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.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday May 29, 2012
ONE: The Debris Cautions Have to Stop
The fastest Coca-Cola 600 in the history of the race would have and should have been even faster if it wasn’t for the figments of the imagination of Robin Pemberton and his buddies in the race control booth, throwing the yellow multiple times for debris so miniscule, the TV cameras couldn’t find it. These were figments of imagination that either resulted in obstacles that weren’t there… or, even worse, thought that viewers and fans couldn’t put two and two together that the race was being stopped for no reason other than to bunch up the field and provide a TV timeout.
It’s hardly the first time this column has touched on this issue, even this season. But again, caution flags ended up having an impact on this event, even if the final 75 circuits under green allowed the faster No. 5 car to clear the No. 11 and score the win. Between the Richard Petty Motorsports cars fading from their front row starts, Kyle Busch’s long green prowess, the continual instances where pit stops were botched, the difference between a caution flag and no caution flag could be huge. The adjustments available to a crew lessen in terms of options and scope that can be accomplished. A mistake under green is 10 times more costly that one under yellow.
Stock car racing is not entertainment. Stock car racing can be entertaining. Though, to be honest, there’s nothing stock about what is now referred to as stock car racing, so maybe it is entertainment now. Either way, the racing needs to be improved or the races need to play out. This manipulation of an event from the box has to stop. There isn’t another sport anywhere in the country where this level of interventionism by officials would be tolerated.
TWO: Logano Has Reason to Worry
The tagline used by FOX to tout NASCAR’s longest race this weekend was that big names win big races, especially at Charlotte. For Joe Gibbs Racing, that translated into Denny Hamlin being the only car able to mount even some kind of challenge to Kasey Kahne late, while Kyle Busch finished third with one of the stronger long run machines in the field. And as for Sliced Bread? That translated into a 23rd-place finish, three laps off the pace. Two JGR drivers have won races, Logano hasn’t. Two JGR drivers are in the top 10 in points, Logano isn’t. Hamlin and Busch each have more top-5 finishes than Logano does top 10s.
Sure, Logano is the youngest of the Gibbs drivers and has the least amount of time of the three in a Cup car. But this is year four with a championship-winning race team and a big-dollar sponsor. And to top it all off, there is talent on the market. Newman, as discussed last week, may well be losing his Army sponsorship by the time this government fiscal year is over. Kurt Busch is available, and his brother has wasted no chance to sell the merits of said older sibling both as a driver and positive influence in the garage. Even from a longshot perspective, Brian Vickers is out there after a strong showing earlier this year in MWR’s No. 55 car… and he’s driven Toyotas for a while.
The big stage was out there for the taking this Sunday, JGR had the track pegged… and the young one came up short. Again. Can’t help but wonder when that’s going to start adding up.
THREE: The Top 35 Goes Stagnant Again
Dave Blaney’s last month has been a considerable departure from his season-opening effort at Daytona. Instead of nearly winning the 500, Blaney has suffered five DNFs in his last seven race starts, including a 40th-place effort at Charlotte Sunday that saw the No. 36 car last only 54 laps before blowing a motor. Yet, despite tumbling to 35th in the owner points and being on a cold stretch rife with mechanical failures and a start-and-park effort at Kansas, Blaney and Co. are in absolutely no danger of falling out of the Cup field.
Sitting 36th is the part-time Wood Brothers Racing team. 37th is Stephen Leicht and the No. 33, the closest thing to Max Q Motorsports racing in Cup these days (complete with Little Joe’s Autos being on the cars). 38th is David Stremme’s Inception Motorsports squad, which DNF’d five consecutive events after failing to qualify at Texas.
The point? There’s a significant lack of depth in the Sprint Cup field in 2012, significant enough that no one is challenging for that final locked-in position. There’s multiple issues that come into play from this standpoint. For one, it begs the question how does one sell the sport to new ownership if there’s not even a line to get in amongst the current players? The larger issue, though, is with 35 cars now completely set in the field, there’s less incentive at the back to push the issue. Sure, every driver and team wants to run well, run better, race hard. But here’s the sobering reality: if money’s tight, and there’s no challenger, the time for changing over from innovation to survival arrives. That means start-and-parking when its convenient, preserving equipment at all costs… anyone remember Front Row Motorsports and their team orders work a few seasons back to keep all three cars in top 35 contention?
That’s good business, not good racing. And there’s a reason NASCAR isn’t broadcast on CNBC.
FOUR: Entitlement Runs Wild On The Race Track
As anyone that read Tom Bowles’ work from Saturday’s Nationwide Series race or Sunday’s Pace Laps column knows, both Richard Childress and Austin Dillon had some harsh words for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and his aggression behind the wheel despite being more than 20 laps off the pace. Then, there’s an interesting piece done by Sporting News on Ryan Newman, who despite having been a Cup regular for a decade is now attempting to learn “give and take” after discussion and run-ins with numerous competitors. Competitors that largely have taken objection with how hard the Rocket is to pass on the track.
