Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
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.
Monday Morning Tear-Down · Bryan Davis Keith · Monday January 10, 2011
On the track, 2010 was far from a lean year for stock car racing. But for all the on-track highlights of the season past, from Justin Allgaier topping teammate Brad Keselowski to score his first Nationwide Series victory at Bristol, to Denny Hamlin’s show-stopping performance to steal a grandfather clock on a Monday afternoon in Martinsville, to Jimmie Johnson staring down the toughest challenge to his now five-year reign at the top of the Sprint Cup ranks (however manufactured that points race may have been), there was no stopping a continually rising tide of negativity surrounding the NASCAR community.
Sponsorship woes plagued all of NASCAR’s top three national touring series at levels not seen since 2004, where only 45 cars showed up for the Daytona 500 in February. Attendance at race tracks nationwide continued to dwindle, with Cup companion Nationwide Series races at times struggling to bring even 20,000 fans through the turnstiles. And while TV ratings largely held serve for the Nationwide and Truck Series, the same could not be said for the Sprint Cup, which even with a championship that came down to the final race at Homestead still faced double digit percentage decreases in viewership even as the vaunted Chase wound down.
So for all that went right in 2010, NASCAR did not shake off the slump that the sport and industry as a whole has found itself in the past few years. And while thousands of theories, ranging from the ever-sagging economy to a disconnect with its former core fans have been floated, there appears to be consensus in a great number of drivers’ eyes anyway that the downward spiral in big-time stock car racing can be attributed to one source.
“I’m going to blame you [media] guys, and you guys have to take some of the responsibility for it,” said Stewart at Pocono this past July when discussing the current negative wave cresting over the garage.
“When you finally tell someone that the racing is bad enough, long enough, you’re going to convince people that it really is.”
Speaking to NASCAR Illustrated, Brad Keselowski noted, “I think the sport in general is going through some tough times, and a portion of that can be attributed to the media and their own struggles.”
“Some of the print media is killing the sport to save their own job.”
Perhaps most pointed of all drivers was Ryan Newman, who in criticizing Frontstretch’s own Jay Pennell went as far as to say, “It’s your job to write good things about our sport, otherwise we don’t want you here.” That’s the used-to-be-the-Rocketman’s loss; Jay’s a good guy.
To be fair, none of these drivers went as far as to say the sole cause of NASCAR’s current troubles was the media covering it … and they’re not the only ones. Dennis Michelsen of Race Talk Radio echoed these sentiments, noting in not so many words during a December 29 broadcast that it often seemed that NASCAR’s established writers seemed to be trying to out-duel each other week after week, trying to write the most damning and sensational indictment they could to backhand both the sanctioning body and the sport at-large while encouraging their implosion.
Certainly, Michelsen makes a point that can’t be ignored. It’s hard to discredit how much influence the media does have over not just NASCAR, but modern sport in general. This holds especially true in stock car racing, where sponsorship and corporate involvement play such a critical role.
That being said, the power of the media and its ability to sway NASCAR’s fans (the ones that are left, anyway) is far from absolute, and is far from being responsible for even the portion of blame that Smoke and Special K are so quick to pin on. Let’s face it; if motorsports media truly were able to alter the behaviors of stock car racing fans to the point that their attendance, their very perception of the sport as a whole, were based solely on the written words of the media corps, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wouldn’t have nearly the number of fans he continues to have show up on race weekend… because he’s never going to win a race again. The grandstands from Loudon to Homestead would have had nary an empty seat… because it was the closest and best Chase ever! (I don’t care how much venom print and Internet journalists expound on hating the Chase, there’s no way it topped the volume of hype that ESPN doled out for this past season’s 10-race “playoff.” Then again, was anyone watching?)
Trying to attribute the decline of interest and viewership that NASCAR has been and continues to endure, one that has seldom if ever been seen in professional sport, to condemn the tone and content of media coverage is about as sound as blaming the Drudge Report for the stubbornly high unemployment rate. Clearly, we as a nation would see better job creation if Matt Drudge would stop posting links to news stories describing how the unemployment rate is only going down thanks to changes in statistical reporting. Clearly, NASCAR’s grandstands would be nowhere near as barren if the Frontstretch.com’s of the world would stop lamenting the loss of a 36-week schedule and instead would harp on how the annual points reset makes things ‘oh so close’ and exciting.
Going back to Brad K’s quote about print media bringing the sport down to save themselves… that makes sense, how? The media are going to preserve their jobs as NASCAR reporters by deliberately saying whatever they have to to drive paying viewers away from NASCAR? Anyone out there that buys that logic, here’s a suggestion. Go find a bookie and put your savings on Robby Gordon to win the 2011 Cup title.
The fact of the matter is simple, a point that can’t be emphasized enough as the 2011 season approaches. Those of us that are fortunate enough to cover stock car racing as accredited media have a tremendous responsibility. When dealing with stories that have millions of dollars and dozens of jobs potentially riding on them, it’s important to do the utmost to be accurate… and be fully willing to take responsibility and face the consequences when not. When articulating an opinion, it’s important not only to make that clear, but to back it up.
And that responsibility carries over further: When presented with a pig, one must refrain from putting lipstick on it and calling it something else.
The on-track portion of NASCAR is not in dire straits right now. Unfortunately, a number of elements within the industry that put the cars on said tracks are. And it’s not the responsibility of the media to gloss over those facts to give Brian France’s pie-in-the-sky rhetoric credence. NASCAR has a PR department for that. They’re paid well, and they’re awful good at playing dress-up with swine.
