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.
Thomas Bowles · Wednesday May 19, 2010
Did You Notice? … Jeremy Mayfield’s lawsuit was dismissed on a number of technicalities his own lawyers failed to prove? That’s important to note as his case burns to the ground outside Federal court. In his decision to dismiss the case, Graham Mullen focused not on the actual defamation claims themselves but on a waiver form Mayfield signed to participate in as both driver and owner within NASCAR. Think of that form as a “get out of jail free” card, withholding the sport from liability in the event a driver violates a rule. It gives them the discretion to act, enforcing their penalties without fear from the other party taking them to court.
How did the sport gain so much power under the federal court system? The answer is simple: the Frances may be more transparent than ever before, but a benevolent dictatorship is still totalitarian rule nonetheless. There is no collective bargaining agreement with its members, similar to what other stick ‘n’ ball sports have in their possession. You can bet that if a case like Mayfield’s happened in MLB, you’d have player union lawyers breathing down the commissioner’s neck in a heartbeat. But in Mayfield’s case, there is no driver’s union, leaving him to choose the court system when he felt NASCAR’s appeals process was unacceptable for him.
Understand also that in NASCAR, every driver and owner contract signed makes the members subservient to the sanctioning body. What if they don’t want to lose the right to sue? That’s fine; they just won’t be getting a NASCAR license. It’s that simple, and in the sport’s defense it’s actually a common practice. Such wording has been prevalent in employer/employee contracts for years, although in those cases conflicts are often restricted to binding arbitration only. In this particular case, the surprise NASCAR has that much power comes from a sports world that’s typically a market where the athlete, not the owner, holds the keys to the castle. The sport, through its way of doing business, makes the point that no employee/employer relationship exists, as each member is a private contractor entering into an agreement to participate in the sport; this philosophy was affirmed by the judge in his ruling, along with a number of other factors.
Whatever the reasoning, it’s a shocking end to what has been a yearlong quest for Mayfield to challenge NASCAR’s drug policy. And since the axe wielded down before we ever got to trial, Mayfield has no right to an appeal until the sport’s lawsuit against him is settled. It doesn’t matter whether his lawyer is Mark Geragos or Mark Wahlberg, Mayfield’s Entourage is backed into a corner … right?
For those who think this conflict is over, I refer you to the rising pile of debt Mayfield’s incurred the last few years. Everyone from Triad Racing Technologies, to former lawyer Bill Diehl, to NASCAR itself is seeking money that’s rightfully theirs. The driver had to hold an auction for some of his possessions a few months ago to raise funding, and even that’s not going to be enough considering at some point, Mr. Geragos wants to get paid.
But there’s also a reason Mayfield chose his current attorney; he’s smarter than you think. Geragos has yet to comment, but he knows the courtroom is only one forum to fight a public relations war for his client. There are talk shows, there are news programs, all of which are now fair game until there’s a chance to bring up an appeal. Most importantly, you better believe there’s agents from Hollywood and several publishing companies that would love to see a tell-all book. It’s a way to tell the story, attempting to earn Mayfield 15 minutes of fame while collecting the money that’s needed for him to survive.
Now, if Mayfield has nothing to say, then I guess no one has anything to worry about, right? But considering the amount of time he was involved in the sport, the organizations he worked for, and the people he was depositioning already (Jeff Gordon? Jimmie Johnson?) I’m not 100 percent convinced. And who wouldn’t want to hear his perspective on his suspension and NASCAR’s drug policy alone? Those on both sides of the debate are curious enough not to look away.
Trust me, the question of when this information leaks is not if, but when. And once it does, NASCAR has to cross its fingers that it won’t be dealing with the same type of public relations nightmare as before the case went to trial. In fact, it could be worse, because the information released won’t be controlled by the power of a judge, but by those whose sole desire is to make money and get revenge.
That’s a dangerous combination, and anyone who doubts it need to remember the damage one Jose Canseco inflicted on Major League Baseball a decade ago. There’s a way to come clean, while at the same time lighting everyone ablaze with a fire hazard they’ve chosen to ignore.
So at this point, whether Mayfield is guilty or innocent is irrelevant to the future of this story. It’s if he’s got any dirt on anyone else, and who’s willing to give him a forum to spread that dirt on a national scale.
