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.
Bowles-Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday August 21, 2006
The surprise of the weekend at Michigan International Speedway was a sound so ridiculously out of place during driver introductions, some fans actually looked around to see if someone was doing something stupid on the track rather than directing their emotions to the famous wheelman passing through the center of the stage. Surely, it seemed, the situation was nothing more than a ridiculous dream, the type where you end up doing something you could never accomplish in real life and then you wake up and go, "Well, it would have never happened anyway."
But this Sunday afternoon at the Irish Hills, that impossible dream did happen. No kiddingâ€¦Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got booed.
Now, if it were any other driver in this situation, the reaction was somewhat understandable. Junior was less than 24 hours removed from scoring, arguably, the most controversial win of his career, turning the back bumper of Carl Edwards' Ford on the straightaway, no less, in order to win his second Busch race of the season. It's a move that would have made his father proudâ€¦ the exact type of move his son has never seemed to embrace.
Remaining consistent in distancing himself from such things throughout his postrace comments that day, Junior was adamant. He would never intentionally wreck someone, not even a man like Edwards who happened to have cost the No. 8 team a shot at the championship by wrecking Junior late in the Atlanta race back in 2004. The fans weren't buying it, though; neither was the replay, which clearly showed Junior hit Edwards not once but twice, finishing off a ride for Edwards that wouldn't end until he hit the inside wall. So, there he was, Junior held accountable for a rare crime he hardly ever commits, but one he committed nonetheless. It also didn't help that the guy he tore up happens to be perceived, whether or not it's actually true, as the nicest driver ever to step foot in the sport.
Still, despite the controversy, let's not forgetâ€¦ this was Junior. We're talking eager to please, NASCAR's Most Popular Driver, guy you'd most like to invite out for a beer Junior. Surely, it would take just one night for the fans to forget what had happened, and by Sunday morning, they'd be cheering them as loudly as ever.
Guess not. Instead, the reaction continued to be negative, a type of negativity that could easily affect a driver about to go out and fight for the final spot in the Chase at a place where he had never finished in the Top 5 until the race here this past June. Oh, and that's not to mention his biggest challenger for that 10th and final spot, Kasey Kahne, who won the last race held at the track.
Surely, fan reaction had to have Junior on edge, right?
"People will form an opinion (on the incident), think what they want to think about it," said Junior on Sunday prior to the race.
Just like that, case closed. No biggie; boos from the fans, two meetings with NASCAR officials and Edwards about the incident, and constant questions about it Saturday and Sunday; none of that fazed him. Junior got in the car, drove it to the front, fought back from another controversy, a pit road mistake by his crew that put him all the way back to 20th late in the race, and eventually finished in 6th.
What's the lesson here? Simply not to ever underestimate the power of an attitude adjustment. It's these small moments that allow for deeper observation into just how much someone like Junior has changed.
And what an adjustment it is, especially for a man who last year who didn't need much to happen during a race weekend to leave with his head down and his team in disarray. After years of figuring things out, last year Junior appeared to go through a growing up stage, with decisions like the D.E.I. crew swap a clear expression of his desire to put his own stamp on an organization through which he has increasingly realized he is the centerpiece. Only thing is, those decisions didn't work out, and Junior seemed unsure about how to handle it, unable to figure out how to rectify the problem until his season was well beyond saving.
This year, it's a bit of a different story. Coming up on 32 years old, now five years past the death that will never fade, Junior is finally showing signs of taking full control of all that surrounds him. The past few months more than any other have seen decisions that show a marked leap of maturity. Not only has Junior acquired his own name, but he had the guts and the resolve to fire one of his good friends, Mark McFarland, from his own Busch team, replacing him with Shane Huffman, a driver that he claimed could get more "emotional."
“I just expected [McFarland] to have more of a killer instinct to him,” said Earnhardt, Jr. at the time. “I feel like he’s well capable behind the wheel, but that doesn’t always cut it."
Strong words from someone who, a few years back, seemed more concerned with whether or not he'd step on the wrong toe and make someone mad. Now, Junior is becoming a leader, capable of not only running his own team but steering the ship of his own life.
