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 · Monday May 3, 2010
Watching Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Richmond was a bit of an eye opener for me. No, I didn’t see some young talent and wonder why a bigger team hasn’t picked him up. I didn’t see a series veteran taking the younger guys to school. Watching the race, I saw just how bad it’s gotten.
I’m not trying to fool myself; I’ve known for a long time that it’s bad. I guess I just didn’t want to believe it was this bad. Like a case of dry rot in the framework of a house, thinks look OK if you don’t look too closely, but after awhile, you can’t ignore the damage – and by then, it might be too late to fix it.
Since the Nationwide Series took on its current incarnation in the early 1980’s, there have been Sprint Cup drivers interloping. Just look at the record books: the name at the top of the list is Mark Martin. But what’s different these days is the frequency that Cup drivers are looking to pad their statistics with Nationwide Series wins and championships. That, and the money involved as they do it.
In the ’80’s and ’90’s, Martin was the exception, not the rule. He ran a good, solid percentage of the Nationwide (then Busch Series) races, but never a full season. And he was different from many of today’s Cup stars running the series in that his Sprint Cup owner was not always the one fielding his race cars. Martin ran for many years for owner Bill Davis, before Davis’ days of moderate success as a Cup team owner. He ran some of his own cars, too. Though Martin began driving for Jack Roush’s Cup operation in 1988, he did not run a single Nationwide race under the Roush banner until 1993. That’s different from today: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Brad Keselowski are racing the full Nationwide schedule funded by the same car owners who foot the bill for their Sprint Cup teams as well.
A fan pointed out to me in the comments to a recent installment of Mirror Driving that Martin, Dale Earnhardt, and a few others had a tendency to cherry-pick races, running only the most lucrative ones in the series. Now, that is true – the drivers picked their favorite tracks, or races that were most worth their while. But what was different was that they never ran for the season title, and they didn’t win every single week. Instead, the regulars won often enough that the series’ integrity was not compromised.
Even in Martin’s most successful season in the Nationwide Series, 1993, when he won seven times, the race results tell a different story. Not entirely different: half of the first ten races were won by Cup regulars Martin, Earnhardt, and Michael Waltrip. But the other five of those season-opening races were won by Nationwide regulars Robert Pressley, Steve Grissom, and Ward Burton, a trio with just two Cup starts between them prior to 1994. In the next ten races of that year, series regulars won six times, and of the final eight races, they won five. Of 28 races, series regulars won 16 times. That’s just not possible today. In 2009, Nationwide regulars won just five times in 35 tries, with four of those going to Brad Keselowski, running on Hendrick Motorsports’ nearly unlimited budget.
If a race is a microcosm of a season, the disparity is evident as well. In Friday night’s race, just two series regulars managed to post top-10 finishes among eight Cup regulars. In the spring race in 1993, though Martin won the race, the remaining nine positions in the top 10 were all series regulars. In fact, there were just five drivers who drove Cup full-time in the field, and only Martin and Terry Labonte finished better than 30th.
Let’s compare that to Friday’s race, where there were a dozen Cup drivers, a full third of the field, and eight of them finished in the top 10. Only two – both running on the limited funding of small-time teams – finished lower than 30th.
So while many try to bring up Martin’s record numbers, it’s just not the same. Prior to this decade, the series was a viable entity on its own. It crowned a champion from its own ranks (for the record, the 1993 Busch Series champion was Steve Grissom, driving for a family-owned team.) By 2010, the family-owned operation has all but disappeared as they are priced out of the market by Cup owners. Also, the series in those days did not have to rely on Cup companion races to draw an audience. Now, NASCAR claims that they need the companion events and Cup drivers to fill the seats. The unfortunate part is they have thoroughly (and probably irrevocably) destroyed the series in the process of shifting to that philosophy.
The sanctioning body decided they needed more companion races at about the same time the huge influx of uninformed new fans exploded onto the scene, and demanded to see the Cup drivers because they were the only names these fans bothered to learn. NASCAR raked in the money and threw away their integrity in the process.
Some Cup drivers were all for it. After all, there was more money, more wins to pad the stat sites, and more chances at winning a season title. And they threw away their integrity in the process as well. They claim to do it in the name of fun and racing, but the racers who really feel that way are fielding late models and dirt cars or running a few Nationwide or truck races at their most favorite tracks. You don’t see them running for a season title in a lower series. Another thing you don’t see is a single Cup champion trying to take the title in what was once a true development series with a few veterans thrown in for good measure. Whether it’s to fulfill some need for attention, to feed a hungry ego, or something else, I do not buy and never will that a single Cup regular is racing for the Nationwide title just for fun.
