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 May 25, 2010
The implementation of the double-file restarts (Shootout Style! – bleurgh) into the regular Cup schedule was one of the two changes NASCAR made on the back of the 2009 Sprint All-Star race. There can be little doubt the double-file restarts have made for some compelling final lap battles: Denny Hamlin at Martinsville and Ryan Newman at Phoenix are the latest in several shocking endings that have enhanced the end of races almost from the moment this change was enacted. The other, the “Wave Around Rule,” has been greeted with less enthusiasm, but remains a crucial component to NASCAR’s list.
So, in watching the 2010 Sprint All-Star race this past weekend, it got me thinking about other possible changes the sport might implement based on the non-points paying spectacular.
Here’s my rationale: With the negative trend in at–track attendance and TV viewership, along with a fan base that is getting incrementally older, rather than younger, NASCAR will continue to need to evolve and develop to ensure it retains its existing fans and attracts new ones. I’d still posit getting a newbie to a race should do the trick, but that’s not been easy of late as the great swathes of empty seats (Dover, Atlanta, even Bristol) have shown. The NASCAR of 2010 is light years away from the NASCAR of 1949; and consequently, and given the pace of change in this wired world of ours, the NASCAR of 2020 is likely to be very different to what we’re watching right now.
So what then, can we learn from the All-Star format and what changes are possible in the coming years?
I think the vast majority of fans would agree with a general reduction in the number of laps. There are some races that should be considered untouchable, but the vast majority of the schedule could be shortened, and in some cases considerably. Given the advent of the double file-restarts and the green-white-checkered finishes, most races this season have come down to the last handful of laps. So it’s time to eliminate; less truly is more. Of course, some races have to stay the same distance. 500 miles is a must for the Daytona 500, Darlington, Talladega, and the Brickyard. As for the Coke 600 – that has earned its marathon length in my eyes. But as much as I’ve grown to love Pocono, a thousand miles in less than two months there is just too much. Fewer laps is definitely the way forward for NASCAR – no question.
And while we’re reducing laps, another reduction we may very well see in the future is the number of cars. 43 is a somewhat arbitrary number, and given the prevalence of start and parkers, you can’t help but wonder if NASCAR wouldn’t be better off with a field for the big show that contains cars who intend to make every lap. The reduction in number of cars would have a knock-on effect of creating fewer sponsorship opportunities and that, in turn, would shore up other programs without full funding. Like fewer laps, fewer cars is a direction the sport should and probably will go down in the next few years.
One thing I’m not in favor of is the wacky format to the All-Star race. If anyone can tell me, logically, why there is a need for four individual segments – three of which essentially don’t count – then please let me know in the comments below. Not, in my humble opinion, a good idea for the future, and not something I ever expect to see at the Cup level.
There’s a desperation to the Sprint Showdown race that really seems to work. I realize that with big name sponsors being protected by the top 35 rule, it’s not a change we’re likely to see, but wouldn’t it be great for a portion of the schedule to feature, say, a 25-car race in the big show and a big old qualification scrum style event preceding it? Unlikely, but it would be an interesting experiment … until the fans would clamor to nix it the moment Dale Junior missed out on the big show.
The Winner Takes it All
At one point during the telecast, Larry Mac commented that he didn’t remember who came second to Tony Stewart in the 2009 All-Star Race — because it didn’t matter. Amen to that, Larry Mac. Now that’s not to say I’d advocate a 50-point bonus for winning a race, but something needs to be done to make that first place even more valuable. The more we see drivers busting a gut to take the win, rather than protecting a good points day, the better. Whether you like the Chase or not, one thing that is hard to argue against is the ten point bonus for regular season wins. However they finally do it (20 points, 25 points, whatever) I’m pretty sure this is an area we’ll see addressed sooner rather than later.
Emphasis on the Pit Crew
To say that pit crews can win and lose you races is to state the bleeding obvious. So, the last lap four-tire stop before the final ten-lap segment – not to mention pit boxes being chosen as a result of the Pit Crew Challenge results from earlier in the week – showcase nicely the guys who don’t typically get the endorsements and the interviews. I’m not saying I’d make a four-tire stop mandatory at the end of every race, but if there is a way to incorporate more emphasis on the work of the few who hurl themselves over the wall week in, week out, that in my eyes would be a positive step. Despite what some people would have you believe, NASCAR is a total team effort, from driver to crew chief, to pit crews, to the guys back in the shop. You can be the best driver in the world, but with a shoddy team and poor equipment you’re just not going to get it done.
