Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Jeff Gordon’s win at Texas Motor Speedway was, without question, a long anticipated victory for the four-time NASCAR Champion. The career win leader amongst active drivers had not visited victory lane in the prior 47 non-exhibition races dating back to October of 2007. The winless streak was not in keeping with Gordon’s prolific career statistics that have had him on pace in several years to eclipse the win totals of NASCAR greats Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
With the Samsung 500 victory at Texas, Gordon has now posted 82 career Cup Series wins. By comparison Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, his closest rival in the career win category of drivers competing fulltime in NASCAR’s top series, has exactly half or 41 victories to his credit. Even though Johnson has performed at a prolific pace during his relatively short 262 starts at the Cup level— having yet to experience a significant and seemingly unavoidable win-drought in his career—he does not enjoy any significant win percentage advantage over Jeff Gordon. With 16-years and 554 starts in NASCAR Cup competition under his belt, Gordon has a winning percentage of 14.86%, a sum just under Johnson’s winning rate of 15.65% amassed since he began campaigning in the Cup circuit fulltime in 2002.
Simply put, and Gordon’s recently ended wins slump aside; Jeff Gordon has been a big winner for a lot of years. With the exception of 2005 (11th) Gordon has never been out of the top 10 in driver’s points at year’s end since 1993, his freshman year, with a finish of 14th – and then a performance good enough to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Of course, all this is history and not too ancient history at that. Jeff Gordon has won a lot of races and championships. Longtime and not so longtime fans of the sport are well aware that the California native has had a tremendous amount of success behind the wheel of his Hendrick Motorsports Dupont Chevrolet. However, how many truly comprehended and appreciated the historical significance of that success is difficult to estimate.
Jeff Gordon’s winning ways is the kind of stuff that legends are made of. Legends such as Cale Yarborough, a three-time Cup Champion with 83 career wins, a win total that Gordon will equal with his next victory. Next on the list will be Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, two giants of the sport from yesteryear who are tied for third on the all time career wins list with 84 wins apiece. Just three more victories for Gordon, the current Sprint Cup Series point’s leader and he will take sole position of third place on the prestigious list behind Richard “The King” Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (105 wins).
Five easy to identify legends of stock car racing: Yarborough, Allison, Waltrip, Pearson and Petty. Oh yeah, and Gordon. Perhaps there are others amongst the crop of current day racers that may one day crack the top 5 on the NASCAR Cup all time wins list. If there is such a driver, he has far too many victories still to record even deserve serious consideration today.
Perhaps though NASCAR loyalists are starting to get it. The “it” being that Jeff Gordon is special. There seemed to be a genuine and widespread happiness as he celebrated his victory in an uncanny fashion for the normally more subdued Gordon by performing burnouts for the generally appreciative fans. In many cases, the same fans that in the not-so-distant past would have been jeering Gordon for yet another trip to victory lane.
Hopefully, Jeff Gordon is beginning to be recognized for what he is and has been to the sport. It seems that time may have softened some of the unfounded disapproval of him by fans that has haunted him through most of his career. Whatever the reason, the undeserved chorus of boos seems to have subsided significantly or so it would seem if his reception at Texas Motor Speedway following his triumph was any indication.
It certainly is not mandatory that fans of any sport root for the best a sport has to offer. In fact, it would be very boring were everyone to cheer for the same team or athlete. The Yankees have built dynastys, but certainly a Red Sox fan has every right to exist and for that matter hope that “his or her” team would be victorious over a legendary Yankee team. It is not necessary to be a fan of Tiger Woods to recognize and respect his accomplishments.
In the case of Jeff Gordon, just like any sports figure or entity it is perfectly understandable that individual race fans have their own reasons for rooting for one driver over another. However, as in the case of the Yankees or Tiger Woods, the fan that fails to recognize that that Jeff Gordon is the modern era standard-bearer of what a legendary NASCAR driver is.
When Jeff Gordon ties and then surpasses Yarborough, Allison and Waltrip the events should be looked on with an appreciation of his great milestones and gratitude that we were able to witness such an outstanding athlete and his historic accomplishments. His record will be part of racing lure for decades to come. And for that he’ll deserve respect from the racing community.
Who knows, this coming Saturday night race under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway may provide Gordon with his 83rd victory— a win that would tie him for fourth on the career wins list. Phoenix, coincidently, is where Gordon scored win No. 76, a win that equaled the late Dale Earnhardt’s career total. Following the win Gordon flew a No. 3 flag in what Dale Earnhardt, Jr. called a classy tribute, only to be pelted with beer cans and other such debris by irate fans apparently unappreciative of what Gordon had just achieved.
It certainly would not be a shock for Gordon, who besides the aforementioned win two years ago at Phoenix also has 8-top 5s and 15 top 10s, to win and tie Yarborough. Next up would be Talladega, where in 2007 Gordon backed-up his Phoenix win by winning at the superspeedway on consecutive weekends surpassing Earnhardt’s total.—a win that was met by an even more tasteless and demonstrative protest of Gordon’s success.
The Earnhardt-Gordon rivalry ran deep and was emotional. Fans of the Earnhardt Nation failed to enjoy and appreciate what was a historic moment. Unfortunately and unfairly, Gordon probably was never properly recognized for his historic accomplishment either. Surpassing Dale Earnhardt was a lifetime achievement that should have been more widely appreciated.
That Jeff Gordon is going to surpass the win totals of Yarborough, Allison and Waltrip is almost a certainty. The all-time win list will then read Petty, Pearson and Gordon.
Now, that is something. And we have the privilege of watching this history unfold in our time in history.
And…that’s my view from Turn 5
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Gordon was hated for one reason: for a stretch of seasons, he won all the time. Nobody hates a guy who runs 25th every week.
