NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday March 22, 2011
ONE: Bristol Goes From Coliseum to Cavern
Estimates that 120,000 fans were in the stands at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Sunday were gross exaggerations. Maybe, between the Nationwide and Cup races combined, there were 120,000-130,000. But any talk of six digit attendance figures for this event are figments of someone’s imagination… that, or the usual deliberate attempt to conceal just how many people stayed home.
The downturn from just a year ago is shocking. Taking a conservative estimate of 125,000 for last year’s spring race, and comparing it to the 80,000 or so that I believed were present on Sunday… that’s a one-year decline of 36%. It was depressing to witness in person, especially considering the history of this track, whose waiting list for suites and tickets just a few seasons ago rivaled even the Washington Redskins’ season ticket list in their heyday.
Some will say this crowd’s the latest sign of our economic downturn at work. That’s not the case. Even after a concentrated effort by local businesses to cut hotel prices, even as the track made fans fully aware that yes, their wait list was gone and tickets were available, more people stayed home on Bristol race weekend to cause the first significant decrease of any track this year.
Square in the minds of all seeking answers is the recent reconfiguration that turned Bristol from a one-groove bullring to a multi-groove speedbowl. For whatever reason, more side-by-side racing with fewer wrecks is proving to be a difficult sell.
But the change that really should be blamed for Bristol now joining the ranks of the mortals, becoming “just another track” struggling to sell tickets happened long before the addition of variable banking.
It came at the hands of the Chase.
As much as Bristol is hyped, it’s the night race at the track that is the crown jewel. That’s the race that fans bought tickets for, the one circled on every calendar. It was the night race that saw Dale turn Terry, multiple gloves thrown and even the most innocent driver’s blood boil in extenuating circumstances. But thanks to the Chase schedule, which pits a race that used to be a no-holds-barred slugfest a mere two events from the cutoff to make the playoffs, the contenders points race and the others strive not to be the driver that ruins Chase hopes for a big-name competitor. Attendance may be higher in August, but it’s the night race that’s lost much of its luster since Brian France’s brainchild came into this world.
So with its crown jewel race reduced to a shell of what it once was, even a solid event at the new Bristol, one that saw three big names duking it out for the win Sunday in what may have been a preview of the title fight to come in 2011 proved to be a tough sell to fans.
TWO: Then Again, Damn if Bristol Ain’t Expensive
Of course, races cost money nowadays, and while greatly exaggerated the impact of community businesses jacking up hotel prices appears to have merit. A local news article described how in their efforts to draw more fans to Bristol in a harsh economic climate, a number of local hotels agreed to work with the track and fans to lower prices. Yet the one price quoted in that article, from a Comfort Inn established the rate as a minimum of $199-249 a night. Couple that with gas prices not in the control of local merchants (the cheapest this writer found on his trip down I-81 to the track was $3.29 a gallon for regular unleaded, over 40 miles away), and fans were still getting robbed – they just weren’t getting raped afterwards as in years past.
Granted, other reports cited lower rates for area stops I couldn’t find. But for the hotels in the article cited above, they noted that even after cutting prices, there was no surge in reservations. This perception isn’t rocket science to figure out, either. For nearly 20 years, the area surrounding the Bristol Motor Speedway was among, if not the most notorious on the Cup circuit for price gouging. Paying $400 a night for a hotel room was commonplace, and that’s not including in-demand, sold out tickets plus expensive merchandise that made your trip approach $1,000-plus in no time.
Sadly, with that in mind it seems that the Tri-Cities area surrounding the world’s fastest half-mile is learning the hard way that earning a reputation as an opportunistic gouger is a hard, hard, hard image to shed. Right alongside NASCAR itself; oh, how the mighty have fallen…
THREE: Speaking of NASCAR, They Played Their Role, Too
Not only was attendance way down for Sunday’s race, it was the first event of the 2011 Cup season that saw TV ratings decline from where they were a year ago. What’s worse, this decrease occurred on a day where the race wasn’t too long (it finished in under three hours), it was run at a non cookie-cutter venue, and its on-track product was actually worth watching at points. But between swaths of empty bleachers, smaller viewership and Kyle Busch making a mockery of the front of the field on Saturday and for much of Sunday, a great deal of momentum that NASCAR seemed to be riding on came crashing down.