Which brings us back to the boos. The Earnhardt legend combined with a laid back persona has made Junior one of the most marketable personalities that the sport will come across in the next 50 years. That marketability will never go away. But in the midst of all this appreciation is developing a man with opinions, along with a driving style all his own apart from his dad that, while tamer, will occasionally ruffle feathers in its own way in order to get his point across. That ruffling causes controversy, strong opinions causing universal appreciation to break down into the side that likes you for who you are, and the side that liked you for who you were perceived to be. Just like the fallout that happens in all sorts of different situations, like Dale Jarrett's move to Toyota, for example, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will eventually lose some fans as he goes through this maturation process. He happened to get a bunch mad in one full swoop, but over time it was bound to happen. People change, and fans don't always change with their drivers.
Yes, the boos may have reigned down Sunday, but the new Junior appeared unfazed. Maybe this is the attitude adjustment he's always needed to get over the hump to the next step in his career.
Thirteen races left to wait and see.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
NOPE..WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!!
I understand that he road with Kurt Busch during driver introductions on Sunday, hense the boos. I also understand that on Saturday, from fans that were at Saturday’s race, that many of the boos were for Carl when the jumbo TV’s continued to show replays of the incident during the victory celebration. I also understand that Carl was booed during introductions on Sunday. What say?
He hears them.
Earnhardt has no need to worry about the booing because he has no fear of being punished by NASCAR. If Kurt Bush had of turned Jr. the way Jr. turned Edwards the fines and suspensions would have been vast. However Jr. and Stewart are pretty much free to do as they wish. That comes from the fact that they do put so many people in the seats. NASCAR has two sets of rules and on Saturday that was apparent.
He shouldn’t listen..he is not out there to make sure everyone likes him. He is out there to win races. Ask Carl..who did the same thing to him few years ago. His father never cared what everyone thought and neither should he!
It’s killing Junior. It’s going to get in his head and eat at him till he doesn’t make the chase. The boos were for him and only him and he knows it!
I don’t know what all the hoopla is about. If the situation were reversed, Carl would have done the same thing. I’m sure the boo’s do bother Jr. alittle, but he’ll get over it and move on and so should Carl.
Just a note…Mark Martin is the nicest guy ever in this sport. Period. Carl will never hold a candle to him. And on that note, I’ve heard that Carl had a lot of “choice” words come out of his mouth Saturday in victory lane, and he always seems to try to give a payback in a place he shouldn’t. Real nice guy I tell ya.
Earnhardt, Gordon, and Edwards were all racing full throttle for the win on the last lap. Edwards got loose and slid up the track in front of Jr. at somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 mph. Yes, Earnhardt hit Edwards’ rear bumper and sent him spinning through the grass. Slamming on the brakes at that speed is not an option. It was just one of those things that sometimes happen on a race track when cars are running close together at high speed.
It was a “racin deal”. Get over it. Would you be booing if the roles were reversed and Edwards had been the one to wreck Earnhardt?
It isn’t like Jr was the first person this season to hit and run to take a win. Carl Edwards tries to come off as the choir boy of NASCAR when it is known that he isn’t. Funny how all those boo’s turned to standing cheers when Jr took the lead yesterday…
Rationalize all you want about the fan boos at the track. One point that is becoming clearly evident is that what the fans think is of NO CONCERN to anyone at Nascar.
Nascar is a business to make as much money as possible. They could care less what you think. However, they will gladly take your money with a smile.
It’s not about racing anymore folks!
I want anyone who has an opinion on this to closely view the replay of this incident from Jr.’s in-car. It clearly shows Edwards’ rear end twitch back and forth near the exit of 2 indicating a loose condition (which Jr. thought happened). You get loose, you loose speed period.
The fact of the matter is that Edwards got loose (ran out of talent maybe) and THAT IS EXACTLY why Jr. hit him. Jr. was dead in it and Edwards wasn’t because he got loose. This is the fact that everyone seems to be missing (or more likely ignoring it for the sake of the drama).
Jr. would never put someone else in harms way for the sake of winning a race. Those of you who think so suffer from severe idiocy.
What Edwards did after the race, on the track, is what needs to be addressed….more so than what happened in Victory Lane. Those actions were absurd. Especially when you consider some of the tricks Edwards himself has pulled ultimately wrecking others.
