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. No Popularity Contest – Joe Gibbs Racing “hot shoe” Kyle Busch, winner of Saturday night’s Dodge Challenger 500 won honors as the First Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008. The voting panel, made up of individuals knowledgeable in the numerous disciplines of U.S. motor racing, picked the 23-year old Las Vegas, NV. native for his winning performances in not just his Sprint Cup gig, but his impressive results in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series as well. Busch trounced his nearest rivals, totaling 142 points to runner-up and fellow NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who garnered 72 points. IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, the first female in history to score a win in that series, placed third with 51 points. The voting period ended after the Talladega race and well before Busch was involved in a controversial late race accident while battling fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Richmond. Busch went on to finish second to Clint Bowyer, while Earnhardt, Jr., though also finishing in the Top 10, lost any chance he may have had to end a two-year winless streak due to what many believed to be overly aggressive driving on the part of Busch.
Earnhardt Nation will not be allowed to cast votes in the Second Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008 balloting, either!
2. Everything’s Cool – Neither Denny Hamlin nor Michael Waltrip received further discipline for their transgressions at Richmond during the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400. Hamlin appeared to have intentionally stopped on the track to bring out the caution, a no-no that cost Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 25 points in 2004, when he intentionally spun his race car to get a yellow flag. Waltrip intentionally drilled Casey Mears in the rear and stayed on the gas long enough to push Mears’ Chevy from the top of the track into the grass infield in retaliation to being accidentally slammed into the outside retaining wall by Mears. Waltrip was parked for the remainder of the race and Hamlin was given a two-lap penalty at the time of the infraction.
Is this part of NASCAR’s new “get back to our roots” policy…or are they just taking Mondays and Tuesdays off now?
3. No Repeats – The legendary Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion went retro for Darlington, with a paint scheme that harked back to the days of tremendous success for the now struggling Sprint Cup team. The No. 21 Ford Fusion, driven by Bill Elliott was painted candy apple red and white with the recognizable gold lettering that they campaigned with great success during 1971 while running Mercury’s. Elliott placed 30th Saturday night, four laps off the pace.
The car looked great, but hardly had the results that the “Silver Fox” David Pearson enjoyed while chauffeuring the No. 21. Pearson who leads all drivers with ten wins at the track “Too Tough to Tame” scored five of those wins, as well as eight poles with the “old school” look.
4. Bow Tie’s or ‘Yota’s? – Chevrolet has announced that its racing division has completed development of a new purpose-built 2.7 liter, 4-cylinder race engine that conforms to specifications to compete in the USAC Midget Series. The new engines will debut in Tony Stewart Racing Midgets driven by Tracey Hines and Levy Jones. Said team owner Tony Stewart, who is under contract to Joe Gibbs racing, a team that switched from Chevy to Toyota this season, “The Chevy Racing and marketing staffs have really embraced the TSR racing programs, and the debut of this new engine is the start another new chapter in our relationship.”
Gee…any guesses as to what the next chapter might be?
5. Sidewinder – Four-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jeff Gordon is pleading with the sanctioning body to take a closer look at the No. 99 Roush-Fenway Ford driven by Carl Edwards. Gordon believes that a rear housing adjustment that has the car appear to go down the straightaway sideways gives him a competitive advantage in the turns. NASCAR officials aren’t buying it. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby insists that the car is within allowable tolerances and noted that Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teams were among the first to experiment with the rear housing adjustments.
Okay, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line…but it’s not necessarily the fastest?
6. Who’s Counting This? – Kevin Harvick and his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team extended their current streak of consecutive races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) to 55 races at Darlington even though Harvick pretty well waded up his Chevy early in the event. Fourteen crewman went to work replacing front-end parts, most of the right side sheet metal and the rear spoiler, to name just a few of the repairs required to get Harvick back on the track some 80 laps later. Several more visits were made to pit road to get the car to maintain the minimum required speed. The modern era record for consecutive races without recording a DNF is 58…also held by Harvick and his Pennzoil team.
