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.
The biggest story in the Busch Series recently has been the domination of Cup affiliated teams and Cup drivers. Those are the teams with the biggest share of the sponsor money and the biggest budgets. But what’s life like for a team and a driver on the other end of the spectrum? Frontstretch talked with Kertus Davis, a young driver with a family owned team who is entering his second season driving the No. 0 Race Girl Chevrolet in the Busch Series, simply trying to survive in a Buschwhacker dominated environment.
Frontstretch: First I’d like to start off with some background information so our readers can get to know you a little bit.
Kertus Davis: At the age of seven I started racing go-karts. I had numerous wins on the local go-kart tracks and even at the national level. South Carolina state champion in 1997 and third in the WKA nationals that year also. In 1998 I started running late-model stocks at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Florence Speedway, Myrtle Beach Speedway and I just kind of bounced around here and there for about two years running about 20 races a year between "˜98 and "˜99 in late-model stocks. At the end of the year in 1999, I started running in the USAR Pro Cup Series and ran three events. From 2000 to 2003 I ran USAR Hooter’s Pro Cup off and on for a couple of years with a few Busch starts. In 2001, I made my first Busch Series start at Nazareth, Pennsylvania. In 2002 I believe I ran five Busch Series events with my father and a family-owned team. In 2003 I ran the full Hooter’s Pro-Cup Series and finished third in the point standings. For 2004, I ran probably about six Pro Cup races and about five or six Busch Grand National events, and in 2005, I ran the full NASCAR Busch Series circuit.
FS: You ran for Rookie of the Year when you ran the full Busch Series circuit last year. Can you give me an overall assessment of your rookie season. What kind of goals did you set, and did you accomplish those goals?
Davis: Really, we’re probably the lowest budgeted Busch Series team on the circuit. To even go, and I think I made every single event but five, that was pretty outstanding for us. Our main goal was really to get plenty of seat time and experience and hopefully get picked up by a team with good financial backing, but that didn’t happen. I got a lot of recognition by the commentators and cars throughout the garage, but unfortunately this business is all about marketing, and I couldn’t really come up with a great sponsor to go to a team I needed to be with to compete on a first class level. For 2006, my father and I are just kind of going race to race to see how it goes, but time is running out on me. I turned 25 years old yesterday, and we’re just basically going race to race.
FS: I know you have a family-owned team. Is this the same type of deal some other drivers like Ashton Lewis Jr. have done, with the idea of just getting noticed in order to move up to a more established team?
Davis: Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s the main goal, to hopefully move on to someone like Childress or Ganassi or even DEI or any team that’s got a good sponsor, to be able to compete at a top-notch level and run up front week in and week out and really get recognized.
FS: You mentioned being the lowest budgeted Busch team in the garage. How do you go out there and compete with all those Cup teams coming over?
Davis: It’s really tough. We went to Daytona with high expectations. We qualified 29th out of 50 cars and went home. With all the new rules NASCAR has, we’re outside the top 30 in points, so we got sent home even though we qualified extremely well and knew that we would race extremely well. It’s unfortunate, but with the rules the way they are, we got sent home. At California Speedway, we qualified 35th I believe out of 47 cars, ran all but the last 35 laps of the event, and had a bunch of belts come off the motor so we just decided to park it.
FS: Last year you ran one race with FitzBradshaw Racing. They’re somewhere in the middle between the top budgeted Cup teams and your team. Tell me about the difference between running with your regular team and that team.
Davis: It was a great experience for me mediawise and all. The performance level wasn’t there because we had a couple problems with the car. But I think it really helped me as far as the media by getting me in out in front of the camera and in front of the public more. I was hoping to have a good run, but we had transmission problems, and then some tires got switched around. All in all, it wasn’t a bad experience, but it wasn’t the performance that I was looking for. It was a great opportunity that FitzBradshaw gave me at Texas Speedway last year.
FS: You mentioned sponsorship before. Do you have any sponsors on the car for this year?
Davis: Well, Race Girl is still with us. You can check them out at goracegirl.com.
FS: What kind of resources do you have to work with as opposed to what the other teams have?
Davis: Well, your average Busch team has anywhere from 14 to 20 full-time employees. I have two, including myself. I work on the car, and my dad drives the transporter each week to the track. The average Busch team has anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 per event to spend, and I have between $5000 to $10,000 per event from sponsorship.
FS: What do you do for a pit crew? Do you have people that volunteer?
Davis: We have some volunteer people all across the United States, and my dad normally buys their license. Usually, when we’re in the area they’ll fly out or come to the event and pit my car. If it’s a companion event with the Cup Series, some of those guys really like me over there, maybe first started in racing through me and with my dad through our years running different series so sometimes they come over and give me a hand because they know my situation.
FS: This week the Busch Series is going to Mexico. That has to be an expense.
Davis: It is a big expense. I don’t have any road course experience, so we opted to use Randy Lajoie. He didn’t have a ride, so he’s going to drive my car at Mexico and try to get us some points so we can get in the Top 30.
FS: Most teams build specific cars for road courses, although building a car for two races is another expense. Are you using a purpose-built road course car?
Davis: Yes, we have a purposely built road course car that I built last year. We’ll be using it for Mexico and for Watkins Glen.
FS: I know you’ve mentioned that your goals for 2006 remain to get track time and get noticed in an effort to get with a bigger team.
