NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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
Monday March 3, 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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
To the Point: Taking a trip to Bristol is like taking two straight pulls on the slot machine at Vegas; you never quite know what you're going to get, and the chances of hitting big twice in a row are slim to none.
Guess Matt Kenseth has amazing luck.
Kenseth passed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take the lead on lap 399 and went on to lead all but one of the final 102 laps to win the Sharpie 500 Saturday night, becoming the first driver since Dale Earnhardt in 1987-88 to win back-to-back August races at Bristol. Sweeping both the Busch and Cup Series races on the weekend, Kenseth built a comfortable margin of .591 seconds at the finish between himself and second place Kyle Busch, with Junior, Scott Riggs, and Jeff Gordon rounding out the Top 5 finishers.
Who Should Have Won: Kenseth. Jeff Burton may have led the most laps, pacing the field for 263 of the first 381 circuits, but when it was time to shine, the DeWalt Ford Fusion driven by Kenseth was the one who stepped up to the plate. In the last 100 lap segment, the No. 17 car was flat out in a league of its own, never being significantly challenged while dicing through traffic like it was racing at Michigan the previous weekend, not a half-mile short track with one primary groove. Kenseth's skill was rewarded with his second straight win on the Cup tour, the first time he's done so since February 2004.
Five Questions You Should be Asking After the Race Weekend:
Having led the points most of the season, Johnson still has a slight edge, especially since he's visited Victory Lane in the series' biggest races this season - Daytona and Indianapolis. Clearly, though, Kenseth is going to pose a strong challenge to Johnson heading into the championship fight. His two straight wins this month have also been paired with a runner up finish at Indy, while Johnson has followed up his win at the Brickyard with ho-hum finishes of 17th, 13th, and 10th, leading exactly 1 lap in that span in comparison to Kenseth's 204. Those numbers add to a chilling stat for Johnson; in the last five races in the regular season the past three years, he's had just two Top 5 finishes in 13 opportunities. Let's put it this way: it could be critical for the No. 48 team's morale to pad those stats before Richmond, otherwise the No. 17 bunch steals the favorite's role.
2) When will Jeff Burton win a race?
More and more, the season is looking like a disappointment for Burton if he can't find a way to get back to Victory Lane. For the fifth time in the last seven races, the Cingular Chevrolet led a significant portion of the race, this time pacing the field for 208 of the first 250 circuits at Bristol. Like clockwork, though, as the race ticks away the No. 31 car suffers a meltdown, and Saturday was no different, with Burton tumbling backwards to ninth over the final 100 laps. Afterwards, the frustration from the entire organization was evident, and it's rather obvious that unless Burton puts it together at the checkered flag, this team's appearance in the Chase will be nothing more than thatâ€¦an appearance.
3) Why was Bristol so tame this time around?
Usually, the night race at Bristol resembles the type of fireworks one rarely sees on the politically correct NASCAR tour nowadays, with fighting, bumping, and backstabbing a regular occurrence. This year, though, the field spent most of this night playing nice, with the race's 10 cautions the second lowest total for a night race at Bristol this decade. Even more surprising, half those yellows weren't caused by bumping and banging but from one car tire failures (more on that later). So, why the politeness? It seems the answer might lie with points and Silly Season. For the drivers up front, the points are so close that one slip-up by anyone 3rd through 11th would knock them out of the Chase for good, and with so many vulnerable, too many people spent the night trying not to be the victim. Not only that, but with Silly Season settled earlier every year, the drivers towards the back of the pack in points aren't fighting for their jobs, so there's not much desperation, either. Bristol needs desperationâ€¦when you don't have it, you don't wreck.
4) Waitâ€¦say this to me againâ€¦tire failuresâ€¦at Bristol?
That's right. With several long runs Saturday night, it appeared that both crew chiefs and Goodyear were caught off guard with the possibility that a race here might go green for longer than 50 laps; when it did, someone's right front tire was living on borrowed time. It didn't help that the track surface was falling apart, either; hopefully, a repave job during 2007 will help alleviate the problems that were being seen for future races.
5) Is Robert Yates Racing in more trouble than we're being led to believe?
