Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Vito Pugliese · Thursday November 5, 2009
Following months – well, years really – of speculation, it appears that Danica Patrick is at long last coming south to compete in NASCAR. “Danicamania” was the prologue to what will no doubt be deemed DaniCAR, as she is currently finalizing a two-year contract that will see her competing in the Nationwide Series in 2010 for JR Motorsports, with significant backing from Hendrick Motorsports. The formal announcement is likely to be made after the 2009 season is complete, with the contract itself reportedly wrapped up within the next week to 10 days.
After meeting with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick two weeks ago, Patrick was assured she has his full commitment to supporting her endeavors through JR Motorsports. One issue at hand, however, is the car number she will be running; Patrick reportedly wants to keep her IndyCar No. 7, rather than run the No. 5 that was the original Hendrick Motorsports entry – and a number used by his late son, Ricky.
But the assurances of Hendrick have no doubt helped to sway Patrick to join with JR Motorsports … not that there was ever much doubt to begin with. Sure, Patrick and Earnhardt have raced together in the past – albeit in the Jay-Z video for Show Me What You Got – and after Brad Keselowski announced he was departing JR Motorsports to sign with Penske Championship Racing in 2010, that opened up some room within the organization. Though Kelly Bires has been named as the full-time driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet next season, it was only a few weeks ago that Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, president of JR Motorsports, tipped her hand a bit when questioned about the prospect of fielding a second JR Motorsports entry for Patrick next year.
“There is a natural fit at JRM, with Dale Jr. and Danica both serving as spokespersons for GoDaddy.com,” Elledge said. “As a female managing one of the top Nationwide Series teams in the sport, I would be excited to have Danica within the JR Motorsports fold if she decides to enter the world of NASCAR.”
Patrick’s move will be a much-heralded and watershed moment for the sport, as she will be the first female to compete in the type of equipment capable of getting someone to Victory Lane. There have been women before her who certainly helped pave the way — Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise, and Shawna Robinson, to name a few — but Patrick also earned this opportunity, peaking with her ascent to the IndyCar Series after years of rising up through the ranks. Yet many critics, particularly those whose main focus is covering stick-and-ball sports, have been dismissive of her success, likening her to former tennis star Anna Kournikova. Kournikova never won a major tennis tournament, instead garnering much of her fame and fortune by simply being hot and posing in scantily clad outfits.
It also earned her the unfortunate nickname “Porn-ikova.” But I digress …
But while Patrick is no stranger to a swimsuit issue or calendars adorning many a toolbox in muffler shops across America, the difference between her and Kournikova is that the girl can actually drive. She managed to finish fourth in her first Indianapolis 500 in 2005, won her first IndyCar race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan in 2008, and managed a best ever season points finish in 2009 of fifth – ahead of teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti.
Patrick’s move to NASCAR, however, does not come cheaply, as the price tag of her presence is a steep one to say the least. Obscene figures have been flying around for months, with numbers initially as high as $8 million for eight races, though most recently that number has been reduced to $300,000 per Nationwide Race – doubling to $600,000 should she also compete in a Camping World Truck Series race in the same weekend.
(Hey, times are tough. We all have to make sacrifices and cinch up the belt a couple of notches!)
Of course, perhaps the most startling thing is how much pomp and circumstance there is for a driver who hasn’t even made it to the major leagues yet. To clarify, Patrick is coming to NASCAR, but she is not going to be competing in the Sprint Cup Series – rather, she is dipping her painted toes in the stock car waters a little bit at a time, following the old “A-B-C” path into fendered competition that drivers used to take, one that once stood for ARCA-Busch-Cup.
(I guess you could call this one ACNE – ARCA, Camping World, NationwidE, but that doesn’t sound very appealing.)
Plus, she has nice skin.
The timing of this announcement could be considered suspect, for it is none too soon for NASCAR. Following the abomination of organized motorsports competition that was the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega this past weekend, it would be in the sanctioning body’s best interest to move that off the front page of just about every racing-related newspaper, website, forum, blog, tweet, text message, or general conversation surrounding the state of NASCAR as soon as possible. And considering our own article’s placement on the front of the site this morning, guess what? They succeeded in doing just that.
(Sure, A.J. Allmendinger, Michael Waltrip, and J.C. France all made headlines recently, too, but race car drivers involved in alcohol-related traffic incidents are probably not what the series needs at the moment.)