Hating because of success is one of Americans’ worst attributes. I’ll never understand it. Woods, Gretzky, Jordan, Ripken, Garlits, Ali and Armstrong (just to name a few) combine for an awesome list of talent and success but none of them were/are subjected to the abuse and ridicule of fans as much as Gordon. He took it in stride, and we are watching a legend in the making.
Geez Tommy , take a cold shower . All that excitement over someone who might finish third on the all time win list . Wow . Imagine your breathless fervor if he was going for number 1 on the list . We’d all have a wedding ceremony to attend .
Maybe you should compare Johnson’s win rate to Gordon’s after 262 races (that’s how many Johnson has run).
Are you insinuating that winning in other series matters more than winning in NASCAR’s highest series? You must really be impressed with Kyle Busch’s ability to win in the Nationwide and Truck series. To me winning in a less competitive series doesn’t really impress… but that’s just me.
Yes Bill , thats exactly what i mean . NASCAR is not, nor has it ever been , the end all and be all of auto racing . Its just one form of auto racing , outdrawn every year by the Indy 500 , not even remotely as popular world wide as F1 , just another form of racing .
Great article as always Tommy, I always look forward to reading your stuff each week. And unfortunately there is always Michael who tries to tear down each one of your articles. Seems to be just another Earnhardt diehard who is taking his frustrations out on the driver whom Earnhardt passed the torch to as the flag bearer for NASCAR. Which itself is unfortunate, because while I am a diehard Gordon fan, I recognize and respect what Earnhardt did for the sport and recognize the type of legend the guy is, which is exactly what this article was about, and for some reason, just like Tommy said, there are still people that don’t really appreciate what Gordon has done like people would for Tiger or Gretzky. So in a way you kind of proved Tommy’s point, well done dude.
and although Pearson didnt run all the races in a season he currently has ran more races than gordon has, so i dont really get your arguement about him having more wins than he has, not to mention those wins were amassed during a time in racing where there were only a handful of competitive cars you had to beat, which i know you already know this so i’m not quite what your arguement is. Can we say the same thing for gordon then? what if he raced back then when the comepetition and parity wasnt half of what it is today? how many wins would he have? you can’t compare old nascar to new, it just doesnt work. And yes NASCAR is the end all, its where the best drivers in the world come to compete, so I think it is fair to judge a mans career but what he does in the top division of racing in the world.
and i went ahead and did that math for Gordon’s first 262 races which he had 53 wins which would be a 20% winning percentage, so we can go ahead and put that arguement to rest as well.
1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, & ? 2009 ?
If he gets it this year, that will be 7 times having the most EARNED points.
Who needs “The Gimmick”.
Michael you are wrong as usual. Being 3rd all time is a BIG DEAL. Jeff Gordon will never run in as many races as Richard Petty so his record is safe, but what Gordon has done is very inpressive. I did not start out as a fan. I was dissapointed he went to drive for Hendrick. But that turned out to be a very good decision. I respect Petty, Pearson and Dale Sr. very much, but Jeff is in that group too. Will Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart join the group someday? They very well could as they are great talents too, but for now Jeff is earning the praise he receives and many of us have come over to his side because we respect what he has done and the way he has done it. As for the Nascar and F1 comparison, I have really tired of this one. It is the same as comparing Soccer and the NFL. Many of us in the U.S. find F1 and Soccer to be boring. It is just an opinion and everyone has one.
Well Casey , you should take over writing these columns for Tommy . Your love for Jeff also knows no bounds apparently . I think a cold shower might be in order for you as well . Remember , he’s already married .
Joe , you do remember the circumstances of Gordon screwing his team owner ( not to mention Ford ) to move to Hendrick don’t you . Good move on Gordons’ part , but sure left some good people holding the bag .
Earnhardt ? I tried to find where i mentioned Earnhardt , darned if i could find it . Help us out Casey , where did i mention it ? Yes i know , don’t sweat the facts when a guy is trying to make a point .
Now the part about the number of races Pearson ran vs Gordon puzzles me . You say Pearson ran more races than Gordon has , and even if Pearson ran many more races you say he wouldn’t have more wins than he does ? Interesting logic .
I’ll make it easy for you guys . We’ll all ignore the facts , we’ll all pretend that anything Gordon hasn’t done isn’t worth doing , that there were only a handfull of good drivers in NASCAR until Gordon came along at which time the intense competition sprouted up at the exact same time , and maybe there were 2 or 3 teams who ever had a chance to win before Gordon came along and then they were everywhere ( at least in your fantasy ) , and there has never been any driver anywhere that can match Gordon though apparently we can only compare Gordon to drivers in NASCAR .
Mind you , none of that is true , and its a slap in the face of a lot of great drivers and teams of the past to say anything so stupid . But not knowing that NASCAR has a great past , and not understanding what winning means in any era , gives you cause to think Gordon is the greatest . But thinking just don’t make it so .
So on second thought Casey , don’t take over writing this column . You’ll just turn it into a print version of TMZ .
First off Michael I’m no writer but thank you for your suggestion to take it up, really means alot. The thing I don’t get about you is that you sound like you know your stuff but how can you argue that its not a big deal that Gordon has the potential to go to 3rd all time on the win list when you know that in this day and age in NASCAR it is much harder to get a win then it was. I’m not saying that there weren’t good drivers back then because that would be ignorant to think that, there just weren’t as many that either didn’t have the equipment or the talent because the sport wasn’t as popular, thats a simple idea to get your head around. So for Gordon to achieve what he has at a time where there has been more parity than ever truely makes it an enormous accomplishment.
And no you never did mention Earnhardt, it just seems like you share the same sentiment that I have heard all to often, so I guess I wrongly put you in that category, who’s your driver anyways? I’d be curious to know.