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.
While many in the media (yours truly included) were raving about Dodge's impressive showing at the Daytona 500, many were looking to this past weekend's Auto Club 500 in Fontana, California as the true test of how the Car of Tomorrow would perform this season. The 1.5+ mile "downforce" tracks make up the bulk of NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule, and over the last several years — with the previous iteration of stock car — aerodynamics, not handling, were the key to how a driver would finish. But with the new machine, its common template, and non-offset body, much of any aero-ingenuity has been engineered out of the cars, making mechanical grip the moving target for which teams will take aim at.
A look through the finishing order following the conclusion of Monday's event reveals another welcome reality of the new car: parity. While parity in other sports makes for poor competition and a perceived weak product, it is a wellspring of publicity for auto racing. There was a time when fans cheered for their preferred make of car as much as they did their favorite driver. While the rabid following may not be what it once was, it is still a component to promoting this sport and keeping fans — particularly the core fans — interested in what many say is beginning to resemble a spec-racer series.
The box score will show that Carl Edwards won the race, but the late race tussle between the two was actually a pretty good battle. Edwards waiving the Blue Oval flag to Johnson's Bow Tie banner was a traditional and fitting end to the first race on a high-banked unrestricted track with the new car; Chevy versus Ford, Roush versus Hendrick. The finally tally of Top-10 machines from California shows two Fords, two Dodges, two Toyotas, and four Chevrolets.
Compare that to 2007, where seven Chevrolets finished in the first nine positions.
So, it was also important to show that there is still some room to work with these cars if you're suffering in one area or another. The bodies are all similar, but the real speed comes from what sits under the fenders, not just between them. Many raised concern last week at Daytona when it was reported that following the Gatorade Duels, Toyota's Sprint Cup entries were producing superior power numbers to Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge; up to 30 rear wheel horsepower more, in fact, as they have proven to make in the Craftsman Truck Series. Toyota now has some key engine development personnel on the Cup side, too; chief among them is Mark Cronquist, who brings some secrets from the Chevrolet camp to Toyota. Hendrick power is legendary, and the Dodge motors have never hurt for grunt either. Ford engines were thought to be the furthest behind, as they are by far the oldest and most antiquated design of the four car makes. Even so, Carl Edwards' No. 99 Fusion with Roush-Yates power made enough steam to slide past Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick Impala with 12 laps remaining. All this does is further accentuate another old maxim in autoracing that remains true today:
All the power in the world isn't going to help, if you can't get it to the ground.
What we do know is that there are two things that are going to make the difference with this new car: The driver and the setup. Many may argue that most of the "setup" is the result of engineering hours (and dollars) back at the shop. The 7-Post Shaker Rig is held by many to be the Holy Grail for NASCAR, with teams attempting to extract the last hundredth of a second out of the Car of Tomorrow. In fact, Greg Biffle remarked after finishing second at Dover last fall that his set up was taken exclusively from data gleaned from their shaker rig testing. But while this may prove to be true in some instances, the loose nut behind the wheel still has the final say in what direction the tires are pointing, and how far the throttle is open.
That pedal in the middle can still come in handy, too.
Relief may also be at hand for those that held to the fear that Toyota was going to be a monster to deal with come 2008 and beyond. A company with an open book policy and cooperation among all teams, coupled with a racing budget that can sustain the financial demands of Formula 1, and the recipe for disaster had all of the ingredients at hand for what has been an all-American form of racing. Homogenized race cars that are heavily dependent upon engineering and technology to find speed, operating in an even tighter box than with the previous car. Factor in Toyota's aligning with a super-team like Joe Gibbs Racing this season, and many were concerned that Toyota could stand NASCAR on its ear. While that may still happen, they look to be as capable of a team as before — but not the dominant force that some had feared may overrun the sport.
As it has been with virtually any change in NASCAR, the cream always seems to find a way to rise to the top. Edwards' win in his Dish Network Ford Fusion should not come as much of a surprise. Roush-Fenway Racing has a most impressive record at California ever since the series started running here in 1997. From that first event in June of 1997 to 2008, Roush-Fenway Racing has compiled six wins and a total of 22 Top-5 finishes. Old car or new car, Thunderbird, Taurus, or Fusion, Roush cars simply get around that track in a great big hurry. Take a look at the teams in the Top 10: Roush-Fenway, Hendrick, and Gibbs. All familiar teams with familiar faces and names. The same group that finished in the Top 10 this weekend will likely be slugging it out through Homestead for the Championship come mid-November.
The Car of Tomorrow is clearly a work in progress. It is not prefect, and it has a way to go before the teams are able to make them drive more to the drivers liking. The comfort level is not quite there yet; a rule change or two could be coming early this year to help provide some much needed balance and grip. It has been rumored that there may be an extension allowed on the front splitter, in an effort to generate some more downforce to help the cars turn, and offer some more feel and feedback to the driver. While I am not completely sold on the new machine (it's a handful, but at least it's ugly), it has accomplished three very important goals: Improved safety, kept a certain manufacturer in check, and helped to provide parity amongst the four automakers.