Do as I say not as I do…...heh Edwards?
Jr. did show some class in dealing with the confrontation with Edwards.
How Edwards dealt with what happened does need to be addressed and I’m positive Nascar will respond with some penalties.
Edwards would be wise to heed the advise he was generously given by Jr. to not let these types of incidents get to him so much and to let it go.
What Jr. did Saturday was definitely an exception to his typical style of racing. Personally, I will always enjoy good hard racing the likes of what we saw with Kurt Busch and Robby Gordon over what we saw with Jr. and Edwards any day!
I divide the blame for the incident 50-50.
Carl was in a bad position being loose and having to check up or wreck himself. Jr. had the choice to let off or not. He chose not to because it was the last lap.
In one way I want to see Jr. blasted for wrecking Carl—because people are STILL blasting Kurt for bumping Kenseth for the Bristol win even though Kenseth didn’t wreck.
But its not really fair to Jr., who might not have been able to prevent the wreck anyway—at least not without wrecking himself instead. Though it must be remembered that he could have lifted and chose not to.
Mainly, I wanted to see Robby awarded the win because he was in front of Jr. by a good fender’s length before Jr. turned Carl across his nose.
i have no idea why Dale Jr fans would boo him after something like that… if you are gonna boo someone for doing something ONCE that he never does.. i dont think thats the makings of a true fan. im a huge dale jr fan and i will never boo him even if he does something wrong. i dont think most of the rock solid dale jr fan will either and the ones who think they are rock solid and booed him better check again.
I was at the race and I witnessed the impossible, people, even people dress in red booing Junior. At first I thought they were booing Edwards then I realized it was Junior. I think I was the only one cheering for Junior, simply because I don’t like Edwards. Thanks Junior for a great ending.
And if the roles were reversed you know Carl would have hit the brakes and let Junior regain his car… Since in the past Carl has been so understanding of other drivers and NEVER has caused anyone else to wreck. Can you smell the sarcasm?
And let’s not forget Mears was coming hard and fast into the mix. I know Jr did bump Carl, but let’s face facts, Carl is the master of hitting another car and getting position. Just ask the multitude of drivers he’s helped get out of the way. I seem to recall Kyle Petty coming to Carl after Bristol and having a chat after Carl helped move them
What everyone forgets is that NASCAR has never (usually) awarded fines for the “initial contact” unless “blatantly dangerous”. If there is any kind of “judgement” to the call on whether it was intentional or not they usually back off. However, they have almost ALWAYS stepped in on “retaliation”. So Jr won’t be fined because it was a judgement call whether he did anything wrong, but what Carl did was retaliation and WILL be fined/punished. I don’t get where everyone thinks NASCAR is so unfair…anyone still go to local short tracks? (Talk about unfair calls!!)
Junior bumped him once and didn’t lift, and bumped him again which took him out. He could have lifted but chose not to. I don’t think it was necessarily intentional, but it was avoidable.
The problem I have is all of the people who are making the statement that it was a move his Deddy would have been proud of. Deddy didn’t do anything of the sort on a high speed track like Michigan. Bristol, you bet. Martinsville, sure. North Wilkesboro, any day. But Michigan, no way. He would not take someone out on a high speed track because of the greatly increased potential for disaster. I think Deddy would have had a stern talking with the boy about when and where you spin someone, and Michigan is not one of those places.
Its clear to me that the booing was not directed toward Jr to begin with. If you watched on tv, the boo’s began when they interviewed Carl, and that interview was shown on the jumbotron. It was Carl getting booed by Jr fans for hitting him after the race. Simple. But I think Carl had every right to be upset with Earnhardt. He hit him twice, not once. Funny how on Sunday, Jr got the “Good Hands” award for avoiding a slow car that passed across the nose of his car. Jr had to slow down DRAMATICALLY to avoid that guy, but he didnt let off for Carl. In fact, he made sure not to back off because he hit him 2 times to finish him off.
No, he is not hearing it and neither is Nascar.Junior and Jeff Gor-don as he now is called can get away with anything.The rules that apply to others aren’t the same for them.He could have killed Carl and Nascar is more concerned about what happen after the wreck.Life must not be important to them at all,just Junior.
