Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Friday January 18, 2008
Word on the street is that NASCAR is toying with the idea of changing the minimum age for racing in the Sprint Cup Series from 18 to 21. Already there has been a negative reactions from race fans as it impacts a few teams' development drivers, namely Joe Gibbs Racing's phenom Joey Logano. Logano, 17, would not be eligible to race in the Cup series until mid-2011, a year and a half behind schedule, and the rule would throw a speedbump at Rookie of the Year honors as Logano would not be able to compete until after his birthday, May 24.
Race fans have flooded message boards with reasons why this is a terrible idea. They cite everything from drivers beginning racing at a younger age to the "it's just a way to stick it to teams" excuse. Frankly, I just don't get their reaction.
This is a great idea. And one that has the opportunity to save an ailing series, to boot.
In fact, I'd like to see NASCAR take it one step further and institute a rule for rookies coming in over the age of 21: at least one full season in the Nationwide Series before being considered for a Cup license.
Why? There are a myriad of reasons why drivers should wait. While it is true that many racers begin racing something when they are five years old, most of their experience is not-cannot be-in a full-bodied stock car. Even in states where drivers can get waivers to race young, it is rare indeed for anyone to get in a late model asphalt race car before the age of 16. Even Kyle Busch, whose parents furnished a falsified birth certificate to allow him to race, did not start in late models until he was fifteen. That means a driver can be in a Cup car within two years of sitting in a full-size stock car. That's like going from Pop Warner to the NFL.
Sure, Busch was able to do it. So were Reed Sorenson and Brian Vickers-sort of. Vickers wrecked his teammate to back his way into a win in 2006, and Sorenson has yet to seriously contend for a visit to victory lane. Vickers left Hendrick Motorsports of his own free will, but has not found nearly the success he had hoped for. You have to wonder how long, in this corporate age of racing, their sponsors are going to put up with their lackluster performance.
By bringing up young drivers, fast and talented though they may be, with very little experience in NASCAR, near the top level, owners could be setting these young racers up for failure. If they don't perform, it is a very real possibility that a sponsor will demand a change behind the wheel. Some guys bounce back from that, others do not. Ask Casey Atwood.
Atwood was a talented young man when Ray Evernham picked him to pilot a Dodge for his fledgling team. He even almost won a race. But Dodge ran out of patience after just one year. Atwood was shuffled to the Jim Smith-owned No. 7 car the next season, and by the following year was out of a Cup ride. Atwood had just turned 22 years old. He's never found a good NASCAR ride since. The talent was there, but when lack of experience and top-flight equipment failed Atwood, he was never able to recover. Had Atwood gotten more experience in the then-Busch Series, he might have had a better chance to succeed in Cup.
Sure, Sorenson is with Chip Ganassi, who has shown remarkable patience with Sorenson, but should sponsor Target balk at the lack of results, would Ganassi still back the young driver? Ask David Stremme that oneâ€¦ Vickers is the veteran NASCAR driver with his struggling Red Bull Racing team, but one has to wonder if he really has that much job security.
Experience in a lower series would better prepare these young men for the variety of tracks, drivers, and conditions they will face in the pressure cooker that is Sprint Cup. Making them wait another year or two will not do anything to strip them of their natural talent, but rather hone it to the level of precision needed at the Cup level.
A second benefit of forcing drivers to get more experience in the slightly smaller, slightly slower cars in the Nationwide Series is safety. Not just to them-drivers have been killed in those cars too when they crash at high speeds-but to the drivers around them. Watch a Nationwide Series race, and you'll see that the cars tend to string out a bit more at the tracks that do not require restrictor plates. Veterans cut young guys a little more slack, if they can. The races are shorter, less mentally and physically taxing. The more track time a driver has under those circumstances, the more prepared he'll be to take on the tighter, fiercer competition in Sprint Cup. He may be less lightly to cause a damaging wreck. And that is safer for everyone.
Allowing a driver to work in the slightly less pressured Nationwide Series also give them the chance to mature-a lesson that Kyle Busch could have perhaps used, instead of throwing him into a high-pressure situation he had a hard time coping with. That could win a driver fans, and ultimately sponsorship.
One other reason that an age hike could benefit NASCAR as a whole has to do with the declining health of the Nationwide Series. Making owners wait to bring drivers directly to Cup would force them to use the series as the training ground it should be. Sure, owners could run another car for their Cup star, sponsorship allowing. But many owners would be hard-pressed to give their time and attention to their established guy if the youngster had to run the series to take the wheel of a Cup car in the future. When push comes to shove, and an owner has to find a Nationwide Ride and sponsor for a young phenom, or risk losing him to another team or because of ineligibility to move up, the owner will work harder to do so. And that could well save the series.
