Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
The Yellow Stripe · Danny Peters · Tuesday February 24, 2009
As you’ve likely read plenty of places over the past 48 hours, the Auto Club Speedway is a much maligned venue – arguably the least popular of the twenty-two tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. Interest is sparse, attendance is — to put it politely — “not the best,” and in general fans breathe a sigh of relief when the haulers pull out of the West Coast circuit and head for the dubious delights of Sin City.
There are many miles to be run and many races to scratch off the slate (thankfully) before we return to Fontana; but like it or not, the Auto Club Speedway is going to matter much more than ever before in 2009. Like it or not, the track is moving up in the NASCAR hierarchy — and slap bang into the ten-race Chase to decide the sport’s 2009 Sprint Cup champion. The switcheroo of race dates with Atlanta and Talladega from the ’08 schedule means that the next time Cup cars fire up at Fontana, the stakes will now be significantly higher with its second 500-miler shifting to a brand new race date in mid-October. Yes, it’s completely correct to say Labor Day Weekend had been an important race for Chase hopefuls in the last five years — but there’s a huge difference between two races before and four races into the “hallowed” Chase format. As a result, the race will, by necessity, take on a far greater importance in the context of the wider season as a whole. The question is whether the fans will react to the elevated status of the Los Angeles Media Market’s primary Motorsports venue and finally cause a sellout. But with the best opportunity yet in Auto Club’s 12 years as a NASCAR track on her plate, you can be sure Speedway President Gillian Zucker will be doing everything she possibly can to hype this thing Hollywood-style and pack the stands.
The trouble is, though, that the racing at Fontana is inherently less exciting than at many of the other Cup tracks (apologies to one of FS’ most dedicated posters, Kevin in SoCal, for bashing the venue again — but it’s true). That means despite the geographic proximity to millions of “potential fans,” Fontana remains a tough sell – especially in this economy.
So, how to you fix the race track without spending millions of dollars on repairs? I’m with Michael Waltrip, who mentioned what was then deemed a radical idea at the start of the 2008 season. His plan would be to turn the Auto Club Speedway into a Restrictor Plate track, evening up the racing at a 2-mile oval which has qualifying speeds fast approaching 190 miles an hour.
After enduring yet another snoozefest at Auto Club this weekend, I think Waltrip’s plan is an idea that has merit. The change would provide an instant one-two punch to the start of the season, with two almost guaranteed to be exciting “picture perfect” finishes. The change would up the proportion of plate tracks on the slate from four to six; but given the relative positions of the plate races in the schedule, it would work out well. In fact, teams and crews could now concentrate on the restrictor plate program for two straight races at the outset of the season, rather than going from one extreme to the other in racing terms (along with the hassle of traveling 3,000 miles out West following NASCAR’s Super Bowl).
So, would the change in racing style resonate and “fill in” some of those gaps in the grandstands in October? Well, you’d figure the fans would respond to the more “primal” nature of restrictor plate races rather than rain-addled hours of strung-out, sleep-inducing racing. At this point, any idea packaged in the context of livening up the racing is worth trying for a track struggling to bring in more fans.
The change would also give us two plate races in the Chase – something the rank and file traditionalists might blanch at. But let’s be fair here; when NASCAR implemented the new system, they gave up all pretense at crowning the best driver over the course of an entire season — so why not two wild card events in the final ten? It would up the ephemeral “excitement” quotient, that’s for sure.
For now, though, restrictor plates out West remain just a pipe dream and are very unlikely to happen. So, in the absence of snarling 30-strong packs tearing around the two-mile circuit, we’ll likely see a similar style of racing to that we’ve seen in the past 18 events — which, as I stated earlier, isn’t really the best.
In other news… four thoughts on the nascent season to date:
Jimmie’s back at “The Track Too Tough to Watch”
Someone, somewhere please sponsor A.J.
Sunday represented the 46th time A.J.’s strapped into a Sprint Cup car, and the signs are clear to see that the more he runs, the better he gets (the ‘Dinger is a career-high 14th in Sprint Cup points just two races into the year). I fervently hope some sponsor somewhere will step up and fund the Los Gatos, California native — because NASCAR needs more kids like Allmendinger.
Michael McDowell loves to make headlines for the wrong reason
To his credit, the wry McDowell noted on his radio scanner, without an ounce of fear in his voice: “It’s completely exploded.” Undeterred by the flaming wreck his car had become, he then drove his vehicle off the track, pulled up next to the fire safety truck, and exited the car like he’d just completed a relaxing Sunday drive. I’d like to pretend I’d be that nonchalant — but I highly doubt it.
