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.
Doug Turnbull · Tuesday November 11, 2008
For the third consecutive race, ESPN turned in a solid performance at Phoenix International Raceway. The broadcast team performed well in all areas, displaying only a few weaknesses throughout during what turned into a long, strenuous day. Unfortunately, an error far beyond the control of ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasting team overshadowed at least some of Sunday’s good effort.
The final eleven races of the NASCAR season are supposed to be broadcast by the ESPN team on ABC’s airwaves. This seems like a good pairing, considering the fact that ABC holds no Sunday NFL contracts. That means in theory, races should have no conflict in being broadcast. Sunday’s race at Phoenix, however, stretched longer than anticipated due to two red flags that lasted about 45 minutes. At about 7:15 EST, with only 30 to 40 laps remaining, Allen Bestwick informed viewers that the coverage was shifting to ESPN2 for the final laps on the East Coast, because ABC had other programming commitments it could not work around. As a result, executives were forced to cut into the World Series of Poker on ESPN2 to air the race, surely infuriating fans of that show.
A statement from one of ESPN’s Media Relations Managers, George McNeilly, corroborates the reason behind the move.
“After two red flags, rain in Phoenix and 4 1/2 hours on ABC, we were still 34 minutes from the end of the telecast as it turned out. We told fans in the East and Central from the second red flag on that the race was moving to ESPN2. ABC’s entertainment viewers and NASCAR fans were both well served in a tough spot, and we are fortunate to have ESPN2 among our networks to serve the fans.”
ABC and ESPN and should be applauded for its transparency and willingness to try and satisfy everybody involved; but in reality, NASCAR fans in the Eastern and Central time zones got stiffed. The bottom line is the NASCAR playoff race was preempted in the final laps on network television to air America’s Funniest Videos and Desperate Housewives.
It’s enough to make you ask, did that really happen? Yeah, it did; but it shouldn’t have.
The decision to move the race to another network is further evidence that auto racing will always play second fiddle to stick and ball sports with the entrenched broadcasting networks. You may wonder why other sports are being brought up. On CBS, 60 Minutes, the network’s longest-running show and one of its highest rated, is often pushed back in favor of regular season NFL games. MLB and NBA playoff games are also always scheduled at times where they cannot interfere with regular programming. So, why does NASCAR get stiff-armed by the very network that coughed up millions of dollars to show its races in favor of a show that could always be shown at another time instead?
The blame does not rest entirely on ABC for pulling the plug on the race, however. NASCAR should get a big boot in the bottom for its insistence on pushing the start times of races back as far as they have. If this race starts at two o’clock on the East Coast (so it does not start too early out West) then there is little chance that prime time programming gets obscured — even with these delays. It turns out Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was correct in his observation last weekend when he agreed with a large number of the NASCAR fan base in saying that races should start earlier. If they did, people would not be sitting around all afternoon waiting for start times and getting jaded to the coming event. Instead, as he said, they would all be rushing home from church, peeling off their Sunday best, feverishly pining for the fried chicken and cold drinks, and finding the fastest route to their couches for a bona fide celebration of the Sabbath.
So, shame on ABC for not recognizing the importance of the race it preempted. Do the network executives not listen to the words in the broadcasts? Jimmie Johnson is on the verge of history, yet he and the rest of the sport were yanked in favor of redundant clips of men getting kicked in the groin. But NASCAR also should wake up to the reality of the mess it has created by selling out to the suggestions of consultants and doing what seems best on paper. Fortunately, the offseason is rapidly approaching, giving both entities time to marinate over the consequences of their actions.
As far as the rest of the show, things went pretty well. The pit reporting team has really come into its own the past three weeks, following yet another strong performance. Dave Burns was obviously under the weather, but never let his hoarse voice derail him from giving good reports on pit road. And Shannon Spake, criticized here in the past, gets the gold star this week for reeling in the developing story about Jeff Gordon’s souring motor. Jamie Little and Mike Massaro each turned in solid performances as well.
The boys in the booth, particularly Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett, told the on-track story in a compelling manner. Jarrett and Petree each lent their knowledge of situations at the appropriate times, and kept the excitement at an appropriate level. Unfortunately, Dr. Jerry Punch still struggles to call the play-by-play action. He ought to take lessons from the Punch of 18 years ago, when he had to fill-in for Bob Jenkins in the lead announcer role at Phoenix back in 1990. Punch’s job then was much better, as he constantly told viewers exactly what was happening on the track and had good details to share about different drivers. Punch’s faults now can likely be attributed to a lot of the extra promotional one-liners he has to spend his time keeping track of now — but he still needs to improve in this area.
Allen Bestwick and the boys in the ESPN Pit Studio also did a good job, as Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham each had considerable amounts of information to add to different situations. Evernham in particular is well-adjusted to television already, and fits in well at ESPN. However, Brad Daugherty seems like he is in the way. Yes, he is a team owner and has been before, but his true knowledge of racing does not compare, at least on-air, to his companions in the studio. Daugherty seems to simply cheerlead from his position and comes off more as a fan of the sport. Let’s put it this way: if ESPN had to cut one of the boys from the Pit Studio, he would be the weakest link to let fall out. Tim Brewer also needs more exposure in the Dish Tech Center and needs a bigger screen to show different graphics, because it is hard for viewers to see what he’s doing.
