Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thompson in Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday September 17, 2008
As the media fanfare surrounding the first race of the 10-event Chase for the Sprint Cup heated up last week, news that defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. had used steroids stole the headlines. Not just motorsports headlines, mind you…sports headlines, period. ESPN The Magazine broke the story that three-time CTS champion Hornaday had admitted to the use of testosterone from December of 2004 to January of 2006 — without telling NASCAR.
It was a story that, when fully considered, should never have been told.
Turns out the 50-year-old Hornaday did, in fact, order and use the substance in an ill-advised attempt to medicate himself for symptoms from a condition that was later correctly diagnosed as a hyperactive thyroid. When presented with records from the medical clinic that had prescribed the course of treatment, Hornaday admitted to having used the testosterone — although he explained that he was not aware that it was a steroid. Further, he produced for ESPN interviewer Shaun Assael a doctor’s prescription for the drug.
Subsequently, after the Hornaday drug use story was picked up by news media outlets throughout the country, NASCAR officials met with the veteran last Friday to investigate the facts of the case. Well, it didn’t take long for them to conclude that this was a “personal health issue,” and that no further action needed to be taken on the sanctioning body’s part.
“Our substance abuse experts have told us the prescription Ron Hornaday used did not enhance his performance or impair his judgment. It is our understanding Ron had a very serious health issue, which is continuing to be addressed,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s Vice President of Corporate Communications.
Two thumbs up to NASCAR for not kowtowing to the news media and their insatiable thirst for scandalous issues to help sell their papers and promote their websites. With a prompt response in support of Ron Hornaday, further damage to the veteran driver’s reputation was probably averted — or at least minimized. But some damage was already done… and Hornaday’s name was unnecessarily and unjustly tainted by the press.
The use of the drug in question by Ron Hornaday was not news; it was a private and personal medical issue that had no business ever being made public. During the period in which Hornaday used the testosterone, there was also no NASCAR rule which prevented him from doing so. He had no obligation or reason to divulge his treatments to his employer, Kevin Harvick, Inc., or NASCAR.
Fortunately, it appears that Ron Hornaday has had his health concerns properly diagnosed, and is now under the proper medical care for his condition. The Truck Series veteran, who had lost approximately 30 pounds at one point, finally received the proper medical assistance after intervention from his employer, Kevin and DeLana Harvick. Hornaday thanked the Harvicks during his champion’s speech at the CTS Awards Banquet for not only providing him with the equipment to win the 2007 CTS Championship, but helping him with his life.
To an extent, ESPN should not be faulted for investigating Hornaday’s use of the controlled substance. The Palm Beach (FL) Rejuvenation Center, the clinic that supplied the drugs to Hornaday, has been linked with unethical and even criminal activities in supplying steroids to professional athletes. Clearly, the Center had been engaged in the unscrupulous dispensing of drugs that were used by athletes to gain a competitive advantage in their particular stick and ball sports.
The writer, Shaun Assael, has also written extensively on the use of performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. Upon obtaining documents indicating that a professional race car driver had obtained a drug that could conceivably be used for other than legitimate medical reasons, he understandably believed that he was justified to further investigate the matter. After all, that is what investigative reporters do.
Where the reporter and ESPN went wrong is ever making the story public. There was no justification, once Hornaday was questioned, to pursue the matter further. Hornaday provided the investigator with all the evidence needed as to his medical problems and his reason for self-medicating with the drug. There was no attempt, despite the reporter’s claim, that Hornaday was inconsistent in his timeline of use, or that he had ever covered up the purchase or use of testosterone.
Additionally, the fact the former Cup driver had been battling ongoing health problems was certainly easy enough to confirm. The Harvicks were well aware that their driver had health issues, and eventually intervened out of concern for their employee — and friend.
Questions were asked of Hornaday during this investigation … and he answered them. In doing so, he divulged sensitive and private medical information, along with corroborating evidence. With the facts clearly strewn out in front of them, at that point the issue should have become a non-story for ESPN. It was clear that the winner of more CTS races than any other driver in the series’ history had done nothing illegal, or involved himself in anything more than attempting to deal with a serious health issue that had at least on two occasions been misdiagnosed.