And to think so many in today’s NASCAR wonder why so many fans just don’t care anymore? From the stars of the Cup Series to the few future stars being groomed at the Nationwide level, the mentality seems to be… yield. Give way. Make room. Save the racing for the run to the checkers.
There’s no argument to be made that Newman and Stenhouse are the minority in today’s garage in going out of their way to race hard and play obstructionist on the track. And rather than tackling this from a right/wrong issue or a “it has always been this way” perspective, let’s try another one.
Who the hell wants to spend hundreds of dollars and hours of time watching give and take, building up to an unpredictable 15 minutes? There are advantages to racing like Mark Martin (preserving equipment, having favors returned on track) and there’s disadvantages (the chrome horn is not available to win races). Drivers need to do some risk/reward analysis instead of crying to owner, spotter, officials and mommy when they have a hard time on track, and do something themselves.
For all NASCAR does wrong, listening to millionaire race car drivers whine makes my blood boil.
FIVE: Sato Reminds Race Fans Everywhere Just How Hard It Is
For the second season in a row, a lesser known IndyCar driver had the Indianapolis 500 in the bag… and blew it on the final lap only to hand the race win to a veteran and former 500 winner. Takuma Sato had perfectly split the Ganassi teammates of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon only seconds prior, and coming down the frontstretch to the white flag was right on the bumper of Franchitti. One turn and an ill-advised divebomb later, Sato was wrecked along the turn 1 wall, handing Franchitti his third 500 trophy.
For every Trevor Bayne at Daytona moment, there’s five Sato crashes at Indianapolis moments. Which, interestingly enough, goes back to the first point here that racing is more entertaining than entertainment, at least at its purest form. Those last second moments, those upset wins, are special because they are unpredictable and a departure from the norm.
Funny how that’s the lesson that apparently needs to be re-learned at NASCAR following the world’s biggest day in motorsports. It could have been worse, though… imagine deciding the 600 with a debris yellow.
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Reading an article by a whining writer about a sport they wouldn’t have the guts to participate in makes my blood boil.
Yep, the fake debris cautions have become so common that NASCAR is no longer trying to legitimize them. They are left with a “no comment” approach.
Well said. There isn’t another sport in the WORLD let alone the country that butts in and manipulates to this level. I am beginning to put my money where my mouth is and watching Indycar, sportscars and F1 more and more because atleast they let the races play out for better or worse and not try to manufacture WWE on wheels (and fail miserably anyway).
Fake caution kinda makes it fake racing. Fake racing is sorta like fake wrestling. Fake wrestling is not a sport. That kinda makes NASCAR racing not a real sport.
Having attended the race and having spent only $10 on a scalped ticket that allowed me to sit in a $100+ seat just right of the start finish line was AWESOME!
Leaving the race with a hundred laps to go (because I was bored with the “lack” of racing) which allowed us to hit the interstate with out much traffic was PRICELESS!
Watching every car the 16 passed waving a “white” flag made me sick… It was like these drivers were out there for a Sunday drive my folks use to take around the neighborhood… as soon as the Biff got on their rear they simply raised the flag and let him pass… but this just didn’t happen with the Biff…
I’m tired of hearing racing called a SHOW! You want to go to a show go to NY!… this is the problem (well one of many) NASCAR has taken racing out of “Racin’”
Stroking ain’t racin and strokin ain’t entertainment!
At least the WWE gives its fans what they want and the seats are full night after night.
Spec cars and the highly touted chase have diminished the sport to a mere shadow of it’s former self and Jr and Danica are not the saviors NASCAR hopes they are. France say’s he isn’t concerned with fan and driver complaints, Pemberton says the fans are needy. The media imply’s that fans only want to see wrecks. Think maybe if they all took off the rose colored glasses they’d see that there are a lot less needy fans, complaining fans, just a lot less fans in general. It sure appears that attacking your fan base is a great business plan huh NASCAR?
I actually fell asleep during the 600 and didn’t watch the ending when I did wake up. Just when I think the racing can’t get worse, it does. And to add to my displeasure, the sheer amount of commercials just makes it more tedious. “Wake up nascar” has turned into “wake me up” nascar.
Having a rich daddy or maybe grandfather with access to all the toys as you grow up might give you enough “guts” to race in nASCAR. However all the money and training in the world won’t give you the talent to be a starter in the NFL,NBA,or MLB.
I don’t want NASCAR manipulating the races and then calling the fans who want to see the debris “needy”.
I’m also tired of the multi-millionaire drivers complaining that the fans “don’t understand”. No, THE DRIVERS don’t understand. As a fan, I do go to a race to be entertained – I sure as heck don’t spend money and time to go and be bored!
So instead of racing, like we saw at Indy on Sunday, there are hrs and hrs of what is a high speed parade, TV cheering for drivers who they have $ and vested interest either through ownership or personal services contracts! So watching TV coverage is barely worth it either.
We have tickets to Dover this coming weekend – based on past experience, I expect the race to be another parade.
Knaus took a car so illegal he didn’t bother to win the race. Wait for the October race when he blows the doors off everyone else. And somehow passes inspection.
