim” chose to handle his fate.
It’s less than two laps to go at Talladega, and Carl Edwards is riding a freight train. Brad Keselowski had a run on the restart, sensed an opening, and is literally pushing the No. 99 car down the backstretch and surging through the turns. Coming through the tri-oval, the teamwork between the two men has them bumpdrafting at 5 miles an hour faster than Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in front of them. At the start/finish line, it’s Edwards out in front … the first green flag lap he’s led all day…
With time running out, it’s two laps to go at Daytona and Kyle Busch is desperately searching for an opening. He’s got his teammate Denny Hamlin in tow, and if the two work together Tony Stewart in front of them is little more than a sitting duck. Coming out of turn 4, both Hamlin and Busch do the expected, their momentum and drafting too much as they leave Stewart all alone on the inside line. Busch sneaks in front of the pack, with Hamlin ready and raring to follow him by … but his teammate is too busy fighting for the win to worry about a tag-along. Leaving too much room, it’s easy pickins’ for Stewart, who slides into second while Hamlin in the No. 11 gets hung out to dry. Still, Busch comes to the finish line a car length in front … the first green flag lap he’s led all day…
Sliding down the Talladega backstretch, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards know exactly what to do. The two remain hooked up, like glue, pulling so far away from Newman and Earnhardt they’re certain to settle the race amongst themselves. Going through Turns 3 and 4, Keselowski doesn’t try too hard to loosen up the leader in front of him – he’s ready and willing to use the draft a little closer to the start / finish line…
But on the Daytona backstretch, Kyle Busch is busy fighting for his life. He no longer has his teammate to back him, and it’s every man for himself as Stewart is trying every which way to get by. Getting up on Busch’s bumper entering turns 3 and 4, Stewart, a restrictor plate ace, knows how to get Busch loose – it just doesn’t work enough for him to get alongside initially. He has to hope the constant pressure will give him enough of a draft a little closer to the start / finish line…
Which is where the race at Talladega is reaching its thrilling climax. Keselowski knows now is the time to make his move, and with the checkered flag in sight, he dives to the bottom of the track — earning just enough momentum from the draft to pull about a foot alongside Edwards’ No. 99. Immediately, as a move of desperation, Cousin Carl dips his Ford down to block.
It’s too late…
Are the words muttered out of Tony Stewart’s mouth, as he heads through the Daytona tri-oval without the momentum needed to win. But just when a runner-up finish seemed a mere formality, Busch finally wiggled while trying to straighten his Toyota off the turn. Stewart’s pressure cooker finally sways the rear bumper of the No. 18, and Busch’s speed slows just enough for Stewart to get just a bit of his Burger King Chevy alongside. The crowd cheering, pit crews on their feet, Busch starts realizing his mistake while coming up to block the fast approaching No. 14.
It’s too late. Contact is made, the cars touch, and in the blink of an eye… he’s beginning to spin…
Spin is a word Carl Edwards only wished he could have used for those first few seconds going sideways at Talladega. The No. 99 is now flipping towards the grandstands, hitting the catchfence both airborne and at a 45 degree angle after the No. 39 of Ryan Newman plows in the back of him. The car bounces back onto the racetrack, a moving obstacle course at over 100 miles an hour that the rest of the field so desperately wants to avoid. In the end, it’s a miracle Edwards isn’t hit a second time as he spins to a stop, his chance for victory over as Keselowski takes the checkered flag…
Back at Daytona, Stewart finishes long before Kyle Busch’s car comes to a stop. His car turns sideways, slams the outside wall (driver’s side first) before going airborne and parking itself right smack on top of Kasey Kahne’s oncoming hood. The No. 9 smacks the No. 18 like a pinball flipper, pushing Busch’s green car in the air once more – the first of about half-a-dozen cars that make contact before the speed and smoke finally starts to stop. Yet despite more hits than some drivers experience in a full Sprint Cup season, Busch realizes within seconds that’s he not only alive… but unhurt.
