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 · Tuesday June 19, 2007
Opening lyrics to “Get Born Again” by Alice In Chains
With the recent announcement this past week from Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the fans have begun to react in earnest to his decision to leave DEI and drive for "The Enemy," a term used in many responses to Junior's race team for 2008 and beyond.
Wait a minute…“The Enemy?” Seriously, is this what it’s come to? Last I checked, Junior's driving for Hendrick Motorsports…not Taliban-Fenway Racing or Hamas Enterprises. When I was growing up in the early 1980's, "The Enemy" was what was emblazoned on the packaging of the G.I. Joe action figures or battlefield assets that belonged to Cobra, the arch-nemesis of the Joes. For whatever reason, a reasonable chunk of Junior fans seem to be expressing a similar sentiment regarding a certain Charlotte-area car dealer. In this case, salesman Cobra isn’t just hocking consumer vehicles but also happens to own some race teams nearby, including a powerhouse team that their hero will join in the very near future, much to their dismay.
How they reach such a flawed conclusion is absolutely beyond me.
To be honest, I question if these are really Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans or if they are Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fans that had chosen to follow his son in name only. Whoever they are, I am having a hard time relating to these acts of treason they claim have been recently perpetuated by Driver No. 8.
How did the fans lose their sense of reality? Well, you could see the divisions forming in early May, when Junior announced his intentions to leave DEI. There were those that were aghast that he was leaving what his father had built for both Junior and his siblings, along with those that wanted to greet him with a Tecmo Bowl high-five for sticking it to his stepmother, who they claimed refused to acknowledge who really was the "E" in "DEI". These were the people prophesying the impending doom of DEI in the wake of Junior’s departure, labeling it a second tier team with no chance of winning races again, all but assured that Teresa would run the company into the ground.
Since the opinions ranged all over the board to begin with, when it was announced that Junior was going to Hendrick this past week, it wasn’t surprising that many fans grew even further apart, with some beginning to show their true colors. What? How DARE Junior befriend the likes of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, the naysayers said! He might as well have gone and driven a Ford for Jack Roush! And why wouldn't Junior just go drive the No. 3 for Childress?! EVERYONE wants to see the No. 3 out there. What's wrong with him?!
Wow. A guy makes a decision for himself for a change, and people respond by turning their back. For all that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has had to endure since February 2001, these so-called "fans" owe him a lot more than what many have shown. It's bad enough he's had this specter of his father's success looming over him, constantly casting a shadow over everything he's ever accomplished or attempted to do. He’ll never escape these inevitable comparisons to his father, and will never stop hearing the questions of what the Intimidator would think of his career. But instead of backing him up in a time of great change, understanding the weight expectations constantly drag down upon their man in trying times, these fans are bringing their loyalty to their driver into question…and responding by threatening to walk away.
The excuse many have given to be upset about the Hendrick signing concerns those bemoaning the “end” of the Earnhardt-Gordon on-track competition. And what of this "rivalry" that everyone keeps talking about? When I think rivalry, I think of Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt. Kurt Busch and â€¦.well, half the field. Well, the only rivalry I ever saw between Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Jeff Gordon was between those whose cars and trucks were festooned with a caricature of comic strip hero Calvin relieving himself on a No. 24, or Gordon fans cheering as the black No. 3 made a hard left turn behind pit wall. The two drivers never had cross words for one another, and had mutual business interests to boot. Anytime they outran one another, each considered it an achievement. If anything, their relationship was a cordial friendly competition on the racetrack, hardly a “rivalry” of the epic proportion that some have erroneously made it out to be.
The “rivalry” has been even more diluted with Junior. He was the first to congratulate Jeff Gordon on tying his father's number of wins at Phoenix this April, and hasn't had any on-track run ins with Gordon since. As for Jimmie Johnson, he recently remarked that he was trying to pass him once, watched the left front wheel of Johnson's car as he was sliding it through a turn, and thought out loud to himself, "Man, this S.O.B. is TRYIN'!"
That doesn’t sound like someone who’s referring to an enemy. On the contrary, all Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has ever wanted was respect and appreciation for his efforts, not for what his last name is or whose son he was. It was why he left DEI in the first place. When he addressed the media for the first time following his father's passing in February 2001, he sat in a red long-sleeved Budweiser T-shirt with his hat on backwards and said, "I've cried for my father out of my own selfish pity."
