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 · Monday November 4, 2013
What is that phrase? Everything’s bigger in Texas? Well, if that’s the case you’ll find a whole lot of fans refreshed at the airport this Monday morning. What a wonderful story they’ll tell, of a place down in Fort Worth where they fought through traffic to pay for the best “durn” nap of their lives. Even Jimmie Johnson’s two-gun salute, from Victory Lane moments after the checkered flag fell at Texas couldn’t wake them up. Posing for pictures, at the intermediate track he finished shooting into the stands a race trait scaring race fans straight towards the exits…
All right, so let’s call a spade a spade; the No. 48 threw up a stinker on Sunday. No amount of mystery debris, lapped traffic, weird restarts or pit road penalties could keep the Lowe’s Chevrolet from stomping the field. They even tried to stub their toe, in the form of a 17-second pit stop only to slice through traffic as if there was a booster jet attached. Brad Keselowski called it “embarrassing;” in reality, it’s simply part of it. Johnson, as a five-time champion will do from time to time cobbled together one of those magical performances that will land him in the Hall of Fame someday. “Stealing” another victory from second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. the Hendrick Motorsports juggernaut was on top of their game, leading 255 laps on a day it seemed like all 334 could have been a distinct possibility.
But Johnson’s performance, up front doesn’t change the stale competition from second on down. During one green-flag stretch, in the middle of this race the top-10 runners didn’t change positions for 30+ laps. That’s right; you could have gone to Subway, eaten your lunch, come back and seen everyone in the same running position. Sunday also marked the fourth Texas race in a row where three drivers combined to lead over 310 of the scheduled 334 laps. In each of those events, it’s become a bit of a runaway at times, those up front building leads of up to ten seconds outside the top two or three cars before a debris caution or timely wreck scrunches up the field.
Not what NASCAR intended? Certainly not with the new Gen-6 chassis, designed to fix this type of snooze-inducing performance on intermediates. There have been glimpses of hope, like at Fontana in March but sadly most of the 1.5-to-2 milers have produced dominating days like this one. The speed of the cars keeps the tires on edge, passing difficult and drivers running in place. Whomever’s up front, already with a handling edge gets that much more of a cushion due to simple aerodynamics. Hope for close competition extends to two areas, then: green-flag restarts and pit crew speed. But a lack of cautions kills the first option; fans (and drivers) need to wait nearly 20 minutes between stops for the second. That amount of down time, for 15 seconds of tire changes just isn’t captivating enough for most without that super smarty pants engineering degree.
Circumstances didn’t help this one, either, Sunday never having the type of game-changing wreck, caution flag sequence or even fuel mileage gambles to muck up the field at Texas. Early on, it appeared tires would be a concern, Jeff Gordon’s wall hit combined with a handful of other drivers complaining their wear went down to the cords. But that wreck, on Lap 79 was pretty much the last time we saw any driver come close to crunching sheet metal. The final 255 circuits were run incident free, with just a debris caution, from Juan Pablo Montoya’s tire and an engine problem for Carl Edwards dotting the resume.
It’s a far cry from what Texas once was. The first few years here, Survivor: Alamo was a race car reality show as spectacular wrecks, mechanical miscues and a narrow line caused Demolition Derbies — it was too much in the other direction. To its credit, the speedway’s pavement has aged, gracefully enough to provide multiple grooves on-track for drivers to race. The goal is for them to be like Atlanta, where those differing lines combine with exorbitant tire wear to create a number of comers and goers through the field. On paper, it all appears headed in the right direction.
It’s just not getting there fast enough. Quick; other than last Fall’s late-race slugfest, between Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski what’s the most memorable Texas race you’ve seen as of late? Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s maiden victory in the Cup Series? That one was all the way back in 2000. In reality, there have been some barnburners; Carl Edwards’ Fall ’05 victory, combined with Jeff Burton’s in ’07 come to mind. But there just haven’t been enough of them, fuel mileage dial-backs and cars running far too fast minimizing the quality of competition. No wonder why the crowd, unreported on Sunday is nowhere close to a sellout.
That’s a shame, because Texas is one of the most important markets for NASCAR to succeed in. The track has a Humpy Wheeler, Jr. of a promoter in Eddie Gossage, always finding a way to keep the track front and center. The facilities are some of the nicest the national tour has to offer. There’s a large population base, many of them hardcore fans that make this market easy.
