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 October 12, 2009
Race procedure is the manner in which an event is conducted. It includes… flagging … In addition to interpreting and applying these rules, NASCAR Officials are authorized to make such other determinations or take such other action as they determine to be necessary to promote the best interests of stock car racing, including but not limited to fairness and prompt finality of competition results. Section 9-1, NASCAR Rule Book
Flipping through the rulebook, that’s about as specific a section you’ll get on what can cause a caution flag in this sport. Like all officiating in any form of race, dictating track conditions is tricky business — especially when a change to the final outcome is at stake. Any caution flag not thrown for a wreck which blocks the racetrack or a raging downpour can lead to serious criticism.
Especially when it’s thrown in the final 15 laps of a playoff race. Such a caution was the talk of the town Sunday, whether drivers and crew preferred to talk about it on the record or not. Let’s start with some facts:
Fact: There was a noticeable black piece of debris on the backstretch, which looked like a chunk of rubber. It was certainly more than a water bottle, and easily seen by the naked eye.
Fact: It was reported by several drivers before the yellow flag was thrown.
Fact: The caution was the eighth such flag of the day. Four of them were for debris, tied for the second-most this season (only Dover had more) at a track known for follow-the-leader, parade-style racing during long green-flag runs.
Fact: It’s the second race in the four-race playoff there was a caution inside the last 25 laps for debris. In both situations, the leader had a seemingly insurmountable lead that wouldn’t have been overcome without a mechanical problem or some sort of freak incident on the track.
Everything else beyond that is pure speculation and opinion as to whether NASCAR should have thrown the yellow. But there’s a strong argument bunching up the field was in the sport’s best interest in a snooze-inducing race, one where Jimmie Johnson was putting a whoopin’ on the competition and hitting cruise control en route to taking over the point lead unchallenged.
As you might expect, that chunk of rubber caused comfort to turn to concern, as the No. 48 wound up under attack by a handful of challengers right on his bumper for a double-file restart. With the supercharged playoff atmosphere, everyone fought for everything they could get after the field restarted with just 12 laps to go. That led to aggression the likes of which we hadn’t seen in the first 450 miles; and like the old saying goes, “Cautions breed cautions.” When the smoke cleared, no less than four Chasers were involved in two wrecks which all but ended their chances for the title, part of a mess in which 11 total cars got a piece of the wall or another competitor. The second one was so severe, most of turn 1 got blocked, forcing a nearly 22-minute red flag for track crews to clean up the mess. A race that looked nearly over by 7:00 EST instead lasted until 7:30, digging into ABC’s prime-time schedule before ending just before its four-hour mark.
When the smoke cleared, Johnson wound up unnerved by the late-race rubbing – he won by 1.6 seconds over Jeff Gordon – but there were certainly plenty of frustrated drivers and crews staring at their crumpled sheet metal afterwards. It’s the type of circumstances that provide a rare forum nowadays in NASCAR, one where the political correctness is dropped for raw emotion from a day gone bad.
And trust me, people had plenty to say.
“It was kind of a strange day there at the end of the race,” crew chief Pat Tryson said, whose driver Kurt Busch fueled the first wreck after smacking the wall on a Lap 239 restart, collecting Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle in a wreck that knocked them both out of the top 10. “It’s just the way that these races seem to go. (NASCAR) seems to throw cautions during the race, it is what it is. We got jumbled up.”
Kahne wasn’t quite as forgiving. After wreck #1 threw him back in the pack, just eight laps later his car was junked after getting caught up in an eight-car melee that destroyed every one of Richard Petty Motorsports’ four cars.
“NASCAR threw a debris caution for no debris,” the frustrated Kahne said. “We had a bad race to get a caution to put a show on for the fans.”
That wreck also involved Dale Earnhardt, Jr., hurt the most by the two late-race debris calls in the Chase. At New Hampshire, he had a top 5 run in the bag before the yellow and subsequent restart, where he got tagged by David Reutimann and knocked out of the race. This time, it was Elliott Sadler hitting the back bumper of the No. 88, turning a battle for a top 10 finish into one where he was simply trying to keep his composure during what’s been a trying season.
“We are doing whatever we can to stay positive,” he said in refusing to acknowledge the issue in his only public comments. “We had a top 10 car today, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of good cars got tore up there at the end.”
Others couldn’t be quite so cheery. For Biffle, his momentum from a near-win at Kansas got torn away in little more than the blink of an eye.
Or a piece of … whatever.
“It probably took us out of the hunt,” he said of his future championship chances. “You know, it’s not over ‘til it’s over, but that really hurt us.”
