NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
The Chase is terrible, the races are boring, and NASCAR doesn’t care about the fans. While all of these may be true to a degree (ok, so maybe the Chase sucks a LOT), the complaints do make something for the media (I think that’s me) to talk about. But the race fan in me, the part that made me pursue a somewhat thankless career to begin with, wonders why the people complaining still watch. Seriously.
Wait. A lot of the time, I’m one of the people complaining.
So, why do I watch, then? Why does anyone? What’s left after the complaining is done? I can only speak for myself, but there are still enough reasons left to make me stay. Like…
…the drivers (and crew chiefs, and crewmen). It’s not their fault the sanctioning body is headed by a greedy little man. I don’t aways support NASCAR but I sure as hell support these guys. There is truly something for everyone here. Whether you want to pull for the nice guy, the bad boy, the local kid, or the underdog, there is a driver that every fan can be drawn to. You can pick a driver who has multiple championships or one who has never won a race. Or one of each, like a certain writer who will remain nameless. There is a reason you see virtually every driver on a t-shirt at any given track on any given weekend. Spend a little time forgetting their corporate personalities and learning their real ones—it’s well worth it, even if you decide the guy is…well, not who you had hoped. After all, a villain makes the hero seem even sweeter. If nothing else, be duly impressed by their heart and desire—the fire that burns deep in every one of them, from the guys with more trophies than they know what to do with to the ones with empty shelves—they all have a deep, burning passions for what is often a thankless sport. Thank them.
…the moments. While many races don’t have numerous lead changes or a finish with two cars banging off each other, most have a moment where you want to stand up and cheer—it might be your guy making a move into the top 5. It might be the guy fighting to stay in the top 35 in owner points passing his rival. It could be a spectacular save of a car so sideways it looks like it’s on a fast trip into the wall. Perhaps it’s seeing a driver emerge, intact, from the smoking rubble of a horrifying crash. Not every moment is a winning moment, and if that’s all fans are looking for, not only are they never going to be satisfied, but they’re missing some amazing things. Once upon a time, races routinely ended with fewer than five cars on the lead lap and the leader checked out so much that the second place guy couldn’t see his back bumper. It’s better than that now, but you still have to look for the really good parts.
…the history. I’ve been a fan for a dozen years, a long time by many new fans’ standards, but not long at all to the old school fans who had the good fortune of seeing Petty and Pearson in their primes on tracks of all varieties across America. Those days are long gone, but I love to read all I can about them. I enjoy learning about the drivers and the tracks that I never saw. There is so much to be learned about this sport, so much to wish you could have seen, so much to wonder if you’ll ever see anything like it again. It’s a colorful history, wrought with winning and losing, cheating, and guys ending up naked in swimming pools. It seems as though guys ended up naked a lot back in the day. Perhaps it’s too bad that the days of the elaborate practical joke are, with the intense media scrutiny of the 21st century, a thing of the past. You saw the drivers’ personalities back then; you never had to search for them.
…the hunger. There is nothing like talking to a young driver who is fighting his way up the ranks. There is a passion, a raw hunger in them all that makes you want to pull for them. It’s what made 17-year-old Ryan Truex win a regional touring title. It’s what makes guys like Jarit Johnson patch together a car and go race at their local tracks, maybe in NASCAR’s regional series, all on their own dime without the dollars and trinkets of the top divisions. Spend a little time in the Camping World East or Whelan Modified Tour garage and you’ll see what I mean. The hunger is almost palpable, and those teams are much more in the moment than the Cup teams—sometimes that week, that race is all there is. There might be more if it goes well. If it doesn’t…well, it just has to go well…
…the sound. There is nothing in the world that moves my soul like the sound of 43 perfectly tuned engines straining, crying for release as they come to the green flag, except for the moment they are turned loose and cry together in full song. It’s angry and hungry, mournful and beautiful. It’s the moment you can hear when someone’s engine is missing or down a cylinder and the throb of the best horsepower in the field making it sound easy. It’s a primal music that makes your chest ache with its intensity.