From leaders to losers, both Busch and Edwards shared similar heartbreak, the victims of a type of racing as dangerous as the speed it intends to restrict. They’re crashes both will never forget – but, perhaps more importantly, in the aftermath of their tragedy averted came the behavior that would define a moment. For, as it’s often said, the difference between good and great is the way in which athletes handle adversity.
It is here that our story stops weaving together so nicely.
Back at Talladega, Carl Edwards refocuses … and in the midst of disappointment, the beauty of competitive spirit takes over. Edwards wonders if there’s any way he can complete the race, jumping out of his car and running full-bore towards the start/finish line in a move straight out of Talladega Nights. The crowd cheers, Edwards waves, and he heads back to the infield care center shaken but not stirred.
“We were just racing for the win,” he said, his anger focused correctly on the plates and not the victor himself. “Brad did everything right. He faked high, he went low … I didn’t think he was all the way in there and I tried to block and I got turned, but that’s racing at Talladega. NASCAR puts us in this box … we were just racing hard.”
Hard is a proper adjective to describe what Kyle Busch might think about his wreck … because he never let us know what he felt. Angry and disgusted, Busch left his Toyota failing to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd, sickeningly happy not for his health but that he was the one with the car smoldering in a million pieces. Walking slowly but steadily up pit road, the driver’s beef appeared to be directed not with his ill-timed block — but at the man who left him spinning sideways to take the trophy right out of his grasp. At the time, Stewart was already expressing remorse for the dangerous type of racing that left him as subdued as Kyle appeared to be sulking. But that didn’t change matters much for a man whose focus was on vengeance. Physically forced by a NASCAR official into the infield care center and out of Victory Lane, the confrontation between Kyle and Tony was best left to the imagination. However, the way in which Busch sped away from the hospital after getting released, refusing comment while speeding to his motor home … that still became an unpleasant reality.
I could draw my own conclusion from there; but on this one, I’ll leave it mostly up to you, considering a quote from none other than Edwards himself. Talking about the pressure of famous athletes, he said something to me this year that’s stuck in my head ever since.
“Now, all of us who grew up (hopefully) had the same lectures in sportsmanship, that you congratulate someone if they beat you,” he said. “Hopefully, that’s the same things our kids are learning now. But the fact is, you don’t know what happened behind the scenes [in conflicts between drivers] … it’s up to each individual how they want to do things.”
I’d buy that idea, 100 percent — until it’s worth noting what Cousin Carl was thinking following his race at Daytona. While several drivers counted their blessings, he had plenty more on his mind despite finishing fourth and coming out of that mess relatively unscathed.
“I was really concerned about Kyle,” he explained. “I saw the right side of his car lift off the ground, he hit the fence. Man, that’s a hard hit. I was real nervous for him.”
That made me wonder what Kyle said about Carl’s wreck back in April at Talladega. And then, I remembered … it was nothing at all. Jeff Burton made contact with the No. 18 that race, sending Kyle spinning and ruining his chance to take the win. Afterwards, he left the track without comment … just like Saturday night.
Turns out history may have repeated itself a little more than we thought.
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The only thing that is more annoying that Kyle is the writers who won’t shut up about him.
How can anyone ever pay to attend fiasco’s like this?
It is not racing, it is simply a demolition derby!
Folks! Stay away from NA$CRAP racing, only until it REALLY hurts King Brian in the pocket book will we EVER get back to real and exciting racing!
Not the demolition derbies that have now taken over Talladega & Daytona!
NA$CRAP is one sick organization!
I think the Officials did Kyle a huge solid. He may have escaped that wreck un-injured but I am pretty sure he would not have escaped Victory Lane the same way. As a Stooges fan I would have liked to have seen that.
Meanwhile , in Talladega , your story is way too wordy .
And why did you call it “One Busch-League Maneuver”?
That implies Busch did something wrong! And he in fact was just following the rules of “restrictor plate racing”!
