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 September 14, 2009
Kyle Busch’s No. 18 pulled into the pits Saturday night… and everyone from fans to first aid held their collective breath. It was five minutes after the checkered flag at Richmond, the last laps of a regular season that ended without his name in lights as a Chase contender. In the end, the difference between in and out could be counted on less then ten fingers; it was the equivalent of two positions on the race track, or one slipup by Brian Vickers as he came to the line ahead of both Sam Hornish, Jr. and Kevin Harvick by a less than half a second. Busch was fifth, but Vickers was seventh, the smallest of margins to get Team Red Bull over the largest hump.
For Busch to come that close only to come up short by eight, no one could fathom the disappointment of a man who entered this race last year leading the points. A worst-case scenario like this one would usually end up with someone (or some car) getting shoved out of the way, Busch whining while on a “no comment” sprint to the hauler, or a combination of the above. Everyone in attendance held their breath and expected the worst from a driver living his life embracing the role as NASCAR’s Bad Boy.
Instead, Busch faced the music, and to his credit, gave perhaps the most eloquent and professional interview of his career – one in which he admitted consistency was the ultimate culprit in leaving him on the outside looking in.
“It’s a conglomerate of points that we sacrificed all year,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the whole M&M’s organization. We picked up at some tracks that we needed to and we faltered at some tracks that we thought we were good at.”
Nowhere was that roller coaster more blatant than after each one of Busch’s four wins, in which he piled up finishes of 18th, 24th, 34th, and 13th. The last time he put together back-to-back top 10s at California and Las Vegas, Michael Jackson was still planning his comeback tour and Brett Favre had just recently retired.
But while the Nationwide Series has been a distraction and the CoT’s handling hasn’t always been to Busch’s liking (“I’ve been struggling a little bit this year with these cars for some reason,” he admitted) a reputation as the most aggressive driver on the Sprint Cup circuit just can’t be overlooked. You’re forced to wonder that as the crowd emptied out and reality sunk in, if the “What ifs” in his mind overshadowed the “What must be” …
Every driver has a long list of examples they look back on when a season fails to meet expectations; but when four wins are only good enough for 13th-best, it’s enough to cost you more than a little sleep at night. Through Richmond, only Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson have led more laps than Kyle’s 916, and only Johnson and Mark Martin have more bonus points than his 100. There’s the old philosophy, “To finish first … you must first finish,” but after leading so much and so often, shouldn’t that just be enough to get by?
Over on the other side of the garage, Juan Pablo Montoya was looking as doofy as Busch was disappointed. One of those guys that should just never wear a hat, he was donning a Chase for the Sprint Cup cap for the first time in his career after two years of roughed up race cars that never seemed to translate into real results. Yet the man once known for using his bumper more than his brain now looked awkward while acknowledging the real reason for his sudden surge in stock car racing: playing it safe.
“It’s weird,” he said as an immediate reaction to a 19th-place finish on a night where a “C+” was plenty good enough for his first playoff berth. “We work all year for this and [tonight] we ran pretty conservative … but we did what we had do to get in. I should be really pumped up and excited; [but] right now I’m just thinking about [the fact] we need to run better every week.”
It was a strange changing of the guard this year, Montoya taking the mantra of Chase contender while Kyle was fully stealing his superlative of “most aggressive.” Yet a quick look at the stats shows Busch still beats Montoya in the categories that should count the most: Wins (4 to 0), Top 5s (7 to 2), races led (14 to 6). In fact, if you take the Brickyard 400 out of the equation, Montoya’s led just 48 laps all year … an average of a little less than two per race. It’s not exactly the type of dominating performance that won him a title in Champ Car and made him the international superstar capable of running competitively in Formula One.
