NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Jesse Medford · Thursday May 10, 2012
Why does NASCAR even care about Danica Patrick? The fans don’t care! Based on ticket sales and television ratings, she obviously isn’t bringing new fans to the sport at a rate faster than the old guard are leaving. Why then is everybody hyping her up so much? Why are they shoving her down our throats all race long and giving her interviews normally reserved for the top finishing drivers? Why are we writing about her?
Many internet based writers have said they write about what will get their publication the most page views. I am writing about Patrick because it was either her or writing about Bojangles’. You could argue that I made an internet page view decision. Or maybe it was just pure laziness. I could always save that dryer topic of Bojangles’ for a publication that has a broader appeal outside of racing.
But for here, ranting about Patrick flows on a keyboard and I have a deadline to meet.
Since finishing 38th place during her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the 2012 Daytona 500, Patrick’s No. 10 has been occupied by Tommy Baldwin Racing’s David Reutimann. All that anybody has mentioned about that organization since, is would TBR have the car in the Top 35 of the owner’s standings for Stewart-Haas Racing by Darlington, to ensure that Patrick could race in her second of ten scheduled Sprint Cup events, without having to attempt to qualify on speed.
Do we care about this because she is a good race car driver? Is it because she is entertaining? Do we really think she is needed to bring a new fan base to the sport?
I don’t think she is good at any of those things. However, NASCAR and race promoters don’t think like I do.
Darlington Raceway hypes the fact that Patrick will join Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson as the only women to race in the Sprint Cup level at their track. Promoters also believe she is the key to selling tickets and gaining viewers. The race commercials that I have seen for both races this weekend only promote Patrick.
And during the race, we won’t hear much about anyone else either.
That is provided Patrick is even still on the track after the early goings. After all, Darlington Raceway gets her Lady In Black moniker because she scares drivers into hitting the wall, resulting in what is known as the Darlington Stripe.
“I got my first Darlington Stripe back when the Truck Series raced there,” Reutimann said in a BK Racing press release. “The whole time in practice I was really, really tentative.”
This historic 1.25-mile superspeedway isn’t known as The Track Too Tough To Tame for nothing. It gets into a driver’s head.
“I’m told it’s not going to be so much about the track and getting comfortable and getting up to speed or feeling good, that it’s going to be more about learning how to pass there and how that works because it’s one lane and one groove,” Patrick said in a Team Chevy Advance. Reading her subsequent words, she doesn’t even know what to think, let alone how to drive there. Darlington has affected her already low confidence level.
“I believe its high in one and two and low in three and four,” she said. Patrick is clearly second guessing herself when giving this statement.
Patrick wasn’t even an outstanding performer in her previous IndyCar gig of seven seasons. She was over-hyped going into the Indianapolis 500 during her rookie year of 2005. I remember learning about her just prior to that race, while I was serving in Iraq. It appeared to me that she was getting publicity based on looks alone. After the race it seemed to be shocking to those reporting that she had a chance to win the race. Everything blew up from there, resulting in just one win in the series and many disappointments.
So what does Patrick bring to NASCAR besides GoDaddy.com and their money? If that sponsor leaves, she has nothing to offer. Who else will try to market her on the sex appeal that has gotten her to where she is at now? She won’t be able to be marketed based on winning. It isn’t going to happen. Learning this type of car and racing them on these tracks seems to be more difficult for her than it is for other new drivers, two of whom outperformed her in their Nationwide Series debut at Richmond International Raceway.
Driving in NASCAR seems to be a chore for Patrick. It doesn’t look like she has any fun.
Look at what we just saw with Travis Pastrana in his debut at Richmond. He finished only one spot behind Patrick, due to a late race pit road speeding penalty, but appeared to have the car figured out a little better than the much more experienced Patrick. And he seems to be having fun and showing enthusiasm the entire time. Like Patrick, he brings a niche following to the sport, but without displaying the sense of entitlement that she carries with her. And 18 year-old rookie Ryan Blaney also blew away Patrick (and many other veterans) in his debut at that race.
