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.
Brett Poirier · Tuesday September 17, 2013
It’s crazy to think that this is the 10th year of NASCAR’s playoff format to decide a champion, the Chase for the Sprint Cup. For fans that were hoping the Chase was only going to be a fad like bell-bottom jeans, Pokémon cards and pet rocks, it isn’t.
The Chase is here to stay.
So is all the ugliness that comes with it.
Remember how opposed the fan base was to the Chase idea when it was originally presented in 2003? Nobody likes change. Opponents of the Chase argued that the most-deserving driver could easily not be crowned champion in a 10-race playoff, that drivers outside of the playoffs would simply become nothing more than pawns on a chessboard once the Chase started and that a playoff format wasn’t going to garner any more interest than the traditional format.
Well, 10 years later…check, check and check. The last 10 days have given us all the proof we ever needed that the Chase is a flawed system.
At Richmond, we saw desperation at its finest as a pair of organizations, Penske Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing, manipulated the outcome of the race and turned the post-race celebration into something resembling a funeral procession.
Then there were the numerous judgment calls by NASCAR. Martin Truex Jr. is out — even though he didn’t do anything — and Ryan Newman is in because they docked Truex Jr. an absurd amount of points (50). Once again I have to ask, how do you dock a team more points than they could earn on a race weekend?
Then we hear that Penske basically paid off Front Row Motorsports to move Joey Logano up a spot at Richmond. Penske is fined, but Logano stays in the Chase, somehow.
Then NASCAR decided to dramatically add a 13th-driver, Jeff Gordon, to a 12-driver playoff field. They could’ve just added Gordon when they added Newman, but that would make too much sense. Instead, they waited to hear the ruling in the court of public opinion, and then added Gordon.
Meanwhile, Truex and Dave Marcis are both out. I group those two together because they’ll probably get equal television time in the next nine races. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France cited “extraordinary circumstances” and said that placing Gordon in the playoffs was helping to protect the integrity of the sport. Imagine NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell added a 13th team to the NFL playoffs because a ref blew a call. It would never happen.
How many teams will make the Chase next year? It’s a legitimate question now; it wouldn’t have been one a week ago. Extraordinary circumstances have a broad definition, and I doubt it’s the last time someone from NASCAR mentions it.
Here’s why. Telling everyone to race at 100 percent effort all the time isn’t solving the Chase problems. By the way, how do you measure whether or not someone is racing at 100 percent effort or not? David Gilliland was accused of running much slower lap times at the end of the Richmond race to let Logano in front, but how could the governing body ever prove that he wasn’t giving 100 percent of his effort? Is NASCAR going to invent the first effort-measuring meter, and place it in each driver’s arm before the race?
Friday’s new rules didn’t solve any of the issues that hang over the Chase like a black cloud. The main one is money. Millions in incentives and bonus money are on the line for teams who qualify.
According to USA Today, NASCAR and Sprint awarded an average of $1.7 million in season-ending bonus money to its Chase teams last season versus $643,500 to 13th-place Kyle Busch. That’s not accounting for the media exposure Chase teams receive versus non-Chase teams. Aric Almirola ran in the top 10 nearly all race on Sunday, was even up to fourth at one point ahead of Jimmie Johnson. You might not have realized it, though, because the ESPN cameras were allergic to the Petty blue on Almirola’s Ford or something. At this point, ESPN decided that Almirola is nothing more than a pawn, much like everyone else who didn’t qualify for the Chase. He’s going to have to lead every lap in a race to gain any attention from here on out.
With all this line, no wonder Roger Penske showed up with his posse on the spotter’s stand at Richmond, and no wonder MWR general manager Ty Norris did everything but run onto pit road and tackle crew members. Money makes people do crazy things. As long as the payoff remains similar to what it is today, stay tuned for more NASCAR press conferences following the last regular season race.
All this drama is for a format that isn’t working. The next two races — New Hampshire and Dover — received the lowest two television ratings in the 36-race schedule last season, according to the Sports Business Journal. Most Chase races are receiving less viewership than regular season races. This could only happen in NASCAR. Could you imagine any other major sport where less people watched the playoffs — the games that supposedly matter the most — than the regular season? You’re not going to find one.
