Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
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.
Amy Henderson · Monday May 14, 2012
Looking for the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How behind Saturday night’s race? Amy Henderson has you covered with each week with the answers to six race day questions, covering all five W’s and even the H…the Big Six.
Who…gets my shoutout of the race?
After making a rather stealthy climb from his 21st-place start into the top 10, Joey Logano had a brush with the Turn 4 wall at Darlington Saturday night. Logano dropped out of sight with a bad tire rub, seemingly out of contention after the halfway point but the fourth-year Cup Series veteran was far from done. The youngster, who has won the last two Nationwide Series races and sits 15th in Sprint Cup points, made a steady climb back into the top 10, rising to tenth by the checkered flag. It seems three months after crew chief Jason Ratcliffe came on board and the team began an effort to build around Logano, the work is paying off: he has three top-10 finishes so far this year, none lower than 26th and sits within striking distance of the Chase. Compare that to 2011, when Logano had just one top 10 in eleven races, two outside the top 30 and sat languishing outside the top 20 in Sprint Cup points. Does Darlington’s success mean the young driver nicknamed “Sliced Bread” for his talent is finally hitting his stride?
What… was THAT?
After seven months peppered with near misses and a night wrought with fuel mileage drama, car owner Rick Hendrick reached a milestone that only one other team has ever reached: 200 Cup Series wins. Only Petty Enterprises has more with 268.
When Hendrick entered the Cup scene as a car owner, armed with the vision of a multi-car superteam in the 1980’s most rivals were single-car outfits. That model was not just a necessity, in most cases but the NASCAR ideal: two-car programs like Junior Johnson’s often ended with drivers fighting, not forging a partnership for success. Hendrick was told his concept would never click, yet the car owner committed to it, setting about proving the naysayers wrong. His first win as a car owner came at NASCAR’s oldest track, Martinsville Speedway, with driver Geoff Bodine in 1984. 28 years later, and 26 years after expanding into a multi-car operation, Jimmie Johnson delivered win No. 200.
In between, HMS has won races at 25 different tracks, with 15 drivers and 21 crew chiefs and has captured the most prestigious trophies on the circuit, including the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500, and Brickyard 400 race events. Hendrick has ten Cup championships as an owner with three different drivers (Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Terry Labonte) as well as multiple Nationwide and Truck Series titles, while his multi-car team model has become the gold standard in NASCAR today. Turns out that was some idea…
Where…did the polesitter wind up?
Greg Biffle set a blistering pace on his qualifying run, and early on in Saturday night’s race, it looked as though he’d be an all-night contender as he led twice for a total of 74 laps. However, as night fell with a bang over the Track Too Tough To Tame, Biffle’s fortunes faded along with his car’s handling. Biffle was able to hang in the top 10 for much of the latter stages, but when all was said and done, he was forced to settle for a 12th-place finish, at his worst when his rivals were at their best. The Ford driver still holds onto the points lead, but teammate Matt Kenseth is gaining, surging after a sixth-place effort on Saturday. Biffle’s lead shrank to just two points over Kenseth, though he gained a little breathing room over third-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who struggled to 17th and fell to 14 points off the pace.
When…will I be loved?
The Track Too Tough to Tame produced a race that was tamer than usual, but hotter heads prevailed on pit road after the race. Apparently, Kurt Busch, unhappy with Ryan Newman for a late-race tangle, bumped Newman’s car on pit road, igniting a scuffle between team members from the Nos. 51 and 39. That will likely lead to hefty penalties for Newman’s gas man, who bumped a NASCAR official trying to break up the fracas. Busch and Newman didn’t get involved in the physical fighting, but if NASCAR determines that Busch hit Newman intentionally on pit road, that will likely mean a penalty for the beleaguered driver as well. For Busch, 2012 is supposed to be a year of redemption after Busch’s behavior led to his dismissal from Penske Racing at the end of 2011. With just a one-year deal at Phoenix Racing, Busch may not have many bridges left to burn at this point.
Why…is Darlington called the Lady in Black, anyway?
Because that’s the color NASCAR’s grande dame wears after every race. The nickname comes from the tendency of drivers to run mere inches off the outside wall for the last 60 years. By the end of a race, the walls in the corners are coated with black from the tires as the cars earn their “Darlington stripes” by brushing the wall ever so lightly, lap after lap. The black marks often extend all the way through both turns and onto what is now the frontstretch. Running so close to the wall for 367 laps is truly racing on the razor’s edge, because of the enhanced risk taking that line poses. The high line at Darlington has always been the fastest way around, and to win after 500 miles of flirting with the Lady is one of the most prized accomplishments a driver can have in his career.
How…come so many people think caution free equals boring?
