Jimmie Johnson wins the Sprint All-Star race.....again
posted by Mike Neff
Sunday May 19, 2013
Five-time is now four-time when it comes to the Sprint All-Star race. Coming into Saturday night’s race, Johnson was tied with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for most wins in the annual event with three wins. Johnson bided his time, restarted the last segment in the second spot, dueled Kasey Kahne for two laps to secure the lead and pulled away to a convincing win. Joey Logano started the last segment in the seventh position, took advantage of a slip up by Kyle Busch on the start of the final segment, and ultimately came home in the runner-up spot. Kyle Busch rebounded from his slip up to muscle his way back to third. Kahne started the final segment on the pole but couldn’t hold off Johnson on the first few laps of the restart and ended up fourth. Kurt Busch won two segments, was the first on pit road for the money pit stop, but finished the event in fifth place.
Jimmie Johnson summed up his results in two words, “we’re lucky”. It was tongue in cheek but Johnson was poking fun at the people who continue to accuse the No. 48 of preferential treatment, fixed races, and a blind eye to cheating. Johnson has one of the highest winning percentages in NASCAR history and it comes from natural talent and chemistry with his crew. This race also now ties Johnson with Davey Allison as the only two drivers to win the race in back-to-back years.
Logano and Busch visited with the media after the race to speak about their runs. Logano was understandably upbeat about his second while Busch was quite dejected, having another All-Star race slip out of his grasp. Kahne spoke about the elephant in the room that is the length of the segments in the race during his post race availability on pit road. He noted that the inherent problem with the format is that the car is designed with downforce, on a track that is cool and has a bunch of grip. The only way to make the races exciting after the first couple of laps of racing would be to extend the segments to the
The first 20 lap segment was won by Kurt Busch. Segment two went to his brother Kyle. That segment win allowed Bruton Smith to breathe more easily since he put up a $1,000,000 bonus to anyone who won all four of the segments. Segment three also went to the younger Busch, while the fourth segment win was tallied in brother Kurt’ s account.
Kyle Busch wins the North Carolina Education Lottery 200
posted by Mike Neff
Friday May 17, 2013
‘Rowdy’ Busch was back in his familiar No. 51 truck at his favorite track on the Truck schedule. Busch led 80 laps and thought he should have led more but had a fuel issue on pit road that resulted in him having to battle back through the field. The race was slowed by eight cautions that helped him work his way back through the field. Busch beat Brendan Gaughan to the finish by .488 seconds, while Max Gresham chased them both to the line for his first top three finish of his Truck career. Matt Crafton came home in fourth place after having to battle through a couple of tire mishaps during the event. Ty Dillon rounded out the top 5 for his first finish that high this season.
Busch led the race three times for his 80 laps. Miguel Paludo was second on the laps led board with 33. Gaughan, Gresham and Dillon also scored bonus points for leading laps. There were two cautions in the first 72 laps of the race while 29 of the last 62 laps were completed under the yellow flag.
Jeb Burton started the race on the pole but did not lead a lap. He did however end the race as the Rookie of the Race for his 13th place finish. Matt Crafton leads Burton by 22 points in the season standings after five races this season.
Matt Kenseth Snatches Victory from the Jaws of Defeat at Darlington
posted by Mike Neff
Sunday May 12, 2013
Kyle Busch appeared to be headed for another weekend sweep after winning the Nationwide race at Darlington on Friday night. However, a funny thing happened as they were bringing out the dustpan. Matt Kenseth chased down the dominant car of the night, passed him with relative ease and then strolled away to a 3.165 second victory. Kenseth led the final 13 laps after Busch had held the point for 265 of the 354 laps leading up to Kenseth’s race winning pass. After Kenseth worked around Busch, the No. 18 slid rapidly backwards over the final eight laps to fall from second to sixth place.
Joe Gibbs Racing did manage a 1-2 finish after sweeping the podium in Friday night’s Nationwide tilt. Denny Hamlin, in his first full race back in the car since his vertebrae fracture at California, soldiered through the pain of his arms, neck and shoulders more than his recovered back to wrestle a second place finish away from the Lady in Black. Coming home in third was Jeff Gordon, who turned his 700th career start into a top 3 finish. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5 in the Bojangles Southern 500.
