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 25, 2007
Editor’s Note: As of 12:30 this afternoon, the reported merger between Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has become official. Please click here for the latest edition of the Frontstretch newsletter, giving you all the info you need to know about the new team and what it means for all drivers, crew chiefs, and personnel involved.
In what has become the quickest and most dramatic rise and fall of a race team in recent NASCAR history, Ginn Racing has fans, drivers and other owners in the NASCAR garages wondering what in the world has transpired with the team that had been showing so much promise since the drop of the green flag at this years Daytona 500. Since owner Bobby Ginn purchased the two-team organization formerly known as MB2 Motorsports from its previous majority owner Nelson Bowers barely a year ago, what the NASCAR community has witnessed is an illusionâ€¦a highly calculated gamble, based on maintaining an appearance of stability to gain acceptance within the sport in hopes of securing significant outside financing, money that was desperately needed to continue the charade. And it was a fairly well orchestrated deception…one that almost worked. The plan’s downfall was simply that no corporate sponsor was ever found that would take the bait that Bobby Ginn set outâ€¦and the ruse has now begun to unravel.
Bobby Ginn, a real estate developer from South Carolina, entered the NASCAR scene with a BANG! After Ginn, through his Ginn Clubs & Resorts, had agreed to become the primary sponsor for MB2 for a limited number of races in 2006, it was in short order announced that he had purchased the majority ownership of MB2, leaving minority owner (20%), general manager, and chief executive officer Jay Frye in place. Said Frye, who at the time had been working a deal with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to merge the teams, "If we hadn't done something, maybe not next year, but at some point, we wouldn't have been here (competing). Now we're solidifying our future. Our organization is going forward. This is not a Band-Aid. It's an opportunity to make this team better for a long time."
Immediately things began to change for the better. New equipment arrived. The two veteran drivers, Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek, shortly thereafter saw a marked improvement in their on-track performance. Plans for shop expansion began taking form. A five-year plan to bring the organization into prominence was openly being discussed. Mark Martin was hired to drive on a part-time basis for what was reported to be a very generous price for a full-time driver. A first rate driver development program was initiated, and young drivers, including the accomplished motocross star Ricky Carmichael, were brought on board to be mentored by Martin. And all this achieved within just months of taking financial control of the previously underfunded company. Clearly, Bobby Ginn was a man in a hurry!
It appeared as if money woes were a thing of the past for the second-tier race team. As developments reached lightning speed, the "sky was the limit" as far as Bobby Ginn was concerned. "I do think that companies and people need to have the best. I have a saying I use in business all the time: You can do a little job with a big piece of equipment, but you can't do a big job with a little piece of equipment," said Ginn to his philosophy of growing a successful racing business.
And the very best is what Ginn was providing. He bought a $2.5 million dollar 7-post shaker, for instance, a piece of equipment that few, except for the wealthiest multi-car NASCAR teams, actually owned; most are satisfied to only "time lease" the chassis-building aid. He expanded from a two-car outfit to three, along with purchasing a couple of jets for the race team. Holy cow! The guy even sent his Ginn blimp to the races!
The impact of the infusion of Ginn money was evident at this year's Daytona 500, where Ginn's new part-time veteran Martin lost in a controversial heartbreaker, finishing second to Kevin Harvick by a whisker. And possibly even more impressive was the ninth place finish posted by Joe Nemechek with the new No. 13 team, a car that was not guaranteed one of the coveted top-35 "free passes" into the season opening points race. Along with Sterling Marlin's seventeenth place finish, Ginn made heads turn. Apparently, his Hendrick Motorsports-powered Chevrolets had arrivedâ€¦and would be a team to take note of in 2007.
By and large, while the early momentum cooled off, the season has been a good one for Ginn Racing, at least up to last week. The No. 01 Army Chevrolet driven by Martin and developmental driver Regan Smith has been stellar, as even with the ride-share arrangement the team is presently sitting tenth in Nextel Cup Owners points. Nemechek has been able to position the new No. 13 team into a coveted top-35 position in the standings, and Marlin has likewise kept the No. 14 ahead of the new well-financed Toyota teams.
