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 April 10, 2009
NASCAR recently announced that the sanctioning body would now conduct postrace engine teardowns at their Concord facility, the latest in a series of measures designed to cut costs. I’m not really sure how this one saves teams any money, unless NASCAR is planning on delivering the inspected engines to the teams they were taken from. It might save teams and officials a little time at the track, but the cost savings can’t be much. NASCAR has implemented several rules designed to cut costs, from banning testing at sanctioned tracks to the current car itself.
But do any of them really work?
NASCAR tinkered with cost cutting a few years back when the one-engine rule first rolled around. Instead of separate engines for qualifying and practice, teams now run a single engine all weekend with a starting position penalty for changing one. In theory, it has probably saved teams money, most notably those who use leased engines. But if the powers that be hoped for a leveling of the playing field, they failed—as they did with the Car of Tomorrow. The teams who had money were able to redirect it into finding more ways to outrun the competition, and the ones who didn’t, well, they still didn’t have the money to truly improve. If anything, having to build a fleet of new cars—albeit ones that could be raced at a variety of tracks—put further strain on them.
This year’s test ban shows much of the same results. The teams with more resources are simply channeling the money into other areas to overcome the lack of testing, while the rest…still don’t have the money.
On the surface, it seems like a simple matter—money buys wins, wins buy points, and points buy championships. The owner point standings back the theory up. While there are a few surprises near the top, there aren’t any really small teams in the top dozen. David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip racing are surprising in that they have had little success before this year, they aren’t exactly strapped for cash, with Toyota backing and well-to-do sponsors. The same goes for Kasey Kahne, whose team has more sponsorship dollars than teammate A.J. Allmendinger’s. Allmendinger’s team, with limited sponsorship and probably limited in-house resources compared to Kahne’s, is overachieving because the driver is carrying the team. Even Juan Pablo Montoya’s standing isn’t exactly a rags-to-riches tale-Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing has Target to pay his bills.
The highest truly smaller team in the standings is the No. 96 of Bobby Labonte in 26th, and the lowest of the really wealthy teams is the No. 20 of Joey Logano in 35th, and Logano is a very raw rookie. That in itself is telling—the haves do have the occasional dud—Penske Racing, Richard Childress Racing, and Earnhardt-Ganassi have cars in 22nd, 23rd, and 24th respectively, but the have-nots have little, if any presence in rarified air, with perhaps Allmendinger as the lone exception.
It’s more complicated than simply having the money for more and better equipment. The big teams have the luxury of being choosier with personnel. Not only can they hire the most talented pit crew members away form smaller teams with larger salaries, but they attract—and keep—the best engineers, crew chiefs, and drivers. It isn’t only about the salaries, of course. Drivers want to drive for winning teams, and rarely leave them once there. So it becomes a vicious cycle, the richest teams buy better cars, attract better divers and crews, and win more, thereby attracting more top drivers and crewmen, and so on while the others struggle to keep up in a NASCAR where it’s no longer about simply building a fast car and putting a fearless driver behind the wheel.
And so far, NASCAR hasn’t found a way to curb the problem. In the Sprint Cup Series, it becomes more difficult with each passing year for an underdog team to win a race, let alone make the Chase or contend for the title. That’s too bad, because everyone loves an underdog.
The bottom line is, NASCAR’s cost cutting measures have cut costs, but the problem lies in the fact that the big teams are just able to funnel that money saved elsewhere, while the small teams just cover costs more easily. In the end, the competition suffers, because the parity NASCAR was aiming for never quite materializes, and the racing itself begins to suffer on the heels of test bans and crew reductions.
Parity in today’s NASCAR is a problem with a thousand failed solutions, with a real solution no closer than it was a decade ago, and all the while the gap grows wider. It’s time for NASCAR to stop kidding themselves and institute real measures to bring parity, or to let the survival of the fittest claim the teams who can’t keep up. Any way you slice it, it isn’t about simple speed anymore, nor even talent—it’s about the money, because money buys both speed and talent-and desire and hunger might buy hard work, but they don’t pay the piper.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I cannot recall NASCAR making parity a goal.
The commonality of all top-notch racing series is that it takes a supreme effort in every aspect… this ain’ a soccer league where we don’t keep score.
This is exactly where to apply, “stay on the porch if you can’t run with the big dogs”.