…the hope. I can’t rightly say that NASCAR has never tried. Two ideas on the table right now are an attempt to make things better for fans and teams. While I don’t agree with two-day weekends, I can see why they would be a boon to many teams. And earlier, universal start times would make following the races easier for the casual fan (no more wondering what time this week’s race is!) and the diehard alike (home from church, watch the race, dinner with the family on Sunday—a lost tradition that may make it back. Hopefully NASCAR will hear the fans’ voice more in coming years—start times are…er, a start. Perhaps schedule changes and other fan-friendly ideas could follow. The frustration of fans is that this should be our sport—and NASCAR often takes that. Perhaps the hope is false, but as hope does, it springs eternal. I’ll always hope for more. Always.
So call me a wide-eyed optimist, but I still love racing. For me, seeing what can be fixed is frustrating, and that’s where the venting of complaints is born. It’s not that I don’t love it or don’t want to be there—it’s that I do and I want it to be right again. The moment I don’t have that hope, that optimism, is the day that I should and will walk away. But for now, there’s still enough. I’m still hungry, too.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Amy, Great article, maybe this will explain to all the people who wonder why we watch. Why we watch. I also agree about the 2 day weekends, I know it would be tough to pull a camper 1000+ miles for a 2 day show. And need the earlier start times so fans can get home for work the next day.
I’m one of the “Cool Kids” that have (Had) followed the sport for well over 30 years, and back in the day we were not seen as cool. Nascar was built on the backs of us not so cool kids back in the day, and we paid our dues by being looked down upon as redneck trash with grease under our fingernails and 20w-50 running through our veins.
We had to wade through ice skating and log rolling on Wide World of Sports to catch a glimps of stock car racing that was taped a week earlier, but bygod the racing was real and the wait was worth it. Then came ESPN and the heavens opened up and we were showered with live Nascar racing every week, and the focus was on the RACING. Not the inflated head egomaniac announcers like are now on Fauxsports, but real honest to God experts on the sport just telling it like it was.
The cars were still rather stock and had actual production based engines (although highly modified)and had to fit a FACTORY based template for the brand of car, not a one template fits all cookie cutter cars of today.
Times were good in the land of Nascar, maybe too good, and soon the titans of television decided they could put lipstick on the pig of Nascar and sell it to the masses. All the sudden I was the apitamy of Cool with a capital C and Nascar had gone Hollywood Hotel.
No more was the focus on racing as soon as the Madison Avenue types learned that young pretty boy drivers would pull in the 13-35 year old female demographic. Play up Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. seems to be the new marketing strategy put forth by the television partners. Put a tragic but funny clown in the booth to yuck it up and draw in the casual fan by being a hipster dufass. Market reasearch shows the masses love funny sad clowns.
Then came the final blow, the third generation of the founding family of Nascar took the reins and proved the axium correct that the founder starts the company, his first heir steps it up and grows the company, while the third in Chris Farley fashion destroys everything that came before. Nascar under his watch has dropped racing at storied old tracks in favour of the 1.5 mile shamwow venues, introduced the spec car and engine package, and for a hefty fee let in a foreign manufacturer. It is my opinion that the spec car and engine is a result of the money poured out to B.Z.F. and Nascar by Toyota as they had nothing that would have been allowed on the track under the old chassis and engine rules.
So there you have it. This Cool kid has moved on, and I do not watch Nascar racing anymore. I will surf over to the race once in a while but that is it. I do still check out Jayski and Frontstrechto see what’s going on and see the reactions of the other disgruntled fans, but thats the extent of my following Nascar now. I bitch, and I do not watch. I feel my 3 decades plus of being a fan give me the license to complain and not watch the “product” anymore.
The moments and The hope…exactly. Those of us who haven’t quite given up on Nascar as like the kid on his birthday shoveling thrugh the pile of manure mumbling, “There has to be a pony under here somewhere.”
I could deal with the endless commercials, the annoying restrictor plate racing and other things, but the chase is by far NASCAR’s absolute worst innovation. And yes, I’m partly saying that as a Jeff Gordon fan. NASCAR has replaced college football as the sport with the dumbest method of determining a champion.
I agree with most all of your points though, if the leadership would ensure the safety of the drivers as best as possible and beyond that leave it the hell alone, things would have been fine.
One thing keeps me watching at this point and that is loyalty to my driver NOT NASCAR. Once my driver retires I will be re-evaluating the importance of NASCAR in my life. There are many degrees of being a fan. Maybe it means I will stop watching qualifying and practices and only watch the races. Maybe it will mean that I only watch the races that usually produce interesting races (you know the list). Maybe it just means that I will stop planning my Sundays around NASCAR and if the opportunity arises to do something else, I will. The point is NASCAR can not assume they have me in their back pocket – I will not allow that.