Bobby Ginn provided the "seed money" necessary to dress up the race teams, even though two of them have struggled to achieve primary sponsorship this season. He had portrayed himself as a guy with the resources necessary, through his own "deep pockets" and that of his many real estate investment, development, and management companies, to be able to sustain viable race teams. Well, it was an illusion that he created that simply wasn't true. By his own admission, he has spent "tens of millions" to upgrade the race teamsâ€¦but it was not money that he could afford to not recoup. He gambled on attracting sponsorship dollars needed to not only recoup his initial investment, but to maintain the teams going forwardâ€¦and hopefully accumulate a tidy profit, as well. But in the end, the big sponsors never materialized.
Ginn is no stranger to playing "fast and loose" with the finances. Rolling the dice and betting that he can stay one step ahead of the creditors until he can "right his ship" seems to come naturally to him. Just look at the history. In the mid-â€˜80's, Bobby Ginn came onto the scene like gangbusters on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, full of promises and, as it was eventually discoveredâ€¦short on cash. The maverick owner bought tracts of land for development back then with what can best be described as "funny money," purchasing in a period when Savings and Loans institutions were only too willing to play along with borrowers like Ginn, who were willing to misrepresent their actual worth to secure loans that if called on, they could not pay back. The plan, though intricate in the amount of paperwork that it takes to pull off, is not, in its premise, all that complicated. Ginn buys some property; he then, with his financing buddies borrows a bunch of money using the original property, appraised by his lending friends at a ridiculously high value, as collateral. The new loan money is then used to keep the creditors at bay on the original property and provide development capital for other properties bought with the questionable loan money. But for the plan to work, other investors and/or buyers, like sponsors for his race teams, need to be lured into contributing cash before time runs out – and no more cash infusions can be had.
The Hilton Head Island venture did not end well for Bobby Ginn. Creditors became nervous as Ginn failed to turn the shaky loan money into profit. People got burned. Lots were sold with promises of utility hookups that never materialized. Ginn filed bankruptcy, and the development properties were sold off to other investors. Bobby Ginn left the island a very unpopular fellow. It is reported that during that period, it was not uncommon on the island to see bumper stickers that said, "Honk if Bobby owes you money." In the book titled Profits and Politics in Paradise: The Development of Hilton Head Island, authors Michael and Patricia Danielson summed up Bobby Ginn's failed development activities by saying, "Ginn left a trail of broken promises, angry property owners, and dashed hopes."
In fairness to Ginn, he did overcome his Hilton Head failures and misdeeds and has since regrouped during the last twenty years, building what appears to be a successful and extensive real estate empire. Ginn heads his numerous enterprises through a number of privately held companies supported by private investors.
However, events last week suggest that Ginn's racing business is on the brink of collapse. He has suspended his NASCAR Busch Series operations. He has no new primary sponsors of any significance other than the United States Army sponsorship of his No. 01 team, a source of revenue that had come with the purchase of MB2 Motorsports. Both Marlin and Nemechek have been told they are free to seek employment elsewhere. Joe Nemechek's No. 13 team that had been carrying Ginn Resort sponsorship is not scheduled to compete at Indianapolis, barring the arrival of an unexpected new sponsor. Marlin's No. 14 seat is to be filled by rookie Regan Smith, a developmental driver that had been sharing seat time with Mark Martin. And it is being widely reported that Ginn and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated are in talks aimed at DEI absorbing some or all of the race teams. Others are speculating that the teams will be sold off piecemeal to more than one existing team owner. Editor’s Note: This merger was completed late Wednesday morning.