It’s a bit of a paradox, because while I don’t think that any one driver winning “too much” is the least bit detrimental to the Sprint Cup Series’ overall health, I firmly believe that Sprint Cup drivers winning all the time in Nationwide is killing the series. If it hasn’t gotten to the point of no return, it probably will soon. NASCAR had better start rowing as hard as they can in the other direction.
The Nationwide Series can be a healthy series on its own, with its own stars and its own champions. NASCAR’s refusal to make rules to ensure that and to market the series as such are puzzling. I have had a series veteran tell me point blank that the veterans look at the championship they once fought for “meaningless,” and a development driver who should be a series star, and who is driving for a Cup owner, tell me before the season even started that he had no realistic chance of winning the title. That’s not a healthy series, that’s a dying series, and NASCAR continues to turn a blind eye. I find it telling that while NASCAR.com lists Cup Statistics, I had to search high and low to find something as simple as the all-time winners’ list for Nationwide. Even NASCAR’s own media site doesn’t have them; there’s a menu for Nationwide statistics, but only a dead link for what should be relevant information.
A dead link for a dying series. A sad irony for another casualty of NASCAR’s popularity and the monster it created.
And another thing…
- Maybe it’s just me, but I found Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond to be one of the most disappointing of the season to date. The ending was written with 25 laps to go; surely, nobody thought there wouldn’t be a zillion cautions and that the ending wouldn’t be exciting only by their virtue?
- I’m looking forward to Saturday night’s race at Darlington… but does anyone buy for an instant that it’s actually the Southern 500?
- Finally, word is that the lawsuit by Kentucky Speedway to gain a Cup date has been put to bed. I bet Atlanta Motor Speedway let out a collective groan, as it’s likely they’ll lose a date to Kentucky in 2011.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Nascar and the tracks have hurt themselves with tickets prices also, I understand that these tickets cost more then my local short track, but when I’m paying the same price per lap or more for the Busch race as the Cup, I have a problem.
Nascar could also change start times of noncompanion races so the Cup guys could not do both. This would discourage drivers from racing for the championship and therefore racing in this series.
While Kyle might not be racing “just for fun’ as you say, he must somehow enjoy racing to do the Snowball 300, Anderson 400 and Winchester 400 just to name a few of the other races he does, I also believe he drove a truck for a couple years and did not get paid.
Let me first say I have never been a Mark Martin fan. I know this may be clouding my judgement. Does the “exception, not the rule” mean you would not have a problem if only 1 or 2 Cup guys were doing this instead of the 10+.
The 1993 season you used as an example had only 16 companion events and 11 of those were won by Cup guys, with Mark winning 7 of the 14 he entered.
While I also believe the Cup drivers are hurting this series, nothing will change until nascar does something and all they are worried about is the money they can make.
If this series would go back to the short tracks that helped build all of the nascar touring series they could grow and also allow the good young drivers the chance to be noticed.
I can’t believe we are still playing this same song. I for one don’t care how many Cup drivers are in the Nationwide Series; but for the people that don’t like it – NASCAR is the one responsible for allowing it; not the drivers. In fact, I think that in these economic times, the SPONSORS probably play just as big a role as NASCAR – they want more bang for their buck.
When does Danica come back to Nationwide?
Seriously though, Run the Cup race earlier and piggyback the Nationwide race shortly there after. Make each ticket worth a doubleheader of admission – therefore closer to the value of the price.
whats the deal with the dirt tracks at nascar tracks, the world of outlaws used to run these tracks, texas no longer runs the series, eddie gossage does nothing to promote the dirt track atTMS, the series was born in texas ,but since the death of founder Ted Johnson.Its used for an SMI parking lot during cup races. Use the track dummies….
This topic certainly is old news . And i can’t help but notice that the Frontstretch “ writers “ always give up any shred of credibility on these questions by referencing way back in the eightys . Cup drivers have entered the lower series in droves over the decades .
I still say it’s very simple to solve. The rule should be that a driver can only collect one paycheck per weekend. That way, if a cup driver wants to run a N’wide race, they can, but they don’t get the cool $50k for doing it. It wouldn’t fix everything immediately, but it would be a good start.
Mark Martin was the start of it all. I remember watching him in the “Busch” series at the time saying he doesn’t belong there. Much the way I say the same thing now about the Cup regulars.
I saw the start of the Nationwide race on Friday night and the crowd was pathetic. Watched about 10 more laps and then turned it to something more worth while. Nascar’s needs to re-examine their thoery that Cup guys in the series brings higher attendance. One might say it is doing the exact opposite. My view is that people are tired of the same people winning every week and will wait until Sunday’s to watch the Cup guys.
When will Nascar realize that the casual fan is not who they should be catering too. Its obvious by allowing so many Cup guys in the NW series that this is what they are doing.