Until now, that was about the last time Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had done something for himself. How pitiful that a man so selfless is left to deal with so many supporters that have turned so selfish.
Well, it's high time some race fans set aside their own ambitions of seeing the black No. 3 out on the race track and give the Intimidator’s son an opportunity to flourish. It’s time for Junior to not drive constantly in the shadow of his father, to go out and make his own way with a new team and a fresh start. Junior has made it abundantly clear that living with his father’s career hanging over him is the exact opposite of what he wants to do while driving a race car. He is not the driver of car No. 3. He is not his father. He is not trying to be his father. Yet there are many who still refuse to accept that out of their own selfish interests. It’s surprising, as this is a professional race car driver in his own right who has had a pretty successful career to date. Junior’s 32 years old now, not the 15-year-old with a mini-mullet and GM Goodwrench uniform, observing from the background as we've seen in a number of video vignettes as of late. Respect should be a given at this point, not a reward for decisions selfish fans want Junior to make.
Hopefully, all of this means that Junior will start from scratch with Hendrick. I would venture to guess that he would like to as well. While he would probably love to take the No. 8 with him since it was his grandfather's number, maybe it might be best to leave that in his past, too. I believe he will run car No. 81, his number from JR Motorsports that he runs in the Busch Series. I have a hard time believing that Teresa would exchange car number 8 for number 5, the number that was synonymous with Geoff Bodine, two drivers that had a genuine disdain for each other in the mid-1980's when The Intimidator was One Tough Customer in the Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet.
In the end, though, the number won’t matter as much as the physical change of scenery for Junior. Although it is sad to see that it actually did come to this, a son leaving the company his father created for him, it is also an exciting time in the life and career of one of the most popular and charismatic drivers in the sport. Junior is now out of the comfort zone of driving for his family and stepping out on his own. Leaving behind a tumultuous eight years behind, Junior has the chance to be reborn at Hendrick Motorsports and establish his own identity for himself.
Unfairly, it’s a move that will seem to continue to upset more than a few fans of his and his father. Of course, any meaningful growth in life comes with some pain, trial, and tribulation. Junior is sure off to a strong start in that regard with the reaction from the NASCAR fan faithful, but as he has shown in the past with his father's passing, driving injured, and missing the Chase in 2005, Junior will emerge from this a far stronger individual, no matter how many supporters he has remaining.
And, with any luck, a Nextel Cup Champion.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Sorry, your mistake!
Jr. is the DIS-LOYAL ONE!
Jr. was led down the path of destruction by Sis Kelley, he did not do this on his own!
Jr. is the one that threw DEI under the bus!
Jr. is the one that did not perform at DEI!
Jr. is the one that never went to team meetings to provide input to improving the DEI cars!
Why would any fan want to follow this little lost child?
I am and always will be a fan of Dale Jr but one thing I won’t do is buy any Junior merchandise with a new sponsor or car number on it as part of the proceeds will go to Rick Hendrick which will in turn support Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Call me a fair weather fan or whatever you want but as much as I want to see Junior succeed I also refuse to support Jeffy and Jimmie in any way, shape or form.
I realize and freely admit that Hendrick has the strongest equipment on the track over the past couple seasons and that from a performance standpoint alone Junior made the right decision but as a lifelong fan of the Man in Black or anyone else with the last name Earnhardt it is my opinion that nobody…I repeat NOBODY would have worked harder and more tirelessly to give Junior championship caliber equipment than Richard Childress.
Now before you jump all over me I am NOT a fan that wanted Junior to jump into a black #3 Goodwrench Chevy. Do I hope to see that car on track with an Earnhardt behind the wheel someday? You bet your a** I do but I want it to be done when Junior or anyone else with the last name Earnhardt decides the time is right and wants to do it.
Article is dang skippy.The previous comment from Doug is WAAY off base.I think Jr. should use the # 08,this would signify his new start in 2008.Thanks
Thanks Douglas for underscoring Vito’s point. You Douglas were never a fan of Jr’s.
Vito I agree with everything you say a true fan would not turn their back on their favorite driver. I look for JR to drive the 08 or 81 like he did in bucsh a few times. Go JR!!!
