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 June 9, 2010
Did You Notice? … A developing trend? In the last two weeks, we’ve had two mild-mannered veterans go all Jekyll and Hyde, losing their cool while venting frustration in a way we’ve never seen before. First, there was Jeff Burton, pulling a tantrum on Kyle Busch through a blown tire that’s got him nominated to the Finger Pointing Hall of Fame. Then, Joey Logano followed suit last Sunday, a late-race incident with Kevin Harvick the final straw in exchanging the Disney Movie high road for a pair of boxing gloves and an R-Rated mouth. It’s a one-hit wonder of good guys losing their patience we don’t often see this close together, let alone in the same season.
Well, you know what they say about celebrity deaths: everything comes in 3s. Are we on the verge of another goody two shoes – or NASCAR bad boy – blowing his temper to finish off the trifecta? Let’s look at two possible candidates:
Jeff Gordon. Quietly lost amidst the Pocono post-race drama was Gordon refusing comment upon leaving the infield care center. After getting involved in that last-lap melee with a car that was handling like it had no power steering, 32nd place was not what the doctor ordered for a team still riding a winless streak in 2010.
Like Burton, Gordon has come close but no cigar on Victory Lane during half-a-dozen races this year. He also said the dreaded “P” word just a few months ago in Talladega, disgusted over the way teammate and driver Jimmie Johnson raced him two weeks in a row. It was a shocking moment for the man everyone considers a mild-mannered superstar; but let’s not forget, this guy’s the same one who shoved Matt Kenseth at Bristol a few years back. Heck, he even punched Mike Bliss in the face after an ugly incident at Chicagoland.
So after all the bad luck that’s headed his way in 2010, you’d have to think it wouldn’t take much to send Gordon over the edge. Could he and Kyle be the next ones to dust up? The former Hendrick teammate threw a few jabs his way in recent weeks, most importantly comparing Gordon’s driving style to Hamlin’s allegedly “dirty” move that sent Busch into the wall and cost him a win in the All-Star Race. Considering how well both have run at Infineon, perhaps a little road course tangle is on their agenda for the month of June.
Tony Stewart. I usually don’t get offended by Stewart’s dealings with the media, but Friday’s press conference was something else. All it took was one writer to ask a question about his season, and he immediately was given a verbal reprimand. Stewart then demanded a change in the line of questioning to this week’s “Prelude To The Dream” … and that’s exactly what he got, all of us backing down while the press conference was controlled by him from start to finish. How grumpy is Stewart lately? He was lashing out on Sunday even though he wound up third…
“Not a stellar day,” he said, attributing his run to track position and luck before turning his attention to frustration over the other drivers on the circuit. “I feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s still a long ways away. We still got a lot of work to do.”
“Restarts were idiotic today. I’ve seen some of the worst driving I’ve ever seen in my life in a professional series right here today. So for anybody that’s looking for drama for the next couple races, start looking, ‘cause I can promise I’m going to start making the highlight reel the next couple weeks.”
Mired in the midst of his driver/owner sophomore slump, it’s easy to see why Stewart’s so temperamental these days. Sitting one point outside the Chase in 13th, he’s been down this Heartbreak Hotel road before and would rather not endure it a second time. With so many competing for a spot in the top 12, there’s little margin for error and he knows it; so one bad move by someone else, and Tony’s wrath will let loose a season’s worth of frustration on an unsuspecting victim.
Juan Pablo Montoya. Listening to Montoya’s radio channel as of late, you’d think the car was running 35th, not towards the front, based on how much he’s been complaining about handling. In the midst of a trying season, four top-5 finishes are balanced by four DNFs that make a Chase bid a serious longshot heading into the summer months. Add in getting wrecked by his own teammate, and it’s not like this Colombian has a warm and fuzzy feeling inside the Sprint Cup garage right now. For a repeat of the Harvick-Montoya fracas, or even Montoya-Newman, it’s honestly not going to take much.