For fans that have stuck by the sport, the last 10 days have been an embarrassment. Try explaining to a friend who doesn’t follow the sport how Gordon and Newman made the Chase and Truex didn’t. Try explaining how Clint Bowyer spun intentionally, Brian Vickers pitted for no reason and Gilliland slowed to a crawl.
I guarantee they look back at you like you are crazy.
Meanwhile, fans that abandoned the sport because of the format have shown that maybe they were right in doing so. Just about every worry fans had about the Chase in 2003 has come to fruition in 2013.
Those fans don’t have to be embarrassed. They can just point, laugh and say, ‘I told you so.’
©2000 - 2008 Brett Poirier and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Everything’s a nail when all you have is a hammer with which to bash the Chase.
Ratings are down in some of the early Chase races? Duh, but did you notice the NFL started last week? Name one thing that takes place on Sunday afternoons in the fall that doesn’t suffer because the NFL sucks the air out of everything else.
If it weren’t for the Chase, Richmond would have been just another race, one of 36… and there wouldn’t have been the coverage of who made it, who didn’t. Agree or not with the line that any publicity is good publicity, Nascar definitely got some attention this past week.
And while the Chase may have some issues, you gloss over the fact that without the Chase, there would likely be less interest in these races. Ooh, Jimmy Johnson with a full race points lead heading into the last ten races of the year. Yeah, that’s the ticket, I’ll drop everything else to watch a very unexciting race for the championship.
And finally, you blame the Chase for problems that would be the same Chase or no Chase. Viewership is down because there’s not enough carnage out there for the casual fan. They want to see crashes, they want to see fights, they want to see cars on the visible edge of losing control. Yes, these potential viewers don’t appreciate racing the way hardcore fans do, but there aren’t enough hardcore fans to justify coverage on the Ocho. If you want to boost viewership, you need the non-fan to tune in, and right now, Chase or no Chase, Nascar isn’t giving those viewers what those viewers want to watch.
But keep on bashing the Chase, I know it makes you feel good.
There’s a reason why sports stations across the nation don’t talk Nascar. Not even the local sports stations in the south. It’s a joke, and the last week have only made it worse. Sports websites have absolutely SLAMMED Nascar and Brian France.
Nascar has officially crossed over into the Twilight Zone. I have friends and family, knowing that I’m a long time Nascar fan, laughing at me asking me questions that I can’t answer. Because there’s NO WAY to make sense of the current state of Nascar. Even my stepson, a big Gordon fan, can defend this stuff.
The current leadership of Nascar have done sigificant damage to what was once a legitamate sport. Now it’s a sham.
“Just about every worry fans had about the Chase in 2003 has come to fruition in 2013.”
Could not agree more. I remember many of us putting out scenarios of why the chase would be problematic.
One question I have about the new “you are supposed to give 100% at all times” rule is how that shakes out at Daytona and Talladega. Is purposely dropping to the back and running in a “mini” pack 5 second behind the main pack still going to be allowed?
The funny thing is the NFL was still the 800 lbs gorilla back when NSACAR was climbing in attendance, viewership, ratings, etc. The Sunday dates have always conflicted with the NFL since the inception of NASCAR being on TV for every race.
One of MANY great questions.
I’ll ask again: If the leader drops back to let a teammate pass for a point, then retakes the lead, is that manipulation or not racing hard 100% or both?
And should we red flag the race to figure it out, like five-time champion Jimmie Johnson has suggested?
“Just about every worry fans had about the Chase in 2003 has come to fruition in 2013.”
And yet, NASCAR’s CEO continues to think this format is the “best” for NASCAR. His infamous comment of “someone told you they don’t like the chase” when questioned about it at Homestead a year or so ago shows just how out of touch he is with the sport.
Since I’ve disliked this format since its inception but continue to watch, I guess that means I’m crazy. Of course, I also have to say that I watch a lot less racing than I did before.
