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.
Tommy Thompson And Bryan Davis Keith · Monday June 2, 2008
1. Are They Baaack? – Television ratings for NASCAR have seen resurgence this race season after experiencing at least two years of declines. The Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 tallied a 4% boost over last season’s telecast, and posted the first increase in viewer numbers in three years. But the 4% improvement, though noteworthy, is less than the 5% increase that FOX TV has seen in its race broadcasts for the season to date.
Puzzling … wasn’t there a mass defection of race fans that could no longer tolerate NASCAR’s disregard for its racing roots, mass commercialism, Hendrick Motorsports drivers, the CoT…and the France family’s role in political unrest in the Middle East, etc…?
2. Coming On Strong – The IRL has got to be ecstatic over their improved television rating numbers, as well. Though trailing the Coca-Cola 600’s 4.7 rating (7.6 million viewers), the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, with a reunified field and three women competing — including media-darling Danica Patrick — earned a solid 4.5 final rating. In fact, some speculate that had the Indy 500 been run during primetime, as the 600 was, the open-wheel classic could have very possibly surpassed the ratings numbers that NASCAR managed. Overall, the Indy Racing League boasts that TV ratings are up 28% this year, merchandise sales 23%, and visits to the official website have increased an impressive 90%.
Could it be that NASCAR’s unquestioned domination of the U.S. motorsports scene may be in jeopardy?
3. Ahhhh, Come On Honey…Can’t A Man Change His Mind? – Speculation that billionaire Bruton Smith, the head honcho of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. would buy Pocono Raceway and redistribute its two race dates to his Las Vegas NASCAR venue and Kentucky Speedway — which is in the process of being purchased by Smith’s company — seems to have hit a snag. “It never was available; it never will be available,” said Rose Mattioli, wife of Pocono board chairman Dr. Joseph Mattioli. “My husband has stated that over and over again. That’s it.”
Then again, Smith has denied even speaking to the Mattiolis on the matter, let alone making an offer… yet.
4. A Garage Rat – Before the Coca-Cola 600, someone in the garage area tipped off NASCAR officials that Haas CNC Racing’s No. 66 (Scott Riggs) and No. 70 (Johnny Sauter) had illegally mounted rear wing mounts. The cars were quickly confiscated prior to the race, forcing both drivers to compete in backup Chevrolets; and as a result, NASCAR has issued the stiffest fines and penalties yet involving illegal alterations to the new generation Sprint Cup race car. Each team was docked 150 driver and owner championship points, and not only were both crew chiefs suspended until July 9th from race events, but both car chiefs as well. Additionally, the crew chiefs for each car were fined $100,000 each. The No. 70 team, competing without a full-time driver, is now 43rd in owners’ points. Following the points adjustment, Riggs’ No. 66 dropped from 26th to 34th in the point standings… but only five championship points from falling out of the Top 35. Riggs proceeded to fall out of the Top 35 after getting caught up in the big one Sunday and finishing 39th.
As harsh as those fines and penalties might be… it could be worse. Haas CNC Racing owner Gene Haas is serving a two-year term in Federal Prison and was ordered to pay $70 million in fines, interest, and back taxes after pleading guilty of “doctoring the books” to avoid paying taxes.
5. We Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie, Here! – California native Scott Speed won the Craftsman Truck Series AAA Insurance 200 Friday evening at Dover International Speedway in only his sixth CTS attempt. Speed, who left the Formula 1 circuit after a not-so-good 2007 campaign, is expected to eventually compete in the Sprint Cup series with strong financial backing from Red Bull. The 25-year-old, who has a home in Fusel am Sec, Austria, is known for his continental flare in fashion; sporting designer clothes, painted toenails, and sunglasses that even Elton John might consider a little over-the-top.
And, oh yes…man bags. That’s right…man bag toting stock car drivers may be the wave of the future!
6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up – The four year wait for Joey Logano, whom Mark Martin proclaimed ready for “prime time” at age 14, is over. In Saturday’s Nationwide series race at Dover, the Joe Gibbs Racing development driver drove capably and up front most of the day before finishing sixth in his series debut. Logano, who celebrated his 18th birthday just last week, chauffeured the JGR No. 20 Toyota that is leading the series owner championship point standings after having won six times this year with the JGR trio of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart behind the wheel. “It ain’t much in my book,” offered Logano on his impressive performance against a host of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers competing in The Heluva Good! 200.
Perhaps not, Joey…but it ain’t bad, either!
7. Some Guys Just Weren’t Meant for Cup Racing – Even before NASCAR issued penalties for Charlotte, the Haas CNC No. 70 car was struggling to perform on the track and was well outside the Top 35 in owner points. Ever since releasing Jeremy Mayfield, the No. 70 has been driven by a host of drivers, including Johnny Sauter and Ken Schrader. At least while the finishes haven’t been stellar, the car has made the field for every race this season.
