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 June 5, 2007
This past weekend at Dover, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. set the record straight on previous allegations both stated and implied that his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt was not providing needed resources to the race teams at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Thank goodness for that; Junior's clarification of the problems between him and his present employer came just in the nick of time to keep a reputation for honesty intact. As it was apparent to all that witnessed this weekend’s Nextel Cup performance by the D.E.I. entries, the equipment Teresa Earnhardt was providing to her organization was indeed nothing less than top-notch. Not only did Junior qualify second for the race, but his stablemate, Martin Truex, Jr., won the Autism Speaks 400 in a runaway. Winning by over 7 seconds, Truex put on a dominating performance, leading 216 of 400 laps with a race car that was clearly superior to the rest of the field. It was a victory celebration indicative of a strong future for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., a future Earnhardt realizes now would not have been as bad as originally perceived.
During the recent highly publicized contract negotiations for controlling interest of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., insinuations were made that the team was not sufficiently equipped to be competitive. Earnhardt, Jr. and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, serving as Junior's Business Manager / Spokesperson, reasoned that if Junior were victorious in being given reign over D.E.I.'s racing division, needed changes in providing missing resources would occur that were likely to create more wins and championship possibilities for her brother down the line.
Back then, Earnhardt Elledge claimed the reason for their desire to gain majority control was very much competition-related. "There hasn't been someone solid in the business putting the resources back into the race team,” she explained as the reasoning behind making this move. The daughter of D.E.I. founder Dale Earnhardt concluded that the attempted takeover was essential because, "We want Dale to drive 10 or 12 more years. We've got to get on the racetrack and win and get competitive and win championships. We have to have a situation that provides that for him."
However, as Junior continues to make his rounds of potential new employers’ shops, he has apparently come to the realization that perhaps D.E.I. and Teresa, the much-maligned owner and manager of the company, may have indeed been more attentive to business than both he and his sister had given her credit for. Never much exposed to other "big league" race shops outside of his stepmother’s, the immensely popular driver observed that he hasn’t noticed any “golden eggs” anywhere else.
“I was surprised at how on par in some places D.E.I. really is,” Earnhardt, Jr. said. “I never really felt like me and crew chief Tony (Eury), Jr. had any trouble being competitive at D.E.I. The reasons why I left were truly personal and not competition related." Of course, this reasoning is a departure from earlier statements from the driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, in which he had explained that his split from Eury during the 2005 season was in part due to Junior wrongly holding his crew chief responsible for performance issues that were actually a result of Eury not having the proper shop resources.
Well, at least now we start to get to the truth behind the most talked about owner and driver split in stock car history. Junior’s desire to leave was personal, and not really related to any lack of effort or desire on Teresa Earnhardt's behalf to provide competitive equipment. While his admissions come after the fact, credit needs to be given to Junior for coming clean on this issue, as he and sister Kelley had painted quite a different picture of their stepmother's management of the race team in recent months.
The allegations behind those ill-fated comments were clear, and I believe intentional in nature. Teresa was being accused of not putting resources (i.e. – sponsorship money) back into the organization and that she had not been solidly behind the race business. Of course, that leads to the obvious conclusion that the teams were not competitive. These charges were certain to cast their stepmother in a negative manner before the public, giving Junior’s negotiating team the upper hand as they pursued their mission to wrestle control of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. right out of her hands. It was an impossible mission, of course, to snag a company that their deceased father left 100% of to Teresa upon his tragic and untimely death.
Though ultimately the stepchildren were unsuccessful in gaining control, the unwarranted condemnation of their stepmother lingered and became a rally cry for many that became convinced that Junior was not being given adequate equipment to race as competitively as his talents are deserving of.