- – - –
In the same NASCAR Illustrated interview quoted earlier, Brad Keselowski asked a six-year-old race fan why he was a Joey Logano supporter. The six-year-old responded, “because TV says he’s good.”
The fact that Logano actually is a good race car driver is beside the point. The vast majority of NASCAR’s fanbase is not six years old, and not susceptible to the same power of suggestion that leads a small child to climb into a black van looking for a puppy. The majority of them may not be rocket scientists (don’t get bent out of shape; honestly, how many people out there actually know a rocket scientist?), but they’re certainly more than capable of making their own informed decisions about the state of racing today.
Then again, maybe that’s the issue that so many drivers can’t come to terms with. This problem isn’t going to be solved amongst the incestuous inner circle that the racing industry has become. It’s going to take winning over those who have become the outsiders for real change to take hold – and that isn’t going to be done from the comfort of million-dollar motorhomes and 30 second soundbites.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks Brian. BZF can call a cow patty a hamburger all he wants to, but the truth will eventually come out.
I used to think Ryan Newman was cool until he told the media it was their job to kiss NASCAR’s ass.
When 55% of the remaining fans still hate the Chase according to NASCAR’s own poll, how is it the media’s fault?
You speak the truth.
Blaming the media for NASCAR’S decline is an insult to every serious fan of the sport. Do those blaming the media think we are too stupid to see the futility of the chase, or the spec car series that has evolved and its affect on brand loyalty? Do they really think we can“t figure out for ourselves that the so called “leadership” of Nascar wouldnt be able to run a 7/11 were it not for the Lucky Sperm club? Give us a break guys…a lot of smart people out here losing faith in a sport they love for a whole host of reasons. For every RG, there are a thousand of us with a brain.Im surprised at Newman and Stewart and suggest they focus their wrath elsewhere where it might do some good.
The drivers blaming the media is the result of the drivers being forced to drink the Na$crap “Kool Aid”.
I always understood the purpose of the media is to cover NASCAR, not glorify it. I can reason and have my own opinion, despite the fluff on tv and the internet. NASCAR doesn’t seem to get that.
In any article, someone can disagree. But it is not the writers job to put a positive spin on everything.
As usual in a disagreement, I think the answer lies in the middle. The media frequently over covers the “bad” but NASCAR needs to cure their “cranial rectal inversion” and try to solve the problems. Racing grew too fast and we are seeing a natural contraction, but I think the boys at NASCAR need to get back to basics. That would be that the fastest car wins, not the fastest car among the top 35 in points who has the biggest budget to hire NASA type scientists to reduce the drag coefficient .02%. Get back to racing cars that kinda resemble cars.
Quite the dictatorship. Drivers fined last year for negative comments about NASCAR and news reporters scolded for reporting negatives about NASCAR. When does the book burning start?
Tiggers, the greatest thing will be if JJ wins until there is no longer a Chase. That will be a victory two fold. No more Chase and the last of the JJ * Chumpionships. Anymore, I just laugh.
I enjoy all the social discourse in NASCAR! If everything was all sweetness and light all of the time, I would be bored as hell. At least dissenting opinions give us something to talk about.
I agree with the point that the media is not totally responsible for the downturn in the sport. I for one used to stop watching NASCAR in September to concentrate on NFL and fantasy leagues.
I continue to watch now and went to a race this year, a chase race, for the first time in many years. The old points sysyem was boring and I can’t imagine how many people like me would have abandoned NASCAR altogether due to it.
But getting back to the topic there are some of the writers on this site and others I no longer read because I am sick of hearing it. When I read the ‘however manufactured that points race may have been’ I almost stopped reading this one! The old points system was ‘Manufactured’ too, it is manufactured differently now. Here’s a shock to you all (or 55%) some people like the chase and have remained fans because of it!
In other news, the NFL is enjoying record ratings this year, Brian France is not in control and the booth crew does not yell “Strap on that helmet and tie your shoes tight, BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY, LETS PLAY FOOTBALL BOYZ!!!” during the kickoff.
Nascar was such a rising juggernaut in the 1990’s,every year the sport far out attendanced all US sports by a longshot.The sport grew so fast,that venues couldn’t keep pace with the demand for fans and to put 43 cars in starting lineups.Thus,tracks like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham faded from view.
However,like the old addage says,what goes up must come down.
Nascar ballooned so fast,naturally in time it had to level off.Now,thats what we are witnessing.
It’s easy to say!! OMG!! low attendance,low ratings,Bristol doesn’t sell out!!The sport is over!!
No way!It doesn’t bother me if there aren’t 43 cars in the field. 30 or more is plenty to me.Sponsors may not be jumping to the sport like they used to be,maybe that could drop some of this 4 or 5 owners that field the entire starting grid anyway.
I understand speedway owners and television honchos must be worried,but it goes with the territory,they will have to adjust to a leaner Nascar.
I don’t like that,and tv could drop the races if it gets any worse.That would be tragic.
so, hopefully for our sport,this lull has leveled off,and 2011 will be a much better year.In both attendance and television viewers.
We have always enjoyed any Nascar racing we could find on tv.Most of it seems to be on Speed Channel so with most of their good programms being polluted with Darrel Waltrip silliness, we find we are now watching less and less.