I don’t want parity… I want racing, good, hard, fast paced racing. If I wanted parity then I would have watched the IROC series. And the only true way NA$CAR can create parity is to build identical cars, give them to the teams, and tell the crews they can’t muck with them. And then penalize them heavily if they do. Do you really want that? I don’t think so.
And on that note, tell me what other sport has this great parity that you are searching for? The reason the Cowboys or the Steelers are who they are and not the Lions, is because of money (lots of it). The best way to get parity into NA$CAR is to make the rules the same for every team, and then enforce them the same…FOR EVERY TEAM! And please, don’t tell me they do, we have already seen that in one form or another. The NA$CAR rules are virtually written on an etch-a-sketch and used for the “best fit” of the day.
Let’s assume that NASCAR manages to completely eliminate the influence of money in this sport. Then everyone would be equal. The racing would be just great then wouldn’t it? After all, what would stop any hot rodder on the street from getting into NASCAR?
Socialism doesn’t work, it never has worked, in society or in sports, yet people keep insisting that governing bodies in both keep trying it.
I know the situation isn’t ideal Amy, but the only sure-fire alternative is to run plate races every week.
Unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn. You can’t go back to the years they were racing on the beach again. This has been an evolution that took years and years to pique and just like every bubble in the economy, this one will break, too. Some very talented drivers are without rides because the sponsorships for the cars is so expensive that corporations can only justify giving them to teams that can promise their logo be shown up front for marketing’s sake. This is a sport that has lined the pockets of the top 20 drivers with so much money that they don’t even know there’s a recession, or near depression, going on. Don’t these drivers have family and friends with regular jobs who are laid off or struggling?
Look, the only way to make a Nascar race more affordable is to cut the purses. That measure will lower the ticket prices. If you keep having total purses of millions of dollars where even someone who runs one lap makes $50,000, there’s just nothing you can do to cut costs. The tickets and concessions have to pay the purses and I doubt the drivers are going to be willing to take a pay cut. So, bottom line, same old same old is still going to be the mantra and Nascar will continue to report losses to their bottom lines. And, unfortunately, the undersponsored teams are going to suffer because nobody will sponsor someone who doesn’t run up front every week. It’s a vicious cycle that only Nascar can break. I guarantee you they won’t.
Money buys success in most sports, even individual ones. Tiger Woods is not the greatest golfer based only on his talent. His family had the resources to develop his talent from birth. The Yankees have bought many championships. There is no way to legislate the impact of money out of sports. The success of NA$CAR drivers is a result of money. Jeff Gordon and most of the current group of drivers are from backgrounds that could afford to start their race training at a very early age and in good equipment. There are many young people in the world that have the raw talent to be great drivers but will never be one because they won’t have the opportunity of proper training and equipment due to money issues.
The obvious cost-saving of taking the engines back to Charlotte for inspection is that Nascar no longer has to pay the engine-tear-down specialists’ at track expenses.
Other than that, the things you’re complaining about are not problems — unless you’re bent on a socialist equality of results rather than the equality of opportunity that gives free people the ability to succeed or fail on their own merits.
I’m not going to bother to google it, but it you’ve ever complained about the COTs being all alike then you owe someone an apology — either for that or for this.
Because the only “cure” for the non-problem you’re griping about is to have Nascar own and prepare all the cars before each race, to have a lottery to put each driver into a random car, have another lottery to pair him with a random crew chief, and have yet another lottery to add a crew.
And if you think there’s a big market for a series with those rules there is nothing whatsoever stopping you from raising the necessary money to get such a series started since, even in a down economy, ideas that are likely to turn a profit will find backers.
If you manufacture too much parity, you actually lose the underdog aspect of racing entirely. The definition of “underdog” assumes someone winning against talent much better than him. If everyone is equal, then a Paul Menard is no longer an underdog to Gordon, Johnson, Stewart, etc.
The restrictor plate races are fun, but because there are only four of them. If every race ran like Talledega, NASCAR would be as interesting as a demolition derby- which gets boring after awhile.
I don’t think we need complete parity in NASCAR-that was IROC’s gig. However, NASCAR seems to want at least the illusion thereof. I was simply commenting that the measures they have taken aren’t going to produce that.