Of course, any such accusations are nothing short of ridiculous. At best, it is accurate that efforts on the part of D.E.I.'s management have not resulted in any championships for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. That’s a goal that Junior and many within his “Red Army” of supporters desperately want to see him achieve, and to that end, the organization has not been successful. Yes, if winning championships becomes the litmus test as to whether an owner is operating their teams properly, Teresa Earnhardt is guilty as charged. But it is important to point out that only three NASCAR Cup owners have been successful in attaining that goal in eleven of the last twelve years. With the exception of Dale Jarrett's 1999 championship season, achieved while driving for owner Robert Yates, all of NASCAR’s previous twelve titles have gone to owners named Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, and Joe Gibbs. Meanwhile, giants of the sport as Richard Childress, Chip Ganassi, and Roger Penske would all need to pull up a chair next to Teresa Earnhardt at the “bad team owners” table.
Clearly, a championship should not be a barometer from which the level of success a team can achieve should be judged. D.E.I. has provided Junior with good equipment, and, despite popular opinion to the contrary, race cars and team personnel that have been capable of winning races and championships. Junior has been eligible for two of the first three Nextel Cup Chases for the Championship, and has career numbers that are befitting those of a champion. It is worth noting that Earnhardt, Jr's. career wins eclipse by two the total of fifteen recorded by 2003 Winston Cup Champion Matt Kenseth. Conversely, Kenseth has tallied merely two more Top 5 finishes than Junior, with seventy-two in 268 career Cup starts for both drivers. As comparable as the two drivers’ on-track performances have been, there has never been a hint of criticism that Roush-Fenway Racing is not providing to Kenseth's No. 17 Ford race team the needed resources to compete.
It was further apparent, even before Monday's rain-delayed race, that D.E.I.'s Car of Tomorrow program is top-notch. While racking up solid runs on the race track, their progress had simply been overshadowed by the phenomenal success that the Hendrick Motorsports entries have experienced during the first four races in which the new generation of race car had competed. Development of the CoT by all race teams has been a huge undertaking, involving a three-year commitment to manpower, equipment, engineering expertise, and money. When Martin Truex, Jr. wheeled the D.E.I.-owned No. 1 Chevrolet into Victory Lane, he affirmed, even without confirmation on Junior’s part, that Teresa Earnhardt has succeeded at every item on that checklist, providing the necessary resources to the teams to not only be competitiveâ€¦but win!
In the meantime, Junior's weekend comments should be accepted as they were offered. I am convinced that the strife between him and his stepmother that resulted in him attempting to take control of her company, as well as arriving at the decision to leave D.E.I. at season’s end, was a "truly personal" long-term disagreement. No decision was made because he "had any trouble being competitive at D.E.I." – no matter how much he’d have made you believe that just a few short months ago.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is not known as one to shift blame or fail to accept responsibility for his actions. He is rightfully widely regarded and respected as a "stand-up guy" both on and off the track. Well, this weekend he once again "stood up" and told the truth.
You can't ask for any more.
For all the latest news and information concerning the death of Bill France, Jr. click here for all that Frontstretch has to offer on this tragic loss.
Are you checking out the Frontstretch Newsletter? If you’re not, you missed out on a special commentary by Vito Pugliese on Bill France, Jr., as well as another edition of this week’s Editor Power Rankings…who’s on top? Is it Gordon? Is it Hamlin? Or maybe Jimmie Johnson? You can’t find out until you click here ; and remember, signing up for the newsletter is FREE!!!
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Teresa Earnhardt is a sharp business woman, and the brains behind all of Dale, Sr’s business interests. That has been widely known for a long time. She is from a racing family, the Houston’s, and knows both sides of the business. This whole mess is a typical stepmother/stepson and daughter spat. The kids want what daddy had and was smart enough not to leave them. I’m glad that Dale, Jr. showed his true nature as a truthful and fair young man. I wonder how much of those values came from his “evil” stepmother’s teachings.
tommy, the bottom line is jr. is not or will ever be a driver of the same caliber as his father was.
I donâ€™t think this was all about seven-post shakers or computer-controlled milling machines.
A number of years ago, I was fortunate enough to get taken on a tour of Hendrick Motorsports by Papa Joe. As we went through the HMS complex, Papa Joe spoke to every HMS employee we passed. And it wasnâ€™t just a polite, â€œGood morning.â€ He called them by name. He asked about their families. He asked one guy if he had had any luck fishing at the pond out by the shop during lunch hour the day before. He asked another how he was liking his new motorcycle.
