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 · Saturday February 13, 2010
As water came pouring down on a freezing Friday at Daytona, Paul Menard was faced with a cold reality all his own. 49th in the qualifying draw, a rainout would mean an automatic DNQ for him under the NASCAR rulebook, shattering dreams of a title in the sport’s second-tier series before they even got off the ground. It was a bad break that would leave the best of men searching for answers.
Turns out they were right inside his wallet all along.
Menard’s No. 98 sneaked into the grid Friday not on speed, but through cold, hard cash, with car owner Jack Roush buying off five teams ahead of him to jump up to the 43rd starting spot. The move was an unprecedented display of money and power in the Nationwide Series, with Roush infusing several underfunded operations with engineering support, extra equipment, or simply a handwritten check to ensure Menard’s presence on the grid.
Technically, this convoluted system will go down as a long list of withdrawals, moving the No. 98 up the ladder until it became eligible to start the race. Originally, with NASCAR’s decision to use qualifying draw to fill out the final 10 spots in the field, Menard’s number (49) left him ranked behind four cars who didn’t qualify under other circumstances: the No. 52 of Donnie Neuenberger, the No. 96 of Dennis Setzer, the No. 49 of Mark Green, and the No. 42 of Parker Kligerman. For Menard to make the race, all had to pull out along with the No. 97 of Jeff Fuller, whose 32nd best position in the qualifying draw left him safely in the field in 34th.
Needless to say, the financial maneuvering opened eyes in the Nationwide garage. While no team would confirm the amount given to them by Roush, last place Saturday will win $45,585 – meaning there needed to be serious financial incentive for teams to bend. Add up the numbers, and you’re faced with a number approaching $225,000 in “support” promised in order for Roush to get his way.
Why did so many teams back down? Well, the answer’s as simple as the old adage, “Money talks.” Nationwide driver Brian Keselowski – who owns the No. 96 that withdrew – explains it’s not so easy for the poor to turn away free handouts.
”What they’re willing to offer, I need as much help as I can get to be competitive,” he said of Roush’s incentives. “Be it money, engineering support, whatever, they come around and offer it to people, and that’s their right. I needed some money; with the 10 percent paycut on the races, it’s looking pretty bleak to try to survive.”
Unfortunately for Keselowski, he was among four owners stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he refused the offer from Roush, Menard’s path to the race would be blocked, Fuller would remain in the field, and nothing would change – leaving the No. 96 still on the outside looking in anyway. So, with money tight he took the only avenue available to him: support from one of the sport’s most powerful people.
“I could have been a real prick about it,” he said. “But that’s not going to benefit me either way. I wasn’t going to make a dime. So, why would I do that? In the future, if people don’t like you now, it’s not a good thing. You need all the help you can get, and you don’t want to rub anybody the wrong way if you don’t have to.”
Others were less cheery about the situation, including Means Racing, whose car was fully sponsored by IHOP for the race. “This whole ordeal just screwed us up,” was all a crewman would say on the record, flailing his arms in frustration before returning to pack up their hauler – filling the drawers with car parts while emptying his dreams of watching their car take the green flag.
While many teams remained exasperated over the qualifying rules (“I really cannot believe that they look you in the eyes and tell you that the reason you’re not in this race, after you spent every single dime you possibly could, is because somebody drew a number,” said Keselowski about using the qualifying order to set the 43-car field) Roush’s bank account left nothing to chance. In a world where speed is supposed to separate contenders from pretenders, the deep pockets of the rich have given a whole new meaning to taking the green flag.
“It completely eliminates the legitimacy of what we’re doing,” says Keselowski of what transpired. “I just can’t believe we don’t even get a chance. Everyone should have an [equal] shot to make the race.”