A 13 car pile up early on! Did you cite any of those drivers for “Bush-league” style racing?
A 12 car pile-up at the finish? Happens all the time at restrictor plate races, it is the NORM! Why blame a single driver when we all know NA$CRAP is the TRUE RESPONSIBLE PARTY INVOLVED!
Lets call it like it is!
Wow, You’re sure getting a lot of flack for this post! I, for one, agree with you 100%. Love it or hate it, we’re stuck with plate racing. But how many times have I seen PeeWee Herman (sorry: Kyle Busch) get into the lead and proceed to zigzag all over the track to block each and every competitor that gets a run on him – both at Talladega and Daytona. While Tony was just as guilty last year, forcing Regan Smith below the line (I wonder if Tony’s comments would have been similar if Regan had stood his ground and let Tony hit him) I’m actually glad he held his ground and let PeeWee get the worst of his own ambition (and I’m NOT a Tony Stewart fan!). It serves him right. The only sad part is how many other cars/drivers he took out with his stupid blocking move. Frankly, I am quite surprised that more writers aren’t as critical as you are of the stupid snot-nosed little crybaby. And I’m also surprised that more drivers aren’t getting fed up with the little punk either. You hit the nail on the head today – keep up the good work.
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Vile Kyle deserves exactly what he got, a disappointing finish and a wrecked race car. His attitude and child-like state of mind and attitude is going to get him or someone else hurt on track and again he will leave the track without any comment.
Wasn’t CNBC the group that constantly told us to keep investing in a stock market that was failing ? And aren’t they the network that completely missed the signs that the financial colapse was coming ? I’ll bet they they really got a great insight into Nascar .
Wow, Doug .. you seem a bit unhappy. Calm down and try reading it again. You don’t suppose that maybe, just maybe, the “Busch-League Maneuver” refers to Busch’s post-race temper tantrum rather than the on-track action? Just saying ..
Other than the mystery caution at the end and the disappointment of seeing my favorite drivers lose good finishes due to getting caught up in other peoples’ wrecks, it was a great race.
And I don’t bow to the politically correct – I for one will flat out admit I enjoy seeing the wrecks as well as the racing – especially when it’s Kyle Busch getting a taste of his own medicine.
OK one minute you guys are complaining about boredom and empty grandstands, then you all become safety-crats. T-Dega and Daytona are products of high speeds, with or without the plates they will fly, period. Those type endings are the best things for the sport and if Cousin Carl is scared, let him go home to MO.
I don’t think that some huge, mind controlling monster named ‘Plate Racing’ got inside Busch’s head and said ‘Turn right into Tony Stewart even though he’s at your quarter panel’. Busch could have held his line and there would have been a drag race to the start/finish line and everyone would have been talking about what a great race it was. Busch’s decision is why he crashed himself and others.
Time for Na$crap to get there heads out of their a**, the ‘writing has been on the wall’ the last 2 plate races. START ENFORCING A BLOCKING RULE. Block once OK, block twice AUTOMATIC Black Flag to rear of field. NO EXCEPTIONS, PERIOD. NO matter who the freaking driver is. Some driver IS going to get killed again, or a car WILL be sailing into the stands in the near future, if the statue quo is allowed to continue. WTF do you think the reason why Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed? BLOCKING! Notice how Denny Hamlin was allowed to pas by going BELOW the yellow line? WAKE UP Na$crap!.
Some of you seem to forget the best blocker of them all. Dale e. Blocking has been going on for a long time and will continue untill there is a rule against it.
very good article and your point about how people handle adversity differently is well made. I’m guessing that no one every gave “the irritator” Kyle B, the lecture that Edwards spoke about. If they did, it didn’t take. Everyone talks about his talent, but talent without grace just makes him a goon. actually I’d have liked to see what would have happened if he’d confronted Tony. Tony and Edwards were both concerned, Busch was just what you said, completely and utterly bush-league. He may take home a lot of trophies, but he’s a loser.