I came away with the distinct impression that the people at HMS get out of bed in the morning and go into work wanting to win races and championships. For a reason.
I don’t think you can scrap the last almost 4 years of sub par horsepower, bad management decisions (taking Richie Gilmore out of his post as head engine builder), engineering cutbacks and an overall fall from elite status as a race team with one win by Martin Truex Jr. in the new car of tomorrow. I think Eury Jr. has figured something out with this car and it may just be that this new car fits the driving styles of both Dale Jr. and Truex Jr. Earnhardt made it clear that he was worried about this car because DEI was behind in the development of the car at the beginning of the year. It is now in Theresa’s best interest to spend some money and give her race teams the resources they need to win. That is the only way she’ll be able to secure the sponsorship and quality personnel needed to compete without Jr. and maybe Eury Jr. I don’t think this sense of urgency to perform well has ever been felt by Theresa until now. Why would she ever feel threatened as an owner with solid sponsorships like Budweiser, NAPA, Pennzoil and Bass Pro Shops. With a star like Dale Jr. and a marketing personality like Waltrip; winning could easily become less important to just being able to compete and get into victory circle every so often. No one can argue that it has been obvious that her focus has been more on marketing the legacy of Dale Sr. I don’t disagree with reaping the benefits of his marketing machine, it’s what helped Dale and her build the company in the first place, but it takes investment in resources and a continued effort towards championships to keep this company growing.
No company or at least no top tier company is in business to just hang in there and win a race here and there. To be considered a top tier competitive team they have to judge themselves by winning championships; that is the ultimate goal of every team. Dale Jr. left his team because he saw nothing that proved to him that Theresa was concerned first with winning championships over making a dollar with interests outside of racing. This difference in philosophy between Dale and Theresa is most likely the core reason behind a relationship that fell apart. It boils down to respect and she didn’t show that she had much for him. The comment about DEI being on par with other teams in certain areas is probably true. The difference between DEI and top tier teams may be the management behind the company. Is the company organized and run the same as other teams? Probably not, Gibbs is known for its very structured and efficient manner for which it operates, as well as being a family atmosphere. Hendricks is known for itâ€™s wealth of information shared and Rick Hendricks commitment to providing whatever resources that are needed to win, because winning championships is his first goal. From an initial walk through of different garages there may not be a whole lot of difference from the naked eye, because the most important differences may be management, company culture and ownerships goals. Dale Jr. stood up and told the truth about his reasons behind his departure with both statements, because both reasons for leaving are true.
No way does this vindicate Teresa. She was smart enough to start making things better,only after Jr decided to leave. Maybe Jr has done good in spite of bad engines and other junk. One win for Truex does not put him in the same category as Jr anymore than one win for Casey Mears Puts him up with Jeff or Jimmie. I think Truex has a way to go before he’s the next star.
The explanation is simple. Teresa never got along with Dale’s kids from the start. Jr. got shipped off to school and Kelly went also as she feels a lot of responsibility for him. Dale and Kelly knew nothing had or would change so what can one really do?
If not for Kelley, I think Jr would have already signed a new contract with DEI and not thought anything of it.
Kelley hates Teresa, and the best way to rally public support? Accuse her of not providing Jr with the equipment he is capable of. What else could she say? “I just want control”? At least it would have been honest.
I have a feeling Spencer spoke for a lot of people in the garage those weeks ago.
I think although Jr. stated the reasons were personal, it is evident that since his departure the admited lack of up to date resources has been proven.
When Jimmy Spencer first made his comments about Kelly I thought he was way out of line. Now after digesting all that has happened it’s starting to look more and more like Spencer nailed it correctly. Jr. is going to do whatever his sister says to do, and just maybe she has led him astray.
