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.
Frontstretch Staff · Monday February 7, 2011
New points. New pavement. New attitude. As NASCAR heads towards Daytona in 2011, all around the sport are focused on the positive, looking for the perfect season to recapture a nation and get what once seemed like limitless upward momentum jumpstarted again.
Can they do it? As Speedweeks dawn, both the Bud Shootout and 53rd Daytona 500 usher in a long list of questions along with them, the answers to which could define the sport for not just this year but the coming decade. That means it’s time to get the blood pumping and start that 2011 analysis, figuring out just exactly how the controversies, the Earnhardt drama, and the NASCAR tweaks both on and off the track will work out. This week, we’ll get you thinking each day on one of five big questions facing stock car racing in 2011; as we try and find the answers, ten staff members you know and love will come at you with our usual blend of facts, opinion, and most of all … a sense of humor. After all, we’ll all need to laugh if these predictions blow up in our face come November …
Today’s Season Preview Topic: NASCAR chose to address the issues of the past few years by … tweaking the Chase (slightly) and revamping the point system. Good move? Bad move? What’s the one thing they didn’t fix you wish they had?
Tom Bowles, Managing Editor: One look at my inbox tells you all you need to know in this, what I’m Titling the Winter of NASCAR Discontent. Fans have been clamoring for months to get rid of a playoff system they no longer want, shorten races (which I disagree with) they feel are too long, get more charge out of the drivers they feel have gotten stale, and revamp qualifying so it means something.
And NASCAR’s response was … we’re losing fans because they don’t understand our point system? OK, tell me where the heck that was the answer, Alex, because I didn’t see that $2,000 Jeopardy! question on the board. It would have been one thing if the new system rewards aggression, but alas, it’s just changing the numbers to make it easy for fans to follow the “Chase,” from race 1 all the way through race 36. That’s not fixing a problem, that’s highlighting one. But more than anything else, NASCAR’s biggest regret as the season wears on will be not fixing the “top-35” qualifying system, where all but eight of 43 spots are locked in each week; there’s no incentive for new teams to get started, a limited way for them to make the starting grid and the result could mean a short field or as many as a dozen start-and-park teams by midsummer. The Big Boys have to find a way to get other guys in the game; millionaires like newcomer Andrew Murstein need to be starting a new team instead of keeping an existing one (in this case, Richard Petty Motorsports) afloat.
Amy Henderson, Senior Editor & Writer: The points system itself is a good move; it will make the championship appear closer to the casual fan while, in essence, changing nothing. However, the main problem with the system – the Chase – is still in place. While the changes to who gets in are slightly better, two spots for the playoffs reserved for winning drivers just isn’t enough. In the process, NASCAR is still proving their ignorance of what the fans really want, doing what they think is right without actually listening. I do think that the new points tally will encourage racing for the win, though, because that’s the only way to gain any kind of advantage. Losing is more costly.
Phil Allaway, Senior Editor: The tweaking of the points system simply did not need to be done. I don’t understand this idea of making everything so simple that a 2-year-old could understand it. It’s like sitting through those stupid directions before starting a standardized test. The old one was fine.
It could be argued that keeping it the same and making people learn that would make for a more informed fan… but it couldn’t have been that hard to calculate the points in the previous system. Why does it have to be assumed that everyone is a moron these days?!? The result of the changes is that there is effectively no effect at the top of the table, but finishing further down the order hurts you just that little bit more since there is the same difference between every position, like in ARCA. Not referenced, but probably worth a mention: The new point system eliminates owner points for those who fail to qualify for races.
I’m still not a fan of the Chase after seven years and never will be. Having said that, if we absolutely have to have a Chase (and, as far as I know, we do until at least 2014), the changes they made are OK.