For all the articles I’ve read regarding this incident, it gets tiring placing the blame on “plate racing” as opposed to focusing the blame on the driver making the bad decision. Granted, plate racing puts you 3 inches from the car next to you and 1 inch (or less) than the car infront but the fact remains, if we’re at Chicagoland and two guys are racing (and this can be on any lap, not just the last) if the driver in the back pulls out and the car moves forward (so that the spotter now has to say “he’s at your wheel”) the decision of the driver in the front car should be – hold your line. Now, at 190 mph, there is no time for the spotter to say “he’s at your wheel” so when the car disappears from your rearview mirror – guess what you do – that’s right – HOLD YOUR LINE! Its not Smoke’s fault, its not the plates fault, and whether you are going 190 – 90 – or 9 mph, you will be turned.
I thought Nascar had said going below the yellow line was settled and if you did it and advanced your position you would be penalized. Well folks, did you notice Hamlin passing below the yellow line and no penalty? Even the announcers were waiting for a call from Nascar that never came. Pretty hard to expect the teams to follow rules when Nascar doesn’t even follow their own rules.
I wish we could strap you into a car and fire it into a wall at about 180mph, then record your reactions, mood and feelings afterwards. I suspect you might want to just leave quietly and go lie down. What kind of useless drivel is a discussion about “sportsmanship” when the REAL question is how long Nascar is going to encourage this crap, or maybe another way to say it is how many people will need to get killed before we do away with this contemporary version of a Roman circus. Theres a lot that could be done to keep these events competitive without the plate…just takes the will to do it. Maybe adopt the open wheel rule of “one block and thats it”. Oh well, another bullet dodged, for now.
Here we go again, everything about what a competitor does off the track and not on the track. If you don`t like the way Kyle Busch drives on the track that is fine.
I am from the old school of Vince Lombardi where his view of competitors was “Show Me A Good Loser, and I will show you A Loser” and his famous quote of “Winning isn`t Everything, It´s The Only Thing”. Vince Lombardi would love the competitive spirt of Kyle Busch.
Wow…you would think that this had never happened before. And by the way someone has been killed.
I’ve heard people mention since Saturday night that restricter plate races are gonna get someone killed if NASCAR doesn’t do something. Well, when drivers strap into their vehicle before the race, they’ve signed that dotted line that consents to that they know anything, and everything could happen, including death. Drivers making dumb moves kill drivers, not restrictor plates or placements of double-yellow lines. If we really add more rules, we only take away from the racing. Should Kyles final block be looked at any differently? I think some consideration maybe needs to be looked at, when someone deliberately blocks the way he did. (I’m sure could be warning under some 1a-3b-cz1 law of conduct un-becoming of a driver – LOL!). Kyle is a awesome driver, I would say one of the best in our times right now – he’s a loose canon, but how exciting would NASCAR be right this minute if there was no Kyle Busch? Exactly. He got his punishment about .05 seconds after he made that last block on Tony Steward Saturday night. Unfortunately a lot of other teams took the fall with him. This kid is smart, and he knows very well that at speeds well over 180 mph, putting your rear fender on the left front of another car, is 9.9 times out of 10 going not play in your favor. I think he may have won that race without doing so, but that is never to be known. He could have been delirious from all the heat that day – he had to be on IV after the Grand Am race. He could have been thinking “If I ain’t gonna win, then Tony isn’t either, and gonna take a whole lot of other people with me. It will be a specatacle! Whether I win or lose, I will be remembered! [right-turn-block]…oops!!”. Hopefully it will be a learning experience for him and other drivers. For as much as I care, get rid of that double yellow line and let them race like the old days. This sport (which I love dearly)needs all the excitement it can to keep viewership and sponsors, and I would prefer that the excitement and monday morning rants (like this) isn’t coming just from Kyle Busch’s antic’s.