Sorry to say one win isn’t going to change the fact that DEI is behind on power as compared to RCR, HMS, Gibbs, and Roush That is a fact. When Ty Norris was forced out and Richie Gilmore took over, things fell apart. Gilmore should have stayed in the engine shop, that is where he was best. DEI as a whole is not the greatest of teams, both Dale Jr and Martin Jr are far better drivers than what they have been given. I think people read too much into what Junior says. First of all, the last time people criticized Teresa for saying what she did, Junior defended her! So its the same, when people speculate that Junior is leaving because he wants better equipment, they blame Teresa and again, Junior defended not so much her, but the men and women who bust their tails on those race cars. I have heard and read of how low the team morale is at DEI over the years. They need a cheerleader and Teresa sends other people to do it for her. She needs to be active. I know it can be difficult, but that is part of her job and responsibility. Junior said he wants to be competitive and win championships, maybe he just needs a better working relationship with his owner…...
Theresa started this with her quote before this season started. She obviously has no respect for Jr. I think it is now an even bigger slap in the face to make needed improvements after Jr.‘s decision to leave DEI. She doesn’t want him there, so he’s better off gone. And as for Sr.‘s wishes…when his will was written, his kids (Jr. included) were not mature enough to handle the business. But I don’t think he intended for his son to be disrespected like this by Theresa and given no choice but to leave DEI. As for me, I will not be buying anything with Earnhardt Sr.‘s name on it because I don’t want to add a penny to Theresa’s bank account.
The voice of reason – thank you Tommy. I suspected all along that Junior’s supposed unhappiness with DEI was not due to lack of competitive equipment. It was a greedy power play and that is all.
And I have to laugh at the idea some have that ALL OF A SUDDEN DEI has become competitive because of Junior’s leaving. Wow – must be some kind of miracle!
Turning things around in an organization takes more than a few weeks, people. LOL
When Junior signs with a new organization his blindly loyal fans will have no Teresa to blame when he doesn’t set the world on fire. Hope Junior’s new boss knows what he’s getting into.
Thank you D. Kingsley. I have been saying this for the past 3 years. One win does not a championship make. Again, thanks for saying it all!!!
I’m an Earnhardt fan, & was a fan of Dale sr.However I have to say I think Jr. is a little over rated, not near as much as Michael Waltrip though.I’m also beginning to suspect that Teresa was right in her statement that he needs to make up his mind.I think he should resign with DEI, if he goes to RCR he’s stuck trying to live up to his father’s legacy even more than now.As far as driving the 3 car forget it.No one could even come close to driving that car like Dale sr. did.Jr. is no where close to being the driver his dad was, but then who is?
Theresa did not start thisâ€¦ some of you have selective memories. Last fall it was Jr. or should I say most likely Kelly that started leaking criticism of Theresa ownership style. The move by Jr. and his sister to extort DEI out from under Theresa was motivated by pure vindictiveness and reckless greed.
Really what kind of courage and judgment does it take to have a temper tantrum and walk away from the family businessâ€¦ The lack of responsibility that allows one to do that and endanger the jobs of hundreds of people employed by DEI is astounding.
Dale Jr. had best get his sister away from running his life before she ruins his career.
DEI has been running under performning cars for a long time. The hook – up with RCR and DEI was because Theresa knew that DEI could not run with the big guns as they stood. I feel Dale decided to leave on two counts. 1.) Theresa is and has never been a loving parent towards either Kelly or Dale Jr. her interest in is keeping seniors legend alive, and 2.) He does want a championship, DEI is not and never will be a championship organization. Do I think he is as capable and talented as his father …No! There is only one racer out there today that is.
Harry hit the nail on the head. Since Jr announced he was leaving, DEI management has stepped up and implemented the changes Jr has been trying to get them to do for the last 2-3 years.