It’s the racing that’s been difficult to come by at Texas. And, as we saw on Sunday for fans outside of Jimmie Johnson lovers that makes enjoying the day, for all three-plus hours close to impossible. Not the impression you want to leave, as a two-date racetrack with a prestigious place in the Chase, right? Big market – and big money – aside, someone in the sport should spend the offseason fixing this Fort Worth facility before the crowd flops any further.
Connect with Tom!
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Don’t you just miss the “the good ole days” when the winner shared the lead lap with one or two other cars or was the only car on the lead lap, maybe even 2 or 3 laps ahead of second place?
Seldom is the rest of the story remembered after a race, it is only the bottom line. There may have been (rarely) only a few cars on the lead lap, but all day they had to miss the lapped cars, etc. It may have been a badge of honor to finish on the lead lap. Richard pop pop Childress only finished on the lead lap one time when he was driving. New ideas only receive scorn, it is just a shame, NASCAR is stuck in a rut lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut.
Who says a driver can’t pass in the Gen-6 car? That 48 car can pass any car at any time. Amazing.
Too bad the 48 car seems to be the ONLY car that can do that.
I really would like to go to a Texas race next year but this race makes me think twice about spending that money.
Tom Bowles, your disrespectful and unnecessary tweet after the wreck that ended Jeff Gordon’s race at Texas has made me reconsider the kind of writer you are. Until that tweet, I considered you one of the best and unbiased that I read on the internet, but no longer.
Texas? Well, I can tell you that I would never waste my $ and vacation time to go to Texas or many of the 1.5 ovals that are in the chase. Yeah, the 48 seems able to pass at will and everyone else is simply standing still marching in place. Guess my brother will be getting 6% off of his purchases at Lowe’s soon.
As a commenter who’s gone back and forth with me for years, I am so confused what got you so angry about that Tweet. I understand and respect that you are a lifetime Jeff Gordon fan. Everyone has their strong allegiances, part of what makes this sport so wonderful to cover.
I believe the Tweet you are referring to is “Jeff Gordon in the wall! Caution out — 24 headed to garage. Title bid, possible asterisk… it’s all over.” You can only say so much in 140 characters. All I’m saying there is his title bid is over, and NASCAR officials are breathing easy because the risk of a possible “asterisk championship” is gone. That’s all; it’s no different than anything that’s been said the last two months by me.
No question, had Gordon won the title he would have earned it through some amazing performances in the ten-race playoff. But the title would have always come with that asterisk, by some as he wasn’t even IN the Chase until the Friday before. Adding a 13th driver, at that late date was like throwing a 7th wild card team in the NFL playoffs. It’s unprecedented and, fair or no would cause the title by some to be viewed differently. In my opinion, that’s totally fair.
How you’ve turned that into an insult on Jeff is beyond me. Jeff didn’t do anything wrong… he was as innocent a victim as Truex. But circumstances, and the way this situation unfolded through NASCAR officiating (and the actions of Michael Waltrip Racing) will always make his 2013 Chase unique. Gordon made the most of the opportunity… but there are some who will always believe he should have never had it in the first place.
For the record, not all of us engineers find this exciting either.
I guess I was fortunate that my daughter and her family came for a visit at about lap 20 and left when there were 2 laps to go. I saw the beginning and the end and apparently I didn’t miss a thing. I used to hate it when people came to visit during a race. I now look forward to it.
You are 100% correct about Gordon and France’s decision to put him in the chase.
Nice pic. I haven’t seen a cowboy that happy since the Village People sang “Macho Man” back in the 70’s.
Tom, thanks for that explanation. I apologize if I misunderstood but as you say, I am a long time fan of Jeff’s and having this opportunity end in the wall was a real sore spot just then. When I read your tweet, it sounded dismissive of the efforts the 24 team had made BEFORE Richmond and since the start of the chase. Yes, BZF did add him into the chase and surely they thought about the possibility that he could win it all. More than Gordon winning it, for NASCAR, the worst thing that could happen would be Bowyer winning it, although I’m sure Bowyer’s fans would disagree.
Of course as far as I’m concerned ALL of the Chase trophies come with an asterisk as none of them are full season championships. Do I want Gordon to have one anyway? You bet and having a tire failure screw this good opportunity up had me really ticked off.
Sorry that I took it out on you and thank you again for the explanation.
So glad I missed this race. Thinking about taking a break from Nascar until Jimmie retires.