Let’s see what happens.
Did You Notice? … The furor over one Greg Sacks driving a JR Motorsports car in July? Sacks, 57, hasn’t even started a race in any of NASCAR’s top three series since 2005, and hasn’t finished one since 1999. The only reason he’s getting a chance is the team’s new primary sponsor, Grand Touring Vodka, is a company he also partially owns.
Certainly, in a world where young talent has been pushed aside I can see where people will make a big deal about this move. But remember, Sacks is no slouch on plate tracks. July marks the 25th anniversary of his only Cup win (Daytona), and he was well known as a Jamie McMurray-type guy who could get you up front at the big tracks in his prime. Sure, it’s been 11 years, but do you really think these guys forget how to drive a car? It’s not like we’re doing Bristol; it’s Daytona, a track that’s just as much mental as it is physical.
Sacks was competitive in drafting, posting the 22nd-fastest speed and will doubtless be handed top-notch equipment. Will he win? No. But it’s not like he’s going to be embarrassing the sport, and with 295 career starts under his belt in Cup and Nationwide I think he can be trusted to play it smart. This guy just wants one last hurrah in the sport, given a chance to succeed after being pushed out following a harrowing crash at Texas in April, 1998. Can’t we all relate to that, a veteran trying to end his career on top?
In the long run, the 24 other races Sacks’ vodka company funds will give up-and-coming drivers the opportunity they deserve at JRM. So everybody back off, take a deep breath, and give this guy his one moment in the spotlight. Considering how few sponsors are entering the sport these days, this one-race deal is of small consequence when you consider the long-term positives it’s poised to bring.
My only worry over the long-term is whether the company will have the funding to pay for it all. The only financial investment I see is $600,000, and you wonder whether a startup will suddenly have the millions needed to support a top-tier organization. We’ll see.
Did You Notice? … Some quick hits before we’re done for the day …
- How bad has it gotten for Ford? Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth are currently the lone Blue Oval participant in the All-Star Race. Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle also underperformed at Dover this past weekend, a track where top-3 finishes used to be a given for the Roush Fenway bunch. With Charlotte usually the time to make major changes, it’s one organization to keep an eye on over the next two weeks.
- Just as disturbing as Dover attendance is the list of start-and-parks we had: seven, the most we’ve seen all season at the Cup level. And with Robby Gordon and David Stremme’s teams on shaky ground, things could get worse before they get better.
- Best wishes to Brian Vickers for a quick and speedy recovery, and I respect whatever decision he makes on whether to return to the track. But I think I’m not alone in breathing a sigh of relief he’s choosing to opt out for about three months. Coumadin can have dangerous side effects, and the last thing he needed was to get in a wreck, suffer a small bruise, and have it develop into a life-threatening situation. Vickers is one of the smartest, most talented drivers out on the circuit nowaday. I’m glad he’s using his brain when it counts the most … and there’s no doubt he’ll return to the track stronger than ever before.
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©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Everytime you write a article Tom about the workings of Nascar you are so hateful and dont relay the facts ,Nascar has a policy all companies do ,read yours,I bet if you failed a drug test they would;ntt offer you a chance at rehab and to be able to come back,as Nascar did Mayfield,Mayfield admitted he had the meth in his system but was trying to pull off a because of the two drugs combined made it positive for meth -Bull.
Besides the contractual issue, the judge also held that JM did not establish a basis for his claims. In any event, what is the big deal? On 6/10/2009 you wrote his use of meth “for those in the media I can tell you it’s been a well-known fact for weeks.”
I guess a Mayfield “tell-all” book will soon be in the works?
Mr. Bowles…one of the comments says in an article you wrote on 6/10/2009 you “suggested” the media was aware of Mayfield’s meth use. I have one question..IF this is true..and alot..or some..media types KNEW Mayfield was doing drugs…why under God’s green earth would not at least one of these media types report it to NASCAR? I understand it is just “hearsay”…but why would the media stand by and put the drivers and fans in harms way? WHY? Was it just to “see what happened” to get a story out of it? Was it other media folks were partying with Mayfield? Was it laziness or thinking you wouldn’t be believed? Now I don’t know what or whom to believe. It’s sad..ANYONE who has a notion something like that is happening..media or not..has the obligation to take it to authorities and let them sort it out..BEFORE a tragedy occurs…On or off the track. To the media..if this is true…Shame on you all!