The ire raised by restrictor plates has been compounded recently by a championship battle that seemingly come apart faster than an engine in the No. 11 car. But while Jimmie Johnson is talking a walk on the mild side, on cruise control for his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title, Danica Patrick’s arrival may now spark some renewed interest down the stretch, be it from potential sponsors, media coverage, as well as old and new fans alike – either through legitimate interest or morbid curiosity.
That is not to liken Patrick to some circus sideshow attraction or look-at-the-dancing-bear spectacle, but the excitement generated by those who wish to see her compete, succeed – or even fail miserably – will impact the sport greatly, and give an immediate boost to a product that has grown decidedly stale in recent years.
So when does this party get started, you might ask?
When questioned regarding the possibility of Patrick making her debut as soon as this season, Rick Hendrick categorically denied the rumor that she would be competing in two weeks at Phoenix International Raceway – which just so happens to be in Patrick’s backyard. It is also the headquarters of JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports sponsor GoDaddy.com, and you all should all be familiar with Patrick’s affiliation with the domain registrar, since she is a “GoDaddy Girl,” which helped connect the dots between Patrick and the team she would likely end up signing with.
But since Patrick’s name and car would need to be submitted already to meet the entry deadline, that option is likely out the window. There has also been no talk of seat fittings or clandestine test sessions with any teams recently, so it would seem a bit premature for such an undertaking to be thrown together at the last second in the penultimate race of the season. That, combined with the fact that she would have to be approved by NASCAR for competition first, has silenced any possibility of that happening.
As things stand now, Patrick will make her debut during Speedweeks 2010 in Daytona, in both the Nationwide and ARCA Series – which are sound choices for her first races. Superspeedways seem to be her strong suit over in open-wheel, as witnessed by her consistently stout performances in the Indianapolis 500. The two weeks spent in Daytona will help get her acclimated to the cars, the track, and the difference of discipline between driving open-wheel cars and NASCAR stock cars. Should she not gain NASCAR approval for superspeedway action at Daytona, she would likely compete the following week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The first year is expected to be no more than a learning curve at best; with the addition of the new Nationwide CoT working its way into team inventories in 2010 in preparation for 2011, Patrick will be on more equal footing during her second year of competition.
As big of an announcement as this will be, some will still decry this as little more than a publicity stunt. After all, NASCAR like the rest of the nation could use some good news right now, as the past few months have been quite a burden to bear. The gloom and doom that has plagued NASCAR and motorsports in general all year has undoubtedly taken its toll, from the start-and-park fiasco in all three series, sponsorship woes affecting large and small teams alike, followed by the government seiz …errr… bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, coupled with the insufferable on-track product masquerading as racing and coverage, has fan apathy rising to levels that would make even Jimmy Carter indifferent.
The reaction following this past weekend at Talladega was potentially the last block yanked out of the Jenga! stack before it all collapses. But with the addition of a fresh face and hair not seen since Kyle Petty was dispatched in a silent coup, there at least looks to be something positive to talk about in NASCAR for 2010. It’s just the weight of the NASCAR world will now, in effect, be placed squarely on the shoulders of a 5’2”, 110 lb. brunette.
That’s not an easy burden to bear. But should she succeed, she will be worth every penny they are paying her – and her weight in gold.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Sounds good to me. Looking forward to seeing what she can do in a car that can win races—unlike the one she drives in the IRL.
Looks like I get the first comment—now we’ll no doubt see 15-20 comments about how she’s “overrated” and “overhyped” and “just a sex symbol.”
So I’ll start things off intelligently and logically with “good for her, welcome.”
Who Cares what Danica does, she’s at best a C rated driver and couldn’t perform in the IRL and now she is going to come to the dying NASCRAP to save it? It’s just another BS Brian Farce attempt at drumming up ratings by having this bimbo in race suit show up every week.
You guys are just writing about htis because Jr. is in the story. If she was racing for Jimmy Means Racing, you would never speak of it.
Well Bob, it is kind of a big story.
And too bad she isn’t driving that baby blue Alka-Seltzer car for Jimmy…
Hopefully Viagra sponsors her.
Trojan would be a good one. Although I’d advise against using protection with her.
mmm, the comment “ she is dipping her painted toes in the stock car waters”, will she be comparing the toe nail polish color with Scott Speed?
So sports fans, who’s toes are these?
And I just love watching Danica in the INDY CARS!
But at best, I also see her as a “C” class driver in the wide world of stock cars! (oops, sorry, NA$CRAP cars), just bad terminology, sorry!
My guess is that all the sponsor commitments and her prior financial success will take the passion for driving away from her, much the same as has happened for Jr.
Don’t look for her to be the next Tony Stewart. Tony LOVES racing and will get into just about anything if he has the free time. Danica seems to be more about self-promotino than actual racing.