It will take Nascar losing more money for them to wake up. As usual, its all about the money.
to start wcfan is apparently a kyle busch fan lol. if any one out there believes these drivers such as kyle busch arent in it for the cash they are sadly dilussional. i bet kyle is operating his truck team and driving it so it can lose money. the only reason other than money that these cup regulars run the lower series is to pump up an already oversized ego. when your a cup regular and you win the nation wide title its a joke. what not good enough to win a legitamate cup title? none of the past cup champions run for a nationwide title and they dont even run those races. but boy you take edwards, harvick, and busch they are all so proud that they could beat developement drivers week in and week out with their unlimited budgets oh what a proud moment that must be for them. look at me i cant compete for a championship in cup so i have to race for one down here. good job you are beating the developement drivers that are honing their trade. YOU LOOK LIKE A JOKE BOYS. its simple to solve if you want to race nationwide thats fine but you can only run one race per weekend. you pick
While I agree that in the 1990s drivers were more likely to “cherry pick” the races, that may not have been entirely true for Mark Martin. Earnhardt was sponsored by GM Goodwrench (a company with locations everywhere), Martin was sponsored by Winn Dixie, a south-east based grocery store chain. Winn Dixie would not pay to sponsor the car an entire season to see Mark race at New Hampshire where dont have any locations.
I agree, nationwide series is slowly dying thanks to the cup regulars coming in and taking all the winnings. Where is the incentive for a truck series team to move up to Nationwide when when they are going to be outspent 10-1 by Penske, JGR, and Roush?
With Budweiser leaving the 9 car that leaves them open to sponsor NASCAR’s top series (hear me out- I know this will NEVER happen)
With Budweiser sponsoring the top series in NASCAR this allows for the marketing possibility of “Bud Light.” Where Cup Drivers can select a 6-pack of races to moonlight in the lower series. (no more than 6) and whichever driver scored the most points in those 6 races wins the “Bud Light Trophy”.
For those of you that think I work for NASCAR marketing.. maybe I should. That’s a heck of an idea!!!!
I guess to some degree I have to agree that cup drivers need to stay in the cup races but,If they own there own team then why not race?? So to stop a lot of this BS Don’t let cup drivers run in Nationwide unless they own there own team?
I don’t mind seeing the drivers run two or even all three series . My friends and family don’t mind . It gives us a chance to see great drivers in action more than once per weekend . And as far as i know , the Nationwide drivers themselves don’t mind competing against the best . Not to mention the fact that if they run well against , or beat the Cup drivers , they get noticed by said Cup drivers and sponsors .
The Nationwide Series may be losing its identity as a AAA or feeder series… but it looks like a pretty good impression of what a lot of fans have been asking the Cup tour to be: many of the top drivers in the sport, who are running for wins instead of the championship. Shorter races ensure more action and less riding around conservatively for the first hundred or two laps. Lower budgets than in the Cup series. Greater manufacturer parity and, beginning later this year, resemblance (although not perfect, but a good step in the right direction) to actual stock automobiles. A point system that makes sense. And, of course, no six-car superteam! Make the Sprint Cup series more the Nationwide and you’ll resolve the ills in both series.
What was once the Busch Series is now the “Bush League” series. I’ve been calling out nas$car to do something about this for awhile. I don’t see anything positive coming out of situation. WHO WANTS TO WATCH CUP LIGHT? And Robin, with all the cup drivers dominating the “Bush” series, how do very good young drivers like Kligernan get better if they can’t get into real good cars” In it’s present incarnation, the series is unwatchable.
Ask Harvick, Jr., & Kyle B. (i know he’s an owner in the truck series) why they have to drive their own cars. They all have said on the record that it’s the SPONSORS that demand the name recognition a Cup regular can give them along with the assurance their BRAND will get TV time.
NASCAR has the power to control this by making rules to keep Cup regulars out of the races, and declare it a true “minor league” series. Incredibly, they don’t seem to understand (or care) that not doing so is causing fans to leave in droves. They claim Cup drivers are putting fans in the seats, but really they are appeasing the owners and sponsors who likely (and wrongly) tell them the series will die without those drivers.
Like most businesses, it’s not just one bad decision that sinks the ship, but a string of missteps that put her under. History will show a certain France managed to take a business on a giant upswing and run it right into the ground.
But what really continues to amaze me is that nobody in the France family is smart enough to recognize what’s happening and make a move to right the ship with the only thing that will save her. NEW Leadership!
Midas, there are plenty of good young drivers in the Nationwide series that are connected to the major teams – Justin Allgaier (4th in points) driving for Penske with Verizon as sponsor (for the whole season); Trevor Bayne (MWR), Colin Braun (Roush), Steve Wallace (RWR), James Beuscher (Phoenix Racing)and they are all in “good” cars. So I still don’t buy the fact that the CUP drivers are pushing out all the young talent.
Dig a hole and cover it up, it stinks!!!!!!
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