Go figure, it happened the first race back from an off-weekend… a mere three events into the season. Sure, the Truck Series did race at Darlington over that bye, but it’s a tall order for a race solely covered on SPEED that Kasey Kahne made a snoozer of to sustain the type of wave that Trevor Bayne’s historic win and Jeff Gordon’s resurgence had started.
It also begs the question… who in their right mind thinks this schedule makes sense? There is a justifiable need for an off-weekend after sending teams from two weeks in Daytona to two weeks out west, thousands of miles from the race shops, but in terms of trying to get a sport and season up to speed a bye weekend 1/12th of the way into the schedule is about as counterproductive as it comes. Couple that with the fact that NASCAR tried to get back into the public consciousness at the same time as March Madness came on TV, and there’s no need to look at what kind of racing Phoenix or Las Vegas have to offer. NASCAR took a week off right as it was getting back on its feet, then tried to go after one of sport’s 800-pound gorillas trying to get back into the routine.
If that’s not a recipe for declining TV ratings, Michael McDowell is your future 2011 Cup champion.
FOUR: Edwards Didn’t Bump Kyle… Again
In the second Nationwide Series race of the season at Phoenix, Kyle Busch dominated all afternoon long until the final stretch, where a hard-charging Carl Edwards took advantage of a late restart and became the first car to pose a real challenge to the No. 18. For laps, Edwards raced Busch even, at times even getting alongside him. But the No. 60 could never make the pass, leaving Busch driving off into the sunset.
Fast forward to Sunday’s Cup race, and Edwards apparently did not learn his lesson; get close to Kyle Busch, pass Kyle Busch. No matter what it takes.
Again, Edwards on the short run was able to race with his rival, even getting alongside the No. 18 car for a number of laps. But Busch started to pull away, and Edwards let him. Opting to bank on a late-race caution coming out instead of pulling an early bump-and-run, then spending 15-20 laps playing defense with Rowdy on his bumper, Edwards let the No. 18 drive off into the sunset… leading to a satisfying result. Big picture, you had a good points day for Edwards and an even better one for Kyle – with a trophy to prove it.
This early in the year, it’s almost as if Busch is enjoying much the same treatment that Jimmie Johnson has gotten from his closest competitors the past five seasons at the front. Everyone’s tip-toeing, afraid to make a move that could ruin his day or, in Rowdy’s case, make him angry. If even mighty Edwards, who time and time again and has shown no fear or reluctance to use the chrome horn, won’t put it to a continual race winner that’s getting the best of him, Busch is going to score some serious hardware in 2011.
FIVE: For Race Fans That Missed It
For those who either spent 500 laps in the Bristol infield with no ear protection or crawled under a rock all weekend long, Kyle Busch swept the weekend, marking his fifth consecutive win at Bristol across all the NASCAR series racing on the high banks. In other news, there has never been a more accomplished Buschwhacker.
And that begs the question… what are the chances that Busch will file to run the Modified race run there in August to keep the streak alive? Put it this way; if there’s a bookie out there stupid enough to run a pool on that, take Busch running the Modified race – no matter the odds.
Connect with Bryan!
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Even though it wasn’t the night race,I have to say,it really is shocking at how a gem like Bristol has seen its attendance drop as it has.
I’ve said for a while that the chase started the demise of Bristol, turning the night race into a lesson on good manners. Why you would take something that was unique as Bristol and turn it into just another track still puzzles me. I gave up my season tickets 2 years ago when I almost fell asleep during the night race…noise and all! Let’s hope that Nascar doesn’t decide to ‘improve’ Martinsville the way Brisol went. It’s the only short track left that harks back to the ‘old days’. As far as hotel rates, if you’re willing to drive a ways to get to the track (I stayed in Boone, NC, about an hour away) the rates are at least doable. So sad that someplace that used to be so much fun and unique is now so run of the mill. It’s time for TV and Nascar to stop billing races there as ‘beating and banging’ to try to get an audience.
