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.
Nuts for Nationwide · Bryan Davis Keith · Friday November 6, 2009
On paper, there’s a lot of things that sound great. Take healthcare reform, for instance. Who in their right mind would argue that covering more people while lowering costs for everyone out there is a bad thing? No one.
But, as anyone that reads anything not featured on CNN or HealthReform.gov knows very well, alongside all the problems, unresolved issues, ideological conflicts, and the simple fact that the proposed change doesn’t cover more people while costing less, there are two major problems with the current reform proposition that have nothing to do with healthcare: The costs are too high, and the time is not right.
That current episode in Washington is comparable to the situation surrounding the Nationwide Series, with the upcoming implementation of that series’ COT in 2010. On paper, the new car is just what the doctor ordered. It looks sharp, and it drives better than the disaster that is the Cup COT. Justin Allgaier told NASCAR.com after testing the new ride at Talladega that “it drives like a dream.”
And with the justifiably rave reviews of both how the car drives and how it actually halfway resembles something that puts the stock car in NASCAR, there are plenty out there writing about the new car, how it looks, and what it’s going to mean for racing in 2010. Take the NASCAR Insiders, for instance, who took time to praise the looks of the new car while questioning nothing about its rollout other than how NASCAR would handle it’s second-tier series running a more attractive race car than the Cup circuit.
Congratulations, Insiders! You and everyone else out there writing about the drivers liking how the COT car drove in testing and how the cars are now distinguishable by more than just decals have bitten NASCAR’s lure hook, line and sinker. Instead of asking substantive questions about how it even remotely makes fiscal sense for a Series that has no money as is to force a costly, four-race only new program on teams, there’s instead debate over what type of muscle car Chevrolet should bring in instead of the Impala.
NASCAR’s got to be loving articles like that, because if that’s what’s being written, it’s clear that writers have lost sight of two underlying factors regarding this new car: the costs are too high, the time is not right.
Let’s talk costs. Remember back when the Cup COT was first announced (and how drivers had surprisingly little to say negatively about how it drove?) One of the major justifications for that new car was that it would save teams money through reduced fleets of race cars. And now, in our third season with the new car, costs in the Cup ranks are higher than ever, with the big teams out there still having over a dozen cars in their shop — and specific ones built to run on specific tracks. Yet, despite this track record, NASCAR’s been far from bashful about toting how the new NNS car would be a cost-cutter for teams down the road.
Great, future savings down the road. What about the present? Hey NASCAR, see how many cars in the back of the field are starting-and-parking? See how even teams with sponsorship, like the Rensi-Hamilton Racing No. 24 team, can’t afford to buy a full race allotment of tires? See how many young prospects are sitting on the sidelines because they have no sponsors to foot the bill? See how many teams have just flat disappeared from the Nationwide Series over the last few years (remember PPC Racing, Lewis Motorsports?) News flash… there is NO money in the Nationwide Series right now to tackle this kind of development project.
Jason Keller noted in October that his Baker-Curb Racing team estimated that to run the four COT races on the NNS schedule for 2010, it would cost them a million dollars. To put that in perspective, that’s 25% of the team’s current sponsorship to run barely a tenth of the races on the schedule. And that’s for a team fortunate enough to have a bigger sponsor (that’s not returning next year, by the way.) To give you further perspective, that million dollar price tag is also worth more than Kenny Wallace’s yearlong sponsorship deal with the U.S. Border Patrol.
Listening to Keller, the Nationwide Series’ longest-running veteran, he notes that to start drawing sponsors back into a Series that is losing them left and right (longtime sponsors Kimberly Clark, Clorox, and Kingsford are just a handful of the companies that have either left for the Cup Series or just pulled out of motorsports), the costs of running a competitive NNS operation needs to come back into the $3-4 million range. OK, so that’s $3-4 million for a season of 35 races — one million to run four races. There is no spinster out there that can make that math add up.
What’s more, there aren’t a lot of NNS teams out there with enough infrastructure to dedicate to developing a new race car on top of keeping up with a grueling 35-race schedule that travel-wise is even more challenging than that tackled by the Cup Series. Longtime NNS team owner Jodi Geschickter told Frontstretch back in September that NASCAR seldom seems to stop and realize that for most Nationwide Series teams, race weekend means there’s no one left at the shop… because all of those folks are also at the track taking care of race day operations. In short, these Nationwide teams aren’t Hendrick Motorsports… they don’t put 500 people on the payroll ready to tackle continuous R&D.
And even if this new car wasn’t so cost prohibitive and time consuming, it would still likely end up driving a ton of independent team owners out of the Series, at least in a full-time capacity. Why? Because so many teams in the Nationwide ranks rely on buying used race cars from the superteams. JD Motorsports, Faith Motorsports, MacDonald Motorsports, Key Motorsports, Cardinal Motorsports, Specialty Racing… that list permeates all the way through the series’ entry forms. So where, exactly, are all of these car owners going to be able to pick up a used Nationwide COT?
