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
Monday March 3, 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 · Tuesday October 23, 2007
This Monday at Atlanta, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will officially test a No. 88 Chevrolet with Hendrick Motorsports for the first time. That in-season move is just the latest in a transition that appears to be accelerating a bit faster than initially anticipated. Out of the Chase and out of the running for anything higher than 13th in the final point standings, it’s clear that Junior’s focus is quickly turning ahead towards 2008.
There’s just one problem with that: he still has a job to do for the rest of 2007 – and so does DEI.
What has transpired since the start of the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup by the No. 8 Budweiser team is nothing short of a half-hearted commitment to performance. And no, this is not all about the string of engine failures, common knowledge as to what’s supposed to be their continual Achilles Heel. Instead, this is about a team that has packed it in, content to collect sponsorship fees, paychecks, and simply move forward to make preparations for next season – with little to no regard for what happens now. And although I am often accused of being negatively biased in my opinion of Dale Jr., rest assured that I believe this is clearly a team effort. No doubt, DEI is every bit as culpable in the pathetic late-season performance being put forth as Junior himself.
Of course, you can’t completely turn a blind eye to the rash of mechanical failures with this team; at Martinsville, late race engine woes dropped him out of the Top 5 and nearly led to his eighth DNF of the season, a number which would set a record as Junior’s career high. Honestly, I have no idea what the scoop is on the raggedy engines that DEI has installed in the No. 8 cars. Maybe they are some kind of R&D experiment gone bad with the newly aligned engine departments of DEI and Richard Childress Racing, which would at least be an understandable explanation for their unreliability. After all, who better than Junior to do some R&D work during his 10-week forced stay at DEI before bolting to what he hopes will be greener pastures? All of the RCR drivers are currently championship contenders, as is DEI’s Martin Truex, Jr., a scenario which obviously exempts them from running any unproven equipment. Of course, there’s the No. 15 and No. 01 teams to consider, too; but unlike Junior, they employ drivers who are returning to the organization next year. In the end, it’s just another feather in the cap that for all Junior's assertions to the contrary, his bag is already half-packed to leave – and he’s got one foot out the DEI door as you read this.
But what about the way this team has handled a pending divorce? DEI seems to be not only resigned to the "let’s just get this over with" arrangement, as well, but they’re willing to facilitate the indifferent attitude that has become evident in the No. 8 camp. This first became glaringly apparent when in late September DEI consented to not only let Junior's cousin and crew chief, Tony Eury, Jr., out of his contractual obligations for next year, but later agreed to not even force him to finish out the rest of this current season. In a surprising move, they permitted him move over to the Hendrick Motorsports shop as early as two weeks ago to start work on the future of his new program. Tony Jr., who has been with Dale Jr. for six of his seven Cup seasons, left with his driver’s blessing, as the two were solidly in agreement the mechanic needed to pave the way for their new team’s 2008 Cup efforts. However, that appears to contradict Junior’s repeated comments that he desires to win a race this season. Apparently, the guy means that only if he doesn't need to do it with his highly valued crew chief.
That move surprised me, because I had initially been impressed and encouraged by Junior’s repeated assertions that he was committed to winning before season’s end. Yet when a "full court press" should have been in play to finish out the 2007 season on a winning note, it is disappointing to see that neither the driver nor the owner cared enough to make the effort. Sure, Junior would like to win a race this season. That is not a unique desire among race car drivers, though; most do prefer to win. Unfortunately, there is little focus, commitment, or dedication by either Junior or DEI to getting there with what little time they have remaining together.
Longtime DEI employee Steve Hmiel provided – as part of his explanation for his recently announced departure from the organization – more evidence that neither management nor Junior is singularly dedicated to that cause. Hmiel, who served as Dale Jr's. race day spotter, said, “When Junior didn’t make the Chase and the No. 1 did, DEI wanted me in the garage to help fix wrecks and stuff like that.”
Hmiel continued, “They said Junior wants to try out his spotter for next year; he’s not in the Chase, so it’s not as critical as it wasâ€¦”
Now, if you’re truly committed to winning, wouldn’t you be willing to stay the course with the team you’re already with? Changes are hard enough when people are staying together – they’re ten times worse when they all know this season will end with everyone going in 1,000 different directions.
