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.
1. Beggar – Borrower – Thief? – Jack Roush maintains that a sway bar, which he considers to be proprietary equipment, was taken from his team from a Toyota rival last Fall. Roush is fuming, and though he did not name the organization, Michael Waltrip Racing's Michael Waltrip has stepped forward and admitted that his team is the one in question. Roush said that he is considering legal action, though Waltrip characterizes the incident as a "mistake." But Roush is not backing down, and claims the Toyota team took the part to the vendor that produced it and requested that it be duplicated. Roush said, "The … nondescript Toyota team, went behind my toolbox and took my bar out of my inventory, and put it in their inventory and took it home with them. That is a fact. It has not been refuted, and it has been discussed with the team involved." Fan opinions vary; however, many place the blame on Roush Fenway Racing for failing to better secure their equipment.
Which begs the question: If you do not lock your car and it is stolenâ€¦ is it your fault orâ€¦ that of the “dirtbag” who stole it?
2. We're Not Saying We're Wrong, Butâ€¦ – In the wake of the controversy that erupted due to the tires that the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company provided to Sprint Cup teams at Atlanta, the company has announced that they will not be bringing that particular compound to Texas Motor Speedway this coming weekend. The tires in question — although believed to be more durable — provided for poor grip, causing drivers to have an exceptional amount of difficulty controlling their race cars as they slid through the turns. That day, second place finisher Tony Stewart led the driver lambasting of Goodyear immediately following the checkered flag, and numerous other respected Cup drivers have supported Stewart since in his complaints against the tire manufacturer.
Chalk one up for labor!
3. Catch Me If You Can - In 2004, NASCAR adopted the Green/White/Checkered rule in an effort to finish more of its races under race conditions rather than under caution. Since that time, there have been have been twenty-eight races during which the rule has been used. In those events, Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have led at the restart and held on to win eleven times combined. In fact, Gordon (6 wins) and Johnson (5 wins) have never relinquished the lead under the green/white/checkered, and Johnson is one of six drivers that have taken a win when not leading at the drop of the green (Las Vegas (2006).
Think Gordon was begging for a caution flag those final few laps?
4. Too Little, Too Late? – Scott Dixon won the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 IndyCar Series race at Homestead-Miami Saturday. The event was the season opener for the IRL and the first for newly reunified U.S. open wheel racing since the merger of the IRL and the Champ Car World Series. The prerace PR boasted that three former Indianapolis 500 winners were scheduled to participate in Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), and Dan Wheldon (2005).
Not badâ€¦not bad at all. But here’s the problem: NASCAR's Daytona 500 had four former Indianapolis 500 winners attempt to qualify for its season opener: Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Sam Hornish, Jr. (2006) and Dario Franchitti (2007). Villeneuve failed to qualify for NASCAR's biggest race… but the rest did.
5. Who Likes Vanilla, Anyways? – International software security firm Vanguard Integrity Professionals is set on distancing itself from oft-controversial Sprint Cup Driver Robby Gordon. The Company has sued Gordon for $1.15 million in sponsorship fees they want returned, as well as for Robby to "cease and desist" donning their company logo on his Sprint Cup driving suit. Following the cancellation of January's Dakar Rally, Gordon made some inflammatory comments that the security company made clear they do not agree on and do not care to be associated with. Said Gordon, who believed the race organizers should have held some of the 16 scheduled days of the rally despite "direct" threats by al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups: "Let’s put it in perspective. Eleven people got killed over there. I’m pretty sure in L.A., we kill 11 a night on the streets of L.A. … It was a couple of kids in the back of a pickup truck with a couple of AK-47s that shot a couple of people.” A Vanguard statement read, "It is not positive to be associated with someone who said al-Qaeda attacks are no worse than an average night in America – especially for a security software company."
For those who complain that NASCAR drivers are nothing but "corporate mouthpieces"â€¦ meet Robby Gordon!
6. Soâ€¦ How Do You Like It? - Back-to-back 500 lap short track races at Bristol and Martinsville have illustrated just how different the racing has become between the two tracks. This season's first visit to Bristol, which was repaved and reconfigured to include progressive banking, saw only 10 caution flags for 86 laps, with 17 lead changes. At yesterday's Goody's Cool Orange 500, there were 18 cautions — short of the last Martinsville event in October of last year, when there were a record 21 yellow flags dropped.
Racing or Wrecking? Which do you choose?
7. It's Right Here In The Rule Book – NASCAR gave more guidance on how it would apply its policy to allow owners to transfer points between teams this week. Michael Waltrip Racing had requested that the owner points David Reutimann earned while driving the No. 00 be transferred to the No. 44 UPS MWR Toyota that he took over the week after the retirement of Dale Jarrett. However, NASCAR's John Darby denied the request, explaining that the point swaps are only granted when there is a change of business function, such as the case of Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. at the start of the season. He said, "This [point swap] was never meant to be used to give a driver the best position he can get."