But where Busch fell apart, Montoya made an extra effort to succeed this year. He found that mixing it up with the sport’s top contenders wasn’t as successful as sitting back, playing the game, and scoring a 10th place finish instead of nearly wrecking while battling for 9th. “Points racing,” he called it, to the chagrin of fans used to him mixing it up but forced to watch him mesh seamlessly with his peers — an overriding trend of conservatism in a sport preaching better safe than sorry.
“I think I learned that actually in Formula 1, that you have to be aggressive when you have to be aggressive and you have to be smart when you’ve got to be smart,” he explained. “When it’s restart and it’s time to go, you have to go and when it’s time to save the car, you have to save the car. Saving the car and the brakes and the tires [ in NASCAR races]… I’m not used to that. I was like flat [out] all the time and here, you have to look… a lot of people are giving you advice, don’t use the car so hard; try to go as fast as you can without abusing the car. It’s really weird.”
About as weird as Busch finishing his comments without a hint of anger or bitterness at missing out on the playoffs despite four men – Montoya, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Ryan Newman – scoring a goose egg in a Victory Lane Busch has visited more than any other since the start of February last year. Yet after being in the spotlight for much of the past two years, he sounded more than willing to step aside for someone else.
“All of the focus is going on the No. 11,” he said. “I’ll do my best to help Denny [Hamlin] out and bring Joe Gibbs Racing a championship; and hopefully, I can do my part on the racetrack as well as on just giving the best advice from my car and helping those guys.”
When those words were spoken, you couldn’t help but think of the man Busch is often compared to but can never quite replace: Dale Earnhardt. For four plus years, Earnhardt had a teammate … and for every single one of those days, he never budged from the theory of every man for himself.
But this is a different time and a different type of competition, and a driver who may win a championship in the Nationwide Series the way men used to race has already learned his lesson on how that won’t work in Sprint Cup.
“You can look at a whole different scenario or a whole different slew of things,” he claimed. “But what it boils down to is we missed.”
Now, the question is if he’s already figured out why; and with Montoya setting a shining example of a way to beat the system, you wonder if this day could prove the beginning of a different type of Kyle Busch in Cup.
Let’s just hope that’s not the case. For when NASCAR’s lone loose cannon stops resisting the surge towards plain ol’ vanilla, that’s the only flavor we’re going to have left.
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Quote: “What if Busch had backed it off a bit at Darlington, satisfied with a top 5 finish instead of”
Quote: What if Busch hadn’t blocked Tony Stewart coming off turn 4 at Daytona, stomaching a second-place finish instead of flipping across the line in 14th?
Quote: “Busch still beats Montoya in the categories that should count the most: Wins (4 to 0), Top 5s (7 to 2), races led (14 to 6). In fact, if you take the Brickyard 400 out of the equation, Montoya’s led just 48 laps all year … an average of a little less than two per race.”
Enough said about the sad state of “POINTS RACING as exhibited in the NA$CRAP scheme of things?
You mean to tell me that a driver WITH FOUR (4) WINS, COUNT-EM, FOUR (4) WINS CANNOT WIN THE CHUMPIONSHIP, BUT A DRIVER WITH ZERO WINS CAN?
SIMPLY! How can ANY fan of motorsports thinks this is “REAL RACING”?
In 2003, Matt Kenseth won only once all year but managed to clinch the title before the final race of the season. NASCAR officials adopted the Chase system the following year. Consistence won that champsionship.
What young Mr. Busch needs to learn is that if he wants titles then he’s going to have to learn to drive for points. If he wants wins, then he’s doing a find job just the way he is.
Maybe he needs to stop racing on Saturday and give the Nationwide guys a chance to earn a living. If Nascar wants to do something that will make a difference, they’ll make the Sprint drivers ineligible for Nationwide points.
2003 was also the final year of Winston Cup sponsorship.
I think Kyle not making the chase has the potential to make the last 10 races more interesting. He has nothing to lose by going for a win every week and experimenting with new ideas. He won’t mind mixing it up with a chaser while the chasers would be scared to take a risk against him.
LOL. With the pressure off, Kyle wins the next 10 races.
