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 · Wednesday August 7, 2013
Did You Notice?… Tony Stewart will be out for at least a week, likely several, after breaking his right fibula and tibia in a sprint car crash?
Of course you did.
The incident, making national news, is the third such one for Stewart, driving a Sprint car within the last three weeks. The first two didn’t scare him; I doubt this third one will, despite the second surgery and extended hospital stay that awaits. Some people watch TV to relax; others go running, catch a movie, or spend time with their partner. Well, there’s only one way Stewart, who has about 1,000 different things on his plate can do the same.
Driving a Sprint car.
There’s a lot of people who, this Wednesday, will be claiming that hobby needs to end. First and foremost will be Stewart-Haas Racing’s accountant; this injury, which causes Smoke’s top team to miss the Chase will cost them millions in exposure, points money and bonuses. A top-tier NASCAR organization, with three full-time teams and employees in the hundreds are dependent on a leader who will now be MIA for the foreseeable future. The short-term hit on Stewart’s body is bad enough; the long-term consequences for everything else connected to him could last well into 2014. Danica Patrick has lost a mentor; Ryan Newman’s team, already in transition towards Kevin Harvick has no one to answer to should they start laying back. A rudderless ship doesn’t always sink, but simply leaving that outcome to chance is a dangerous game.
Many are calling taking that risk, one that left Stewart in the hospital, irresponsible. So should this man, at age 42, stop doing what he wants? Well, last I checked, we lived in America: the land of the free and the home of the brave. The whole point of a democracy is that we have control over our own fates, not dictated by the government or some mythical Big Brother watching over us. Fame here, as it does so often, shouldn’t come at the result of stealing your own happiness; success isn’t meant to impose misery. That’s important considering for a few short hours, in the middle of nowhere, competing against men who do this as a hobby, Stewart feels relaxed and content. One could say putting him in the right frame of mind, early each week allows him to be successful everywhere else in life; for athletes, mental preparation is just as important as physical talent.
If that’s the case, how could anyone, let alone Smoke himself, lose that part of his life? We’re not talking drugs here, nor skydiving or bungee jumping. Yes, there’s a chance of injury, even death; but you know what? There’s also a risk of injury every time Jimmie Johnson takes his boat out onto Lake Norman. Or every time Denny Hamlin plays basketball (see: torn ACL). Last I checked, these drivers don’t live in a bubble. The reality of everyday life should continue to exist for them, just as it does for you and me.
So in Stewart’s particular case, I expect little will change. Months from now, healed and healthy, Smoke will be back on a dirt track, somewhere you don’t really know mixing it up and having fun with a bunch of local racers. I can’t say with confidence, however that will be the same for everyone else. The big NASCAR owners, where business is a bottom line will now see this racing as a potential red flag. After all, we’ve now had a death (Jason Leffler) and two major injuries (Stewart, Shane Hmiel) that have made national headlines within the last few years. The pattern, scarily enough, is within range of the lives lost during 2000-01, within NASCAR’s top series that eventually claimed its heart and soul: Dale Earnhardt, Sr. With hundreds of employees on the payroll, sponsors paying millions and the owners themselves earning much more off their drivers, a little Tuesday night playtime in a Sprint car won’t be worth the seven-digit investment they’re making. Expect certain clauses, preventing extracurricular activities to skyrocket faster than you can google “Johnny Manziel fall from grace.”
Still, the concept of banning top drivers from these events seems insulting to tracks, promoters, and racing series across the country. So you’re saying Tony Stewart can’t race a Sprint car, since it’s unsafe but thousands of other “normal” citizens can do it every Saturday night and risk death? “Hey, Johnny Smith; you’re not special, so take Tony’s spot and if you wreck and die, oh well. At least the guy with the big bucks still races next week.” If the situation is that dire, safety becoming that much of an issue, then everyone should be working as a team to fix the problem. Last I checked, “saving” famous people doesn’t exactly work as well as a HANS device.
That’s not to say raising standards, in the Sprint car arena will be easy. The most fun car to drive is also well known as the most dangerous, safety standards far below the level which NASCAR’s established today. You’re talking a number of local tracks, with limited funding across the country that don’t all work together or are involved in the same associations to begin with. Local racers, who struggle to find the money for a helmet some weeks will be resistant to large modifications they’ll be scraping up money to pay for. Unification across the country, in pursuit of a common goal of saving lives, serves a noble purpose but is little more than a pipe dream.
