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.
The Voice of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Tuesday October 28, 2008
With the 2008 NASCAR season winding down, we are in the middle of one of the more anti-climactic points races of the last decade, regardless of format. There is one outstanding title fight in the Truck Series, and another brewing in the Nationwide Series. Predictably, most of the media have avoided covering these two series with much more than a passing interest. Then again, most of the media has avoided covering some telling statements about a certain individual who will be running for an elected executive office next week, so why should this be any different?
As much as I would like to sit here and go over the possible scenarios of how Carl Edwards could beat Jimmie Johnson, or what Jimmie would have to do to empty the magazine into his foot and cost himself a title, I will avoid that and talk about something markedly different and refreshing:
Me. Because when you get right down to it, it’s all about me and what I want.
There are certain inevitabilities in life: Death, Taxes, the Detroit Lions being the worst team ever in the history of organized sports. You might want to chalk up Johnson winning four consecutive titles at this point, because there isn’t a whole lot that group does wrong, and at last look, Chad Knaus and his driver aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That being said, there are a few things I have on my racing bucket list that I’d like to see before I draw my knees up into my chest, take one last gasp and lay down for a dirt nap. These are purely selfish requests, and are in no way rooted in reality, objectivity or plausibility.
The return of Rockingham and North Wilkesboro to the schedule:
The likelihood of it happening is between slim and none, but it sure would be great to see some of the old mainstays of NASCAR return. These were tracks that created some of the greatest racing moments I can remember. Dale Earnhardt wrecking with Ricky Rudd on the last lap at North Wilkesboro in 1989 — a finish that would ultimately cost him what would have been his fourth title. Two years later it was Earnhardt and Harry Gant going at it, denying Gant what would have been his record setting fifth consecutive win … at a mere 51 years young. Now it is over grown with weeds and crab grass.
Rockingham was another great old track that has since been slightly reanimated, having hosted an ARCA race this past spring, as well as serving as an open test track for the Cup teams during the course of the year. Who can forget the stirring invocation given by Darrell Waltrip just one week after the tragic passing of Earnhardt for a race that was halted due to rain. Bright, sunny, and not a cloud in the sky on Monday, it was Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Steve Park passing Bobby Labonte on the final lap – not unlike Earnhardt did to latter a year earlier at Atlanta. Park was as emotional as anyone else who was watching, hardly able to contain himself after the race while being interviewed. I still get a little teary eyed watching that clip seven years later.
Could Las Vegas or Chicago offer up that sort of drama or finish? Doubtful.
Racing stock cars as cars that are stock:
Gut them, weld in a roll cage, throw on some headers and slicks, and have at it. Hey, they used to have a class for convertibles once, right? Sure, that may have been back in the days of leather helmets and the flagman standing ON the racetrack, but whatever, they used to have cars that were essentially “stock” cars as well. Let’s put some teeth back into Henry Ford’s, “Win on Sunday/Sell on Monday,” mantra we have heard so much about over the years. After all, his company needs it probably more than anyone else’s.
Since this is my wish list, I will make this the rule of the Nationwide Series. They already are using my idea of going to the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, so do it with the cars that are V8, rear wheel drive and available with a manual transmission from the factory. With a 400 horsepower V8 available in the Mustang for 2010, they’ll all be at similar power/weight ratios. Get those crowbars and torches out and have at it.
Mark Martin wins a Sprint Cup Championship:
I’ll be honest, if not for him, I probably would never have followed racing as closely as I did in my formative years, and you would not be reading this (so if you think this sucks, don’t take it out on him). That being said, is there any guy who has gotten rooked out of a championship more times than the little guy? He actually would have won the title in 1990, had NASCAR not fined him 46 points for a spacer plate that was bolted — rather than welded — to his intake manifold at Richmond. This was the same manifold that went through inspection three times race weekend and was touched by a NASCAR inspector. He lost the title by 20 points that season, and would go on to finish second on three more occasions.
He was in position to win the title in 1997 in the closing laps at Atlanta, when leading and pulling away when his Valvoline Thunderbird burned a piston in the closing laps, and he slid back to third just as Jeff Gordon was limping around as the last car three laps down.
The 2007 Daytona 500 was just more salt in the wound for what would have made a nice consolation prize for his not wining a championship. He was denied when NASCAR, for the first time since 2003, decided to let cars race back to the finish line amid chaos, mayhem and utter destruction, with the track blocked and cars upside down, flipping and on fire.
No matter, Mark Martin returns full-time for 2009 to once again walk into the hailstorm of doom, gloom and disappointment, in search of the prize that has eluded him for as long as I have been alive.
Kurt and Kyle Busch get into a fight with Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart:
This will be awesome. I want an uncensored interview with each of them afterwards. It should probably be at Bristol too, so then they all will be extra irritated. Kurt will unload with a rash of analogies and eloquent expletives, Kyle will offer a deadpanned comment about Delana Harvick’s firesuit, leading Kevin to shove Tony and remind him about the Brickyard in 2007. Smoke will then insult the reporter who comes up to him to ask him a question while crushing a $5 Footlong in his Subway firesuit. Then Jimmy Spencer comes out of nowhere smoking a cigar and pops Kurt Busch in the nose again, just for posterity.
Just for the record, I like all of these guys.
The MRN crew calls the race on television:
Ken Squier was the master of building excitement and narrating a 500-mile race, even if things got spread out a bit. Watching on television today is nothing short of painful. The action on the track is secondary to the conversation that is taking place in the booth or what selected driver is profiled for over three hours. Listen to a race on your radio by tuning into MRN. Barney Hall and Joe Moore, along with the rest of the crew, paint an entirely different portrait compared to what beige Etch-A-Sketch drawing is offered on television, between promos for prime-time TV shows or upcoming football games.