The KB Factor
And finally … congratulations to Hugh Laurie, aka FOX’s Dr. (Gregory) House, on being the first Englishman I can remember to give the command to start engines. Hearing those most famous words in motorsport spoken by a fellow countryman made this NASCAR columnist very happy — and not just a little nostalgic for family and friends on the other side of the pond.
©2000 - 2008 Danny Peters and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I cant see making it a restrictor plate track will make the fans happy either. Many “old-school” NASCAR fans hate the restrictor plate racing too. I’d just as soon give up the Feb date to Iowa Speedway, as I’ve said before, and leave the track with one date like it was before. The track was just fine with one date, and we didnt have this issue. But once NASCAR made the stupid decision to take away a date from Darlington, on Labor Day of all things, and give it to California, is when the problems started.
I like your attitude, bring solutions rather than complaints since it looks like Fontana is here to stay. Not being a restrictor plate fan, I think another solution might be to make it a shorter All Star race format. A couple of short knife fights and a shoot out rather than a lond drawn out ordeal.
Fox made a point about how many drivers were from the state, I just wish they had a better home track to show their stuff on.
Ditto what you said about AJ.
I think the only fix to the track is to redo it. Narrow it up a tad and change the banking. Nothing short of changing the track is going to fix the racing. And I am pretty sure it was DW that said making it a plate track is a terrible idea. He said that plates only work at tracks that you never need to lift your foot off the pedal. We’ll just have another race like we did at New Hampshire years ago before the kill switches were mandated.
Changing the date back a few weeks would help too. It is the desert, and deserts have pretty well defined rainy seasons. Whether it has been qualifying, practice, or the race, I think all but one February race has been effected by rain. Moving it back just 2 weeks would decrease the chances of rain by about 90%.
BTW, does anybody realize that the next race, Vegas, is located in the very next county over? I’ve always said that the dates were too close together for tracks so close to each other, but I didn’t realize it was in the next county. LOL
Which also brings up the attendance issue. Why spend a ton of money to go to Fontana when you can wait a week and go to Vegas? Where do ya think everyone is during 3 day weekends? I think the moving of the Labor Day race might just prove that.
Tracks like Fontana always have the entire field strung out from the drop of the green , and thats why the races are percieved to be boring . When the green flag is dropped at the start , or on a re-start the fifth or sixth place car on back is down by 6 to 8 seconds to the leader after only a few laps . And i’ve noticed that even if they run the same lap times as the leader they often are never able to improve their position without beating another car off of pit road . That doesn’t make for very interesting racing . Maybe the track needs to be reconfigured . Maybe the restictor plate idea would work . But in all of the interviews i’ve seen by Zucker and NASCAR they seem to feel that plates won’t work ( mind you she has no intention of actually trying them to find out , she instead plans to rely on NASCAR computer models that say it won’t work ) and the only track reconfiguring shes interested in is changing the race dates .
First off, don’t espect any, “common sense” resolutions from nas$car regarding The Fontana folly. It’s their toy and they ain’t gonna let you play with it. It is what it is and the only way it’s going to change is if the whole thing comes down around their ears. They have not and will not listen to their fans. “Viva Las Vegas”
NO WAY! on the plate idea.
If they can’t bulldoze the thing and build a short track instead how about adding a couple chicanes or some esses to the straightaways?
Big, wide, smooth, fast tracks produce lousy racing because they’re too easy. They need to do something to make the track hard to set up for and harder to drive.
The more the drivers’ skill is brought into play the better the racing.
Dig it up and start over or fill it up and go fishing.I do not care if it is a cha$e race the only way me and many people(the way it is now) will watch it is on fast foward so sponsers are not going to get their monies worth not that na$car cares or they would have never given it a 2nd date
Plates? What a horrible, horrible idea. I can’t think of anything worse than having all the cars that close together for 500 miles at a track with banking that flat. When the cars start to handle poorly, they push and float upward in the corner. This is okay when you’re by yourself—you just diamond the corner, ease up on the R/F and do some more laps. If this was plate racing it would be 3-wide constantly, WITHOUT room to diamond, and catastrophe will occur.
