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 September 12, 2013
Prior to the start of Saturday night’s Richmond race, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton reminded drivers to not put NASCAR in a position to make balls and strikes calls, as they would likely not go in their favor.
On Monday evening, NASCAR not only called a strike but ejected them from the game, as Martin Truex, Jr. was removed from Chase contention following a 50-point fine brought about by the coordinated efforts of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 15 and 55 teams to manipulate the outcome of the race. Their actions affected the winner of the race, and the Chase fates of three drivers. With NASCAR on the precipice as it has been the past five years, it was not something that could have – nor should it – let go unpunished.
The now infamous “Frontstretch Flop” by Clint Bowyer to bring out a caution with six laps to put Truex back into Chase contention, was obvious and could not be tolerated, despite of the claims of “lack of proof” – though Bowyer’s interview with Ricky Craven had him squirming in his chair like Nicholas Cage in “8mm”. The intercepted radio traffic and in-car footage from Bowyer’s car has quickly become the Zapruder film of NASCAR, indicting a complicit driver in Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie.
I call it The “Training Day” Doctrine. As Alonzo told Officer Hoyt, it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.
The resulting fine knocked Truex out of the Chase, with Norris suspended indefinitely. Norris communication to Brian Vickers to make an unnecessary pit stop because they needed a point was also part and parcel of Truex making the field, by moving Joey Logano into the mix, displacing Gordon.
The spin was as blatant as the move executed in 2011 by RCR to send Paul Menard around to help get Kevin Harvick a win heading into The Chase. What was worse, MWR also had to get Brian Vickers in on the action as well, to make an unnecessary pit stop to give Joey Logano one more car to race, and a 79mph last lap speed. The leaders at the time were running 120-123mph lap times. On the final restart, Newman’s new SHR teammate Mark Martin was in fourth position and could have made things very difficult for both Truex and Joey Logano, but ran his line and allowed the faster cars to race for the Chase spots amongst themselves.
Memo to teams attempting a similar strategy: if you’re going to come up with a secret code to tell your driver to spin out, maybe come up with one a little better than itching your arm (after all, scratching your arm would be the proper instruction…). Still, I guess it’s still better than a start and park team using “vibration” for a lap 5 exit from competition. Clint Bowyer’s post-race interview avoiding eye contact, reciting a series of events that didn’t happen, and changing the subject halfway through his answer was not exactly Oscar-worthy either.
Don’t get me wrong: we all know that team orders have been a part of racing for quite some time, and to its credit, has been less of an issue with NASCAR than any of the other major racing series – Formula One being the primary example. What’s worse is that there was such overwhelming evidence both audio, visual, and empirical timed data to confirm that the outcome of the race was manipulated.
When team cars became the norm in NASCAR in the mid 1990’s, it was the “what if…” scenario that has been playing itself out for five days now.
Now word comes down that NASCAR is investigating radio traffic that indicates Joey Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing team was trying to work a deal with fellow Ford team Front Row Motorsports and David Gilliland to move over and let them have a spot.
Some are trying to draw a moral equivalency between the two — and look beyond desperate doing so. If a driver elects to yield a position to another for whatever reason, that’s their call. Trading 20th position for 19th is worth just as many points as leading a lap — and how often do drivers trade the lead so they can both get a bonus point during the season? That is a far cry from dictating who wins the race, and the championship outcomes of three different drivers by intentionally halting the race and leaving the racing surface.
It’s a bit ironic that the discussion surrounding the events of the past few days, in part stems from NASCAR’s desire to gain legitimacy with both the core fans and casual fans. This current scenario is in part fostered by Green White Checker restarts and the the nature of the Chase itself —inspired to create drama and a playoff-type atmosphere in the fall. Had this been before 2004, the race would have been over, with Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman in The Chase – and Newman with two race wins versus one.
Another culprit? The Mario Kart points system now used, where it is one point per position, no matter where you are running. Had this been under the previous tiered systems, where the points difference per position would start at five, go to four, then three as you worked your way lower through the field. I recall Tony Stewart’s reaction to the change a few years ago, saying it would be great because it would be easy for a driver and team to calculate during a race.
Perhaps too easy?