Up to Speed segments still need to happen more often. I only counted one on lap 137, and it only covered the Top 10. ESPN still needs to spend more time covering the drivers and the racing action in the middle of the pack. There are still many drivers that barely ever see the light of day, even though they’re racing hard for 25th spot or for a Top 35 place in owner points. Covering these drivers would familiarize broadcasters with details about some of them, expanding their horizons on what’s going on in the series today.
And details are helpful for the boys in the booth when cameras show a pit stop of a driver not covered by the pit reporting team. For the third consecutive week, cameras cut to a pit stop of a non-frontrunning driver by choice; in this case, it was Travis Kvapil. But Punch, Jarrett, and Petree have very little to say when something like this happens. Telling the stories of other drivers in the field makes the race more interesting, and these guys need to have the facts on all 43 cars — especially because you never know when one might be a surprise contender. At least the pit reporting team did not disappoint in this area, especially when it was able to score interviews with several involved in the big David Gilliland / Scott Speed wreck that brought out the second red flag.
Overall, ESPN’s broadcast was solid, and the group seems to be gelling together much better than it did a few weeks ago. Hopefully, this late season surge can continue into 2009; and hopefully, ABC will recognize the significance of next week’s race at Homestead, keeping from skipping Jimmie Johnson’s third consecutive championship to show baby-barfing videos instead.
Here are some other observations noticed on NASCAR TV this week:
Here are links to either emails or websites you can use to give the various networks your feedback. Please be respectful if you choose to use them, so yours and everyone’s comments are taken seriously.
Listen to Doug talk racing on the Bellamy Strickland 120 racing show this Saturday, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., on News/Talk 750 WSB in Atlanta, and online at wsbradio.com.
©2000 - 2008 Doug Turnbull and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I sent ABC an eMail yesterday; since I don’t have cable I was denied the end of the race.
I’ve now given up watching the races on tv, because they do not start on time, ever. If the declared time on the tv says race at 2:00, I expect that by 2:15 the drivers are zipping around at speed. Reality is the race starts anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes later and the pre-race comments are the same every week. Boring, boring, snore.
I’m going to partition my Mac’s hard drive and run race view from now on. No commericials, and I can follow my driver, Scott Riggs 100% of the race.
Call it truth in advertising — if ABC advertises that they are broadcasting the race that should be considered a commitment to broadcast the race. In its entirety. Regardless of what programs it might delay.
If they don’t want to actually broadcast the race they shouldn’t have bid on the contract.
If its truly that critically important that people be able to see bad video of people making weird screeching noises then it should be advertised days in advance — right up front with all the other racing information — that if the race goes past (insert time here), it will be switched to (insert channel here).
That would enable fans to make contingency plans.
ABC must either honor their commitment to broadcast the race or make it entirely clear well in advance what circumstances will override that commitment.
And the urgent need to see men take hits to the groin should NEVER be something that can usurp a live, major sports event.
This fiasco occured in Sacramento, CA. I came back from the rest room and guess what? No race. I finally found it on ESPU2. What a joke. The tv crew did a fine job, but with the chase pretty much over, I found myself watching as much football as racing. The chase format makes for a boring season.
This decision speaks volumes about the viewership for NA$CAR. That they would do this partially because it was sweeps week, & they thought the numbers would be better for the videos. Is a sad reflection on the state of NA$CAR. If Brian has finally realized, he better start worrying about where the next family Billion, is coming from. Just wait until it’s time to renew the TV contract.
How about the DVR guys? And the people that do not have cable. ABC just kicked them in the groin. Maybe they will start watching football on Sundays.
Were you watching the same Gocci Gulch Race “The broadcast team performed well in all areas, displaying only a few weaknesses throughout during what turned into a long, strenuous day” Please tell me you are kidding the Jimmy and Carl Show ok they did show some other cars I think
Speaking of Bill Weber, WOW did he look A LOT different in that candid interview than he does when he’s announcing the race on TNT. Can you say makeup?
ya could of seen this coming when NASCAR licensed EA to make a Racing sim. EA, then totally ignored the PC when they put out the NASCAR series of games.
It’s exactly what happened here. NASCAR sells the contract, then allows the contractee to run over the fans without a peep.
Until we get a race league that focuses on RACING, we fans are nothing more than a source of income. Let’s get back to racing cars, not shells; cars, not billboards; CARS, not product.
We’ve been shilled. It’s time to admit the game is rigged and we need to cash out.
Hey MiK! Your “Until we get a race league that focuses on RACING, we fans are nothing more than a source of income. Let’s get back to racing cars, not shells; cars, not billboards; CARS, not product.”
NASCAR needs 85% black drivers with 10% of them in trouble with the law weekly, then NASCAR could get some RESPECT!!!
NASCAR is still thought of as a SOUTHern sport and will NEVER get ANY respect from the Yankee Networks!
It is a no-brainer. This isn’t really a “playoff race.” The so called chase means nothing to most fans and ABC knows it. To many NASCAR views these days America’s funniest Home Videos is probably better entertainment. ABC knows that also.