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 August 29, 2007
There is little doubt that Richard Childress Racing has bounced back in the past few years, reestablishing itself as one of the premier racing organizations in the world of NASCAR Nextel Cup. After nearly two decades of success – most notably with the late Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet – the organization had seen a steady decline in their performance towards the end of the ’90s, even before the tragic death of the “Intimidator” in 2001. In the wake of Dale’s death, it was Kevin Harvick, his replacement, who’s accomplished the most for RCR on paper, winning two Busch Series titles while finishing in the Top 5 in points twice. It’s a list of accomplishments that gets you thinking Harvick was the missing piece responsible for getting a fledgling organization back on track. But, in reality, that’s hardly the case – and in the wake of recent performances, Harvick’s now facing an uncomfortable scenario of being the only weak link in a rapidly forming playoff chain over at RCR.
Despite what the stat sheet says, it is not necessarily Harvick who is leading the charge back to respectability for Richard Childress Racing. It takes more than one to make a team – crafty veteran Jeff Burton and sophomore driver Clint Bowyer have every bit to do with the team’s recent turnaround. That’s not to say Harvick hasn’t performed well during this resurgence, but his teammates have made it abundantly clear through their on-track performances to date that they are not conceding the alpha-driver designation to Harvick anytime soon – even if the brash Californian believes he’s the one in control.
In fact, though the Bakersfield native started the season off with a bang – winning February's Daytona 500 – the other two Childress drivers have kept pace with Harvick throughout the racing season. With two races remaining before the start of the ten race Chase to the Nextel Cup, the even-tempered Burton and the sophomore sensation Bowyer are actually ahead of Harvick in the point standings. Ranked seventh, Burton and the No. 31 Chevrolet team are highest of the three, harboring no worries in becoming one of the top twelve drivers eligible to compete for the 2007 title. Behind him, Bowyer runs ninth, with two Top 5 finishes and eleven Top 10s to his credit. Very much like Burton, the pilot of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s car has been a model of consistency, likewise flying under the media radar but seemingly in little danger of falling out of the Race To The Chase – he holds a 223-point advantage over 13th place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with two races left.
However, the often volatile Harvick, having slipped from his perch atop the driver standings since the season-opening race at Daytona, has performed only well enough to keep himself in the lower half of the Top 10 throughout much of the season. And of the three Childress teams, it is Harvick’s that is in the most jeopardy of not becoming Chase eligible – he holds merely a 167-point cushion between his current 10th place position in points and thirteenth in the rankings.
If there were to be a driver that “choked” under the pressure of making NASCAR's version of a playoff format during the next two races, this six-year veteran of Cup racing seems to be the leading candidate to do so. At a time when teams want to start hitting on all cylinders, Harvick has simply faded away. In fact, in the last ten races, he has scored only two Top 5 finishes (Chicagoland and Infineon) while posting sub-Top 10 results five times. The driver’s lackluster performance during that time is certainly is not the kind of stellar performance that wins Championships – or, at least, puts teams in serious contention for one. That Harvick has faltered in recent weeks has got to be worrisome for everyone involved with the No. 29.
It’s true that a betting man would be ill-advised to bet against Harvick still becoming Chase eligible, as time remains on his side – there’s just two races remaining before the playoffs begin. However, with finishing positions of 16th, 15th, 36th, and 17th, respectfully, in the last four races, Harvick at best will be backing into the playoffs. And it is certainly conceivable, should his poor performances continue to decline, that he could see either Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Ryan Newman overtake him for Chase eligibility.
Though the RCR equipment has, by and large, been dependable for all three teams, Harvick has been a recipient of more than his share of bad luck in the way of accidents that were not of his making. It was just such an incident that started this August slump to begin with – some ill-fated contact with Tony Stewart in the closing laps at Indianapolis sent Harvick reeling to 7th by the race’s conclusion, a run that’s actually the No. 29’s best finish to date this month. Since then, the team’s shown limited signs of life, failing to lead a single lap over the duration of the last four events.
That’s not to say luck’s the only problem for Harvick. Going into California this Sunday and Richmond the following week, the 31-year-old can and should focus on controlling what is possibleâ€¦and that is his emotions. The high-strung veteran should become more cognizant to the reality that he cannot shoot himself in the foot with any of the mischief that has checkered the recent past of his career.