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“PARITY”?? Is that what would make good solid racing? Me thinks not!
And in the case of the CoT, I do not deem this hunk of steel as “parity”!!
In this case it seems that the definition of “parity” is to supply teams a huge and heavy block of metal and tell them to go drive the thing, and by the way SHUT UP ABOUT IT!
IN THIS CASE, “PARITY” DOES NOT EQUATE “RACING”!
And if there was “parity” as you say, why are the muti-car “teams”, still outperforming the “independents”??
Multi-car teams have money and resources the independants do not have, that’s why. Hendrick, Gibbs, and Roush have tens of millions to spend on R&D, while the Woods, Gordon, and Furniture Row do not. And it will always be that way, unless NASCAR puts in a spending cap.
I don’t care about parity. The racing was great. When is Ford going to get their new engine and when can they start using it?
When I say parity, I mean among the manufacturers. When one make dominates the series, it bennefits no one. Well, except maybe the brand that is winning everything.
in response to Sam , FORD should be announcing soon , the induction of their new engines for the second race at MICHIGAN.
Douglas makes a fair point. NASCAR blew it when they allowed multi-car teams to go more than two cars. I don’t even care for two but I’ll meet you halfway. If, tomorrow, you suddenly were in charge of a whole new sport you’d want it to have integrity as that is what would sell the sport..that every player/contestant would have a shot of winning. You will always have competitors that are better than others, that is only to be expected. When you suddenly allow say, 4 competitors to join all their resourses together..and then another 4 do the same it suddenly changes the landscape of the sport as the multi-competitor teams have suddenly gained a significant advantage over the single competitors. When this happens your new sport loses a bit of its integrity as now you’ve somewhat loaded the dice in favor of the multi-competitors. In the end your sport is not anything like what its design was intended for.
Chris2 makes an excellent point ; he points to Douglas’s point. POINT BLANK!
Just an aside Vito…when the CoT first arrived on the scene last year, Chevy utterly dominated. It was partly because Hendrick and Gibbs were ahead of the curve and Roush was not, but nonetheless it seemed almost as though Chevy helped NASCAR design the thing.
I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but we’re only two races in. We can review again after ten races and see if it holds up. If it does, and the teams and drivers get comfortable with it, maybe it won’t be a bad thing.
Yeah, that whole multi-car team theory has really put MWR at the top of the charts.
Hey, if you like to watch average teams, go watch ASA. They drive on crappy tracks and have equally crappy drivers. Also, none of them sees a huge amount of success so that should make them even more appealing to the loser-lovers.
Cup is the top of the sport. It’s not supposed to be easy and everyone won’t be a success. No matter what kind of car they drive.
Chandra said: “Itâ€™s not supposed to be easy and everyone wonâ€™t be a success” And that is correct..now then, show me your top drivers running in a single team format and still succeeding then you may have a point. If you look back even to the mid-90’s a team may have consisted of 20 guys…now, look at some 4-car teams..such as Hendrick are running a payroll of_500 guys. Sure the technology has changed since then so no matter it be a multi-car team or a single car team there would be an increase in employees regardless. The point is as a single car team you are pretty disadvantaged next to a multi-car team. As good as Gordon or Johnson is if you put them in the Furniture Row car they may fare a little better than where they are now but you wouldn’t see them up front. As far as ASA goes you may want to do your homework as there have been numerous Cup stars,(Rusty and Martin come to mind), that after moving from their local tracks to the ASA, from there to the what was the Busch series, then Cup. Nowadays we just wait at the nearest high school bus stop and take every 4th 16 year-old kid and give him a helmet it seems. MWR’s issue doesn’t support your cause either as it is easy to see he started way too big way too fast..too much to get off the ground running in high gear..new cars, new manufacturer,new shop, new employees. Any new business takes a few years to get going in the upward direction. If you recall guys like Hendrick and Roush started out in a smaller scale and added to their success. Its been a successful strategy that MWR should have followed as it would’ve saved him time and money. Your point on everone won’t be a success no matter what kind of car they drive is only partially true…some drivers are just better than others..that part is correct. The car they drive? That part fails. Let me put it this way..say you need to take a test for something and you show up and the professor states that four guys over in this corner can do the test together..and another four over here can work together but you and a few others have to work alone. Who do you think has the advantage? As good a student as you could be would you still think it fair? So even though you have all the same tests,(or cars), it matters more about the help you have available.
Chevy may have dominated, but look at what tracks they were racing on – short tracks and 1-milers. California is big 2-mile oval that emphasises not only downforce and drag, but horsepower as well. If you’re down on power in the COT, you might be able to make it up through the corners or by driving it. That couldn’t really be said with the old car as much. Unless you’re Matt Kenseth in 2003, then yes, you could.