Great comments, everyone. I just want to address the one about the media hearing about meth use. Let’s put it this way … you hear rumors about certain things all the time, (Every national media member could fill a column about the juiciest ones, only about 10% of which are actually true). But in my opinion, when you’re in a position to report ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY something life-changing, an offense that can get someone suspended from the sport (like drug use) you damn well better have your facts in order. The burden of proof is insanely high; just because three sources come to you and say it’s happening, even if they’re reliable sources, doesn’t put you in the position to go to NASCAR and say, “I think this guy’s doing drugs.” I can only speak for me, but it would have taken some hard evidence in this case (like a drug dealer coming forward) to take the next step and go to NASCAR PR and say, “Just so you know, you need to investigate this particular driver.” If I’m not comfortable reporting it, then I’m certainly not telling officials to investigate it. Isn’t that my job too?
So were there rumors? Yes. Did reliable sources tell me some things? Yes. But the evidence was not 98% infallible like a criminal case would be, and no one ever got to the bottom of it before the suspension occurred.
It’s the type of thing where you can’t afford to be wrong; the stakes are too high. This isn’t a Silly Season ride swap we’re talking about – someone’s life is on the line.
To respond to the Managing Editor..you summed it all up in your last line…“someone’s life is on the line”. I’m sorry..but if there were credible and not so credible reports made..and evidently these reports were quite often…SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE STEPPED UP. Sorry..hiding behind your media badge doesn’t work. If it had been brought to the right person’s attention they could have given Mayfield a drug test..as they do here and there to surprise the drivers..and if he were clean..no harm no foul…no one need know anything but it was a random test. BUT..to sit by and wait..maybe to sit and watch a tragedy unfold..was cowardly..and no amount of backpedaling will change it. There were choices..and there were ways to handle the situation….and it was fumbled. I understand it is someone’s living you would be messing with..but better to err on the side of caution then to watch the entire situation literally blow up in your face. Things like drug abuse seldom get better..and never just go away by themselves. Sorry..it’s still shame on you……
What I don’t get is if NA$CAR had such a simple out as a contractual breach, why has it taken so long to reach this conclusion? Did they just want to break Mayfield so bad that no one would ever dare to challenge them again or, did Mayfield have such dumbs**t attorneys they didn’t know contract law or, were the attorneys just doing their sworn duty to strip the client of all available funds or, or , or?
I just want to say one more thing..I understand we are talking about the media..albeit .. sports reporting…but somewhere along the line ;you have to be human..have a conscience..and think about the well being of the greater mass. This is not the Nixon, Deep Throat, Washington Post, Woodard fiasco..this is a conversation about a supposed methed up man driving a 3200 pound stockcar at 190mph+ around 42 other drivers, pit crews, and fans. Heck..maybe we are even talking about the guy driving a golf cart through the infield at Talledega..with all the drivers, their families, fans and crews .. I don’t know. But..somewhere along the line we have to take some responsibility..media or not..
Mayfield is a drug addict. He is addicted to recreational drugs. People are impaired when they do almost any kind of drugs, but the point of taking recreational drugs is to get impaired. I think NASCAR should do everything it can to prevent recreational drug users from endangering other drivers during a race. Mayfield may think his reputation has taken a hit, but it wouldn’t have if he had not been a recreational drug user. So far, no meth addicts have ever admitted they are meth users until they can’t support their habit any more. Other meth users should stop scratching at their skin long enough to see what happens to every one of them.
The “technicality” being that nothing in his Complaint was actionable because in order to have the privilege of earning riches beyond his wildest dreams, Mayfield had to sign a standard hold-harmless clause as part of a normal waiver? Had to agree to drug testing both as an owner (where he was given a list of banned substances) and as a driver? Agreed to have it interpreted under Florida law, which is quite specific as to what is allowed or not in these waivers? Um, OK.
Did you take the time to learn that there are certain rules in place in Courts, such as defamation suits must be pled with specificity, and merely alleging the elements does not meet that threshhold? Is it NASCAR’s fault that Mayfield failed to follow that rule, and the Judge noticed? That a good portion of his claims required the leap to an employer-employee relationship that never existed between Mayfield and NASCAR? Did you read the PDF of the decision and understand what the Judge was saying?