I agree with what everybody just posted (except the nutbag hater Jazz). Spec machines created under the guise of “safety” has ruined this sport. NASCAR is now almost a complete show and I’ll take my money elsewhere.
Nascar is now all about entertainment and not racing. And it’s not working on either counts.
Nascar treats it’s fans like politicians treat voters. “You stupid sheep.” While laughing all the way to the bank.
Look, the ONLY way to send a message to nascar is to NOT watch and DON’T go.
Today I’ve listened to several nationally syndicated radio shows and NONE of them mentioned the nascar race but DID mention the Indy race.
I actually enjoyed the race on Sunday, but it may be because I was still on a high from the finish at Indy. I will say this. I refuse to watch NASCAR races live anymore. Too many commercials. I’ve picked up the Sunday shifts at work and watch on my DVR. Same with night races, I’ll go out and watch when I get back. And if it gets boring I have that ever wonderful fast forward button. I don’t have a problem watching advertisements. But when there’s a 50/50 ad to racing ratio, I REFUSE. Especially considering this sport is 43 rolling advertisements anyway. And they use Sunoco Race Fuel, and Goodyear Eagles and the PreRace show is Built by Home Depot.
As much as I love Ford, if I were Joe Gibbs I’d fire Logano and hire Trevor Bayne.
NASCAR had 2 chances in the late stages of the race Sunday to throw a yellow and they didn’t, both on blown engines. So for those hollaring about the debris cautions, think about that. It’s funny, a lot of fans will call you stupid if you say you watch for the wrecks but these are the same fans screaming it’s boring because there are no wrecks. So what do you want?
Reading an article by a whining writer about a sport they wouldn’t have the guts to participate in makes my blood boil.
Well, I’ve raced everything from 4 Cylinder Pure Stock to Outlaw Late Model (same power/weight ratio as a Cup car), so is my opinion valid enough that the racing is boring and pointless and too long? The drivers putt around for 3 of the 4 hours, and then some might bother to try by the end of the race. It’s awful.
Takuma Sato may have made a bonehead move, but it was for the win in the greatest race in the world on the very last lap. Kudos to him for being a real racer. You know Jimmie Johnson would never do the same thing if he was having a “good points day” in 2nd spot.
Mikeyfan: It’s funny, a lot of fans will call you stupid if you say you watch for the wrecks but these are the same fans screaming it’s boring because there are no wrecks. So what do you want?
A Championship format that rewards winning over everything else, that doesn’t encourage drivers to play it safe and never attempt a difficult pass because they’re worried about making The Chase, and are satisfied with a 9th place finish? Good side-by-side racing, a little door banging, drivers able to keep the nose of their car down and not get aero-push, so they can execute passes if they’re a faster car? You can have exciting racing without wrecks, just watch Aussie v8 Supercar, World of Outlaws, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Continental GT, Grand-Am, World Challenge… Hell even most of your Saturday night short tracks.
You know, I like football and hockey a lot because there is a lot of contact. I don’t want to see guys get hurt even though the probability goes up with the level of contact. Likewise, I liked NASCAR because it WAS a contact sport at one time. That doesn’t mean I want the cars to wreck but I do want contact (i.e., extremely close racing).
Lately NASCAR has resembled baseball more than football and that’s where they lose me. No disrespect to baseball fans or the sport but it’s boring TO ME personally.
That’s about the best way I can sum up my feelings on the subject.
Having a rich daddy or maybe grandfather with access to all the toys as you grow up might give you enough guts to race in NASCAR. However all the money and training in the world won’t give you the talent to be a starter in the NFL,NBA,or MLB
As one who has competed in motorsports for 38 years, I’m qualified to say that you’re wrong.
Money will get you a ride. It will get you a ride at the highest level. But not a ride for the best teams. Danica has a ton of money behind her and a nice ride, but she’s not a “starter”. She isn’t competitive in NASCAR or Indycars and never will be. I think she’s embarrassing herself and should retire. But her talent is still better than 99.9% of racers in the the world.
Money will get the ride but only talent gets you a championship. The rest are benchwarmers, they’re just sitting on the best benches.
And Jazz…don’t pull that crap on F1 correspondent Andy Hollis. If he’s who I think he is, he knows all about participation and whining wanna-bes.
Andy90- I have been bass fishing for 50 years but that don’t make me Rick Clunn. As for racing your comments confirmed what I said in my previous comment. Money and connections can get you a ride at nASCARS highest level.Money can’t give you the ability to play like Joe Montana. Its the athletic thing you are missing.
_italicize_I have been bass fishing for 50 years but that don’t make me Rick Clunn
And if I throw six million at ya, you’ll get in the Bassmasters tournament but ya still won’t be Rick Clunn
I have accomplished a couple of things in the fishing world without the six million” your two cents” that Rick Clunn never will. Maybe they did not use periods at your school either.
John, nothing changed with the chase except it made the championship a lot closer. Look back over history and see how many times the championship was locked up before the last race was ran and then look at the chase and make the same comparison. You don’t get side by side door banging racing because if your not a HMS driver and you do it you will be suspended and have points taken away. There’s your problem not the chase.