Yet ESPN still saw fit to publish the story, making the information public knowledge knowing that it would cause unwarranted angst to Hornaday, forcing him to defend himself in the firestorm of national opinion. It unnecessarily and unfairly put him in a position of having no choice but to divulge sensitive medical information to the general public in order to save his reputation.
But Ron Hornaday was not really the issue for the reporter that chose to drag his name through the mud. The reigning CTS champion was only an expendable object in the writer’s true agenda… to slam NASCAR for not having a random steroid testing policy in place, a plan that the writer believes needs to be implemented.
But logic that goes along the lines of, “If NASCAR had a drug testing policy in place, they would have known that Ron Hornaday was using steroids” is convoluted. This is flawed reasoning at best; for had NASCAR had a drug testing policy in place at the time that Hornaday was treating himself with testosterone, they would have only been privy to his medical information — which would not have altered his legitimate use of the drug.
So, ESPN’s decision to run with the story is reprehensible. Again, Hornaday did nothing wrong, no matter how the story was twisted to appear otherwise. There are no legal issues or rules violations. The sports news outlet knew they had nothing, but chose to use the man as nothing more than a pawn, tarnishing his name regardless of the facts.
Again, give NASCAR credit for standing by the well-liked and respected driver. They handled the issue correctly, being both expedient and decisive while recognizing the issue for what it really was. And kudos to Kevin and DeLana, who have supported their driver throughout the ordeal, while knowing that Hornaday was being mistreated. “Ron was sick. My wife DeLana and I could see it. And we got him help,” Harvick said. “But before that, Ron sought other avenues of treatment. Did he use the [testosterone] cream? Yes. Did he use it to enhance his performance? No. I feel like he did everything right to take care of himself.”
Whether Hornaday did right by doing business with the questionable medical center that prescribed his course of treatment may be debatable. However, his motivations for using the medication have been investigated and found to be legitimate.
Hopefully, the story has ended and will be quickly forgotten. What’s unfortunate is there will be no lesson learned by certain writers and news media outlets who will just move on to the next sensationalized story — with hidden objectives.
And…that’s my view from Turn 5.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I am not a fan of Hornaday, But I feel he should have the right to sue ESPN for attempting to ruin his career. We all know that can’t happen, but I think “news” companies have long over-stepped their bounds of ethics. There should be a point at which a person has recourse. Poor guy has suffered a huge blow to his privacy and his reputation.
If ESPN published medical records, a diagnosis, treatment regimens etc. without written consent from Hornaday…I would think that ESPN has violated the federal HIPPA LAW (the one that everyone has to sign for even at a dentist appointment).
Amen, Brother Thomas! Preach on!
And you answered that lingering “why” question for me. I just couldn’t understand why ESPN would run with this story when Hornaday laid it all out there for them. I think you’re right. It had to be for the purpose of taking a stab at Nascar’s drug policy. However, due to their method, they failed miserably. I now find myself questioning most anything reported by them, assuming exaggeration. I’ll now have to add hidden agenda to the list. Really not something you want to see from such a long-term television “partner.” Seems to me they’re going to use their favorable access in a way that’s potentially detrimental to the sport and its participants. I find myself wishing they were stuck in the parking lot again.
The news media has no ethics in the new Millennium. They say they are self-policing —doesn’t happen.
We can go back only a few years and lead up until today to see how unchecked and unbalanaced things get in any arena without the proper oversight.
Anyone hear of Enron and Tyco and Global Crossing and World Comm? These were huge billion dollar companies that fell and fell hard when their leaders got way way out on a limb. At least Tyco is still in business and World Comm morphed into something else. But how many people paid for the lack of oversight with their jobs? Same thing wit the dot com crisis. You didn’t even have to have a balance sheet in the dot comm era. Just a goofy idea and a domain name and you had angle investors all over you looking to get rich. Well that crashed. Again no real oversight.
