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 November 6, 2009
With it looking all but carved in stone that Danica Patrick will be joining the NASCAR ranks, there are many things NASCAR is happy about. First and foremost, they are getting a female driver who is competitive on her own skills; and let’s face it, one who looks like Danica can’t hurt. She’s certainly one of the best in the country at driving an open-wheel car, and this lends legitimacy to a campaign that has rarely been successfully completed in the past. She’s already a high-profile household name despite never having raced in the nation’s premier stock car series. It seems like a perfect fit. So, just one question.
Does NASCAR really need Danica Patrick?
At first glance, maybe they do. Ratings are falling faster than a bowling ball dropped out of an airplane, and there’s not much new or exciting to keep fans engaged. Perhaps they need the gimmick of a female driver who is certainly not afraid to flaunt anything – and I don’t just mean her ego. Perhaps a competitive female driver will capture the female demographic better than a male rookie might. Perhaps this, perhaps that.
Or perhaps, Danica needs NASCAR more than NASCAR needs her.
The IndyCar Series, by and large, doesn’t garner the audience that a NASCAR event does, with the possible exception of that one race in May. And Danica… well, Danica likes an audience. The bigger the better. And she’s shown that she’ll go to great lengths to get it, including spreading her body over the hood of a car wearing less than a firesuit. The NASCAR spotlight provides that for her.
Patrick is also… um, temperamental. Think Kyle Busch, but with estrogen. And while NASCAR needs character, they might not be ready for a driver as pugnacious as Patrick has shown herself to be. She’s been front and center for a couple of very public skirmishes in Indy cars – a catfight shouting match with Milka Duno, and a purposeful storming down pit road to confront Ryan Briscoe after a crash that she determined to be his fault. There was also the temper tantrum caught on her in-car camera after one spinout, when the emergency workers had the audacity to tend to other drivers first. (Patrick was unhurt and simply needed a push.) On closer inspection, Danica Patrick makes Kyle Busch look like Gandhi.
Most NASCAR fans don’t warm up to a whiner, and Patrick can whine with the best spoiled three-year-old and Kyle Busch – at the same time.
Is Danica Patrick a good racer? Well, yes. She is. She’s a constant top 10 threat in the IndyCar Series, and it’s not because other drivers lay over for her. She’s solid and aggressive, and she fears no man or woman on the track. Don’t try to intimidate her. Provided she can learn stock cars, she will be competitive, especially in the top-flight equipment she’ll get from Hendrick Motorsports — whose partnership with JR Motorsports, the organization for which Patrick will officially drive — assures her the best money can buy. She’s getting winning race cars, and there is no reason to believe that she won’t be competitive in her ARCA and NASCAR events.
But is Patrick good enough for NASCAR to bend the rules for? Apparently, she is, as the sport is allowing her to make her national touring series debut at Daytona — something that as recently as a last week, simply wasn’t allowed. Remember seeing Robert Richardson, Jr.’s name in the race results at Talladega? That wasn’t Richardson’s plan. He had planned to make his first attempt at Daytona in February 2010, but was told he had to make the Talladega start because the sanctioning body didn’t allow drivers to debut at Daytona. Yet here were are, a few days later, and it’s OK for Danica Patrick. Maybe she’s really that good, but the cynic in me wonders if NASCAR would have allowed Scott Dixon or another male IndyCar driver the same dispensation. Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr., both IRL champions (something that Patrick is not), did not make their NASCAR debuts at Daytona. Tony Stewart was allowed, but Stewart had driven some form of stock cars before – Patrick has not. Stewart was the reigning IRL champion at the time – Patrick is not. So is NASCAR bending a rule designed for the safety of the drivers because Patrick is a decent IRL driver… or because she’s a female IRL driver?
I do wonder if NASCAR would be salivating over the prospect of Patrick if she was a male driver. Her aggressive nature and attitude are a whole lot more Robby Gordon-esque than some people would like – not exactly endearing to race fans. And while many fans give lip service to the need for a “bad boy” (or girl), most of the bad boys aren’t very popular. They get booed. They get reviled. They get called names. Most of them don’t mind – it’s attention, after all, and it gets their sponsors on TV. But just like there are nice male drivers out there, there are nice, talented females, too. Chrissy Wallace comes to mind, and she’s actually eligible to start at Daytona, having made her Talladega debut last week.