Since the beginning of Patrick’s current NASCAR racing experiment, she has freaked out just about any time she perceives someone not giving her enough room on the track, leading up to this past weekend’s intentional wrecking of Sam Hornish during the cool down lap at Talledega Superspeedway, in which she later apologized. Frontstretch writer Garrett Horton explained this in detail yesterday. NASCAR chose not to penalize Patrick for this intentional hit on Hornish.
Maybe it is examples like this that NASCAR is looking for. The Sprint Cup regulars have quickly dismissed the old Boys Have At It mantra that was so popular with marketers and media. So maybe now to keep the green coming in, it will have to be Danica Have At It.
©2000 - 2008 Jesse Medford and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
All I can say is thank goodness someone has the nerve enough to write the truth about Danica and not kiss up to NASCAR’s nor her rear-end for once.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I saw a video of her carting when she was 15 and the coddling of her (along with the attitude) was around way back then.
Danica Patrick can be summed up in two words, “SEX & MONEY.” Take those two away and where would she be?
Great article. Just want to echo RickP’s comments. Danica is a big part of what is wrong with this sport. Declining emphsis on talent and competition and more focus on entertainment and “personalities.” I miss the days when a driver’s talent is what earned them a ride. I know that Patrick is not the only person who got a ride because of sponsor dollars, but she has become, in my opinion, the poster girl for this sort of thing. keep up the great writing.
And so the hate continues.
Hate the game, not the player. NASCAR overhypes her. The media overhypes her. Her sponsors overhype her. She doesn’t overhype herself, she just shows up and races.
She reacts poorly to every slight upon her because the boys are chewing her up and spitting her out every chance they get. The wrecks she was involved in, in the first few races of the season, were all due to other drivers on the track simply coming up behind her and smashing her off the track. There were plenty of other times she saved it while being hit by someone else—James Beuscher tried to wreck her on the straightaway at California, as I recall.
No one has any respect for her on the race track, so why should she?
As for the continued, hilarious idea that she was uncompetitive in Indycar, I’ll say the same thing I’ve said every time: if your measurement of a “good” Indycar driver is how often they won, then there’s four good drivers in Indycar and the rest are all idiots.
If you don’t drive for Penske or Ganassi in Indycar, especially in the last 6-7 years, you’re basically going nowhere. Tony Kanaan is the only one to have not driven for one of the “big two” that actually won now and then. In terms of the numbers, Patrick was the most consistent and highest-finishing AGR driver over the four or five seasons she drove for them. This included beating all of her teammates in the points in 2009, where she was the “best of the drivers not in a Penske or Ganassi.” She was often one of the fastest cars around Indy, where balls are even more important than skill.
If Danica was “disappointing” in Indycar, you might as well add Marco Andretti, Darren Manning, Tomas Scheckter, Robert Doornbos, EJ Viso, Raphael Matos, Oriol Servià, Alex Tagliani, Sarah Fisher, Rubens Barrichello, and Alex Lloyd to your list of “disappointing” drivers.
Like Formula 1, you can’t measure talent in Indycar based on wins… You have to measure it based on how the driver does against their teammate, or against everyone else in their “tier.” You don’t claim a Force India driver sucks because he can’t win an F1 race—he’s driving a Force India.
So far she seems to be doing as good as you’d expect for a rookie in Nationwide. The odd top 10 here and there, plenty of speed and runs near the front, but still has a lot to learn about taking care of her equipment and consistency. Other Indycar drivers not named Tony Stewart have failed massively at NASCAR, including four-time champion Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Juan Montoya. The only difference between them and Danica is that they didn’t pose in a bikini.
Had she come into Nationwide WITHOUT the media and NASCAR spending every waking minute talking about her, she’d probably still get the hate because she DARED to pose for pictures in a bikini. I suspect if she posed for Playboy some disgruntled race fan would’ve assassinated her.
Again, the problem is the media and NASCAR, not her. And I find RickP’s comment hilarious, because there ISN’T a sports writer anywhere on the planet right now who doesn’t delight in cutting up every single result Danica Patrick has. If she wins a race this season in Nationwide all the haters will still find reasons to hate; maybe fuel mileage, or getting the jump on the leaders on a late restart, or something else. Anything to continue the hate.
