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.
Danny Peters · Tuesday November 23, 2010
As someone who follows the Sprint Cup series with a pretty serious level of devotion — it’s nigh on impossible to write a coherent weekly column if you don’t keep up, after all — the final checkered flag of the season always comes as something of a rude shock. You see, after ten months of racing, the off-season, however short, feels just a smidgeon empty. Of course, those nearest and dearest to me won’t mind so much, as I’ll actually be able to plan my weekends around something else other than 43 like-minded maniacs driving three and a half ton cars to the limit of their capacities. But before we put to bed the 2010 season, it’s time for one final iteration of Five Points to Ponder: Championship style.
All Hail King Jimmie:
There’s nowhere else to start, really; you could even argue that every single one of these five points should be about the newly minted “Five Time”. Whatever you think of Double J, you can’t do anything but hold your hands up and say he’s remarkable. This year in particular, not least because for much of the season the No. 48 team seemed just a tick off the pace. The really scary part for everyone else is you can take it to the bank that Chad Knaus will work his gnarly little fingers to the bone this off-season. The prohibitive favorites for 2011 will be back even stronger, which can only be a massively terrifying thought for the chasing pack. Say what you will about the Chase, but all the drivers play to the same system, the same rules, and Jimmie and Chad have absolutely mastered the Chase format. He is a worthy champion, no question.
Chin Up Denny Hamlin:
During the course of the season, Denny Hamlin talked a number of times about the fact that he’s repeatedly found ways to screw up the Chase. His argument being that to win one you have to lose one first. To me, in the previous four years, other than his rookie season, he’s never really been in contention all the way to Miami-Homestead. So if Denny wants to talk about truly losing one, then this was the year. Simply put, though, it’s absolutely no disgrace to lose to Jimmie, and despite what his constant critics would tell you, a fair and rational analysis of the entire No. 11 team this year is that they’ve stepped up to be counted and overcome adversity time and again. Yes, in the final denouement he didn’t win a maiden championship, but an 8-win season is nothing to be ashamed of, not in the slightest.
As Hamlin said post-race, “I knew before today that we have a lot to be proud of as a race team. And I know every year I’ve been in the Cup series, I’ve been better than I was the previous year.”
He’ll be back raring to go next year, you can count on it.
A Happy Season for Harvick:
In the end, Kevin Harvick was never truly in serious contention at Homestead, but the very fact he was there or thereabouts headed into the last race speaks volumes for the “night and day” improvement in Richard Childress Racing this year. All told, Harvick ended up with 3 wins, 16 top-5’s and 26 top-10’s (both the latter marks are career bests), an average finish of 8.7 and just 41 points out from hoisting the biggest prize of them all. Now there are those (frankly moronic) fans who will continue to bleat long and hard as to why Harvick was the real “regular season champion,” but this would be a specious and spurious claim. Yes, in 2003 under the old points system, Harvick would have been the champ but we’re not using that system and the idiots that keep propagating this nonsense about the real points champion should learn the difference and shut the (insert your own expletive) up. That aside, Harvick had a tremendous year and it augurs well for him in 2011 and beyond, even if his wife does wear the firesuit in their family. (Sorry, couldn’t resist one last mention of that.)
Two Backflips in Two Weeks for the No. 99:
Lost, somewhat, in the hyperbole of the closeness of the Chase was a second straight victory for Carl Edwards after going 70 straight without taking the checkered flag ahead of the pack. The real question, however, is whether or not this was just some end of season “flash in the pan, we’re all tired” sort of form or a sign of what’s to come from Ford and the fledgling FR9 engine. For Jack Roush and co., the hope is for the latter because despite placing three cars (Biffle, Edwards and Kenseth) in the Chase, the reality was the RFR cars were never really serious contenders. Still, it’s good to see Edwards have some joy at the end of a tough season as, for me at least, he’s one of the good guys.
Have At It Boys…They Certainly Did:
In January of this year, NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition, Robin Pemberton, uttered what would become one of the most quoted phrases of the year, “We will put it back in the hands of the hands of the drivers and we will say, ‘Boys, have at it and have a good time.”
