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.
Going Green · Garrett Horton · Thursday July 7, 2011
Last Saturday was a huge night for David Ragan. After going 0-162 in his previous races, he finally scored his first career points paying victory in Sprint Cup competition. His triumph was more than just getting to the winner’s circle, however; it was about returning to Daytona to avenge his loss in this year’s 500, when NASCAR penalized him for changing lanes before the restart as the leader. By winning, his job security increased to the point that maybe, just maybe, he will return to Roush Fenway Racing for another year. Not to mention his win has him currently sitting in the 12th and final spot for the Chase as the second wild card driver.
Really? David Ragan in the Chase? Well, there are still a few races left for things to change, but this was my major concern with NASCAR’s new rule. A driver picking up one win while having a mediocre year does not deserve to be in the Chase. To ease those fears of mine, NASCAR declared in the off season that you have to be somewhat competitive to qualify for the wildcard seeds, 20th or higher in the points after race 26. It has been an exciting change so far, as it seems there have been many more upsets this season than in previous ones. Is that because of the new rule change? In the case of Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski’s stunning upsets, it would be safe to say yes. For Bayne and now Ragan, you could argue it’s simply a product of restrictor plate racing. Either way, 2011 has been filled with surprising stories.
Still, despite claiming the trophy in the Coke Zero 400, Ragan is just 18th in points, behind major players like Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and Juan Montoya. As it stands now though, Ragan would jump them in the Chase because of his victory. Whether that is fair or not is for another discussion. The concern right now is whether he can add any competition to the Chase.
Given his history, probably not. Even though he is arguably having a career year, Ragan still has had terrible inconsistency in 2011 – he doesn’t have more than two consecutive top 10s at any point this season. If he can’t string good finishes together, there is no way he will be a factor in the Chase. Because of that, it feels like a wasted spot.
In these cases, I love being proved wrong, but Ragan needs to start being more consistent before he can be taken seriously. In fact, he will HAVE to get some consistent finishes; between Stewart, Biffle, and Montoya, they will likely accrue at least one victory before Chicago in September. Ragan has nine races left to prove he can make some noise in the fall.
Perhaps the bigger problem with the new wildcard rule is the fact certain drivers may actually be more conservative as opposed to going all out for a victory. For example, Matt Kenseth seemed pretty content pushing his teammate to the checkered flag last week. This wasn’t Talladega, where it was four wide, two deep for the finish, either. He easily could have gone high at the last second to try and steal the win, as no one was outside of the duo. He didn’t even think about it, and one can’t help but wonder if it was team orders. Kenseth is safe inside the top 10 along with two wins to fall back on if needed.
Ragan on the other hand was barely in the top 20 going into Daytona with no victories. For car owner Jack Roush, it makes sense to have Kenseth push Ragan as hard as he can. To be fair, Kenseth is not known for an aggressive driving style; he might have been hoping for just a solid outing at Daytona, so perhaps we can give him the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, the thought of such blatant team orders is now plausible, and will probably pop up again before the Chase.
Just look at top 20 drivers Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Mark Martin and Biffle. What do they all have in common? They have at least one teammate who pretty much has a Chase spot locked up. What’s going to happen at Richmond if, say Logano is running second to one of his Joe Gibbs teammates and needs just one win to make the Chase? Gibbs would be crazy not to instruct Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin to pull aside to give Logano the victory. From a racing standpoint that is ridiculous, but these are the new rules we are dealing with. Maybe we won’t see it happen this year (unless you want to say it already did at Daytona), but I guarantee it will occur down the road.
As NASCAR can’t seem to have a system in place for more than one straight year these days, expect them to tweak it eventually. What the best option is, who knows. Obviously, many fans would say to scrap the Chase altogether and just go back to the old system (that is, until Kenseth builds up a 400 point cushion like he did in 2003, but I digress).
With the playoffs here to stay, NASCAR has it pretty close. They need to fix the potential issues like we witnessed at Daytona though. How do they do that? My suggestion would be two things – cut the number of chasers from 12 to 10, with the top eight making it on points and the final two spots reserved for the drivers with the most wins outside the top eight (keep the inside the top 20 deal). By doing this, it would obviously be harder to make the Chase, and therefore, increase the value of winning. Settling for second as you let your teammate finish first would likely be less of an issue. It would make it less likely that one win would put a driver in the Chase as well. Two or three first place finishes would be the ideal amount to get locked in.
Next, increase the bonus points for a win. Not in the regular season, but for the post-season. Right now, a victory in the first 26 races gives you a one point bonus for the final 10 events. Make it three or five. Anything higher would be too much, and defeat the purpose of resetting the field after 26 races. Three to five bonus points per win isn’t an extreme amount, but it certainly would make it difficult for someone to be content with second, as Kenseth was last Saturday. It would make going for the win much more tempting. NASCAR has been doing pretty good as of late at rewarding victories, but they need to throw out just a little more incentive. In the meantime, these final nine races before the Chase are going to be wild, and Ragan’s upset win has put the pressure on some big names to step up.
