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.
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2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Friday July 5, 2013
Tradition is a part of every culture; scientifically speaking, culture doesn’t exist without tradition. Those things we do, repeated over time, help define people throughout time and across the world. On a more personal level, they help shape who we are when they’re part of our childhoods and are passed on from one generation to the next. In a nutshell: tradition is important in defining people and cultures everywhere.
Tradition abounds in sport. From golf to baseball, fans can see and do many of the same things their fathers and grandfathers did decades ago. That’s part of why sports are such a big part of Americans’ lives — those traditions are important to fans.
So why has NASCAR thrown it out the window?
Once upon a time in NASCAR, there were certain things fans could count on, even while sponsors changed and the sport grew at a sometimes dizzying rate: The Daytona 500. The Rebel 500. The World 600. The Firecracker 400. The Southern 500. More recently, the Brickyard 400. Even while other races changed sponsors and names, a select group of prestigious ones remained the same, year after year. Because of that continuity, many of those races became legend and the storylines stemming from them were woven into the tapestry of the sport. Those races, traditional both in name and in their place on the schedule, were annual staples.
And now, with the lone exception of the Daytona 500, they’re gone.
Some have been renamed; the World 600 became the Coca-Cola 600, the Firecracker 400 goes off on Saturday night as the Coke Zero 400, and the Brickyard 400, while it carries the original name now, was re-labeled as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for a time.
Others are long gone. The Rebel 500 was renamed by various sponsors and the Darlington Spring race was finally called the Southern 500, which was traditionally run not in April or May, but on Labor Day Weekend. The true Southern 500 no longer exists; NASCAR runs in Atlanta, not Darlington on that weekend now (and to Atlanta’s credit, they never tried to steal the name, probably because fans would have gone berserk).
I get it that tracks need sponsors to help pay the bills, but it’s such a shame that many fans would deliver only a blank stare of you mentioned the Firecracker 400 to them. The race is run on the 4th of July weekend, so the name had meaning. Surely, it would be possible to allow a sponsor and keep the old name; Darlington did (and still does). Why are we NOT running the Coke Zero Firecracker 400 on Saturday night?
NASCAR, like most other sports, is in itself a tradition for many fans, or it used to be. Fans became fans because they went to races with their fathers and grandfathers. In turn, they passed that on to their children. That NASCAR is struggling to get a foothold with its fan base these days should be a warning bell — if the fans are disinterested and alienated to the point where they no longer want to come and bring the next generation, the sport is in trouble.
Tracks, too, should consider keeping the traditional race names. Will a fan come because of the name of the race? Probably not, but he or she will talk about it. “Remember that World 600 when…” and that kind of discussion gets others interested.
Now, part of that is on NASCAR — in order for tracks to either shun a sponsor or make certain demands of sponsors in regards to naming rights, they need money to support themselves. NASCAR’s fees and the track’s required portion of purses have gotten very high — perhaps they should be infusing some of this cash so that tracks can pursue different avenues of marketing overall (and to encourage smaller facilities to host the Nationwide and Truck Series. Speaking of tradition… those series were meant for short tracks).
The sport has changed so rapidly and so much in the last decade that a small return to tradition here and there would go a long way with a longtime fan base that is feeling hurt and unwanted in this era of the sport. Racing, at least in some series, on more traditional tracks has increased recently with the trucks at Rockingham and now Eldora. That’s a start. It seems as though it would be simple to require that those certain races carried the proper names, including the Rebel (not Southern) 500. Returning Darlington’s race date to the Labor Day weekend would go even further.
No, it’s not your father’s NASCAR anymore… but the sport does need to take a hard look at the traditions and fan loyalty that launched it into the 21st Century and think about bringing a few of them back. They’ve taken so many over the years by taking the old tracks off the schedules of national series, moving dates that were once sacred, changing the names of what were once the biggest races in the game, moving the season-ending banquet, changing points systems and everything else they could think of in an effort to gain new fans, that the old fans wondered what happened to their sport. They found other ways to spend Sundays, and the family traditions that had been 50 years in the making faded away.
To a scientist studying a culture, that change in tradition would signal the dying out of one culture and/or the birth of another. Is that really the direction a sport should go in a culture that embraces its sports as part of its own tradition? That just doesn’t seem healthy.
