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.
Vito Pugliese · Thursday May 21, 2009
Editor’s Note: Have you heard of our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter, delivering more NASCAR news, commentary, trivia, and more right to your inbox every morning? If not, well, it’s time to sell you on it. Today, we’re showcasing the weekly column that one of our most popular columnists, Vito Pugliese, writes for the newsletter each Thursday. If you like what you read, well, it’s time to become a subscriber by clicking here to sign up! One simple click, and you’ll be checking out Vito’s work in your email inbox every Thursday; if not, then it’s one less chance to see one of your favorite Frontstretch faithful!
Do any of you remember that Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman movie Wag The Dog?
The plot of the movie was that in order to cover up a sex scandal involving the President prior to an election, a Hollywood producer comes up with a plan to fabricate a fictional war on television, keeping the scandal off the front page of the paper and deflecting public attention from it. Truth apparently is stranger than fiction and life imitates art — Bill Clinton essentially did the same thing a year later after it was discovered that he had a thing for thick chicks in blue dresses and cigars.
Anyways, you get my point. Now, fast forward a decade later, and the same thing appears to be happening in NASCAR. Wednesday, it was announced that perennial powerhouse Carl Long and his No. 46 “juggernaut” had been suspended for the next 12 weeks after it was discovered the engine in his car exceeded the 358 cubic inch limit for the Sprint Showdown, a qualifying event to determine who would transfer into the All-Star Race. In addition to the suspension, Long was fined 200 driver and owner points, with crew chief Charles Swing hit with a $200,000 surcharge for trying to be so underhanded as to cheat his way into the show.
Thank God. I mean, after running those three laps, Long very well could have comprised the integrity of the sport. That is, of course, if the sport actua… never mind.
Meanwhile, there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in that NASCAR decided to tear down Long’s car and publish their findings four days later. After all, the sport does make a regular habit of randomly selecting cars to tear down in post-race inspection. It’s just … they usually choose the winner, not a small privateer that hasn’t made an actual points-paying start in three years, and whose $5,000 share of the purse might have covered his tire and fuel bill for the two minutes he was actually out on the racetrack.
What is even more bizarre and wildly ironic is that Long’s heinous actions that are so detrimental to stock car racing they warranted the vigorous debt of nearly a quarter of a million dollars came within hours of the word that Jeremy Mayfield has retained legal counsel. Also released Wednesday was news he’s seeking the release of his toxicology report following an indefinite suspension from a reportedly failed drug test for a yet undisclosed substance – one that Mayfield so vehemently denies having no knowledge of.
Wow! That is amazing! So much news happening on a Wednesday with such little else going on!
From what information has been released to the public to date, we can surmise that Mayfield was apparently suspended forever for using nothing. We still have no clue what he was bounced for, and he maintains he was never told what the illicit substance was. NASCAR replied that they did tell him – but then said if he wants to know, he can request the report from them. Yet two days before all of this hit the fan, Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for taking gonadotropins LH and HCG. These are female fertility hormones that can also be used following a steroid cycle, which can help jumpstart the male body to start regenerating its own testosterone again, as excess supplanted testosterone in the body will shut down that part of the endocrine system.
We knew all this because we were told … by the parties involved … within the first 48 hours of the announcement.
Now, if NASCAR is seriously trying to be like stick and ball sports — which it so blatantly is – how about coming out and offering a detailed report just like Major League Baseball did? That way, there is no doubt or cloud of suspicion and innuendo surrounding what substance was abused?
But instead of doing that, we get handed the breaking news horror of Carl Long’s “indiscretion.” Suddenly, a man who to date is best known for selling his ride to Darrell Waltrip prior to the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 and somehow managing to barrel roll down the length of the backstretch at Rockingham in 2004 is staring blankly at a three month suspension. It’s a benching that could really hurt him; that is, if he actually competed in the series to begin with. Instead, the penalty took away points Long doesn’t have, fined him money that was never earned, and … kept him from what, exactly?
It also probably doesn’t help that days earlier, NASCAR Czar Brian France offered his latest disjointed and incongruent State of the Sport speech. Along with claiming that website traffic was up – when our own Tom Bowles on Wednesday in his Did You Notice? column presented data that contradicts this claim – France reaffirmed the legitimacy and virtues of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy… whatever those substances and policies may be.
Now, I know I’m no David Caruso – and not just because I’m not pale, don’t have red hair, or am a really, really bad actor – but this is one case that’s pretty easy to crack by looking at it for about as long as Carl Long’s 358+ CID boat anchor held together Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This appears to be little more than subterfuge at its worst, right up there with wagging the dog and blowing up tents and aspirin factories.