Turns out that’s exactly what happened. As a NASCAR columnist, I naturally read a lot of the other writers (the competition, I guess) and it’s saddened me some how negative so many of my fellow scribes have been all year long. Yes, there have been some turgid races but for the most part, this season has been pretty damn exciting, from Jamie Mac’s emotional and unexpected Daytona 500 victory right down to the very last lap this Sunday. Yes, there are problems in the sport – big problems — I’m not immune to that, but for me the fans have had their money’s worth this year. Here’s to more of the same in 2011.
And Finally, One Last Thing: This is my last column of my third year as a fully fledged NASCAR writer so I just want to take a moment to very sincerely thank all of you who’ve read my ramblings and those that have commented (yes, even the haters). As someone who six years ago had not one iota of knowledge of NASCAR, I’m proud to be able to have this forum, week in, week out and I look forward to writing more in 2011. Enjoy the off-season folks. Happy Turkey day….See you in Daytona.
©2000 - 2008 Danny Peters and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It’s not that the racing is bad, Danny. It’s that we know for the first 26 races none of it matters, and over the last ten pitting at the wrong time can cost a driver a championship.
Do you want to talk about “frankly moronic”? Go back and read your ENTIRE article. During the off season, you should legally change your name to “Frankly Moronic”
But, hey, half empty stands and TV ratings falling off a cliff let’s have more of the same in 2011!
Danny, Danny, Danny….. 3,500 pound cars are not “three and a half ton cars.” A ton is 2,000 pounds. Now go back to your room and do the math again, and this time show your work in the left column of the paper. You newbies crack me up sometimes. Happy Thanksgiving.
“Frankly Moronic”….Is this your new screen name Danny? I think you have aptly named yourself!
Don’t listen to them Danny —- it was a bold stance to take, and I applaud you for it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the old system back, but just because Harvick would have won the tally doesn’t mean he would have been a champion.
Drivers race to the point system they’re competing under. This is lost on far too many fans. Thanks for taking a stand, Danny.
Whew! Talk about “Boys have at it”… that should be the Frontstretch comment section motto.
Hey Danny… I don’t agree with you in your assessment of fans who consider Harvick as the regular season champ being morons. But it’s your column and your forum; I can respect that. Too bad that other commenters feel the need to insult writers they don’t agree with as well as others who post comments. I’ve never understood why the editors don’t ban trolls and trouble-makers, or at the very least give us the ability to block certain posters.
Could have only been written by a newbie. Bad at math.
Sigh..I give up. The inmates have taken over the asylum. Is there no civilty anymore?
I can’t hold it in any longer. I have to completely disagree with any and all defenses of the “Chase.”
Most of stock car racing fans that I converse with(and we’re talking about quite a few people) absolutely despise the Chase. Not because Jimmy wins it. Not because Jr. fails to make it. Not because ESPN talks about nothing else but it. They despise it because it is CONTRIVED.
NASCAR had a certain personality prior to the last decade and a half. That personality not only drew the fans in, but it kept the old ones hooked. However, from that point forward, decisions made by the sanctioning body and general trends that are arguably attributable to the sanctioning body, either directly or indirectly, have eroded that personality: Sponsors don’t want the old veteran driver- not good for commercials, here’s your faceless 23 year old no one’s heard of to drive a quality ride. Now smile for the camera!; Short tracks don’t meet our marketing philosophy anymore, here’s another cookie cutter track in a desirable market- enjoy the parade!; Half the guys running Cup are faceless anyway, so why really bother with driver development in the lower series, here’s your bully….er…. I mean Busch/ Nationwide series champ; Clearly a season of hard work is not what the fans want to see in a Champion, so…..we give you….. the BY GAWD CHASE!!!!
A championship should represent the entire season. A season of highs, lows, struggles, and perseverance. A team should be challenged to bring their “A” game every single week. Find a way to work through a slump. And ultimately be better than everyone else. You can say “race the points system you have” until your blue in the face, but that old Winston Cup trophy that represented every race that season just MEANT MORE.
Bottom line: The Chase system rewards a ten week hot streak. 26 weeks of accomplishments are reduced to, at most, a minimal benefit. All for the sake a drama. For the sake of excitement. For the sake of ratings. When you have a surging Johnson, a slumping Harvick, and a hot Hamlin all in the mix, how much more excitement do you need? I would suggest that you need none. I would have been thrilled to watch Johnson chase down Harvick over the course of the season by virtue of his and his teams hard work. NOT by the virtue of an artificial points reset. And if Harvick wins by 300 points, well, he deserves it.