And Another Thing
It’s not limited to NASCAR, either; if a teacher is critical of a student’s work, parents wonder why the teacher has it in for their child instead of talking with the child about the quality of his or her work. If a supervisor is critical of an employee’s performance, the employee complains that the supervisor just doesn’t like him or her.
Sometimes it’s not personal, folks.
After all, when Kurt Busch was suspended for violating his probation, it wasn’t for the original infraction, and if a crew chief is stupid enough to have the same infraction twice during the same year while he’s on probation, well, he’s not going to last long as a crew chief anyway. It’s time for NASCAR to bat down the hatches and come down on any violation of any rule for a driver, crew chief, or other person on probation.
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©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Tradition in many ways these days is a sticky wicket. I believe-though I don’t know this for a fact-that younger people-and I am outside the preferred age demographic that business/advertisers covet-don’t have as much of a care for tradition as someone outside the 18-34 demographic does. Just an opinion.
On the subject of NASCAR and tradition, like all businesses, NASCAR has to find where the line is between reaching out to new fans and trying not to alienate the current ones. And, in my opinion-that of a fan of various types of racing for more than 2 decades and sports in general for almost 4 decades-they have failed badly.
From The Chase to the Lucky Dog to the seeming phantom cautions when certain drivers are about to be lapped to taking races away from certain tracks to chase what they hope is a bigger payday for NASCAR to seeming favoritism toward certain drivers/teams, the sport has clearly, in Hollywood parlance, jumped the shark. I realized this when, several years ago, I was reading the official NASCAR Preview and there was an ad for NASCAR brand luncheon meat. I kid you not.
Can the slide be arrested? I’m not sure it can be. For starters, NASCAR would have to admit that some of it’s decisions were wrong, and I’m not sure Brian France is the kind of person who is willing to do that sort of thing. We’ll just have to see.
As to your second point-which at least on some level relates to the PSP/KP comments-I have been involved in this many times. All of us on some level believe that we’re right and anyone who disagrees with our brilliant point of view is not only wrong, but is a moron, cretin, dullard, is unpatriotic, should be shot, arrested, deported, should have a lobotomy, etc. Part of this, to me, is the fact that as a society, we no longer respect dissenting opinions to our own-I know I don’t sometimes. We no longer talk TO each other, we scream AT each other, in an attempt to drown out what we disagree with with name calling, insults and vitriol to attack those we disagree with. And, again, I have been guilty of doing so as much as anyone. Can that be changed? I seriously doubt it, but I can certainly try to change myself.
As to point #3, the alleged cheating, we’ll just have to wait and see what NASCAR does, if anything.
I’m glad to know that someone else has noticed that, suddenly, not to cheer for a certain driver means you ‘hate on’ them. Fans have cheered for a favorite driver since Nascar began. Why someone voicing the opinion, for instance, that Jimmy Johnson is bland, means they ‘hate’ him, is taking a personal opinion to a new level. Kyle Petty didn’t ‘hate on’ Danica…he gave his personal opinion. People are allowed to do that. I was impressed with the way she handled the entire episode, not accusing anyone of ‘hating’. And forget Nascar ever doing anything than ‘updating’ traditions. Their greed will never allow their income to dfecreas, even as it bankrupts the sport.
The actual NAME of a race isn’t a real factor. The question is: Is the racing good and exciting?
This whole “hate” thing (the use of the word) came from the hip-hop culture and the black community. And there is a difference in “hate” and “bias”.
The problem is the sponsors. At some point, NASCAR ceded control to them to the detriment of the sport. Every watch the Masters on TV and wonder why NASCAR can’t do that? It’s because the folks that run the Masters dictate when commercials run, when coverage starts, and when it ends. The result in an amazing viewer experience.
From looking at the list of cars it looks like it was the Ford and Toyota TRD) teams. The exception being McMurray’s.
Ah “Hate”. I don’t like Jimmie Johson so I am, therefore, a hater. It initially came from the Black culture and has been adopted by the liberal/progressive left and applies to anyone who disagrees with them.
Even if Kyle wasn’t a color analyst, he would have the right, as an 8 time winner and finishing in the top five in points twice, woulde have every right to be crtical of the “Danica” Hype.