There is an old adage that says that the best place to hide sometimes is right out in plain sight.
Memo to Brian France and NASCAR: You’re doing it wrong.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I didn’t think nas$car could make themselves look any worse, but somehow they’ve manged. Carl Long??? I’ll say this again. They do not go after the big names. Like a school yard bully, they go after the small frys. Take this and the Mayield fiasco and you wonder if they could possibly make themselves look any more arrogent.
Of course NAXCAR has to punish Carl Long severely. After all, it can look tough, enforce the “rules,” and not cause a major sponsor to lose a penny. It a win-win, right? As for Mayfield, I hope that he is right and that NAXCAR and France have to run squealing like a pig. I think their drug “policy” is just like the “rules.” Unwritten. Mayfield is probably being used as an example to make fans think that NAXCAR actually has a drug policy and enforces it.
You’ve covered Nascar this long without noticing that Nascar always inspects a failed engine?
The reasoning is, of course, to prevent teams from using one engine for practice and qualifying then pretending it failed in order to install a fresh, new, unworn engine for the race — with all the obvious advantages that would provide.
Additionally, a couple years ago, Nascar started inspecting the back of the qualifying pack — after being tipped off that backmarker teams were highly motivated to cheat like crazy to make races and get those coveted top-35 positions.
And you Frontstretch writers were right there blasting Nascar for not having inspected those cars in the first place.
Your collective determination to blame Nascar for everything short of the swine flu outbreak is making you guys sound like Pelosi on waterboarding.
…yeah, Carl Long looked like a real threat to upset the applecart Saturday night. A guy who has failed to qualify for races for going on three years. Why is a back marker being fined points in a non-points paying race, where he eaned $5,000 to bring out a caution flag?
This coupled with the timing of the penalty announcment….some four days later….come on.
Darrell Waltrip should step up and pay the $200,000 fine for the team that helped him “save face “ a few years back. Come on Darrel, spend some of that $$$ you earned from the “PIMP MY GOPHER” sales on foxsports and the DW store!
CRAPCAR is just trying to stockpile money from anywhere it can, because even Brian, the idiot crown prince who became king, can see that they will be paying Jeremy a ton of money.
I love how if nascar actually enforces the rules, people get pissed, and when they don’t, people get pissed. No wonder they aren’t consistent, the fans and media demand inconsistency.
Another reason I don’t watch or go to anymore races. This Brian France guy has got to go.
Just because Carl Long couldn’t put a competitive ride on the track does not mean he has any more right to break a rule than Hendrick or Roush. The bottom line: The engine is too big. Whether it’s .17 or 170 cubic inches too big and whether it appears to be intentional or not, it does not matter. When a rule is broken, the violator, no matter who they are or what circumstance they’re in, must be punished. Like what Ryan said, is it not what you guys have been asking NASCAR to do all along? Why then are you guys flip-flopping on your stance just because the violator is a poor little cash-strapped one-car team?
Btw, NASCAR has always announced penalties for broken rules on Tuesday or Wednesday after the race weekend, so I don’t see anything out of the ordinary with the timing of the announcement.
NASCAR does always announce penalties for rules violations on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the difference is they annouce that a violation or rule has been broken usually right away after/before a race,when it happens. Letting everyone know that a penalty is forthcoming, nobody until the penalty was annoucned even knew that Carl Long engine had failed inspection. As far as I know? I think that is what the author is saying that is a little suspect?
Just everyone get used to the term “acceptable loss”
I’m really curious as to who the two people are that voted “Yes! He broke the rules and it’s about time…” …just so I can punch them in the face. It was a ludicrous yet aptly-placed-for-NASCAR penalty that never should have been that harsh.
I’m with Vito on this one.
A Few years ago, the 48 showed up at Daytona with a trick rear window. somehow the window changed position at speed, giving the car an advantage. This was an elaborately thought out attempt to cheat. No mistake, no grey area. Just no excuses cheating. If memory serves, Chad was suspended HMS, & JJ lost some points, & the 48 won the race. NA$CAR does seem to like to jump on the little guys, don’t they? Had this been a name driver, with a name sponsor, I wonder how they would have handled this? Ask King Richard about his 200th, & last win. All this in a non points race.
Jimmy and Chad’s rule infraction occurred prior to the COT. I don’t think it’s a secret that penalties have gotten much harsher and costly since the COT. So comparing penalties before and after the COT isn’t really relevant. I voted that the penalty was too harsh but would it have been too harsh if it was HMS or Roush. If you think not then you are asking NASCAR to gauge penalties based on the funding the team has. That’s a real splippery slope to let NASCAR decide.