But that all changed this weekend, when perpetual Cup failure Jason Leffler was one of only two cars to miss Sunday’s show. Leffler drove the No. 0 for Haas in 2003 and did nothing in the car; in 2005, he got the keys to Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 and burned out quickly. Why Haas CNC chose to give Leffler another shot in Cup when the No. 70 is fighting to race week in and week out is a decision that has to be questioned, especially when Sauter and Schrader both had proven able to get the car in the field.
8. How the Mighty Have Fallen – Early in his career, Tony Stewart all but owned the Dover International Speedway. From 1999 to 2004, Stewart scored two wins at the Monster Mile, and finished outside the Top 10 only once (that was an 11th place run). Since then, the Monster has gotten the best of Smoke, as Stewart was caught up in a hard crash early in the going of Sunday’s event, relegating him to a 41st place finish.
Stewart’s latest struggles at Dover marked the seventh consecutive race that he has failed to score a lead lap finish on the high banks; it was also his fourth crash in his last five Dover starts. The Monster has definitely gotten Stewart’s number, and is taking him to task for his early career success at the track.
9. Statistics That Mean Nothing – Every time Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet appeared on camera scarred by crash damage and missing its front end, it prompted the FOX crew to comment on how Harvick had been running at the finish for 50 some odd races, and was closing in on breaking his own record in that category. One would think there was a separate points fund for running at the finish after the kind of air time Harvick’s streak got.
What a worthless factoid. What difference does it make whether Harvick was running at the finish or in the garage? He finished 38th, 75 laps down! Consecutive races running at the finish is one of those stats that may sound impressive, but Dover exposed this measure for the nothing that it is.
10. O Sponsor, Where Art Thou? – Travis Kvapil’s stark white car got plenty of air time again this weekend at Dover. Kvapil spent the entire day in the Top 15, giving eventual Top 10 finishers — including Jimmie Johnson, Dave Blaney and Jamie McMurray — fits all day long. Kvapil’s 11th place finish moved him to 18th in the driver standings, and yet again saw this unsponsored team running competitively and making enormous strides from last season. The only thing missing? The same thing that’s been missing since February: A sponsor.
And why can’t this team find one? Despite the nation’s current economic struggles, sponsors are stepping up to the plate. CJM Racing in the Nationwide Series signed America’s Incredible Pizza Company. This weekend, Truck Series regular ThorSport Racing signed Bobcat to its No. 13 truck. Even Kvapil’s Yates Racing teammate David Gilliland has gotten expanded help from early season sponsor FreeCreditReport.com. Kvapil’s team has done everything that can be expected of an unsponsored team… someone with some bucks step up!
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson And Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Yes, TV ratings are up over last year, even as the number of empty seats at each race grows larger, too. The high cost of tickets, gas, and motels is having it’s effect on racing attendance. Is it any wonder that ratings are up, as those fans are now watching on TV rather than travel to the tracks? Also, remember that the TV guys are comparing ratings to last year, which had the lowest in many years. While it’s an improvement, it’s not exactly worth shouting about yet.
Maybe toyota is requiring its workers to watch the races. They payed brian 95 million for these “wins” this year. SO such a order would be in line. Nothing that might be going on in nascrap would surprise me! Watch this bring out the toyota and kyle “fans”!!
Hey Johnboy60 maybe chevy should up the ante for Jr!
I just wonder if “Johnboy60” thought that Chevrolet paid NASCAR for all of those Hendrick wins last year?
I can’t help but wonder if “Johnboy60” is one of those “Jr.” fans who just can’t handle the fact that Kyle Busch keeps finding ways to win while Jr. keeps finding ways to lose?
Am I a fan of Toyota? Hell no! Am I a fan of Kurt Busch? You Betcha!
I can’t believe how many so-called fans of the sport have such a love for conspiracy theories – what Sirius NASCAR guys refer to as the “men in black helicopters” crowd, and there are enough of them for the jocks to keep a helicopter sound effect at the ready whenever one of them starts jabbering their stuff.
Sally, you mentioned the number of empty seats growing larger, but most of the races this year have sold out (albeit some of them on the last day), and with venues the size of NASCAR’s a few empty seats translates into more butts in the seats than any other sporting event that’s held in North America, so I’m not sure attendance has dropped to the concern level just yet.
Let’s concentrate on the things that really are a problem – what will happen to Nationwide after they change to the COT next year, tightening sponsor dollars, and yanking races from tracks that sell out to put them in saturated markets, for example.
All I know is I have seen virtually every race aside from Daytona and Bristol with very obvious patches of fans disguised as seats. When an RV gets 8 to 15 miles to the gallon at $4 to $5 per, I don’t think my entertainment dollar will be going that far. The attendance numbers are deceiving.