Yep, you’re right Bryan. First the chase neutered Bristol and then the track reconfiguration stuck a dagger in it’s heart.
I blame the Chase and the idiots at NA$CAR corporate moreso for Bristol’s demise than the progressive banking. The Chase has castrated the night race. The banking has led to overall better racing. Count me among the minority, but seeing cars race side by side using multiple grooves is racing to me. Knocking cars out of the way is better suited for the knuckle draggers at the local county demo derby. There was nothing worse than seing a good car pushed up high and then having to pass 8-10 cars that were not as good as that car, spending 50-70 laps to do so. All because the first car rammed the lead car out of the way. That is not racing.
Even though the racing has changed with the new surface I would still like to go to a race at Bristol. What’s stopping me from making the relatively short drive from Chicago to Tenn. is paying $150-$200 a night with a 3 or 4 day minimum in 2-star motel room that normally goes for $50 a night.
Earth provides enough for every man’s needs but not his greeds.
The ultimate answer to the question as to why Bristol has become boring is this. Brian France. Since he took over nas$car, it has gone downhill fast. And why Bruton Smith re-configured is beyond me. In recent years nas$car has become adept at knee-jerk reactions. Nothing consistant . I never thought Bristol would or could become boring. But until nas$car wakes up and actually listens to it’s true fans, nothing is going to change.
Of the eight tracks you listed in the Southeast, I’d pick Martinsville in a heartbeat (even though the drivers I don’t pull for always win). That’s something I don’t think I can say for any other track… I’d happily watch someone I don’t want to win, win.
As for Bristol… let’s get rid of the Chase, and if attendance doesn’t rebound, it was the re-configuration. I’m thinking the latter is the bigger problem for Bristol, but I think killing the Chase should be the priority.
For consistency’s sake (because half-full stands usually lead to losing a date), what they should do is take a date away from Bristol (!). Maybe try giving it to Road Atlanta—I’d go to that one.
Points racing has been a major contributor to the decline of interest in NASCAR. Perfect examples this season – Edwards will trail around right on the bumper of Kyle for many laps and not touch him. CE would rather finish second and preserve points – doesn’t make sense in NW but it is the going mentality. I don’t want to watch a wreckfest but I want to see drivers aggresively seeking a WIN.
I agree the Bristol races just aren’t what they used to be. These days the races at Richmond and Martinsville seem to be more exciting.
I’ve been to two races at Martinsville, and they are among my favorites. The hot dogs there… not so much.
points racing has hurt in the fall but I was there and it was more filled than anyone is giving credit. It seats 160K so to say that half the seats were empty is ludicrous. Bryan, stop trying to sensationalize!
I agree with the previous poster re points racing. Despite their protestations,it starts at the second race.
You know people most people dont wake up on Thursday morning and decide they want to go to the race at Bristol. Whether its because of work or finances. Its the same as anything else. You decide whether you want to and can afford it a while in advance and make the necessary arrangements. Obviously quite a few decided “no” to one or the other.
When a local merchants want to max out their profits cause I came to town to spend a few bucks…They get less of my Bucks & they don’t get them twice. & theres lot’s of other tracks in bigger markets with better air service & weather..Bye Bristol
Nascar has made so many regulations, they have ruined the races. Each race seems like the same race as the one before. It does not seem like entertainment anymore. Nothing unexpected.
It is very sad to see so many empty seats at Bristol. Very sad. Listen, guys. OK, forget about the wrecks. There’s side-by-side racing and a good three-car race to the finish in Sunday’s race. Besides, wrecks are very expensive because these cars cost several hundred thousand dollars. The drivers prefer this racing.
If you want the racing that Bristol had on the previous concrete surface, here’s what you should do: Send a letter or e-mail to BMS or NASCAR and demand that the track be repaved immediately after the summer race, making sure that progressive banking is eliminated in the repaving project. That’s the only suggestion I can think of. Also, the race would draw more people if it were in April instead of March because it can still be cold and snowy in March there (even though it was warm this year).