Mayfield chose to go through the court system iinstead of appealing his suspension through the forum NASCAR has available to its competitors.
I’m disappointed – usually your articles are well researched and written. This obviously wasn’t. You lost a great opportunity to educate your readers as to the workings of the courts, and how it applied here, instead choosing to look past the obvious in order to push your own agenda of decrying that there’s no driver’s union. Funny how none of the other drivers in Cup have either complained or failed drug tests…
Oh, and by the way, an absolute defense to defamation is that they were telling the truth…
Tom I thought I might like you or your writings at some point but then I saw you on a NASCAR post-race press conference where you kinda asked amateurish questions and so I lost interest. And with this article you bang the amateurish gong again. Someone said it earlier about “I realize it’s sports media…” And I do but man you ain’t a lawyer and you ain’t even a paralegal. You ain’t even had a course on law that is relevant to anything.
Dismissed based on a technicality? Don’t be a child. These are complex legal arguments weighed by legal minds who have training in the law. There was no technicality here. In fact you may be surprised at the legal standing your employer has over you. Especially since the publishing bidness is in free fall. But that’s another story.
I have said many times over the past year that a lot of the media that wanted to get back at NASCAR for some perceived wrong was gonna look goofy over this one. I am not a NASCAR—the leadership—fan. They can screw up a race series—at least the current Dunces in Daytona Beach can. But they did this one right but for maybe a few missteps.
Anyone that wants to throw spikes at NASCAR via Mayfield is smoking dope themselves. Mayfield has dug himself a whole. HE HAS DONE THIS. Not NASCAR. He stiffed reputable businesses and countless others. He failed two not one but two drug tests—-eeewwww. Writers like you want to place the Boogeyman theory out there. Achems (Occams) Razor man. All this fal-da-ra and fiddle de dee. The simple answer man is the JM is bad. He did this, not Crocker or Evernham or Penske or Brian or the lab or the IRS or Dheil or NC DoR or NASCAR or…the list of the “bad guys” go on and on. Hey I for one hope he doesn’t go away. The public needs a stooge to laugh at especially since Mark Souder resigned…Don’t you love it? A married Lilly White Krishtan stooge railing for abstinence all the while he’s bangin his part-time married staffer. Only in America my man. You are nearly there and certainly JM is there.
Oh my word “Ellen.” What a well written response. In my wildest imagination and self-perceived intelligence I couldn’t have articulated as well as you did. And I am being serious. Bowles did I guess what those who thought up the term “hack job” really meant. Slice thru the truth quickly to get to the intended end no matter how goofy you look. That’s what he did. There are more holes in his argument and half truths and disinformation that it makes Karl Rove look like a Boy Scout.
Applause Ellen because that is a very succinct and articulate argument.
Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten torched on a column. Usually, I won’t respond to comments but I feel like I should step up and defend myself here…
For the record, Ellen, I did read the decision and I did speak to someone about the legal ramifications. Apparently, my mistake was in not arguing my points effectively, and I do apologize for that. It’s one thing to disagree with a point, but nothing frustrates me more than if articles are interpreted as poorly written, and if I’ve failed in this case that’s unacceptable.
I tried to make a point based on what you said, that Mayfield’s allegations are stretching towards an employer/employee relationship that didn’t fly, but according to the judge doesn’t exist in this case. I guess I didn’t get there.
With that said, this case is not the first to claim a stretch towards an employer/employee relationship within sports. Check out these links:
In this case, two Minnesota NFL players were suspended for violating the sport’s drug policy. They appealed, not on a false positive but on the claim the NFL is a joint employer, leaving them beholden to the Minnesota state policy and not their own. While the judge ultimately ruled in favor of the NFL, he also claimed the sanctioning body was indeed a “joint employer” in a standard that could set precedent for future cases. In failing to follow proper protocol, the judge said the NFL violated Minnesota state rules they should have been beholden to, although like in the Mayfield case the power to enforce their own rules was upheld.
In NASCAR, the employee/employer relationship is a much harder stretch to make because there is no franchising; the teams are listed as private contractors, although they do pay an entry fee to participate in races which to me could be interpreted as binding them to the league (NASCAR) in some way. The bottom line is the judge didn’t think that standard was met, along with a long list of other issues.