I will say that a smaller gap between the haves and have-nots would be a good thing. One thing I really liked about racing in the 1990’s was that it seemed like there was an underdog team or two each week that could run up front and perhaps even contend for the win. That was fun to watch. Now, the top ten is very predictable most of the time, unless someone uses pit strategy to run up front for a few laps midrace. It was a lot more fun when you thought your guy at least had an outside shot. It’s really not fun pulling for a guy not in top equipment anymore, because you know there’s no chance. So, while the gap is never going to go away, and that’s the nature of the beast, it would be nice to see it narrow a bit, so it would be fun for the fans of those smaller teams to at least be able to smile and say, “maybe.”
Incidentally, no, I have not complained that the COT’s look alike. I don’t really care what they look like, only what they race like.
The problem of the “haves” and “have nots” have run all throughout sports. I, for one, do not favor mandated “parity.” It IS possible for an “underdog” to break through. Florida and Tampa Bay in baseball have been winners beating teams with 5 times their payroll as two examples.
The only way that you can always have an “underdog” running amongst the Top 10 is for there to be fewer than 10 truly excellent, top teams.
To quote Micheal Waltrip, “the problem in Nascar right now is that there are 25 top 10 teams.”
If there were 8 or 9 truly excellent cars on the track there would HAVE TO be a lesser team in the top 10 every week.
If there were only 10 excellent cars out there then the element of luck would see to it that lesser cars showed up in the top 10 fairly often as bad luck would be likely to visit at least one of those top cars every week or two.
But with MANY really excellent cars — 5 from Roush, 4 from Hendrick, 3 from Gibbs, 3 from RCR, 2 from Stewart-Haas, 3 from Penske, … — bad luck for one excellent team means that another excellent team will fill the slot.
Do you really wish that the Nascar field consisted of only a few really excellent cars and a large number of mediocre ones?
How could that possibly be an improvement? You don’t make a building taller by chopping floors off the top and digging the basement deeper.
Bring back more short tracks like Richmond and Martinsville.
There’s more chance for an underdog there than the oh-so-boring 1.5 mile tracks.
And maybe if Nascar would stop taking potential sponsorship money away from teams and pocketing it themselves would help.
There’re a lot of statements in this article that have to be questioned. To accept them as valid troubles me.
I’m not really sure how this one saves teams any money, unless NASCAR is planning on delivering the inspected engines to the teams they were taken from. As a pivot point statement in an opening thesis, it would be nice to establish the costs involved. The amount is never quantified… could be a dollar, could be more? Be nice to know what we’re talking about.
NASCAR tinkered with cost cutting a few years back when the one-engine rule first rolled around. NASCAR more than “tinkered”, they made a solid rule that teams agree is a huge saving to their weekend race budgets.
In theory, it has probably saved teams money, most notably those who use leased engines. As well as teams with their own integrated engine programs. It’s a savings… more than a tinkering. Many statements have been made by teams supporting the rule from a cost viewpoint.
The teams who had money were able to redirect it into finding more ways to outrun the competition, and the ones who didn’t, well, they still didn’t have the money to truly improve.
So it becomes a vicious cycle, the richest teams buy better cars, attract better divers and crews, and win more, thereby attracting more top drivers and crewmen, and so on while the others struggle to keep up in a NASCAR where it’s no longer about simply building a fast car and putting a fearless driver behind the wheel.
The bottom line is, NASCAR’s cost cutting measures have cut costs, but the problem lies in the fact that the big teams are just able to funnel that money saved elsewhere, while the small teams just cover costs more easily. Well, finally you detract from your own “smokescreen” metaphor. There are savings; imagine that! So, what’s your point in the whole column?
In the end, the competition suffers, because the parity NASCAR was aiming for never quite materializes, and the racing itself begins to suffer on the heels of test bans and crew reductions. In an earlier posting, I challenged this statement about parity. Also, who says the racing suffers? Is it quantifyable? Usually, statements like this fly with citations or references to validate matters of fact.
In the follow-up post, I don’t think we need complete parity in NASCAR-that was IROC’s gig. However, NASCAR seems to want at least the illusion thereof. Oh really? When did NASCAR ever say anything about seeking parity?
While we all can agree to disagree, the entire article is rife with comments that I’m not going to accept as “true”; opinions, yes, but lets also agree that there’re a lot of unsubstantiated statements and conclusions.
The rich get richer is a truism that has been around forever. It has, is and always will be that way. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t expect this principle to apply to NASCAR as well. I also don’t see how anyone could expect it to change.
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