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 June 7, 2012
NASCAR and Twitter are rolling out the groundbreaking #NASCAR hashtag partnership during the Pocono 400 Presented By #NASCAR in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. It’s an exciting new venture, one the powers that be hope turns into a way for hundreds of thousands of new fans to be introduced to the sport. But I am here to tell you that the best laid plans, while groundbreaking in nature are already far too late.
Twitter, you see has been ruining NASCAR for quite some time.
Sunday will be the first race where the social media site is supposed to improve the #NASCAR hashtag, to add things that would be missed due to the relevant and important post not having the hashtag in it. This alliance shows that NASCAR and Twitter recognize each other as being significant, and may prove to be an important milestone in sports history going forward.
However, this concept also poses a predicament, a long list of possible fan frustration clustered all in one place. Twitter, you see in my view has already opened up eyes towards the problems in the sport, not the positives.
Let me first give you a little background on how I got involved in NASCAR media and how myself and a few other fans see the state of the sport, before and after Twitter came on the scene. Prior to Twitter’s existence and the NASCAR community’s overwhelming acceptance of the social media tool, I started watching stock car racing as a child and budding sports fan in the early 1980s. Because I picked my favorite drivers based on paint schemes, though (after all, I was just a kid) it was hard to get hooked on the sport due to the constant sponsorship changes.
Further complicating things, the Indianapolis 500 was about the only racing to get major media attention where I was growing up in Minnesota. NASCAR’s TV deal wasn’t around back then, and for awhile it became little more than a passing interest.
It wasn’t until I watched the 2002 Daytona 500 with my father-in-law that I was completely hooked on the sport, to the point my life was changed forever. Later in the 2002 season, I had to start considering the possibility that NASCAR was becoming more important to me than the Minnesota Vikings, my favorite sporting entity to watch for the past 20-plus years. Not due to any fault of the Vikings, but because NASCAR had an aspect that football just couldn’t touch for me. It had a business allure to it and a dream was born that somehow I could get involved in the sport.
During my first eight seasons as a serious fan of NASCAR, before I transitioned into a member of the media, I didn’t notice many problems with the product that the sanctioning body put out on the track. I could count my major gripes on one hand: Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond, Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and “cookie cutter” racetracks.
But one serious problem I had that isn’t related to watching the races was the difficulty I encountered trying to find someone to have racing discussions with. Other than my father-in-law, whose family described to me as a huge NASCAR fan when we were introduced, I had nobody to talk to face-to-face about the sport. Although he is nowhere near what I call a “super fan” and only watches the sport occasionally on television, I can have a fun conversation with him about whatever is going on in NASCAR.
Fans responding to a poll for Frontstretch.com seem to have a similar issue with finding someone to talk about a race with. Other than a parent or grandparent, not a single respondent mentioned any other relatives, friends or co-workers. “My mother is a huge NASCAR fan,” said Jeff Cunningham, Assistant Director of Sports Information at Hampton University. “In fact, she’s the only person in my day-to-day life with whom I can talk extensively about the sport. We attend anywhere from three to five races a year together, and we make it a point to watch every race on TV.”
But for those who don’t have a “person” to talk to, there’s now a virtual, popular way to participate in all sorts of weekly discussions surrounding the sport: Twitter. As a part of being a NASCAR writer, I hopped back on my dormant Twitter account in December 2009 to promote my business articles. I immediately started following somewhere around 600-700 accounts of NASCAR teams, writers, PR people and fans that interacted with me regularly — not unlike many of you do, on your own accounts today.
Because of the clutter in my Twitter timeline, I found it almost impossible to read other people’s posts during the race. But during the week, I would read as often as I could through the Digsby app and then later TweetDeck. It is in the posts throughout the week that I have learned so much about the “sport’s problems,” beyond that of the annoying broadcasters and “cookie cutter” tracks that the sport has been stuck with since their “growth spurt” in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Besides knocking certain drivers, the top Twitter issue brought to light would have to be all of the conspiracy theories that NASCAR is fixing the sport or shaping things to help a certain driver or outcome. Prior to Twitter, I didn’t think these accusations had much juice behind them. However, the constant posts about it and all the “evidence” to back it up makes one wonder how big the problem really is. At the very least, it makes you have to hear it out; and of course, just the perception of impropriety is not good for NASCAR’s reputation.
When Frontstretch.com asked some fans what new problems they noticed since following NASCAR on Twitter, Betty Clark of Council Bluffs, Iowa stated that cautions benefiting a specific or favored driver have come to her attention. That wasn’t apparent to her prior to using the social media application. Others answered in a similar manner.