My, if Junior fans were booing him, then they’re either not true fans or idiots. Unreal! Carl would, and has done the same thing. I don’t like Carl but I actually felt sorry for him. He does need to settle down some but at least Junior didn’t escalate the whole thing and provoke him into making an even bigger a** of himself than he already had. Hey all I’ll say to Junior is, I’ll be cheering first place, last place whatever, and to those who booed what a racer does, well you might want to switch sports because that’s pretty pathetic. And to all you armchair NASCAR guys, come back when you’ve actually driven a car 200 MPH in traffic and tell me how you’d do it. Don’t forget, you only have a split second to decide AND then you’ll have to listen to all the chair jockeys second guess you. Have fun!
Dale Sr. once said ‘If you get booed on Sunday, you go to the bank on Monday’. I am paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
It was a racin deal pure and simple. Carl would have done the same thing if he was in Junior’s place. Two laps to go, its time to go! Junior got booed because it was percieved as an intentional punt. But if Carl had not gotten loose, I think things would have been different. Also, on Sunday, when Junior passed Carl for the lead, the crowd cheered. Carl needs to calm down a bit. Yeah, he should have been mad. But Jr isnt in the practice of wrecking people. He is much too clean of a racer. In fact too clean. With two laps to go, politeness goes out the window. It was good racing. Carl needs anger management.
To those who think DE Sr. would never bump some one at a high speed track they should talk to Rusty Wallace about the time he went barrel rolling at Daytona or Bill Elliott at Charlotte. All of the drivers today need to take a lesson from those like Petty and Pearson. They used to wreck each other until they came up with an agreement among themselves that if your front bumper is not up to the window of the car you are passing you don’t bump. That used to be what NASCAR looked for but not any more.
Go Jr!!! The #8 Rules!!! Get far enough ahead of the car behind you and they can’t bump you, if not, QUIT WHINNING about it!!!
Although this was not even on Jr’s mind I have to bring up 2004 again to all those against Jr.; October’04, Jr. is in the run for the championship, Edwards is a rookie, Jr passes Edwards and slides up in front of him on the backstrech. Does Edwards lift ? No, he turns Jr. around and takes him out of contention for the Cup. Since that day I have no respect for Edwards and never will. Saturday was a racin deal, just because Edwards is loose Jr. should back off and lose the race ? Don’t think so. Plus this was a Busch race, they run those for fun. Had this been on Sunday with a pts contender, Jr. might give them more slack, though I would hope that he wouldn’t. Jr. needs to toughen up a bit in my opinion, maybe this is a new beginning. GO 8 !
carl does JESSE JAMES country proud. missouri boys can feud with the best!
Fact: Edwards got loose. Fact: Junior hit him. Fact: NASCAR has always adhered to an “anything goes” rule for the last lap. Look at history: Jeff Gordon dumps Rusty Wallace at Bristol. Jeff Gordon dumps Matt Kenseth at Chicago. Jeff Gordon nearly runs Jeff Burton into the INSIDE wall at Darlington, NASCAR widest track. (See a pattern here?) If Jeff Gordon can cause at least three wrecks on the last lap of races and come out smelling like roses, why can’t something that was clearly a result of Edwards getting loose and Junior refusing to back off because it was the last lap appear just as innocent? Junior will always be under the microscope and everything he does will be magnified, in part for what he has done on the track but mstly because of what his father did before him. Win or lose, he will be scrutinized more than any other driver.
Edwards has a right to be upset, just as he had a right to be upset at Pocono. However, being rightfully upset does NOT give him an excuse to put people in harm’s way. Exacting revenge by spinning Stewart on pit road and hitting Jr. while his arm was holding on to the A-post AFTER the race was complete could have had disastrous results. The actions of Stewart and Jr., while maybe not the brightest of moves, were in the heat of battle. Edwards’ retaliations were calculated, and could have seriously hurt several people. For that, he should be punished harshly. I like Edwards, but I think NASCAR needs to send a message that putting drivers, crew members, and it’s own officials in harms way to settle a score will absolutely NOT be tolerated.