There’s been a bit of a back-and-forth recently between two factions of fans, as some have complained about the boring nature of long, green-flag runs. That’s left the media in a tough spot, forced to speculate if these critics would rather have manufactured cautions or lots of wrecks. But what I think it boils down to is a matter of perspective. Many race fans have a particular driver they pull for, and it’s possible that how that driver is faring colors their perspective on the race. If he’s not doing well, especially if another driver is dominating, perhaps a long green-flag run seems lackluster. Double that if the driver who is leading is one they have a dislike for.
Meanwhile, those arguing that the green flag racing winds up just as exciting might be watching with a broader perspective; rather than pinning their hopes on any driver, they’re watching the details. You can have a battle for 23rd place, one that goes on lap after lap without that ugly yellow flag interruption. Or how about a tenth-place driver picking off the competition, one by one, stalking each in turn and timing the perfect move? Because they’re watching with an eye for the whole picture, the picture they see is different. This view is also harder, if not impossible to see on the television broadcasts, so if you’re not watching from the stands at a track, you aren’t going to see it. That difference was palpable as I watched from the press box Saturday night; being there allows you to see racing you’ll never see or hear about, side-by-side action that makes 2012 seem far more exciting than it’s been portrayed.
There are, of course, other factors in this complex situation. But part of it is a matter of the perspective fans are watching from… and that will never change.
Connect with Amy!
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
True T.V. doesn’t do racing justis by not showing the racing in the “pack” but most often it’s better than what’s up front. See it live for your thrills no matter what type it is.
I was at the race in Darlington and it was amazing to see the race go green that long. Fascinating to watch in person. The problem though is that TV does a pretty terrible job of showing what IS interesting during GF stretches. At Darlington there was a lot of setups for passes but if the fans at home don’t get to see it, it appears boring. I could watch the action all over the track, so I enjoyed it more.
That said, at the BIG tracks where there is NO passing going on, I do lean towards it being boring. However, I don’t want NASCAR manipulating the race, not to manufacture excitement. Fix the blasted car and the tire issues, take some of the stupid rules OUT and let them race. NASCAR has become a victim of the law of unintended consequences with all of it’s rules.
On the issue of the media vs the fans, you need to add the “some” drivers vs the fans in this discussion as well. I don’t go to the track or watch races on TV to watch them wreck – never have, but I am also extremely annoyed with drivers, the media (both radio AND TV) and NASCAR itself, spending time disrespecting and insulting its fan base in the way they have over the past few years really, although over the past few weeks its been especially bad. DW started it, JJ got into the act and Stewart and Truex have jumped in. It costs quite a bit of money to go to a race. So why should I be happy to be insulted by drivers and the media if I say I’m disappointed in the product that I’ve paid for? Sorry, but if I buy something and I’m dissatisfied by it, I will contact the company and tell them my reasons.
Most of the time, the response will be “sorry you didn’t like it, how can we help?” NOT, you’re too stupid to know a good thing when you see it. Honestly would you buy that product again?
I’m already less interested in NASCAR than ever due to the chase, the brick on wheels, tires, the fact that the last 10 races are all that matter, the terrible TV coverage by ALL the broadcast partners, when you add to it abuse from the drivers, that is just the last straw.
Maybe they will all be happier when the fans simply don’t care enough to even complain any more?
Watch MLB ,NHL, NFL, or even the PGA on TV and you will actually see some semblence of what the sport is about. NOT SO WITH THE WAY FOX HAS RUINED THE TV COVERAGE. Stinking corporate greed on the part of FOX and it’s parent company is what is killing NASCAR. Why? Because that little imp Brian France has set a precedent of selling out to the highest bidder REGARDLESS of what it does to what is left of our “sport”. Think about this: Where is “professional” wrestling these days? Hmmmm. Keep treating NASCAR like a “show” Brian and watch the whole thing go where this “product” belongs….in the sewer.
I think the initial anger and ensuing confrontation between the Busch and Newman crews was over Kurt endangering many of the #39 crew members with his extreme burnout exiting his pit. The post-race pit road bump was a secondary issue.
I don’t care one way or another if the race is a crash-fest. What I WOULD like to see is the final 25 laps be caution free and we have an actual race to the finish.
It didn’t used to be this way. At the very least, I want stronger penalties for those who cause a crash just after the green-white-checker call. These are the some of the best drivers in the USA. The sport can’t get any respect if they drive like a drunken 16 year old.
Newman’s enraged out-of-control gas man has to be banned from all NASCAR tracks. That dude is a menace to society. It took four or five guys to hold him back.
The no caution thing is simple. If I am at the race I need a chance to use the restroom without missing a lot of laps. If I am at home watching on TV, the commercials have to be run during green flag laps and I miss a good chunk of the race. For me it is that simple.
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