That same word – dream – is what brought Tony Stewart to where he’s at in the first place. There’s thousands out there pursuing the same, looking to be just as successful while accepting the inherent risks that come with jumping inside a race car. Stewart won’t be the last one hurt, just like Leffler won’t be the last to die and Earnhardt won’t be the final tragedy we see on the Sprint Cup level. The best safety measures can decrease the odds, as we’ve seen but never completely eliminate them. 200 miles an hour, diving into a corner is as unnatural as trying to maneuver a winged Sprint car, at maybe half that speed around a small dirt track in the midst of heavy traffic.
What happened to Stewart was unfortunate, something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. But there’s a difference between “unfortunate” and inherently unsafe. Let’s hope everyone comes to understand it.
Did You Notice?… Quick hits before taking off…
- Max Papis will confuse some people as the choice to sub for Stewart… but it’s actually smart. He tested the car at Road Atlanta, did well and has some Nationwide Series top-5 finishes in quality road course equipment. The “right-turn” specialist also earned his best career result at Watkins Glen, in Cup with a ninth-place finish in 2009. Victory Lane might be a stretch; a top-10 finish? That’s very realistic.
- My vote for the best sub for Stewart, surveying the landscape would be Regan Smith. He’s done it for a high-profile ride before (Dale Earnhardt, Jr. last Fall), is a fellow Chevy driver (part of JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series) and is without any Cup opportunities for 2014. What better way to have an open audition, showing people what you can do than by taking over in one of the top cars on the circuit? It’s the least Stewart can do to make things even between them after a certain Talladega “steal” nearly five years ago.
- Breathing Chase easier after this whole incident: Brad Keselowski. Still winless, there’s suddenly one driver he leapfrogs over instantaneously this Sunday while battling for a top 10 spot in the season standings. Not looking like a winner, before Richmond points will need to be enough for the No. 2 car. They have to start working on building consistency now — but at least a little bit more of the pressure is off without such a major player fighting to get in.
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©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The paragraph about everyone losing Tony makes it sound like he died…I’m pretty sure he will still be at the track, and helping his drivers and crews as much as possible. Once we get back to the ovals, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get back in the car, even if only to start the race. Stewart is a tough SOB, and I don’t see this sidelining him too long if he has anything to do with it.
I hope he gets well soon and back in the car. I can’t stand his crybaby attitude sometimes, but he has passion for what he does.
Personally, I think all the media that are saying what he should do, and what Kyle Petty has the right to say need to get over themselves and realize the only thing they’ve driven around a racetrack is a golf cart to the media center
“The whole point of a democracy is that we have control over our own fates, not dictated by the government or some mythical Big Brother watching over us.”
Has anybody been paying attention to the news then? The U.S. government is literally trying to take over everything. They are spying on us in real time, have taken over GM, are trying to take over Apple….and the most scary thing is Obamacare which will dictate HOW WE LIVE.
But hey…don’t worry…just keep watching those “reality” shows and everything will be fine. You’re in good hands.
I’m not sure why people are so quick to assume Stewart won’t make the chase. Obviously, it’s more difficult now, but unless someone else between 11th and 20th gets a win, all he has to do is be above either Truex or Newman in points after Richmond. If he only misses 1 race, that is certainly possible.
After Tony’s broken leg the general consensus is that his participation in lower levels of racing below “Sprint Cup” is just Tony’s passion for competition and its his business and we should respect it. That being said I fully agree. However, when Kyle Busch competes in lower levels he is judged and criticized under a double standard. If Tony and Kyle both want to participate in “Soap-Box-Derby” so be it. However, let’s view both men using the same standards
I figure it’s a personal choice. Tony is an adult and capable of making his own decisions. I don’t think anyone else – NASCAR or others – need to be involved in it, certainly not to the point where they could “forbid” him to do it. This whole nanny-state junk is stupid. Think for yourself, make your own choices, live with the consequences.
My husband..a successful business owner…thinks Stewart has no right jepordizing the welfare of so many who depend on him. I then pointed out my husband is an avid Harley man…a MUCH more dangerous endeavor then Sprint cars….Nuff’ said. We all have our ways we make our lives enjoyable…ways we deal with the everyday drags of life….to each their own..Nuff’ said.