Prior to this announcement Jr’s fans were comprised of three contingencies; True Jr fans, Sr fans that became Jr fans by default, and jackasses that are more into hating Jeff Gordon than liking Jr (these are the idiots throwing things onto the track). If nothing else this move will cull out those that are have agendas other than supportind Jr. Good riddance to them. Jr will be better off in the long run without them. Plus this was his goal, to make his own legacy and not live in the shadow of his father and the past. What better way than to cull out those that were fans for the wrong reasons.
Very well put.
I’m neither for nor against Jr. and I was a Big E fan. But for years I’ve been vainly crying out against those Jr. “fans” who want to turn Jr. into a clone of his father’s ghost.
IMO, anyone who would abandon Dale Jr. for a change in team, sponsor, or even manufacturer if he’d chosen that route never was a Dale Jr. fan to begin with. A fan of the legend of Big E perhaps, but not a Jr. fan at all.
(The legend of Big E having, at this point, very little connection with the actual man Ralph Dale Earnhardt).
I never cared for Earnhardt Sr., mostly because of the fans that supported him. I always have liked Jr. in spite of many of those same fans. These are typically the same no nothing idiots that throw beer cans on the track.
Now maybe I can fully support Jr. if enough of these fools jump off of his bandwagon. For that alone I think it was a great move on his part.
By the way, this made me laugh; “Jr. is the one that never went to team meetings to provide input to improving the DEI cars!”
Wow! Someone privy to all the behind the scenes action at DEI is here with us! Amazing! I’m sure that is a 100% factual statement because I read it on the internet! Hahahhahahhaaa!
I agree with everything the intimidator said except I don’t ever want to see the #3 back on the track except for special occasions.
Enemy? Ask a Packers fan what they consider the Bears or the Vikings. Enemy is probably one of the nicer words. I love all the judges and juries and “experts” who have decided who’s a “REAL” fan and who’s not. Why does it matter to you? You’re staying with the guy. Some people are moving on and it looks like the Gordon and Johnson fans are happy to jump on the bandwagon so he’ll probably end up with more fans than he had before last Wed. I’m think the Hendricks bunch is hoping they won’t catch so much crap from Jr. fans now. Still a free country, guys. We can pick and choose a different driver every week if we want to. I was with Jr. all the way in leaving DEI, but I have never followed Hendricks…even before Gordon and it’s not going to start now.
I have to say that I have never been a Hendrick fan so that part is going to always feel weird, but I am a JR fan.
Vito…you are WAAAY off base!
First off WHO are you to tell anyone what makes a “Real” fan??
I CAN be a fan of some individual but not like the person , or company they work for, or keep.
I am a Jr. fan in your words, “by default” since I was a a Sr. fan from waaay back.
I agree if Jr. doesnt want to, AND I support his decision to leave DEI , or more specifically Teresa.
What I dont support however is his CHOICE of teams.
I (and I suspect many others) would have been fine with ANY other team BUT HMS!
While I DO support Jr. I do NOT , can not,and will not support HMS in any way shape or form.
You misunderstand Vito.
It has EVERYTHING to do with not liking Rick Hendrick and HMS , then ANYTHING to do with not supporting Jr.
Maybe it has to do with the fact that Hendrick is a convicted felon who bought himself a presidential pardon.Maybe it’s the fact that FMS (Felony Motor Sports) teams are known for being the biggest cheaters in the sport. Maybe it’s both.
Some people just won’t support any driver or person who associates themselves with someone like Rick Hendrick.
Maybe it has to do with the fact Jr. fans are the biggest diehard, hard-headed a**holes on the face of the earth.
I like Jr. but I do not follow him simply because his fans. Has anyone realized that the Majority of Jr. fans have the brain capacity and intelligence level of a 3rd Grader? If you don’t believe me, just scroll back up and read postings above
M.B. Where are you? We need some of your lashing out when needed. Talk about irrational animosity. This way over does Jeff’s hatred of the Busch Brothers.
I like all drivers except Busch’s, get tired of JJ winning, like Jr and think he is really a mature guy and has handled a big load. More power to him, I hope he is successful and can’t wait to see how he does with better equipment. Tomorrow he is going to tell all these posters where they can work and how they should live!!!!!
One more win and he’ll tie Geoff Bodine! Get a grip people…can’t you just like the guy because he is a nice guy instead of making more of this than it is?
Sympathy fans. That is what makes up the majority of the Dale Jr. fans base. Is this a revelation to people? Without the untimely death of his father, Jr. would be just another mid-talent driver. At least going to Hendrick, the question of just how talented he is can now be anwsered.