As for the driver’s union, I stand by my point that the second the policy suspension came down, Mayfield was left on an island. It’s a far cry from other sports, where the power of union often leads to effective appeals of suspensions — albeit under the sport’s own appeals structure and not in that of federal court.
For those that need a little help on the Mayfield story:
“(CNN) — Cyclist Floyd Landis has acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career after disputing for years a positive doping test result that led to his suspension from the sport, two news organizations reported on Thursday.”
And by the way maybe we should take up a collection and buy two of Andre Agassi’s book. One for you Tom and one for Mayfield.
And by the way Tom I did re-read your column to be fair. And I just had to chuckle. You are being such a child again. “only 10% of the rumors are actually true…” Now where did you get that figure? Just like the article, you pulled it out of a hat. I can tell you that from a close distance I watched the bumblings of Rod Blagojevich. And I can tell ya that 100% of the 100 rumors out there about him are true.
Again all this stuff being written, you now defending yourself…for what? What’s the point of any of this. Mayfield failed two drug tests. That’s has nothing to do with a union. Mayfield has went about a scorched earth policy now. And everything he does from here on out and for the last year is just amusement fodder. It’s the sad acting out of a man that went down the wrong road. What’s a union got to do with that? He has to have the strength to move on and change his life. It’s sad now because he is striking out now so as to not to become homeless. Because he has left so many debtors out there, likely including the lawyer he is using now, that he will never see the light of day. But what he IS laughing at now is about all this free media he is getting from people like you, willing to dance to his tune, all the while he strikes up that pipe—laughing as he hits every keystroke now.
First of all, thank you John – that made my day!! :)
Tom, you cannot compare the NFL to NASCAR. Even taking the union out of the mix, the teams employ the players, and the teams are all members of the NFL itself. In NASCAR, not only in most cases do the teams not even employ the drivers (although a strong argument could be made that the drivers are statutory employees), the teams themselves are independent business enterprises that choose to compete in certain NASCAR sanctioned events. The NFL does not stand in the place of a sanctioning body – throwing events that are open to any and all competitors – but rather a league, which sets schedules for its member teams to follow. That’s a big distinction.
NASCAR says “if you want to race, show up here at this time with this equipment that meets these rules, and try to qualify”. You or I could do that. Try showing up with a Romo jersey and telling the Dallas Cowboys you would like to try and play today. See how well that goes…
The Judge has made a couple of rulings that I did, and still do question. His original granting of the TRO allowing JM to drive was one of them – because if he won, the wrong of not letting JM race could have easily been satisfied by money damages. It was suprising that he dismissed the complaint in its entirety, and if there is an appeal, it will be interesting to see how the appellate court views the decision.
I believe I remember reading at the time that Jeremy could have appealed his suspension to the National Stock Car commission, and if my memory is correct, that would have givien him another path to go down. He chose to go to court instead. So, I don’t know whether he was left on an island, or whether he put himself there through his own responses and actions. He started off in the wrong, not informing them of a material change in his heath, and the medication he was taking, and then was in court in less than a month. Not a smart way to go about things if one intends to continue racing in NASCAR…
All I can do is put myself in JM’s place, and I cannot believe that any situation should have spiraled out of control as quickly as this one did – think about it for a second – put yourself in JM’s shoes – if you want to race, and the test was truly in error, how would you handle it – would it come to this, or would something have been worked out – perhaps retests every single day leading up to the next event, at random times at your espense? Something else? Certainly not the uncooperative attitude he displayed throughout the entire ordeal.
The least problem JM has is lack of a union…
Ditto Ellen. And again your second argument makes a lot of sense. If you go back to day 1, Mayfield went for the jugular. It made me wonder right off the bat. Usually a caged animal does that. And he could have and likely still is under the influence of awful drugs. Why wouldn’t you say, if indeed you weren’t guilty, “test me for 400 days I don’t care I don’t take drugs? Instead all this crap and subterfuge. “The lab sucks, directions were bad, test wrong, tester bad, claritin” and on and on. He could have folded, shored up, bellied up, and be driving now. All the moves of a desperate guy on drugs. And he had for a time big-time junkyard dawg lawyers willing to participate, till they don’t get paid. And as you may know a lawyer doesn’t like to get stiffed.
