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 · Sunday March 13, 2011
As the 2011 season has turned three weeks old, feel-good stories have abounded: 20-year-old Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 in just his second start, and for the storied Wood Brothers at that; Jeff Gordon breaking a 66-race winless streak in dramatic fashion after a side-by-side duel with Kyle Busch; the resurgence of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Daytona provided an exciting race marked by everything that makes a restrictor plate race, including a multi-car crash that took out, among others, the series champion; close racing; the draft (though in a slightly different form); and an unexpected winner. Phoenix provided action typical of a 1-mile flat track, with hard-fought battles throughout the field. Ratings are up, optimism is creeping in around the edges.
And then came Las Vegas. Ratings were still up, but the race was hardly a thriller, producing little on-track competition for the lead. The best racing was on restarts, and tires, not strategy, dictated much of the game plan. It was an okay race, certainly nothing to write home about, about on par for a 1.5-mile track.
And herein lies the problem.
At the heart of NASCAR’s modest upswing this year has been very good racing which has, in turn, produced some top-notch storylines. To continue the upswing, it would follow that NASCAR needs to continue to produce an exciting product. The problem is, the 1.5-mile tri- or quad-oval tracks don’t generally provide that.
There are a few notable exceptions, of course. Atlanta has certainly provided some excellent finishes, none finer than Kevin Harvick’s win by inches over Jeff Gordon just weeks after taking the seat left too soon by Dale Earnhardt in 2001. Charlotte has produced some memorable first wins, though the races themselves often haven’t been as compelling. But overall, the cookie-cutter tracks are to racing what the cookie-cutter multipurpose stadiums of the 1960’s were to baseball-practical because they can be used for more than one thing, but boring and uninspiring to a sport steeped in tradition.
Note to NASCAR: those awful round baseball stadiums are all but gone, replaced, in many cases, by ballparks inspired by tradition and looking like they could have been a part of an earlier, golden era.
To keep the great storylines and the unpredictability strong, NASCAR needs to consider a move away from the 1.5-milers being the core of the sport’s three national touring series. The regional series-K&N Pro East and West, as well as the Modifieds, run a variety of tracks, mostly less than a mile, and the races are great. They have multiple winners, exciting races, compelling stories.
It’s not that NASCAR should become a short-track series at its highest levels-there needs to be a variety of tracks to challenge the greatest stock car drivers in the world. And that isn’t the case right now. The 1.5-milers dominate the landscape to the point where the schedule plays right into the hands of a few select drivers who have been blessed with both the talent and the perfect setups required to win on these tracks. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting it right and winning races, that’s the point of it, after all. But it would be nice to see more of the tracks like Phoenix, Dover, Loudon, and the short tracks which present a much bigger challenge to the drivers because the car’s setup is secondary to a driver’s skill. The car still counts, but a real wheelman is what’s needed at these tracks. At the bigger tracks, handling and horsepower sometimes overshadow grit, passion and skill. Couple that with large margins of victory, and what you get is rarely memorable.
It wouldn’t have to happen overnight-in fact, it likely couldn’t. Several tracks aren’t ready for it. A track like Rockingham, should present management even wish to pursue NASCAR sanctioning, could easily support a truck race now, perhaps even a Nationwide event, but it would need massive renovation before being ready to host a Cup event. Still, it could be done.
Iowa Speedway already hosts some good truck and NNS racing-why not encourage the track to add the necessary seats and amenities by promising a future Cup date? Darlington already hosts a Cup race, and should most definitely receive another. Tracks like South Boston have hosted the Nationwide Series and could again. By giving existing tracks incentive to upgrade, NASCAR could also buy time to inform track owners that many of the 1.5-mile tracks will be reduced to a single date in the not-so distant future. Charlotte, perhaps should keep the second race because of the proximity to the teams.
The others? As a more raceable track comes along, phase them out. Darlington in Cup for 2012 perhaps, along with the Milwaukee Mile (that is reportedly now under new, stable management) and South Boston for Nationwide and trucks. The next step could be a truck race for Rockingham or even North Wilkesboro in 2013, an Iowa Cup stop in 2014-a slow and steady return to NASCAR’s roots in the form of old venues and new.
It would be easy to inform track owners and promoters that no new 1.5-mile tracks will be awarded race dates, thereby forcing their hand and making new builds produce more varied and creative racetracks. It wouldn’t be difficult to make a slow return to some old favorites, particularly in the Nationwide or truck series. The Cup schedule is trickier, but a slow turnover could happen over several years.
While it’s not a quick fix, bringing better racing to NASCAR is imperative for the health of the sport as a whole. While feel-good stories will fade over time, as fans can’t expect them each week, great racing will produce more of them. Maybe not every week, but more often than we get now, racing on the same type of racetrack for the vast majority of the year. NASCAR is racing, plain and simple-the product is what will keep the fans interested. A good product will naturally produce the great stories.