I have been a longtime Mark Martin fan. Not only because of his ability to drive a race car, but who he is as a person. When he changed teams AND manufacturers I never once questioned my loyalty. I had to respect his decision. I have never been a rabid Jr. fan but have always cheered for him to do well. Not only for his ability to drive a race car but for who HE is as a person. So I also have to respect his decision. Ability and character is what I look for in a driver. Not who they drive for or against and Jr. has both. Respect his decision.
I am glad that someone has finely said the truth. A real true diehard fan of Junior’s would care less who is drives for as long as he is happy. To me thats all that matters. Don’t get me wrong I am not a fan of the other drivers for Hendrick, but that will not stop me from cheering for my man. He needed someone who acts like they care about him and lets face it DEI and Teresa didn’t. That was apparent when she had the nerve to ask him to pay for a company that is his birth right. It’s not only his but Kelly, Kerry and Taylor’s birth right too.
bold 2 time Busch Series Camp, 17 time winner in Cup, winner of an All Star Event, Winner of the Daytona 500. Yup, he canâ€™t drive. We just support him out of sympathy.
No long drawn out post for me. I’ve never been a fan of Hendrick Motorsports but do respect their talent. If that’s the place where Jr can finally get great equipment I’ll follow him all the way. How many times does he have to say he LIKES rick Hendrick. The so-called rivalry is mostly in the minds of the fans.
Nobody that is a true fan of NASCAR would stop rooting for a driver because he changed teams. The people jumping off the bandwagon are the idiots you see at races who act like Dale Jr. is the only car on the track. If Dale Jr.‘s team change results in these people going bye bye, I have no problem with that. His true fans will be happy that he is going to such a high caliber team as Hendrick Motorsports. Notice that Junior has not been setting the track on fire lately. Going to Hendrick will help him contend for wins and championships like he never could at DEI. If I was a Dale Jr. fan, I’d be salivating at the prospect of seeing him in Victory Lane as often as we do Jeff and Jimmie. As another poster said, these idiots are Gordon haters more than anything else. Unfortunately, there are so many people walking around wearing the Bud #8 you can’t tell who the real fans are.
I never have been nor will be a Dale Jr fan! With that said, I think he is a traitor but the good thing is it will show all Jr nation once and for all hes not a great driver! He is your next Mark Martin, he will win no doubt but never will get a championship. As far as Kyle Bush, It doesnt matter to much where he goes, by the time he is Jr’s age 32, he will be a 2 time champion! I hope Hendrick regrets letting his best driver getaway for just a name and a few wins!
Kinda reminds you of that “6.7” Budwiser commerical doesen’t it.
I agree with Marti and Renegade points. Also Don’t expect Junior to win anymore of those most popular driver awards anymore either!
Mindcrime, I respect your views and Im hoping you can respect mine.
While I really do like, and wish Jr. well in his career…I simply don’t know how to seperate the driver from his team owner now.
How can I support Jr. winning, buying merchandise, etc. and it not benfit Rick Hendrick??
Hers a portion of rather long post I made @ http://www.frontstretch.com/board/index.php/topic,1436.15.html if you’d care to read it and maybe see where Im coming from…and feel free to join in if you arent already.
“First and foremost I was a fan of the late Dale Earnhardt for basically..well… lets just say pretty much forever.”
“Jeff (Gordon) is from a different generation, I have little in common with him.I cant see Jeff with grease under his nails or busted knuckles.I cant see myself going fishng with him or having a beer together, or going out to the garage to work on my old Chevy with me. A pretty face with manicured nails is what I see.A guy that claims he is from Indiana..or is it California? It seems to be wherever he is at the time.
In Rick Hendrick I see much the same. A man who appears arrogant and superior (to me). One of those “Everybody has a price” guys. A flashy money man.One who cheats,manipulates, bribes to get ahead.And..one Im sure has NASCARS ear.A guy who doesnt hesitate to use death or health as a way to benefit, or promote himself.A disgusting, despicable man.
I simply don’t like them!!”
“I wish Jr. well in his endeavors …wherever he is. I care what happens to him and I understand why he is leaving DEI.Even though he is younger he is a lot like the old man and he is therefore blood to me
Yes,I like Jr….I AM a fan! But…I simply cannot root for HMS.