Again, perhaps NASCAR does need Danica Patrick to a certain degree. She’s young, talented, and exciting, and with the decline in interest, she could be a quick fix in the short run, making casual or discouraged fans watch a few races in 2010. But that also comes with a caveat, as Patrick is also inexperienced in stock cars and has an attitude that makes an angry Yeti look like a pet kitten. Meanwhile, NASCAR has a young, talented, exciting, and bad attitude in Kyle Busch – and he’s experienced in the cars. They aren’t getting anything new in Danica Patrick, and once the novelty wears off, will her attitude wear thin? And if it does, is NASCAR any better off than they were before she walked into Daytona?
Patrick, on the other hand, needs NASCAR. She’s no longer a novelty in the IndyCar Series, and no longer garners as much television coverage as she once got simply for being in the field and running reasonably well. But she’ll get attention in NASCAR, and the TV time to go with it, whether she runs well or not. And since she’s already in the catbird seat with an array of built-in excuses – rookie, new to stock cars, raced too aggressively because she’s a female – if she doesn’t run well, that means she’ll have the ability to get more attention than she’s ever had if she does.
It could be a win-win situation, but it looks like one party is the real winner here. And in the long run, that might not be NASCAR.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Being a woman myself, you would think that I would be absolutely thrilled that a female driver is going to be in NASCAR – but, not so much. While I applaud her for making the effort (and let’s face it, her venture into NASCAR is about money & marketing), I do not believe women belong in this sport. I love the sport because I love watching MEN drive every Sunday, not women. I still have my doubts that a woman would be able to wheel a 3,000 lb. vehicle around the track with the big boys.
I don’t care if women get into races or not, but it should be based on skill and not being in an SI spread or sleeping with the boss.
Many drivers have debuted at Daytona — after having ARCA experience there. Which is the likely plan as reported in other articles this morning.
I see some deep issues with Danica coming to stock car racing, i.e. NA$CRAP!
First, her followers in the IRL open wheel series are a different bunch, and have a different mind-set/life style than a “NA$CRAP” fan! Two TOTALLY different groups in fact!
The question is, actually two questions:
#1) will Danica have the power to bring her fan base to stock car racing? Me thinks not!
#2) will the current NA$CRAP fan become enamored with a female driver, COMING OUT OF OPEN WHEEL RACING? Again, me thinks not!
Sure, it will give both more exposure (oops, did I really say that?)but only on a very limited and short term basis.
The only one’s that win are the sponsors that get to use her name!
And of course Danica herself taking home the cash!
We will see! We will see!
Jumping the gun a bit aren’t you ? Neither Danica or NASCAR has announced that she is racing next year .
I’m a female and I would like to see a woman driver but she isn’t the best representative of a female driver. She is all about her “brand”, everything is her “brand”, this is racing. She needs to get over herself. She thinks she can jump in the car and be great immediately, I don’t think so.
as for Mark’s comment “Just like Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya she is only looking to try another type of racing , not build a career .” Tony and Juan Pablo have come to nascar and created a career for themselves, separate from their open wheel careers. if she isn’t coming here to have a different career but to play why do we need her for?
Nascar needs Danica more than Danica needs Nascar. Especially in the NW series. That series has no identity due to old school fans turning off their tv sets due to the Cup domination of that series. This will give people another reason to watch.
Do I think she will be a successful driver in a stock car? Right now, I don’t think so. Driving a stock car is alot different than driving an indy car. I am, however, willing to give her a chance.
So we have another part time driver in the Nationwide series who will soak up any sponsors that might be left and will go home with a lot of race money. It really does stink to be a non-big team owner in any NASCAR series.
There will be a slight jump in general interest for the first few races; another bump if she wins. Regardless of her results, I cannot see any additional viewers (i.e. the general public) sticking around after a few races. Once September rolls around and the mighty NFL returns, the ratings will be back to normal.