Kurt Busch started the race on the pole and led the first 51 laps before coming to the pits for a green flag stop. After the stops cycled through Busch was back at the point for 18 more laps before his brother began his domination. The race went green for the first 302 laps save a seven lap caution stint from lap 125 to lap 131. The final 65 laps saw four more cautions that flew for accidents involving Regan Smith, Brad Keselowski, Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, Josh Wise, David Reutimann and Kasey Kahne.
The race saw four leaders including Jeff Gordon in addition to the Busch brothers and Kenseth. The win is Kenseth’s 27th of his career and breaks a tie between himself and his teammate Kyle Busch. The win is Kenseth’s third this season which is the most among all of the competitors in the Cup series. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the Rookie of the Race. Jeff Gordon’s top 5 finish was his 300th of his career. He joins Richard Petty, David Pearson and Bobby Allison as the only four drivers in the history of the sport to accomplish such a feat.
Busch Dominates at Darlington as JGR Sets Nationwide Series Record
posted by Amy Henderson
Friday May 10, 2013
Kyle Busch dominated the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Friday night en route to his 56th career Nationwide Series victory and fifth series win of 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing in general was the class of the field all night at Darlington Raceway, claiming four of the top 5 finishing spots, with only fourth-place Joey Logano keeping them from sweeping the top four spots. It was a historic night for JGR, as no team has ever before placed four cars in the top 5. Elliott Sadler finished second to Busch and Brian Vickers third, with Logano and Matt Kenseth rounding out the top 5.
Busch led 107 of 147 laps on the way to the win. Sadler was the best among the Nationwide Regulars, finishing second despite an early spin in Turn 2, and gained points on leader Regan Smith, who finished seventh. Kyle Larson continued to impress at the Lady in Black, posting a sixth-place finish in his first Darlington start as he runs for rookie honors. Sam Hornish, Jr., who remained second in points, finished eighth while Kasey Kahne and Justin Allgaier filled the top 10.
Smith now leads Nationwide Series points by 28 over Hornish. Sadler jumps two spots to third on his second-place run as Justin Allgaier fell one place to fourth. Vickers gained three sports and is now fifth, 49 behind Smith. Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Brian Scott, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Larson round out the top 10.
Joe Gibbs Racing Penalties Reduced Following Appeal
posted by Summer Bedgood
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Joe Gibbs Racing had many of their penalties for the No. 20 team reduced during the appeal process on Wednesday.
Driver Matt Kenseth and owner Joe Gibbs had their points penalties reduced from 50 to 12 points.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff’s suspension has also been dropped from seven races to one, though he will still be forced to pay the $200,000 fine.
Not all of the penalties were reduced, however. Toyota Racing’s manufacturer points penalty was increased from five points to seven.
All other penalties were dropped, including the suspension of Joe Gibbs’ owners license, the loss of bonus points for the Chase earned at Kansas Speedway, and the loss of eligibility into the Sprint Unlimited garnered from the pole at Kansas Speedway.
JGR has accepted the penalties and will not appeal further.
Following a dominant win at Kansas Speedway a few weeks ago, Kenseth’s car failed post-race inspection when it was found that a connecting rod was 2.7 grams below the minimum weight. Toyota Racing Development accepted the blame for the incident.
The reduction moves Kenseth up to fourth in points, 66 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
JGR has not announced who will replace Ratcliff this weekend in Darlington.
The appeal was heard by Mark Arute, Dennis McGlynn, and Jack Housby.
NASCAR cannot appeal the revised penalties.
Penske Has Suspensions Reduced On Appeal
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Roger Penske’s team got some relief Tuesday from NASCAR’s Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, as he chose to reduce penalties assessed to that organization at Texas Motor Speedway in early April. Middlebrook, after hearing the evidence from both sides Tuesday chose to reduce all suspensions in the case from six to two weeks, plus NASCAR’s All-Star Race on May 18th. That means the final consequences for both teams are the following:
No. 2 car
No. 22 car
Middlebrook’s official statement was short, simply stating, “After looking at all the facts, data, and interpretations from the rule book, I have decided to uphold the original fines and points penalties. However, I have decided to reduce the suspensions of the seven team members involved from six points races and the All-Star race to two points races and the All-Star Race.” However, it seemed both sides, after presenting their cases were far more pleased with how the case was handled during this portion of the appeal.