A commitment by NASCAR to pay homage to its roots and to the racing itself by giving fans a better product week in and week out would be the greatest story the sport could write.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
OK. Atlanta has fast racing and close finishes. Texas produced one of the best races of 2010. Kansas City is a good race. Kentucky is a wild card. The NW races there have been good. The Michigan race usually produces some water cooler moments (what was the last race Junior won?). Homestead has drama because it comes last.
In my mind the only two 1.5 mile tracks that are really mind numbing are Las Vegas and Charlotte and you propose that we leave two races at Charlotte (three when you count the All Star race)! Other mind numbing tracks are not 1.5 milers at all, but include Pocono and, dare I write it (?), Indianapolis.
I agree with you that there are too many tracks that produce boring racing. I disagree that 1.5 milers are the sole blame for the problem. It has become conventional wisdom that the 1.5 milers are the culprit which may be because the tracks they replaced were beloved of the old school fan. But, the races where I’m guaranteed to get a good nap are Pocono and Charlotte. I watch Indianapolis because I get caught up in the hype that it’s going to be a great race and I continue to watch year after year to no avail. Bruton Smith knows Charlotte is a stinker which is why he hires military battalions and giant robots to liven up the infield. I noticed show girls in the pictures from Vegas, so he probably understands he has a problem there as well.
I’d love to see another road course and another short track. Is there any reason why they can’t run a restrictor plate on a 1.5 miler? Maybe a conventional Charlotte in the fall and a restrict plate crash fast in the Spring. I don’t have the answers but I do know that the snooze fests are not the sole purvey of the 1.5 milers.
Yes!!….What he said!!
Great article, couldn’t agree more. Add a couple more road courses and you’ve got it. Cutting the schedule from 36 races to 30 or 31 would probably help the over saturation.
So people complain about the cookie cutter mile and a half speedways and want more short tracks. Now Phoenix is getting a makeover. Are they straightening the dogleg and making it a three-quarter or seven-eighths OVAL? No, they’re making it about a mile and a half tri-oval. Seems it’s Brainless at work again.
You have TOTALLY overlooked the obvious! Guess who owns those cookie cutter tracks we malign so much? ISC (International Speedway Corp.)! And who is ISC? NASCAR. Which is a long way of saying, that Jesus will be the Grand Marshall before any change is made.
I’ve seen some pretty good races through the years at Charlotte. Yeah, there have been a few stinkers, and Jimmie Johnson was given every break in the book when Lowes was the the track sponsor, but I wouldn’t say the racing there has been consistently bad. Also, though unrelated to the actual racing, the track has been among the most fan-friendly in Nascar, especially when Humpy Wheeler was running the show.
Thank you for the recycled story, Amy.
Michigan (2), Las Vegas, Texas (2), Kansas (2), Chicago, California, Charlotte (2) all provide terrible racing. That’s over 1/4 of the schedule
Reduce the schedule to 30 races, have only one race at each track currently on the schedule and give the remainder to places like Iowa, Rockingham, North Wilksboro and some other worthy tracks.
This would allow those tracks to keep their one race and allow other, more exciting tracks to be added to the schedule as well.
I don’t think we need to go to Michigan twice anymore, Charlotte 2 weeks in a row and Pocono twice in a month.
BZFrance had a chance to give the schedule an overhaul last year and dropped the ball again. Let’s hope he finally wakes up and makes some badly needed changes to the schedule and soon.
The problem with the cookie-cutters is not so much that they produce the same race every time—although they do—but the fact that they make aero more important than anything else, including driver skill. Short tracks and road courses test the driver more, and are better gauges of how good a driver can really race.
Something to consider when NASCAR talks about helping smaller teams, instead of just taking down the successful teams.
As usual, enjoyable races (both in person and on TV) are pretty subjective. None of what follows is an attempt to convert anyone to enjoy what I enjoy.I love watching the Cup, Truck and Indy races at Texas (where I am a season ticket holder). The NW races are interminably awful, and have been for the last…well, all of them that I have been to.
On TV, Pocono is easily in the top half for me. that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t enjoy them even more at a shorter distance.
the 2 road courses are pure awesomeness. Most of the tracks 1.33m or less are also excellent. The 1.5milers can vary widely. Chicago is arguably my least favorite race of the year. Michigan is almost always really awful for me to watch. Indy is not a good stock car track. Having 2 races at Kansas sounds like it may be a beating. I think I actually like California quite a bit with 1 race.
I’m not certain that I think that any tracks (except maybe Dega and Pocono) should be allowed to run the same configuration 2x a year. If that means dropping dupes and getting down to 30 race weekends a year, great. I’d love to see a 3rd or 4th road course. I’d like to see some sort of rotation where some tracks (on the same weekend in a year) run a NW race one year, and cup the next…or something.
Change is good. Make them run the road course at Daytona #2. It’s a pretty good course.
Drop these races!
I guess the money must be good there to keep a race, but the Brickyard at Indianapolis is an absolutely terrible place to watch a race. For all practical purposes, one can see only a snippet of the race, no matter the seat. I’m from Indiana, but I’ll not go back to a cup race there.
Now, the track at IRP at Indy, that’s something else—it’s awesome racing there. Better than Bristol, I think.
IRP better than Bristol. What kind of plants are you growing Old Farmer.