I do agree with you that the Nationwide Series is a huge concern especially for the have not’s who are not named Harvick, Gibbs, Hendrick, Roush, etc. I personally think they ought to close down the truck series and merge and run short tracks and regionalize but that’s just my opinion.
Closing the Truck Series down is a bad idea, it’s featured some of the best racing of all of the series this year, and honestly, those trucks probably drive more like the new Cup car than the Nationwide cars do (which drive like the ARCA (former Cup) and CW cars). The thing is it’s going to be really expensive for the Nationwide guys to build all new COT cars for theirs series and with the sponsor dollar crunch it’s a double blow that a few teams won’t be able to handle – heck, Junior is saying he may take his team to Cup since it’s so expensive he might as well put them in Cup if he has to build COT cars for the team, but most teams don’t have the $$ to do that.
If attendance at Dover is a concern, that’s nothing new, it has been for a while. I have no doubt some of the RV’ers are cutting back, but I noticed when I drove by it on the Sunday of the 600 (on the way home from Va Beach, a full week before yesterday’s race) that there were already a lot of campers in the lots, so some of our RV fans are still coming – my guess is that those RV’ers are groups splitting the fuel costs. I’ll have to try to watch the races closer to see the empty seats. My guess is attendance figures are for seats sold, not how many are in attendance, and that’s fine, you can’t sell a seat twice to make sure someone is sitting in it. Maybe a lot of Dover’s fans were out for a walk to wake up from the snoozefest! :)
RE: Empty seats!
Please be reminded folks that many of the speedways are painting their seats different colors to disguise them for the TV audiences!
If a grandstand is empty, and all the seats are the same color, example silver, they really show up on TV. So, tracks are taking the lead from say Daytona, where a fair number of the seats have been painted so they do not stand out as EMPTY!
Obviously more for the July race than any, but many tracks are following suit!
And isn’t it so funny that, and lets take California as an example, that while the cameras are showing tens of thousands of empty grandstand seats, the announcers are saying the race is a sellout and over 150,000 people are in attendance?
Empty seats? Yep, there were plenty of them. 4 whole sections, 2 coming out of turn 2 and 2 going into turn 4 were covered over with promotional banners. Behind my seats in the middle of turn 1 and 2 there were 2 WHOLE rows that were empty (we took advantage of that). And to look around the track there were plenty of holes. We used to take 4 days to do the Dover race. When we started it cost us about $600 bucks. That included 2 tickets, 3 night hotel stay in Dewy, fuel, dog boarding, etc. Two years ago, I stopped when the race weekend was costing over $1400 bucks. We now do smash and dash weekends (drive up in the AM and drive back in the PM). I have cut my costs to about $200 bucks…. and we split that up 3 or 4 ways some times. But I have to say, given how BORING that race was yesterday…I just might be saving myself that $200 next year.
I can’t understand how Elliot Sadler still has a ride. It seems every other week he’s wrecking and taken out chase contenders. He reminds me of Buckshot Jones
Good point John. I can’t believe GEM gave Sadler a multi-year contract. He’s a nice guy but he can’t drive. He’s a train wreck.
As Jeff Meyer wrote LAST WEEK…
You don’t think that ratings are up because more people are staying home? Jeff was right about certain fans!! Enjoy your hotdog as your home gets repo’d!!!
C’mon, the Monster Mile didn’t tame Tony Stewart! Elliot Sadler once again doesn’t know how to drive and that’s Tony’s fault? Wrong!
Mike in NH… The racing in the CTS is so good because they don’t drive like the COT and teams are allowed to do what it takes to make the truck perform. No matter how much NA$CAR says the teams need time to “get a handle on these cars”,nothing will change until they allow teams to do more with their Crap Of Today. Givin the amount of money and hype invested, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Cookie cutter tracks, cookie cutter cars, cookie cutter drivers.
Actually, the future tracks will be getting smaller and moving away from the tri-oval, according to a recent article on NASCAR.COM, for a variety of reasons. With this economy though who knows when the next track will get built. As for the car, as I’ve said elsewhere, it’ll be a year or two before they get it racing well, that happens every time they make a major chassis change. These guys have no data to use to set up the cars, the old book goes in the trash.
As for the trucks, I’ve heard they do race like the new car. They even look like the new car, especially from the front. If they get the new car to race as well as the trucks are now – and yes, NASCAR will have to loosen up a bit to let that happen – then the racing should be pretty good.
And as I said elsewhere, Elliot Sadler is like a poor man’s Mikey Waltrip – good on TV, not so good on the track.
Dover has a way, like Talladega, of taking seemily small events and turning them into mega-disasters. Who would have thought Elliot Sadler spinning out would have brought 6 chase contenders to their knees?
Can anyone tell me the last Kyle Petty victory?