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.
The Voice of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Tuesday June 24, 2008
The rumors circulating in the garage area and beyond this week are that the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. No. 8 Chevrolet team will be looking for a new sponsor for 2009 and beyond. The car that has been co-driven by veteran Mark Martin and rookie Aric Almirola currently has a year-to-year sponsorship agreement with the U.S. Army, but it looks as though that is coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2008 season. And while the Army maintains it could be back to sponsor the team for ’09, it’s looking more and more like it will be headed to a Toyota Camry — likely one of the Bill Davis Racing entries, or possibly even a Michael Waltrip Racing ride. Caterpillar’s recent announcement that it will move its funding to the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car makes a move even more likely, as the pool of non-Toyota teams this sponsor would be willing to align itself with has dwindled down to near zero.
At first, I was skeptical. How could the U.S. Army, of all organizations, leave Chevrolet to sponsor a Toyota team — and a semi-competitive one at that? But things changed once I received an email from a noted racing merchandise website, advertising blowout deals on all U.S. Army No. 8 paraphernalia. It reminded me of the time I got an email over Labor Day Weekend on my Blackberry from a former employer, inviting me to an impromptu meeting with the Vice President and Human Resources Director the following Wednesday.
Oh, how timely!
With regards to the driver situation at DEI, there appears to be changes afoot as well. The likely scenario reported this weekend has Almirola going full-time in the No. 8 for ’09, with Martin replacing Casey Mears in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 entry next season — continuing in a similar driver/mentor capacity as he had with Ginn Racing and DEI. However, the sponsorship situation Martin leaves behind is not so simple to reconcile; in truth, that joke about “Military Intelligence” being an oxymoron in The Hunt for Red October seems to not be such a stretch after all.
In military parlance, this at first glance appears to be a tactical error for their sponsorship effort. With the DEI No. 8 Chevrolet entry, there stands a car that is a weekly Top 10 threat, one that has contended for wins on a few occasions this year and is the flagship entry for one of the iconic Chevrolet teams (with an iconic nameplate, to boot). And let’s not forget that the Army and General Motors relationship has extended far beyond racing for generations. During WWII, General Motors factories were converted to crank out tanks, rifles, pistols, aircraft, and ships — among other armaments — to bear against imperialist Japanese and Nazi forces. Those factories, and the workers who ran them, helped produce over 1,300 airplanes and a quarter of all aircraft engines.
With DEI’s current driver lineup, you have in Martin the ultimate spokesman for that relationship. It’s a fan favorite and respected veteran who, when he does hang it up, will have the “legend” tag applied to him in short order. Not only that, but his co-driver Almirola is an up-and-coming rookie with tremendous upside, one who’d make just as fine a representative for the Army as Martin has been. Not only is he a rising star in NASCAR’s top series, he is also of Hispanic descent, which further adds to his marketability in NASCAR’s diversity initiatives. About the only thing he is missing is Martin’s trademark buzz cut.
The U.S. Army has used motorsports as a recruitment tool for several years now, having sponsored Tony Schumacher’s ubiquitous “Sarge” in the NHRA Top Fuel ranks — but the Sprint Cup program has been perhaps their most high-profile effort since becoming a full-time sponsor in 2003 for the now-defunct MB2 Motorsports team. Since then, MB2 became Ginn Racing and was absorbed by DEI in the summer of 2007. That merger was the final piece of the puzzle for the Army: it was finally allied with a top-tier Cup program, the most successful nameplate in NASCAR, and with one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever known. The formula was any sponsor’s dream, particularly for the military. It wasn’t that long ago that recruitment levels were suffering with extended troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan dominating the headlines.
So, with that in mind, why would the Army want to leave for a team that hasn’t contended for a win since Ward Burton won at New Hampshire in 2002 — or one in Michael Waltrip Racing that was the laughingstock of the garage area just a year ago?
But when you stop to think about it, I guess their financial change of heart shouldn’t come as that great of a surprise, especially considering how the military has taken to awarding contracts to foreign interests of late. In February of this year, it was announced that the United States Air Force awarded a contract to EADS — the European consortium that holds AirBus — rather than Boeing for a new fleet of in-flight refueling tanker aircraft. The contract, worth an estimated $108 billion over 25 years, would provide 44,000 new jobs at a critical time in our nation that is witnessing soaring fuel and food costs — to say nothing of the fact that a foreign company building “our” planes just sounds flat wrong. The proposed replacement for the Colt M-16 rifle, the main battle implement used since the mid-1960s by the U.S. Army and Marines, is the Heckler and Koch XM8, a rifle developed by the German firearms manufacturer.