Team 42 Racing (Kligerman), Jay Robinson Racing (Green), and NEMCO Motorsports (Fuller) were unavailable for comment. However, sources claim Fuller, the key to this deal, was designated to run his No. 97 just a few laps in the race, similar to how he parked NEMCO’s second Cup car in the Duels on Thursday in order to earn the team extra money.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Considering its the top ride buyer in NASCAR with no talent, it makes all the sense in the world. It explains why so many teams randomly withdrew when it was not necessary. Menard is a piece of garbage who had 1 or 2 Top 15 finishes in Cup last year. 99% of drivers with that line would get canned. Lucky his daddy funds his escapades because he ain’t much of a driver. It costs those withrawn a race attempt by doing so which will cause them to be ineligible for the Top 30. The lock-in rule in the top three series is convoluted and ridiculous. If your team attempts every race but cannot come back, then teams behind them that attempted every race should get the points. The selling of points is farcical and shows how bad the rules are. Moreover, setting the field for the biggest race in the Nationwide series based on pulling a pill from a tumbler like BINGO is absolutely abominable. We will never know how many of the withdrawn or cars that missed would have ran the race, but the majority that made it will start-and-park later today so its a power play.
Tom, were you this upset when Waltrip did this same thing, back in the spring of 2006, when that #55 NAPA Bill Davis Dodge didn’t make the race at Lowe’s?
Remember how he needed to use the “Rent-A-Ride”-deal and get into the race (just for his sponsor, remember) and threw some cash at D. Cope and his team?
This is NOT the first time this has ever happened in NASCAR. It is just part of the NASCAR “game”. You are getting all worked-up, over something which has been done, before, right or wrong.
Money-talks…….underfunded teams……walk. **** happens!
This is exactly the way it is supposed to work. This is why the top 35 rule in sprint is so bogus. If the teams with the most money want to buy their way in, let them do it open and honest, not through Nascar backdoors. This way we won’t have the start and park teams and some of the slower teams causing wrecks and cautions. They will use that money to come back another day and maybe be competitive. Eventually Menard will get tired of crashing on sundays and quit so let him buy his way in while he can.
The $225,000 number is probably a tad overblown. He only needed to pay the #97 the last place money of $45,000. The rest weren’t going to have money either way, so he was probably able to buy them off for much less than $45,000. Also, no clue why they would do something so ridiculous as having positions outside the top 30 in points set by draw…most of these teams had points from last year…?????
mr.bowles was mistaken when he said “deep pockets give new meaning….“it’s always been that way in nascar.it may not be fair,but unless they change the rules,it’s the way it is.
The biggest problem, again, is NASCAR and it’s rules system. If someone is willing and able to buy a spot in the field, and someone else is willing to sell it, so what? At least Menard will actually race, which is what is supposed to happen. The start and parks are a black eye on the sport as it is. Guaranteeing starting spots in a “race” is a joke. Maybe lock in the top 10 in points, make the rest work for it. The champions provisional is a rule that also needs to go. Talk about “buying” a spot in the field. You don’t even need money for that one. Why couldn’t they qualify all the cars that weren’t “locked in” this morning? How long could that take? At least everyone that spent time, money, and effort to support the sport, would get a fair chance at making it. Oh wait,I know why. That makes makes too much sense.
Wow , that was a hard hitting investgative piece if ever there was one . Welcome to auto racing Tom , i’m sure you’ll enjoy it once you learn a little bit about it . The only person surprised by this alleged incident is you .
While the Menard sitaution is sad to see, I would hope that at least the car owner cut a deal so IHOP could be on the car to represent his sponsor.
The 2nd start and park teams are easy to resolve. Refuse the entry Nascar as part of the “best interets of Nascar”. Don’t even allow them at the track.
And you guys want to complain about Danica not being good for the sport? Give me a break.
The only question I have is why Roush was pushing to get a mediocre at best driver into the race. The only reason Menard is still racing is because of Daddy’s deep pockets. I know this stuff goes on all the time, but how does nas$car expect to develop drivers with shenigans like this. If you look at the lineup for the race, 7 out of the first 8 drivers are cup drivers. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t go out of my way to watch Nationwide races. Why should I watch the same drivers win on both Saturday and Sunday?
This has gone on for many, many years and it’s nothing new. Get over it. After the lock-in every spot was really up for grabs and deep pockets will win every time. The cost to Roush number is probably a bit low. If I was a “start-and-park” i’d want last place money plus something to cover some of my expenses so I didn’t completely lose my a**. Last place money probably didn’t cover expenses. Toss in a few nice parts, dyno or shaker post time or an engine lease (100K) from Roush to use at the next big race (Charlotte, Texas) and you got a deal that would make Monty Hall proud. It’s a good deal for Jack and his sponsors who get TV time, and for Menard who gets seat time (you can’t improve if you don’t race!). I see this as a win for all involved, the teams that withdrew don’t have to spend another dime to make last place money (a set of tires is 2K) and that money might come in handy down the road. Money talks is the bottom line, and always has been in NA$CAR.