Texas is the poster child for glutting the Cup schedule with 1.5 cookie cutters. SMI bought and closed North Wilksboro to give it its first date. Then they sued NASCAR and ISC to get its second date. The settling of that suit led to Darlington losing the Southern 500 on Labor Day and Rockingham being sacrificed to give Texas its Fall date. I’m not saying NASCAR wasn’t happy to do it at the time or that North Wilksboro and Rockingham didn’t have their issues, but Texas Motor Speedway began the trend in the 1990s of building 1.5 mile cookie-cutters in new markets where seating capacity became more important than providing good racing.
Jeff Gordon should not be in “The Chase” and that race was boring as hell, sadly.
Sully, if Gordon doesn’t belong, neither does Bowyer.
You folks don’t want stock car racing, you want theater. You want to see a play not a race. On Sunday, you saw what perfection on the race track looked like. Instead of marveling at seeing a 300 game in bowling or a pitcher throwing a perfect game in baseball, you idiots sit around complaining how boring everything was. You call your selves “fans”, nothing could be further from the truth. You want excitement, go to a WWE event, they have everything planned out for your enjoyment. PS, I’m a Kenseth fan and I was on the edge of my seat the whole race.
Gina, you are delusional if you think Brian France added him to the Chase because he thought he could win. France could care less about that. Gordon in the Chase was far more lucrative for him than Jeff out, and he found a way to get him in.
Just look at all of the decisions France has made since he’s had the reigns. All based on money, which is why Nascar is in the poor shape it is right now.
By the way Tom, its not the tracks that are the problem, its the car. Texas is not the only place that has single file borefests disguised as a Cup race. The trucks put on a decent show every track they go for the most part, so its not the track.
The chase is just a hokey publicity stunt. It should be called “Chase for the big pot of money”. The point system has the same problem the Latford system had. It is a welfare system to make everyone close. There is almost no advantage to win. You can lose a ton of points but you can only make them back one at a time. Asterisk, big deal.
Gina, you make it personal, its your favorite driver(extremely obvious with your bias glasses always glaring in your posts, thats o.k.). I have never been a fan of Gordon, but that’s my cross to bear. With that said however, you do not change rules in the middle of the game no matter who it is, no matter what happened. It weakens the integrity of the sport. What sport does that? That action solidifies the opinion of many that BZF and Nascar has a special relationship with HMS, to the exclusion of other teams. And this is one example. I don’t care about Bowyer or Newman or my mailman in this instance, it was wrong period and the sport looses credability all around.
Steve, no, I’m not delusional, I know that BZF didn’t add him out of the goodness of his heart or “fairness”. He added him because of the $ that Gordon in would bring in from all of his “bias glassed” fans. Yeah, Sully, I hear you and I’m aware of it, but I’ve taken a lot of heat for my choice of favorite over the years and I am not going to give it up now.
Once upon a time, having a favorite driver and caring a lot each week was what MADE NASCAR interesting, along with the racing.
Jim, no I don’t want theatre, I want to see an actual race – with passing – not a follow the leader event or one where there is only 1 great car – which is what NASCAR Cup races have become. The rivalries on the track made it interesting – now the drivers are all “team mates” or buddies. Yuck.
I watched the “race” during NFL commercials. It was all about the chase not the race. They only focused on a few cars and left most of the field uncovered. It amazing that 2/3 of the field can maintain sponosors. ESPN has also started showing the in car shot of the driver which gets boring in about three seconds. Why not show a second shot of someone further back?
After what happened yesterday, the Circuit of the Americas should be a shoo-in for a NASCAR Cup Series race.
“only to slice through traffic as if there was a booster jet attached”
It’s been like that for years. But it is “Brian legal.”
FedUp, I agree with you. Heck they even started earlier this year, they started talking Chase at the 500 in February, then they talk talk talk about it. It’s just the HMS drivers in The Chase that they talk about mostly. Heck Logano knocked off a few top 5’s and two times they did not interview him and he got a small nod yesterday, and the nod was that they were not talking about him and they said it, he ran up front all day. Matt gets a mention because he is Jimmies “rival” Silly stuff.
Brian and Rick made sure all of the HMS drivers were in the Chase and that’s who they concentrate on. It’s not good for the economic health of the sport.
@Jim R…GREAT post!
Thank you, HankZ!!
Gina, There was lots of passing going on. Johnson passed a lot of the field several times. Now I will concede that if the field starting a race was 30 cars instead of 43 cars, there would be a lot less passing. I think the rules packages currently in effect makes the cars pretty much equal. It is what the teams and their driver do with those packages that can make the difference. I agree with you that multi-car teams create certain “situations” that detract from the real purpose of the sport and I would prefer seeing a maximum of two cars from the same owner but that will never happen as long as sponsors contribute the money.
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.