Obviously..between the legal and morale arguments thrown up by the readers…there are a lot of not so “dumb redneck” fans who follow NASCAR. I think at times, the media…especially those who follow NASCAR tend to forget not all us fans come from a past of moonshine and swiggin beer. I for one am happy to see the fans show they may follow a sport who’s leaders think we are dumb..but all in all..we are a pretty intelligent group!
While there were rumors about Mayfield, it is strange that JC France was found in possesion of drugs and is allowed to race, because the case was dismissed on a technicality. JC France’s was caught with drugs, but will be allowed to race without ever going through the NASCAR drug rehab program. I guess NASCAR and France family have different rules for family.
There is only one solution. Everyone has to quit doing illegal drugs. Look at the mess in Ariz. If everyone quit drugs, there would be no problem. It is now un-American to do drugs. If there are no recreational drug users, there would be no addicts. As simple as that. :) (I will now get off my soapbox.)
I am not a JC France fan. Sounds like he is or is nearly a thug and so his his half brother side kick. But France is a Rolex racer. Even though they are owned by France family the Daytona series I think isn’t under the same drug guidelines. Don’t make it right, but it’s by the book on that one.
The Grand Am Series is owned by NASCAR and as such have to abide by NASCAR’s drug and alcohol abuse policies. There are no exceptions in the policy. However, as long times fans have observed, there are one set of rules for the France family and another set for everyone else.
The same judge who heard JC France’s case regarding his street racing and possession of cocaine is the same judge who heard a case last year against his cousin Brian regarding criminal charges and dismissed that case also.
JC France was suspended immediately and indefinitely from his series upon his arrest. Since I don’t follow either JC or sportscars, I don’t know whether he’s driving this year or not, but he got exactly the same punishment from his series that Jeremy Mayfield did from the series he competes in.
NASCAR has nothing to do with the criminal justice system, so I’m not quite sure why people are complaining about NASCAR in regards to his having the charges dropped, and claiming he was treated differently than Mayfield? That was up to the State of Florida to bring the action and take it to trial.
If you can show me where he was back racing without completing whatever drug treatment program he may have been required to do, I’ll concede it what you’re saying. But, without seeing something like that, you’re mixing apples and oranges…
F*** Jeremy Mayfield.
Get better, Brian Vickers.
Amen to both brother Evan. Amen.
Tom, Since there is no button to send an e-mail to you at your SI site, I am sending it to you over here, regarding your SI article, today. Tom, I have said right along that Jr. will not be competitive as long as he is at HMS. I think that Jr. needs a proven cc he can trust. He hasn’t had one since Pops quit. Look what it has done for Kenseth this year. I had hoped that with all of the money that Jr. brings into HMS, that HMS would get Addington for him. But I read that HMS is broke & all of the HMS employees had to take a pay cut. Rick got his money from his car dealerships. When the economy dropped Rick said that his dealerships didn’t just slow down, they fell off a cliff. Kellogg’s left, DuPont is leaving, etc.. So now, Jr. is bringing in the money to pay the HMS employees. It must stick in Rick’s craw to have to depend on the name of Earnhardt to keep his racing going & making the payroll. Rick can’t let Jr. go. So it now falls on Jr.‘s shoulders to keep HMS going. I wish the RH would let Jr. go. He has certainly fired enough others, Kyle Busch being one of the more notable. Jr.‘s first 2 years at Hendrick were run in Tony Jr.‘s old 2007 DEI specs. I read that last year Mark Martin’s car were made in the same shop as the 24 & 48. He ran great. This year they are being built with Jr.‘s in the shop out back. What I find odd is that last week after Jr. was 3 laps down, after 2 missed wave arounds & air was let out of his left rear tire, which is never to be done, they fixed his car toward the end of the race & he ran great 3 laps down, with the leaders. But then at Darlington, when he got back on the lead lap from 2 laps down, they can’t fix his car so he can run well…to save their souls…?!? He was going forward & then just started sinking, again. This same scenario has happened many times. Why does this pattern repeat itself over and over…? until Dover. If they get the car fixed to where he can drive it, like the end of Richmond, it is too late to matter. If he is on the lead lap, they can’t get it running well…?
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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