Did You Notice? … Joe Gibbs Racing showing some inconsistency? Here’s what bothers me about the whole Joey Logano aftermath: a number of scheduled interviews with him were canceled on Monday, including a big one on NASCAR Now that went straight to JGR President / damage control spokesman J.D. Gibbs. That also ties into a little story we heard from Tom Logano this week, lost in the criticism of him running down on pit road to get involved in something that was none of his business. When defending his actions, the elder Logano noted that he wasn’t trying to push and shove but instead keep Gibbs guys from restraining the 20-year-old, crewmen that ultimately prevented him from getting the 1-on-1 convo with Harvick he sought.
Why is this important? Well, when’s the last time you saw Gibbs boys sitting there restraining Kyle Busch from getting in someone’s face? And how about Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski? I didn’t see the Gibbs bunch pull the block when they were both up in each others’ faces at Dover. It’s a noticeable change in philosophy, done for one of two reasons:
A) Gibbs is Tom Logano, Jr., unwilling to let their child prodigy let go for fear he might do something stupid.
B) There’s an image of him as a mini-Mark Martin they’re interested in upholding.
I’m going to go with option B. Consider Home Depot is one of the more sensitive sponsors on the circuit, who’s fined its own driver in the past for bad behavior. Add in the uncertainty of its future with the team, especially when the company has been up and down financially, and JGR is going to do everything possible to keep it in the fold. If that means having a squeaky clean driver behind the wheel, well, they’ll stop at nothing to make sure they get it.
It’s just a shame if JGR did put the muzzle on, because Joey on Sunday was a breath of fresh air after what’s seemed like a pre-programmed personality upon reaching the Cup circuit. He won so many new fans by speaking his mind; I just hope he’s allowed to keep doing it.
Did You Notice? … Quick hits:
- Chad Finley is teaming up with Brad Keselowski after all. After a third-place finish in the ARCA race Saturday, Finley said at first he wouldn’t be driving in the Truck Series for BKR. But in emailing me earlier this week, he explained it was a simple misunderstanding of the question; Keselowski is looking for sponsorship to run the 18-year-old in a handful of races this Fall. In just six career ARCA starts, the teenager has two top-5 and four top-10 finishes, including a pole at Rockingham last Fall.
- Hard to believe that it was two years ago this week where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wound up in Michigan’s Victory Lane after fuel strategy got him up front. Looking over his press notes, here’s what he said on that fateful day after ending a two-year winless streak that had lasted since Richmond in May 2006:
“I never wondered, man, will I never win again. You know, I’m going to be around here if I can have my way, I’ll be around here for quite awhile but I’ll have good opportunities driving good race cars for hopefully a good time, and more opportunities to win.”
You wonder what his mentality is like now, in mid-2010, going winless for 72 races in a Hendrick car that was supposed to bring him multiple victories and a shot at the season championship. Would he say the same thing… and actually believe it?
I don’t know.
- A very interesting quote from Jack Roush’s teleconference yesterday. We’ve talked a lot about how so much of the setup nowadays is through electronic simulations, leaving little drivers can do if cars get to the racetrack and those sims are off. Well, Roush confirmed how these engineering glitches are affecting the program:
“We’ve got third-party vendors, not Ford and not Roush-Fenway, that were engaged in our data analysis and in our simulations,” he said, “And quite frankly, we haven’t got the results this year that we had expected. Certainly, the results aren’t as good from the simulation data, that analysis point of view, as we had in 2008, and given the fact that we don’t have testing that has been a handicap.”
“We didn’t have the correlations that we’d expected on many of the simulations.”
In English, that means the computers have led Roush astray, and they don’t have any on-track time to make up for that loss in data. It’s amazing; a sport that used to be all about the driver is now make-or-break based on how quickly you can get your computer geek to fix your electronics.
