Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday August 9, 2007
Ever since Brian France took over the reins of NASCAR, he has unabashedly stated that two of his primary goals for the future of the sport were as follows: be as popular as the NFL, and capture that elusive creature known as the "casual fan."
Those are undoubtedly mighty ambitious goals for a man who is so despised by the very fans of the sport over which he presides. Things have gotten so bad as of late that even the President of the United States, when he wants to feel good about himself, compares his “approval ratings” to those of France.
The first goal, known to everyone else on the planet except France as pure folly, sadly will never be realized until the France family actually purchases the league in its entirety, throws away the rulebook, officiates all its games as in the same manner as racing, and renames it the NASCAR Football League. Not all has been lost during this personal quest, however. For example, NASCAR would now command respect that is equal to, or more likely surpass, that given to the sport of professional wrestling.
The second goal of capturing the “casual fan,” I must admit, has always been, until recently, a mystery to me. Just what constitutes a "casual fan?" Is it someone who dresses slightly better than the longtime fan upon which the sport is founded but oddly, vehemently hated by France? Is it the fan at California Speedway that, while not actually watching the race from the stands, casually glances up at a monitor strategically placed as he/she dines on cuisine prepared by Wolfgang Puck? I just never knew. Until now!
As fate would have it, I actually met a "casual fan" just the other day. Well, to be totally honest, I didn't "just" meet him – I've known him for 27 years! I consider him to be one of my best friends. There have been times that we have shared a residence together and, if memory serves me correctly, I have even been his "best man" in at least one of his weddings, possibly more. So, imagine my surprise to learn that he is now a "casual" NASCAR fan! I was utterly and totally shocked – and I will tell you why.
A little background for you first: this is a man that owns all things Bobby Labonte and most things Tony Stewart. This is a man that, for years, tried to drag me to a race back in the early to mid nineties, a trip which never seemed to work out until after the new millennium. This was the man that, when it did finally work out for me to go, was jealous of ME because my first NASCAR race (and every year thereafter) was the "Holy Grail" of races: the Bristol night race.
This is the man that has the connections to get as many Bristol night race tickets (at cost) for us and our friends and even people we're not too fond of, as we need them. This is the man that is on the yearly renewal list for tickets to Michigan and Darlington. This is the man that, when I go to his house, I have to ask him to turn on the TV for me because I haven't a clue as to which of the seven remotes to use or the sequence you need to use them in order to get a picture on the screen. This is the man that has DVR, DVD, UHF, VHS, HDTV, big screen, small screen, TiVo – as well as the APR associated with financing such things. If the program has racing in its title on his system, trust me – it's being recorded. Doesn't matter if it's opossum racing – we can sort it out and erase later, and it is still recorded. Don't want to miss a thing!
I know what you are thinking. This guy sounds like a racing fanatic, and that may have very well been true in the past, but now he is a "casual fan." How do I know? Recently one Sunday, my phone rang. I answered it, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Not much. Why? What are you doing?"
Him: "Mowing the lawn and drinking."
Me: "Ahhh, I see. In other words, your dog is hiding again!?"
Him: "Yeah, go figure. Seems that every time I get on the mower she disappears. Why is that?"
Me: "Dunno. Self-preservation perhaps? Heyâ€¦"
(Bear with me. This is the edited version! Word count restraints prohibit the full text.)
Me: "Why ain't you watching the race?"
Him: "I'm mowing and drinking! â€˜Sides, it's gotten to the point that I don't care if I watch it or not. I'll hit the highlights later. See all I need to that way."
Him: "Hello? Hello? You still there? Where'd you go? Hellooooo?"
It was at that moment that I realized I had met a "casual fan." I also realized, all my NASCAR writing aside, I must be one myself – because try as I may, I had no argument to his logic.
So congratulations, Mr. France! You have your "casual fans." Enjoy â€˜em while you can.
Stay off the wall, (but email me if you are looking for tickets to this month’s Michigan raceâ€¦seriously)
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
You hit that one exactly right! I just realized that I, too, after years of being a slave to any and all TV race coverage, am well on the way to achieving “casual fan” status! All the hype and gimmicks (most of all the ‘crapshoot’) have sapped my interest to the point where I no longer care if I actually watch a race or not. But I’m not giving up my season tickets to Bristol yet. I’ll wait another year to see if the ‘chase’ manages to create another ‘follow the leader so I don’t interfere with the chase guys’ parade.