So in a cruel irony, NASCAR’s call to remove debris – done in the interests of safety – instead caused carnage far worse than the off chance someone hit that debris and cut down a tire. Yet for everyone’s loss, keep in mind there’s someone else’s gain. You won’t see David Ragan complaining about a late-race yellow: he used the last three restarts to turn a 15th place car to a 7th place runner at the finish. John Andretti won’t complain to you, either; he had a car barely keeping pace that wound up in 19th, on the lead lap, due to the lucky way in which the cautions fell.
So why call out a caution for debris in the first place? The first thing officials will tell you with debris is that it’s important to minimize risk in order to keep their drivers safe. No one wants an undetected hazard to lead to serious injury, and sometimes it’s obvious: how can you avoid a metal bumper lying in the middle of a track, for example? Yet not every situation is so clear-cut, and being picky has its consequences: how small can you go before it crosses the line between safety and pure manipulation?
“It’s frustrating when you’re leading and pulling away and they say debris caution,” Juan Pablo Montoya admitted after the race. “It could be simple. It could be a screw.”
It’s the old debate of whether to be safe than sorry; but in a subjective situation like this one, it’s always an easier decision to make when the entertainment factor of making that call shoots through the roof. That’s why any movement for change would actually come with you, the fans, and whether you feel shaken or stirred enough to take issue with these choices that err on the side of caution. Because in the beginning of this column, we left out two simple facts:
Fact: The last 15 laps were the most exciting of the race.
Fact: The loudest cheering from the grandstands came during that time.
What’s interesting is in both situations – New Hampshire and California — the leader at the time of the debris held on to win the race. But what if that doesn’t happen at another race down the stretch, and those points win or lose the title?
It’ll be interesting to see the reaction then. But one thing’s for sure: when you’re leaving the track talking about the debris more than the racing itself, Auto Club Speedway has its share of work to do in order to hold everyone’s interest.
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I remember back in the day Nascar would radio the teams and tell them there was a peice of debrie on the track and where it was and let them keep racing. At a track like California that’s what should have been done since it is wide with multiple grooves and the cars were spread out and single file.
Pure manipulated racertainment.
Why doesn’t nascar do something about the drivers throwing the water bottles out of their cars, I’ve seen 3 or 4 drivers do this, and a number of caution thrown for these bottles.
When a mild-mannered guy like Kasey Kahne is calling NASCAR out, you know he’s not the only one who feels that way about it. I wonder if NASCAR is going to whoop on him like they did with Tony Stewart.
As I have stated, many, many, times before, it is a matter of CREDIBILITY!
When NA$CRAP throws all those yellows for that “phantom debris” throughout the season, then when they do REALLY need to throw one (a yellow for debris), NO ONE BELIEVES THEM!
I simply don’t know if it was a piece of rubber, or anything else, and I don’t know if it really required a yellow flag!
What I do know, is NA$CRAP ALWAYS plays games with the yellow flag, and thus creates their very own problems when a “real” piece of debris shows up!
CREDIBILTY my friends, it is all a matter of CREDIBILITY!
And as we all know, NA$CRAP HAS ZERO!
I left nascar for several years before…and I’m considering doing so again. This is too much.
fact: 2007 daytona 500 cars were wrecking everywhere on the last lap. clint boywer was upside down with cars still charging at him at close to 200 miles an hour. no caution.
fact: a few weeks ago in loudon aj allmendinger was turned 90 degrees just off turn 4 and unable to fire his engine. cars were charging at him at over 100 mph because nascar didn’t want to throw the caution and waited until the very last second causing an extremely unsafe situation.
nascar’s credibility is really in the toilet as far as im concerned. it’s a complete insult to our intelligence to try and force us to believe they threw a caution with 15 to go for safety reasons.
btw… did anyone hear jimmie johnson with claire b lang in victory lane? he completely backed kahne up and didn’t see any reason for a caution. even the most politcally correct corporate pitchmen are having a tough time swallowing this one.
I bet if someone looked at the past races they would find a 100% tally on the number a “debris” cautions thrown when the fuel window is up for the last stop of the race. It is like clock work. The announcers talk about how drivers will have to make green flag stops or run out of gas before the end and bam, invisible debris. NA$CAR seems to have one every race in the 40 – 20 to go window. There is no racing. Just going in circles, biding their time, waiting for a yellow to make a move. It really sucks eggs. Total manipulation.