I have no problem with Tony Stewart or any other driver doing whatever they want when away from the track. That’s their business and their choice. In that respect I agree with you, Tom. I just hope that the people who depend on Stewart, and the organizations that have paid to put him and his car on the track, are so understanding. Tony is one of the most hard-headed people in Nascar, so I’m sure no one can convince him that his moonlighting just might not be smart considering his business obligations. However, it’s Stewart’s right to be as stupid and stubborn as he wants to be.
Considering the same brands are on his Sprint car as his cup car, I’d venture to say they understand and promote it. They’ve never had any trouble cashing the checks from t-shirt and die-cast sales. Would be a little foolish for Mobil 1 or Bass Pro Shops to come out and criticize Tony when they’re helping foot the bill most nights he’s out there.
Time to name backup drivers Each team name a backup at start of season to replace there primary diver. that way there still in the points race Every sport has backup players except NASCAR
tom… I like the backup idea but only to be used if a driver is not cleared by a doctor to race, or for a death in the immediate family.
Last year JR this year Hamlin and now tony
Tony may be hardheaded and the boss, but I’ll bet that he will listen to what Zippy has to say on the matter. But ultimately, Tony at least needs to carefully weigh his extracurricular activities (which IMO contribute quite beneficially to his overall state of mind) against the responsibility he has to his sponsors and employees, and find the best path from there.
You know, I hear what everyone is saying and I agree for the most part. We all want to live life on our own terms and as long as we can suffer the consequences without affecting anyone else, so be it. For the most part I don’t like it when my job encroaches on my real life.
I agree he should have the freedom to decide where and when he races. However, its his sponsors and the large checks they write that will determine how much Tony does now. I’m sure they knew this could happen, but try explaining that to a Board of Directors and shareholders when your spending $25 million a year.
Just as drivers have the right to race wherever they want during the week, the owners have the right to limit that by contract. If I owned a major race team with hundreds of employees, Fortune-500 sponsors to keep happy and millions invested in a star driver; I would think long and hard about how much extracurricular racing I would allow.
The main reason I like drivers like Tony, Matt and Kyle is because they do the short track racing. Also, the main reason I can’t stand Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon cause they DON’T!
Everybody, including all the sponsors with their money, should remember that a major reason for Tony’s popularity and his marketability (and his driving ability) is that he is a wheel man – a real race car driver who lives to race and to have a good time while doing it…
JER, what you said is bang on. Everyone jumps on Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and Joey Logano when they go run Nationwide, Truck, or any other racing series, calling them egomaniacs and accusing them of stealing money from those other series. But, when Tony does it, he’s a racer, he helps them out, and he is praised for his actions. Complete hypocrisy! If it is wrong for Edwards and Busch, it is wrong for Tony too!
Have you considered the possibility that Tony’s appearances at short tracks have actually put money back into the coffers of those tracks, and onto the purses handed out to the drivers? A Tony appearance is a virtual guarantee of a sellout wherever he goes. With a lot of short tracks struggling financially in this tough economic climate, the boost to their bottom line is incalculable.
When Stewart starts showing up regularly in the NW or Truck series I’ll start bitching about him too. Until then these dirt tracks are so far off the radar I don’t give a damn. If every NW and Truck race wasn’t televised, I probably wouldn’t care about the others. But if I’ve got sit there and watch it, then I’d rather not see someone from the majors beat the crap out of the wannabes.
2013 NASCAR would be much more interesting if Tony put a kid in the car (Larson, Dillon, Burton) instead of the same old retreads. We NEED some new blood in this stagnant series.
Us questioning him is irrelevant. We’re just fans who he has often said don’t know what we are talking about when it comes to racing and his life. He doesn’t care what we think.
The ones who do have a right to question him, and he does have to worry about, are his sponsors, which make the world go around in NASCAR. His team wouldn’t exist without them. You can be darn sure that when the #14 becomes a backmarker with a backup driver and no screen time for whatever company is on the hood, there will be objections from them, and I suspect they’ll want a clause their sponsorship contract that either forbids him from racing lower levels or gives them an out and/or refund if he can’t make races due to injuries in the lower levels.
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