Did You Notice? … There’s a NewKyleBusch and an OldKyleBusch after all? Someone started up Twitter accounts with both handles, comparing and contrasting the different “personalities” he seems to be displaying in 2010. Following them could be the best thing you’ll ever do if you need a random laugh during the day. Here’s a sample of what you’re missing:
OldKyleBusch: [Fiance] Sam got mad when I wanted to put a mirror above our bed, then I told her it was only on my side.
NewKyleBusch: I am positively giddy w/ anticipation right now – @ScottSpeed is coming over tonight to watch the season finale of Glee.
OldKyleBusch: I wish I had a body pillow with me printed on it, so I could cuddle with myself.
NewKyleBusch: I am trying to calm Joey down, and bring out the NewJoeyLogano in him.
And, my personal favorite…
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Did you notice… 17 Days til Danica’s return!
Tom – Since when is Logano a “mild-mannered veteran”?
I guess his rookie campaign really settled him into veteran status.
Tom Logano is the reason we shouldn’t have children racing in the cup series.
Tom Logano reminds me of those dads who start fights at their kids baseball, football, and soccer games.
Very Weak Column this week
Talking to Jeff Gordon after the last lap crash wasn’t “ quietly lost “ . Nobody cared what Gordon had to say . And if Jeff does go off on someone , he will be carefull to pick someone he can go toe to toe with . Someones’ grandmother or a sixth grader for instance .
The OldKyleBusch vs. NewKyleBusch stuff is hilarious! So is seeing him the commercial with a mullet. And even though the “kittens, bunnies and baby seals” car commercial is starting to get old, it’s still pretty funny. Kyle Busch may be a jerk, but he’s providing me with some good laughs this year.
@CarlD Although I agree the commercial is getting old. I LOL every time I think of the O-KB driving a pink car w/kittens, baby seals, and I love you on the back, wearing a kitten helmet. I would pay to see that. CLASSIC
2) Everybody asked for NASCAR to let drivers show their real personalities. Now, all I read is about “oh my god, Jeff Burton spoke out!” and “what’s up with Jeff Gordon walking away??”. Come on people. This stuff used to happen every single weekend every single year and nobody thought twice about it. Is society that wussified (yes that’s a word) that we get all stressed out when adults disagree? And why are some people crying about this sudden burst of personality in the sport after they themselves begged for it?
3) Too many NASCAR reporters suck. They attempt to create stories out of non-stories continuously. How about taking that time to do some tech specials, or tell stories behind the real stories, or highlight some great moments of the past, or teach people about the inner workings of the sport and teams – i.e. educate and entertain with something worthwhile rather than talking about Delana’s firesuit and “new Kyle Bush vs. old Kyle Bush”, etc.
4) Speaking of new vs old Kyle, can we just stop doing just that – speaking about it? People don’t change, they just get corrected and develop some restraint (and some do not). He’s the very same guy. STOP writing about new vs old. Seems I’ve seen enough of his actions in the last few weeks to convince me they are one and the same, which of course I knew anyway but far too many fans drink this new Kyle coolaid. I think the fans are the ones that need to mature …
5) Tom Logano’s boy will never grow up with Tom at the track. Get away and let your boy become a man. Everybody has to get their a&& handed to them at least once in that process and let that happen to your boy for his benefit. As a previous posted commented, Tom is exactly the kind of father who is involved in fights at T-ball games. Sickening. Tom, sit down, shut up, or get out.
Just keepin’ it real, folks.
BTW, most of my comments were not aimed at the other comments above. I agree with almost all of them, great points made. Some of the other comments I’ve seen have alarmed me but the comments on this article are spot-on, except for the ones liking the N-KB vs O-KB crap (god, makes me sick just writing that). Other people – thanks for helping KEEP IT REAL! In this era of WWE-style NASCAR and lame-a$$ reporting/media, it’s gonna take all of us to right this ship!!
KIR – FINALLY!?!?! Someone agrees with me!
