NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro announce Fanschoice.TV
posted by Mike Neff
Wednesday March 12, 2014
Free live streaming of events will allow fans to view previously unavailable live events online
AMA Pro, NASCAR and IMSA announced the launch of Fanschoice.tv today. The free service will stream motorcycle races, sports car races and regional touring and local short track events. The first event will be the AMA Pro flat track 200 from the 1/4 mile dirt track at Daytona International Speedway.
Fans will have access to multiple camera angles, live timing and scoring and a feed from the track’s PA system. In addition to the touring events from IMSA, AMA and NASCAR, three NASCAR Home Tracks have already signed on to be part of the release. Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH., and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. will have all of their races available for viewing on the new service.
NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour will all be shown on Fanschoice.tv. The awards banquets for both the Whelen All-American Series and the Touring Series will also be streamed.
IMSA coverage will include streaming of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the two IMSA national sports car series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of the recently-announced five-year agreement with Fox Sports.
NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Vito Pugliese · Thursday July 16, 2009
Kevin Harvick may have just pulled the pin on the Silly Season grenade.
It used to be late summer and fall when the rumor mill would heat up with stories of defections, sponsor swaps, or new teams entering the fray for the coming year. Nowadays, it usually begins just about the time the first Gatorade 150-mile qualifying race is completed in Daytona — but this year has been a bit of a throwback, as it’s once again taken until the heat of mid-July before those dominoes really started to topple. The first of the big ones came on Tuesday, when word came Kevin Harvick has asked to be released from the final year of his contract with Richard Childress Racing — a move expected to trigger a switch to Stewart-Haas Racing, choosing to pair with former Nationwide Series employee Tony Stewart for 2010 and beyond.
Should it happen, the move is a curious one, and begs a very legitimate question.
Kevin Harvick has been behind the wheel of the No. 29 RCR Chevrolets since 2001, following the death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. on the final lap of the Daytona 500. With Harvick sliding into the seat vacated by a hero to millions, it took only three weeks for him to take the Goodwrench team back to Victory Lane with a photo finish over Jeff Gordon at Atlanta – one that was an eerie mirror image of Dale Earnhardt’s win at the same race one year earlier. Harvick’s win, while surprising, was some much-needed medicine for a team and nation of fans who were left crushed by the sudden departure of a man once thought invincible. The car may have been a white No. 29, but there was still black paint that remained underneath.
A second win at the inaugural Chicagoland Speedway followed a few months later, as did a memorable quote from the late Bobby Hamilton, who declared after a run-in with Harvick at Martinsville, “You have a guy who thinks he’s Dale Earnhardt because he’s in Earnhardt’s car. But he isn’t a pimple on Dale Earnhardt’s butt.”
And so it has been from that point on that the Bakersfield, CA driver has developed into his own man, a bit of a polarizing figure in Sprint Cup racing. Whether it was stomping across Greg Biffle’s car to grab a handful of firesuit following a run-in during a Nationwide Series race, or doing the same across the hood of Ricky Rudd’s Wood Brothers Ford at Richmond in 2003, his hot-headed antics have been celebrated by some while derided and cited by his detractors. Often given to smarmy interviews or curt responses, Harvick’s quips make Kyle Busch’s interviews look thoughtful and introspective in comparison. Yet while he has never missed the opportunity to laugh or smile at his own joke or comment, the man’s skills outside of the car have always seemed to rival those behind the wheel. The fact that his car owner Richard Childress was a former driver who decided to focus on an ownership role allowed more than a couple of parallels to be drawn between the two, particularly with the success in recent years of Harvick’s self-owned Nationwide and Truck Series operations.
With wife DeLana in matching firesuit by his side, one of Sprint Cup’s most visible couples has established Kevin Harvick, Incorporated as one of the top teams in the Truck Series in particular, capturing 21 wins to date and a title in 2007 with Ron Hornaday, Jr. Currently, Hornaday leads the standings once again and is a prime candidate to leave Homestead with his second title in just three years. Meanwhile, driving in the Nationwide Series, Harvick won his first race as an owner/driver at Bristol in March, and in the past he’s tallied up a total of four wins — including two Daytona 300 victories — with Tony Stewart at the controls of his No. 33 Chevrolets. So, while contemplating retirement at age 33 would be almost unfathomable at this stage in the game, Harvick has clearly positioned himself in the best possible situation for a life after racing – or to become an owner/driver as competitive as Tony Stewart has done is such a short period of time after he bought into the Gene-Haas owned racing team a little less than one year ago.
During his tenure at Richard Childress Racing, Harvick has always been known as a steady and solid driver, collecting 11 career wins to go along with three top 5 points finishes. While never a serious contender for the Sprint Cup, he has succeeded in winning NASCAR’s two biggest races, the Brickyard 400 in 2003 and the controversial last-lap fracas of the 2007 Daytona 500. His best season was 2006, where he won five times that year and finished fourth in the final standings. Clearly, while RCR may not be at the forefront of championship contention and be as consistent a race winner as it was during the Wrangler days — or even as they have been in the Nationwide ranks — RCR is still among the elite Chevrolet teams in NASCAR and has as impressive and solid a driver lineup as any team in the garage. Just last year, all three of their full-time teams made the 12-man Chase for the Championship — Harvick’s No. 29 listed among them.