I also find that to be the case; what has become commonly known as “phantom” debris cautions are getting a lot of mention on the social media platform. These cautions were something that I was aware of before Twitter; however, it didn’t personally bother me. I saw it as NASCAR calling a caution after a long run, typically after the pit stops cycled through, to clean up the marbles on the track. Excessive rubber and small bits of asphalt could pose a hazard.
Phantom cautions were very predictable. You knew the yellow flag would wave for debris if someone didn’t spin out or hit the wall on their own during those extended green-flag runs. One could say that this “manipulation” is NASCAR fixing the race or just trying to make it more exciting. And those accusations have a case behind them, since all NASCAR needs to do to squash the claim would be to direct a camera to the debris.
Unfortunately, they rarely do show any caution-causing debris on your TV screen. That criticism would be limited in scope, except the Twitter complaints offer a constant and consistent voice you can’t erase while watching the event.
Another Twitter “hot topic” has been the long green-flag runs of late, and the incessant complaints that followed as fewer cautions have occurred due to less crashes. But long green-flag runs are also something that never crossed my radar screen pre-Twitter. I appreciate a long green-flag run in the middle of the race, as it showcases the pit crews and makes for a lot of excitement and an added element of pressure to perform that doesn’t always come with pitting under yellow. I would only be angry if the cars buzzing around the track for so long hypnotized me into such a trance that I couldn’t wake up for the pit stops.
Twitter, in contrast doesn’t seem to think these stretches of racing are awesome; instead, the keyword here is “awful.” It gives a lot of attention to the racecars spreading out single-file and drivers taking it too easy. In the Twitterverse, you hear the drivers are just not racing as hard as they could and the tires aren’t falling off enough to create exciting racing. These are things I wouldn’t have “noticed” without the constant complaining on Twitter.
Most viewers wouldn’t think of safe, durable tires as a problem, unless people are telling them it is. Sense a pattern here? Now, some might say the hardcore fans, posing the majority of Twitter voices are always going to complain more than most. After all, racing purists just want to see good, hard, clean racing, the type of white-knuckle competition you strive for and pose just a small, but vocal minority in every sport. It turns out the keyword here is “vocal.” While you can’t always please them, these purists, on Twitter have more power than ever, an expansive voice that makes them very capable of turning people off.
That’s not the only issue. Television commercials have always been a nuisance, but a necessary evil for NASCAR, as the sport depends on sponsorship more than any other. The trick is better placement of the ads and switching back to the race when something of interest happens, if at all possible. More split screen commercials lately show that NASCAR and the networks have made attempts at improvement.
Recently, I started following the #TDP1 hashtag, where fans have an outlet to complain specifically about the race coverage. Prior to Twitter, you wouldn’t be able to find a venue for your complaints pointing out the negatives of the broadcast. Since I never saw other points of view, I was always left to wonder if the majority of other race fans couldn’t stand the broadcasters. Fellow northerners would have me convinced that these voices were who the southern race fans wanted to hear.
Now, the constant negativity I see, people frustrated over “bad broadcasting” only causes many curious potential race viewers from having any interest in watching.
Now that I have been around my wife’s family at their get-togethers, I’m able to make sure NASCAR is on the TV for my father-in-law and me. He probably didn’t have the interest in causing a stir with the television before I came along. Nobody else in his large family is a fan of the sport, but now that I’ve subjected them to the races, I quickly learned how the talking heads that I’m annoyed by have suddenly become an embarrassment to me. Many complaints on Twitter are based on replacing these broadcasters in the booth with more professionally polished speakers.
Television complaints seem to be the most ignored of all issues the sport has to deal with. Track and competition-related issues are the types of improvements that NASCAR is quickest to respond to. For example, possibly the biggest change during the past few years to show this sport is listening to fans are double-file restarts. Their base audience spoke, in great enough numbers that NASCAR paid attention and made adjustments. However, one look at Twitter would indicate fans have done so much complaining to the point it would seem like stock car officials are constantly hitting the “ignore” button.
See the downside? Twitter, while providing instant reaction also amplifies every complaint and makes NASCAR look ridiculous to the newcomer and fans alike. Is there any correlation between the decline in television viewership and NASCAR’s acceptance of Twitter? Yes, in my view there has to be!
Now, as we are halfway through 2012, it’s to the point I have changed my Twitter habits during the race, where I only have a select few writing peers filtered in TweetDeck to show me their posts. I also have the #NASCAR hashtag populating the latest tweets with the hashtag. I’ve had to teach myself to find what is interesting in the quick instant that is necessary, before it scrolls out of my feed.
