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.
Thomas Bowles · Thursday April 18, 2013
Did You Notice?… On some things, despite mounting criticism NASCAR has the ability to stay consistent. In the wake of penalties issued Wednesday, the one that stands out the most here is Martin Truex, Jr.’s penalty for being too low in post-race inspection. That six-point deduction – equivalent to about 25 in the old system – along with a $25,000 fine for crew chief Chad Johnston keeps along with the same type of infraction reaching all the way back into the previous decade.
Why I find that important is, for the first time if you asked 50 of the top media members and garage insiders what Truex’s penalty would be, I’m confident all 50 would have said what actually happened. For once, a rulebook deadpanned as written in dry erase marker has a sense of permanence when it comes to a penalty for a specific violation.
That’s important. Football, for example has an automatic 10-yard penalty for offensive holding. The moment the referee makes his gesture, signaling the call you know exactly what the consequences are and what will happen next. So how NASCAR regains its credibility is by decisions as simple as this one: when a violation arises, respond with the same set of penalties. Again. And again. And again. Repeat it until you fall asleep over boredom. Write it out more times than Bart Simpson has to write on that classroom chalkboard.
And if there’s a difference? Extenuating circumstances? Every once in a very long while (Note: the length of a Kardashian marriage is not a long while… more like Tom Cruise – Katie Holmes?) that type of stiffer (or lighter) penalty can be allowed. But when you do it, provide a crystal clear explanation to the point even your 2-year-old at home, just learning the alphabet can read it and say the word, “Okay.”
Then… and only then… will NASCAR gain the respect with the rules it covets so badly. When TNT says “we know drama,” they’re not filming those commercials with a rulebook, flipping to a random page and pinning their finger on any random violation. Unpredictability needs to leave the penalty box and return to where it belongs; in side-by-side competition, during the waning laps of a race at Bristol. Sonoma. Kansas. That’s where it should be.
Did You Notice?… That on occasion, NASCAR hides behind the shadow of consistency to do more damage than absolutely necessary? On the surface, they’ll say 25-point penalties and six-week suspensions of Penske Racing crew chiefs, for rear-end housing violations at Texas are no different than what they’ve done in the past. 25-point penalties for major violations have been the spirit of the rules, along with six-week suspensions for about the last half-dozen years (100 points under the old system).
Perhaps the biggest example of such punishment comes from Penske’s main rival, the ones some say helped NASCAR target their Texas violations. Six years ago, at Sonoma Hendrick Motorsports failed inspection for failing to fit the Car of Tomorrow template. As a result, crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Steve Letarte were suspended six weeks, fined $100,000 while both the No. 24 and No. 48 cars and drivers, at the time lost those crucial 100 points.
But the difference there, unlike what Penske’s about to go through is that only one member of the crew sat on the sidelines. Switching out talent at Hendrick Motorsports is equivalent to calling on the bench of a Dream Team; anyone, at anytime can step in and do an adequate job, as evidenced by Darian Grubb winning the Daytona 500 for a suspended Knaus (and Jimmie Johnson) back in February ’06. Penske, with the suspension of the crew chief, car chief, and team engineer on both his No. 2 and No. 22 (along with the team manager for both, Travis Geisler) will not have the same sort of luxury. Their organization, should these penalties hold would lose the equivalent of its NBA starting five for the next seven weeks – NASCAR’s All-Star Race is included in the penalty. Keselowski, at a place like Charlotte can only do so much, especially with a brand new racecar. It’s the crew around him, responsible for calculating both his driving style and setup needs that’s just as important – and they’ll be decimated beyond belief.
Perhaps NASCAR, seeing the depth of these multi-car programs nowadays felt suspending more people was necessary to do real damage. They could also feel these rear end housings, clearly deemed illegal under the eyes of inspectors were a team effort, a wide-scale conspiracy to ensure Penske would gain extra speed “under the table.” But aren’t all cheating incidents like that? I’d think point number one is more realistic.