Did anyone watch the Indy car race at Miami on Saturday night? 200 laps and NO CAUTIONS! What a concept! They let the race play out and other organizations should too. The F1 race had a piece of a car on the track just out of the groove into a corner and they kept it a local yellow until a TRACK WORKER went out during the race and got rid of it. There will never a caution-free race again in NA$CAR until King Brian is gone.
Why aren’t the teams required to mark their water bottles with the car numbers like they do the tires? I’m sick of water bottles causing cautions that change the outcome of races and nobody is ever held accountable.
I’ll bet Vince McMahon of the WWE has been hired as a consultant to NA$CAR.
If the rules were actually enforced for the drivers throwing debris (water bottles) on the track to cause an intentional caution, we’d either see it stopped or we’d be seeing a lot of big name drivers being penalized. But that would affect the outcome of the phony play-off system that doesn’t work and we can’t have that happening. Heavens forbid the WWE on Wheels actually had to abide by their own rule book. The drivers might actually have to race.
I’ve seen a number of Grand-Am Rolex Series races in which there was a piece of debris on the track—sometimes a very large piece—and the drivers simply race around it. Granted, oval racing is different and sometimes a caution for debris is warranted, but most of the time it is not. We say these are the best drivers in the world…shouldn’t they have enough skill to maneuver around a water bottle or a piece of rubber?
Just for the record, Ryan Newmsn ran Dale Jr up the track tearing off the valve stem of his left side tire causing a flat. This caused Jr to lose momentum and Sadler got into him. This was a direct result of Newman driving like a bull in a china shop which he does every race.
It’s a wide track and the drivers are good; they should be able to avoid debris. After all, NASCAR doesn’t throw cautions to clean up the “marbles” every few laps, and those are probably more treacherous.
I’m glad someone mentioned the Indy race this weekend. No cautions, only three cars on the lead lap, but easily one of the best races I’ve seen this year.
I like Ann’s idea.
For what is supposed to be a professional level of racing, it’s pretty funny that so much stuff falls off these cars. I rarely see debris fall from cars at my local hometown track. Of course, fans and drivers know what these “debris” cautions are all about. Fans need to make their voices heard on this matter. These cautions help to manipulate the finishes of races. It makes the series less of a sport.
funny how so many of you actually think the debris is water bottles. lol. the in car cameras have been showing drivers tossing drink bottles out for years. they’re not waving the caution for those. they claim they’re waving it for actual debris. in yesterday’s case it was some sort of rubber.
also if you listened to claire b lang from victory lane jimmie johnson completely backed kasey kahne up. he had no clue why they threw the yellow. if there was something out there it was so far out of the groove that jimmie didn’t see it.
You have got to be kidding, what does debri have to do with how the chase is determined, that thing is already determined, hell you have about 7 tracks in 10 that Johnson just loves, this is the biggest joke in Nascar history, all I can say is if they think their ratings are bad now, just let Johnson win the set up title again. I for one will never watch or listen to another Nascar race as long as I live, and I have been a diehard fan since the 60,s To much like Wrestling now.
Curious as to why we are seeing more and more water bottles being tossed on the track the last couple of weeks.
PS…the Chase needs to renamed to “the Hendrick”
Say what? “A valve stem”???
So funny, go look at your tires on your vehicle! Do you think a valve stem can be torn out by hitting another car?
And the most important part is the valve stems on a CUP car are hidden even more than on your “street” car!
More TV garbage is all your quoting!
IT IS THE GOODYEAR TIRES!
Listen to all the broadcasts! A CUT DOWN TIRE”???
SIMPLY A DEFECTIVE GOODYEAR!
Please stop repeating this TV CRAP!
Yep! With jr. it is ALWAYS someone else’s fault! If not Teresa, then his crew chief, whoops new crew chief, now it is another driver!
When will his excuses stop?
In the future, if it is smaller than a loaf of bread, NASCAR should not call a caution until a member of the press goes out to the area of the track and makes the call, and agrees to be responsible for anyone hurt if the debris ends up causing a wreck.
LoL looks like the Turnip is clueless, how many races in the past do you see a car get bumped by another either with the splitter or something else and next thing you know the guy has a down or low tire and as a result pounding the wall. Obviously you don’t like JR but he raced a good race, raced from the back and stayed in the top 10 nearly 3/4 of the race only to get caught up in something that he did not create. Same type of situation for Biffle, running the lower part of the track and Kurt hits the wall and bounces off Kasey and keeps on trucking and Kasey and Biffle are toast. Valve stems get knocked off all the time during the season causing drivers to either smack the wall of lose a lot of positions.
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