With that being said, why move from arguably one of the flagship Chevrolet teams to be the third driver at your buddy’s race team? Despite SHR’s surprising success, it’s a move that comes with plenty of question marks should Harvick choose to move from RCR’s main squeeze to being the third man on the totem pole somewhere else.
Well, to figure out that answer, I think you need to look no further than his burgeoning KHI operation described above. For with this move, Kevin Harvick is setting himself up for what will be the next changing of the guard in NASCAR – in ownership.
One only needs to take a look at the major players signing the checks to see that they aren’t getting any younger. Tony Stewart, at age 38, is by far the most youthful and the first of the new generation of young, successful drivers to make the transition. Rick Hendrick just celebrated his 60th birthday this past Saturday night, and Joe Gibbs will do the same next year. Ford man Jack Roush observed his 67th birthday three months ago – a birthday that might not have happened had there not been a former Marine diver on hand when his plane crashed into a lake seven years ago. The King just observed his 72nd birthday by driving his No. 43 STP Pontiac around Daytona one more time a couple of weeks back, while Roger Penske, fresh off his 15th Indianapolis 500 win and acquisition of an American car company, is also 72 years of age.
With that in mind, there will have to be new ownership coming into the series at some point; it’s the natural evolution of life and sport. And like any other billion-dollar enterprise, the time to get in on the action is in the beginning, well in advance of when the openings likely come within the next decade or so.
I have suggested in the past that Harvick would be the next driver to start his own team, as he already does have the experience and somewhat of an infrastructure in place. I had always believed with that goal in mind, he would one day become an extension of RCR, or form a strategic alliance much like Hendrick has with Stewart-Haas Racing.
But with the economics of motorsports (and the country, for that matter) being what they are at the moment, perhaps now is simply not the right time for such a move. Much like Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s reluctance to move to the Sprint Cup Series with his JR Motorsports team, Harvick’s KHI operation may not be ready for prime time just yet. While he’s seen the inner workings of RCR for the better part of the last decade, a glimpse into how Stewart works as an owner and a driver, as well as how his Hendrick-themed enterprise operates and thrives at the Sprint Cup level, may be exactly what he needs to figure out how to make that next step. Harvick may also take a page from the driver he succeeded at RCR, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., who brought DEI into Cup racing while driving for a team owner who was also his best friend.
Of course, that scenario would become an easy transition, as “Happy” moves into a shop occupied by none other than his racing buddy Stewart.
At SHR, Harvick would also have a trusted friend as a teammate (that little incident at Indy two years ago notwithstanding), a relationship that Stewart currently enjoys with Ryan Newman – and one that he also credits to the success he has experienced so far that virtually nobody thought possible. It also aligns him with the most dominant force in NASCAR today, Hendrick Motorsports, not-so-quietly asserting themselves as a level above RCR this year. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin aren’t going to drive forever (well…Mark might…), and who are you going to replace two certifiable legends in the sport with over time? Considering Harvick had to take over for arguably the greatest driver in the sport’s history, whose name is mentioned in the same breath as Richard Petty — under circumstances that only a select few would have been able to cope with — he’d be a viable candidate when the man behind the wheel of the No. 24 feels like he’s had enough. And should Harvick not want to make the plunge into Sprint Cup ownership, driving one of the fastest cars in the series since its 1993 debut is a pretty strong alternative plan.
So, while many were pointing to Brad Keselowski as the one who might set the dominoes to tumbling should he make the move to Cup full-time in 2010, it actually appears that Kevin Harvick will be the catalyst to the Silly Season chain reaction that is about to reach critical mass.
Now, we’ll just have to see if and when it actually happens.
Editor’s Note: It’s important to note the commentary you’ve just read was written prior to Richard Childress’ official statement on the Kevin Harvick situation. While sources continue to claim Harvick will wriggle out of his contract for SHR, here’s what the car owner put out in a press release yesterday…
Richard Childress Racing has a multi-year contract with Shell-Pennzoil that includes the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Shell-Pennzoil remains a great partner for RCR and Kevin Harvick as well as our sport overall. RCR also has a multi-year contract with Kevin Harvick that includes the 2010 season. That said, Shell will be the sponsor and Kevin will be the driver of RCR’s No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in 2010.
We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from there.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
You really think Harvick is waiting on Gordon to retire so he can take over the 24 ??? That would be a step down from an SHR ride . If Harvick does indeed go to SHR , he would be wise to stay there , they’ve proven to be a better team than Gordons .