She’ll make a splash, particularly with having the best equipment in the Nationwide series. But I wouldn’t look for her to be too successful once she starts running Sprint Cup races.
Are there no other female drivers in this country????
I agree with John, she is being overhyped. I hope she does well but let’s wait to get excited until she actually does something.
I could not make it through this article. Sorry, I can not read such dislike for someone you don’t know. “dipping her painted toes?” “she has nice skin”.. WTF does that have to do with anything?? The article has no credibility due to the authors obvious distane of a women entering Nascar. Something that happened MORE in the 1950’s then TODAY? Don’t beleive, check the facts…
Dang JohnP, ya gone dun it!
Now dunna be putting down some news that makes for different reading than the norm, meaning, snooze, is the race over yet!
And you have to admit, with the 50’s in mind!
This will be the FIRST FEMALE with ANY KIND OF CREDENTIALS, to enter (what once was) stock car racing!
What other female driver ever made it to 5th in open wheel points, a couple of years in a row yet?
And generally runs in the top 5 or 6, race in, race out?
Yeh, she’s cute (she uses it), yeh, she’s marketable, (she uses it), yeh she’s young, (she uses it), yeh, she can drive a race car, (she uses it), so with all the nambie-pambies, pretty boy’s, lilly whites, spineless, we have masquerading as “race car drivers” now in NA$CRAP!
What’s wrong with the female version?
And if she EVER pee’s in her seat, ala Tony Stewart (and others), that thing would set a record on E-Bay!
JohnP, its disdain, not distane. Try using a dictionary next time moron. By the way, I disagree with your comments.
Whoo! Bring on the GoDaddy girls! That’s all I’m glad about with this.
And hey, maybe the writers at this site will start liking Kyle now. (naw)
Give it another read. I am supportive of Patrick and have long said she would be successful here. I have past articles – one from a month ago – on this site that are archieved detailing this.
The skin comment was in regards to the ACNE refernce I was making to ArcaCampingworldNationwidE.
And yes, it is not the 50’s, because SAC is not running incursions into Russian airspace. For this I am greatly saddened.
The reason she wants so much money is to get a boob job. As it is she doesn’t quite fit in with the GoDaddy girls.
Staff, why bring politics into it? That’s nuts. SAC? Lol. And yea, I know it stands for “stragitic air command”.
Mrs Esterhouse, get over it, you got my point. But missed it TOTALLY!! Get over your grammer infatuation. Maybe spelled that wrong also. But your not my english teacher are ya? Lol.. If you support an author putting down another woman by calling her names. So be it.
Nascar needs somebody to create some action within Nascar, France and Helton don’t know how to do it. Maybe DP will be the answer. And if “staff” thinks I was alive in the 50’s they are way out of line. It’s all about the history of the sport. And that’s simply in books available to anyone interested enough to look.
Try these names – might be an eye opener to some.
None of them ever won the Cup. Winston, Nextel, Sprint of otherwise.
However, we still don’t need people saying; and I quote
“she is dipping her painted toes in the stock car waters”
This is coming from a guy mind ya, gotta love that don’t ya english teacher. Lol.
Seriously, Danica has talent, could not compete in the INDY series without it. For people, especially women to put her down is simply caty. But, the english teacher might not understand that. Might not even understand typos.
I’m sorry, Iv’e never been so critical of an artical before but here’s more.. Quote
“Of course, perhaps the most startling thing is how much pomp and circumstance there is for a driver who hasn’t even made it to the major leagues yet.”
Well, she is a top INDY driver!!
Give it a chance. I always dream of NASCAR living up to the billing “Worlds Greatest Drivers”…Well to live up to that you have to have that and to have that you have to throw everything there is out there to find it. Case in point all the open wheel drivers that have made an attempt and we find Jaun Paublo Montoya and Tony Stewart are world class drivers. Now give this person their rightful shot. I have followed NASCAR since 1974 and every year there is basically 5 to 6 drivers who know how to get it done and the rest are medicore at best.
…yeah I don’t get it either.
Three of the names you listed are in my column.
Pretty much any interview she does during a photoshoot, she states how much she likes that aspect of her career, as well as the driving. She enjoys being a girl. I would hardly call painted toes being anything remotely insulting. Unless you’re Phil Donnahue.
That major league comment was an editing change. It was pomp and circumstance surrounding a part-time Nationwide Series and ARCA driver.