As for what my biggest gripes are, first would be the chase, second the COT, and third the cheesy way in which the sport is presented by the networks.
WOW! WOW! WOW!
Nice article Amy, and the comments that follow!
OUTSTANDING, particularly by “Bad Wolf”.
May the “RACING GODS IN HEAVEN” read the above!
My story, part of it anyway, is I have followed racing since the mid-50’s! A VERY LONG TIME!
I have seen virtually ALL forms of motorsports evolve. And the “evolution” of NA$CRAP has resulted in the ABSOLUTE WORST FORM OF RACING!
Back-in-the-days, I managed a company that afforded me many opportunities. Some of those opportunities included a certain “entertainment” budget! Folks, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I would buy a shi*-load of tickets to (particularly) Talledega, Atlanta, Michigan, North Wilkesboro, Watkins Glen, and at times even Daytona. Then I would rent Vans/Motorhomes and take along a bunch of both employees and customers, hopefully those that had never been to a “real race”, and a BIG track!
And oh what excitement it was! 43 cars, 200+ (at Dega’), feeling the wind being pushed thru the stands by the cars, and never, ever hearing anything but how exciting the day was!
And then along came King Brian!
Oh well, y’all know the rest of the story.
And in closing, yes, I used to be “loyal” to some of the drivers, but once they started toeing the company line (remember the special drivers meeting at MIS) telling the drivers to SHUT UP?! Well, that changed everything!
Once the drivers clammed up, and decided that money was more important than having a good race car, the ball game changed!
At that point, and exactly at that point, the drivers as a group became nothing more than paid entertainers, they ceased to be “RACE CAR DRIVERS”!
And I would be remiss if I did not congratulate Dale Jr. for bringing this subject up once again at MIS this year, but did you notice only one other driver stood in his defense? And this story did not get a lot of press, mostly because most media outlets bow to King Brian!
Just simply don’t really know if I will EVER buy even a single ticket to a NA$CRAP event!
Well said, Amy. This article and all comments (even yours, Douglas!) up to now pretty well sums it up for me. I’ll probably watch the sport until I die but never with the passion I once had for it.
Amy, darn good article, but you forgot to mention one very important reason that I, and hopefully others, still watch … camaraderie … getting together with friends every weekend to watch the race, whether it be on tv or live at the track. There is nothing better than a houseful of NASCAR fans, all cheering for different drivers, eating, drinking and forgetting, if only for a few hours, that the world is in a mess, that unemployment is rampent in the U.S. and the government is screwing the little guy. For those few hours, we get to have fun; be it whooping or bitching about the race/driver/tv coverage/whatever. That is why I still watch.
Great article, Amy, but like bad wolf, it’s too late in my case. I’ve been a nas$car for more years then I care to count, but it’s become an afterthought. I still change the channel once in a while to check on a race, but follow the leader races on follow the leader tracks just don’t cut it. I’m watching football now and God forgive, golf. That’s how much Brian“s butchering of nas$car has affected me and a whole lot of others. Even the mass exodus of fans doesn’t seem to get through his thick skull. He lives in a bubble and nas$car is his toy.
To BadWolf and TheTurnip, I hear you loud and clear. How did we get here from there. Once you’ve had the best it’s hard to accept anything else. Change can be good, and it can be a disaster. That’s what Nascar has become.
Hey Ginger, your “How did we get here from there.”
Two words: BRIAN FRANCE!
TRUE: I have not watched a chase race since the chase began.
I’ll watch the NFL.
Most tracks in the chase bore ths snot out of me. And now we have Kalifornia? Please.
Mick – I totally agree about Autoclub Speedway being in the Chase – it shouldn’t be. The racing is way too dull. That said – I’ll be there next Sunday. But what really is a pi$$er is that ACS had a plan to tear up the turns and raise the banking to 23 degrees, but ISC (read that the France family) won’t pay for it. They’re too busy paying for a new headquarters for ISC in Daytona Beach. Great – a new headquarters over a much-improved track. At least Gillian Zucker is trying to make improvements at ACS. She just doesn’ have much to work with, and ISC isn’t helping at all.
Kevin in SoCal – nine days ‘til race day!