They may be best friends, but I wouldn’t put Kevin in an SHR ride just yet…
So far, Tony has proved his ability to hire the right people is about as good as his racing skills. He will have to think long and hard about this one. Ryan’s hire was easy, as he’s always struck me as a better driver than his equipment. If it weren’t for a lot of bad luck this year, he’d be 2nd or 3rd in the points and not 7th.
Kevin is a little tougher to figure out. He has had flashes of brilliance, but can be inconsistent. Tony should make sure he makes a business decision here.
Either way, sponsorship is critical here. Tony needs one to launch a 3rd car (and I don’t think that’s a given like a lot of writers are thinking). Kevin would have to bring one with him. If he can’t, I don’t see this happening.
Just take it easy, Tony. Time is on your side right now.
Some people crack me up. “ If Harvick does indeed go to SHR , he would be wise to stay there , they’ve proven to be a better team than Gordons .”
I’ll just say this… I hope NASCAR toughens up on the ploy these megateams are using to skirt around the 4 team maximum. Let’s see how great SHR is when they can’t get HMS engines or chasis.
I think something was misconstrued during the editorial process. I do not believe that the No. 14 team is superior to the No. 24, however I do believe that the No. 5 and No. 24 are two of the most competative cars in the series, and would be a step up from virtually any team in the field.
Harvick has already resigned with RCR yesterday. Yesterday! How about some investigative work before posting.
Vito, forgive me for not being clear. My post was not directed at you, it was directed at the first poster Michael. Your article was fine. Sorry for the confusion.
Hey Tony, how could Harvick resign yesterday when he is out of the country vacationing with his wife??? And Bill B, SHR is already building a shop to build their own chassis and engines….Tony will be fine without Hendrick.
SHR might be the hottest team now, but once they decide to do everything in-house, they may go through a couple of years of growing pains.
I like the idea of Harvick taking over the 24 – he certainly has handled the pressure of stepping into a much higher-profile ride under horrendous circumstances, so taking over the 24 would be a walk in the park. And if Gordon has to retire in the next year or two because of his back, the timing coule be right.
In fact , the most powerfull engines over the years in the NASCAR dyno tests have usually been the Gibbs engines , both Chevy and Toyota . So if Tony were to stop using the Hendrick engines , it may not be all that big of a handicap . From what i’ve seen of his team building ability , only a fool would doubt that he could be just as competitive using his own engines and chassis .
Still, it would take time to ramp up and engine and chasis department. Go back and look up how it went for Joe Gibbs when he switched from leasing HMS engines to building his own.
Nice article Vito. One of the most interesting looks at the Harvick story since the news broke.
I agree with the thought that if the economy was better Harvick would be looking a little harder at moving his own operation into the Cup series. But as it stands now it might be a better time to align himself up with two of the more competive teams in NASCAR right now with Hendricks and Stewart Haas.
Vito said: “the first of the new generation of young, successful drivers to make the transition.”
I know you said young and successful, but doesnt Michael Waltrip Racing count first?
Excellent article, Tony.
You kids quit fussing over nothing or we’ll spank you!! Behave!
Tony can make the transition, if necessary, to new engine and chassis. Look how successful Gibbs was the first year of Toyota and the first year of the prodigal Kyle Busch. Believe me, the most talented engine and chassis people are waiting in the wings for a chance to work for Tony.
. . . just like the remarkable talent he’s already assembled.
I expect his team to become a dynasty in NASCAR, Hendrick or not. Tony has the right stuff, and we may be seeing the results of the lack of it at Gibbs.
I’m just sayin . . .
Harvick seems to do well in his own cars in Nationwide. Maybe RCR should try giving him and also the other RCR drivers decent cars and maybe they wouldn’t want to leave. I can not imagine fighting a bad car every week. That has to be depressing.
Interesting read here. There’s obviously real discontent at RCR this year and a tremendous amount of acrimony going on which no doubt has fueled the fall off the cliff for the organization. Some of RC’s recent decisions have really hurt the teams. Recall him shaking up a solid team over the winter to start the 33 car. Then laughably Richard swapped the crews between the 29 and the 07 instead of looking for the real cause of the poor performance. Recently the 29 car was seen at KHI on the pull down rack in search of some answers. They’ve retraced some of their performance gains but wrecks have hampered any good results. Kevin has put up with sub par cars at RCR for many years now. History shows RCR hasn’t had the ability to field a championship car since Earnhardt drove. It’s time Kevin changes chemistry and leaves the RCR organization as it’ll take a long time to rebuild the teams into championship winning form again. Kevin doesn’t have the time and shouldn’t have to pay that price. The guy can drive and knows how to win races and a championship. He needs better resources than what RCR can give. If RC thinks he can hold Kevin with a contract through next year all he has to do is look at this years results and realize that next year could be worse. It’s really in the driver’s hands now. The press release was a reminder that Childress wants (and needs) money to continue RCR operations. RC needs to decide if he wants to be the face of the NRA, run a winery or field a championship winning Cup team again. Pick one Richard.
@Kevin in SoCal:
I think the key word here is “successful”…