Feel free to comment on the Top 15 list if you have some time. There is likely something equally revolting and shocking there too.
dontcha love how guys like johnp and turnip troll the internet all day and night reading about nascar then pretend like they are some sort of long time fans that are more knowledgable than the rest of the people here.
i thought it was a great article. danica is big news no matter what. if she showed up at a nascar event to play with matchbox cars it would be huge news.
i can’t for the life of me see how anyone could think the author has a problem with a female entering the nascar ranks.
Vito says: “That major league comment was an editing change.”
Should of been….
“It was pomp and circumstance surrounding a part-time Nationwide Series and ARCA driver.”
Vito, they should of printed it that way. Period. The editors changed the meaning of the article. And that simply is wrong. If they don’t like what you write, they should not print it. But to change what you write is plain wrong. I’ll take you for your word. With that additional information, your correct. For someone not proven in NASCAR there is to much pomp. But in reality, that’s not what your work said. Sorry, got to go with what is said, not ment.
And no, I’m not a Phil kinda guy, bairly remember him. Just a basic Nascar fan that wants the sport brought back.
Well Kool Aid, not sure what your point is/was, as I said I like Danica, always root for her (can I say that “root”?), just not convinced she will do good in NA$CRAP, but as stated many times before, if she can make money at it, that is what it is all about! (look at Jr.)
And if you really want to know, my first Indy 500 was 1957, not sure my first NA$CRAP race because I used to walk as a teen, to the State Fair Grounds, in the EARLY 50’s, to watch the USAC (I think that is what it was called back then), Indy cars & Stock Cars on the mile dirt! Still got the grit in my teeth!
So I am stating, whether it gives one credibility or not, my “personal” opinions are based on waaay over 55 years, and hundreds, if not thousands of races under my belt. Have been to Daytona a dozen or more times, Talladega even more, and the list goes on!
Never mind the trips to my “local” track, MIS! For years NEVER missed ANY race held there! (until the POS came along anyway)!
And there’s more, but I won’t bore you with any more details.
And remember, opinions are just that, opinions, and some of us just enjoy stirring up the mud, which in NA$CRAP these days is a very easy thing to do indeed!
Thanks for allowing me to get you excited!
Dang! And one more thing, if ANYONE has a doubts about Danica driving a race car, please, please, go to Indy during practice. Watch her come down the main straight at well over 220+, and dive into turn one, WITHOUT LIFTING!
Hey JohnP, “stragitic air command”.
And, Your “choise”.
Oh, and that’s what “DP” stands for, “Danica Patrick”, I could go a very long way with that one for sure.
Best of luck to her.
Turnip, you go where your mind takes you. I’ll stick to the article.
Hey JohnP, yeh, thats kinda a problem I have!
“That is not to liken Patrick to some circus sideshow attraction or look-at-the-dancing-bear spectacle”.
Do you seriously think she is going to be much more than that? NA$CAR’s already using her to wag the dog.
I’ll be watching closely and I really wish her all the luck. Hey Turnip “DP” :^) I enjoy The Turnip’s views as much as the articles – Keep on Truckin’ Turnip!
I don’t think the networks will be able to squeeze anything other than Dale Jr., Danica and the Chase into their race broadcasts. As it stands now 33% of the coverage is Jr., 33% is the chase, and when Danica comes over there goes another 33% of the coverage. That leaves just 1% for any meaningful race coverage.
Just one more mediocre points racer coming over to Nascar to expand their “Brand”, as the networks and Nascar heads milk it for all it’s worth, while diluting the actual racing even more.
Here is the summation of Danica’s first year in Cup;
Welcome to the Daytona 500. Danica, Danica, Danica, Danica, Jr, Danica, Jr, Jr, Jr, Danica, If the race ended now, Jr, Danica, Jr, Danica. Now a word from our sponsors, Go Daddy, Go Daddy, Amp, Amp, Amp, Go Daddy, Go Daddy, Go Daddy, UPS, Amp, Amp.
Welcome Back, Danica, Jr, Jr, Danica, Rowdy Busch, Danica If the race ended now, Danica, Danica, Jr, Jr, Jr, Jr, Jr, Jr, If the race ended now. Danica, Danica, Jimmy Johnson, Danica, Jr, If the race ended now.
Thats all from Daytona. Tune in nest week for Danica, Danica, Danica, Jr, Jr, Jr, Jr.
Bad Wolf.. I hear you and you might be right. But that’s not her issue. That is Nascar’s issue and the broadcasters issue. Give her a chance, she actually is an Indy driver. All I say, give her a chance. Coverage of Jr and Roudy and possibly Danica is not their falt. Look, and blame Nascar and the broadcasting.