You’re always bad-mouthing Kyle for running in the Nationwide series. Yet, I never hear you say the same thing about Carl Edwards. And he already has a Nationwide Series championship. Why the double standard?
Couldn’t have happened to a bigger chump…
You know I am not a Kyle Busch fan at all, in fact I am a Dale Jr. fan. But after saturday nights race I will have to say I was very impressed with Kyle Busch and his interview. In fact I was a little annoyed with the guy asking questions because Kyle responded to the chase issue very well and the guy just kept asking the same basic question, almost as though trying to prod him. Good job Kyle very solid interview, keep it up and fans will warm up.
Douglas: Your comment is right on!
Wow—did I just say that? What’s happening?
a “playoff” like every other sport…but i’ve never seen any team EVER make the “playoffs” without winning during the regular season
Racing is different than other sports. No Keith no football or baseball team is going to make the playoffs without winning games but they play one other team at a time, not 42. That is the big difference. Lets compare this in an apples to apples method. You think Busch should be in because of 4 wins. Even though other drivers got more consistant good finishes.(Which is like a win in other sports.) Then with that mentality a football team that wins 4 games but does it impressively like winning 42 to 0 should make the playoffs over a less spectacular looking team who wins 10 games but by only a small margin. Wins and losses are different in other sport. One opponent is easier to beat that 42. You want spectacular feets go watch extreme sports. I like the consistant being rewarded. As for Kyle Busch, the only way I could be happier about him missing the chase is if Mat Kenseth had made it instead of Vicars.
We all know what would be said and done if Jr. were in Kyle’s place after Richmond.
And you KNOW it’s the truth. Changes have been made in the past for lesser reasons.
The same year Kenseth won the championship with 1 win, Ryan Newman had either 6 or 8 wins, I forget – he came in SIXTH in the points. So it’s ALWAYS been more about consistency than wins. People just forget that. At least now, if they wanted to they could add a wild card for the winner of the most races not in the Chase, or they could make wins worth more points to make sure winners have a better shot getting in, whereas with the old system, neither tweak was either available or very effective.
I hope we don’t see a mild mannered Kyle Busch. The chase has taken trying to win out of the equation. This sport desperately needs drivers to wear the “black hat” and the current system discourages it. Even Tony Stewart seems to have “mellowed”. I hope Kyle doesn’t “mellow” too much. Beings Burton didn’t make the chase, I’ll have to root for my second favorite driver. Brian Vickers.
Hey Joe W. first, before I get started, I will profusley apologize to you in advance for what I am about to say!
ARE YOU FRIGGIN NUTS?
Quote: “No Keith no football or baseball team is going to make the playoffs without winning games but they play one other team at a time, not 42.”
Quote: “You think Busch should be in because of 4 wins. Even though other drivers got more consistant good finishes.(Which is like a win in other sports.)”
Quote: “ You want spectacular feets go watch extreme sports. I like the consistant being rewarded.”
HOLY SH*T! You really believe that?
You pay GOOD MONEY, and LOTS OF IT, to watch a few drivers just circle around gathering up points?
Candidly, how many races DID YOU ACTUALLY ATTEND?
And you say WINNING is not the least bit important IN A SPORTING EVENT?
You must be the ultimate DETROIT LIONS fan!
Now that’s CONSISTENT!
I’ll even bet you have season tickets to the LIONS! Your DREAM TEAM!
What better way to describe “consistency”?
THE DETROIT LIONS! Joe’s most favorite sports team!
And your “Racing is different than other sports.” is right on!
ALL the other sports crown a TRUE CHAMPION, a CHAMPION BASED on WINNING!
Not like NA$CRAP where a casual Sunday afternoon drive gets you into the payoffs!
Hey Tom Bowles, re: your poll question for today!
How much do you want to bet that if the driver mentioned not making the chase was a certain Dale Jr., the poll would reflect a whopping 99% saying yes the points system needs changed?