These are just a few things that came across my mind the other day. I’m sure you have your own opinion of what you would like to see if you had one last racing-wish. Feel free to add yours to this list — we always appreciate and welcome reader interaction and look forward to reading your comments and replies.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I would so love to see racing AGAIN at The Rock. I attended 28 races there over the years. Camped in the rain, the heat, the cold, and 4 other kinds of weather I couldn’t even recognize. I met some of the best fans in the world. I cried when I heard the news of it’s impending doom. If I did have a wish it would be for NA$CAR to return to The Rock in all it’s full regalia… just one last time.
And my wish would be to just have a decent organizing body take over STOCK CAR RACING!
I’ve been a Mark Martin fan since I started watching racing, and I agree that the heartbreak reaches out to his fans almost as bad as it does to him. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still the 1990 Winston Cup Champion, AND the winner of the 2007 Daytona 500… Two wins that were taken away by, as usual, bullshit subjective officiating and rules made up on the spot. It’s staggering that Mark has lasted as long as he has without throwing up his arms and going to sports car racing or something.
Having said that, I work for Carquest, and seeing my favourite driver in our team’s seat has given me a reason to watch Spring Cup again (although that might be a bad thing)… He’ll have the equipment to finally win a Cup title… the question is, will the bullshit of “The Chase” ruin it for him, or phantom cautions, rules infractions that don’t exist… Guess we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic, but also prepared for more heartbreak.
I don’t know how to break this to you, but you ARE gonna die, before Mark Martin wins a Cup Championship!
Listening to Jerry Punch, is about as exciting as golf on the radio. The only thing worse was having to listed to Brad Daughtery become a full blown Mikey cheerleader, after getting bed with him, metaphorically speaking…..I think.
My wish is that na$car does something to make me want to come back next year. Get ride of chase (I’m dreaming), bring back “The Rock” (I’m dreaming), bring back real stock racing (I’m dreaming), etc. I could go on and on, but what’s the use. The season was over a couple of races ago and I see no reason to continue to watch this sorry excuse for racing. Thanks for listening.
What year was BF born? My wish would be to go back in time and give Bill France a condom.
Hehe…good stuff Vito. Great sense of humor.
My wish would be for Brian France to just go away and let an adult in the France family take over. No one can do any worse. Little Brian should have enough cash to buy all the sodas he can drink. It’s a shame what he has done to NASCAR.
Hey Bill B!!
You’ve got some good wishes, especially about North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. I’d also advocate giving Darlington back it’s rightful Labor Day date.
Yeah, that is a REAL GOOD ONE Bill B.
The only way it could have been better is if you had signed it ‘Bill FRANCE’ !!!!!! Jr. or Sr…..they prolly both wish the same thing too!
“…All parties are guilty, though a tip of the cap goes to the UAW for doing everything humanly possibly to cripple the industry that employs them. Hey, I’m from Michigan — I know of which I speak.”
LOL Tune in Next Week to see Frontstretch.com writers Vito P & Tommy T. go head to head in a WWF Cage Style Death Match! LOL Too funny.
Let’s see. Mark Martin and Dale Jr. are fighting for the championship in 2009 (an unlikely scenario for either of them.), Rick Hendrick looks at his invertment in the 88 team and the fact that M. Martin is in his last year. Can you say “Team Orders”?
I would love to see Mark Martin win a Championship but I’d prefer to see it with him driving for the “Cat who brought him to the dance.”
I am from Michigan also, been in the auto industry all my life, as has family, but when you see skilled trades people at the big three making $250,000/year, you know something is wrong! Totally wrong!
“OOPS! Thats not my job”!
And now there’s not enough of them (UAW highly paid workers) to go out and buy all the $30,000 SUV’S they are making!
Gee! We did not see that coming now did we!
And a relative in business sold a GM employee a “product”, she wanted to know what kind of vehicle he was driving, she wanted to keep her business “local”, as she sits at her GM desk with her Chinese Computer, her Taiwanse clothing, and with GM’s largest manufacturing plant overseas!
Aren’t we really silly?
And even more GM stuff, used to sell product to GM, most on bid basis! So after submitting an ever-changing bid, you were selected as lowest bidder! You received notification of this!
THEN! GM purchasing would send out YOUR (winning) bid once again with a letter that said “can you beat this bid”?
How’s this for an idea. Get rid of The Chase, and have something akin to a real playoff. Maybe 2-4 races at select (or even defunct, to your point above) tracks. Only the top 10-12 drivers race. Every other sport has a playoff where only X number of teams make it.
You would re-set points, and sure maybe give bonus points for regular season standings (seeding, essentially).
Hands down…. best line ever….from BILL B. I will be laughing till tomorrow.
Could Las Vegas or Chicago offer up that sort of drama or finish? Doubtful.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for leaving the tired old Fontana joke in your back pocket and picking two other tracks instead.
Joe, I dont think any tire manufacturer in the world can create a rain tire that will stick to the pavement in an inch of water at 150+ miles per hour. Its just too dangerous to race on ovals in the rain. Unless you like watching the cars go around the track at 50 MPH.
Great article! You’ve pretty much covered all my huge problems with NASCAR today: the cars, the tracks, the television, and the BS playoff system. It’s amazing how many people have problems with all four, yet all four only get worse over time…
I feel a parallel pain to yours with Mark Martin, except mine is in watching a sport I love crumble. Stock car racing in NASCAR is dead.
Kyle Petty wins one race