Can’t think of the answer? That’s because there isn’t one. The only way that these teams are going to be able to acquire these cars is if the superteams go from car development to car assembly, churning out COTs like a factory not only to equip their own outfits, but to create a surplus of cars for the little guys to race as well.
Yes, that’s about as far-fetched as ESPN deciding not to use near-death crashes to promote racing at Talladega.
But the bigger teams aren’t just going to start churning out COTs for a used car lot. No, they’re going to do what their resources allow them to do: test, experiment, fine-tune. They’re going to take their time and figure these cars out, so that when they hit the track at Daytona in July 2010 they’re going to be up at the front of the field, just like they’re used to being. That’s not a knock on them at all… any race team with money would do the same thing. But that’s also bad news for the majority of NNS teams out there that have a hard enough time affording the old-gen cars that the superteams put on the selling block already.
The fact that the giants of the Nationwide Series are going to be under the gun themselves for the next eight months getting their cars up to par does not bode well for teams like Key Motorsports, who despite their admirable efforts in 2009 still have no factory support. The same goes for Specialty Racing, who actually planned to work on the chassis component of their COTs themselves, while counting on Ford’s Roush Fenway Racing organization to run testing on the car’s bodies and other components to provide the link for them to have a competitive COT. And this was before the failed Matt Carter experiment left that organization with no choice but to start-and-park for the remainder of this season…
Couple the fact that at least a dozen regular Nationwide Series teams that are going to somehow have to find COT cars to race in July with a field that’s only reaching 43 cars thanks to an ever-growing start-and-park brigade, and there’s a recipe for a field at Daytona that would more resemble a local short track in terms of car count. But have no fear, says NASCAR. Sources tell Frontstretch that NASCAR has accounted for it, choosing to leave these owners to their own means while banking on a number of new owners who are holding out on fielding NNS entries until the new car comes around to fill the fields.
Well, that’s about as comforting a “solution” to the problem as it is having Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid claim that half of the new healthcare bill is going to be paid for by unspecified cuts of fraud and abuse in the existing bureaucracy of government-run healthcare. And if you find that comforting, go ahead and stop wasting your time reading this.
So the price tag is astronomical, and there’s a big question mark surrounding just about every NNS team out there that doesn’t have Cup backing as to where they’re going to find COT cars to race in 2010.
But it’s safer, says NASCAR. And who can put a price on safety? I mean, look at that horrible crash that Ryan Newman endured at Talladega this past Sunday. King Brian’s dream car saved Newman’s life, right?
I’m not stupid enough to argue that the COT is not a very safe race car, nor am I suggesting at all that safety be minimized when considering a car. But does the Nationwide Series have to create a brand new car from the ground up to have safer ones?
If you ask owner/driver Peyton Sellers, the answer is no…because “I think we can fix [the cars] we’ve got.”
Sellers points to two concrete examples of how modifications to the current car that everyone has could be made for considerably less expense than the COT, and make the NNS drivers safer as well: opening up the greenhouse, and moving the driver’s seat towards the center of the car.
“The greenhouse is the hoop bar that goes around the driver’s head, and right now it’s pretty close to the driver’s head. Right now, you could open it up four inches, and give the driver some more room,” says Sellers. “And the tower shifter, the shifter’s typically been on the side of the transmission, where now they [can] move it to the top of the transmission. You get a couple inches there, so you can move the seat over a little bit. There’s some things they could do to the cars we have now that could be real effective.”
But, those aren’t solutions being tossed around. Instead, NASCAR sees fit to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and to force a costly new project onto the Nationwide Series that only the Cup teams already running actual Nationwide regulars out of business in the first place are going to be able to afford to undertake.
That’s not to say the new car doesn’t have merits. It does look sleek. The drivers do like how it drives. And it does have the potential to give an identity to the Nationwide Series, something it is lacking.
But none of those potential benefits matter if there’s no one left to race in the Nationwide Series. Plain and simple, the personnel are not there to handle this project. The money and sponsors aren’t there. The roster of teams and owners isn’t strong enough.
The time is not right for the Nationwide Series to tackle a COT program.
But that’s apparently news to NASCAR.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
An excellent, informative article. Well done.
Gee, I am so VERY SORRY you had to bring politics into a racing discussion!
RE: HEALTH CARE
Again, “THE COSTS ARE TOO HIGH”?
BUT we have all the money in the world to bailout BIG BUSINESS, actually time and time again, we have BILLIONS to give to overseas countries for no good reason at all!
BUT THE COST OF HEALTH CARE IS TOO HIGH?
Oh, gotta go, it’s GM calling wanting a few more billion!
Ooops’ sorry, that was not GM, It was AIG!
GM is supposed to call later. well, no problem, the check is ready!
