NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Friday June 28, 2013
Last weekend’s race at Sonoma left race fans with plenty to talk about: an unexpected face in victory lane; crashes, some intentional, others just crazy (how often do you get mashed-up cares on pit road…before the field even rolls off?); strategy; road course ringers. It was, all in all, an enjoyable race. But perhaps of equal significance, it was an enjoyable race broadcast, something which, judging by recent ratings, is not something you see every week.
And here’s the kicker…it was a great broadcast, maybe the best of the year, simply because there were fewer gimmicks, fewer of the camera shots that fans have been forced to become accustomed to..and more of the race. That’s all. TNT didn’t alter the number of commercials (and sure, that area needs some work. They’re a smaller network than FOX and have to pay for the races somehow, so that’s just a tough call) or the voices in the booth (a category in which they already beat FOX by a country mile). But because road courses don’t lend themselves to tight angle cameras that follow one or two cars, the network had stationary cameras at many points.
And because of that, fans saw a race.
They didn’t see one car running by itself. They didn’t see Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Danica Patrick or any other driver all day long, no matter what they were doing (or not doing) on the track. Instead, fans were treated to battles for position among cars throughout the field. And there were some good ones. Fans also saw some drivers not always featured in race broadcasts, and they were racing—and sometimes beating—better known drivers. But they were also racing other drivers generally ignored by the cameras and the voices and therefore, by many fans.
And if NASCAR is to grow and gain popularity, fans need to see all the drivers, to know there are some good ones running midpack every week, sometimes due to equipment, sometimes due to their own limitations, or both. Either way, they’re marketable, likeable drivers that fans aren’t seeing, and that hurts the entire sport. Not to mention, it makes the fans those drivers already have discouraged and unhappy.
And it’s not just about the drivers, it’s about the racing. Even for fans who don’t have a favorite driver, the sport has to highlight the on-track product. A camera chasing a single car lap after lap doesn’t do the sport justice. So many weeks, the fans at home lament the lack of racing during an event when there was, in fact, lots of it. Unfortunately for the fans, they never got to see it because someone in a TV broadcast truck somewhere decided that they don’t need to.
Think about that for a second: the networks don’t think showing a huge piece of the action taking place on the race track is important.
That astounds me. Somewhere along the line, the networks (all of them, to some degree) have forgotten that the sport is made up of little battles throughout the field, throughout a race. Somewhere, someone decided that what was most important was to show the leader ad nauseum, or maybe a few particular drivers. Forget whether there is racing going on elsewhere during the event—they have decided what really matters are those few cars.
This weekend, without doing anything else special, TNT simply showed the race. Even in the closing laps, as Truex pulled away from the field headed towards his first victory in recent memory, the cameras showed what was going on behind him. And what was going on behind him was a race, in every sense of the word. There were Chase contenders mixing it up for every single point they could steal…and you saw it. There were small teams fighting the big ones for some of their best finishes of the year…and you saw it. There was side-by-side competition, beating and banging, door-to-door battling, drivers using their bumpers the old-fashioned way…and you saw it.
The really amazing part here is that that’s a surprise. It should be the norm, it should be what fans see every time they turn on their TV’s. But it’s not. No wonder casual fans are turning to other sports for their action fix. No wonder people who don’t like NASCAR think it’s just a bunch of guys driving in circles. No wonder the diehards lament the racing that took place in the good old days. If nobody bothers to show the action, the conclusion of many, and rightfully so, is that there was no action at all. And that’s such a shame.
The even bigger shame is that the fix is so glaringly simple: use the corner cameras more as the entire field races past and use the tight-angle cameras only rarely, such as when talking about that driver. And then move on and talk about some of the other drivers who are doing something noteworthy, whether that’s falling back on a track where they normally thrive, having the best finish of their season or their careers, or simply making daring passes…you know, those things race fans think don’t happen during races? Tell the fans what’s going on through the entire race…a NASCAR race isn’t just about the race for the win…there are storylines, and compelling ones, for nearly every car and driver in the race, each and every week.
In a sport where fans are already oversaturated with gimmicks and overdone “enhancements” to the racing, the last thing fans need or, for the most part, want to see is even more gimmicks, even more overdone blather. What fans have been craving is simply racing. So why not give that to them every week, not just twice a year?