Ahhh….come on! Harvick finished 102 laps down and in 39th place.
7. Good Job, Guys – How well did Darlington’s new $7 million resurfacing job go? A new track record in qualifying was set by Greg Biffle at 179.442 mph, besting the old record, posted by Ward Burton 12 years ago by 5.645 mph! The famed “Darlington stripe” was not lost!!
And…two-tire pit stops at Darlington!!?
8. Redheaded Stepchild? – New track record holder Greg Biffle was pretty tough on his Roush-Fenway No. 16 Ford team, when, after leading much of the early going of the Dodge Challenger 500, his engine expired, relegating him to a last place finish. Said Biffle, still unsigned after this season, “Typical of our equipment, I guess. Lost wheels…then we blow up.” The disgruntled driver then concluded, “All I want is equipment that holds together.”
“The Biff’s” three Roush-Fenway teammates weren’t complaining about the equipment, though. Carl Edwards, who already has three wins this season, finished second. David Ragan continued his much-improved string of finishes with a fifth-place run, and Matt Kenseth came home in sixth place.
9. Even Steven – Before the start of the Dodge Challenger 500, Darlington track officials announced that the event was a sellout for the fourth consecutive time since having their remaining race date moved to Mother’s Day weekend. The track had hosted the Southern 500 on Labor Day for more than four decades and was stripped of that event in favor of the California’s Auto Club Speedway, due in part to lackluster ticket sales. At the time of the schedule change, many believed that the race date would be a difficult one to sell and might be the beginning of the end for the “Lady in Black.” The Fontana, California racetrack has yet to come close to selling out either of their two Sprint Cup race dates per year.
Is it possible that Darlington Raceway would be willing to “sacrifice” their only race date of the season, swapping Mother’s Day weekend for that sorry ‘ole Labor Day date? You bet. In a heartbeat!
10. They Are So Cute When They Are Babies – Kyle Busch became the youngest winner in the 58-year history of Darlington Raceway on Saturday night. The driver has now won a race in either one of NASCAR’s three top divisions or in a Late Model for six consecutive weeks. However, not quite a fan favorite, he was loudly booed and jeered as spectators showed their personal dislike for him during driver introductions…even with his mother by his side.
Or were they booing Mom for her role in bringing the extremely unpopular driver into the racing world?
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Beer cans and a complete cooler thrown on the track after the race. It’s a shame that the Jr. fans haven’t followed Jr’s lead in the growing up department.
While everyone has been trying to compare Busch to Earnhardt Sr., Jimmy Spencer dared to compare Busch to a far greater driver than Earnhardt Sr. Spencer thinks he’s much like Tim Richmond. And, for Busch, that has to be the ultimate compliment.
And, on a final note, Jr. has already begun with the excuses. “They changed my car and didn’t tell me.”
Busch continues to find reasons/ways to win. Jr. keeps finding excuses why he didn’t.
Patiently awaiting the tirade of childish Jr. nation comments.
It wasn’t only JR fans throwing stuff eddy,
The 18 is an idiot ..drives over his head 95% of time and other 5 % hes looking to wipe someone out to keep from losing to them …Biffle was only one close ..so he punted him and WOULD have wiped him out had it not been for real talent …OH WAIT fox guys say it was the car …ALWAYS the car of tommorow ..
Why does everyone assume that when fans throw things on the track that it was Jr Nation? There are other drivers out there who have fans that don’t like Kyle Busch!
Tommy you wrote:“Earnhardt Nation will not be allowed to cast votes in the Second Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008 balloting, either!”
I beg to differ….
I disagree smoke fan. Tony’s getting the same stuff that Kyle is getting. Tony will never, ever be good in the first half until he gets that Indy 500 lust of of his system.
And, yes, it was more than likely the Jr. fans who were throwin stuff on the track.
I noticed that no one has commented on Jr.s making of excuses. Most of of, who aren’t blinded, were waiting for that to start.