Even the fleet of U.S.-made Sikorsky Marine One helicopters that the President uses are in the process of being replaced by those of a foreign entity. The new aircraft are derived from a model built by AgustaWestland, a British-Italian manufacturer, and are used by five NATO countries and Japan.
With Toyota we have a company that, although it does build more American-made cars than most domestic manufacturers (check the transmission in your rig … it’s probably stamped, “Made In Mexico”), it is still a foreign company, and there is just something intrinsically wrong with a Japanese stock car carrying the colors of the United States military. And that says nothing of the fact that Toyota, at any moment, could deal a knockout blow to General Motors as the clear No. 1 auto manufacturer in the galaxy. Now, it is receiving one of the most honored sponsorships in motorsports at the expense of the Chevrolet team that carries the name of one of NASCAR’s most beloved figures.
I don’t mean to go all Jimmy Spencer or Jack Roush on everyone by comparing Toyota’s entry into NASCAR to Pearl Harbor, or its racing efforts to those of Japan when it goes to war. Racing is not warfare; it is sport, entertainment that serves as an avenue for advertising. And let’s face it: race cars don’t run on gas, they run on money. There could be no more “green” machine on our supposedly ever-warming planet than a race car.
But I am a traditionalist, and I still have certain views on things as the way they ought to be. You stand and take off your hat during the national anthem, 22” rims on a car look stupid, and if you have a barbed wire armband tattoo, you had better be in prison — or stuck in a time warp from 1997. I would also venture to say that there are probably a number of surviving veterans of World War II and beyond that are less than enthused about seeing the U.S. Army’s name emblazoned upon a Toyota. Particularly one that crashes, suffers mechanical failures, or sometimes has to load up and go home on Friday following qualifying.
But come this February, those vets may have no choice, experiencing a fear they never would have imagined would become reality: a U.S. military-sponsored Toyota Camry.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The US Army on a Toyota…how STUPID is that?
Who cares who they sponsor. MWR cars are driven by all-american guys. I drive a Ford and my favorite team is MWR, its the drivers, and there are way to many trash talking drivers out there that I would not want to sponsor no matter how successful they are. David R. of Waltrip racing would be a great car for Army to sponsor, he is a class act.
nascrap, along with this this country, is going to hell in a hand bag!!
Dee, I care who they sponsor. I have relatives and friends who are in Iraq fighting to keep the USA safe and secure. But nobody is here in America fighting to keep our jobs and business safe and secure. The Army sponsoring a japanese car could be the final straw for people old enough to remember what it is like to be an American and be able to buy American-made products and eat American-farmed food. MWR was one of the first to embrace Toyota and sell out the American automakers. The “Who cares” that starts your paragraph is what’s wrong with Americans today. They don’t care when foreign companies threaten their jobs and security. I hope I’m long dead before you find out just what fatal errors you are all making.
As a Vietnam vet and American patriot, I find it very disturbing to think that the U.S. Army would sponsor a Toyota! The fact that other great American companies (Caterpillar, U.P.S., NAPA, etc.) have done it is certainly pathetic enough!
And yet again, the Toyota hate comes out. I don’t understand how it can be 2008, with the world dominated by multinational corporations and a global economy, that people can be so bothered by what company backs motorsports teams. As a reader, and not specifically referring to this article but the general consensus amongst fans and certain columnists, it has the appearance that people have the mindset that Toyota came into NASCAR with cars carrying huge Japanese flags piloted by JGTC drivers who have a habit of pasting a picture of the U.S.S. Arizona inside their car.
Nevermind that the non-JGR/HOF Toyota cars are built by American teams, provided with engines by TRD USA based in Costa Mesa, CA, and about the only Japanese parts on the cars are assorted parts manufactured by Denso, a Toyota parts arm (which incidentally you can also find on cars fielded by Mr. Pearl Harbor himself, Jack Roush). Nevermind that you reference WWII without mentioning the most highly decorated (for its size and length of service) unit ever, the 442nd Infantry (whom, I might add, were treated like crap when they got home despite their service). And never mind that the Army is specifically aiming for a youth, diverse target audience (although to be honest, if they want that they should go directly over to JPM’s car and sponsor that).
It’s just offensive to me as an Asian-American that people still find a way to bash on a company like Toyota just because of where they are based, and brush over all the good things a company like Toyota has done for the U.S. economy. It just shows a complete lack of understanding for the world today in 2008 (and a complete stubbornness to let go of 1942). Oh, and tell me where GM would be without the Asian/Pacific market? Take GMAP out of the equation and you don’t have the #1 automaker in the world.
Don’t believe every thing the media prints!