Well, the alarm wasn't sent out for Todd Parrott to return home just because things were going hunky dory. At one point, the team looked to expand to three cars in June with Ward Burton, Stephen Leicht, and Elliott Sadler. Now, Gilliland has torn up three cars in two weeks, and so far has shown nothing but indicators that he needs more time in Busch. At least Citifinancial realized that with Leicht, stating point blank to Yates they don't want their driver in Cup before 2008. With Burton's sponsor deal dead, that just leaves Yates with one car for 2007, barring an unforeseen miracle; and with the Toyota onslaught coming, keeping that car in the Top 35 will be a chore in itself. Hard to believe we could see a one car Yates team with DNQs next year, but that's certainly possible.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Starting 40th, Junior's car was junk at Bristol all weekendâ€¦until the drop of the green, when it suddenly jumpstarted to life. By lap 117, Tony Eury, Jr. had used pit strategy to bring the No. 8 car to the front, and they never really faltered after that, with Junior bringing the car home in 3rd after fading late to both Kenseth and Busch. Still vulnerable to the Chase, Junior's confidence level is at least rock solid once again.
Scott Riggs: It's a bit of a longshot, but what if Riggs comes back this season and finishes 11th in points after missing the Daytona 500? It'd be quite a story, and the No. 10 team is doing everything they can to make it happen. The 4th place finish at Bristol was a season high for Riggs and moved him up to 19th in the standings, and the spunk Riggs showed in a postrace conversation with Jeff Gordon after the race showed he's not about to back down from his newfound instensity (see Quotable section for more).
Michael Waltrip: Not a misprint here; for the first time this season, the NAPA car actually showed signs of life. Waltrip quietly ran on the lead lap until the final few laps of the race, keeping his nose clean and packing his bags from Bristol with a 16th place result, a season best for his fledgling team. Not overly impressiveâ€¦but something to build on, for sure.
Kasey Kahne: Yes, in one sense Kahne's 12th place finish at Bristol isn't all bad, considering he has yet to climb higher than 10th here in six starts. But with many of his Chase competitors running well around him, Kahne needed a better performance to put his championship destiny in his own hands; now, he needs to rely more on Mark Martin's "bad luck":/tbowles/4898/, or the bad luck of someone else.
Kyle Petty: Completing 1,499 of a possible 1,500 laps his last three starts at Bristol, this track is still one where the Petty Enterprises leader runs wellâ€¦but not this time. While attempting to dive underneath Dave Blaney entering turn one, Kyle dug his own grave and spun out; struggling to a 34th place finish after that, 19 laps down, the No. 45 car is now just one more bad race away from having to qualify on speed. Ruh roh.
Clint Bowyer: With his Chase hopes destroyed, Carl Edwards may have the better reason to be mad at Tony Stewart, but Bowyer is the driver that is still struggling to recover from that Pocono incident. Bowyer has been inconsistent with a 4th, a 14th, and a 33rd since then, and was mediocre at Bristol before a wheel came off the car, crashing him hard into the turn three wall and hurtling him towards a 38th place finish.
Editor's Note: For more on Mark Martin's tough day, please read this week's "Bowles-Eye View":/tbowles/4898.
Denny Hamlin jumps two spots to sixth, with Jeff Burton up two to seventh and Tony Stewart dropping three to eighth after a mediocre, uncharacteristic 22nd place at Bristol. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. creeps up one spot to ninth, while Mark Martin tumbles a whopping six spots to round out the Top 10. Martin is 90 points ahead of Kasey Kahne for that last Chase spot, with Kahne the only driver within shouting distance of the ten contenders with two races remaining.
"It's just a rough day when all the guys in front of you in points finish ahead of you in the race. There are so many good race teams right now. We've got to figure out how to be better than them." Kasey Kahne
"I just tried to tell him (Jeff Gordon) good job, good race, and he tried to tell me to pass him on the straightaway. I did the same thing he would have done. He was holding me up in the middle of the corner, and when I was away from him he was driving a whole car length up in the corners. When I got to him the last 15 laps he was on the bottom. I could have dumped him, but I didn't. I told him good hard racing, and he would have done the same thing." Scott Riggs on Jeff Gordon
"I was definitely holding him up. There was no doubt about it. There are ways to pass, and hey I've been there before and moved guys. I was more concerned that he was going to spin me outâ€¦when you get more experience racing with the guys up front, you do things a little bit different." Jeff Gordon on Scott Riggs
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