If Jr. doesn’t want stuff done to his car that he doesn’t know about, maybe he should spend a little more time in the Garage area.
No one seems to be commenting on this but I think the Toyotas have a big horsepower advantage right now. Why? Because these same drivers-Busch and Steward and Hamlin were with great teams last year in different makes and had no where near the success they have had this year. And, if not for a few wrecks and blown tires would have won just about every race in the Sprint Series this year. Look at last week where Hamlin dominated Richmond. Look at Bristol where both Tony and Kyle dominated before events took them out. Someone needs to go back to last year and compare laps led by Kyle, Tony, and Denny along with wins. Its very evident that they are way ahead of last year with the car being the only change for the most part. Busch dominated Sat. Night even having to go to the rear and coming back to the front to win. Tony was two laps down and wound up having a good finish. I certainly don’t recall Kyle having success last year anywhere near the success he has had this year. This is just the second year for Toyota in Nascar and they are absolutely dominating right now. You can’t tell me that they don’t have an advantage in the engine right now. I don’t agree with Jack Roush on much but he was absolutely correct on Toyota spending unlimited money in Nascar to win that alot of the other makes won’t be able to match. Like I said, compare Busch, Tony, and Hamlin last year to this year and there is obviously a big difference. It was rumored that Toyota paid a big amount of money to Nascar(Brian France) to get into Nascar. Also, don’t forget the big check they paid Gibbs to switch. Again, just compare Busch last year driving for the powerhouse Hendrick Chevy Team to this year driving for a new Toyota Team. Busch was not even close. The Toyotas have definitely got a big advantage and if Nascar doesn’t level the playing field then it will definitely hurt them in the long run. There are still a lot of Ford, Dodge, and Chevy fans out here.
Larry, you’re right, you need to go back and look at laps led by Hamlin and Stewart last year. They were contending for wins throughout the first half of the season and only bad luck and pit road mistakes kept them from victory lane. The two of them led more than half the Spring Bristol race before having fuel pump problems, and remember Hamlin’s temper tantrum over the pit road mistakes at Darlington that cost him the win?
Regarding #9, I’m beginning to think Frontstretch.com puts these anti-California comments in their articles just to get a rise out of me. Nah, I’m not that important.
I’m am so glad someone started to notice that Jr is making excuses for his third place in the points position. How dare he not be 1st. I for one will no longer pull for Dale Jr. he is just not worthy. Ya right excuses, you guys need to get a grip!!! Jr. didn’t make any excuses after the race, what he said was that they changed a lower control arm and that He thought, (at the point of the interview, post race) “maybe” they shouldn’t have. Yes, thats quite the excuse for finishing 4th.
Larry, you are very correct,
And while I’m getting things off my chest:
So what if Toyota is dominating THIS YEAR. Why was if OK for Chevrolet to dominate last year? If you must change the rules let them have their year and make new rules in the off season. I may own Chevys and NO Toyota’s but I don’t pull for them by ANY means. I for one am sick of the same guys winning year after year. It’s time for someone other than the Hendricks drivers!
Just gonna say this to you one time – If it has Kyle Busch in the storyline, I will not read the article.
Paul, the thing about Toyota is this is their second year in Sprint Cup and they are already dominating against teams like Hendricks, Roush, and RCR with cars that have been in Nascar for years. If Toyota can do this in just their second year, imagine what it will be like once they really get established. You can say what you want to but Toyotas have got some kind of advantage and I personally think its in the Engine. Money buys speed and Toyota has got unlimited amounts while the other manufacturers are not doing so well. I read on Jayskis a few weeks ago that Toyota had rented Nashville Speedway seventeen times this year for testing. I’ll bet none of the other manufacturers even comes close to that. As for Kyle, Tony, and Hamlin, I just don’t remember them being this dominate last year. Somebody with the time ought to do some checking on laps led and races won last year for them as opposed to this year. I think the facts will bear me out.