I’m not a huge fan of Patrick and the incessant babbling on about her in the media and on TV is tiresome, but direct your hate where it belongs for once. If everyone in the media stopped talking about her, maybe NASCAR eventually will too, like they did Dale Jr.
Right on John!
These are my sentiments exactly, and I could not have said them better.
People should just shut up about her & let her drive.
My own view of Danica changed Saturday. When she was leading the race my 5 year old daughter (who doesn’t understand that leading a plate race often doesn’t lead to winning it) was jumping up and down with excitement. If she is able to win I think she will bring new fans to the sport.
You make a valid point. Nobody should blame Danica for taking the big bucks and jumping at the chance to race in Nascar. Who wouldn’t want that opportunity? I feel the same way when people trash Dale Junior. It’s not his fault that he’s the most popular driver. It’s not his fault that his last name is Earnhardt. And who wouldn’t want to drive for the winningest owner in Nascar? I suspect that both the Danica haters and the Dale Junior haters are simply tired of hearing about them in the media. It doesn’t make sense to dislike someone just because they aren’t as successful as their media hype suggests they should be.
Good rebuttal John! I couldnt agree with you more. You said it all. When Janet Guthrie was trying to break into Nascar, she caught the same kind if flak and Ms Guthrie was a very, very low key person. The thing that always amuses me about most of the critics is they dont have a CLUE as to what it takes to compete wheel to wheel. Oh and JER, what the hell else is ther in life besides sex and money?? LOL
Nice tirade, John, but your writing was so full of nonsensical stuff and contradictions.
The number of words written sure don’t equate to their value.
The bloom came off the rose for Danica in the IRL, hence her appearance in NASCAR in an effort to keep the spotlight shining.
As Jerome suggests, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of more talented drivers whose only career choice/chance will be driving on their local tracks due to all of the seats in big money racing being taken up by fluff vs. substance, aka Danica Patrick.
In the 50’s Tim Flock raced a few times with a monkey in his car. Now we have a monkey driving a car.
RickP: and you’re picking on her as opposed to Paul Menard, Jon Wes Townley, either of the Dillon brothers, and who knows how many other drivers who were gifted their rides?
(Yes I know the Dillons are good, but the point is, they were handed their rides.)
There are ALWAYS “hundreds, if not thousands” of more deserving drivers who will never get the ride they deserve. Welcome to racing. Like Sterling Marlin once said, “the world’s greatest driver is probably driving a tractor around his farm right now” (paraphrasing.)
Still don’t see that as any reason to blame a woman who has dedicated sponsors.
The “bloom was off the rose” in Indycar for many, many drivers over the last decade, which is why the series is junk and dying a slow death (even with new cars.) Danica jumped off a sinking ship, regardless of her talent.
Danica just joined the Coca-Cola Racing Family of Drivers. Patrick stated; “A lot of legendary drivers have been a part of the Coke family, so I feel very fortunate.Danica is already a “Legend in her Mind”.
Have you seen Danica’s recent quote about needing a different spotter? To paraphrase:
“I basically need someone who can tell me when to turn in and how far to push the gas pedal”
This from someone who has been racing at the top level for seven years. The prosecution rests your honor.
Wow, I may switch and agree with John and old farmer!
Never has a driver done so little with so much.
John Craft: then why don’t Jon Wes Townley and Paul Menard have vaginas?
Having a rich daddy or a famous last name is a gimmick, too (just ask Junior). Not having enough meat in the seat can be figurative or literal (or both as in Danica’s case). One can only wonder what Curtis Morton Turner would have to say about the little urchin being called a “race car driver“ let alone “the face of NASCAR” as some hyperbolic scribblers contend. It is sad to think about what has happened to what…used to be…my sport Sigh
Danica, Danica, Danica. We just can’t get enough of Danica. I soon expect her to have her own radio station. Danica all day Danica all night. Danica 24-7. All the Danica news you don’t need or care about all the time. Can’t wait for W-DANICA 103.5 FM to start airing soon. NOT !