I’m surprised there isn’t more complaints about them washing out qualifying entirely and why they are not qualifying this morning. If they would have actually had qualifying, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Did I read correctly that the back end of the field was determined by a draw from a hat? The biggest race of the year and your fate is determined by a draw of the hat? Give me a break!! Another reason why Nationiwide and Cup need to be at different venues or in the case of Daytona, on different weekends.
Let me get this straight, …
Your name is on a LOT of articles decrying start and park as the greatest evil in Nascar.
Now you’re complaining that Roush paid some start and park racers to withdraw so that a car that would run the full race could get in?
And you gripe about Nascar’s lack of consistency?
I think the “culprit” in this situation is NASCAR and not Jack Roush. Whether a team is in or out of a race being determined by drawing numbers is not a legitimate process. Roush is simply taking advantage of the rules that NASCAR has in place.
Wow, Tom, I think some of us might have a little Jack-Roush-egg-on-our-faces!
Whatever that cost Jack Roush to get Paul Menard into the show, today, was more than worth it, wouldn’t you say, with Paul Menard running top 5 for the last part of that race and finishing, finally, in P-6.
I have absolutely no regrets and I would imagine Jack doesn’t either, as we all know Paul is running the full season in Cup-Lite and has no intention of being a start & park, like those who sacrificed their starting positions.
I’ll agree, Paul has a lot to learn in Cup, but, even last season, when he ran, he did fairly well in Cup-Lite and the experience will make him a better Cup driver, hopefully.
Maybe you could retract this story?
QUAKER CITY CASTINGS #52 sponsor took the brunt of the hit. They were the ones that forked out the most money to get Donnie to Daytona, and then … he Withdrew.
For M.B. … let’s not confuse the two issues. A car owner buying their way into the field under any circumstances – no matter who they’re paying off – is a can of worms I think could be a negative in the long run. If you’re using money, not speed, to determine the starting lineup, then is it really an athletic competition?
Now, once the field is set under the rules, correctly, I have a problem with any car that would start and park. But money should never make the difference on-track between a car making and missing the race.
I hope that clears up the confusion. Thanks, everyone, for all your great comments!
I totally agree that this whole situation was flawed and screwed up from the get go!!! The 52 team definitely got screwed!!! And I’m a fan of Means racing and I hate the fact that they were put in that position!!! And since when do we set fields at Daytona based off qualifying draw??? Why don’t we just do that for the Daytona 500 and see what reactions people have to that!!! I’m dissappointed with NASCAR :(
“If you’re using money, not speed, to determine the starting lineup, then is it really an athletic competition?”
But we didn’t use speed to determine anything in this case. I couldn’t believe nascar did this, and it could have severe long-term consequences. What happens next winter when a new team tries to get a sponsor for the Daytona 300, even if they feel like they have a good car. How are they supposed to get a sponsor if they have to say “if qualifying is rained out, random chance determines whether or not we get in.” All those months of work for nothing.
Hold qualifying the next morning. Only do it for those outside the top-30 if there are time constraints. If you absolutely can’t hold qualifying, base who gets in on practice speeds (I believe some other series do this). Or base the entire field on last year’s points, not just the top-30. Just do something other than leave it up to random chance! I have now lost some of the confidence in nascar I had recently regained.
Scott Speed did this last year at Infineon. He wiped it during qualifying and bought Nemechek’s ride. For those bashing Menard’s numbers from last year, look at Labonte’s numbers in the 96. The cars were dogs last year. When Labonte started driving the 71 later in the year he did much better. Menard was a Top 25 driver his last year for DEI. He has more talent than he gets credit for. If you want to start pointing fingers about Daddies you don’t have to point very far to find some pretty big targets.
I’ve just got to chime in on the Menard bashers. I used to be one as well. Then, when I really thought about it, I realized that the truth of the matter is I’m just jealous. Tell me if any one of you that bash Menard and his “daddy’s money” keeping him in a Cup (and now NW) ride would turn it down if YOUR last name was Menard and YOU wanted to race? It’s not about the ‘sanctity of the sport’ that we all cry foul on Paul. Think about it and tell me I’m wrong.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.
Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.