What about the current mortgage crisis? Same thing. No docs (aka “no documentation”)? Are you kidding? What idiot wrote the rules that in making the largest purchase you will make in your life you don’t have to show an income or job or even a bank account? When I bought my house I had to show — and expalin — skid marks in my pannies to get approved. Where on Earth did we get so rich in this country that we can loan hundreds of thousands of dollars to people with no money? Again no oversight. And many many many people are paying for that one right now.
What about lack of oversight a few years ago when California utility rates went sky high? And wow what about now and the price of crude oil? That shot up outrageously because of greed — not greed from Big Oil — but greed from Wall Street and global speculators. Again no oversight. And look where it’s got us?
My point? The news media as a whole is a willing participant in this 24/7 mess. Get the story out first is the motto instead of getting it right. In the old days facts were checked and checked and things were quashed if they weren’t relaible or relevant. Hornaday’s thing isn’t relevant — not in the least. If someone was trying to show that NASCAR’s drug program was weak — or non-existant, then if the Fike story didn’t make a point, nothing will. What did it gain to put Hornaday in the cross hairs? Nothing! Not one dam thing! If anything the whole affair made people side with Hornaday…Ever noticed how local news anywhere and everywhere opens their broadcast with controversy? Rapes fires and murders are the lead of the day — any day. News directors can’t get off that and therefore every local news station in this country leads off with mayhem. That’s what news editors do. Any wonder why ESPN did what they did? I am not giving them a free pass, indeed they are disgusting. ESPN seems intent on beating NASCAR in the ground…must be a chip on their shoulders when they lost the broadcast rights back in 2000 because they sure don’t seem to want to just show the Show. For ESPN it’s all about stinking up the Show.
You bet the article could have been handled another way. And maybe NASCAR needs to call ESPN into the Big Yellow Truck and lay their Mighty Hand upon the TV gurus like they try to hold down and manipulate the drivers. Think drivers complianing about the COT is bad do ya NASCAR, what about ESPN? They are running your show into the ground. It would be like Goodyear making bad tires on purpose.
You don’t have to look too hard to find many instances of the press reporting anything that will bring in readers , viewers , or ad revenue . Reporters have notoriously little self control when it comes to ethical reporting , and editors only marginaly more .I don’t know of anyone at ESPN that has enough talent or ambition to actually dig up a story . The Hornaday story just fell into their laps , much as the Tim Richmond drug story did . Of course that smear was released by NASCAR as payback to Richmond for standing up to Bill France . I don’t think there is any more to the Hornaday story than a reporter weighing whether it was ethical to report it without doing due diligence , and deciding to take the easy way instead .
And by the way , i as a fan couldn’t care less if Hornaday took steroids . IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS . If the fans realize that these types of stories are not relevant and aren’t wanted , then the press will get the hint and stop reporting non issues like this one .
I don’t feel it’s a case of the story should never have been told but rather it should have been told correctly.
As journalists it is their responsibility to get all of the facts but in this day and age of impatience that has fallen by the wayside.
There is an excellent commentary on CNN.com by a Nobel Peace Prize winner in economics today. It just underscores what I have said here and above. No oversight; leave institutions to self regulate and it doesn’t happen. And while I am not a big regulatory guy nothing could illustrate the need more for ethics in media and regulation than what we see on the airways and in print today. It’s out of control. Even the basics are being ignored. I saw today a Reuters article on an important subject that left out a key word in a key sentence. That’s just plain ole spell check making people lazy. If you were doing your job there is no way that article would have been posted — especially at a respected organization like Reuters — if someone was just looking at the printed word. Again my point is that it can be seen time and time again how things get out of whack. And this Hornady thing is just the tip of the iceberg. Any self-respecting “journalist” would never have put that out there. What does it accomplish? Is it newsworthy? When does privacy override the thirst for news?
But all my yappin ain’t gonna change one thing and therein lies the problem.
See the article at http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/stiglitz.crisis/index.html
I lost all respect for ESPN when they hired Ray Evernham to work for them. Here’s a married man, sleeping with an employee, and I guess they think that kind of thing is okay…
Now they’ve put Hornaday thru the mill, and he’s done nothing wrong. Kuddos to Kevin and DeLana. They’re very special people!