Vito, This article is riddled with so many Half truths, & innuendos. That it’s laughable. It make about as much sense as if I attacked you about your name, & asked you what right you had to be flag waving. The Tanker contract, was a much better deal for the tax payers, & will also provide high paying US jobs. This was the second time Boeing attempted to rip off the tax payers. As for the made in Mexico on the transmission. Check the component origin on your Chevrolet. Presonally, I question money being spent by our armed forces in this maner in the first place. I would rather see this money spent to provide state of the art equiptment for our troops. Something that was lacking for far too long in this current operation.
Hah, how do you figure? Let’s take them one by one here:
- The tanker contract is being reviewed and very well may go to Boeing now, as it should. Boeing has built the backbone of America’s bomber force and tanker force since 1937. Thank them for contributing to the demise of Germany, Japan, and the USSR.
-The new Marine One helicopters – same difference. It is not an American design. Yes, Lockheed Martin is involved in the project, but again…why are we farming out work to foreign held subsidiaries?
-As for my transmission comment, many are in fact made in Mexico. I do not drive a Chevrolet however. In fact, I drive a Ford, who’s transmission is built by Tremec, and probably made in either Mexico or Tennesse.
I didn’t know this was fox news’ article…guess I was wrong Bill O’Reilly
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE!!!!!!
There should be a reality show which follows someone (preferably a NASCAR fan) who tries to live life for a year using only products that are made by American-based companies with every single component made in America. Is there even a car that exists which fits that description? Plus, it would be interesting to see how that person would go, in today’s day and age, without TV, a computer, or a cell phone.
“United States Air Force awarded a contract to EADS — the European consortium that holds AirBus — rather than Boeing for a new fleet of in-flight refueling tanker aircraft. The contract, worth an estimated $108 billion over 25 years, would provide 44,000 new jobs”
You shouldn’t comment on things you don’t understand.
a) the contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman, an American defense contractor
b) EADS is a subcontractor to Northrop
c) The reason there was a competition to begin with was because Boeing tried to screw the taxpayers by leasing their outdated 767 fleet.
d) Boeing would not create 44,000 new jobs. They’d continue an old production line.
e) NG would create 48,000 jobs in the US.
f) Boeing cried foul but won’t tell you that their next generation —the Dreamliner— is substantially built overseas.
g) You will not find a modern US weapon system that is 100% built in the US. Most use off the shelf electronics which are not built in the US. Looked inside your PC lately? Not much US made.
Vito: You are absolutely correct about the history of Boeing. I had an uncle who flew B-17’s during the war. I also worked on B-52’s during Vietnam. You are also correct that the contract is being reviewed. This, however is politics, not financial prudence. During their first attempt to rip us off. It was proven that they had bribed key Air Force people. With sweetheart job offers. Sounds like they might be at it agin.As for your transmission comment. I’ll give you that one. Guess by the time I got to that. My eyes were crossed, & I might of misunderstood your point.
As for the Helicopter part of your story. I know nothing about this so can’t comment.
When the US manufactures have all pulled out of NA$CAR. Leaving you with Toyota, Honda, & Audi. Who would you prefer To cary the Army sponsorship?
Thank you for your service to our country. My dad as well was a B-52 and KC-135 mechanic during Vietnam…although he fondly remembers his enemy was the Soviet Union, not the NVA or VC.
While some products can no longer be bought with American-made parts, we can still buy the things that are made here by American companies, like GM, Ford, and Dodge. Then again, if the auto unions would get off their butts and stop crying for more benefits, GM, Ford, and Dodge would be competitive again in the marketplace and could regain status against Toyota and Honda.
arnt toyotas made in the usa..not mexico or canada..
No Toyota’s are not MADE in the U.S.A they are assembled here. By the way I care, my husband is laid off from American Auto Maker he has over 15 years of seniority invested, doesn’t mean squat anymore.
I have a flag in a rectangular display box, and an uncle was under it. I under stand teams have to get money or there is no racing, I knew Dal senior and Raced with him, I did not like him but cried when he died, and see him in pictures over my desk every day, perhaps it time forgive, not forget
Vito:Your Dad, & I may have been at the same place.
I was in the 3258th Strat wing. At Utapao Thailand in ’67 We built the eng. shop pretty much from scratch. Then I was with the test cell crew. We had our own little place just off the end of the runway, on the beach. where we ran all the engines for the KC-135’s, & B-52’s
So you too are familliar with the TF-33 Turbofan!
My dad was in SAC’s 379th Bomb Wing – Wurtsmith AFB. He was actually in Thailand in 1968 at one point I believe – plane beneath him was hit by a SAM on the way over from what I remember him telling me.
Wouldn’t the ideal car for the US Army be the iconic #28? Just looks too logical for me.