Following this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, DEI will participate in two days of Car of Tomorrow testing with DEI driver Regan Smith behind the wheel of the No. 8. That is understandable; he is slated to run a DEI CoT at Atlanta next season. But what is not so understandable is that DEI has agreed to release Junior to go and test with Hendrick Motorsports – with none other than the recently defected Tony Eury, Jr. assisting him there. Vice President of DEI, John Story, said, "We recognize that Dale, Jr. and Tony Jr. both need to get going with their new program, and we’re not going to stand in their way.”
Clearly, the 2007 season shouldn’t stand in their way, either. Upper management of DEI, every bit as much as Dale, Jr., has made a conscious decision to "write off" what’s left with the No.8 team, simply choosing to start anew next year. Given the circumstances surrounding the highly publicized departure of Junior next season, they apparently did not have the desire and / or ability to motivate everyone involved to fulfill their obligations to the organization, sponsors, and fans to the best of their abilities through the last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Maybe we should have seen this coming. As acrimonious as the relationship has been between Junior and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, owner of DEI, perhaps it should be no surprise that Junior is only going through the motions and sticking around more out of legal obligations and his sponsors rather than any desire to leave on a winning note. If it’s true, that’s truly a shame; there could and should have been a better end to Junior's driving career for the team that bears his father’s name.
Too bad no one involved cared enough to try and make it happen.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I think you’re nuts if you don’t think Jr. is trying his best. He could easily just wreck his car in the beginning of each race and walk away from it if he didn’t care. It’s a lost season for him and the team. So who wouldn’t be thinking ahead to next year? I can’t wait for this season to be over. How can you win a race if your equipment doesn’t last until the end? Did you watch the Martinsville race? How do you run in the top 4 at the end of the race with a bum engine if you are only “going through the motions”? Your conclusions are idiotic. It’s no surprise that you are “often accused of being negatively biased in your opinion of Dale Jr.”, as you try to twist the facts to make your point.
I agree with Randy. The nly one who seems to have given up on this season is DEI. How many times was Junior runing in the top 10, only to have an engine blow up? I agree that the acrimony doesn’t seem to be limited to Junior, but with many of those associated with him. In fact, most of those who helped Dale Sr. get DEI off the ground have departed and been replaced by the ‘new regime.
Hey Randy, I agree with you 100 percent!!!!! the writer is nuts—no, I take it back, he’s an idiot.
Nascar is so competitve these days that running in the top 5 is a feat in itself. If the car is off just a little bit you could easily be running 30th. How about pit stops…same deal you lose a second in the pits you can easily lose 10 spots. I think you owe an appology to people at DEI that put their heart and sole in ALL their drivers to be successful.
Sorry, but I think you have not been watching the same races I have and watched Dale Junior and the crew gut it out the best they can with failing engines. How many drivers would put it to the edge and keep a sick car in the top 5 as long as he does before the engines go south?
If Junior had given up on the season, he would be far back from 13th place, the highest he could possibly finish after missing the chase. Week after week we have seen him working his way through the field only to have his equipment let him down.
“DEI will participate in two days of Car of Tomorrow testing with DEI driver Regan Smith behind the wheel of the No. 8. That is understandable; he is slated to run a DEI CoT at Atlanta next season. But what is not so understandable is that DEI has agreed to release Junior to go and test with Hendrick Motorsports” –
Huh? What the flip is the difference? Both drivers are testing for next year. So it’s OK for Smith to get a head start, but not Jr…?
Do YOU really watch the races, or just “go through the motions”?
The problems for DEI have existed for several years . Dale Jr. has put as little time into the team as possible . We’ve all heard over the years from many , many sources , including his father , how Jr. likes to party and sleep till noon . Can’t build a winning team that way .
I don’t think it was a smart move to keep Tony Jr and Dale Jr together at Hendrick’s. the pair won’t last long together.
Did you listen to Dale Jr’s scanner Sunday? What more does he have to do??? Give blood!!!