It won't hurt anyone to wait until a driver is 21 before allowing him to drive Sprint Cup. It's safer, it's potentially better for the driver's career overall, and it would help return the Nationwide Series to a series that has its own identity. Statistics show that a driver is in his competitive prime in his early 30's – that means a 21-year-old entering the series would still have ten years before he even reached that prime, and they stand to be ten better years for all involved. Seems worth the wait.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Move the age up. These kids are not mature enough to race at places like Daytona and Talledega, not to mention Atlanta and Charlotte. There is a reason caution numbers have gone up over the past several years and it isn’t all NASCAR’s meddling.
I think there is merit to the idea that someone should spend a year in the Nationwide Series…but that would be happening already if sponsors were willing to take a chance on an unknown. As it is they don’t have to.
A great idea that’s just gonna have to sting a few people now, but will benifit the sport in the long run. Maybe if you finish in the top ten in the Nationwise points 2 years in a row (like Jr. or Truex), then an exception might be made. Just like the Chase and the COT, we’ll get over this hurdle just fine.
When I first saw the headline on this idea earlier this week initial reaction was “great idea”. It moves all three series into a better balance and from a competition standpoint a hwole lot more interesting. It also allows a driver to develop a fan base that will then move to Cup with the driver. This is one of the best ideas NASCAR has had in years. Oh yeah that also had to do with common sense idea of waiting to be 18 to race in top three series. Wow fours yearsa between really good ideas. Not a good record for the NASCAR brass.
This is laughable. Were you sleeping when Vickers won a Busch Championship in 2003? I think that may have been adequate preparation and proof of him deserving to move up, regardless of his age.
Itâ€™s a good idea. But, if youâ€™re going to suggest that the young ones run in the Nationwise series, you must put a limit on the number of fulltime Cup drivers who would run too. I think its ridiculous that half the field in a Nationwise race are Cup drivers. My number would be ten. Ten fastest qualifiers, of course.
Great idea. Think every driver moving to Cup must have raced at least one full season in CTS or Nationwide series.
I agree 100% with rasing the age to 21. These kids need more experience on the track and off the track bofore being allowed to race with the top racing series in the world today.
As a Kyle Busch fan I have mixed feelings about this.
Its a pretty good bet that if he had spent another year or two in a lower series he’d have more opportunity to gain skill and maturity to go with his prodigious talent. That would have saved him and his fans a certain amount of embarrassment (or maybe not — ask any Tony Stewart or Kevin Harvick fan).
Yet, the fact that Kyle was able to win twice in his Cup rookie year shows that he was indeed ready to compete at that level and there would have been small point to making him compete beneath his level. In fact, it could have backfired by getting him so accustomed to easy wins that he’d have had even more trouble adjusting.
And what would be the point of making Montoya, Villenueve, and their fellow top open wheelers spend a year in Nationwide?
Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards both came to Cup directly from the truck series and were competitive from the start. Should they have been forced to take a detour on the way?
Should Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, both of whom performed at the highest level as Cup rookies, have been made to run full years in the lower series? They only made a few starts and neither was a Busch winner.
Should Boris Said, Ron Fellows, and the rest of the road ringers have been made to run a year in the Nationwide series as the price of their twice a year Cup rides?
Isn’t it, overall, a better idea to refrain from interfering with the way team owners run their businesses and permit them to hire any adult they believe is capable of doing the job as long as he’s capable of earning a Nascar license for the track type in question?
PS — I wish people would stop bringing up Casey Atwood. Yes, he had his troubles. Yes, they were related to his maturity level — he clung to an immature belief that all he had to do was show up at the track and drive and refused to go to the shop and do the rest of the things required of a top-level driver. But since he couldn’t get his act together even when Fitzbradshaw brought in a sports psychologist to try to straighten him out there is no evidence that more time in Busch would have done the job.
I don’t think making someone spend a year in (whatever) is important, or relevant. I do, however, think that the age limit is a great idea. If for no other reason than to help the Truck and NW series attract competition and sponsorship.
Agree with you 100% on all issues, especially the maturity issue. These guys need to grow up a little before they get into the BIG LEAGUES!
M.B.- Both Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson DID run full seasons in the Busch Series before their stellar rookie years in Cup. Tony did not, as you point out, win any races at that level, but he obviously learned about the tracks and how to race on them. Jimmie ran two full seasons in Busch, finished in the top ten both years driving for a woefully underfunded team, and he won at Chicagoland in 2001. I’d say that those years in Busch paid off-both drivers are two-time Cup champions-team owners would do well to pay attention to that.
I also think that had Kyle Busch had the time in the lower series, without so much pressure, to mature and learn the subtleties of racing, he’d prpbably have twice as many wins by now and possibly been a serious championship contender. As it is, he was tossed into a pressure cooker and that made it that much harder to sit back and learn how to behave on and off the track. He is an immensely talented one young man, and had he been given the time to learn properly, he’d be
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