I, like many others, do not seem to care at the moment about following the “improved” version of the #NASCAR hashtag: while some are worried about negativity being eliminated (that’s not true – the algorithm prevents that), I’m more concerned about a glutton of unnecessary info. The lack of excitement from those polled by Frontstretch.com reveals initial skepticism over this Twitter deal. “I’m not sure,” said Kristen Schneider, student and NASCAR blogger from Ohio. “We’ll see how this Pocono #NASCAR thing goes over. I believe it may open up the sport to the new level of fandom, the one that lies in Twitter and technology, but it all depends on how far they go with it.”
Or how far fans are willing to whine about any little thing that goes wrong. Prior to Twitter, fans could watch the race in a trance and not complain about very much. Since the inception of social networking and NASCAR’s presence on it, the constant negativity is threatening to change the views of the NASCAR fan, causing them to care less about the sport. A social media application designed to bring fans together could instead wind up scaring away the potential new fans this sport needs.
Connect with Jesse!
©2000 - 2008 Jesse Medford and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Geez, before twitter all you had to do was go to Jayski, click on the links to various articles on websites like Frontstretch that allow comments, and read them. I don’t use Twitter at all but I read articles like this one and the comments they produce and I can honestely say there is nothing that you mentioned in this article that I didn’t already know without the benefit of twitter.
Yes, the internet and social media has given every idiot (myself included) a soapbox from which to speak. The individual has been empowered to the point where something posted can become viral in a matter of hours and manipulate the way people react to it. There are both good and bad points to this empowerment which I won’t get into. Just look at the news (not just NASCAR) and you see it everywhere, every day. One person, or small group of people, can have a disproportionate affect on the majority’s perception of any given issue.
I’ve found most twitter & facebook posts to be pointless, however during the race some race teams do give good updates on how the car is running. Kenseth’s fanclub in particular (on facebook) gives great updates on the car and Kenseth’s position.
I just read an article about this on USA Today.com and they used the word “curate” as in, “curate the best tweets”.
Y’all are straining at gnats…
Twitter is mostly for twits. Why not just watch the race and and follow Jayski. All you folks that “twitter and text are going to forget how to converse with each other if you’re not careful. Oohh, maybe that’s what you want, that way you can hide behind your keyboard and pretend you are someone else…
Masterrace (sorry couldn’t resist LOL),
Jesse, you must have been living in a cave if you think that twitter is the “reason for all the complaints”.
If the TV partners were actually showing the racing instead of wasting most of the time doing a Seinfeld episode where they talk about nothing or are showing us commercials, or perhaps if BZF hadn’t had his moment of clarity and decided “we’ll have a playoff” that will get everyone to watch! No, actually that made the first 26 races irrelevant. Or let’s put a brick on wheels on the track instead of a race car and even better, we’ll make them all run alike, parity, that’s the ticket — gee, we could call it the IROC series, that will make the fans excited. Right, the IROC series went bust. Oh yeah, and we’ll put more and more 1.5 mile tracks where the aero dependent car puts out a long long parade of single file racing – that will get the fans excited.
Personally I use twitter on raceday so that people at the track will tell me if there’s any racing going on — you know that stuff that TV USED to show us.
Twitter isn’t the problem, NASCAR created their own issues and it is their own fault that a lot of fans have lost interest. NASCAR used to be a lot of fun to watch and follow, however they made bad choices and broke a good thing, they need to fix it.
I’m with GinaV24. If I didn’t “watch” the race on Twitter, I would have no idea what’s going on. I get tweets from those at the track. That’s how I find out there was no debris for those debris cautions. I also enjoy watching the race with my friends on Twitter. My roommate actually watches the races on TV. He used to think I was psychic when I told him caution’s out during commls. LOL
Really weak article. Twitter only opened you up to more voices, each with a different opinion. It’s not a bad thing.
Eliminate twitter, another social media site will open up for fans to discuss anything – welcome to the 21st century internet era. Even hundreds of years ago people gossiped in salons. There’s no way to ‘fix’ this – you would be policing/censoring voices or going back hundereds of years and stoning people for straying outside the rigid standards of society.
Maybe what needs to happen going forward is Nascar actually reading the tweets when there is a large number of people complaining about something they don’t like. Like race coverage on tv for instance. Instead they spend all their time trying to get everyone to toe the company line.
People have been complaining about the car since its inception (see rear wing and aero issues) and nascar has done little if anything to change the cars to make them more racy, so I disagree with your statement that nascar has listened and made changes to the product on the track. Double file restarts were never the problem. Just another contrived way to try to make the racing exciting.
Nascar brought all this negative on themselves by trying to change something that isn’t broken. So I agree with GinaV and others who say Nascar needs to look in the mirror instead of burying their heads in the sand.