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 28, 2012
In A Nutshell: With new cars, new engines and no clear favorite emerging, the hype going in promised an up-for-grabs, wide open contest where anything might happen. So often, things don’t live up to the hype, but not this time. The 2012 Indy 500 featured a record 35 lead changes among ten drivers, sixteen cars finished on the lead lap, and the event was unpredictable right up until the final moments. Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti hadn’t run particularly well in the first four races of the season, qualified way back in 16th, and was barely mentioned before the race, but at the end of the day he was drinking the milk in Victory Lane for the third time despite a pit road incident that nearly destroyed his day.
Mission accomplished, IndyCar.
Key Moment: When the competition is as tight as it was at Indianapolis, the lead is not always the best place to be in the closing laps. NASCAR fans have seen the slingshot countless times at Daytona and Talladega. Dario Franchitti used the same move to get by teammate Scott Dixon with two laps remaining and opened the door for third-place runner Takuma Sato to get around Dixon as well. Sato tried to make a move on Franchitti entering Turn 1 on the final lap, but couldn’t close the deal and spun, bringing out the caution and guaranteeing Franchitti the victory.
- Seeing Dan Wheldon’s winning car make a lap during “Taps” and “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” brought a tear to the eye. We still miss you, Dan.
- Three of Dan Wheldon’s closest friends in IndyCar were Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan, the top three finishers. You can’t help but think Dan was present in Indianapolis today. Wheldon didn’t get a chance to defend his Indy win, so Franchitti dedicated his victory to his friend and essentially defended it for him.
- All three of Dario Franchitti’s Indy 500 victories have come under caution.
- Memorex isn’t as good as live but it’s better than nothing. Indianapolis Motor Speedway found a way to continue a long-standing tradition of Jim Nabors singing (Back Home Again in) Indiana by playing a video recording of Nabors singing the song. That song and Mari Hulman George giving the command to start engines have been a part of the race for as long as many of us can remember.
- In the latest twist in the sad saga of Lotus, the engine builder had only two cars in the Indy 500 and they were both woefully off the pace. Simona de Silvestro was 10 mph off the speed of the polesitter while Jean Alesi was 15 mph slower in qualifying. On top of that, Alesi had never run an oval race in his life, setting up a potentially dangerous situation. Race control removed both cars from the race by lap 10 because neither car could make the minimum speed requirement. IndyCar officials knew Lotus was about eight weeks behind schedule entering the season and they seem to continue to fall further behind.
- If you’re going to have problems at Indy, it’s best to have them early so you have time to fight your way back. Franchitti got spun in the pits 14 laps in and had to have a nose piece changed out. He restarted 29th and pedaled it hard on the next run, but he got where he was trying to go by the end of the day.
- How hot was it? Marco Andretti reported that his boot was melting to his throttle pedal during an Indianapolis scorcher, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s.
- Championship points leader Will Power was knocked out of the race after contact with Mike Conway on lap 80. Conway slid into a crew member on a pit stop, who fell onto the front wing and broke it. Conway went back out on track before the team discovered the problem and spun before he could make it back around to the pits. Power couldn’t avoid the spinning car. It was nearly a two-fer for Roger Penske as a stray tire from one of the cars bounced down the race track and struck a glancing blow to the right front tire of Helio Castroneves as he drove through the incident. Despite a 28th-place finish, Power retains the points lead by 36 over Castroneves.
- The Andretti curse continues. Marco Andretti set the fastest lap of the race on lap 59 and led 59 laps in the early going before the car started fading near the end. His day wound up disastrous after an accident on lap 187 of 200, and by then he was simply hoping for a top-10 finish.
- Did anyone else find it supremely difficult to read the numbers on the rear wings of the cars? It made it especially tough to tell Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti apart. Your only hope is to know which one has the “white” red Target car and which one has the “red” red Target car. Really.
Notable Driver: OK, so it didn’t end so well and he nearly found the wall on lap 71, but Takuma Sato ran a stellar race, leading three times for 31 laps. Sato never found much success in Formula 1 and wadded up a lot of cars in his first two years in the IZOD IndyCar Series, but sometimes something just seems to click and it has for Sato this year. He scored his first podium finish in Sao Paolo and proved it was no fluke by contending for the win at Indy. The question is, was Sato impatient, trying to force the pass too soon, or should Franchitti have given more room once Sato got his nose in there?