Two Final Points:
As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, giving the command at a Cup race is my number one NASCAR dream, so I’m always interested in how the various grand marshals choose to give “those most famous words in Motorsports.” With that in mind, I want to give a big shout-out to Sprint customer David Kirk, who did the honors prior to the Sprint Showdown. Mr. Kirk absolutely belted out the command with the kind of relish and gusto I’d like to think I’d apply to the task. Good job, dude.
And, to finish, so much for the new Kyle, huh? Just in case anyone was still wondering, Kyle Busch showed his petulant side in delightful fashion. Not content with an expletive heavy rant after a late-race wreck with Hamlin, he then drove his car right up to the ramp of the No. 11 team’s hauler, exited the car, punched the air and stormed in closely followed by Joe Gibbs. As I always say, we need to see the drivers show their emotions, and Kyle did just that. Good stuff from the younger Busch.
©2000 - 2008 Danny Peters and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Don’t be fooled people like the wrec… Err DRAMA caused by a ten lap shootout
Shortening races is a must, because like what Danny said, the introduction of double-file restarts sans lapped cars/rolling roadblocks makes it easier for lead lap cars to race/pass each other in less laps.
However, if there’s one track that needs a shorter race, it’s Talladega. With cars able to shoot from 25th place to the lead in a lap’s worth of distance, restrictor plate races have turned into 180 laps of following-the-leader and getting laps-lead bonus points and 20 laps of crashing the heck out of each other, totally not what racing should be about. Both Talladega races and the summer Daytona race should be shortened to at most 300 miles. Also, all the races on 1.5 mile+ non-plate tracks should also be shortened to 400 miles except for the Coke 600.
I also agree with trimming the starting field. 43 is an odd number and should be reduced to 40, which is a much-nicer number, with guaranteed starting spots given only to the top-25 in owner points.
If they shorten the races by 20-25% are they also going to lower the ticket prices the same?
Yes! Green Flag pit stops ONLY.
I hate this racing for a caution. Holding back, playing it safe, hoping to get a caution Ain’t racing.
Look how many of these “lead changes” are pit stop changes.
Green flag only will put more pressure on a TEAM effort. It makes everyone critical to the win.
Caution stops allow NA$CAR to control the action.
If you cut ticket prices by 25% are you also going to lay off 25% of the people who work at the track, sell tickets, security, PR, and team members?
Do you by chance work for OHbama?
My opinion: The major problem is no manfactuer recognition, junk the school bus and put cars back on the track fans can relate to.
Green pitstops only? BF and Fox would love that given that the # of lead changes would actually increase (every time a leader came into pit; plus you know some drivers will stay WAAAAY out before coming to the pits just to get a cheap mention of being the race leader).
I am sure at some point BF will have a Power Point presentation showing how great racing is now due to the increase number of lead changes.
While the above points are great ideas, I would really hate for the races to be more gimmicky than the already are.
(I still like my idea of shortening the season – even Hockey is shorter for goodness sakes!! The ADD general public can only handle about three months of 1 thing)
Instead of shortening the races shorten the amount of exposure from DW by 25%. The races are not too long, it’s just the crappy coverage and constant product placement and sponsor plugs that make it seem so.
By the way, the Brickyard 400 is 400 miles, not 500.
I like the idea of qualifying events. Usually among the best races of the year are the Daytona qualifiers (they were fantastic this year) and the All-Star qualifier (which was at least much better than the feature). I realize we don’t do this because of the money and all, but the idea of someone big not making the race in qualifying makes it a ton more exciting. I know I watched Indy bump day to see if TK made the race. At any short track, the qualifying heat races tend to be the perfect mix of not leaving anything on the track but not ruining your car for the feature. I wouldn’t even mind shedding a race or two from the calendar if we had more racing across the weekend.
I agree with some that the races are too long for what they are, but I’d propose instead of shortening them to get rid of any gear rules. Go ahead, teams, build an engine that will run a whole race at 10,000+rpm every lap! Seeing more teams take the performance vs. reliability gamble would add more excitement. Perhaps multi-car teams would run different engines in different cars. Of course, a bigger winner’s purse would encourage this kind of innovation.
Really, the most important thing from this race we’d like to see year round is the attitude that says “the only thing that matters is winning this race, this day.” Who wants to buy a ticket when they know every driver out there (except maybe the #18) will be perfectly content with a top 10 and give the same cheerful interview no matter what?