What’s the one thing they didn’t fix you wish they had? I wish they had killed the top-35 rule. Never liked it, especially since it came into use at the worst possible time (2005, when they introduced impound procedures for the vast majority of the schedule, creating a “kick them when they’re down” environment). This setup has seen drivers who qualified ninth quickest in a session DNQ because they couldn’t beat the requisite number of people who had to qualify on speed. I’m not the only person who believes this, but NASCAR should go back to the 36 fastest + 7 “provisional” system that was last used in 2004. That format was only eliminated due to Brian France looking back at what was probably the quirkiest season of the last 20 years on the surface, determining that people were leeching off the system, and making the changes to stop that without looking at the big picture. Maybe it could be a 40 + 3 provisional setup; whatever the solution, I would be fine with either compared to what we have now.
Jay Pennell, Senior Editor: Overall, I believe this move was smart in terms of simplifying the points system so that fans watching in the stands and at home can follow the points battle much easier than ever before. I do feel there should be more of a bonus for winning, but I think the tweaks they made to the Chase criteria will make the final races of the “regular season” some of the best races all year long.
Tony Lumbis, Marketing Manager: I really would like to see the old system come back, or at the very least, back to the original Chase format where 10 drivers got in and at the very least, keep the ranking they earned all year. However, knowing that won’t happen, the Chase changes they did make were pretty good. I like the fact that the 11th or 12th-place guy can’t get bumped deep into the top 10.
The new points system is a lot easier, but I’m still struggling to see the issue that NASCAR claims this created. I don’t think fans have been leaving the sport in droves over the past decade because they thought the points system is too complicated. Plus, I still can’t believe they haven’t got rid of the top-35 rule in qualifying. That makes it difficult for the underdog teams that everyone loves to root for to even make the show! The old provisional system was complicated, but it did the trick. Give the good drivers so many mulligans and if you still mess up beyond that, well, you probably deserved to miss the race.
Vito Pugliese, Senior Writer: Another year, another new title chase. Yawwwnnn… come on, NASCAR. This is exactly HOW you don’t gain credibility with the stick and ball crowd you so desperately want to like you. Do the NFL, NCAA, or MLB change the rules and the scoring system every three years? At this point, it is beyond comical but yet isn’t really funny anymore. Never once have any of my non-NASCAR literate friends ever seemed confused by the points system. The Chase in and of itself is stupid and has no business in motorsports at any level beyond lawnmower racing. Enough of the lame reasoning by the drivers that it makes things easier for them to figure out. Please. That is why you have a team of engineers and enough computers on your pit box to run a cooling tower. I’m sure somebody can conjure up an Excel spreadsheet to figure out the points breakdown…
You want the best points system ever?! Go back to the way it was from 1975-2003, 15 bonus points for a win, 5 bonus points for a pole. There, system solved, ratings go up, winning (and NASCAR) matters and qualifying matters, because the Chase doesn’t matter. As it is, nobody cares and the ratings prove this point beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you don’t think so, you can shut up and wait in the car, because you’re wrong.
Danny Peters, Senior Writer: NASCAR’s big gaffe is easy to find: more bonus points for winning. This, to me is the biggest miss of what is otherwise a move in the right direction. Simplifying the points made sense but now, more than under the old system, a poor finish will be massively punished – especially in the Chase. Overall, I’m happy with the changes but it could and should have been so much better.
Jeff Meyer, Senior Writer: The one thing they DIDN’T fix?? Tell me one thing they DID fix! Other than getting rid of the Chase altogether, can anyone out there honestly say that they know of anyone; friends, family, longtime fans or casual fans who were wanting the points system to be revamped?! Or who thought a “one-time winner” should honestly be in the Chase? The biggest thing that NASCAR needs to change is who is in charge. Brian France is the most out of touch head of a professional sport than any other “commissioner” in the history of professional sports. Get someone at the helm who A) actually cares about the sport, B) is “not stupider than a stump” and C) to whom his subordinates are not afraid to stand up to. Then, and only then, will NASCAR be able to begin to address and fix the problems that beset it now. Think about it: Mr. France is perceived as a buffoon by most anyone connected with the sport. His father and grandfather were respected… maybe not liked, but they were respected. I feel Brian is neither, and that’s a problem.