The track is actually a ton of fun to lap—by yourself. A real challenge with tons of speed. But 3-4 wide racing at a track like this is not the same thing as 3-4 wide at a place like Atlanta—it’s contrived, because the lines aren’t necessarily all competitive.
It’s just a poorly designed track, and keeping the cars close isn’t going to help. Increasing the bank would, I suppose, but then we’d have Yet Another Boring Tri-Oval.
Here’s an idea… how about make it excessive banking, with the groove way up high? We’d have our Darlington fall race back! :P
A restrictor plate would change the race from a snoozefest to a don’t bother to turn it on race.
Danny, one big reason people don’t like KB (besides his arrogant punk-a** mouth) is all you media guys hyping him all the time! None of you people seem to be able to write a column or do a interview etc. without bringing him up no matter how far the stretch to do so. Just let it be!
Just tear it down and build a Bristol and a Richmond side by side and switch between then for the two races.
Don’t make an artifically contrived competition by mandating plates!
NASCAR has enough rules and races in place that deny the best teams the performance edge they’ve worked for. Get rid of the top-35 rule, get rid of the “lucky dog”, get rid of the restrictor plates trying to equalize hard worked for horsepower advantages, and finally realize, awarding 5 points for leading a lap under caution is INSANE!
The Fontana race was excellent and dramatic. At 500 miles, it ran hard enough that weak sister motors revealed themselves, the demanding track sorted out the pretenders from the contenders, and the multiple grooves allowed for drivers to really work at making passes.
Racing is a team sport. Places like Fontana and Pocono demand the utmost from every aspect of the teams. It’s too bad that fans critical of Fontana don’t realize and appreciate that the venue creates a different race from Bristol, Daytona, or Watkins Glen.
Long before the current crop of rabid fans came along, Daytona, T’dega… were exactly the same as Fontana is now. When the plate rule was introduced after Allison almost landed in the stands, the wreckfests of pack racing started an era that little boys playing “let’s wreck” in the sandbox could relate to.
NASCAR isn’t going to change a thing because the essential component… demanding competition to decide a winner, is in place.
I believe that many of the less entertaining race on the Nascar circuit are not caused by the COT, bland drivers, late starts, super teams, etc.
They are a direct result of the new breed of racetrack built over the last 10-15 years.
3400 pound racecars don’t need to be on tracks this large.
I miss bullrings, call me a geezer if you want, but stockcars should be raced on tracks that do not require so much downforce.
What is more fun than watching 40 guys root and gouge? Than seeing a driver make up 2 or 3 laps and win? Or seeing a car win with the fenders knocked off?
We need rivalries. Think these drivers would be so laid back after 6 weeks of bangin?
I think it’s the dead opposite. Places like Fontana are extremely difficult to setup for and keep the car competitive. Only the best teams and drivers figure it out, adopt their style and car to the track and go on to win.
The more the drivers’ skill is brought into play… the more he dominates!
Danny, When are you going to have an original idea?
Second, and this is what bothers me the most. You could not even say The Daytona 500. You had to say Nascars Super Bowl. I’m so tired of hearing the broadcasters, columnists, and reports. Everyone for that matter, compare Racing with other sports. I think Racing has been around long enough that people know what you are talking about. The Daytona 500 has been going on since 1959, the Super Bowl since 1967. So poeple know what you are talking about Nascars biggest race when you or anyone say Daytona 500. I wish you and the other reporters would realize that Nascar fans are not so stupid that we have to be reminded how big the Daytona 500 is. And we don’t need Any of our other races compared to any other sporting events. They don’t use comparisons why should we?
Best way to fix Fontana? Turn it into a Mall and NA$CAR needs to buy Irwindale and add seats.
Used to go to Fontana. It sucks big time. Very expensive and the no cooler policy sucked.
No, no, no! We already have four too many RP races. I would rather see them pulling 1000 pound trailers behind them then give a green light to more RP races.
Make it a road course race and have some rain tires in the pits just in case.
Fred @ 6:37am said: Whether it has been qualifying, practice, or the race, I think all but one February race has been effected by rain. Moving it back just 2 weeks would decrease the chances of rain by about 90%.
Uhm… no. The rain only happened last year, and this year we had sprinkles. 2005, 2006, and 2007 were rain free.
Is the thought of plate racing at Cali trying to bunch up the field? I don’t think so. They’ll still parade around but doing it longer, thus making a more boring race.
No plates at Cali.
The answer is to dump one date. Give a third date to Bristol.