Known to have a short fuse and a penchant for becoming physical with drivers in the past, Harvick sometimes shows an uncontrollable urge to right wrongs, real or imagined, against him with his bumper or fists. This would certainly be ill-advised at this juncture of the season – but he’s had no problem doing it anyway. In particular, his dissatisfaction with Juan Pablo Montoya – which became unmistakable at Watkins Glen earlier this month with a schoolyard pushing and shoving match – appears to be clouding his on-track judgment. Those antics may have seemed entertaining to some, but not everyone is laughing; the possible ramifications for further questionable behavior in the way of penalties levied by NASCAR could be devastating to any hopes of a championship run for the No. 29. That the reigning Busch Series Champion cannot seem to let bygones be bygones seems evident in his sustained verbal lambasting of Montoya since their altercation over two weeks ago.
Due to Harvick’s roller coaster of emotional inconsistency, many give substantial credit for the overall improvement in performance at RCR to Jeff Burton, who is by nature a thoughtful and introspective professional that gives both peace of mind and stability to the program. Burton’s propensity to keep everyone on the same page proved an immense benefit in mentoring the relatively inexperienced Bowyer, and, to a lesser extent, the more experienced Harvick. Burton's value shows itself time and time again, most recently playing the role of model citizen at the Glen. It was there that the native Virginian, despite destroying his car in the same incident that was so upsetting to Harvick, extricated himself from his own wrecked race car and intervened in his teammate’s escalating confrontation with Montoya – all before Harvick went and committed a foolish act. Without Burton’s calming, veteran presence, who knows how things would have turned out.
However, Burton was not able to prevent Harvick from spinning another longtime nemesis, Robby Gordon, on the last lap of Saturday night's race at Bristol. Though there is no proof that the incident was intentional, given Harvick and Gordon's rocky history and Kevin Harvick's frustration with his poor-handling Chevrolet, it would be easy for one to assume that there may have been some forethought on Harvick's part involving the contact that sent Gordon reeling out of control. Livid after the race, Gordon became a man looking for the right time to pay someone back – not exactly the type of scenario a potenetial Chaser needs. Guilty or not, this is no time for Harvick to be skirting along the fringes of acceptable behavior in the world of NASCAR.
Should Gordon make a bid for Harvick’s back bumper, the chances for the No. 29 to make the playoffs go from reasonable to problematic. And what a shame it would be to get eliminated from a chance to compete for the Nextel Cup due to an impulsive act that in no way reflected on Harvick’s driving ability, or his team’s capability to prepare Chaseworthy race cars, for that matter. But the bottom line remains that as of now, Kevin Harvick desperately needs every point that he can earn from here to Richmond.
More importantly, he needs to stop giving them away.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I could care less about Kevin Harvick. But I’ve been a Jeff Burton fan since ’95 and it was nice to see him get some love. Imagine Harvick this season if Burton WASN’T around? Scary thought, isn’t it?
Do you blame Robby Gordon for being ticked off at Kevin Harvick. He is running his tail off trying to get top 10 and top 15 positions with a single car team against the juggernaut teams and this jerk spins him out. The only reason he did it is that he knew he could get away with it because Robby is on double secret probation from NASCAR. I hope Smoke or someone else puts Harvick in the wall at both races left before the Chase and he misses it.
Kevin Harvick is a true winner and a true racer. He has no desire to be anyone’s poster boy. He rolls with the punches and lands on his feet, but he can not be held responsible for what his care does. You can change the number, you can change the paint job, you can even change the sponsor, but the bottom line is, that is still Dale Earnhardt’s car, and it only knows how to race one way.
go robby! git em :)
LETS LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE REGUARDING #29.HIS MATURITY AS A CUP DRIVER WAS SOME WHAT FORCED BY THE MOST TRAGIC DEFINING MOMMEMT IN CUP HISTORY.THAT BEING SAID WE AS SPECTATORS SHOULD REALIZE THE IMMENSE PRESSURE TO NOT ONLY PERFORM TO YOUR PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS BUT TO THOSE OF THE MOST DEMANDING FAN BASE IN MOTOR SPORTS TO DATE.AT THIS JUNCTURE IN THE #29’S CAREER WE SHOULD CONSIDER HIM AN OVER ACHIEVER; HOT HEADED NONE THE LESS BUT STILL AN OVER ACHIEVER BY THE STANDARDS OF THOSE AT THE AGE OF 31
Harvick has matured into a true professional. Who was doing the shoving at the Glen? Take a look at the film, it wasn’t Harvick. He IS responsible for the RCR turnaround, Burton himself has admitted as much. This occured by Kevin publicly criticizing RCR’s engine and chassis programs, which was a wake up call to Childress. Burton has helped, no doubt, but give credit where credit is due. If Richard didn’t listen Harvick would have been gone. Richard listened, and Harvick remained loyal. Was he immature, brash, and out of line when he was younger, you bet. But Harvick has changed. He has opened up his own successful race shop fielding truck and Busch rides that have found victory lane on numerous occassions. This article is ignorant of the facts and misinformed.