Garrett Horton, Frontstretch Contributor: Honestly? I thought the points system was perfectly fine the way it was. With that said, this new format won’t be too much different, just easier to follow. NASCAR got it right with the two “wildcard” drivers, at least. It will likely take just two wins to qualify for the Chase, and with just the top-10 in points making it instead of the top-12, consistent finishes won’t guarantee a spot in the Chase anymore. Good finishes will still be nice to have, but this change will promote more aggressive driving.
Kyle Ocker, Frontstretch Contributor: While the new points system is easier for the fans to understand, it still will end up being the same thing. I think the change of allowing drivers with the most wins that aren’t in the top-10 is a good tweak, allowing for some flavor and slightly different names in the Chase. However, those drivers will likely continue to be 11th and 12th since the reason they weren’t in the top-10 in the first place was because they could win a couple of races but they weren’t consistent. As much as we all like to dream about having a championship battle involving 43 drivers heading into the final race tied, frankly? It’s just not possible.
Follow The Frontstretch!
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Did NASCAR do enough in the off-season?
Nope. they didn’t kill the chase or depose King Brian. Both of those things would have been a major improvement to the sport. In all of the time I have followed the sport, this is the first year I’ve ever completely lacked interest in the “off-season” and in the 2011 season to come.
As Vito said – yawwwwnnn — it is never good when a lot of the fan base is bored and disinterested before the season even begins.
I am tired of trying to convince you people that winning is what matters and that a point system that pays 90% of the winners points to the guy who finishes fifth is idiotic. That system, combined with the ridiculous chase means we can count on 26 races of most competitors cruising around and trying to stay out of trouble. Why bust your butt or blow up the equipment for another 2%? One of these days youll figure it out. All I know is once its warm enough here to get out on a bike or an old car, I’m gone. Ill catch the results at night on speed or check online, maybe.
This was the first year in a really long time that I didn’t follow the off-season at all. And I can’t say that I even missed the racing. NASCAR continues on it’s merry way with more ridiculous changes so my complacency deepens. Another 26 race test session is about to begin and let’s see what the last ten races bring about. Disappointing attitude but realistic.
I have never been this UN-excited about the new season starting up.
Who cares about a new point system. The commentators figured that out for me anyway – I don’t care if I can figure it out – I don’t need to!
Please ditch the chase, ditch BF (interesting initials and very revealing) and go back to a 36 race season!!
On a positive note from my point of view, the Nationwide guys are finally going to get their series back. Hopefully the Sprint guys will stay where they belong.
Shorten the races?
The only way I would be happy if they “Shorten” the races are if they do more races at Bristol or Martinsville or Richmond. Short tracks not shorter races!
The changes are better than nothing, and I’ll be willing to give them a chance. Apparently, we are stuck with the Chase through the end of the ESPN TV deal, but I was happy to hear someone like Bruton Smith say its time for it to go. I like that they gave a nice bonus for wins both in regular season and Chase points.
Don Mei said it best. The racing for points and not for wins is only going to get worse. Which means the racing will only get worse.
Side note: Record ratings for the NFL. So what will be Brian’s excuse if NASCAR’s ratings (or heaven forbid the Daytona 500 ratings) continue to plummet? I am sure he will find something to blame – and then quickly fix it.
I was gonna say that Tom Bowles summed it up perfectly…then I read Vito. So then I was gonna say Vito hit it 100%…then I read Jeff Meyer. SPOT ON!!!
NASCAR hasn’t done “enough” since its inception. It represents a typical case of an entity to which things came too easy. Now, the ungrateful,and unfortunate patient is hopelessly “terminal”.
All NASCAR did was put a fresh coat of paint on the shack. As long as the chase is still around the majority of fans that pre-date 2003 will not be happy. Only a government can be more obstinate than NASCAR. Keep standing your ground Brian as the ground crumbles around you. That will show us.
The previous points system was simple kindergarten mathematics and if you couldn’t understand it you weren’t a “fan” in the first place, you were just another stupid, fat, drunk moron that showed up at the race. Next I suppose they’ll require all cars run by a team owner to be the same color and all qualifying times have to be rounded of to the nearest whole number.
Want to comment on this article? Visit our Message Board!