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.
Toni Montgomery · Monday May 25, 2009
In a Nutshell: Helio Castroneves, just recently returned to the track after acquittal on tax evasion charges, probably gave the IRL the feel good story of the year at Indianapolis. Taking the lead away from Scott Dixon with just under 60 laps to go, he never gave it up in coasting to his third Indy 500 win. An emotional Castroneves, who started from the pole, also scored a record 15th victory in the big race for team owner Roger Penske. Dan Wheldon finished second, followed by Danica Patrick in third, Townsend Bell fourth, and Will Power rounding out the top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Anyone who was driving for Penske or Chip Ganassi, the two reigning super teams in the IndyCar Series. Just look at the leaderboard for proof. Four guys led this race: two of them drove for Roger Penske, and two of them for Chip Ganassi. There were some great runs from other teams, and the big four didn’t sweep the top 5 after some problems on pit road for several of them; but when it comes right down to it, they still have a firm hold on things in this series while everyone else is just playing catch up.
It doesn’t get any better for Helio Castroneves. When the season started, Castroneves was sitting in a courtroom instead of a race car. The tax evasion trial he endured was so serious, he had no idea if he’d ever race again or if, instead, he’d be spending his remaining driving years in federal prison. But through it all, team owner Roger Penske stood by his star driver and promised to return him to his car as soon as he was able. Penske came through and so did Castroneves, finishing second in his return to the track at Long Beach and following that up with the perfect month of May. Castroneves sat on the pole, won the pit stop competition, and followed it up with his third Indy 500 victory.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a hard fought day. Although he started up front, Castroneves faded some in the middle part of the race, but he and the team continued to work hard to get the car just right. The efforts paid off and they made the big comeback when it counted, just the same as Castroneves did this season as a whole. And if you think all of this sounds like the plot for a Hollywood movie, well… it does. Maybe those super happy endings we see on the big screen are possible. Only one little side note on this — possibly more suited for the ugly section — but what was up with the race officials trying to hold Castroneves in the car and preventing him from doing his famous fence climb? I’m sure ABC could spare a precious few minutes since they were already going to run late; and honestly, the crowd on hand would likely have torn that speedway to shreds if they’d been denied that fence climb.
As in bad luck. In this case, the famous Andretti luck. Marco Andretti finished second in his first outing in the 500, but hasn’t done as well ever since. At least Mario won the big show once before the bad luck thing started; unfortunately, his grandson endured the pain of losing one on the final lap to Sam Hornish, Jr. before things went downhill. This year was worse than ever for poor Marco. He was in the wall before the end of the first lap when the car of Mario Moraes, who had started inside of Andretti on the inside of row three, drifted high and carried him into the outside wall. ABC race announcer Eddie Cheever summed it up well when he said the National Anthem lasted longer than Andretti’s race.
How contagious is that Andretti luck? Tony Kanaan, who drives for Michael Andretti’s Andretti Green Racing Team, hasn’t fared well at Indy either, and he too crashed when something in his car broke on lap 98. The Brazilian, who wrecked out of last year’s event as well, failed to lead a lap at Indy for the first time in eight career starts.
Vitor Meira clearly had the worst day of anyone in the field at Indianapolis. First, it was a nasty pit fire that engulfed his entire No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing entry on lap 134. The fire was extinguished without damage to car or driver, but anyone who saw how it was put out had to wonder if the guy was stuck sloshing around in a puddle inside his car after that.
As it turned out, it seems the blaze would be the better part of Meira’s day. On lap 174, Meira locked wheels with Raphael Matos, sending both cars hard into the outside wall at speed with Meira’s car getting caught up on the SAFER barrier and sliding on its right side all the way through Turn 1 before coming back down on its wheels and sliding to a stop. Meira was transported to nearby Methodist Hospital, where at press time he was awake and alert but complaining of lower back pain and was sent for further evaluation.
Talk about dedication. Driver Alex Lloyd’s very pregnant wife was in the team’s pit stall watching her husband at work. What’s remarkable about that is that she was experiencing contractions the entire time. Mrs. Lloyd was amazingly calm, saying she and the team had decided not to mention it so that Alex could concentrate on his race and that she’d be just fine to wait until afterwards unless her contractions suddenly started coming closer together.
19-year-old Graham Rahal crashed on lap 56 in his second Indy 500. He crashed on lap 36 in his first Indy 500 last year. He had the exact same accident both times, veering high to get around slower traffic coming through Turn 4 which sent him off the racing line and into the outside wall. At this rate, he’ll finish his first Indy 500 in eight years.
Random Thoughts and the Truly Odd
Danica Patrick finished third, her best career finish at Indianapolis and the best-ever finish for a woman. She finished fourth as a rookie in 2005. Patrick now has four top-10 finishes at Indianapolis in five starts.