Quotes and Tweets:
“I’m disappointed, but we didn’t have speed from the beginning. I understand the call. We have to have more horsepower to be competitive. The guys really worked hard. We’ll see what happens next year. I’m pretty disappointed to get black-flagged after only a few laps. We were trying to keep up pace, but unfortunately right now we don’t have the pace, so now we have to work hard to get to the pace that we need to.” Simona de Silvestro
“My mistake coming into the pits. Came in a bit too hard and collected some of my guys, and that screwed up the front wing and we didn’t realize it till I got out. Through Turns 3 and 4, it felt a little wiggly, and I thought it was just tire temperatures. But down the front straight when I went down into turn 1, I could see one of the endplates sticking up in the air. I knew it wouldn’t be right turning in, so I tried to back out just going in. But I knew Will was close behind me so I didn’t want to back out too much, and the car got very loose, which I was able to correct it once. But it broke loose again, and I couldn’t catch it the second time and then I was just a passenger on board.” Mike Conway
“It was pretty close and (Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato) got a run on me into (Turn) 1 there. Sato was definitely a guy throwing it in there all day, and he tried to do the same thing to Dario. I thought we were going to get really lucky because they touched, and I thought they were both going to end up in the fence. Credit to Dario. He had a bad start to the day and came through the field.” Scott Dixon
“It’s pretty crazy how it all lines up. Dan still owes me one, I think. Dario did a fantastic job. All of us wish Dan was still here racing with us. He’s a hell of a guy and left a big void and hole in all of our lives. I hope we put on a good race for the fans, and I’m sure he’s smiling down on us.” Scott Dixon about the podium being made up of Dan Wheldon’s closest friends
“I was going for the win. On the last restart, we jumped from seventh to fifth, then taking fourth, third, second. I kept pushing and overtaking. On the very last lap, I had a good tow from Dario. I thought I had the job done. But he kept pushing and didn’t give me enough room, so that I was well below the white line. But an outstanding job by the team. It was a very exciting race.” Takuma Sato
“On the last lap, I was trying to set up Scott. I knew I was a sitting duck on that restart, and then I see Taku going on the inside of Dario, and I know Dario. I said, ‘Either they’re both going to crash, and I’m going to have to pass Dixon for the win, or Dario’s going to win.’ And Dario won.” Tony Kanaan
“Tony came and got in the lead. I’m like, Damn, where did you come from? Kind of like old times, the three of us back and forwards. I thought, Dan is laughing at us right now going at it. But then coming down to after that last restart, swapping back and forwards. Takuma came into the last lap, got a good run on the inside. I moved over a bit, I saw him coming. I said, ‘No, I’m too late. This is well before the corner.’ I moved back up. We turned into the corner, I gave him a load of room, with the tight line, he lost the rear. Turn one was the trickiest corner. If you went in with a tight line, it tended to get a bit loose. He lost the rear, came around and hit us. I managed to catch it.” Dario Franchitti
What’s Next: After a busy month of May, there’s no rest for the IndyCar drivers. It’s off to Detroit and the 14-turn, 2.1-mile road course on Belle Isle, a 987 acre island in the Detroit River, for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Sunday, June 3rd at 3:30 p.m. The IZOD IndyCar Series has made two previous visits to Belle Isle, in 2007 and 2008. Tony Kanaan won the 2007 event and Justin Wilson took the win in 2008. Television coverage will be on ABC while radio coverage can be heard on your local IMS Radio affiliate or on Sirius/XM Channel 94.
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©2000 - 2008 Toni Montgomery and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks for great analysis of a great race.
Great race, great finish, same ol’ boring crap in victory lane. Yet Another Ganassi/Penske.
Oh well, Sato gave it his all to release us from this burden.
Missed Wheldon a bunch. His passing was so sad.
A so-so 500 – decent racing…more lead changes than Charlotte. Sadly, this was all offset by the same tired old ending we get most years. It’s getting to be a real drag watching a race that has, for all intents and purposes, only two horses. Does help keep the suspense down, though.
Yes, Sato should have waited until the 3rd or 4th turn. But it’s the Indy 500, I can’t blame him for his excitement.
He’s always been over-eager, and this incident will likely cause him to lose his job at the end of the season. But it’s Indy! No other race in the world is as consistent as providing an exciting race finish as the 500.
Hope you hang around for the rest of the season. This site has improved this year and more Indycar coverage would double my pleasure.
We’ll be right here for every IndyCar race this year (and every year I hope!). This is a permanent expansion for Frontstretch—we’re looking to provide coverage for all your favorite motorsports series.
So, another win for Franchetti, number 3. He’s good, but so far as I am concerned, 3 wins under the yellow do not make him a great at Indy. Let’s see him win a real one with the green flag flying until the checkers come out.
Four Indycar championships haven’t convinced you that Franchitti is good? 10 wins in CART, 21 wins in Indycar, plus wins at Sebring (ALMS) and Daytona (GrandAm)?
31 wins in Indycar makes it a three way tie for all-time wins among active drivers, tying Paul Tracey & Sebastian Bourdais. That’s more wins than Bobby Rahal, Gordon Johncock, Rodger Ward & Johnny Rutherford.
31 wins in NASCAR would put him between Fred Lorenzen and Fireball Roberts. Were they any good?
I think you’re an uninformed viewer that watches only one open-wheel race a year. Franchitti is not Mario Andretti. He’s not even Michael Andretti. But he’s only two career wins behind Rick Mears. Was that guy any good?
Andy90: If you were referring to my comment, read again.
I said he is good. The fact remains that he has never had to fight to the flag at Indy—he’s been able to stroke it w/ no worries about being passed at the last moment.
Old Farmer – True, but Indy is about being in the right place at the end. I don’t know of any other track where the leader with 10 to go is so rarely the winner. And he earned it this time by holding the line tightly to block Sato and holding the wheel after Sato hit him.
Obviously, best case would be to see him hold off Sato in a drag race off the 4th turn. I would have been less excited by he and Dixon coming to the line in equal cars.
I think he’ll get 4 and Helio will finish with only 3. I don’t mind yellow flag wins but I give a heavy discount to rain-shortened wins.
By the way, Dario is 6th or 7th in all-time open wheel wins, after the Unsers, the Andrettis, and Foyt.
Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:
IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500
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