If the goal of the Chase was fan alienation, then NASCAR gets a A+. I don’t need NASCAR to create contrived excitement for me. I was perfectly content attending or viewing a race and hoping to see my driver pick up a win. In my book, there are 36 weekly championships to be had. And the driver that outperforms all the other guys at the end of the season deserves that season championship. “Parades for points days” in order to preserve the almighty Chase spot just doesn’t do it for me. That, apparently, goes for a lot of other fans as well. The best racing, hands down, that I witnessed in 2010 happened on a Saturday night at Midvale Speedway in Midvale, Ohio. Those drivers were invested. Those fans were invested. And it was a he** of a show. No gimmicks required. With all of the recent decisions to improve ratings, attendance, excitement, and the bottom line, NASCAR is no longer capable of inspiring that investment. And, in my opinion, the contrived Chase is the most offensive reason behind that feeling.
<—— bows to Ohio Matt!
That post should be copied and pasted to any discussion regarding “The Chase”, it is dead on!
Hell, mail it to Brian France. Based on his astonishment that a reporter met someone who hates the Chase he obviously is really out of touch with what is going on in his sport. Well said Ohio!!
he said “surging Johnson” hahahahah
Frontstretch should fire Danny Peters. I’m sure Brian France would hire him in a heartbeat. Calling the fans (you know, the people who actually make it possible for you to collect a paycheck) morons fits right in with NASCAR’s ignorance these days. I expected a little more class from this website. Maybe when you see your number of hits start to decline you can blame it on the start times or something.
I have to agree with Ohio Matt.
Lets introduce the “Chase”, the “COT”, “debris” cautions, etc.
No “Chase” format in F-1, IRL, Nationwide, or CWTS, but hey, lets “tinker” with the most popular form of motorsports and see how it works.
Is it working?
How doe this tie in to the Chase? Well, Danny has made an assertion about myself and many fans which I find particularly unsavory. I’ve always found race fans to be some of the nicest, most friendly people I could hope to meet. And that’s after I’ve loudly booed their driver and they’ve done the same to mine at introductions. We don’t call each other names… but that’s beside the point. The question is, “is there any relevance to looking at points under the old system?”
I see three options. One option is that drivers race the same no matter the points system because racers want to lead every lap and win every race. And if they have to settle for not winning… well, they’ll come home with the best finish they can and try again next week. A race at the beginning of the year is therefore no different than one at the end, whether the points say so or not.
Option 2 is that some drivers care less about the races during the Chase. I can’t see much evidence for this. Johnson hasn’t been handed these titles because the other 11 drivers stopped caring as much about the races (although it did help him that the Hamlin-Ford duo performed a remarkable choke this past Sunday).
Option 3 is that some drivers care more during the Chase. Johnson and Knaus certainly seem to, at least. There’s little argument that they run better at the end of the year. Does that mean they’re holding back in the first 26 races? I’m not saying they don’t win during the spring and summer, but they aren’t exactly the best team on the track in the first two-thirds of the season every year. And if my sport’s champion is holding back most of the year… if I go to races and the drivers and crews are sandbagging, the best cars are at the shop instead of at the track… well, I’d feel pretty cheated going to a race in the spring or summer and thinking that someone isn’t trying as hard as he could be. That just screams “I don’t care about this particular race, ticket-buying fan.” If I ever got that vibe at a race (from a driver I actually pull for; I realize a chicken fraction of the field tries to avoid racing at ‘Dega), there’s no way I’d ever buy another ticket. But that would be un-racer-like, so I think we can discount this option too, right?
That leaves us with option 1: racers don’t race differently when there’s less on the line because they want to win every race and lead every lap. By that reasoning, the driver who earns the most points on the racetrack should be in some way considered the best that year, no? Because even if Sprint doesn’t think so, I do, and I’ve said why in a manner that doesn’t seem all that moronic or idiotic to me.
This has been the year of drivers deliberately destroying equipment without punishment, many WWF moments. The year of Danica, fawned over by Nascar and the media. The year Denny crashes into Biffle and blows his Championship hopes. The year Busch shows his talent and his arrogance. Congrats to Jimmie Johnson, truly a champion.
For you people that say there is no racing in the first 26? How the hell did the top 12 make the chase? They RACED their way into it. 26 races, only the top 12 make it in. You don’t get in by riding around points racing. Stop crying about no racing in the early part of the season. I saw plenty of it.