And 1% would say “no, he just was not good enough”?
hey jaymatt, big thanks!
But it’s just common sense! Right?
Douglas, you once again prove how incredibly ignorant you are!!!! Nascar championships have always been about consistancy. Being consistanly GOOD!! You really tick me off with your crap. I have tried to stay civil but you have now crossed the line. How many times has the driver with the most wins not won the cup. Lots of times. Do you know why? Because his other finishes were not as good as the person who did win it. So let me get this right. You just want the person with the most wins to get the championship, even if his other finishes suck? I have attended races at Bristol, Martinsville, Michigan and Daytona smart guy. You want to insult someone? Well bring it on big guy. I never run from a fight. Oh and by the way I am not a Lions fan. I like the Titans and Cowboys. Go ahead and insult them too. That seems to be all you are good at. Once again I will ask you, if Nascar sucks so bad why don’t you just GO AWAY!!!!!!!? Oh one more thing. I never said winning was not important but was trying to show how other sports differ. You really need a life dude. Is it all that bad where you are? Nothing but gloom and doom. You are a very sad person.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HOMOGINIZED RACING??? WHERE 31 CARS ARE EXPECTED TO TIPTOE AROUND THE 12 CHASERS. HERE’S TO CHASERS GETTING TAKEN OUT IN WRECKS JUST SO I CAN HEAR THEM WHINE ABOUT THE NON CHASERS RACING TOO HARD AROUND THEM. MAN, BUT AIN’T THIS RACING???
Just know one thing, folks: Kyle Busch will be winning races and championships long after Tom Bowels is rotting in his coffin in the bowels of the earth.
And yes, NASCRAP has always valued consistent mediocrity over excellence. There is no other sport where a non-winner can be a champion.
Consistency is crap, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “the hobgoblin of little minds.” There are no smaller minds than those who write about NASCAR for Frontstretch.
So the snot nosed, booger eating punk from Las Vegas didn’t make the chase, big deal.
Wins are not everything.They are worth extra points, granted, which they get. But where, tell me, do all the teams in any sport, except racing, all participate in one venue, all at the same time. A football field or a basketball court wouldn’t even begin to hold everybody. Thus, consistency is very important.
Douglas, Personally, I was hoping Favre would go to the Lions. There could be plusses for both sides of this; morale, energy, and money just being a few of them. Marybeth
And are you Kyle-bashers ready for some racing? Well, tighten those belts, you wimpy little Chasers, Kyle is unleashed and without worrying about points, here’s hoping he takes out all 12 of you in each of the next ten races. And start with JJ who took a dive to let little Brian into the Chase.
And Marybeth, how many Super Bowls have you won?
All the tweaking they’ve done to the Chase hasn’t done squat to “reward wins” like they claimed it would. In fact, only the first chase in 2004 did all Chase participants have a race win before the chase started. In 2005, Rusty Wallace made the chase and went winless all year. In 2006, it was Mark Martin. In 2007, Clint Bowyer went winless the first 26 races- but then promptly went and won the first Chase race at New Hampshire. In 2008, 4 drivers qualified for the chase without a win (Kenseth, Stewart, Gordon, and Harvick) and only Stewart would go on to “win” at Talladega via an official call. This year it’s Edwards, Newman, Montoya, and Biffle. It’s not the first time a multiple-race winner has missed the chase either. Jeff Gordon missed with 3 wins in 2005 (and won another during the final 10 to make it 4), 2006 it was Tony Stewart (2 pre-chase wins, missed, won one more).
So it’s nothing new.
If you want “wins” to count, you might as well just run head-to-head elimination races all year. Like drag racing. But reality is, in any motorsport where it’s more than 1 against 1 there’s the possibility of winning the championship without winning a single race. It’s never happened in Cup Series, but the possibility was always there. Chase or no chase.
You want to look at a screwed up ranking system, look at the BCS.