I don’t know about DEI, but I really have to believe that Junior IS trying to win a race. He has been racing way too hard lately to say otherwise. And I’m not really a fan of his either.
As far as the testing goes, so what?! DEI wants to get Regan seat time so why shouldn’t the others play switcheroo as well. It only makes sense.
Well, I guess all you need to do these days is write negative article about races you don’t watch, scanners you don’t listen to. Just piss on whichever driver you don’t like. What happened were you not popular in high school. All this article does since it is not writing about the facts and it’s about opinion is casting a light on you and your intention. I don’t think Jr has given up. If they are going to use him as a R&D product he is going to bring the problem to light and maybe get a win out of all this. He won’t give up.
You need to take a look at how Jr. and his team have done everything possible to win since the chase has started. I have had it up to my eyeballs with writers who dont have a clue about what they write about. Next time do your homework dude.
Its pretty obvious Dale Jr has become the test mule for DEI and Childress engine shop. And why not, he can push equipment to the limits as well as anyone. The organizations had nothing to lose as Dale Jr is gone at the end of the season. Its a shame he’s been prevented from winning but he’s been a trooper week in and week out doing his best to run as hard as he can. DEI apparently still has a great deal of work to do and next year they’ll run mediocre at best and Dale Jr will rebound to run for a championship.
Seems to me that the “Jr.nation” is so committed to Jr. that in their eyes he can do nothing wrong while readly blaming DEI & Teresa for all things bad. I think the whole thing’s a shame, all that Dale sr. worked so hard to create, seems to be going the opposite direction he had envisioned.All the Jr. fans think he should have gained control of DEI, well if Dale had wanted that he probably would have stated it in his will,he didn’t he left it all to Teresa so get over it. Jr.& Kelly probably couldn’t have run it anyway.Jr. Motorsports isnt really running away with the Busch Series Championship either, now he wants to team with Hendrick to try to have a winning team there,or a cheating team.If Jr. would start living his own life instead of letting his sister run it he might be bettter off.
You must be watching different races than me. Dale Jr is working his butt off to try and win races in the final 10 and it appears that he may not be receiving the best equipment to do that. He ran in the top 10 for most of the day on seven cylinders while the rest had 8. That just does not sound like someone who is going through the motions. I think DEI may be testing new equipment with Dale Jr. As for the testing, this test is for 2008 and not for 2007, why shouldn’t Dale Jr test with the team he is going to racing with in 2008? It doesn’t make any sense to me for him to test with DEI for 2008, when he will not be working for them in 2008. You need to do more research before you write something. It sounds like you don’t like Dale Jr and like to run him down along with DEI any chance you get. You need to grow up or write about other drivers.
You could not be more wrong in your article. Jr. gives it his all every week. If DEI had done the same maybe things would be different. Of course she (step momma) is thinking if we make this bad enough for him maybe he will leave early also. Jr. would never do that. She is the one making the whole organization look BAD. In one year she has turned what Dale Sr. spent his life working for, into a farce. All of Sr,‘s people are leaving and so is his son, she must be really proud, she can now call it all her own.
The writer got exactly what he wanted, lots of heated responses to an ignorant article. Anyone who follows racing even as a passing interest could see through this garbage.
What is your problem. Jr is 110% committed to finishing his season. He has raced his butt off each and every race, if did not care, he would not show up.
Many of Jrs interviews this year he seemed distrcted and yes sometimes close to tears. Its a damn shame that he will no longer share the company his father built. Give him a high five for sticking it out this long.
Very perspective. I totally agree with your critique of this article and motivation of the author. .
Do you even watch the races? If you did there is no way you could say that Junior is going through the motions. When you lose six engines or so and your teammates loses virtually none tells you something about the equipment he is getting. I do think Teresa is partly responsible for that also if not she would ensure he was getting good engines like the other drivers. I don’t think she wants junior to be successful because that would make her look bad for not retaining him. But to say junior is not giving his all is just absolutely wrong! I’m sure he keeps hearing the reports about how many races it’s been since he’s won. You don’t think he wants to get that monkey off his back!
