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 · Tuesday September 26, 2006
First, let me preface the following article with what appears to be the required disclaimer before voicing any criticism(s) of reigning Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart; "Don't get me wrong, I think Tony Stewart is a great driver, butâ€¦"
Tony Stewart, in spite of having participated in the Nextel Cup Chase to the Championship in the first two seasons of the format, seems completely lost as to how to compete as a non-contender for the coveted title. After threading his way through the field for a well earned second place finish at last weeks race in Loudon, New Hampshire to kick off the 2006 Chase to the Championship, immediately upon exiting his racecar Stewart explained that although he was pleased with his finishing position, “it is a frustrating day when you are racing those guys that are in the top 10 in points. You are just so cautious around them and it is hard to race real hard and be around those guys, worrying about getting into them.”
The two-time NASCAR Cup Champion has no reason to worry. It's a race! It is assumed that racecar drivers will always endeavor to finish a race as far towards the front of the field as they can. Nothing in NASCAR's Chase format excludes non-Chase participant's in the final ten races of the season from competing to the best of their abilities. In fact the Chase points format is in large part factored on the championship contenders’ performance not only against the other Chase eligible drivers but also in respect to their performance versus the entire field. To not give the Top 10 drivers a run for their money would, in some ways, cheat the fans of a legitimate championship contest.
All drivers, Tony Stewart included, owe it to their fans, crews and sponsors to strive for a top finishing position. Fans loyal to a driver are still rooting for their favorite, the guy who's t-shirts, die-casts, caps, and various other paraphernalia they have bought. These fans also support those that support their chosen drivers by, when given a choice, purchasing products of manufacturers associated with that driver. Loyalists of a given driver will travel hundreds of miles at considerable expense to cheer their driver on and they certainly deserve to see their "driver" compete to the best of his ability.
Crewmen on teams outside the Top 10 are not worrying about how their performance will affect the Chase contenders. They continue to labor long hours to prepare their racecars for the upcoming race in hopes of a great finish. And in some instances their own employment hinges on the teams performance in this final segment of the race season. For a driver to "roll out" of the throttle early, or otherwise concede a better finishing position to a Chase contender is truly a disservice to all the other members of that driver's team. Teams have every right to expect the same effort out of the driver as they are putting forth.
Sponsors expect an all out effort by the driver. And that's understandable; after all, they are paying the freight for that driver to be competing. To optimize television exposure, which is the payoff for a sponsor's investment in NASCAR racing, they need their driver to do something noteworthy. There is nothing a sponsor desires more than to see their well placed company logo emblazoned across television screens all over America as their driver leads a race, is engaged in a hotly contended battle amongst the leaders, or is consistently running amongst the top of the running order. A team, driver included, not making the Chase still must race the last ten races of the season under the ever existing economic pressures associated with satisfying present sponsors, and attracting other prospective contributors to the racing organization.
The worry associated with satisfying multi-million dollar sponsors, adoring and faithful fans, and extraordinarily hardworking team members should be considerably more worrisome to Stewart than any adverse reaction to racing the Top 10 drivers real hard.
Now fast forward to last Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway located in Dover, Delaware. Almost prophetically, Stewart's stated concern about racing around championship contending drivers became reality when Stewart inexplicably and uncharacteristically lost control of his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet on the eleventh lap of the 400 lap race. The racecar then spun up the track towards the outside wall and collected Chase contender Kasey Kahne. The wreck relegated Stewart to a thirty-third place finish and all but eliminated any hopes Kahne had of becoming the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion. Kahne, after taking his car to the garage for repairs returned to the track and finished thirty-eighth on the day, two hundred and twenty-eight laps behind race winner Jeff Burton.
Response from those that comprise what is commonly referred to as the "NASCAR Nation" has been measured, minimal and rational. Clearly Stewart did not intentionally wreck Kahne. Followers of the stock car series seem almost unanimous in their opinion that what happened to Kahne, although unfortunate, is as much a part of racing as a blown motor or tire that would result in a poor finish for the contender. There is no outcry for Tony Stewart's head. It is understood that he is a very competent driver and sometimes even the best of them make mistakes.
But Stewart again seems to have a skewed perception of the Chase on his mind. After the completion of the race, Stewart, though genuinely remorseful that he was involved in the accident that severely damaged Kahne's championship efforts, cited problems with the Chase format for the situation the wreck has created. “I don’t think this Chase thing was thought out well enough,” he said. “Brian [France] is a smart guy. We’ll see if he can make adjustments to make it right for these guys. But you look at what’s going on right now. The guys that have an opportunity to win the Chase are guys that just don’t have bad luck. That’s all there is to it. It’s not about anything else.
“Kasey [Kahne] can go out and win the rest of the races and not win the championship still. It’s not about who’s going to win the championship based on good finishes; it’s going to be about guys who just don’t have a bad day. That’s all this Chase boils down to,” Stewart concluded.