Thanks, Jeff, like SallyB, this has caused a self realization that I, too, have become a casual fan. Once I would get almost depressed because I had to be away on Sunday afternoon and forgot to set the VCR. At first, I began fast forwarding through the race to catch the highlights. Now I don’t even have the VCR plugged in and only switch over to the race for the last few laps. That way I am set up for the end in the unlikely event that it is exciting and I will usually get an idea of the latest installment of the weekly NASCAR soap opera, “As the Drivers Turn.” In many instances such as CA or MI or Chicago, I don’t even make the end of the race. It’s just too boring. It’s easier to just read the Frontstretch and Jayski to get the details. Eventually, I will become such a casual fan that I won’t even do that. I’ll just watch the Sunday night news. By the way, most of my old NASCAR fan buddies are now casual fans as well.
Well said by both Jeff and SallyB. NASCAR fan since before Petty (Richard) drove a Ford, I guess I became a casual fan when I gave up my Bristol tickets last year.
Congratulations Brian on a job well done! Before becoming a casual fan my life revolved around your sport. Never missed a TRUX, BUSCH or CUP race no matter which one of the 7 stations it was on. Taped ‘em all if I couldn’t watch live. Had a garage full of magazines and race papers.
Cancelled all the subscriptions. Now can’t watch TRUX (refuse to pay the outrageous cost to get SPEED-thanks again Brian), ain’t seen a Busch race since I don’t know when, and will only watch Cup if its convenient (and not on FX). Listen occasionally to Claire B. on my recently purchased XM on which I got to listen to race coverage one year on it-thanks again Brian.
So I guess now I’m a casual fan.
Thanks Brian F! You’ve accomplished something your father and grandfather couldn’t do . . . you made me realize that there IS more to life that your sport. Thanks again.
All my NASCAR writing aside I feel the same as Jeff—geez, and I’ve been trying to figure out what’s been going on with me all year and why I could care less if I see the races. And pretty amazing that everyone else feels the same way I do…
I must have become a casual fan too. About 40 laps into the Brickyard 400, I got up and went to the store wearing a racing shirt. The guy behind the counter asked me why I wasn’t watching the race. I just looked at him and shrugged, I’ll catch the end of it, I said… not much goes on in the middle.
I was glued to the t.v. in the late 80s and throughout the 90s not missing a lap of any race. Back when a 1:00 pm start to a race was actually the start of the race, not the countdown to the countdown of the pre-race show… then the race starting at 2:30.
Part of this comes from the instant gratification we can get from the internet. Instead of having to wait until the next morning and a write up in our local newspaper from the AP… we can read about it minutes after the race is over, even while the race is on. We know too much about the cars now… we know so much that we know how little the driver has to do with their performance as the car they are riding in. It takes all of the drama out of it. So in a sense with the networks trying to add drama, they are taking the drama out and making us fanatics more casual… and the casual fan they are trying to get are still watching baseball, and football.
Hats off to Jeff Meyer ladies and gentlemen!!
This may be the best article that I’ve read on Frontstretch. However, I am somewhat of a newcomer to this site. But, none-the-less this is hands down the best that I have read.
And here I thought the “casual fan” was something like going “snipe hunting”. Good job Jeff.
Great article, Jeff!
Yep, I’m now a casual fan, too. I check before the race to see how everybody qualified (and who made the race), and check again Sunday or Monday to see how they finished. That’s good enough. I might watch a race if I’m too tired to do anything else. Other than my interest in seeing how the newcomers – Juan Pablo Montoya and Toyota – fare this year, I’ve really lost interest. The racing has become completely boring, and the best Brian France can do is try to implement new gimmicks to create artificial drama.
It’s too bad I’ll miss the NASCAR show this weekend – I’ll be at the Knoxville Nationals, watching racing…
I can echo all that is above. To be even more precise, I finally got tickets for the Bristol race last year. I sure won’t do that again! Went three times in the 90’s to the Glen, turned down a FREE ticket this year! If it’s possible to dislike someone more than I dislike Bush, it would be Brian France. I still spend a lot of time at the weekend short tracks, so very much better than anything NASCRAP.
The commercials that we are forced to watch 101 times are the same ones we watched 101 times every single weekend. The worst is watching a Nascar race and watch a Nascar commercial. We are already watching go advertise on another cahnnel.Everything is becoming so fustrating that we also are starting to be casual fans. My son and his wife slowly lost interest and no longer go to any races and now this year they don’t even watch any races. So much for the younger crowd Nascar was trying to reach. We are looking for a pontoon now to go out on Sundays instead of watching races and we are looking forward to football season. Both of us end up falling asleep on and off during races we do try to watch. We were trying to make all the tracks (except the road races)and we have alot done but we may lose total interest before we make all the tracks.We used to go to the same 2 every year and add 1 or 2 each year but now we dropped 1 of the 2 that we went to and are only adding 1 new track this year. Cost of flights, Hotels, rental cars, food ,and etc. on top of the high ticket prices to watch a boring races is becoming a waste of money. We go home feeling cheated.