Keep the front stretch stands by the finish line, bulldoze the rest of the track, build a 3/4 or 7/8 track exactly like Rockingham (asphalt and all), build seats around it like Bristol, and enjoy. As it is, this track and Pocono are the sorriest excuse for racing venues exist today. Brian France doesn’t care though, because he can tout to the antitrust ISC board that NA$CAR is in the 2nd biggest market in the US, despite the atrocious racing. Sorry Kevin in Socal, but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t.
Restricter Plates? I should have known that ridiculous idea would have originated from Mikey. Michael Waltrip’s total number of NON-restrictor plate wins is, not suprisingly, zero.
You can’t gimmicky-up the race to make it exciting. The track is what it is and the cars of today are what they are. Most importantly, however, is that Brian France is who he is, and the reality is that we, the fans, are stuck with Fontana twice a year.
I’m almost convinced that A.J. Allmendinger is the real deal, but I refuse to call him “The Dinger”. It sounds to much like Digger.
Plate racing won’t work in Fontana with the current banking. Maybe with 30 degrees, but not with the insanely small 14 degrees.
A couple ideas that would never fly but could pack up the field (at least on restarts):
1) Double wide restarts just like the start of the race. The long leader line causes some of the strung out racing solely because you’re so far back.
2) How about Triple-wide restarts? The track is so wide it’d support it. The only real racing at these “downforce” tracks is at the restart anyway, before they all get strung out. If you want bumping and banging…
Pulling a date would be a good idea- but I sure wouldn’t give the date to a track that has 2 already. Give it to Rockingham, or Nashville, Milwaukee, Memphis, Iowa, Road Atlanta, ANYWHERE except a 1.5 Mile track. ALL the 1.5-2.0 mile tracks could stand to lose a date. None of them produce decent racing.
Le Mans, Truck, and Drifting are all superior to Sprint Cup. Waltrip needs to retire.
plates wont necessarily help this track – although it could be interesting to see the ponies run comfortably 4 abreast at a track that very much resembles runway 2Left at LAX.
I know people bash California but I really don’t see much of a difference from Fontana to any of the 1.5 mile cookie cutter tracks. Since NASCAR, (lets face it they do own most of the tracks in a roundabout way), moved towards these types of tracks and away from many differnt types of tracks on the schedule the racing has become pretty dull throughout the year. Like Kevin I too like the sound of 43 cars but I don’t care for this contrived form of racing. True the drivers are going at a high rate of speed and are trying their best to win but with all the tracks being the same, the cars being the same, the top-35 rule, and any other lousy “rule” that NASCAR has come up with has pretty muched sucked the life out of the “product” which got them to the stage they are at now..which is something refered to as “racing”. Someone may want to remind Brian that that is what NASCAR was founded on, not pre-race shows that go on far too long.
Don’t change it….just take one away. Then do the same at the rest of the tracks that have multiple races. In this economy they better start looking for the markets with some money. Such as New York?? WTH they barely sold out Daytona and certainly won’t come Pepsi 400 time. You track mongers take your boat loads of money and fix the staples of old Nascar The Rock and North Wilksboro and get back to some racing. Then while your at it start the damn races before half the day is over and if you want Keith Urban to sing do it the day before and put on a real concert and do it for free then. If you and FOX would’ve cut out all the bullshit(Diggershit) before the 500 that race gets run before the rain.
Sorry Danny season has not started the way I wanted!
California needs to stay on the schedule until a track get built (Tulare) in California’s San Joaquin Valley…I have to make 6 and 10 hour (1-way) trips to Las Vegas, Fontana and Phoenix to get my Nascar live fixes.
I believe what Elliot Sadler said about changing to plates at california…you’d HAVE to make some changes to the track also.
I like the idea of getting rid of a California race, especially when you could add a Kentucky or Iowa, EITHER would be much better than the California snooze fest.
Ditto for AJ from me too.
As far as NasCarolina…I can agree with that. Take and build these tracks in other places or find these tracks already built and improve them and use them. If Andy Hillenburg can find the resources to do it and succeed he should be applauded and at least be considered for a truck or Nationwide race. Grow Nascar big, come lets make it the “sport” well when you can’t fill all your seats something is now wrong. Maybe Nascar should consult Jerry Jones of the Cowboys. That is a man who can market and make money. Last I looked the seats are filled too.
Was bobb watching the same race as the rest of us?? dramatic??! excellent??!