Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday March 1, 2007
There is a danger lurking in the shadows at your local NASCAR track. It's more dangerous than a flipping, burning racecar. It's more insidious than a soaked tire. It's scarier than Jimmy Spencer in a Speedo. It's…Invisible Debris!
Yes, race fans, Invisible Debris is everywhere! It could be lurking in Turn One, ready to devour an innocent tire. It might be on the apron in Turn Four, waiting to jump into the racing groove and wreak havoc when we least expect. It could even be on a straightaway, biding its time, waiting to maim an innocent racecar. Obviously, NASCAR must take the road of caution when dealing with such a hideous beast. After all, it could strike at any moment, rendering a race "exciting" and "a close battle" on the track. Yes indeed, NASCAR had better be cautious with this hideous threat!
Yeah, right. And I have a really nice bridge for sale in a great neighborhood at an incredible price. A few years ago, when the yellow flag flew for a debris caution, there was actual debris on the race track, like a brake rotor or half a bumper. I know… that's amazing! Once upon a time, you could actually see debris!
But over the last three years, something has happened. Debris has apparently gained the remarkable ability to will itself invisible at any time, posing a threat to all who race across its path. Good thing we have NASCAR officials with super powers who can see the Invisible Debris and throw the yellow flag before it can strike.
Either that, or someone's bored. It isn't me. If you believe the scuttlebutt, it isn't most fans. It can't possibly be the drivers – they're busy! Maybe it's that Brian France, head of all that is NASCAR and supreme dictator to its minions. Maybe he really does have the attention span of a kindergardener.
The problem has been spiraling out of hand for the last three years or so. Since late 2005, it's been even worse; let someone work hard enough to have a great car and build up a lead of more than a second or so, and you can bet your socks the yellow flag will come out with NASCAR claiming debris. Some fans are claiming "conspiracy" when the debris caution is displayed when certain drivers are leading, or need a caution to have a shot at the win. I don't necessarily buy that. I think it's just that NASCAR is so afraid to lose one fair weather fan should a race be won by a large margin, they feel pressured to throw the yellow. Never mind, of course, that the margin the leader built up probably came from hours of preparation and the driver working his tail off in the car. According to the powers that be, that is now "boring" and what fans want to see (gotta love being told what they want to see) is the field bunched up and a lesser car stealing the win.
NASCAR has robbed Casey Mears of his first win not once, but twice when Invisible Debris reared its ugly head. Never mind that the debris in question was a spring rubber so far out of the racing groove that someone would have had to wreck to hit it; it was there, and fans were bored with Mears' big lead (or something). The yellow flew, and Mears was a sitting duck with any pit decision he had to make; helplessly, he was passed by Greg Biffle, who won his thirty-seventh race at Homestead. How predictable. To my mind, watching Mears get his first Nextel Cup win was excitement…but NASCAR tells me otherwise. That, they tell me, would have been too boring. Um, okay. You just go right on believing that, NASCAR.
This week's Invisible Debris caution with 23 laps to go was even more questionable. None of the television cameras could find it. None of the drivers reported seeing it. But NASCAR said it was there and threw the caution, erasing Jimmie Johnson's lead and virtually robbing the reigning champ of a win. Even Johnson, who is possibly the most politically correct person on the planet, expressed his doubts after the race. "We had a nice comfortable lead," said Johnson, "and the wonderful debris caution came out. If anyone has seen the debris, I would like to know where it was. I didn’t see it either…there were five trucks looking for it. It did seem like there would be one coming, to be honest. I hate it and wish it didn’t take place, but I think we all saw it coming."
The last statement is the most telling. The race leader was expecting a caution was coming. So, either Johnson has x-ray vision, or NASCAR decided we were bored and presto! Invisible Debris on the track waiting to attack. Darn that stuff anyway. Darn the race leader for being so critical. Doesn't he know that Invisible Debris is a terrible threat to race car drivers everywhere?
Of course, in the wake of a race where several spinning cars, including one upside down and on fire, were not enough debris for a caution, this makes NASCAR look even worse. Shockingly enough, though, there's a fix so easy for this problem even my cat could have figured it out. Send the cleanup crew out and have someone stand there and point out the debris to the TV cameras. That is all it would take, because real debris is dangerous if it cuts a tire. But NASCAR has failed to do that on numerous occasions, leaving fans to wonder…who's really bored?
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
If this “invisible debris” continues to show up, NASCAR will find that some “invisible fans” may start showing up for the races.
Great article, if I recall back in the old days there would only be a couple cars even on the lead lap, or someone would win a race and 2nd place was 3 laps down. Not anymore thanks Brian France!