IRP is probably the worst short track on the NASCAR schedule. Historically, it is a one lane (for the leader) track where the passing up front is only done on Pit Road or on restarts.
It is better than the 2.5 mile track, but go to a real short track in the Midwest like Winchester or Salem.
Drop 1/2 the 1.5 milers and the second Michigan Race.
Add Iowa x 2, Rockingham, a 2nd Darlington, 1 North Wilkesboro and Nashville
Replace California with Irwindale.
If you are going to add another Road Course add Mid America.
Take the NW series back to Hickory, South Boston, Myrtle Beach and a few of the Modified tracks up North.
Run the Trucks at Concord, Rockingham, North Wilkesboro, Irwindale, etc
I have designed my own race tracks for the purpose of great racing and great entertainment. Also, I have them in big media markets as well because I believe in catering to big markets. I would want to knock down Chicagoland and Michigan and sell off whatever I can to help get these new tracks going. Here are my tracks and plans:
1. The .646 mile Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA, will receive a complete upgrade including 24 degrees of banking, an asphalt racing surface, and 100,000 seats. Also, the track is only 35 miles away from Seattle and will fill NASCAR’s void in the Pacific Northwest.
The Kansas Speedway will undergo a transformation to make itself respectable and competitive. I want to up the banking to 33 degrees in turns 1 and 2, and 31 degrees in turns 3 and 4. Other than that, the track will be left alone.
2. The Texas World Speedway will be coming back from the dead. TWS is a 2-mile oval track in College Station, TX, with 22-degree banking in the turns. Without aerodynamics and radial tires, cars can run lightning-fast, five-wide, and flat-out all race long here. This track hosted NASCAR eight Winston Cup Grand National races from 1969 to 1981, even serving as the season finale for the 1971 and 1972 Winston Cup Grand National Series. The only thing that will change is that the 23,000 seating capacity will be jacked up to 83,000. The winner of each race at the Texas World Speedway will receive The Texas World Cup.
3. The Meadowlands Racetrack in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ will be transformed into the Meadowlands Raceway. The new-Meadowlands Raceway will be a 1-mile oval track with 34 degrees of banking in the turns, 17 degrees of banking on the straightaways, and 100,000 seats.
4. The Bay Area Motorplex will be a 2.5 mile, D-shaped superspeedway somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area Motorplex will have 24 degrees of banking in turns 1 and 2, 22 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4, a concrete racing surface, and 100,000 seats. The Bay Area Motorplex will be a magnet to hungry race fans from the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market and crowd.
5. The Detroit Speed Plant will be a 3.0 mile, D-shaped oval track located in Detroit, MI with 35 degrees of banking in turns 1 and 2, 25 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4, and 15 degrees of banking on the dogleg frontstretch. It will have 125,000 seats and a hotel complex resembling a power plant in between turns 1 and 2.
6. The Minnesota Speedway will be a .875-mile circle race track, almost exactly like the old Langhorne Speedway. The track will also have 80,000 seats and 18 degrees of banking all the way around the track. The Minnesota Speedway will attract the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area, one of the largest in the country.
7. The New York Race Park will be a 1-mile race track with 75,000 seats. The race track will be shaped exactly like a baseball diamond, with four bases In addition, there will be 29 degrees of banking in 1st and 3rd base, and 21 degrees of banking in 2nd base and Home Plate, which is where the start/finish line will be located. This track will be close to Buffalo, NY, a good-sized market and crowd. Also, the New York Race Park will be designed and built exactly like a baseball stadium. One of upstate New York’s most famous institutions is the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. This track will be my personal tribute to the sport of baseball.
8. A brand new race track will be built just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana called the New Orleans Raceway. The New Orleans Raceway will be a 1-mile oval track with 33 degrees of banking in turns 1 and 2, 26 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4, and 80,000 seats.
9. The Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH, will be transformed into the Ohio Speed Dome. The Ohio Speed Dome will be a 80,000-seat, 0.535 mile oval short track near Cleveland, OH. This track will have 24 degrees of banking in all the turns, and will be the first climate-controlled domed race track anywhere. This race track will be my own personal homage to the game of football.
10. The St. Louis International Raceway will be a 1-mile race track with a D-shaped frontstretch like Richmond and a rectangular backstretch like Indy with 90 degree rectangular turns. The banking will be 30 degrees in Turn 1 and 25 degrees in Turn 2, with 15 degrees of banking spanning the entire front straightaway. The track will seat 80,000 and will garner the St. Louis market and crowd. St. Louis, The Gateway to the West, is now The Gateway to the Best, race track in the world.
11. The Chicago Motorsports Raceway is the last of my own tracks. It will be a 3/4 mile paper clip oval just outside of Chicago. There will be 90,000 seats, along with 29 degrees of banking in turns 1 and 2, 23 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4, and 10 degrees of banking on both straightaways.
12. Give Pikes Peak Intl. Raceway, Rockingham Speedway, and North Wilkesboro Speedway Cup races.
13. Finally, move Darlington back to Labor Day Weekend and keep it there until the end of time.
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