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.
Thompson in Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday July 11, 2007
It is no longer particularly noteworthy when Tony Stewart attacks fellow competitors that impede him in his neverending pursuit of winning NASCAR Nextel Cup races. In fact, it has almost become expected that Tony will provide choice derogatory critiques to nationwide audiences of his fellow competitors; all they need to do is challenge his on-track progress or find themselves swapping paint with the two-time Cup Champion in order to become the focus of his wrath. Up until Saturday night, when Tony Stewart directed his patented brand of vindictiveness towards his own teammate, Denny Hamlin, many have attempted to justify and excuse the nine-year veteran’s chronic poor behavior. However, Stewart's verbal bashing of Hamlin during the telecast of the Pepsi 400 was so clearly uncalled for and beyond defending that even the staunchest of Tony Stewart supporters have been left speechless.
Stewart, after clearly plowing into the rear of race leader Hamlin's FedEx Chevrolet, with no apparent attempt to avoid the collision, gave a "jaw dropping" account to viewers of what they had just witnessed for themselves on TV, and from a number of angles, no less…including the No. 20's own in-car camera.
"All of a sudden, he just stops on the exit of turn four in front of 42 cars, and he can't expect all of us to drive around him. He just wrecked two really good race cars," said the veteran of Hamlin, his teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Continuing his condemnation of Hamlin, now in his sophomore season as a full-time Nextel Cup driver, Stewart said, "He tried to wreck us in practice on Friday and didn't get it done. At least he finished it off today. (Hamlin’s) a young guy and he wants to be successful, but I don't know if he knows what the definition of â€˜team' is right now."
That Stewart's interpretation of what had occurred was so riddled with inaccuracies is somewhat surprising, but his classless remarks leveled at his generally well-liked teammate have confirmed what many have long allegedâ€¦ that Tony Stewart can be a world class jerk. A few may argue that Hamlin did momentarily lift from the accelerator to control his car as it wiggled in turn four, though Hamlin insists that he "kept his foot in it." Other stalwart Stewart apologists might even swear, lacking any evidence to support such a theory, that the man tried to avoid the collision – after all, who wants to be involved in a wreck in the first place? But no one can offer a reasonable argument that Stewart's mean-spirited public attack, questioning not only Hamlin's driving abilities, but also his character, was at all necessary or appropriate.
Truth be told, there may be some fault on both drivers’ parts. Things happen at high speeds; most fans accept that. Maybe Hamlin could have moved up the racetrack and conceded the low groove to his teammate. Likewise, if Stewart suspected problems with Hamlin or his race car’s handling, well, Daytona International Speedway provides multiple racing lines that he could have used, especially when running single file in the lead draft. Hamlin may have possibly slowed more than he believed in "catching" his Chevrolet as the car twitched underneath him. Perhaps Stewart was distracted while monitoring gauges, or was in the midst of talking to his crew and just didn't react quickly enough. But what most assuredly didn't happen, as Stewart wanted viewers to believe, is that Hamlin, second in driver points going into the race, was solely responsible for wrecking two really good race cars.
This time, fans are not just rolling their eyes and dismissing the incident in the manner that many have in the past by saying, "ahhhhâ€¦. that's just Tony Stewart," in part because they realize it is Tony Stewart. Bad behavior is a chronic condition, sometimes a fatal flaw with a man who I personally believe to be the most talented driver in the United States. But talent alone does not give Stewart, or anyone in any walk of life, a "free pass" to essentially trash others at will. In short, there should be no exemptions from basic standards of sportsmanlike conduct; especially if you’re a superstar at the sport’s highest level.