Hey Joe W., thanks for the challenge!
But let me get something straight? PLEASE?
You said “Even though other drivers got more consistant good finishes.(Which is like a win in other sports.)”
Now you say wins are important!
I am confused my friend, thoroughly confused!
So, what is it! A “good finish” is “just as good as a win”?
Or is a win a win?
Or is a 5th place finish a WIN?
oh, wait, I always thought the one that BEATS EVERYONE ELSE is a WINNER!
BUT! Aparently in the world of NA$CRAP, an 8th place finish can be considered a WIN?
Oh Joe, your killin me!
And for Rachel, your “The Detroit Lions are consistent – they have now lost 18 in a row over three seasons, so they should be given an automatic playoff berth in the NFL.”
Only in Joe’s world me thinks! Nice observation by the way!
Lets see the crawfish get out of this one!
Bring it on Joe!
And may I remind you I did apologize in advance! But, I guess you have no sense of humor! Darn!
Brian Farce was counting on you!
Please Douglas, whoever you are, please go away. You are the most negative person I have ever seen when it comes to NASCAR. If you don’t like it, then please take your B.S. to another sport and start bashing it. Frankly, I think NASCAR this year has been great. Interesting, good racing for the most part, and some new faces in the chase. I agree with one of the people that commented above. You must be a miserable person with no life.
A couple of things …
- I certainly don’t agree with everything Douglas said, but his comment about Dale Jr. in the poll made me laugh… and I thought it was spot on.
- Getting a lot of email about how I’m being mean to Kyle. Just to clarify, this column was about how I hope Kyle DOESN’T get less aggressive next year like Juan Pablo Montoya in order to make the Chase. That was the central theme … if anything, I was attempting to PRAISE Kyle’s aggression and how his personal style can be good for the sport at certain times. My head’s scratching a bit on that one …
Also, gotta put my editor’s hat on and remind people to keep the personal bashing to a minimum. We like to keep it nice and loose here, but I see wayyyy too many attacks in this thread. Keep it civilized, please …
Thanks all for reading and commenting.
The one thing they should have shown after Kyle’s interview was Daddy Gibbs holding the Sippee Cup with the Kool-Aid. They’re gonna tame him, you just know it.
Hey Tracy! FYI! I am not miserable, I am a happy retired guy that just happens to know good racing when I see it. I just want to see real racing once again.
And obviously I love being the “voice of reason” (is that a crass statement?). Oh well.
Second rate racing, and a second rate points system, and a second rate race car just isn’t cutting it with me, and many others. Please look at the stands at each of this years races!
We stand united in our concern over the current state of “stock car racing”!
Notice I said “stand united”, cause we sure aren’t “sitting united” in the grandstands!
To each his own, and for every viewpoint, there is another viewpoint! Mine just happens to be more pointed!
This, I love!
And for our dear Managing Editor, I will try my best to be civil in my attempts at “righting the ship” as far a Stock Car Racing goes!
Well Mr. Smarty Douglas. I think anyone who thinks they will win every race is STUPID.(Kyle Busch). You try to win them all but being realistic you know you can’t. So you try to get the best possible finish. Now answer me this Mr. Racing, Do you see any other sport where you compete with 42 other teams every week? NO!!! you don’t. There are 32 teams in the NFL, that means there will be 16 winners every week. In Nascar Cup races there are 43 teams and only one winner every week. Sometimes that winner lucks into it with rain shortened events and the like. So you must look at good finishes like top 5s and top 10s as a win when compared to other sports. This is not rocket science. It is simple math. Oh and I do have a sense of humor when something is actually funny. Who rights your stuff anyway, Kanye West?
Douglas, you got me thinking about humor and racing. I guess you must be a HUGE fan of Ricky Bobby, right? If your not 1st your last. Right? The words of a drunk stoner(Ricky’s father) in a Will Ferrell movie. Oh well Shake and Bake!!
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