Certainly a poor finish is devastating to any championship competitor. This situation was not created by Brian France or the Chase format, which is now in it's third year of existence. What Tony Stewart fails to understand is that anytime he, or any other driver, wrecks a contender with eight races remaining, before or since the implementation of the Chase, it is and always has been damaging to that driver’s championship run. The Chase is still the same as it was last year when Tony Stewart was crowned the Champion. After entering the Chase in first place last season, he stumbled five races into it when a blown tire at Lowe’s Motor Speedway while leading the race resulted in a twenty-fifth place finish. However, Stewart recovered from that setback, as well as an eighteenth place finish at Dover, to win the title by posting consistent top 10 finishes in the other eight races. Without a doubt, drivers in a close points battle aren't afforded too many poor finishes if they still want to win the Championship, nor should they.
Tony Stewart is in a position he has very little experience with in his illustrious motor racing career. He's on the outside looking in at a championship race and is not certain as to how he is supposed to conduct himself. What he, and all non-Chase contenders, should do is race hard, race clean and not become overly concerned with the other ten drivers that did make the 2006 Championship Chase. All thirty-three non-Chase drivers are responsible for satisfying their fans, crews and sponsors, just as the title contenders are. The final eight races of the year should be contested by all drivers with the same mindset as the first twenty-six races of the season. Just race!
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Tony simply can not win…if he’s a nice guy, you knock him. If he’s being a butthead, you knock him. Just let him be himself…at least, he is not some carbon copy pretty boy.
Sharon, I could not agree with you more. Get off the guy’s back-bashing Tony is yesterday’s news. Get a life and move on.
Tony is what Tony is. I, for one, hopes that he never changes.
I agree with Marty. I hope Tony never changes. I love the fact that he is so outspoken. I bet alot of drivers agree with Tony on changing the points a little bit for the Chase guys but unlike Tony they are to chicken and to worried about their “image” to come out and say it.
If Tony is so set to not take out a Chase car, looks like he would have know his car was loose and would have been more careful…..I’m sure he knew Kahne was right behind him…..I wouldn’t doubt if Nascar is paying him money to take out the lone Dodge since it’s been his doings at Louden and Dover….Nascar didn’t give the Dodges help when they needed it but spent numerious hours hand in hand with GM to make sure the New Chevy was right in Dec and Jan at Indy and Daytona…..Jim
Jim – I am not sure what the whole Dodge thing has to do with the subject of the article, but if you check your facts it was the Dodge team owners who could not decide what they wanted to change (let alone what car they wanted to run) that mucked up their season.
Typical responses from fans of this particular driver. No matter how Tony talks or, for the most part, what Tony says, it can never be wrong to some people. A lot of times I agree with Tony. But this time, he is not doing anybody justice by slamming the Chase and how it affects the drivers. If Tony really feels like he is affecting the chances of any of the Chase drivers to win the Championship, why doesn’t he just park his car at the beginning of the race?
Bottom line is Tony really blew this issue out of proportion. I certainly didn’t hear these kinds of comments when Jimmie Johnson was involved with incidents last season. Tony accepted those situations and ran off with the Championship. Why is it all of a sudden an issue.
I really hope the ‘other’ 33 drivers in each race don’t go out and run conservative based on Tony’s comments (or anybody else’s for that matter). The fans deserve to see good racing, not a bunch of cars rolling over to cater to the Chase guys. I hope that the non-chase guys start pulling out victories in the final eight races.
Thie is where I think this whole Chase thing gets misinterpreted. Yes, they reset the points for 10 drivers to create a battle for the Championship.
I’d like to ask Tony that if this was the old points system still and he was sitting in 11th in the points, would he feel like he was being too cautious around Jimmy Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick and just because he was in 11th points 500 out, would he think it was hard to race real hard and be around those guys, worrying about getting into them? Or because it wasnt labeled “Chase” he wouldnt have a hard time racing the points leaders hard?
Has it really changed all that much? Yes, they reset the points, but a playoff its not.
Look at one of the best seasons under the old system, 1992. The sceanrio down the stretch was probably as close as you can get to what we are in right now (Just unfortuanetly those years were few and far between with the old system). Ernie Irvan was in 11th in the points about 500 out and he took out Davey Allison who was in the Chase, uh, I mean the hunt for the Championship.
Label it whatever you want, its hasnt changed. Just a few more drivers have been added to the mix.
Its not one of Tonys better years. the bottom line is he is having a hard time dealing and racing with the fact that he is 500 points out. Tonys used to being on the other end, the “Why is he racing me so hard at 500 points out?” end!
As much as we think its changed, it really hasnt changed at all. Its just now we have better odds of having a battle like 1992 more times than not.
May the Chase be with you!
Heres one for you. Who gives a crap what a driver says? I don’t watch racing for the stimulating conversation. Get behind the wheel boy, show us what you can do. Make everybody beat you.