If the championship was still a season-long cumulative contest, this would be a non-issue and never have even happened in the first place. That does not excuse the legitimacy of competition being impugned, and fans hard-earned dollars buying tickets for a tainted product. While consistency has not exactly been a hallmark of NASCAR rulings, despite the “gray area” that affects everything from car design, on-track activity, and driver conflicts, their response to this incident has been firm, fair, and unquestionably needed.
Granted, Martin Truex, Jr. probably thinks otherwise, but this is a bit of a self-policing move that sends a message for future indiscretions: it is not just going to be a driver penalty, but a total organization penalty.
As invested as he is to the success and well-being of the sport as an owner, driver, spokesman, and commentator, Michael Waltrip cannot be privy to the integrity of the sport being called into question, particularly at this critical juncture where things are starting to turn around attendance and ratings wise. This coupled with the demise of SPEED, and NBC returning as a broadcast partner in 2015, the events of Saturday night were nothing less than the old standby used for fines since 1948: Section 12-4-A – Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing. Then again, this is a sport that is rooted in the manufacture and distribution of illegal substances, tax evasion, and eluding law enforcement.
While I disagree with the tactics and the-ends-justifies-the-means mentality of this, I think by Homestead it will prove to be a moot point. Ryan Newman was 14th in points, and Martin Truex, Jr. 12th in points entering the race. There has been absolutely nothing about either of their performances this year that remotely resembles a championship contending race team. While Martin Truex’s performance the last couple of weeks has certainly been manned up driving hurt, the No. 56 team always acts like they’re playing from behind, or waiting for something awful to happen.
Newman nuking his team on TV immediately afterward the race and sub-par pit stop wasn’t exactly the mark of a champion either – or a guy who’s sticking around next year.
Trading a 12th place team for one in 14th should not put the other 11 teams better than them on notice. The only caveat to this is that in the past four years, Ryan Newman has wins at New Hampshire, Martinsville, and Phoenix – though three races do not a champion make. I will say however, it looks like Clint Bowyer got the last word in on the feud between him and Jeff Gordon that reached a garage-sprinting crescendo at Phoenix in November of 2012.
Which by the way, many seem to be glossing over with how Gordon manipulated Bowyer’s championship quest last year, intentionally wrecking him at Phoenix, as Brad Keselowski narrowly passed through. This of course after his teammate Jimmie Johnson stuck it in the wall, seriously compromising his title chances.
Gordon himself I feel has been a bit precious about things the last few days – as if there was never anything of question ever raised about the 24’s performance during the 1995-1999 seasons. He hasn’t won a race this year, and under a non-Chase scenario, he’d still be 11th in points, one point behind Logano (with Logano winning the tie-breaker too by the way – so don’t start with the Front Row Motorsports conspiracy with Gilliland pulling over), 92 points out. Besides, he caught a “timely” caution himself that prevented him from going a lap down and really being buried in the field Saturday night as well.
After all of this drama has blown over and the green flag falls in Chicago on Sunday (which it will…some MLBer will get popped for steroids, or some NFL player will get caught with weed on a traffic stop), and everybody has things turned up to 11, the teams to beat are still going to be the 48, 20, 18, and 5 – in that order. They’ve shown the most consistent speed this year, and their teams don’t wilt under pressure or make excuses. The 78 and 22 will make things interesting early on, but I’m not convinced they’re ready to make that step yet to a true title contending team.
As long as the true championship contending teams show up and are ready to focus on the task at hand in Chicago, I don’t see this lasting much longer. As much time and energy that has been expended over this the past few days will be exhausted by the time that the casual fan is setting their fantasy football line up.
That is of course unless Jeff Gordon or Martin Truex, Jr. win, at which point I think they’ll just start rioting.
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Thank you for you viewpoint which I share. Logano has been much better than Gordon all year, had a race or two to win, besides the one he did win. This would not be an issue if that 25 point dock stuck. But it did, and sadly if it was a Bowtie it would have been overturned. Nascar needs to tread lightly, but they won’t. They will appeal to the mob mentality, which of course is vested in the moment and their favorite driver, most of these morally indigant fans, I doubt truly know Nascar the way they think the might. This instance has been going on forever. Pull out the secret rule book and show us its wrong..black and white please.