The list of transgressions during the veteran's nine seasons in Cup racing is long, filled with incidents of not only verbal but also physical attacks on fellow competitors and, on at least one occasion, photographers. A 2002 physical altercation with a freelance photographer resulted in not only NASCAR fining the former open-wheel star $10,000 and placing him on probation, but the incident caused his team sponsor Home Depot to levy a $50,000 fine and probation, as well. A contrite Stewart then announced in the aftermath of the lambasting that he received from his sponsor, team owner, fans, and media that he would be entering anger management counseling and offered that, "This is my heart attack, my wake-up call. There is no excuse for what I've done. I'm sorry, and I don't really expect anyone to forgive me."
"I have a problem with keeping my emotions in check,” Stewart continued. “After all of this, I've felt as I've never felt. But it's probably exactly what I needed to make me seek help. A hard fall like this will tend to jar me back to reality. I'm looking forward to making myself better; better as a person and better in dealing with the things life sends your way - the good and the bad."
Stewart did complete his counseling, but what benefit that it had on his ability to hold his emotions in check, or to deal with disappointments, are difficult to discern. For a period of time, most notably during his 2005 Championship year, he did show a marked improvement in his behavior. But since his second title, Stewart has returned to littering the tracks with personal attacks, intentionally executed in front of cameras to gain maximum exposure against numerous drivers. Some wheelmen having been publicly "called out" by the Indiana native recently include Kurt and Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, David Gilliland, Brian Vickers, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards. No doubt, there’s more to come; after all, we’re only halfway through the season at this point. As the often agitated Stewart recently announced, "(The criticism) doesn't bother me. I can be politically correct like everybody else and then listen to everybody gripe like they did a couple of years ago. Everybody complained about how vanilla I was and how they didn't like it."
“Obviously, either way, I can't win and can't make everybody happy, so I might as well do it my way."
Safe to assume Stewart did it his way Saturday night. Unfortunately for Hamlin, he was a man who stood in Tony Stewart’s way on the racetrack – and he paid the price.
There are no good excuses for Stewart's transgression. “Ultra-competitiveness” just doesn’t cut it; neither does the common excuse, “he just can't control his tongue.” The heart of the matter is, Stewart does know how to act, and quite often can be quite engaging and likable. And he has, on many, many occasions shown that he is an exceptionally charitable person. But he has been down this road of publicly humiliating his fellow drivers far too many times to have not learned how to refrain from it. He knows what the fallout is, the negative impact that it has on those that he targets. Let's face itâ€¦he doesn't care enough to simply quit doing it. Otherwise, he wouldn’t put himself in the position he’s been in.
So, how did Denny Hamlin, ten years Stewart's junior and far less experienced, handle the former champ's unfair charges against him? Wellâ€¦as if he was the more experienced, wiser, and accomplished teammate. "I’m going to be the bigger man, and I’ll take the blame on this,” said Hamlin. "If he wants to blame it on me, I’ll be the bigger man and take responsibility for it.
“He’s been around this sport longer than I have and he probably knows more than I do, so I’ll just take it for what it’s worth.”
That, Tonyâ€¦is the definition of â€˜team.' Maybe one day, you’ll learn that word.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Tony just needs, and deserves, a good ol’ fashioned ass whipping. A REAL good one.
If Tony Stewart’s brain was half the size of his month and ego, he would possess above average intellegence. As it is he’s just a dumb jack ass.
I guess I just don’t take this so seriously..I mean..do we need more bland J Johnson types blah blah blahing their way through interviews? Is that what we all want to see? I know I don’t. I know Tony is caustic..we all have our problems..most of us don’t have to have our bare butts hanging out for the public to hear and see..I wish I could be as sure of myself that I would act differently given the circumstances..(so many people like to speculate and point out OTHER people’s faults – like they have none) Tony is a great driver..and probably will never change..excuse it? I don’t remember Tony EVER asking anyone to excuse his actions..Sometimes people are just people..they live with who they are..why can’t we?