The All-Star race was pretty boring — most of the segments meant nothing and when one car (any car) can get that far out ahead, it doesn’t make for a reason to watch. All of the breaks are nonsense, too. Just run the darn race – make it long enough that everyone has to pit for fuel. I did like the pit crew participation — it is a part of the regular racing and it worked well. I can get on board with shorter races AND a shortened season. go to every track once per season and figure out a way to not have the chase run every year on the same tracks. If you have the finale at Homestead that’s great, but otherwise, it should be different tracks. maybe that would help with the advantage that one team has managed to figure out. I turned down free tickets to Pocono – been there twice and that was at least one time too many.
the green-white-wreckers rule has resulted in making most of the race a waste to watch – why should I buy tickets to go sit through an entire race when its going to be decided by a crapshoot at the end? I can stay home and not watch the TV until the race is almost over — its more comfortable and I can save money and get stuff done. Since TV and DW blathering on WAY too much have had the effect of making me not bother to watch the entire race any longer, I’m guessing that it also has the same effect on others.
Was it just me or did I see Nemechek do a start and park in the open? I don’t think the length of the races is the whole problem. I do not watch the pre-race show on SPEED and the Fox broadcast crew are simply horrible. I’m hoping TNT does the job they did last year following Fox. Adding Waltrip to the pre-race mix absolutatly guarantees I won’t watch it.
You suggest that shortening races will make for better races. Then you say that some races can’t be shortened. Which is it? Why should any race be exempt if as you say shortening races is best? As for me, if the time it takes to travel to a track takes longer than the race itself then I’ll just sit at home and watch it it on TV.
There’s another “shorter” that would be even better than shorter races or a shorter season, and that is shorter tracks. One reason why racing used to be more exciting is because we went to more short tracks, or to tracks like Rockingham which weren’t “short tracks” but still produced very good racing. It’s simple common sense that cars will get more spread out at longer tracks than they will at short tracks.
I wouldn’t mind seeing a qualifying race followed by a shorter race. That way fans still get to see about the same number of laps, but the actual race is shorter.
I loved the All-Star qualifying race, which is generally one of my favorite races of the year anyway. I hated that they cancelled qualifying, but I think the mixed-up starting order made it even more exciting!
Kevin got it right. Short tracks create better stock car races.
Kevin from PA
I would rather see 5 cars on the lead lap who had great cars then 25+ because of wave around and the lucky dog. Why bust your hump trying to put a car a lap down and then nascar just gives it back.
I also love the idea of more short tracks and qualifying races, how about a last chance race for anyone outside the top 20-25 to fill the field.
The more gimmicky you make it, the more and wilder things you’re going to have to come up with on a regular basis to keep things interesting to viewers (not fans, but viewers).
Last year, the All Star Race seemed more compelling because it had the twist of double file restarts. Now, it’s just another race with those same double-file restarts, which have become so common no one even notices them anymore.
NASCAR survived its first 50 years without making massive changes, and no one complained. It’s only after they started making changes to drum up “interest” (from whom????), that things started going downhill.
Leave it alone. Some races naturally have a lot of cars on the the lead lap. Others don’t. Some races end under caution, others don’t. The writers may have to work harder when there aren’t 88 lead changes among 29 leaders and 3 GWC’s, but that’s part of it too.
You want to fix things, lose the Chase, amend the lucky dog to be the 3 cars closest to the leader no matter how many laps down they are, lose the wave around, and go back to normal restarts, until 10% of the race to go.
With 10% of the race or less to go, double file restarts and the wave around make sense, as it allows the leaders to finish what they worked hard for all day among themselves, and on a clear track. If you want to keep GWC’s 1 is really enough.
They had a good product, and trying to please too many people, they ended up pleasing no one.
If they employ some of the changes this article mentions the only thing I see in the future is me not going to anymore races or watching any on TV either. The only thing that makes sense is more points and cash to win. As for me the last thing I want to see is the speed of the guys changing tires determine a race. The biggest problem Nascar has is to many 1.5 mile race tracks and the second is the gimmicks like the lucky dog and the wave around and the Chase and the third is the CON the car of now that splitter is hideous no car should have a splitter ever.
anyone see the PTI conversation regarding who would win first… danica or dale jr?
I like how both wilbon and tony picked danica. They… unlike some on this forum know what they are actually talking about.
They should have said,
Just put things back as they were in the mid to late 90’s. That’s when NASCAR was on target, seats were packed, racing was good, and Brian France wasn’t trying to turn auto racing into the NFL. Somewhere along the way things got off track; and it all started when we saw R J Reynolds booted from motorsports, FOX Sports begin airing races and Brian France running the show. What we’re left with is a contrived made-for-TV reality series about auto racing.