It’s Thursday morning at 7:30. I fully expect by noon that NASCAR will announce a penalty against Penske team #22 and Joey logano, thus removing Joey from the Chase and admitting NASCAR’s biggest crybaby into the Chase. You can bet The Felon will see to it! He knows how to get his way, legally or illegally. If there is anyone who lacks morals and ethics, the owners of Michael Waltrip Racing or Penske Racing don’t hold a candle to Rick Hendrick. And if that happens, I hope Logano “slips” when Jeffy tries to go by him, and “accidentally” takes Jeff out. If anything, it would be a little payback for Jeff’s stupidity he displayed last November at Phoenix.
Maybe while NA$CAR is reviewing the prima facie evidence against Gilleland/Front Row, they could look at the tape of Edwards restart. Helton and Pemberton have no morals when it comes to manipulating the outcome of a race.
What a tangled mess we weave when first we practice to deceive …and man ain’t this a big ball of crappola! Ha! I don’t see much happening with the 22/38 mess..NASCAR will put out a press release “not enough evidence” (come on now folks its I fired the druggie driver Penske not I used rocket fuel Waltrip). So on we go! I just wonder (over/under) how many of the next 10 races Bowyer will actually see the finish line…and how many 3rd tier teams are..as we speak..being approached by the big dog teams with a promise of big payoffs if their drivers accidentally spin, crash, blow a tire, or “itch their arms” in the direct path of the 15!!!
The one point about the latest restart controversy is that it involved the most hated driver in NASCAR. Had it involved say Junior, this would not be an issue. With that, it is a wonder that NASCAR hasn’t changed the restart rules by now, given that the second biggest crybaby in NASCAR (teammate to the biggest crybaby, and owned by a convicted Felon)has been whining about this since he got beat at Phoenix back in March and again in Dover in June. After all, His car owner has the most influence in NASCAR.
And don’t worry. If NASCAR does not issue a penalty to Logano and his team, you can bet a certain Chevrolet driver will have a scope mounted on his car, and Logan will be put into the wall. He might even pay Logan’s former teammate to do it!
Where in the world is DW in all this mess? Its like he has vanished from the face of the earth. If it wasn’t for Mikey being involved,I bet he would on Race Hub with a mic. in each hand and his mouth running 100 mile per hour.
The only way to once and for all clean up all the smell from this is to ban everyone employed by MWR, Penske and Front Row from all levels of Nascar for life. Period.
@robert…understand your frustration but be careful what you wish for! Don’t know who your fav driver is but it’s only a matter of time and the media will have dug out every word said on a radio within 10 miles of Richmond track to dig for more dirt… Who’s to say your driver won’t be “outted”!
To whom it may concern at NASCAR headquarters;
Due to your latest actions which I find detrimental to the type of stock car racing that I enjoy, I find myself in a position that I can won longer support your organization at previous levels. I will no longer go out of my way to support your sponsors because of you, if I choose to use their service or product it is because of them and not their affiliation with you.. I also find that your race day “product” is no longer worth such a heavy investment of my most valuable commodity, my time and i am seriously scaling that back as you have failed to meet certain obligations. Ffinally, I am officially putting you on probation until december 31 2013. From this point on my exposure to you through race attendence and tv viewing will be cut back by approximately 80% but I will be monitoring your actions and a final decision will be made in the future. Should continue to limit the creativity and inginuity of the teams, manipulate the outcome of races and make business decision at the cost of the sport I will be forced to terminate our relationship in whole. I am open to discussion of reconciliatory terms as time is of the essence.
babydufus – LOVE IT!!!
nothing against vito…..
but i would really love to hear/read matt mclaughlin’s thoughts on the richmond race and the post-race antics.
I enjoyed the article. I agree NASCAR won’t do anything to the 22 and they shouldn’t. However, NASCAR invited a wider ‘witch hunt’ after they struck a plea bargain with MWR that left the 15’s point position unscathed for the Chase. They used the 55’s actions as the “smoking gun” when none of this happens without the 15’s intentional spin. That just invited any press member or random observer to bring up any questionable radio traffic during the race.
As a fan, I am upset Jeff Gordon isn’t in the Chase, but they shouldn’t give him special dispensation. The 24 had ample opportunity to be safely in the top-10 before last Saturday. At this point lets just go racing again, and let on track justice take care of the 15.