Great article Tom, I wholeheartedly agree. Don’t listen to the Jr fans. They’d throw the Pope under the bus for saying that Dale Jr’s car has a scratched hubcap.
BTW, what has 32 teeth and an IQ of 78? That’s right! The front row at a Dale Jr fan club meeting.
Hope you think that’s very perspective too Vegas88fan!
The number 88 will always be remembered as the Robert Yates car and the great drivers who had a ride in it . It doesn’t have much to do with Earnhardt .
You are mis-informed Tommy! I’ve closely watched Dale Jr this year and am now conviced he is a driver’s driver and will be a force to be reckoned with in good equipment. Kudos to the 8 team’s accomplishments this season with less than acceptable hardware. These guys rock!
Give the driver a car that runs well, an engine that will hold out the entire race, and see what Jr will do. You have just shown us how little you know about Jr. You did hit the nail on the head about DEI though. Don’t compare Dale Jr’s integrity and loyalty to that of DEI. There’s no comparison. and Awww Carmichael, a skunk always show up at a picnic. You’re it, hon!
Wow, Mr Thompson, you should definitely receive a nice thank-you note from Teresa Earnhardt and John Menard this week!!! Great job at attempting to make the late season performance issues at least partly Junior’s fault. Guess what? No one bought DEI’s story that it was Junior’s fault for his engine blowing that time, and no one is gonna buy this bag of hooey either.
Jr. ran Mikey away not DEI.He couldn’t handle him winning the Daytona races!
Wow, one little article criticising Jr, and Jr Nation comes unglued. I still think Jr is over-rated. We’ll see next year if is as good as you all think. He’ll have championship caliber equipment at his disposal. So for all of you crying about someone’s opinion on your beloved driver, get over it. That’s his job.
read your article and was totally disgusted.there is a saying, if you can’t say anything good about someone then don’t say anything at all. jr. has done everything possible to win a race but when you have 7 engine failures in one season there is a problem somewhere and it is not with the driver.COULD IT POSSABLY BE THE COMPANY THAT YOU ARE WORKING FOR????????
The engine problems , which only account for seven races , don’t excuse the lack of performance on the part of Dale Jr. in all the other races this year . Or for that matter over the last five years . Where are the race wins ? Where are the championships . Are we to believe that there has been a conspiracy against poor Dale Jr. for the whole time he has driven for DEI .
The simple fact is Jr is a very good driver, but he isn’t a GREAT driver. I don’t think I am insulting him to say he is one who would consistantly finish 6th thru 15th every week. I do believe he tries to win, but fact is he is not as great a driver as Gordon,Johnson,Stewart, Kenseth,and now throw Kyle Busch and Hamlin in the mix. I can go on about the difficulties he has but either you agree or don’t agree and we’ll see where he finishes.
I cannot speak for the DEI mechanics and engine builders, but you CANNOT question the driver or crew of the #8. Taking Martinsville for example, when Jr ran into mechanical problems, the crew made adjustments and got him track position countless times on Sunday. As far as the driver, you only need to listen to the audio of the OTHER DRIVERS Jr pissed off on Sunday to see exactly HOW HARD he is really trying. He even got is friends mad at him!
Like I said you all are blinded by Jr. nation, & you are all wrong about me too. I was (still am)a Dale Earnhardt fan, & am a Jr. fan also. You guys are probably race fans that have never been close to a race car except one of the show cars. I’m a driver & have driven everything from go-carts to sprint cars to drag cars, & late models. I never said he wasnt trying but trying to say that DEI is singling him out is ludricrous.I guess you havent noticed the blown engines in Truex’s car or the engine problems with Childress engines. Incase you didn’t know Childress & DEI have teamed up on the engine program.Try to accept reality, there’s no consperacy from DEI against Jr.If you had seen the interview on DeSpains show the other night you would have heard Jr. say there’s problems in the engine dept. but it’s not aimed at him.And Jane talk about a bunch of hooey, DEI punishes people by not letting them win they did it to Mikey. First the statement that DEI punishes drivers is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard,second Mikey is one of the most overrated drivers in NASCAR, the only way he won 2 Daytona’s was with help from an Earnhart, the first whan Dale was killed blocking for him, if Dale had been driving his normal win at all cost’s type of race he might still be with us. The second win was with Jr. pushing him across the line.Or maybe under caution.
