Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
After a Silly Season in which drivers ran from ride to ride faster than Denny Hamlin could truck it around his hauler, it’s easy to question the loyalty shown from drivers to owners in the Nextel Cup garage these days. Contract issues between Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray that forced the hands of their former employers have forever altered the climate under which this racing community operates, possibly for good.
With betrayals and defections still fresh in one’s head, the first move of Silly Season 2006 has made it easy to question loyalty once again, this time with Dale Jarrett. At 49 years old and with time running short on his NASCAR life, Jarrett announced this weekend he was bolting from his Robert Yates Racing ride to newcomer Toyota for the final two years of his career. With 12 years under his belt at Yates, Jarrett has been soundly criticized in several circles for the move, especially when the recipient of his services is being given the equivalent of the "evil eye" by nervous competition. That’s a shame for Jarrett, because he should be applauded for this decision, for having the guts to stand up and take such a big risk so late in his racing life.
There’s no doubt Jarrett is leaving both an organization and a manufacturer through which he’s spent the best years of his career. Originally a temporary replacement for an injured Ernie Irvan to start the 1995 season, Jarrett has parlayed that opportunity with Robert Yates into a successful partnership that’s included two Daytona 500 wins and a Nextel Cup championship in 1999. Jarrett’s relationship with Ford runs even deeper, with his first Cup win being secured behind the wheel of a Wood Brothers Ford back in 1991.
The decision doesn’t come down to loyalty, though, and it’s not about the money (although at a reported $20 million for two seasons, it’s a nice bonus). This is a difficult admission by Jarrett that his time at Yates has simply run its course. After finishing in the Top 10 in points every season from 1996-2002, Jarrett’s finished 26th, 15th, and 15th the last three years. Since the beginning of that stretch in 2003, Jarrett’s only registered eleven Top 5 finishes—- in comparison, he had 24 Top 5s in ONE season during his championship year of 1999.
It’s not like the 88 team hasn’t been trying to recreate that success with top talent. The UPS car is currently on crew chief number six right now since 2002, Slugger Labbe, but the 88 team still finds itself consistently mediocre, with brilliance on the track being the exception, not the rule. Former crew chief Mike Ford is currently making magic with rookie Denny Hamlin, and Jimmy Elledge is doing the same for Reed Sorenson. Brad Parrott and Shawn Parker were talented crew chiefs in their own right. No restructuring Yates could do, however, seems to ever replace the chemistry Jarrett and former crew chief Todd Parrott had during their years together. Parrott was initially replaced at the end of the 2001 season, a move that, while Yates had his reasons, broke the back of an organization that has yet to get itself fixed. While Parrott’s come back for several short stints since to run the 88 car, things have never been the same; that magic communication between driver and crew chief had simply run its course.
Make no mistake, Jarrett could have finished off his career with Yates without a problem. A marketing machine, he’s beloved by sponsors, appreciated by teammate Elliott Sadler (signed through 2008, the year Jarrett plans to retire) and still had the respect of his organization.
Of course, all that gushing doesn’t add up to race wins, and all that marketing genius doesn’t stop a gentle fade into obscurity on the racetrack. Take the case of the Labontes as examples. Terry Labonte chose to remain loyal to Rick Hendrick for the final few years of his career in another situation where chemistry had run its course, and nearly a whimper has been heard of him on the track since. Meanwhile, brother Bobby left Joe Gibbs under similar circumstances at Jarrett and is beginning to enjoy a bit of a career renaissance at Petty Enterprises. Of course, Labonte is being lauded with praise for his decision now; but it’s easier to get the pats on the back when you’re working for a legend and not for the new kid on the block.
Certainly, moving to Toyota has its share of risks for Jarrett; simply take a look at the way Waltrip’s team has run this year. There are no guarantees Toyota money will produce instant results, and Jarrett doesn’t have the longevity needed to wait. On the other hand, if Toyota’s effort is anything like Dodge’s triumphant return to the circuit in 2001, Jarrett could have a handful of wins waiting for him, as well as possible spot in the Chase not once, but twice for a chance at that long-coveted second championship that would allow Dale to tie his dad in the record books. That’s a far better outlook than his last two years at Yates would likely have ever brought him.
No one knows what the move will bring, and that’s the beauty of it for Jarrett, giving him an opportunity to clear his conscience as to whether it was the driver or the team holding things back at Yates all this time. In a changing NASCAR world, there’s a difference between being loyal and being realistic; Jarrett chose to be realistic, and risky at the same time. There’s no reason to question that, other than to wish him luck the gamble pays off.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Benedict Jarrett ?? The loyalty displayed by Dale is the antithesis of the unselfish act exhibited by Mark Martin. I hope Dale and Mikey enjoy the lack of success they deserve.
I was new as a NASCAR Fan when DJ won his first Daytona 500. I chose him as my favorite driver at that time and have cheered for him and RYR ever since. I will continue to be a DJ fan and a RYR fan. DJ is doing what he thinks is best for he and his family. Loyalty is a wonderful thing…but business is business.
It’s easy to blame DJ for defecting to the Toyota camp. But in my opinion he didn’t do anything wrong. His performance with RYR has been below par for any number of reasons; lack of good setup, lack of Chemistry, or simply lack of synergy within the entire group. DJ has been with RYR for a long time and I guess it’s time to move on. People are criticizing his move primarily because he is going to drive Toyota. Had he moved to a Chevy or Dodge camp no one would have made such a big fuss about it. I sincerely wish DJ good luck and hope he returns to championship form. And I hope Michael Waltrip retires and stops appearing in those agonizingly stupid commercials.