The three female drivers in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 field completed 599 laps out of a possible 600. Danica Patrick finished 200 laps, Sarah Fisher 200 laps, and Milka Duno 199 laps as all of them wound up in the top 20.
Alex Tagliani was the highest-finishing rookie in the field, finishing 11th after starting 33rd.
A record 19 cars finished on the lead lap in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. The previous record for most cars finishing on the lead lap is 16 in 1959.
This is the 11th time car number #3 has won the Indianapolis 500, the most times ever for an individual car number.
A.J. Foyt IV finished 16th and completed the full 500-mile distance. This is the first time a Foyt finished on the lead lap since 1979 when his grandfather, four-time winner A.J. Foyt Jr., finished on the lead lap in second place.
19th-place finisher John Andretti completed the full 500-mile distance, as did 16th-place finisher No. 41 A.J. Foyt IV. Surprisingly enough, this is the only time a Foyt and an Andretti completed the full 500-mile distance in the same race. Keep in mind the Foyt family was first represented in the 1958 Indianapolis 500 while the Andretti family was first represented in 1965.
“This is incredible. I think my tears speak for everything. What a great team. I just have to thank, first of all, the Lord for giving me this opportunity, to be strong, to have a family that I have. I have to think Roger (Penske), Tim (Cindric), my guys, Phillip Morris, all the associates (sponsors), Verizon, everybody because they gave my life back. I’m here today because of those guys. And obviously the fans. You guys don’t understand. You guys kept me strong. You guys are the best. I’m honored to have fans like you. Thank you so much. Let’s celebrate now.” Helio Castroneves
“It’s totally disappointing. I should have been smarter than that. That kid (Moraes) is in way over his head with where he is now. I’m sitting next to him, and he just drives up into me. There was no one in sight of him. I should have known better.” Marco Andretti
“I’m incredibly excited. Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite enough for Helio (Castroneves) and the whole Penske organization. They should be very proud. I have to say, there’s not many races that I’ve done in my career where I can honestly say that the team executed 100 percent. And I have to say they did today. The National Guard Panther Racing pit crew were phenomenal.” Dan Wheldon
Roger got me up to second, behind Helio, and the car felt awesome. I really thought I had a car to win with, but we just didn’t have enough fuel. What a story Helio is. It’s just incredible. It’s just unbelievable for him. I’m so happy for Helio. It’s just a Cinderella story. He’s like a newborn kid and on top of the world.” Ryan Briscoe
“The Boost Mobile/Motorola guys did a great job in the pits today, and we had great stops all day. I had a really strong car for the last few stints and would have loved to see the last 35 laps raced green. I know we would have had no issues making it to the end without stopping. I was happy to keep the No. 7 car up front toward the end of the day. It was a great race for the fans, and I’m happy for Helio (Castroneves); he was super fast all day.” Danica Patrick
©2000 - 2008 Toni Montgomery and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Four leaders??? I’m glad I only watched the last 20 laps.
I hope that all you guys who constantly carp about the quality of Nascar racing watched the entire Indy 500. 4 leaders, limited passing, main excitement was the wrecks. Franchitti, a Nascar washout finished 7th and J. Andretti, a perennial backmarker finished in the top twenty, on the lead lap. What does that say about our level of talent. There were realistically only 5 or 6 cars that had a prayer of winning.
How many of you endured the F1 race? Won by 7 seconds, 9 cars on the lead lap, only 14 finishers. Talk about a series in trouble.
Nascar is far from perfect, but it is without question, the best thing race fans have going. We got Gordon, Johnson, Kurt and Shrub, Smoke, a 50 year old phenom named Martin, Cousin Carl, Kenseth, Biffle,Rocket Man, Sliced Bread, A fastass Aussie and Jr(honorable mention). All guys who are capable of going to the front at any race. Sorry if I left out any of you guys favorite-they’re all great.
We have a 600 miler coming up where there will no doubt be long stretches of green flag runs. But there will be periods of hard racing, all sorts of strategies, stories in stories, changing conditions, comers and goers, etc. I can’t wait-just hope the weather allows a decent amount of racing.
Those of you, who consistently waste your lives complaining about our sport, why don’t you watch reruns of the Indy and F1 races? Be sure to get lots of caffiene!
The IRL is back and is now providing the most exciting and fast racing in America!
NOTHING comes close to the INDY 500!
And a couple of notes, first, wonder how many NA$CRAP drivers watched these Indy cars on TV and said to themselves, mmmm? Here are open wheel race cars, a spec built car, built around driver safety, and yet they handle perfectly, they can be changed the way they handle during the race, and the drivers can actually drive them! GEE! wonder why the designers of our CUP cars’ couldn’t do that and they have 3500# of metal to work with?
AND! On top of that, they handle so well, teams were making TWO (2) FULL FUEL RUNS ON THE SAME SET OF TIRES, FIRESTONE BY THE WAY!