Hey Bill B, I couldn’t agree with you more. I host most of the NASCAR races at my house because it’s big and I have a rather large NASCAR room. When friends stop over for the race I have Gordon,Jr., Shrub, Johnson, Harvick, Newman, Edwards, Kahne and even Allmendinger fans at my place. All those different voices cheering for their own driver and cursing the others … it’s a blast. With NFL, MLB or even our beloved Red Wings here in Michigan, you only get two (if that) sets of fans watching those sports. But I agree, if things keep up as they are, NASCAR will be number 2 on a lot of fans’ tv’s.
Hey Michael! I cant wait either. As I’ve said before, and even Amy said above, its about the horsepower to me, the sound of 43 cars screaming down the frontstretch at 150+ miles per hour. Last time I went I was in turn one, when the cars were braking, so I only got to hear the music on restarts. This time I’ll be just past the start/finish line, so it should be much louder!
And I like the Chase. I’d much rather have the Champion not decided until the last race, rather than knowing who just has to put it on cruise control for the last 5-10 races.
And as far as Fontana being boring, I dunno what else can be said. I dont think they can repave the track with 23* banking or else the speeds will be too high. Michigan is at 18* and they’re already at 205+ on new tires. Perhaps a variable banking from 14* on the bottom, 16* in the middle, and 18* on top would help the racers be side by side?
Lastly, Fontana in October is a heck of a lot better than on Labor Day, right? Be thankful Brian wised up on that idea.
What about moving Bristol and Fontana? Then you’d have Bristol in the Chase. But I think fans would start choking on their tongues from the “boredom” of Michigan and Fontana in a row.
Why doe we still watch? Well, I don’t watch near as much as I used to.
I had to pay for my infield space at Charlotte Motor Speedway by September 30th or loose it. I let it go. It’s the passing of an era for me; I’ve had that space since about 1990. Now some “young gun” who thinks Jeff Gordon is old school and never saw Ernie Irvan or Alan Kulwicki or Tim Richmond race a single lap will be in my old infield space rooting for some young driver like Joey Logano or Brad Keselowski. The sad thing is, I don’t think I’m gonna miss it much. Brian France’s Nascar just doesn’t excite me.
NOW I’M PIS*ED!
You see my new nic?
Well folks, came in for lunch, turned on the TV, low and behold practice was on! At almost the exact moment I turned this channel on, they were in the process of showing Logano’s tumble down the track!!
And, (I think) it was Larry McReynolds, that NA$CRAP shill, saying congratulations to NA$CRAP for designing the POS!
And his comment was “job well done”!
SAY WHAT YOU LOWLIFE?
Joey took the easiest of tumbles down the straightaway, hitting NOTHING!
And all I have heard all week is how GREAT the COT is, and how very safe!
Folks, that is SICK commentary!
I, yes, I! have rolled a Mini-Cooper 13 times!
13 times! Repeat after me! 13 times! With only a simple SCCA mandated roll cage!
AND I WALKED AWAY!
Out of breath? Yes, wondering what happened? Yes! Any idea I went over that many times? NO! (actually seemed like just a couple of times, but the mind takes over)!
My point? Glad you asked!
DON’T BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE ON HOW SAFE THE POS IS, BASED ON JOEY’S LITTLE EPISODE! And how great a race car it is!
That was the simplest and the easiest of rollovers!
And I am fully convinced, if the damn center of gravity was not sky high in the POS, he would not have rolled but maybe one time!
Stop believing this NA$CRAP publicity!
THE POS IS JUNK!
If we believe all that, then we ALL are DUMB AS A TRUCKLOAD OF TURNIPS!
Bad Wolf your comments tell the story to a T.
Bad Wolf,You are right on the money.Well said.
I’m old enough to know that just about everything used to be better – as I remember it. I’m convinced the racing on the track is much better than the racing being broadcast – but most of the media won’t say that since then they’d have to criticize EESPN and almost no one does that.
Everyone who criticizes the COT (which isn’t perfect) seems to forget when Monday & Tuesday after each race years ago was filled with drivers b**ching & moaning about how another make had an unfair advantage and then came the complaining about the dreaded aero push. Cup racing hasn’t been perfect since they did away with the Superbird and may never be again- but it dead d*** sure beats 2nd place.
Bad Wolf, as far as I’m concerned, You Said It ALL!
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