If that’s the case, I’d still argue to make such a serious change in how you handle these things, in the middle of the season when you’re dealing with the reigning champion is too much. There’s also eyebrows raised when you look at how Jimmie Johnson’s last six-week suspension penalty, in early 2012 was handled on appeal. Penske is about to go down the same road; will NASCAR hold up the consequences this time? And if they don’t, will it immediately feed into what Brad Keselowski accused the sport of (and didn’t get fined for)… favoring one organization in particular at the expense of all others?
NASCAR painted themselves in this box. Unfortunately, even if the inspectors are right it’s a lose-lose.
Did You Notice?… That other times, NASCAR chooses not to be consistent at all? Ron Hornaday’s 25-point penalty, while severe, pales in comparison to the one-race suspension Kyle Busch got for wrecking Mr. Hornaday intentionally a year-and-a-half ago at Texas Motor Speedway. Yes, in this case NASCAR will argue no one was kept from winning a championship. But isn’t any race, where you lose points conceivably the one that can keep you from holding the trophy?
The way NASCAR handled Busch, despite his history of transgressions put them in a position where they had no choice but to suspend Hornaday. Especially when you look at the two incidents; the way in which both occurred are eerily similar. In both cases, the caution had been out for about half-a-lap. The guy causing the wreck was running at full speed when he shouldn’t have been. Serious injury could have resulted. It’s hard to find extenuating circumstances here.
Of course, the most ridiculous set of consequences were the ones that were never even handed out – to Brad Keselowski. How in the world could claiming NASCAR targeted a program, over a period of weeks not be denigrating the product? Remember when the NBA was accused of crooked officiating? You’d think the whole house of cards was about to come tumbling down. And Keselowski gets, from CEO Brian France, “He just needed to blow off some steam?”
One: I’d like to have those pictures Keselowski has of Mr. France. Must be some pretty nice blackmail going on there. Two: as has been stated, by many people this week Mr. Hamlin should be sitting on the hauler at Kansas asking for a $25,000 refund. But you know what I’d love for Kes to do? Take $25,000 and pay it to Hamlin instead. That, to me, would be a win/win for everyone…
Did You Notice?… The conundrum facing Richard Childress Racing? At the moment, their four-car operation whose top team in points position to make the Chase, Paul Menard, has a father who’s reportedly interested in buying the assets of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. You would assume, if John Menard moves elsewhere the son, along with his multi-million dollar sponsorship is likely to follow. That would leave just Jeff Burton’s car “secure” for 2014, with Kevin Harvick taking off to join buddy Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing. Sponsors Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, and Rheem have not officially announced their plans but are expected to join the driver over at that new venture.
So where does that leave RCR going forward? Placing all their faith in the grandsons, the Dillon brothers as Richard works to complete sponsorship for Austin to move up in 2014. But even then, should Menard move elsewhere that’s only a two-car program; and Burton, let’s not forget has not exactly set the world on fire, posting one top-10 result in the season’s first seven races despite the presence of top-tier crew chief Luke Lambert. Outside investors, asking out of RCR last summer have also left the company at a financial disadvantage compared to superpowers Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing.
Or could the Menard purchase, of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing be exactly the type of boost Childress needs to stay competitive? Hendrick and Roush both benefit from “B” programs, which take engines and chassis from their organizations and work in tandem, sharing information as much as possible. For Hendrick, it’s Stewart-Haas Racing; Roush has Richard Petty Motorsports, among other smaller-tier programs. At times, Childress and Ganassi have tried to work together in this way, but their once-booming engine partnership has fallen short, to the point EGR is now using powerplants directly from Hendrick Motorsports.
Well, any sort of Menard purchase, if the talks do develop beyond pure speculation would likely change all that. He and Childress, after years of working together with his son could consolidate resources, keeping two separate programs but ensuring both are “on the same page” mechanically. You’d also think Menard would be willing to spend more of his own cash, expanding what’s currently a two-car operation at EGR while giving RCR the shared resources to keep their shrinking program competitive.