When will we learn? We are as slow as Brain Farce when it comes to learning!
Your “The costs are too high, and the time is not right.”
SAY WHAT! (I shout)!
Hell, the timing has not been right for a zillion years! When will the timing be right? At this rate NEVER!
Meanwhile this stupid nation continues it’s very ignorant ways when it comes to health care for the populace!
Something has to be done, right, wrong, or even close, NOW IS THE TIME!
If it doesn’t happen this year in some way, shape Or form, IT SIMPLY WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
This year the Republicans don’t want the Democrats to suceed, next year the Dem’s won’t want the Republicans to succeed!
Meanwhile, while our beloved idiot politicians all operate for themselves, the public and the populace be damned, things remain status quo on health care, as they have been for a hundred years!
This issue is NOT about the costs, or the coverage, or anything else for that matter!
It is about the DEMOCRATS vs. THE REPUBLICANS!
The citizenry is only the excuse for power mongering!
Now, can we get back to racing?
This column is approx. 2055 words…about 100 or so are dedicated to “politics.” That’s 1955 words on racing.
Ahh but an important 100 words it was!
The government can’t even handle getting enough flu vaccine to the people. Imagine if they ran the whole industry. It would make Brain France look like a piker.
Turnip, I’m an indipendant and hate the bailouts to big industy as much as I hate the thought of government run healthcare. I wanted to see GM and Chrysler go bankrupt. I wanted to see the huge greedy banks fail. I still want to see the ones behind all the liar loans with no money down to people who couldn’t afford them doing the perp walk. I just don’t get the argument that because the banks and industry got bailed out (with money the government doesn’t have-what is the national debt) that we should be able to have government run healthcare. I just look at the financial train wreck that is Medicaid, Medicare, Freddy and Fanny, Social Security and see that they are unfunded mandates with liabilites in the future of 70 TRILLION dollars.
Nothing the government has ever done comes in under budget or meets the lofty expectations sold to the public. If socialized health care ever passes it will be rife with abuse and fraud, and the costs will be astranomical.
I thought the analogy with healthcare was a good one. Imagine if Brain France ran healthcare. That’s what we’ll have if the government runs healthcare.
Meanwhile, back at the racetrack…..
Hey Bad Wolf, I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.
My “original” comment in response to the writer re: health care, is the simple fact I do not like “subliminal” suggestions! Using health care as an example I still believe was a bad choice, particularly a strong stand against it, I simply could not let that one escape.
I have lived in Canada, and my family is in Britain. YES! They have some issues with health care! But NO ONE is ever denied a hospital stay, etc, “because they can’t afford it”!
For us, here in the USA, to NOT have some form of national health care is a sin!
Anyway, I did not start this thing, but I also have to challenge political statements when they are made, just for the reccord!
And I do not agree at all with all the bailout money being provided, AT ALL!
And then the execs of certain companies continue to get their bonuses at out expense.
Oh, did you know a whopping $1billion of GM bailout money went to build a factory in BRAZIL? And we “can’t afford” national health care in one form or another?
And please, please, don’t use King Brain as an example! that is sickening! I might have to go to the hospital, wonder if that hospital takes my insurance?
The heck with racing, this could be a new topic here!
Cheers, thanks for challenging me! This will teach you!
I still like you Turnip!! We just have different opinions on healthcare. I had to go to the ER Wed. night (chainsaw, windy, chips in eye) and they had a huge sign posted saying they had to treat anyone, even if they have no insurance. Hmmm, looks like we sorta have universal care already.
Anyway, no more politics here. I’ll go back to calling out Brain France and Nascars bumbling ineptatude.
IF Nascar raced stock cars (a car available for consumer purchase) and NASCAR and Car manufacturers worked together…
1. Cars would become more fuel efficent
2. Cars would become more aerodynamic
3. Cars would become safer
4. Cars manufacturers would be in DIRECT competition with each other.
5. Unfortunately, the goodyear tires would still suck.
6. Our cars would handle better.
7. From competition, the prices would drop
8. Paraity would increase as some car labels would just fit certain track better.
9. Brian France would be dead – suffering a stroke from his first good idea ever.
10. And they would race on Sunday… and Sell on Monday.
Turnip, the crowd who is against national healthcare will not get it until someone in their own family gets denied needed coverage by their own expensive insurance. Just think Carl Edwards, “we’ll keep doing it this way until someone dies.”
What I don’t get is how someone can be against national healthcare AND Brian France at the same time. Brian France has done a FANTASTIC job for his family’s future. Absolutely textbook perfect Take-The-Money-And-Run. And the insurance companies operate the exact same way for the exact same reasons. Whats not to like?
I dont like the idea of national health care because we already have Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and the like, and they’re all bankrupt and riddled with fraud. Fix those first, and make those apply to everyone, and then you’ll have my support. We dont need yet another gov’t run buracracy.