Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bowles-Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday November 9, 2009
While younger brother Kyle flashed some speed, it was older brother Kurt who showed his smarts Sunday at Texas. Leading 232 of the first 332 laps, the younger brother was in position to pull off the first ever “triple sweep” – winning Truck, Nationwide, and Cup shows at the same track in the same weekend – with a car that looked capable of lapping the field at times during the race.
But in the end, speed was no match for strategy at Texas during a final 122-lap stint run under green flag conditions. For no matter how fast Kyle went, raw speed was no match for … more fuel.
Sound a little weird? It’s meant to. Running out of gas is a part of racing, but never has it played more of a role in the sport than within the last 2-3 years. Sunday was the second straight Fall race at Texas where fuel mileage made the difference, with Kurt’s gas tank outlasting Kyle’s to give the No. 2 car the win when the No. 18 conked out with less than two laps left. Last year, Carl Edwards went even further than either of the Busch brothers could manage this year (65 laps) in jumpstarting what’s become a bit of a pit strategy craze at Sprint Cup’s top level. By my unofficial count, it’s the sixth event out of 34 this year – a whopping 17.6 percent – where the trophy went to the car that stretched a little extra Sunoco when it counted.
Now, don’t get me wrong … a little fuel-injected finish every now and then is good for a sport that thrives on unpredictability. But when once in a blue moon turns into about once every six races, that’s enough of a pattern to change both the style and quality of racing. Especially on a day where one car’s dominating out front (something that’s been the norm and not the exception in this 2009 season to forget), the race to win gets thrown from the drivers’ hands, to … well … a bunch of dorky engineers with calculators. And on this day, young Kyle was so much better on speed Kurt Busch’s crew chief Pat Tryson was ordering his driver to save fuel from as early as 120 laps to go. That’s right … they were so desperate to find any way to catch the No. 18, they were taking it easy and tiptoeing around the racetrack for the final third of this race in order to come out on top.
“Yeah, it was pretty much made the stop before the last one,” he admitted when he told Busch to focus on feathering the throttle instead of flooring it. “You know, you’re sitting there figuring if it stays green, how far you can go. We had to stretch it a little bit that first run. I think we picked up just about everything we had in the cell.”
There’s just one problem: race fans aren’t necessarily in attendance to watch ballet. For the mathematics majors out there, I’m sure those numbers are fascinating. But sitting there watching a gas gauge go from F to E, while cars run around at less than full speed, has a tendency to prove tedious when done too much. It’s passing for the lead that fans and drivers are looking to love, side-by-side duels that keep the cars on edge, the outcome in question, and a reminder of just how challenging this racing stuff really is.
But in a series where copycatting has always been the name of the game, can you really blame all these teams for turning their cars into a bunch of turtles slopping around just trying to stretch their fuel? With the CoT, the aero push has made passing anywhere from difficult to impossible after restarts. That puts teams in a box as to how they’re going to move up through the field, especially since that aerodynamic edge helps the leader check out faster than you can blink your eyes. So if you’re not that car in clean air on intermediates, you have to think of different ways to win — and one of the easiest ways to do it is to hold off on making a pit stop longer than everybody else. After all, there’s no way to impede your forward progress if your closest competitor is sitting stopped off the track.
“It’s definitely challenging in all aspects,” Busch said of having a racer’s inner aggression funneled down into fuel conservation mode. “You have to make sure when you’re letting off the throttle that you do it a proper way, or when you pick up the throttle you’re doing it a proper way. Maybe there isn’t the right way to do it, other than I worked with my dad back racing cars at an entry level. We had to take care of our equipment. We had to race it for what it was worth, ginger it, make it to where it could be brought back next week.”
While Busch certainly learned his lesson well, reading that just makes me realize how much this sport has changed on its highest levels. Risk used to be figuring out whether you could go three-abreast down the straightaway without hitting the wall. Now? It’s whether you can drive at 55 percent or 60 percent effort according to the engineers and their strategy decisions. Sometimes, that’s just how the race plays out – but what if it gets to the point where that’s how entire races are designed from the get go?
With that said, I don’t want to take away from what Busch, Roger Penske, and their program did from stealing one from under Kyle Busch’s nose this Sunday. What’s been done with a “lame duck” crew chief, a program that just replaced one of their three drivers, and a Dodge Charger seemingly behind the other makes is nothing short of impressive. It’s not their fault the best philosophy in these situations continues to be “slow and steady wins the race.” But wasn’t that supposed to apply to marathons and not stock cars?
I’ll tell you one thing … there’s a reason they don’t televise 36 marathons on national television. It’s the type of sport where you can only watch runners pace themselves for so long. In stock cars, the same principle applies, as while saving fuel might be tough to think about it’s even tougher to watch … especially when stretched over not one but two green flag cycles.
So how do you fix it? On a day when Kyle Busch checks out on the field, the answers are few and far between right now. I understand the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” philosophy as well … if NASCAR had thrown a “mystery debris” caution with 20 laps remaining, that’s all critics would be talking about the following day instead of the race to the finish. Sometimes, fuel mileage is the way the ball bounces, whether you like it or not. But the fact that it’s been bouncing back around this much is a sign to me of how little confidence crew chiefs have that a bad-handling car can be made a contender to win on speed alone.