©2000 - 2008 Garrett Horton and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Ragan’s win isn’t a problem with the new format. Resetting the points after 26 races is a problem with the format. Giving points to the 12th place car to make him equal to the leader is a problem with the format. The champion not necessarily scoring the most points on the racetrack is a problem with the format. Ragan’s win putting him (provisionally) in the championship hunt is perhaps the only thing that isn’t a problem with this format.
It sounds like you are part of this group:
“What the best option is, who knows. Obviously, many fans would say to scrap the Chase altogether and just go back to the old system”
You say Ragan having a spot in the chase would be a waste but if gets in above some of those guys you mentioned it means they weren’t in the top ten in points AND didn’t have a win this year. I know some of those guys are established veterans and winners but if they can’t make it into the top ten or win a race then THEY don’t deserve to be in the chase.
I have no problem with the resetting of points when the Chase starts. That’s how a playoff system works. I do agree that winning should be rewarded with a larger bonus – a 10 point bonus for winning would be a pretty big deal, and it might have made Kenseth think a little bit about jumping out from behind Ragan last week.
And to those who say that the Chase makes 31 drivers on the track irrelevant, they have just as much chance of winning the race as any of the Chase drivers, so how are they irrelevant (especially this year with the large number of surprise winners we’ve had)? If you’re going to say TV coverage pays them no attention, I won’t disagree with you, but that is an issue that should be taken up with the broadcast people. Racing is a unique sport in that the non-championship contenders are still active during the playoffs. For the non-Chase drivers, they may no longer be able to win the championship, but they can still win a race or two.
Giving everyone the same car. Check (COT)
Giving qualifying spots away. Check (Top 35 rule)
Giving spots back on the track. Check (Wave around rule)
Giving laps back. Check (lucky dog rule)
Giving championship points away. Check. (the chase)
NASCAR is giving everything away these days. These guys are making millions of dollars and dont even have to work for it. Just show up for work and ride around for a few hours, and help sell your sponsor’s product.
And people wonder why everyone is staying home, and NOT tuning in?
Ray Charles can see whats wrong with this picture!
I agree with Justin. If Ragan makes the chase with one win over more established veterans who are outside the top ten with no wins, what’s the problem? If Biffle or Stewart want to make the chase, they can do what Ragan did… go out and win a race.
Also, if a driver like Kenseth would rather help a teammate get a win than to actually go for the win himself, that says something about the chase.
How about they just scrap the current points configuration period? How about scraping the top 35 qualifying guarantee? Only score points for the top twenty in any particular race? How about to get into the Chase you need to have at least one win? And with each subsequent win and you get a seeding bonus of 10 points for your next win and doubling it for every win there after—which you keep when the Chase field is reset.
KyCupFan-How come you can see the obvious but Brian France and NASCAR can’t?
I’m not even sure this is worth debating. Other than in its inaugural year when Kurt Busch started the chase in 7th place, the eventual champion has been in the top three going into the chase. Drivers who barely make the chase are never a legitimate threat once it starts. That said, I actually thought Clint Bowyer had a shot last year, but Nascar penalized the team right out of the picture.
NASCAR needs to scrap the COT and the Chase.
A win the 26 week season gets you 3 bonus pts. for the 10 race season. If you’re in the top 10 that is. The 2 Wild Card drivers will start with 2000 pts. Lets say one of the drivers in the top 10 has 5 wins after 26 races. He will start the Chase with 2015 pts. 2000 + the 5 win bonus pts.(which is 3 pts. each win) and thus 15 extra pts. Not quite 1 bonus pt. per win.
Wow, this new 10+ 2 with most wins was put in place because Jr & Gordon didn’t make the chase and now that they are in the top ten it is wrong! What if it was Gordon in 14th and JR in 18th each with a win? I bet that would be fine.
The whole system is wrong, it always was the most consistent ALL season accumulated the most points and was the Champion. I work on a late model that runs a weekly nascar series and that is how our points still work. If the chase is so good then how come nascar has not made all their classes go to it? It’s all about the $$$$$$
I am quite embarrassed; you are right, it is three bonus points a win that go towards the Chase, not one as I had originally said. I apologize for the error.
Obviously, that means my theory needs some changing. So how about a five to seven point bonus for the win? Yes, I prefer the old system like many of you, but this is what we have and it doesn’t bother me enough to stop watching.
i’ve never liked the new chase points since day one just because someone who has been consistent but was out by 1 point is trumped by one person who could be 400 points out and basically doesn’t deserve to get in because of plate race luck winning
granted i still don’t like the chase period
Michael in SoCal-