I think Logano’s comment about Harvicks wife wearing the driving suit in the family was so funny and right on target.The only thing now is that he must dump Harvick back and do it really good. Shake him up, because Harvick deserves it. Had Logano paid Harvick back after the first incident, which was a brutally intentional and uncalled for dumping, there may not have been a second incident.Harvick is a wise punk posing as a good guy. Thank goodness TNT is back and Larry, DW and Hammond are gone.
Dansmom – I have to admit I love your comments. Whether I am in agreement with them or not (often I am), they are entertaining as all get out and get people stirred up!! I’m sure some of my KIR comments will do the same, but seriously I love this sport and care about it enough to call the crap when I see it and call the good when I see it too. Just too much of the former and not enough of the latter and I really hope that changes.
BTW, yeah, only 17 more days until DANICAMANIA version 2.0!! Fun! Can I throw up now?!?!
Doesn’t RFR run four Nationwide cars? The 60, the 98, the 16, and the 6. Sounds a little more severe about the winless streak with another car added.
You’re right. I always forget about the 98 because, well, Menard’s pretty much a non-factor during most Nationwide races. Correction made … thanks!
Roush’s comments sum up one of the major problems with NA$CAR in regards to competition. How much money does NA$CAR really think the teams are saving without testing, when that money is just diverted to “high tech” in house testing facilities? And obviously the results are flawed, costing even more in money and results. Meanwhile, the teams who can’t afford to lease this equipment, much less own it, would be better served with on track, real time data at a much lower cost. The testing ban is just one more way NA$CAR killed competition.
Managing Editor, you do realize that Menard is 6th in points with top 10 finishes in over half the races this season, right? And that he finished third literally four days ago? And that two of his team cars that are, apparently, “factors” in the races are below 25th in owner points with a combined 3 top ten finishes? His average finish is less than 3 spots worse than Edwards’, and that includes getting dumped on the final restart in Dover when he was on pace for another top ten. There have been some complaints about terrible reporting and writing about this article already, but that response certainly takes the spot for worst offense.
Come on, now. If you’re a full-time Cup driver entered in the Nationwide race with any type of funding, it’s pretty much an automatic top 10. I was being facetious with that comment, but since you called me out check out these Menard stats: one top-5 finish and five laps led in 2010. I’d call that being a non-factor.
As far as crappy writing and reporting, I always maintain if you don’t like the column, don’t read me. I try and make every column the best it can be, but there are ups and downs just like any job or project you have in life. I appreciate those who like my work, and for those who don’t, I take the criticism in stride and try to learn from it. I wish every column could be a hard-hitting, investigative report or an inside story … not enough hours in the day or scoops to always go around. I also think it’s nice to mix it up a bit, hit on a wide variety of topics and strike a different tone each week. Keeps it fresh; what you might find weak this column, you’ll love in the next one.
The crazy thing I’ve learned about six years of sportswriting is you can’t please everyone, and the critics all think they’re experts. Alright, well if you know it all and we're all terrible then let’s see you write a column! It’s easy enough to do, about 5,000 sites and blogs where you can go for free. Teach us how it’s done.
Managing Editor , that self imposed title sure sounds like it should carry some weight . And if it were held by a true journalist it would .
Why is it that Roush’s struggles explain why everyone else is bad, but they don’t explain why Menard is behind? His driving style is similar to Kenseth, Martin, etc. He doesn’t lead many laps, he’s conservative for the early part of the race, and he avoids dangerous positions. For an example of the opposite, see: the 6 and 16. When the car isn’t as good as it should be, he’s not going to finish higher like a more aggressive driver, like Edwards, would. Also, it’s basically his first year with the team and his first year running double-duty. All of these would be used as excuses for drivers with different last names. And as far as him being a Cup driver in Nationwide, most people (including at least some on Frontstretch) continue to rate him somewhere just above Conway, so it’s fair to say that they don’t find top 10’s to be an automatic for him. As far as the writing goes, I don’t have much of a complaint about the actual piece. I mean, there are some terrible ones on here sometimes, but they get their due criticism. Critics aren’t always wrong.
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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