I don’t think Danica has led 490 laps of a 492 lap race yet. I do believe that Kyle Petty has.
Get the crowd back?
Do away with.
Double File restarts.
Not racing back to the Caution.
“Debris” Cautions unless it’s the deck lid of one of the cars.
Did I mention the chase.
The Lucky Dog.
Limit teams to two cars. Consider Sattelite operations to be part of the two cars.
And finally….. The Chase.
Most of the changes you mentioned as moves away from tradition were implemented during the Brian France regime. They’re not going away until he does. Just to be clear, I don’t “hate” Brian France, I just think he’s a complete idiot who’s mismangement of the sport has almost destroyed it.
I know that I am in the minority here, but as a life-long South Carolinian, I’d much rather sit through a night race in Darlington in May than a Daytime race in early September. The S.C. heat in early September can be absolutely brutal.
When NASCAR got away from it’s tradition of racing being fun and exciting and turned it into dull and boring, well, yeah, they have lost fans. Trying to do away with many of the traditional races and tracks in favor of more and more D-shaped ovals in the “new” markets, which made fans made and produced boring follow the leader parades – lost them fans.
Various iterations of the spec car (anyone remember the defunct IROC series) hasn’t helped. I’m in favor of safety but I want the safe car to be able to race side by side and pass.
Thank you for your comment about criticism vs hate. Yeah, it’s become such nonsense that you can’t disagree with someone without that someone saying you “hate” the person or thing you are criticizing.
That sort of nonsense stifles conversation and debate and therefore limits change and potential improvement.
I don’t like every driver – half the fun of talking to NASCAR fans used to be the debate about drivers. I guess that’s another tradition that has gone by the wayside in favor of the everyone gets a prize generation.
If that many teams had an issue with tech for the roof flaps, why didn’t NASCAR notice it before this race?
As far as tradition, I’d like to see the chase disappear and see if the racing would improve if the championship was decided over a full season again, rather than having only the 12 chosen being able to do it. Once upon a time, EVERY race was important as far as winning it, now it’s just a seeding exercise. When did NASCAR become tennis?
As Mike pointed out the Masters dictates how their coverage is conducted. If the Masters operated as NASCAR does then we would see the “Aaron’s Lucky Dog Mulligan” being used, landmines, and quicksnad traps being used.
NASCAR, like many businesses, forgot “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.
I’m really looking forward to this weekend as the Indycars are running Pocono again. Open Wheel is starting to get it and trying to make a comeback, while Nascar has been pushing Danica in a bid for more viewers.
Us old timers have been pointing at the problems of Nascar for over a decade, and at one point were derided in a column here on Frontstretch as being the “Cool Kids” who had to let in the not so cool kids for the sport to grow. Remember that one Amy? We were the problem and feared change to our regional southern sport and did not want to share with the rest of the class. How’s that all been working out for Nascar?
Nascar must remember who brung them to the dance, quit trying to squeeze every dime from the fans and work with the broadcast partners to bring back real racing coverage like ESPN back in the ’80s and ’90s. Back then we had wide angle shots where you could see the pack coming out of the turns and down the straights, along with coverage of hard racing back in the pack for positions. Ned and Benny were not all about themselves and we never had shrill catch phrases bandied about from the booth. Yes, we did have “Buffet Benny” for a while, but it did not take away from the on track action. The in car cameras were also used to add to the racing action, compared to today where it is all about getting the sponsor logos shown front and center.
I would also suggest getting rid of a date at Kansas and giving it to Iowa Speedway, along with bringing back the spring race at Rockingham. (Remember when Kyle Petty was “The Man” at the Rock in the early ’90s?) I would also suggest that Nascar work at getting more “Stock” back in the cars by trashing the spec engine and getting back to stock blocks that the teams can tweak and work with in a search for more horsepower. If the fans can buy something on Monday that really won on Sunday it will create more interest in the series.
I would like to see these things done, but I am afraid Nascar will stay in it’s death spiral until it bottoms out like Open Wheel did a few years back. I’m a 40+ year fan of Nascar, but have to admit I don’t even bother to turn it on anymore, as it has become for me unwatchable. I will be tuned into Pocono Sunday, that one should be good and the Indycar broadcasts have been miles ahead of Nascar this year.
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