Nascar has opened Pandora’s box with the poor handling of things this week. What the team 22 did this week is SOP in every race by every team. Somebody is on a witch hunt (hhmm, who can that be) sarcasm. The way these things have been worded has already branded the 22 team, and without any real understanding of the sport, the uneducated mob is screaming again for perceived injustices. Nascar needs to show where this action violated the rulebook, word for word. Not the usual we are going to do what we feel like, code for “actions detrimental to stock car racing” bull. And then if they did violate, go back decades and right this wrong. As for the people gathering the pitchforks, warning..unless your driver is HMS or employed by one of their many satellite offices, this can happen to your driver and your team, without cause.
BabyD..agree again. My family last night said if they punish this kid no more watching, and I tend to agree, on the other hand if the wrong ruling goes down I wanna watch every strategy and scream foul right up to Daytona office, if a penalty comes down.
One last point about team orders and doing things to effect the final outcome of a race/season. At Atlanta in 1993, Richard Childress entered a car for the late Neil Bonnet. Bonnet Started (which, sadly, turned out to be his last race) then he parked, thus solidifying Earnhardt’s 6th title. In Atlanta (again) in 1995, Rick Hendrick entered an extra car that started and then parked, thus solidifying Jeff Gordon’s 1st title. And Jeffy-poo-poo is whining about Logano and Bowyer? Who said it a while back, “Pot, meet Kettle”! Ah, Jeffy! Jeffy! Jeffy! What is it they say about karma? Oh yes, like you, it’s a bi**h!
It is with much amusement that I watch all this angst over the MWR ploy.
When the multi-car teams were sanctioned by Nascar, it resulted in a ripple effect through the garage, the sponsors, the drivers and the technology to the point where the line has become very cloudy when it comes to cheating and unethical race activity.
Spot on Ken. And, has anyone reviewed the previous 25 races to see if Gordon was helped to gain a point in any way. Also, what about Hamlin slowing down on pit road a Bristol in order to attempt to gain a restart position in the faster lane? Is that any different than Vickers or Gilleland? And what about JJ tanking for 4 consecutive weeks. Any coincidence that the 24 needed points?
I’ve never really cared one way or the other in regards to Logano, but I’d hate to see him lose his chance for a championship run this season. I’ve been impressed with how much he has improved away from JGR. To me, a great finish to the season would be for the 78 and 22 to come into Homestead tied for first in the points and then come off of turn four on the final lap beating the crap outta each other for the win/championship (i.e. KuBu vs Craven at Darlington in 2003). Unfortunately, I also think the reason Hamlin has stupidly been refusing to go ahead and get his back fixed before the end of the season is that he plans on being around to make sure Logano doesn’t win the championship this year.
Bud Sudz, I honestly am not 100% sure about Johnson’s run since Michigan being done to help Jeffy-poo. I got the impression that, since the 48 team had already clinched their berth in the chase that at Michigan, they began experimenting with different things, and that they had two test cars fully ready to go. On the Saturday, we were in the stands watching the final practise session when Jimmie spun and backed his qualified car into the wall. As his car was sliding down into the grass, my buddy tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the pits. Where we sat, you could see the garage area and the 48 hauler. The 48 team was unloading their back-up car before Johnson’s car had come to a rest in the grass. And Chadikins didn’t seem all that upset when the engine blew on Sunday. It was just a series of events that made you go Hmmm. At least when Bowyer blew up at Atlanta, he admitted that they had an experimental engine. I really don’t think Johnson was tanking as much as Chad and Jimmie were trying different things. After all, they had that cushion to do so. Helping Jeff move up in the points was a coincidence. Then again, who knows. You may be right. I’m only basing my opinion on what I saw on Saturday in August at Michigan.
It’s not too hard to imagine the underfunded #38 team asking Penske exactly what it’s worth to them for Gilliland to take a fall. Plenty, I bet, if it means Joey making the Chase. For that reason alone, NASCAR needs to take action on this matter,
I’m sick of hearing Dave Moody and others say how they feel bad for Boyer. No one made him do a thing, he’s their flagship driver, he did it, why people feel sorry for him because he was told to “Itch” is really dumb, what would they do to him if he hadn’t? He would have been the only MWR car in the chase…..
Jd, I agree with you. Joey has a relationship with The Coach, so I hope he has a little one on one with the wounded walking ego so that doesn’t happen.
So will Nascar fine itself for throwing fictitious cautions… does that not affect the outcome of many races during the season?