And Another Thing
There’s been a lot of talk this week about Richard Childress bringing back the No. 3 for Austin Dillon in the Sprint Cup Series next year. Of course, fans are divided on the issue. The number was last used on the RCR Cup car of Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt, and was changed to the no. 29 following Earnhardt’s death in a racing accident. Many fans would like to see the number retired completely, the way all of Major League Baseball has retired Jackie Robinson’s number because of his contributions to the sport as a whole. Others don’t care one way or the other.
SPEED TV put a poll on Facebook about the issue, with the following three choices to vote on: The number should never be used in the Cup Series again, it’s Childress’ number and he can do what he wants with it, or the only driver who should use the number in Sprint Cup is Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
To me, none of those covers the answer correctly. I think many old-school fans aren’t thinking of why Dillon really wants the number, and many new fans don’t understand the impact of Dale Earnhardt and his death on the sport.
I think the compromise would be to run the number, but a far different version of it, not the same style Earnhardt ran (and the one Childress one said he would not return to the Cup Series). I understand why Dillon wants the number; it was Childress’ number when he ran the car, and he is a hero to his grandson, who wants to run “Pop-pop’s” old car number. Fair enough. But I also think that Dillon doesn’t understand the depth of Earnhardt fans’ feelings toward the number and his comments have been a bit flippant.
In the end, Childress owns the rights to both the number and the design and can do what he wants. He’ll need to carefully weigh his feelings about his dear friend Earnhardt as well as his grandson’s wish to honor him and the weight of the fans’ memories. Personally, I hope if he does decide to run the number again, that it will look different than it did on Earnhardt’s famous black car. Somehow, Dillon just hasn’t proven himself worthy of all that that No. 3 was, at least not yet.
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©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The media keeps reminding fans that the ‘good old days’ of racing weren’t more exciting, citing the fact that many races were won by laps rather than seconds. Perhaps the reason fans have that perception is because in the ‘good old days’ TV decided to cover whatever action was happening on the track, no matter who the driver was. Fans actually got to see MORE of what took place on the track, thus giving fans the opportunity to become more involved. A race isn’t just about the winner, or the top 10 drivers, it’s about every driver and team out there, trying to get the best finish they can. When the networks actually do that, the race becomes more ‘exciting’ to watch because it’s more like actually being at the race instead of your living room. The quality of a race isn’t always determined by the winner.
Not having attended a cup race in a few years, I’ll have to take your word for it that there is often competitive racing mid-pack. Based on what I’ve seen up front, it’s all aero and clear air, at least at the intermediate tracks which make up the bulk of the schedule. If you are right, Amy, then I’d like to see what I’m missing, and not at a road course or restrictor plate track.
Yeah, he stutters too much and sometimes gets a bit pissy, but I still like Kyle Petty. I think he and Wally Dallenbach are pretty good team. Of course, TNT’s part of the schedule follows Fox’s, so even a couple of sock puppets would be an improvement over Larry, Darrell, and his other brother Mikey.
The #3 belongs to Richard and he has the right to do whatever he wants with it! In fact, I recall seeing that he has an actual copyright on that style of 3 and no one else can use it in his form. Could never fault him for letting his grandson run that number – and if it was me, would bring back the black car!!
Could you do us all a favor and send the 1st half of your article to Fox, TNT, ESPN AND NASCAR? I bet you could even get a large number of people to sign it before you send it too!!
Thanks for saying what many of us have been thinking for a while!
Amy, very nice article. I second Sherri T’s comment – I wish the TV people would read it. However, much like NASCAR, I’m not sure they really care what the fans want.
Unlike Carl D, I have attended some races in the past couple of years. I do think there is still far too much “follow the leader” and boring racing – even midpack and I’ve been bored even at the track with the way things are these days. I did enjoy the Sonoma broadcast for all the reasons you mentioned. I tune in to SEE a race, not supertight shots or the same cars over and over — show me the race!!
And yes, if NASCAR would pull its thumb out and hire some decent engineers so that the RACING product would also improve, well that would be icing on the cake.
I have mixed emotions about the 3 car. I was not a big Earnhardt fan when he was racing – since you can see who I pull for – the young gun who was his nemesis back then. However, I cried along with many others when he was gone. Austin may not be aware of how his comments sound to some people – he’s very young. I can understand WHY Dillon wants that number, but man oh man, he may not really know what he is getting into with it. In the end, it will be up to Richard to decide.
I enjoyed Sonama…but could have done without any FOX leftovers.
TNT DID show the 48…by himself…for a lap or two. I guess they felt they HAD to. LOL.