I became a “casual” Nascar fan on Feb 18,2001
Don’t worry, fellow “casual” fans. Brain France will grow tired of his little toy and move to bigger and better things. He’s only got about 3 weeks left, though. Once football season starts it’s “So long, NASCAR. See ya in Daytona.”
I too have become a casal fan..It used to be impossible to pull me away from a Truck, Busch, or Cup..(yeah, I said it..), race. I’d watch all the laps..in the last few years though its dropped off. Even my wife who I would’ve described as a casual fan knew who was leading the points and even would watch races if nothing else was going..plus she didn’t need to be told what loose or tight was, or have some silly draft tracks thing. The only race I still wouldn’t miss now is Bristol, especially the night race. Sadly NASCAR has sucked the life out of this race..I didn’t think it was possible to make Bristol a follow-the-leader race where everyone beame so damn polite. Anyway, while I try to catch as much racing as I can it’s not like it used to be where I’d plan my day around it.
I couldn’t agree more.
After growing up at IMS in the 50’s and 60’s, I’ve spent the last almost forty years using as much of my spare time, money and hobby space as possible to feed the racing need.
Now, however … ? I’m slowly losing the desire for my AMS season tickets, my first Bristol was last year’s suddenly Chase-ified ho-hum night race, and I gave up on the Brickyard after eleven years of paying more and more for less and less.
Now I often find myself with better things to do than suffer through endless hours of tabloid coverage, screen-hogging and often useless video graphics, and cameras that manage to capture more off-track nonsense than on-track racing.
Thanks for opening my eyes and putting a name to my unfortunate condition. It may improve, but I’m just about done with pouring unappreciated money into BF’s pockets. Not when my local tracks put it to so much better use.
Ah, my dear Jeff. After 39 years of living, breathing, and devoting my life to NASCAR and stock car racing, even writing about it for 3 plus years in an effort to fight for a return to the sports values, I finally found myself in the roll you so eloquently described.
All I can say is it breaks my heart.
Zetch got it right. Whether we realized it or not, many of us lost a lot of interest that day in February ’01. Like him or hate him as long as The Man was on the track it was going to be interesting at the end – whether he was among the top five or six laps down he was probably going to play a role in the outcome. Additionally, I believe Dale’s influence with the Frances kept things more race-related. Since 2001 NA$CAR has become sanitized entertainment with the almighty dollar as the only goal and I no longer consider it a sport.
As someone mentioned a day without an audience would be good but it is not going to happen. On-site fans are not going to buy expensive tickets and then not show up. And while TV ratings are generally down there does seem to be enough controversy created from time to time to bring a fair group back for the next episode.
When all is said and done, we, the “older” fans, have outlived our usefulness – we don’t fit the demographics anymore – so nobody is listening to us as we suffer in the “new modern era” and wish for the days of old.
Well stated Jeff. I would hope someone at Nascar is indeed looking at their fanbase. Basically, I was the hardcore fan who drove 7 hours to see the Southern 500 on Labor day, and once Nascar changed that, my interest waned. Nascar throughout the 1980’s, always stated they did not want to become like a “stick and ball” sport, but incrementally, Nascar has. My belief is that it started about 5-7 years ago with “offical Nascar” logo interfering with the 15 and 90 teams attempt to get sponsorship.
So essentially, instead of watching qualifying, I wait for it to be posted on the internet.
Now, since I work Sunday evenings, and the decision for Nascar to start the Daytona 500 (after a 2 hour prerace, Why!!) at about 4 p.m., I’ve turned to the internet and MRN.
Also, for those who remember.. Terry Labonte was sponsored by Sunoco for a year or two, and I do not recall the Union 76 management getting up in arms over it.
As a word of encouragement, you may now be a “casual NASCAR fan” but you’ll always be a “hardcore racing fan.” Just find your local race track and get involved. The local tracks still have great stories. Some are just struggling a bit but most still put on a good if not great show. Not to mention, ask around a bit and youâ€™ll find a team that could use your help.
My feeling is the NASCAR will continue to decrease in popularity, but if youâ€™ve been around racing long enough, you knew it was coming. Thereâ€™s an ebb and flow to the popularity of racing organizations. It wasnâ€™t that long ago when Indy was on top. Whatâ€™s next? Who knows? Regardless, maybe itâ€™s time to get off the couch and head down to your local track on a Friday or Saturday night.
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