A lot of double-speak in your article. You’re feigning concern about Harvick making the Chase, but it’s obvious you don’t like him.
I thought Harvick got into Robby for payback. Robby has a similiar mentality and if the chance comes he will return the favor.
Kevin is an elephant mouth on top of a hummingbird butt. He said he was going to whip Kurt Busch’s ass and never did anything. He said he was going to whip Ricky Rudd’s ass…then came to his senses and thanked God his pit crew got there before Ricky did. That old man would have wore him out. Now he says he’s going to whip Juan’s ass. As in the Kurt episode, he contiues to run his mouth about Montoya for several weeks while everyone walks around saying, “Sheesh, give it a break Kevin. Everybody knows you’re just yap yapping away, too chicken to do anything you say you’re going to do.
Kevin Harvick makes me wish Jimmy Spencer was still driving. I’d love to see Harvick try to intimidate him. Jimmy would give him Kurt Busch hook.
Your about as boring as the former Govenor of Wisconsin Tommy Thompson. You probably have pictures of Matt Kenseth, Casey Mears and Jamie Mcmurry on your bedroom wall. If you were a true journalist you would do some research and present to your discussion how Harvick has struggled over the years at his home state track California Speedway and how another rough finish could make things interesting for him going into the final week before the chase. Time to get back to school before opening your yap and lambasting Harvick. What did he do put you in the wall one night at Marin Speedway? In all of sports it’s about winning the “Big One” and Harvick has done that this year, what many drivers can only dream of. Harvick a former wrestler in High School could through down most and has the fierceness and mentality to do so to many… What should he have done at Watkins Glen sat in his car and be like “Oh Well “theres always next week.”
After you get done buying Robbie and Juan a drink in Moorseville tonight, go home and do some true research instead of reaching on personal feelings and vendetta’s. Try to interview Kevin this weekend I bet you don’t have the … to do so?
Harvick’s mouth is runs alot faster than his ability. In just the past few weeks Harvick has put a bumper to several drivers sending them into spins but, Harvick publicly ridicules Montoya. Unless something is wrong with my TV picture, Harvick is tall but not real stout. He needs somebody to knock him right in the mouth. I was never a big fan but, I wasn’t a hater of Harvick either until now. He needs his tail whipped! Robby won’t back down and shouldn’t. Robby was running in 13th when Harvick spun him and dropped Gordon to 20th and a near 21 points. In Montreal everyone looked down on the Gordon & Ambrose incident but guess who started the big pile up…Harvick! He thinks he’s an Intimidator. He’s not the best RCR driver. He needs Jimmy Spencer to clock him once.
Harvick grow up!
I don’t think it is Harvick that needs to watch his P’s and Q’s. The man is obviously frustrated.
He’s had two finishes of 34 and 36 thanks to JPM.
Then the Stewart “brushing” incident.
In Martinsville the COT catches on fire. Thats 4 races where he had a potential Top 5 finish.
If these were situations where Harvick was the one who caused the problem, I would agree.
However, all of these circumstances occurred when he was simply trying to race.
Ricky Rudd said it best,
Bobby Hamilton said it well also, “Harvick’s not even a scab on Dale Earnhardt’s ***.”
neither is Ricky Rudd and Bobby Hamilton with all due respect (R.I.P.)!
Matt and Colin, you boys are smoking the good stuff with Shane Hmiel. A true professional? Does the definition of a true professional include whining to the media, acting like a spoiled brat, wrecking others to advance one’s cause, and generally letting one’s emotions always get the better of them? I think not. If Harvick raced back in the 70’s the Alabama Gang would’ve made sure he lost a few teeth. If NA$CAR wasn’t so concerned about their wholesome image to sponsors (GREED) he would’ve gotten his ass whooped a long time ago. No more fighting to settle things after the race, so we’re left with the punt and run crybabies like Harvick, Wonderboy, and the rest. If you want the true definition of a professional, look no further than Jeff Burton. Harvick can wheel a car, but he’s a punk.
Kevin is a chicken not a fighter! He won’t mess with anyone without “back-up” or that person being the sissy that he is. It is all “grandstanding”. Just watch and see if he EVER confronts face to face a Tony Stewart or Robby Gordon, or anyone of their mind set. He will get a whipin’ he will never forget!
Can #29 a west-coast speed racer/business genius/devoted husband get some credit for producing a great track record(pun intended)in N.A.S.C.A.R. It seems to me someone of his athletic pedigree coupled with his savvy as a C.E.O. ain’t enough, Oh didn’t he win two of the highest grossing races this season so far? Not bad for 3rd rate,whinny,wimpy,YANKEE!