Dale Jr should have dented his nose when he came into Victory Cirle, the “old man” would have!!!
lol…there it is, someone trying to deflect this away from jr onto jeff gordon….i knew that was coming
i am a no.#1 fan of jr. always have been and always will be!!!
lots of non facts in these posts…...gordon didnt dump kenseth on the last lap he had four left and could have passed cleanly. jr was the one responible for the wreck at atlanta, not carl. jr was passing carl and he came back up to soon. he was not clfear and as he was the one passing….it was his responsiblity. edwards couldnt have checked up if he wanted to. sdo to those saying jr was just paying him back….BS. lastly….everyone of you defending jr….i want to see you here defending the next driver that punts junior with two to go
Posted by Randy: You get loose, you loose (sic) speed period.
So, if you are a professional racecar driver driving behind a car that is pretty much guaranteed to lose speed, wouldn’t you try to avoid that car? Dale had plenty of time to lift, and decided not to. I, for one, don’t fault him for doing what he did, but I don’t agree with all these arguments that he had no other option. I think it’s clear that he made the decision to not lift knowing it would help him win, but would wreck Edwards in the process.
“I’m just so glad to be here” the new JAWS
NASCAR’s come a long way. It seems to me that the #3 car was extremely good at the tap and go and that moves like those are a part of racing lore. If NACSAR lillies out on all of this talk, group hugs will be required after the race. Stewart’s right…Edwards should change his name to Haskall. No one seemed too excited at Atlanta when the tables were turned. Didn’t Edwards say something broke in the car.
I am liking Carl Edwards more and more as the year goes on. Now if only he would follow up with a good butt whippin of [sic] Tony. And Golden Boy 8 wants no part of Carl. Wouldnâ€™t even be a fair fight.
Well I must say it has been entertaining to read these ‘views’ of what happened. What I take from them is that 99% of you fans watched with your emotions and 1% with your eyes. NASCAR runs a business and deals in facts and rules not emotions. If you all were really honest you would admit that if your favorite driver was in the same position as Dale Jr. in Saturday’s race, your favorite driver would NOT have lifted, he would have done the same as Dale Jr.
Carl is no angel,and if he was going faster Dale Jr would not have got to his bumper. Too bad rubbing is racing.
The only thing I don’t like is this new way of thinking that when the guy ahead of you slows it’s ok to keep your foot in it. That folks is a dangerous game. I recall Jr. ripping on Blaney a little bit when Blaney bumped him at California. People that gas pedal has a hinge on it for a reason. I don’t care who is involved that is a rotten way to race. And whoever said Jr. hit Edwards bumper twice was right on. Watch the replay.
For those of you who say “Anything goes on the last lap” need to realize this wasn’t on the last lap…they had yet to take the white flag. At Bristol or Martinsville, I can see doing something like that to get by with a few laps to go, but this was a BIG, HIGH-SPEED track…plenty of time yet to back off, and try again to get around Carl.
Jr apologized to Carl, that’s fine, but how bad would Jr feel right now if Carl were in the hospital for injuries received when he barrel-rolled down the backstretch??? No-one seems to think about that, but watch the replays: Carl was a HAIR from barrel-rolling…and possibly injuring more than his hand.
Thank you to everybody who remembers Atlanta in 2004. Edwards clearly caused the wreck that took Jr. out, despite what revisionist historian jo smelser would have us believe. The most important thing to remember about that race was that Jr. didn’t have a bad thing to say to Edwards about it afterward. Even though it wrecked his shot at a first championship, you didn’t see Jr. going ape. He chalked it up to Edwards’ inexperience and praised the team that gave him a great race car.
Isn’t is amazing that when BudBoy happens to do a spin for the win on someone its a racin deal, or rubbin is racin, or its OK not to lift for a slower car. But when Gordon does exactly the same thing, the world is coming to an end. If its good for one its good for both. Isnt a thing different between the 2 incidents.
You say that Earnhardt Jr “chalked it up to Edwards’ inexperience…” So what was Earnhardt’s excuse on Saturday?
did gordon get boo’d for turning kenseth at chicago? did he get punished.. the answer is yes.. and no.
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