All I know was Sunday proved a fantastic opportunity, a time to inject excitement in a mediocre Chase after Jimmie Johnson’s Lap 3 crash. Instead, that was wasted amidst an ugly truth, that Johnson’s wreck couldn’t change the “passing at a premium” problem – and until that changes, the type of racing you’ll see will be based more on strategy than speed.
But here’s the literally billion dollar question to the long-term viability of the sport: is that the type of finish you really want to see?
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I bet they would of been happy if Junior won. You cant please anybody these days. Thats just part of it. Fuel milage used to play big in NASCAR but these “New Breed Fans” dont know a thing about that. It makes it interesting to say the least but they are hard to watch live trying to figure out who is leading and who is pitting
I may be wrong but didn’t NASCAR move to a smaller fuel cell not too long ago? I think that might be part of the problem. I hate fuel mileage finishes, but it’s part of the game.
Maybe NASCAR should bring back the 22 Gal Fuel Cell.
The 22 gal.cell would be a good thing.
It looks like I’m in the minority based on the poll, but I like fuel mileage finishes. They’re a heck of a lot more exciting than a lot of other finishes we see. The various strategies are very exciting for me to watch. When Kurt took the white flag, any one of about 5 or 6 guys still could have won that race depending on who had saved enough. How often does that happen in a normal race?
The smaller fuel cell is definitely the culprit. Mathematically, the less fuel you have, the more likely a fuel mileage race is.
Doesn’t it seem that all the stars are finally aligning when it come’s to NA$CRAP?
Fuel economy runs!
Single file “racing”!
TV commentators remarking about how boring the races are!
Non-chase cars taking out chase cars!
King Brian admitting even he does not watch all the races!
And the list goes on!
It appears to me, that once and for all, ALL the bad aspects of NA$CRAP are coming together, week in, week, out!
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch!
Some fuel mileage races add some variety to the schedule, much like the short tracks and road courses. It’s nice to see drivers who can do more than just mash the gas the whole time. It’s also nice in that it forces teams to build engines which are not only fast, but efficient.
Since the drivers no longer race cars that resemble what we drive, we can’t relate to them on the cars themselves, but we can relate to trying to save fuel, to making the tank last another commute before we have to tank up. Granted, I’d rather they race recognizable cars, but what can we do about that?
If there isn’t going to be a close battle for the lead, I think a fuel mileage race is far more exciting (and legit!) than a late yellow to bunch up the field besides.
And lastly, Tom, watch what you write… we engineers are race fans, too!
Yes folks. This fuel milage stuff starting getting worse when cash$car went from a 22 gallon fuel cell to a 17 gallon fuel cell. Never understood it then. Still don’t understand it. Didn’t watch much of race. Watched football for the 6th week in a row. Checked at commercial and found out Johnson had wrecked. Didn’t care. Switched back to football. Brain fart has ruined the sport. With Mike Helton his right hand man. Stick a fork i n it.
Sorry ‘bout that, RamblinWreck! Just fellow dorks making fun of fellow dorks :O)
Yet, had NASCAR thrown a “debris” caution and allowed the cars to refuel….
I think this goes to the argument that if NASCAR raced STOCK cars – teams would have to factor in fuel economy when choosing which manufacturer to run.
ALSO – this would make manufacturers work for better fuel economy decreasing our financial burden as average consumers.
Race STOCK cars, make the cars we driver safer, better handling, more fuel efficient, more aerodynamic and let us relate to what we see on Sundays.
Of course…. the tires would still suck.
Well, as the only Kyle Busch fan on this site, I have to point out that Kurt didn’t necessarily drive smarter than Kyle; he made his last pit stop two laps after Kyle made what he hoped would be his last. So was it crew chief error – could Kyle have gone 2 laps further on the previous run? Nobody has asked and nobody has told. Seems like some hotshot in the media could have asked Kyle’s crew chief that question. But, in any event, I hope this is a sign of things to come for next year – Kyle dominating. I know y’all would love to see that!
“DALE EARNHARDT JR.
…with all the money Jr. is bringing into HMS they can hire a top tier crew chief for him, like Addington, and pay him what he deserves…
OK, yes it came down to fuel mileage but it’s not like Kurt wasn’t a contendor – he was the ONLY other contendor for the win. He was in 1st or 2nd the entire day. Pitting 2 laps after every one else gave them the chance to pull it off.
Marybeth – Mark and Jeff had a lot more to lose if they hadn’t pitted. Mark, especially, after the good run he’d had all day—look back to Michigan where he gambled and lost. He couldn’t afford the gamble. Jr could, though. He had absolutely nothing to lose with the kind of year he’s had, so he might as well try to go for it!
Its articles like this that drive me nuts. You guys spend all that time writing articles on the presence of mystery cautions (which are the biggest menace to the sport in my opinion) yet now you write an article that sort of implies a mystery caution should have been thrown at the end of the race to negate the the fuel mileage deal. It is what it is, fuel mileage finishes have been as present now as they ever has been.
Saying there’s been more fuel mileage finishes in recent years is like saying there’s been more rain-affected finishes; both are true and both are just another part of the sport that one must put up with. I personally like fuel mileage finishes for the sole fact that its essentially the only way in today’s NASCAR for an underdog to win outside of a plate race. And its certainly better than throwing a bogus caution.
Kevin, Jr. had a chance for a top ten or top five, he had asked to pit 10 laps earlier and they told him “No”. Boris Said asked on Nascar Now, why they ran Jr. out of gas…and he did not get an answer. Marybeth
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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