Some people donâ€™t realize just how â€œsmartâ€, yes I said â€œsmartâ€ Jr is when it comes to Nascar and all that is involved in having a winning race team. Jrâ€™s been very vocal about the lack of horsepower in the engines at DEI for the last 2 years, did DEI do anything about the lack of horsepower?? Iâ€™m sure the guys in the shop worked with what they were given, and have made improvements, but were still not up to par. Jr announces heâ€™s leaving and suddenly thereâ€™s an announcment that DEI has formed a new partnership with RCR to develop engines (RCR having been in the same lack of horsepower boat just a few short years ago). Jrâ€™s been telling DEI management for 3 years that they needed a dedicated testing team like Hendricks and the other elite teams have to gather data and stay ahead of the field. He was told that they couldnâ€™t justify the expense and did not see where that would be benefitial to the team. Jr announces heâ€™s leaving and a few weeks later DEI announces that Eury Sr will head up a new dedicated testing and development team at DEI. And donâ€™t forget the 7 post shaker machine, which has gotten a lot of press lately, but it was two years ago that Jr first mentioned that he had seen this piece of equipment and thought it would be a great tool to have at DEI. Once again he was told it wasnâ€™t needed and was an unproven piece of equipment at the time, very expensive to purchase setup and maintain. Jr announces heâ€™s leaving and voila, DEI is ordering a 7 post shakerâ€¦..hmmmmmm.
I donâ€™t blame all this on Teresa, she doesnâ€™t have a clue what it takes to keep a team competitive and how to stay ahead of the curve, thatâ€™s what she has a management team for. They have failed her miserably the last couple of years. Something or someone has finally got DEI back on the right track, I think it took Jrâ€™s leaving to make this happen so maybe this will turn out to be a win-win situation. Jr can go somewhere that he feels he is appreciated, and DEI has gotten the wake up call they needed to get back on the right track to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
I look for good things for both parties involved here next year, DEI should be stronger and more competitive week in and week out, and Jr should be in proven equipment, which will be his opportunity to show whether he has the talent to really be a superstar in the sport. Good luck to both parties.
Ps- all this talk about Kelly running Dale Jrâ€™s lifeâ€¦. you obviously donâ€™t know Jr very well, he is very much his own man and makes his own decisions, but make no mistake, Kelly and Jr are very tight, and both look out for the others best interests.
*I’m a little taken back by the sudden defense of Teresa based on Truex’s win last weekend, and Jr.‘s good qualifying effort. It doesn’t mean that Jr. and Kelley were incorrect in their assessment that the proper resources were not being funneled into the competition program. It means to me that only SINCE that statement by Jr. and his sister, Teresa has resorted to only one defense, i.e., putting the resources where they are required to win races. She has in no way redeemed herself in my mind or in that of most Dale Jr. fans. Let’s not forget, and I’ve said it many times, (1) she lacked the grace to merely wish her step-son well in his futre, and (2) the two have not even spoken since he announced his resignation. Am I the only one who recognizes this for what it is?
No Nina you are not the only one who has noticed this. All of a sudden the changes Jr asked for have happened and Truex is the fair haired boy. As a fan of Dale Sr for many years and now of Jr, I will never support TEI in any way again. I also will never support Truex as long as he drives for the witch. I just heard Truex on Trackside. He said Teresa gave him a 20 min. phone call congradulating him and she had luncheon at TEI for him and his team. How sweet. Did she ever do that for the son of the man she supposedly loved so much?
All you people have failed to realize one very importaant concept.
When Dale Earnhardt started driving race cars he was motivated to win by an empty pocketbook and a hungry belly. Pretty good motivators.
Todays racers are richer than most even if they finish 43rd in every race they start.
That being said, we don’t know what kind of parent Dale was, what kind of stepmother Teresa was, or how the kids got along with them. None of that matters now.
Here is the situation, Dale is dead and gone, he won’t be coming back. DEI belongs solely to Teresa. For whatever reason, Dale Jr does not feel comfortable there. Employment is a lot like a marriage. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The reasons don’t matter. There is nothing necessarily wrong with Teresa, Dale Jr or Kelly. They just can no longer work together.
If it was a little street sweeping company in Kannapolis noone would notice and noone would care. But this is high profile and everybody wants to get his 2 cents worth in.
If Jr drives for Childress, that is OK, if he drives a dump truck for the county, that is OK too, if it makes him happy. I know he wants to win championships and races, and for whatever reason he feels he has to look elsewhere. Remember, just like a failed marriage. The divorce will be final in November.