If Jr was a better driver he would not blow this engines up .As for Steve Hmiel all he is enterrested in is his crack head son.
It is a mythe that Dale Sr. started DEI for JR. He knew that JR. could never make a success out of DEI. That is why he left it to Theresa, not JR. Forget Jr. and his future at Hendricks. They will soon figure out they have been DUPED. JR. is not the driver they hoped for. Get a life, Jeff is the future for Hendrick Motors!
If Jr was a better driver he would not blow this engines up .As for Steve Hmiel all he is enterrested in is his crack head son.
that is the best one….a good driver doesnt blow engines..if you think the engine is the drivers responsibility you need to watch golf.
What races are you watching? Do you really have a clue as to what you are writing?
Junior may not be his daddy but he is a pretty good driver. He has won two busch championships and 17 Nextel Races. A lot of drivers racing today in Nascar don’t have that record. Didn’t Kurt Busch win the Championship and he doesn’t have 17 nextel cup victories. For anyone whether you are a fan of his or not to say he is not much of a driver needs to check the win/loss records of drivers in Nascar. And, if he had been in Hendrick Cars no telling how many wins and maybe even a championship he would have had. DEI is definitely not as good as team as Hendrick, Gibbs, or even RCR at this time. Junior may not win a championship next year with Hendrick but I would almost guarantee you he will win a race. Seventeen Nextel Cup wins proves that he can win these races and is a legitimate driver. If you don’t know anything about NASCAR you need to quit posting stupid comments that you obviously don’t know anything about.
[quote: Larry Burton]
Actually, Kurt has exactly 17 Nextel Cup victories. He also has a higher winning percentage than Dale, having run 35 less races, nearly a full season worth. On pure wins, Dale’s not even in the top 10 as far as active drivers, although with the announced retirements he may just crack it assuming Terry Labonte or Bill Elliott don’t run any races.
Also, it’s worth noting that regardless of your stance on this or any topic, it’s unwise to suggest someone else’s knowledge is lacking when you haven’t properly fact-checked your own post. High horses only make for long falls.
Steven, Did Kurt have seventeen victories when he won the championship? You say he has exactly seventeen victories but he has won more races since he won the championship so he wouldn’t have seventeen then would he? I’m not trying to be on a high horse but it kind of irks me that a lot of fans say he can’t drive. As i’ve said, DEI is not one of the top Nascar Teams now either so if he had been driving for Hendrick you can be assured he would probably have more wins. Don’t think Rick Hendrick is a dummy when it comes to chosing drivers either. He knows if some talent is there are not. He wouldn’t just sign Jr. for his name alone. Just because your name is Earnhardt doesn’t mean they are gonna give you two Busch Championships and seventeen Nextel wins. Like I said, he may not be his father are Jeff Gordon but he can definitely drive a race car. When Kurt was driving for Rousch I would rate them ahead of DEI as for as a raceteam. The quality of a race team has a lot to do with winning races. I think that’s a major reason why Junior left DEI. Time will tell if it’s the right move but I definitely think it is. Also, Junior was running real strong in several races this year until engine failures took him out of contention. For the most part, he has no control over engine failures. Can you name me another driver this year who has had seven engine failures? That’s probably got something to do with him not winning a race this year so far.
Are you watching the same races as the rest of us? It is truly painful to watch Jr try so hard, each week, and then have another one of those crappy RCR/DEI combo engines blow up..Hell, I am almost ready to cry..DEI couldn’t care less..they are planning for 2008, meanwhile, Jr is asking for any old engine that will run, so he won’t blow up again next week. Please be fair and see the whole picture for what it is..
I have to say this because it’s true. The Organization DEI has given up on JR. No matter what anyone says. He’s currently a one man show. one man every week driving 500 miles. Aint easy with a buch of guys that don’t care standing in the pits and watching from the stands. one look at jrs face during the hendrick testing at Atl and you can see he’s hungry.