I see alot of good comments from everyone but let’s not give credit when its least deserved. To Don Mei – you are absolutely right about getting hit at 180 mph (the wall) – and then again at about 130 mph (Kahne) and then a 3rd time while sitting there (Logano – that was probably at about 110) and that’s why the ambulance comes to you – don’t go looking to “discuss the matter” in victory circle. For PatrickD – I would hope that someone earning millions of dollars to drive a race car wouldn’t have the mentality of “if I don’t win then neither do you – or you – or you”. He made a bad decision. He saw the car behind him move to the right in the mirror and he thought “ohh, no you don’t” and turned his steering wheel to the right. That’s as simple as it gets. Problem here is that same mentality was around 2-3 years ago when he was racing a Busch series event. His tires were soooo bad, the camera just stayed on him as he hit the wall and every other car inbetween, lap after lap because he refused to back down – and he wasn’t even close to being in the hunt for the win. Again, bad decision. There’s a fine line between being a tough competitor, and just being foolish. Perhaps if they made him pay for all the damaged cars, the thought-process and decision-making would see improvement. I could also throw in the “let’s dump Johnny Benson while going for second place” in the truck series but this post is getting too long…
I can’t help but wonder….
What if it had been Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the lead, blocking, and got spun? (Of course, he was wrecked on lap 77 while running as, and with, the back markers)
Every columnist, and Earnhardt fan, would be accusing Stewart of dirty driving.
As far as I can tell, the last lap wreck happened between the only two drivers who seem to have that fire in their bellies. Had the siutation been the other way around, Tony would probably have left the track without comment.
Face it boys, Kyle Busch has wrecked fewer people in four years than Earnhardt Sr. wrecked in his first year. BTW, Earnhardt Sr., unlike his son, had that fire in his belly as well.
As far as anything that might have happened in victory circle, I’m sure
Sorry, but your Vince Lombardi quotes just don’t excuse a competitor acting like a spoiled brat. You’re right, no one likes to lose, but that’s the reason we teach our children sportsmanship. You can hate to lose, but still be gracious about it. It’s called character. And I’m not so sure Vince Lombardi would, in fact, be a Kyle Busch fan. He may have liked winners, but I doubt he had much use for prima-donnas.
Hey everyone, if you’re still fired up about the finish to the Coke Zero 400, stop by the forums and meet other fans who have been discussing the race since Saturday night. Come register and join in the fun. We’ve also got games and other non-NASCAR chatter so everyone can find a place to call their online NASCAR home.
Again, if it had been Jr. instead of Kyle, what would people be saying?
And how come nobody is saying anything about Jimmie pushing Tony into Kyle?
And if Kyle’s car is starting to turn on him isn’t he supposed to try to get it straight or just let it go into the wall?
C’mon, Kyle haters!
Tom, you are WAY more bush-league than Kyle Busch could ever be. You were probably one of the ones cheering his wreck, not giving a rat’s arse if he was alive or dead. What the F does he owe you? The best thing he could do was to stay silent – better that than have to apologize for comments made in the heat of anger, frustration, and near-disaster. You seem to have completely forgotten another Daytona race where Mr. godalmighty Earnhardt threw an ill-timed block and ended up dead. Did you call that busch-league? I doubt it. You are a freakin hypocrite.
Mr. Bowles, how about you try this? Get into your car and go out onto the freeway, acccelerate up to 180 mph and get slammed into a retaining wall a minimum of three times. See how much you feel like having a nice “chat” about your experience. Kyle was smart to say nothing. In fact, with all the people in the media who hate him as much as you yahoos at frontstretch do, I would advise Kyle to refuse to speak to the media, win or lose. Nothing he ever says will please the haters. If anyone is childish, it is the fans and media who cheered when he wrecked and say “he had it coming.” I guess Dale, Sr. had it coming, too.