Remember that name, FIRESTONE! REAL RACING TIRES! REAL DURABILITY! REAL ENGINEERS, REAL THINKING! REAL PROFESSIONAL!
How neat is that? On a “safe”, “spec” car at that!
Gee, the NA$CRAP version of a “safe”, “spec” car gets a full five (5) laps on their tires before they become dangerous! (at the very same track!)
And I would hope that Danica’s strong third place will put some doubts about her ability to rest!
And Kudo’s to Sarah Fisher. Sure wish she could get a ride with a strong team. She is good!
Ltaylor. You prolly were cutting your grass all day. There was way more action than in any nascar race. 4 way, zig zagging all day long. Nascar is nothing but an Antfarm all lined up by one. Why do they have 40+ cars? Cuz they all have the “BIG ONE”. And what about Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon? No dominance in NASCAR? Come on.
I enjoyed the race mainly because it was Indy. It’s hard not to get caught up in such history. But that aside, I still heard the same complaints from drivers as in NA$CAR. No passing due to aero. Across the board I thought I was listening to stock car drivers without fenders.
Flack, you “prolly” don’t have a clue how i spent my day, but i “prolly” watched more racing than you.
I enjoyed the 500 and will always watch but to compare it in it’s present state to Nascar is ludricrous.
They don’t have the talent or the competitive teams to make the racing as good as it could be.
True, they really “zig-zagged “ a whole bunch but it take a little more than that to make a great race.
I think that the IRL’s cars are fantastic and they have put on some really good races over the last 2 years but the fact is without Danica they wouldn’t get the press that they currently get. Too bad.
The burning question is-If you hate stock car racing so much, why are you here?
I would appreciate an honest answer.
Hey mkrcr, you are correct about the “spec” cars, but in the IRL the aero concerns seemed to only occur at the Indy 500, it does not seem to apply to all the other tracks as they race side by side, nose to tail almost all the time.
Guess I need to be watching for more “aero” problems! But never seen that before in the IRL, certainly not to the extent you see it with the CoT!
And personally I am torn between “spec” cars, and open “innovation”. Seems to me that growing up with “open innovation” applying, you end up with things like “Formula One”, where this open innovation killed the sport, or almost anyway. Certainly made it totally dis-interesting!
“Innovation” at that point in F-1 meant $3,000 gallon fuel! (among other things!)
So, bottom line? Are “spec” cars the best way to go?
Or is “open innovation” the way to go!
Based on history, I think “spec” cars provide the best and closest racing, year in, year out!
(disclaimer: except for the CoT, it just appears to be a poorly designed and developed car that NA$CRAP refuses to acknowledge).
Ltaylor; The big differance is in the broadcast coverage. It was nice watching a race without all the cheerleading and inane senseless banter from the booth, and seeing action back in the pack. I watch Nascar and feel like all the shills in the booth are Vince trying to sell me the latest version of the ShamWow. They were also right in the pits when teams had trouble to let us know what was up. They did show way too much of Danica “Dale Jr of Open Wheel” Patrick, but it was somewhat expected as her sponsor shelled out the coin to be the main sponsor of the 500.
I used to attend the Indy 500 untill the split in 1996, and the introduction of the spec car and spec motor package. Indy racing was at it’s best in the late ’80s and early ’90s when we had Chevy vs Ford powered independant chassis, and to that throw in the Buick V6 and Penski’s version of a Mercedes V8. Before that we had the Offy and other assorted engines powering the likes of Eagles and Johnny Lightning Specials. The split, spec car and big money from Japan brought down the once mighty Indy series, and having been there I can say Nascar is going down the same road, but with crappy Fox coverage to boot.
Take a look at the stands at Indy, and compare that to the stands in Nascar now. The common denominator is a spec car, spec engine, big money from Japan and in Nascars case terrible infomercial style broadcasting to squeeze every last dime from the rubes watching at home.
I’m just glad I was there from the late ’60s on to see the real deal every week. It’s gone and it aint never gonna be the same.
Douglas, I agree about being torn between spec and open innovation. I guess where I lean is more towards a “spec” type car but with a little looser rules. A team should be able to take a common design car and have some freedom to work to make it better. It’s like this piece of crap COT, I know that if NA$CAR would allow teams the freedom to just make minor tweaks the level of competition would increase dramatically. These teams know what it takes to make the Car of Sorrow work, but NA$CAR and King Brian isn’t about to let that happen.
Cannot disagree with you Bad Wolf.
I think the vast popularity of NASCAR really hurt the sport in the long run.
Coverage was better in the ESPN days with educated announcers, less demanding sponsors, no cartoons, Shorter tracks and management that seemed to want to cater to their dedicated fans.
If Nascar would be a little more flexible the racing could improve dramatically. Loosen up the rules on the COT, get back to tracks that are better suited to 3500lb cars, continue to try and reduce costs.
The talent is there for incredible racing.
But, like you said , those days are gone and i don’t believe they ever be back.
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