8. Thanks A Lot, Buddy - The aforementioned Reutimann then suffered mechanical failure at Martinsville, relegating him to a 39th place finish on Sunday and putting him in a difficult spot. So, NASCAR's decision to disallow Reutimann the 27th spot in owner points from his former No. 00, coupled with the poor finish, has his new No. 44 now 37th in owner points, which will require him to qualify into next week’s Texas race on speed. Meanwhile, rookie Michael McDowell, who finished 26th in Reutimann's former No. 00, still has a guaranteed starting spot by virtue of his team’s 25th position in owner points.
Yesterday's race was the first time that Reutimann had a guaranteed starting spot in a Cup race during his time at MWR. Wellâ€¦ at least he knows what he needs to do for next time!
9. School's In Session – Jeff Burton leaves Martinsville as the NASCAR Sprint Cup point leader on the strength of his solid 3rd place finish at the historic track, jumping three spots in the process. However, the usually unflappable and deliberate-speaking Virginia native and 15-year Cup veteran, made a point of calling out MWR's Michael McDowell during a nationally broadcast interview for not allowing lead cars to pass him in the closing laps of the Goody's Cool Orange 500. Burton warned, "That kid in the double-zero [No. 00] better learn some mannersâ€¦or he'll get taught."
Michael McDowellâ€¦welcome to Cup racing!
10. Bracket This! - NCAA March Madness is coming to an end, along with those hoop picks that looked so promising when predictions were made; only to be upset by, wellâ€¦upsets. But never fear, race fans; keep the sporting fun alive by having family, friends, and co-workers try to predict the Top 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship drivers after Richmond the first week of September. Presently there are only 127 points separating 20th and 12th place in the standings. Too easy, you say? Pick them in the exact order, then!
Rk Driver Points
Ah, ha! Not as easy as it sounds, huh?
Looking for the Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why things went down the way they did at Martinsville? You’d know if you subscribed to the Frontstretch Newsletter and Amy Henderson’s Big Six column, a quick way to get you up to speed on any of the action you missed the day before. Still haven’t signed up for the newsletter? Click here to get it sent to your inbox ASAP; and remember, the best thing about it is it’s FREE!
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I have a point to ponder….
Do you think if “partgate” didn’t involve a Toyota team Jack would have made such a big deal about it? Hmmm?
My guess is NO. I bet this sort of thing happens all the time, but because it was a Toyota team Jack wanted to crucify them!
And I’ll bet, whoever your favorite is, is never guilty of anything! The fact is that nascrap teams cheat and steal all the time! In the old days a fight would have settled it, but in these days of brian and the rest of the “sissymen” Jack of any other owner only has the public forum to attempt justice.
hey Max Fan
AMEN, Woobie! Stealing is stealing. When RFR got the part back, the Roush-identifying paint finish was reportedly sand-blasted off, and the manufacturer contacted about duplicating it. No, nothing suspicious about that! Thank goodness the manufacturer had enough integrity not to duplicate it, but call Roush and tell him.
According to Kyle Petty on “Tradin’ Paint” yesterday, the sway bar is one of the parts NASCAR doesn’t specifiy what it’s made from, and other specs which gives them some freedom to research new ideas. This sway bar reportedly was of a slightly different shape and size that it didn’t fit IN the parts bin, so it was stowed UNDER the pit box, from which it was stolen. Jack has every right to prosecute this to the fullest extent. NASCAR is being their typical wuss self, and of course, they’re not going to lift a finger to help Jack Roush anyway.
Good column, Tommy!!
If you dont lock your car you can expect it to be stolen, but its still the fault of the bottom-feeding thief.
Michael McDowell probably would have started in the Nationwide car but David Reutimann wanted the ride and wouldnt give it up. It was part of his contract they worked out for this year. So McDowell gets thrown in the fire with no experience.
EVEN if they got it by accident how do they explain it being sandblasted and repainted ? Any way you explain it its still pretty shifty ! And if you dont lock your street car does that mean the thief isnt charged with grand theft auto ? NO …it means your insurance company will refuse to pay damages …Dont think Jack is worried about an insurance check ! As far as Mcdowell goes ..hes a rookie but hes still gotta know better ..i mean even kid kyle the moron got out of the way !!
There’s an angle to the Robby Gordon/Vanguard story that everyone is overlooking. Vanguard is just trying to use Robby’s statement as an excuse. The real issue is that Vanguard owner and CEO will not be able to fulfill his dream of completing a Dakar Rally, now that they won’t be racing in Africa. Ronn Bailey sponsored Robby to buy his way onto a first class competetive team. He was to drive a second Hummer for Robby in return for his sponsorship dollars.
Please, someone in the media needs to do a bit more research than just reading Vanguard’s press statement.
I never said that stealing was okay, nor did I say taking a swaybar wasn’t stealing…in fact, I agree it is wrong…however, I did write that there would be less of a story if it was another team (such as another Ford team or a Dodge team). No denying Jack has a vandetta against Toyota, so he will naturally use anything he can to disgrace them. This shouldn’t have been a Roush versus Toyota thing, it should have been a Roush versus MWR thing (if that was who had “stolen” the part). The manufactuer shouldn’t have been brought into it! Jack wanted to purposely single out Toyota.
Better be carefull throwing stones Jeff and Jeff . The rookie year for Burton was not what i would call spectacular , and Gordons’ rookie year was one big crash fest . Using McDowell for an excuse is not gonna fly guys . You got beat !