It seems that Bobby Ginn's time in the NASCAR spotlight is coming to an end. He gave an award winning performance as a man with the wherewithal to compete on a grand scale with the sport’s best owners, and he played the part to the hilt. Two months ago, he even made a bold public pronouncement that he would try to entice Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to sign with his team. Still keeping up a pretense of having a healthy organization, one that sponsors should be interested in, he tried to snag the hottest and presumably most expensive stock car driver of all time.
“We would stretch as hard as we could stretch to do it,” Ginn proclaimed after Earnhardt, Jr. announced that he would be leaving DEI at the end of the 2007 race season. “You want the best, the absolute best, and I love the idea that Dale wants to win championships. He could accomplish that here with us.
“We’re in play. “
"We have a five-year plan in mind and the conclusion is winning a championship,” Ginn said at the same time. “We took a risk on Mark Martin, and that’s paid off in spades for us. We aren’t afraid to be aggressive.”
Listening to what Dale has outlined, his Busch operation would dovetail beautifully with us,” Ginn said. “We believe he’d be a good fit. Our DNA’s match, our cultures are alike.”
Well, things were not as solid as Bobby Ginn wanted them to appear. Certainly Ginn knew that something had to happenâ€¦and happen fast before his gamble backfired. Possibly the recruitment of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would have landed sponsorship deals that would have allowed the organization to recoup its large outlay of cash over the last year and enable the race teams to prosper. But certainly by the time Ginn started his campaign to sign Junior, he knew that his plans were unraveling for lack of money. By that time, the only thing "in play" was desperation on the part of Bobby Ginn.
Expect more news to come forth on the rise and fall of Ginn Racing. It is my belief that there is still more to this story than is clear at this point. But it is unlikely that the organization can now survive. Fortune 500 sponsors, seeing what has transpired, will not now come to Bobby Ginn's rescue. It appears that Bobby Ginn is a man that isn't afraid to take risks. Sometimes he wins bigâ€¦but this time he lost big.
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Hats off to Bobby Ginn! It’s guys like him, who make America Great! Entreprenurial Dreamers with an “I Can” attitude, shake things up and make things happen, quite often for the better.
Obviously you have researched Bobby Ginn meticulously.
This is not the guy I would trust with my money or my dog in a Motel 6.
It’ll be a while before we hear some of these details in other popular media and websites.
I’m betting the folks at DEI were smart enough not to get taken to the cleaners by this fast mover.
Thanks for and excellent and enlightening piece.
Ginn is far smarter than you seem to credit him for. He improved and eventually sold a 2nd tier team. Made them attractive to sponsors and in the end, to a buyer. He now has a piece of DEI. Martin did very well, Front row Joe and Sterling had their careers extended. If funding would have landed, I am sure things might not be that different in the driver line up anyway.
I think what would have been better for Ginn Racing is if Mark Martin had continued racing every event, considering he was the points leader, instead of missing races here and there. I know it was Mark’s plans to run a partial schedule. But I’m sure Mark also wasn’t expecting to be first place in points either at the time he stepped out of the car. But I think that if Mark Martin would have stayed in the car and continued to lead the points or even stay in the top-5 or top-10, it might have made it easier for Ginn Racing to attract and gain sponsors. Most people probably won’t agree with me, but I think as soon as Mark Martin got out of the car, you could easily see Ginn Racing’s future slide right down along with the point slide Martin took. I mean, what better way to advertise to potential sponsors that you are a team worth sponsoring by having your car in the top-5 or top-10. All the car owners that have a car in the top-10 are car owners that are well funded with sponsors — I seriously doubt if Ginn Racing had a car in the top-10 that Ginn Racing would be the exception to that (at least not for long) — they would have gotten more sponsors.
Ginn, however is no slouch when it comes to business, and business is like anything else…you learn it mostly through trial and error. No one should look down on Ginn, the man did something many of us only dream of, and he almost pulled it off. Hats off to him.
No doubt its gonna be great to see Martin in a DEI car, and teamate to Jr!