Sharon – What happens if they don’t include Kyle until the last paragraph and you’ve already invested all that time in an article that had Kyle in the storyline? Will you skip another article that wasn’t about him to make up for it? What if it turns out that that article had Dale Earnhardt, Jr in it and it’s linked at your favorite “Jr’s so dreamy” board? Now you’ve got quite the dilemma on your hands, don’t you?
That’s quite a commitment you’ve made there. Hope you can live with it.
I tried to speak out and defend California Speedway, aka, the AutoClub Speedway now, last year and just got beat up on from everyone here.
Anyways, even though I am a SoCal native, I think 3 California races is too much (Sonoma). I know I, and a lot of people I’ve talked to here, would rather have another race in Las Vegas. It’s only 3 hours away, plus you aren’t stuck with having to drive home every night if you aren’t camping out or staying in the “beautiful” city of Fontana. Vegas has something for everyone any time of the day. :)
Sheesh, all these complaints… sparx, guys who run out of control 95% of the time don’t finish races. Shrub just is better at handling things on the edge than most drivers are.
Larry, JGR has been around for years, so that’s why THEIR Toyotas are doing well (notice that most of the rest of them still aren’t, just like last year). It’s not the make anymore, it’s the knowledge in the shop and JGR has always had some of the best – if not THE best – engine builders in the business. Don’t forget they helped develop the R07 engine Chevy runs now.
And the other conspiracy-oriented comments by others elsewhere is just silly. Ultimately, these are the same complaints that have been levelled at every team that’s performed well in the past – Hendricks last year, Rousch before that, and so on.
i agree with mike, if jgr was a startup team they would be struggling like mwr and red bull. knowledge my friends is the answer in cup. maybe just a 5/16 instead of a 1/4 inch rear end aligment might be the answer
If Toyota really does have a HP advantage, but their engines still are within the rules, then good for them – that’s engineering. There is no rule that directly limits HP, so whatever any team can get then that’s their advantage and that’s why they should win races.
I only wish that the Dodge boys would figure out the trick.
Alan, the thing Nascar has stressed for years is they wanted all the cars pretty well equal in horsepower so it would be left up to the drivers, pit crews, etc. to determine who wins. Money buys horsepower, as has been stated before, Toyota has unlimited amounts of money to spend and find horsepower. Take last year. Kyle drove for Hendricks, the best powerhouse Chevy team out there. How many wins did Kyle have last year at this time? If I’m not mistaken they said Sat. Night that Kyle had won seven races this year. Three in Sprint Cup, Three in Nationwide, and one in the Trucks. If Gibbs is the great team you say it is, how come their drivers last year didn’t win this much driving Chevys? Another thing I’d like to bring up that I havena’t seen anywhere. Did anybody notice Kyle Busch in his interview Friday Night call another driver and “SOB”. Now, we all know what that means but why didn’t Nascar penalize Kyle like they did Jr. several years ago when he let a bad word slip? Jr was just celebrating and Kyle was referring to another driver as an “SOB”. To me that seems even worse than letting a word slip in celebration that Jr. did.
Larry, what makes you think that ALL Hendrick cars get the same HP engines? Like I said before, let Toyota have their year and make the changes if needed during the OFF season for ’09.
Son of a bitch may be a derogatory word, but its not one of the seven banned words on TV and radio. Junior’s sh!t slip is one of the seven banned words, hence his penalty. Its that simple. Juan Pablo Montoya said pissed off earlier this year as well, and some people reacted to it, but that’s not one of the bad words you cant say on TV either, hence no penalty.
All i have to say about Kyle is he better think we still have Daytona and Dega or even a road course to race he will be taken out of a race for payback for taking out Jr u even seen Kyle turn right to help spin Jr out he is as dirty as Tony if Jr dont take him out it then the Biff will i would love to see Kyle get spun out on the last lap at Daytona or Dega and i hope the person that spins him out is Jr and if Jr gets in trouble for doing it then that shows Nascar plays the favorite card and that is not right