“Instead, the penalty took away points Long doesn’t have, fined him money that was never earned, and … kept him from what, exactly?”
Kept him from his day job! He works in NASCAR, and he can’t earn any of that money if he can’t be at the track!
I agree penalties are in order. The question is, why choose this moment to ramp them up to levels that have no historic precedent? The only logical answer to that is “to really make an example out of him.”
NASCAR doesn’t want short field, they don’t want obvious start and parks, and they do this to a team that is actually trying to go the distance in the few events they can afford to enter. No sense to it.
Statement from Carl Long found on Carl-Long.com:
“First of all I would like to wish Charles Swing, my crew chief, well. Since this incident he was admitted Monday night to a Georgia hospital with heart problems. He is a stay at home dad who loves to go racing.
We purchased an engine from a reputable builder at the beginning of the season.
We overheated the engine in practice and had to change it.
We had the option to withdraw and go home before admitting it to inspection. Trusting that our blown engine wouldn’t have any problems passing NASCAR tech, we submitted it and put our other motor in the car to get ready for the Showdown.
As everyone knows it didn’t pass tech. The rules are 358 cubic inches and ours is 358.17 cubic inches. The .17 is as wrong as if it would have been 400 cubic inches.
This engine is 50 horsepower less than top teams but it was all that could be afforded. I would have never knowingly went to the race track with a big engine!
This suspension has not only stopped me from racing, it has also hurt me with my everyday job. It’s hard to make a living working at the race track when NASCAR will not let you in. I can only hope that the appeal board will see things differently than the ones that came up with this penalty.
I don’t consider myself a cheater. I am addicted to the worse drug ever…racing! Every dime we have been able to scrape up, we use to race, because we love the sport.
It takes about a half million in equipment to be able to build an engine, so I have to rely on other people and this time it bit me.
Thanks for supporting me in wherever this goes!”
.17 cubic inches. If anybody who knows ANYTHING remotely about engines will understand how jaw-droppingly rediculous is.
Down 50 horsepower…you might as well pull off a plug wire to lay down those kind of numbers.
This isn’t about fines or penalties…it’s about taking your eye off the ball from the drug suspension issue.
Which judging form most of the comments here, it’s exactly what is happening.
So is your official position, Vito, that you do not want Nascar to enforce their engine rules? Is that what you are saying?
Vito, you make it sound like Carl is 0-for-100+ races in Qualifying attempts. I think he may have attempted to qualify for maybe 5 (tops) races (3 of those being the Daytona 500) since he made his last race driving for Front Row Motorsports several years back. Not sure if you meant it to sound slanderous, but it does.
Also, he did not “bring out the caution flag” in the Shootout as you said. His (second) motor blew up after the field had taken the caution flag.
(just FYI) ;-)
Ryan, NO ONE is saying that rules shouldn’t be enforced for underdogs. Yes, there was a violation and yes, I’m sure EVERYONE agrees that there should be a penalty of some sorts.
However, the largest penalty EVER imposed by NA$CAR doesn’t really seem appropriate to most people considering the situation.
Carl WILLINGLY gave up his engine to NA$CAR for inspection after practice. (he could have withdrew at that point and not had to endure an inspection) He was also only 31st fastest in practice speeds.
So it wasn’t like he was up at the top of the charts, blowing everyone away with a jet-fuel motor.
To me, its monetarily/comparatively like arresting a homeless man for loitering and sticking him with a million dollar bond, while a wealthy businessman goes around carelessly shooting people because he knows he has the protection of a GOOD lawyer.
Make the punishment fit the crime. That’s all most folks are asking.
They sure didn’t have a problem with Richard Petty having the equivelent of a V-14 under his hood for his 200th win at Daytona in 1984.
Nascar said they would step up penalties to stop cheating. Truex got hit with 150 last summer. Long got hit with 200 this year. Sounds like a step up to me.
Bottom line is, don’t show up with an illegal engine or car. The next genius to try it is going to get tagged with 250 points.
Yes. I want NASCAR to impose record breaking rules on a guy who barely runs the series, when his car has .17 more Cubic inches due to expansion caused by overheating reducing it to junk, the same day a whirlwind is swirling from the crap-storm created by a driver who is preparing legal action against the sanctioning body regarding a questionable drug test.
As a fan and observer of the sport covering three decades, that is exactly what I want.