A long time ago and far, far away, Bill Elliott was voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver about a hundred years in a row – even though the media hated him. Why did they hate him? Not for anything he did on track, but because he frequently refused to give interviews, if he was too angry and figured he would be better off saying nothing than saying something he would have to retract later. Did his fans care? Nope, the more the media hated, the more the fans stuffed the ballot box for him – even through a seven-year losing streak. So be careful, Mr. Bowels, you may be creating “unintended consequences” when you and Matt M. bash Kyle every week. Fans have long memories.
Yep those Busch boys are class acts all right. it was only a few years back that Pee Wee’s big bro was schooled in manners by Jimmy Spencer. Spence popped big Busch in the pie hole and got fined by NA$CAR,a fine that several drivers had the balls to say that they would gladly pay. Any how my point is that maybe it is time someone teach baby Busch some manners using the J.Spencer school of manners technique.
Yeah, punching somebody in the mouth is REAL mature, “Bob.” You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to use Jimmy Spencer’s boorish behavior as a role model. And does Mr. Bowles remember how his hero, Carl, went into a roid rage and tried to strangle Kevin Harvick last year? Another great example of sportsmanship and maturity. NOT!
Carl Edwards the paragon of maturity? The guy who showed up un-invited to victory lane for words with Dale Jr. when he was unhappy with a finish? The two are on similar levels in the sportsmanship category; the difference is that Carl puts on a happy face for the camera.
I’ve got more respect for Kyle. Nobody can accuse him of being full of it.
Jimmy Spencer? Yep, it takes a really tough guy to pop someone while they’re still sitting in their car. Spencer didn’t have enough guts to face Kurt out of his car.
A coward punches a guy while he’s still sitting in his car.
Bob is correct in that Pee Wee needs to be taught some manners. And also my little sister could knock the s**t out of a pussy like Kurt Busch. And Rachel you should talk about maturity- Go out on the highway and crank it up to 180- really with thoughts like that you make Bob seem like the genius that he probably is. Get a grip baby!
Wow, lots of hate (again) for shrub. some need to re watch the finish a few times. Yes it was plate racing, but the 14 did pick the back of the 18 off the ground. You seem to come to the automatic conclusion that 18 then in turn on it’s(or his) own free will went up the track to block. many of you are also automatically assume that there would have been fight. Who knows, Tony wasn’t up set. In Kyle’s statement he said “he points no fingers at Tony”. Some also seem to forget that Tony drove for Gibbs and still holds the whole group in high regard, that includes Shrub. Face it with out shrub, this year all we would hear about is “what’s wrong with Jr.” which after a few thousand articals, gets really old and boring.
Can someone please explain to me how the 14 picked the back of the 18 off the ground? The new car centers the nose for all makes and these guys have been literally pushing each other around Daytona and Dega for the last two years. Was Smoke bumping him “off center” to loosen him? Yes! Did Smoke cause the wreck? No! If the 14 would have still been on the 18’s bumper when he made the move to the right, he would have punted the 18 into the infield. The 18 should have held his line and let the fastest car at that point win the race. For all we know, Jimmy would have went with Stewart, Hamlin would have closed up behind Kyle and everyone would have pushed to the finish – and we wouldn’t be having this discussion… and the guys in the fab shop would be alot happier right now.
Does “Bob” understand the meaning of the word “analogy?” Clearly this is way the heck over his little head. Rachel was just trying to get Mr. Bowels to imagine what it feels like to be violently wrecked three times in less than 20 seconds. And wondering how Mr. Bowels would feel about talking to the media after that experience.
Before “Bob” talks about maturity, he should at least be grown up enough himself to understand the basics of the English language.
even though big e was the best blocker i don’t remember him taking off your front end every week
Nigel, what I remember best about Dale Sr. was that he didn’t bother with the concept of “passing.” No, he just used the old bump and run to push people out of his way. Of course, since he has achieved sainthood, I guess we are not allowed to mention that about him any more. And would the best blocker of all time block himself right into the wall and kill himself in the process?
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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