Funny how so many fans seem to believe that once a driver signs with a team he’s forever enslaved and loses all right to attempt to better himself—by whatever measure he chooses to judge job improvement by.
People say “they make more than enough money”, but if its immoral to say that a pennies a day sweatshop worker can’t try to better his lot its also immoral to say that an athlete earning a million a year can’t try to better his lot. There’s no monetary threshhold where enslavement becomes acceptable and if you aren’t free to choose a change then you’re enslaved even if the chains are forged of gold and studded with diamonds.
As for loyalty to an employer …
Contracts come to an end for a reason—so that both parties, owner and driver, can evaluate their situation and make a choice whether or not to continue the relationship. A driver has just as much right to not continue with an owner as an owner has to choose a new driver.
I am just sick! DJ was my favorite. I am very suspicious of Toyota and the cash. I feel my many years of NASCAR watching might soon end. I keep looking at what toyota has done to every other form of racing they have done. OUTSPEND< OUTSPEND< OUTSPEND< LEAVE
I hate to see DJ go, and my days of rooting for him will be over when he slides into a Toyota, but I have no ill feelings toward him. Clearly, the past 3 seasons at RYR have been lackluster, if not depressing. Its a huge loss to Ford, as DJ is a great spokesman, but the lack of success of the 88 team in recent years warrants some type of change. Its regrettable that he had to leave the Ford camp, but maybe Ford got the best years out of him.
my, my my how quickly we forget.the last time either of those ryr cars were good for an entire year was 2000 thru 2002.but the ol dj was not happy being outrun by the new stepchild ricky rudd so he ran him out of town and dj got a young buck that would be a good soldier and follow dj around like a puppy and they have not been sucessful since.ck out the stats for 2000-2002 then 2003-2005 and the FACTS speak for themselves!
I have much animosity for Jarrett defecting to the Toyota camp. DJ certainly didn’t set the world on fire during his tenure in the #28 Ford in 1996. But Robert Yates is an honorable man and instead of letting Jarret go after his one year contract expired, he built him his own team from the ground up! What ever happened to giving some loyalty to the one who made you a superstar.
Given Jarrett’s relatively lackluster time in Gibb’s #18, he might well be racing with a 4th rate team (or none at all) if Robert hadn’t stepped up to the plate.
Come on people…Money is money and a job is a job. No matter the money you make it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get a head. Many of us have left our jobs to search for greener pastures. I would think racing is no different. I know the money seems like the issue but I think it’s winning and having the resources that DJ wants. But I also know you can blame everything and everyone else for your problems when the problem is actually facing you in the mirror every morning.
If you do a little digging you will see that the main reason DJ left is because of the options they are going to give him after he is done racing. He had expressed time and time again that one day he wanted his own team and Toyota is going to give him that and then some. Money couldn’t have meant too much because RYR matched the offer and he still left. Toyota is not doing anything different than any other manufacturer if the roles were reversed, they are just better at it. Every now and then someone comes along that raises the bar and forces the competition to play catch-up. It happen’s in all forms of racing and this is no acception. If you are one of those that hate Toyota because they are foreign then go take a long hard look at your GM, Ford or Dodge because they have more foreign parts than Toyota’s!
Every one says about DJ leaving Yates Racing. But remember what Yates always says that he picks to resign the driver and sponsor the year before their contract expire. So if Yates wanted Jarrett to stay, why didn’t he resign DJ last year. DJ made a good point how RYR has fallen behind, by saying that the 88 & 38 teams don’t even have a engineer at the race track like every other team does. Even the 32 team has engineers for them. I just think RYR wasn’t keep up with the changes, because with yates making the Ford motor for Roush also, it has to be the cars cause roush is having sucess. Maybe change will do them both good, each one can get a fresh start and rebuild to a winner.
And for people complaining that DJ jumped to the “foreign” auto make. Question to ask which is the “american” make.
D J used Ford and Yates to get rich and win a champship and now told them .I don’t care that you took a nobody an made me rick. All I am only thing about myself. Not that if it wasent for you i would have been out of NASCAE 10 years a go
Sure,I’ve been with my company for over 11yrs.And they have helped me in many ways.But they can only offer me so much.If I feel that I’m I am getting stale and there is no more advancement and that I can no longer excel,I’m going to be open eyes and ears.Besides,I work for someone that would want me to do better if it came along.Good luck DJ and I will be behind you 100%...Lee
I have been a DJ fan for many years. I enjoyed all those races he won. I was so used to seeing him up front. DJ did not just suddenly forget how to drive. I have asked many times this year. Robert Yates gave Roush his engines – that’s the way Ford wanted it. What did Yates get out of it? It seems that Roush should have given Yates his setups for the cars. I don’t blame DJ for leaving. Ford and Roush sold him and Elliott out by giving Roush the engines to ourtrun them. And Elliott and DJ can’t even get a decent car. I will always be a DJ fan.
Listen folks. DJ’s decision is by far the RIGHT one. Since the joining of the YATES and Rousch engine programs, it only takes a short look at the performance of each to see who got the better end of the deal. The Rousch cars consistently run in the top 10 every week while Elliot Sadler and DJ are in the bottom of the pack. I have been DJ’s biggest fan since the early 90’s and it hurts me deeply to see such a talented driver and great person performing the way he has the past 3 seasons. So, for everyone who doubts that he made the right decision, simply wait till next season and see just how much of a step the old man has lost. With quality equipment and a good crew there is no doubt in my mind the DJ can still get it done.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.
Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.