It’s a rough road for Childress ahead, when you look at the options for next season without proper funding: moving Ty Dillon up, two years too early in a third Cup car or trying to steal Kurt Busch from Furniture Row Racing. Self-funded Brian Scott, while having a strong start in Nationwide just isn’t ready for the Cup level yet; would that be where he’d turn out of desperation? I think, with a Menard purchase that wouldn’t be necessary; Menard, in a partnership would take the pressure off and allow Childress to survive adequately as a two-car team, with maybe a third car running a partial schedule. And what if Dodge decides to get back in the game, and needs an established team and engine infrastructure that it was unable to find during 2012, after Penske jumped ship to Ford?
Only time will tell… but Menard’s entrance into the sport has plenty more implications than just Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya.
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Thanks for making the point of how screwed up Nascar is without really saying it, that our take anyways…you did good, maybe they won’t fine you…LOL.
How in the hell do penalize a team when Mike Helton himself said the rear end housings were not illegal but that NASCRAP just didn’t like them?
Great article to go with this one:
Nascar Rules Consistency is to motorsports what Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are to holidays. I stopped believing in it years ago.
Geez, talk about taking one giant step to irrelevance due to a total and very public loss of credibility. this latest incident caused me to examine why i even bother following the spot and i discovered that the amount of enjoyment i’m receiving for time invested in following nascar is seriously dwindling. it makes me sick to see what this sport has come to. i’ve been following since the wide world of sports days. as a boy i would count the days just to watch a race that had already happened. it was magical, exciting and fantastic. nowadays i can’t even watch a full race on tv. the way the races are covered i’d say about 10% of the broadcast is worth watching and maybe 20% of the race itself is actually relevant. and now the penske situation. really? blasting the hell out of a team that didn’t violate a rule? what? at least back in the day if one of the bill frances was offended it seemed retribution would be handled out of the public eye. maybe they should just fire mike helton and hire the guy that used to run the WWF and get it over with. i’m absolutely disgusted with nascar and i’m getting much much closer to saying those two words… “goodbye nascar.”
Well, lets just see if the media really ask the hard questions to Nascar about all this.
THAT IS WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN….NOW.
NASCRAP makes the WWE look real!! I really believe that the FELON has total control now!!
Come on you guys we all know that NASCAR is a fill in for the NFL, and are you “sure” the WWF is not running NASCAR
babydufus, your comment is so right!
I wonder the same thing and quite often find myself NOT watching the race, just catching the last 10 laps or in the case of Texas, waiting until the next day to see who won online. Sad state of affairs for many reasons.
Roger might as well save his time and energy and let his appeal go now.It is early in the season and he can still rebound. He has zero prayer of getting his appeal upheld. This is not Indy car where he has the same status as Hendrick has in Nascar.He needs to reign back Brad as well. Nascar cleverly ignored Brads rant after the race and took their revenge by screwing both the 2 and 22 teams not to mention nearly the whole Penske Nascar organization
I’m sure Mr. Middlebrook will give Brad and Joey a FAIR ruling.
“The wheels on the bus go round and round….”
I Would agree consistency is non existent & if Brad was a little smarter the penalties may have also been a little bit less.. But if I was Hendricks I would be suing johnyboy60 for slander (yes I am a Brad fan & not really an HMS fan) What is the basis for his constant comments with Hendricks…johny60 sounds like an old severe left wing socialist who is just bitter about what others have & have acheived ..
Nice read Tom.
Writers you need to clarify the fact that the parts had illegal attachment slots … not single holes as required by the rules. The parts were not illegal per se but had illegal attaching techniques. They could adjust by moving the parts with the illegal slotting.
Hey Earner, Johnboy is absolutely correct. Rick Hendrick is a convicted felon (for bribery, no less). Look it up. No slander involved.
I like how it is less of a fine finishing 2nd & getting caught cheating then getting caught before the race.
Maybe the Penske rear ends were a copy of Hendrick’s and Brian’s buddy got mad at losing one of his advantages.
Agree there was a lot of inconsitency in how NASCAR handled penalties this weekend. Thanks for the article, it only reinforced my feelings as a fan.
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Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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