I think Bill B’s question about racing at the RP tracks is a really good one. Any time you try and measure “effort” without having a quantitative method is never good.
I keep hoping the damn chase will just go away. As happy as was when they announced Gordon was in the chase on Friday, I’d have been ecstatic if the announcement had been – the chase has been suspended.
Tom, you say Richmond would have been just a race. The thing is – that is what NASCAR used to be — everybody raced every race as an individual event. It made going to a race FUN! That’s what I liked about it and if you had a bad race, well, heck, you just raced even harder next week. With the dumb chase format and the revised points system, it’s points racing all the time. Personally I find points racing much less interesting than the old way.
Chase or no Chase the NFL will suck up all the TV ratings on Sundays in Fall. I wish NASCAR would sit down with Sprint and the teams and have an honest conversation about the Chase. 10 years later and I don’t think it accomplished much, except ensuring the Title isn’t clinched before Homestead. I’d rather go back to a 36 race total format with a new points system that rewards winning a bunch more. Take that Chase money and put it back into the race purses with incentive programs that reward winning.
As Nelson Muntz would say while pointing at Nascar;
I agree with Tom.
And, fans whined when Gordon got screwed by Bowyer’s spin, but then NASCAR added Gordon to the Chase, and now fans are bashing NASCAR for screwing with the Chase? You cant have it both ways, people.
The fans who whined about Gordon and are bashing Nascar for screwing with the Chase are Gordon haters. Not hard to see that. Let anything benefit Gordon and they come out of the woodwork.
I have no horse in this race; I’m just one of those old fashioned fans who enjoy watching good racing, the kind we used to have in Nascar. Its become a joke, they are all running for position during the first twenty six races, not to win. The point system is a farce and so is the leadership. As a business professional, I am absolutely astounded at the ineptness of Brian France whose abject lack of knowledge seems to have permeated all of Nascar’s leadership. Keep watching those empty seats, there will soon be more of them.
By using the ‘chase’ to make the championship more important than the individual races, Nascar has screwed themselves. The races always conflicted with the NFL…now that’ s suddenly the reason for empty seats and low viewership? How about the fact that fans are limited to info on only 10, no, 12…oops….13 drivers over the final 10 races? How about the overkill hype about ‘the chase to the chase’, and then ‘the chase’? If I never hear that word again it will be too soon.
Again, I agree with JP 100%. And, why does one always say “The Chase” is here to stay. What unmovable force in this great big universe makes it so?
“What unmovable force in this great big universe makes it so?”
Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a “force” but it’s certainly an unmovable blob…. Brian France.
I agree with everyone about the chase. Points racing didn’t used to start until about this time of year and even then didn’t get into full swing until the last 6 races and usually only involved two or three drivers that were still in hunt. The rest of the field could go for win or wreck. Prior to those last 10 races there was no reason to fixate on points because too many things had to go a particular driver’s way to be there at the end (plus they didn’t give the other 9 guys points to even it up) so going for the win and the best finish was the best way to take care of the points. Now everyone points races the entire 36 races (except for the guys that missed the chase the last ten races who have nothing to lose).
I’m one of the I told you so crowd, and glad i am. The crazy part, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a family member take a thriving business and run it into the ground. They get that position simply because they are born into it, not because they are the best person for the job. The one thing we can all agree on is that Brian France is an idiot. If you cut off his head he wouldn’t be any dumber and more sad is the case. RIP NA$CAR.
Jim is absolutely right. Not sure who it was that first put forth this observation, but it definitely rings true: The first generation creates the business; the second generation grows the business; and the third generation flushes the business down the toilet.
I think the time is ripe for a NASCAR replacement! There are plenty of non-ISC racetracks out there and the fans are ready for a legitimate group who runs a legitimate set of races and crowns a champion who wins for the whole year’s worth of racing. Why wait for NASCAR to fix what it’s @#$%-ed up. If they won’t listen to the fans – replace them! I’m sick of the mess. If they won’t listen and if France thinks he’s the be-all and end-all of racing. Prove him wrong!