Davis: Yes, that’s my goal for this year. Hopefully before the year is out, I’ll be with a team as a development driver as a full-time driver for ’07 or maybe in testing for somebody. My father and I really don’t know how many races we can run this year. We’re going to go to the first five definitely, and look at our financial status from there. Then we might have to pick and choose, but if somebody comes on board as a major sponsor, then we can kick off and run the full season again like we did last year.
FS: Do you feel like having all those Cup teams in the series hurts you as far as signing that major sponsor?
Davis: It really has. A lot of the Cup teams are using the Busch Series as their testing ground, and they’re pretty much taking up all the sponsors and it’s taking away from the little teams like my father and myself. It’s hurting us on the business marketing side of the sport.
FS: Do you think they’re hurting the Busch Series overall?
Davis: I think it is. Ten years ago, you only had like two to five Cup drivers that would run some of the companion events. Now you have anywhere from 12 to 20 Cup drivers at these companion events, so it’s really tough on us.
FS: Have you talked to any teams about a development deal?
Davis: I had a lot of things in the works. I had my hopes really high coming into this season about some things I thought were going to happen, but they never did happen. I can’t really name any names because I don’t want to get anybody upset because a lot of that was confidential. All of it was based on sponsorship, and none of those teams got any sponsorship for the ’06 season, so they’re just running limited schedules with Cup drivers and whatnot. I kind of got pushed to the back burner once again.
FS: Now, the Truck Series is a little different, because you don’t really have all of those Cup drivers over there. Do you think that would be a better place to try to come in as a development driver, or is it more valuable to get the experience racing with the Cup guys in Busch?
Davis: Yeah, it’s a great experience racing against the Cup guys. I feel like you learn a lot more. For instance, there’s a couple of places where I was behind Jimmie Johnson or Kasey Kahne, or even Greg Biffle where I could watch their lines during practice. I followed them around, and I learned a lot quicker…I came up to speed a lot quicker. The Busch Series pays quite a bit more than what the Truck Series pays to start. The Truck Series is almost as tough, if not tougher as far as making an event. They only start 36 trucks, and then they have 30 that are automatically locked in, so it’s almost tougher to run the Truck Series than it is the Busch Series.
FS: I know we’ve mentioned the locked in starting spots a couple of times. Right now you are on the outside of that. How do you feel about it, considering that it may be shutting out regular teams in favor of teams using the race as a test session?
Davis: It’s really tough. Again, we qualified 29th at Daytona and ran 181 mph. That was 5 mph faster than some cars that qualified, and yet we went home. I think what NASCAR ought to do, and this is just my opinion so they probably won’t do it, but if they want to have the fastest cars in the field, they ought to take the fastest 43 cars and they’re in no matter where they are in points. That’s the way I look at it.
FS: Is there anything you’d like to add in closing?
Davis: I think for being the lowest budgeted team on the Busch Series circuit, we did an outstanding job making all of the races that we did last year. We really surprised a lot of people, and I’m really surprised that I didn’t end up with a ride with somebody with all of the team owners and team members watching me throughout the garage. I really thought we’d have something coming into this 2006 season.
FS: Not only did you make all of those races, but I thought you did a pretty good job, all things considered, in them. You certainly didn’t seem to be in anyone’s way.
Davis: Some of the races I felt like we were, but when you don’t have the engineers and resources from being affiliated with the Cup teams like the majority of the teams are, then it really makes it tough. It’s like when we were running in the Pro Cup Series. I ran with my father for awhile, and then he ran out of money. Then I went to drive for Premier Motorsports in ’03 and instead of running from fifth to tenth every week, I was running from first to fifth every week and in contention to win. It just goes to show when you’ve got the right opportunity with the right people what you’re capable of doing. There’s a thousand Dale Earnhardts and Jeff Gordons out there, but they’ll never get the opportunity and I just hope that I do.
FS: Is there anything else you would like to add for our readers?
Davis: If they’d like to visit my website, it’s kertusdavis.com. People can go and register. I think they have some Kertus Davis t-shirts on there and I have a message board if people would like to go there and visit.
FS: If we have an interested sponsor out there, can they also go to the website to find out how to contact you?
Davis: Yes, they certainly can.
For anyone interested in a good sponsorship opportunity, this could be the place with the new Owner for a Day program the team plans to debut soon. This is a subject that has come up before here at Frontstretch in our Mirror Driving discussions. It seems sponsors that don’t have multi-million dollar budgets to spend on sponsorships are often willing to settle for a small space where they get lost in the crowd on Cup -ffiliated cars. We often wonder why businesses with smaller sponsorship budgets don’t take the chance on an up and coming team like this. Johnny Davis Motorsports wondered about that, too, and designed this program with these advertisers in mind. Interested businesses can visit kertusdavis.com and click on the sponsor link to find out how to contact the team for more information. With limited resources and time running out, they’re very interested in hearing from you.
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Great interview, Toni! My husband and I know Kertus from his days in USAR. You couldn’t meet a more down-to-earth young man. Always willing to talk to fans and flash that wonderful smile for a photograph. Thanks for highlighting the trials and tribulations of a standalone Busch team against all the Buschwackers!
Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:
IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500
IF you want to know more about Toni Montgomery or to see all of her Frontstretch articles, check out her archive and bio page.