Sadly, we’re now going to be given another cookie-cutter this weekend. Frankly, I’m HOPING that we’ll see a debris caution every 10 laps. It’s the ONLY way to get excitement now. LOL.
I know that it’s impossibe to please everyone as people have different likes and dislikes. As I see it, most of my friends and I have been around racing all their lives and although they are not perfect, prefer the TNT, ESPN style of race telecasts.We attended local short tracks and when ESPN started NASCAR and open wheel races in the late 80’s started following that as well.
Maybe fans who just started of late,in the last 20 years or so, prefer the FOX style. I mean I hate wrestling on TV but realize that many people like it.Those Waltrips and Larry drive me CRAZY, so off base as to what I expect to hear from them. I really think Wally’s good, he GETS IT!
Commercials are part of it and I accept that, if you don’t, get over it! To me it’s the PEOPLE in the booth that matters and FOX IS FAILING big time in that area! In my opinion, TNT is a breath of fresh air after being smothered by Waltrip verbal diarrhea!
You do realize the tight shots focusing on one car are paid advertisements, right?
As others have stated the first part of your article are spot-on.
Being one of those “old-time” fans I am often reminded by new fans that the old-times weren’t all that great. Usually the reason given is that the race leader would run away with the race. To those fans,(or any fans),I do urge them to take a moment to pull up a race from the 80’s or 90’s.
For example take a look at a race from the late 90’s when Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin were winning all the Winston Cup races. If you watch a race from that period hopefully you’ll note that Benny and Ned, when covering the race would cover the whole race. This meant that if you were a Dave Marcus fan you could be assured that you would see Dave shown and talked about a few times during the race even though the chances of him winning or even breaking the top-35 were slim at best.
Guys like Ned and Benny were also pretty unbiased in their coverage, that is until NASCAR_really took off which at that point you could start counting how many times Benny would say “So-and-so is coming in for four fresh Good-Year tires and a fill-up of Sunoco racing fuel”.
Coverage was probably at its best about this period as long-time fans will recall that prior to the 90’s racing was a little harder to come by on TV so you can imagine how excited fans were when ESPN really started to cover NASCAR.
Of Course NASCAR, like many businesses forgot to take “Business 101” and instead of embracing the formula that suddenly made them so popular they instead started figuring out ways to screw it up at every turn. For business people out there we call this “thinking short-term verses long-term”
A good example of this is back in the late 90’s when NASCAR had to attach their name to_everything such as the official toilet paper of NASCAR! Really?! Did the world really need this? The money paid to NASCAR would’ve been much better off sponsoring a team but NASCAR took alot of sponsorship money that could’ve been used to fund teams, (granted this was the late 90’s/early 00’s when every compnay wanted to sponsor something, anything in NASCAR).
The greed got to NASCAR, (France & Co.),and they went for the short-term approach which brought us to where we are today. Hence why we have the tight shots of cars as the Great Waltripo points out. Who would every think that a sport that is so reliant on sponsorship would also be selective in its coverage of the sponsors to the point where they are showing the cars whose sponsors have paid them. Now there is something to get your head around.
It is bad enough that this happens in just about any show you watch now, for example watch just about any television show where a guitar is shown and note how the brand name is taped over. Back in the day, (what day I do not know), this wouldn’t have occured because honestly the guitar(s) were not the focal point of the show. At some point though some marketing guy thought “I know how we can get some extra revenue! We’ll contact Fender and ask them for money for using their guitars in our show, if they won’t pay we will tape over their logo”. To me networks look like idiots for covering up logos or blurring out logos of companies that do not pay for “advertising” during their shows. This is just one example but take a look at any of your favorite shows and you’ll see this quite a bit. Is this where NASCAR is heading?
Unfortunately, as Amy nicely points out, today NASCAR can’t figure out what the problem is, in fact I’m not sure they recognize that there is a problem.
As for the television coverage, while the networks have their own agenda,(revenue from commercials), they must adhere to the direction from NASCAR if they want to continue to cover the races which is why we end up with the poor coverage we have with people in the booth who parrot the views of NASCAR, (Waltrip for example).
As for the gimmicks…don’t get me started. sigh
If you really want to wind me up start talking about how NASCAR screwed up the once thriving Busch series! When guys like Randy Lajoie were running only in the Busch series even though he had many offers to move up to Winston Cup, even with Mark Martin and his Winn-Dixie entry winning damn near everything, it was a great series. Lots of single car owners with alot of drivers working their way up to the top series.
My apologies for the length of my response but Amy started it!;-)
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