I cannot see Danica ever becoming a full time NASCAR driver – and that statement has nothing in regards to her talent. The IRL season is 17 races which leaves a lot of time for a person with other interests. Compare that to NASCAR’s (ridiculous) season (36 races + pre-Daytona week + week for the All Star) and I don’t see the NASCAR grass being that much greener.
Danica Patrick coming to nas$crap is exactly about what nas$crap has become over the last 5 years or so. Nothing against Patrick, but this more about PR than racing. Winning doesn’t mean as much anymore. Just Ask Kyle Busch. 4 wins and he doesn’t make the chase. I’d rather see someone like Alli Owens get a chance with the same equipment that Patrick will get. Once again this is not a knock on Patrick. It’s about the rudderless ship that nas$crap has become. Bland, just bla nd.
I was watching the Busch series back in the ’90s following Shawna Robinson and hoping she could make the jump to cup. Patty Moise was also racing around that time, but I thought Shawna had more talent. Females are nothing new in Nascar, but none has made it to the top series in any full time successful manner. Nascar wants to take Danica and move her to the top of the class in a desperate bid for ratings and sponsors, and they are both using each other to further their own goals.
Nascar should look to the NHRA on how to do it. Ashley Force and Melonie Troxil are just drag racers first, and hot females second. The NHRA does not go out of their way to push them off on the fans, but lets the on track action promote them. Shirley Muldowny blazed the trail back in the ’70s and ’80s, and the NHRA did it right.
I’m afraid when and if Danica makes it to cup it will be all Danica and all Jr. all the time.
You won’t see much interest in her beyond Daytona next year until she gets to Sprint Cup. Her novelty has already worn off with the extensive coverage of her first Indy start a couple of years ago.
You’ll see a bump in ratings at Daytona because people are curious to see if she can perform. After that only the core Nationwide fans will continue to watch. I wouldn’t be depending on her to fuel growth in the Nationwide attendance or ratings.
Once she gets to Sprint Cup you’ll see some major press coverage, but unless she is successful right out of the gate the fact she is a female will become a non-issue much like it was with Shawna Robinson.
you said she is tempermental? Wow that’s an understatement! She can throw a tantrum, cry, stomp her feet and grab other drivers better than anyone! Face it, she is getting a shot (and has kept her job) sole-ly based on her looks. If her name was Daniel Patrick, she would be changing tires somewhere.
I cant believe some of the crap I see here. Danica will make it or not make it based entirely on her ability to make the transition from an open wheel car to a Nascar car just like any other driver coming over from another discipline. Anything else is simply biased speculation. I would remind those of you who think a woman cant make it because of her gender that Janet Guthrie finished 15th in the the Charlotte 600 in 1966. She had some good finishes in other races too, an eleventh at Bristol I think. Spare me “cars were easier to drive” crap. Anyone who saw those 7 litre stockers of that era knows they were a handful.
for those complaining about this being about marketing. i would say half the cup field today have their rides today based on marketibility. you think casey mears or jamie mcmurray would be around for as long as they have been if they weren’t marketable?
robinson did make the jump to cup. guess you weren’t following that closely. matter of fact it was here at texas where she almost killed dale jr.
I guess I should have qualified my statement of hoping Shawna would make the jump to Cup as saying; I was following Shawna Robinson back in the ’90s and had hoped she could have made the move to Cup with a full time ride while she was in her prime and before she left racing to start a family.
How Kool Aid can say she made the jump to Cup when she only ran 1 race in 2001 and 7 in 2002 with underfunded teams is beyond me. The time for her to move to Cup would have been back in 1994, but another year or so in Busch with a decent ride would have been even better.
how many races does one have to run for it to be considered a “jump” into cup? did you read anything else interesting about her on wikipedia?
what did she do that was so impressive that you hoped she would land with a solid cup team?
Money hungry attention whore. And then there’s Danica. What a pair NA$CAR and her will make. Maybe she can teach JJ how to stomp down pit road after his loss of attention. That will give him some personality.
Nascar needs a female driver, or three, who comes to through the ranks with the sole intent of being in Nascar. That will generate real, long-term interest from new and old fans alike.
Guess they never taught the metric system where you went to school mkrcr. :)
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