Someone had posted a remark yesterday about all the blathering that Kyle Busch has been spewing about his teammates. She mentioned that Rick Hendrick is ultimately the man in charge and should step up to the plate and make sure that for the rest of the 2007 season, all goes well within HMS. I agreed with her yesterday and I think the same applies to Joe Gibbs. His response to Tony’s remarks were as sugar-sweet as cotton candy and had about as much of a punch. Yes, Tony speaks his mind, and I commend him for doing that in today’s PC world. BUT, guess what folks, Tony is not the “say all, end all” when it comes to having to listen to whatever crap it is that’s coming out of his mouth. Just because you’ve got the cahones to say something, doesn’t mean that what you say is right. If I had a chance to say something to Tony, it would be: Quit Cup racing and enjoy the rest of your life competing and having fun at Eldora. It’s seems pretty obvious to me that you are no longer having a good time driving in the NASCAR circuit, so leave before you have an honest-to-God heart attack. Tony is a very talented driver but he is an ass. And because of that reason alone, I shop at Lowe’s, not Home Depot.
The first paragraph of the article really captures my feelings, especially the last sentence. I listened to a clip from his Sirius radio show and he really didn’t “clarify” his comments. He restated them in a slightly gentler way, but basically maintained that he as usual did nothing wrong. I just don’t get how his two wrecks at Daytona this year were in no way partially his fault. In one race he was the lead guy who checked up and got hit and in the other he was the follower who hit a guy who checked up.
Tony is too good a person and too good a racer to keep acting like an idiot this way. He’s 36 and its high time for him to GROW UP!
He’s undermining his own credibility to the point that not only are his comments becoming irrelevant but that its starting to be taken for granted that the truth about an incident is probably the opposite of whatever Tony said.
I found it very telling that David Gilliland said that after Tony went off on him a number of other drivers came to him to tell him that he’d done nothing wrong and that he could disregard Tony’s comments.
Is it good for the sport that a rookie can be told to not listen to anything a 2-time champion says?
Tony Stewart — The Racer who Cried Wolf?
I used to root for the guy. I want to like him for all the good things he does away from the track. But this week’s chapter in his ongoing drama is a fine example of why I don’t root for him any more.
Stewart is a spoiled little boy in a man’s body who will never mentally grow up. Carl Edwards was on target when he referred to the possibility of Tony’s “lying out there bleeding” for what Stewart did to Carl on the track. Oh, and Carl was exceptionally kind when he called Tony “a jerk.” In my opinion, Pr***, As*****, and M$&)^)&^^%# would have been far more appropriate and fitting!
While I think Tony is one of the most talented drivers out there, and I like the things he does off the track, it’s definitely hard to let him get off with this one. He just needs to admit he’s wrong – it’s OK.
I still think that Tony will retire from NASCAR after his contract is up and do something he enjoys, such as running Eldora and racing late models. He could even take another stab at the Indy 500…
I also noticed that he seems to be a lot more edgy when he’s dieting. The fat Tony Stewart seems to be the happy Tony Stewart. Just an odd little observation.
Quit crying people, somebody has to keep fuel on the fire (Dale is gone) or it will go out.
Every driver can’t lay back and let others put on the show. Right now we have Stewart, the Busches, Montoya and a few more. Nice guys finish last, as Mark Martin.
When Tony kills someone..does drugs…pilfers money…commits treason…steals…it goes on and on and on and on..then let’s all get up in arms..but hey..it’s NA$CAR…an entertainment industry..and if it wasn’t for Tony and his loose mouth..and his huge talent..what else would the press have to write and talk about..blah blah blah …Is there much difference in what Tony does and other stars…?? I think we as the fans help to create the personna…and expect it..when Tony is good..we seem let down..come on guys..you can’t have it both ways…..
Tommy, you are a trully eloquent writer. Instead of a Tony Stewart type spew about this bonehead crash and heinous explanation, you explain the history and reasons why most fans are “done” with Stewart. I have a feeling that Gibbs is too. Gibbs is too good of a man to continue to accept this imature behavior of a 36 year old coward.
As far as for killing someone before this behavior is unacceptable..he almost killed Kenseth at Daytona last year, and crashing someone at 190mph could be considered attempted manslaughter.