I wonder if a family member would have the courage to sue, if an invisible debris caution resulted in a fatal accident on the restart. More than likely they would parrot the usual response: “NASCAR takes every precaution to ensure driver safety. This was just an unfortunate accident.” After all, another family member might want to race in the future and the Frances have a long memory.
You hit the nail squarely on the head! Great article!
Apparently, between the invisble fans sitting in the grandstands at Fontana and the ones that were shopping under the grandstands, they almost had a sell-out.
Go back to the fall Atlanta race and that mystery debris caution. Not a single vehicle went around the track to pick up the “debris” and that was mentioned by a lot of folks I’ve talked to or e-mailed who were there.
I wonder when we’ll be seeing the drivers wearing tights, smacking each other with fold-up chairs, and dripping lots of “blood” during the pit stops or driver intros or when two cars wreck near each other? Welcome to the WWESCAR.
While I don’t agree with NASCAR throwing the caution like this, people seem to forget that NASCAR is hardly your typical stick and ball sport. It is much, much more commercial than that (and I don’t mean just TV ads). Johnson’s 2.whatever second lead with less than 30 laps to go plays right into the stereotype that Fontana is a boring race, and when the grandstands are consistenly empty, they think economically…not morally. Unfortuntately, as for last weekend’s race. There is no way to guarentee that Johnson would have ran away with the win. 20 laps is still plenty of time for someone to wreck or cut a tire. And you can even argue that despite the caution, he still could have won if his pit crew was just a little faster on that last stop.
Actually, those debris cations can be a good thing! I won $50 from my friends by having the closest guess as to when the phantom caution was going to come out (I guessed 25 to go).
I wonder how much more money those invisible fans spend than the real ones that used to go to Rockingham?
When you think about it it really was the perfect match: Artificial excitement, Invisible fans, phoney La La Land celebrities… all for the emperor with no clothes!
I was @ the BPS 500 last October (mentioned above) – friends/I refer to that as the “Jr’s about to pit out of seq under green? hey – isn’t that break dust up in 3?” caution…
Hey Mike C. I like that idea!!! I think I’ll get one of those pools going at my local watering hole. Great idea
Real race fans would rather see a race decided by the drivers and teams, not by some yahoos sitting in a control tower…even if the race is “boring”. NA$CAR needs to realize this sooner rather than later, as its TV ratings continue their freefall. Brian France would like nothing better than to have his grandstands filled with people who aren’t going to spend 5 seconds discussing the legitimacy of a caution flag because all they care about is being entertained. Fortunately, there are enough of us real fans still around to bring NA$CAR to its knees. (Why do you think they want rid of us so bad?) It’s already happening, as is evident from the sagging ratings and track attendance. Don’t attend another race or buy a single NA$CAR-related item until the powers-that-be stop manipulating the races. When they’re getting 2.0 Nielson ratings and half-capacity crowds at the tracks, they just might learn their lesson.
In agreement to KB’s comment. No matter how you spin it, the racing at Fontana does and always will be mediocre at best. To Brian France and the anti-trust we call NASCAR and ISC, this is irrelevant. If you can fit more asses into the seats who cares about the quality of racing? Can anyone remember the last new track that wasn’t 1.5 miles or greater besides Loudon? Probably not, because you can’t fit more asses into the stands at small venues. More asses = more $$$, so why build an exciting track with fan and driver – pleasing racing action? Get rid of those tracks and start putting on washed-up has-been concerts to amuse the masses before a boring race, because you’ll make more $$$. The most ironic and amusing thing about it is the snoozefest we call Fontana can’t even draw enough fans to justify taking away the date from Rockingham, where at least you could blame the cold for lack of attendance, but never the racing. Like most things L.A. its all style and no substance, basically a hyped-up illusion. Maybe all those fans were shopping for nice trinkets or catching up on who won an Oscar. And penalizing a guy/crew who has busted his/their tail(s) to dominate is absolute crap. Think Bill Elliott would’ve ever lapped the field under the Brian France dictatorship? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. If you want to see some real racing, follow the Lucas Oil or WoO Late Model Series. If you want to go to the circus, watch NASCAR, the WWE, or Springer. They’re about the same, just pandering to the lowest common denominator.
Nascar ruined what I feel was the best race that Fontana has put on to date. I didn’t want to fall asleep at all this race, unlike previous ones. Shame on Nascar!
doesn’t matter about the phantom cautions. not a new practice. nascar has done this for years. even the drivers get in on the act. remember dale jr spinning on purpose at bristol to bring out the caution? how about robby gordon throwing roll bar padding out to bring out the caution? while I agree that it sucks, nascar fans keep watching and showing up at the tracks despite what is clearly manipulation of the race. those who are the most vocal ALWAYS continue to watch. If fans were really so outraged, they would simply tune out, stop attending and realize that the race they think they’re watching is a good part entertainment rather than sport, and at times it’s just a charade.
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