Kinda like a son who has a drug problem, or involved in somehting you despise. You love the son..but you hate the drugs and what they represent.Love the sinner..hate the sin. “
I simply cannot, and will not support what I feel to be a cheating, manipulating,rotten from the head down, corrupt organization that I see in HMS.
In short…I feel Jr. signed a deal with a smooth,sweet talking Devil who was in the right place at the right time and knew exactly how to play Jr.
It makes me laugh when people cannot differentiate between driver/team, and also hate people they do not even know, let alone see what is really going on inside of their souls.
Hating on Jr., Kelly, Hendrick, Gordon, Buschs, or anybody shows your shallowness, and weakness in the character department of being a human being.
It is just racing, it aint about life. Do the racers and those involved in it pay your bills, did they beat up your dog or kid, did they cheat on your spouse, or foreclose on your home…..get the picture.
If a driver is your driver, it don’t matter what team he races with. He is your driver and you support him. Enough said!
I support Jeff Gordon, and I support HMS only because they give HIM good equipment. I could care less about JJ, Mears, or Busch unless they can help him in a race so that he can either win or get in the top 10. Other than that, they can wreck for all I care. I want my driver to win.
I believe any true JR fan would feel the same.
I’ve been reading all this palaver, and it seems to me that a lot of people need to get a life. It’s okay to enjoy racing, but it just entertainment. Jr’s going to work for HMS is not on the same level as say, Colin Powell heading the Al-Queda. Also seems to me that a lot of people have mistaken NASCAR for church, perhaps because both are on Sunday, and have mistaken their favorite driver for Jesus Christ. Love everybody, worship only the savior, and watch the racing, but don’t get all knotted up over it. Jr will be all right wherever he is. He’s smart, he’s a good driver, and has won about as many races as Buddy Baker and Neil Bonnett, Dale’s best friend. I would say that puts him in pretty good company.
OK..you all win. Im NOT a “true fan “(even though Ive been one for over 27 years) I guess.
Rick Hendrick is a saint!
“Racing is my Church and Jr. is my God “(I never even once said anything remotely like that even though thats what im being accused of)!
Im a “hater” (never ONCE said that ugly word..and I dont BTW)! “Shallow and weak in character” because I cant support HMS!
Ive tried to explain my feelings but evidently since I only have a “3rd grade education” Im incapable of expressing thought.
WOW!! Im glad this is all cleared up now.
THANKS Vito and others for telling this idiot (Me) how, and what I SHOULD be feeling and thinking!!
Go HMS!! (Ive been assimilated!!! Not! :) )
PS: I cant help but notice one thing. Most of the ones who arent bothered by this are Gordon or HMS fans. Of course THEY cant possibly see why I say, or feel the things I do. Im told I should be happy, and its a good thing!
And it IS! For THEM!!
As I said previously..ANY, ANY other team and we wouldnt be having this discussion.
Anything good Jr. does (win races, sell merchandise, etc)will directly benefit Mr. Rick Hendrick and I will NEVER NEVER help encourage , or support that! Sooo…while I still like Jr. VERY much, I wont actively cheer for, or purchase merchandise of his any longer due to this.
I dont like Rick Hendrick ..PERIOD!!And that is my right, and opinion. We are (I thought) still entitled to that.
Thats all I got, like it or not..it’s mine!
PPS: I doubt Rick, Jeff, etc will lose any sleep over this fact.Why should it bother you who disagree with me?? You wanna cheer him, and HMS on..go right ahead, and good for you…I wont be though
Has anyone other than myself thought that Teresa is the reason Jr. left his father’s company. I am and always will be a fan of his wherever he may go. I think his father is probably very upset with Teresa right now. That company was built for Sr’s kids.
I have to say that I think that the stinking movie “3” by Barry Pepper has done more to mess up the image of Dale Earnhardt and his family than anything that could have been done. New fans don’t know the difference and old fans like myself, Blu, and MB don’t understand the hoopla. I like Dale Jr, and like to see him win. I wish he would get a sponsor besides Bud, and I wish him well wherever he is.
Just thinking back, I have a friend, Glen Bright, who quit watching racing totally the day Dale died. Now that is a true fan of Dale. It was kind of like the day Buddy Holley died, or maybe Elvis. I am afraid that this larger than life fictional legend is getting way out of hand.