Tony might be a little bit of a loose cannon but its alot better than listening to Jimmie Johnsons blandness.At least Tony isn t a mannekin.
Perhaps during one of Jimmie Johnson’s future interviews he will treat us to an old soft shoe and sing “kiss mine.”
I’ve been a race fan long enough to realize that racing needs personalities like Tony Stewart.I can’t think of anything more boring than being stuck with a race series full of Jeff Gordons,Jimmy Johnsons, Matt Kenseths and their like ( despite NASCAR constantly pushing for just that type of series.)Look back to the great drivers of the past and you’ll see that they, like Tony. were very passionate about racing and that made it enjoyable to watch. Could you ever call A J Foyt politically correct. How about Dale sr. Cale, or Junior, or Curtis Turner, or Steve Kinser. They all spoke their mind, and weren’t really concerned whether or not they hurt another drivers’ feelings.That’s what makes real racing.By the way, most, if not all of the so-called fueds between NASCAR drivers are nothing more than an attempt by sports writers and the NASCAR Marketing boys, to create a story. For instance, i recall when Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman were suposssed to be bitter enemys after an on track incident, several days later Newman mentioned that he had been at Stewarts property to go fishing with Tony. Sounds like a manufactured fued to me.The only people who take these incidents seriously are the fans. The drivers don’t.
I believe Stewart said those things in the heat of the moment. All of us say stuff we don’t mean and make excuses when we’re pissed off.
And, as for not clarifying or changing his statement on Sirius radio……he’s to prideful to admit he’s wrong. Most men are.
Deal with it!
I agree with everyone who is saying that what Tony said was in the heat of the moment, or that it’s great to have some “character” in NASCAR. All that is fine and good, but I what I think has finally irritated fans to the edge is that Tony WILL NOT take responsibility for his own faults. Each and every one of us, no matter or profession, has to take responsibility if we screw up. Sure, we may get by with blaming someone else a time or two, but after it becomes obvious that there is a trend, and that you are the one that’s consistently involved and always pointing the finger elsewhere; well, that gets old real fast. Yes, NASCAR needs the Stewart’s and the Busch’s out there, but as adults, come on….These are, after all, adults driving…I think!!
Finally, I have my answer. Now I know why Bobby Labonte left the “Powerhouse-Superteam” JGR to drive for the struggling Petty Enterprises team. Life’s too short to have to spend it being teamed up with a JERK!
Hey, I’m not saying Smoke is guiltless. Probably all of the anger management lessons didn’t completely sink in.
But I think there’s probably more here than meets the eye.
Tony mentioned an episode in Friday practice that vexed him. Let’s hear more about that.
And, though he’d like to give the appearance of being a goody-two-shoes, Denny has been developing an arrogant and full-of-himself attitude as of late.
I don’t mind seeing him taken down a few notches.
If you look at the film, all the cars lined up behind Hamlin, not just Tony, are closing rapidly.
I’m not giving up on Smoke just yet.
these type of commentarys are insanely stupid…we were not in the car with tony so how do YOU know he “plowed” into hamlin? i heard the 20 cars engines RPMs back off before the bump, so in other words, he tried to avoid hamlin who was obviously loose and was checking up to avoid sliding up the track. it was a racing “thing” and i really have no idea why all you people continue to bash a man that is as passionate about what he does and speaks his mind about how it truly happened…you all make no sense to me. what should he have said? he is the most experienced guys on that track, and if he said hamlin slowed up, then i believe him. if he messed up, then he would have admitted to it, its the kind of guy he is…
I think Tonys just a production of Nascars creation. For years they have let him spin cars out and wreck people. Here are some examples, Sterling and Richmond, Kenseth at daytona, Kurt Busch at Dover, these were all Take out wrecks. Not accidents. Sterling got spun because TS was about to go a lap down, Kenseth and busch just raced tony. And for the nonbeleivers look at the tony kurt wreck again and you will see that tony and kurt are both in the low lane. But anyway its understood in nascar that you DO NOT RACE TONY STEWART!!! This is really the first time the media’s gone against him. Also remember Tony and Busch at Daytona. Tony got loose and let off. Kurt could do nothing, but he knows how nascar works so he just accepted the blame.
Let’s see if I’ve got this right.
Denny is leading, holding it on the yellow line to protect the inside. Tony gets miffed ‘cause Denny won’t get out of his way, so he feels perfectly justified in drop-kicking Denny. Then Tony has no trouble zooming to the top lane to avoid getting involved. But justice is served as Denny collects Tony anyway.
The only “Smoke” in the 20 car is coming out of Stewart’s mouth.
Hmmm. That Hamlin boy is six feet tall, 27 years-old and looks to be in pretty good shape.
Fat Tony is 5â€™9â€, 36-years old and, well, not quite as fat as he used to be, but stillâ€¦.
Now itâ€™s one thing to knock a tape recorder out of some pencil-necked-geek-former-chess-club-president-turned reporter’s hand. It’s another thing to body slam Clint Bowyer (6â€™0â€, 28 YO) and Cousin Carl (6â€™1â€, 23 YO) on the race track (those 3,400-pound stock cars are great equalizers). Itâ€™s another thing to lay his hands on Brian Vickers (5â€™11â€, 24 YO) while Vickers is still safely strapped in his race car. But Tony is going to have a hard time avoiding Denny around JGR.
Our boy Tony might be well-advised to pick on someone his own sizeâ€¦for his own safety. Stewart keeps flapping his pie-hole, and that Hamlin boy just might invite him by the scruff of the neck out behind the Gibbs shop and beat some sense into him.
Iâ€™d like to rope THAT one off and sell tickets!
First time at your site (thanks Jayski) and I couldn’t agree more with ALL your comments. There is a difference between “speaking your mind” and “humiliating competitors” – thanks for pointing that out!
I find it humorous that this article is about Tony Stewart, and what Tony Stewart did and what Tony Stewart said on Saturday. Yet, some readers still have the cakes to mention a Hendricks driver. You people are funny…and sad. Kinda like the time Stewart won the Brickyard and the comment I read on a forum said “this time a real hoosier won the race”. J-Go wasn’t a factor in that race at all but still got hacked on. So go ahead, throw your virtual beer cans at him, I’ll like him even more.
I appreciate Tony Stewarts candor. Its what comes out of that candor that makes him a jerkoff.
As a Smoke fan who has gotten used to his rants, even this one shocked me a little. However, it’s hard to imagine racing without the Tony Stewart type personalities. You people act like you’ve never been around a guy with an ego. Be careful what you wish for—do you really want only Jimmie Johnson Ken Dolls? Gee, what captivating interviews and columns that would inspire! Snoooze…
Ol’ Tony’s mouth. What’s he gonna say next? Makes you want to tune in next week just to see, doesn’t it? Don’t any of you people get the hype? It’s not about the racing, it’s how many people tune in to watch, and how many commercials can be shown. Remember, in All the Right Stuff, one of the astonauts said they weren’t sending a monkey to do the work of a man, they were sending up a man to do monkey’s work?
I have been a racer. If you listen to Tony in the interview, he says “I was really catching him thru 3 and 4 for about 4 laps. If I can see that I’m really catching someone for 4 laps, I WILL NOT be following them thru the corner. You can’t pass someone if you are behind them. Why not move up a lane and drive around them? I guess Tony thought it would be easier to drive thru Denny. I don’t have a problem with someone who speaks their mind, but they need to have a mind to speak first. Grow up Tony, admit it when you screw up. It won’t hurt that bad.
People…get some life. If not for Smoke, how many of you will be posting on the boards. Like it or hate it, Stewart adds excitement to otherwise bland set of drivers. NASCAR is an entertainment business and media needs these kinds of stories to stay in business.