“We were able to talk about areas we worked in,” said Roger Penske, referring to the “gray area” of the NASCAR rulebook officials ultimately felt stepped over the line. “I’m very happy with the outcome. This sport has been built on innovation. All of us have tried to innovate in areas not defined in the rulebook. We were in that area.”
In conversations with the parties involved, it was clear the controversy surrounded parts designed to increase the rear-end angle at the back of both cars. In past years, with innovation limited through the Car of Tomorrow templates teams have played around with suspension systems designed to make the rear end of the car easier to “move.” The more the car skews in the corner, the easier it can be to handle and gain extra speed.
However, NASCAR had made rules designed to curb those types of innovations this year and made the determination Penske parts to build the rear suspension were unapproved. Why they had gone undetected in previous inspections was never addressed, along with claims someone else in the garage had alerted officials to possible inappropriate car construction. One thing Penske did admit, though is had this decision been issued by the initial appeals panel, he would not have pressed his luck with Middlebrook.
“All of us,” he said. “Have lost points for certain infractions over the years. The key thing is to have people back at the racetrack operating in full control.”
The end results leave Logano 18th in points, 146 behind championship leader Jimmie Johnson and 43 outside a Chase position. Keselowski is far more stable; fifth in points, he’s 69 behind and 45 ahead of 11th-place Matt Kenseth. Neither of the Penske cars have won a race this season.
“Moved on from last few weeks,” Keselowski tweeted Wednesday morning. “And ready to focus on @TooToughToTame (Darlington Raceway).”
The next round of NASCAR penalty appeals, focusing on Joe Gibbs Racing and Matt Kenseth will be heard on Wednesday morning.
Connect with Tom!
Penske Racing LOSES Penalty Case, Will Appeal To NSCRC John Middlebrook
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday May 1, 2013
A three-member panel Wednesday unanimously upheld penalties assessed to Penske Racing after pre-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. Comprised of Pocono President Brandon Igdalsky, Bowman-Gray President Dale Pinilis and former NASCAR VP Paul Brooks, the trio determined the sanctioning body’s evidence was enough to “convict” Penske to the tune of points lost, suspensions given and $200,000 in fines.
Roger Penske, in response has pledged to send a final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner John Middlebrook. That hearing will occur Tuesday, May 7th at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. Here’s a quick list of what penalties are pending (everything but the points deductions will be deferred, pending Middlebrook’s approval until after the final appeal):
No. 2 team
No. 22 team
NASCAR’s representation included Sprint Cup Director John Darby but not Vice President Robin Pemberton, who was whisked away to Florida on jury duty. Owner Roger Penske was in attendance to defend the allegations along with Team Manager Travis Geisler, Tim Cindric, Walt Czarnecki, Joey Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon along with several other key principles.
UPDATE: The National Stock Car Racing Commission issued a brief statement, reviewing the penalties and then explaining the following.
“Upon hearing the testimony and carefully reviewing the facts, it was a unanimous decision by the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.”
“The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the rule book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.”
Connect with Tom!
Kyle Busch Wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown
posted by Thomas Bowles
Friday April 26, 2013
Who says Joe Gibbs Racing teammates don’t get along? Kyle Busch is certainly receiving gifts, from Denny Hamlin in the form of shiny trophies from winning the latter’s annual charity event. Rowdy was romping through the field again at Richmond Thursday night, taking control at the race’s midpoint and cruising during the latter stages to win the Showdown for the third time in the past six years. In a race that benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation, created to help those with cystic fibrosis Busch had his late model hitting on all cyilnders down the stretch. Pulling away from fellow Cup driver David Ragan, in the final segment of the 75-lap race the outcome was simply never in doubt following a 5-minute break for pit stops prior to Lap 47. Ben Rhodes, Ronnie Bassett, Jr., and Garrett Campbell rounded out the top-5 finishers.
Other Cup drivers, including defending race champion Tony Stewart were in the field but never a factor up front. Smoke, actually extending his slumping start to 2013 into this race got wrecked before the halfway point and wound up 28th. Matt Kenseth, still distraught after a midweek penalty virtually negated his win at Kansas was never truly competitive, either; he finished 22nd.
Also on Thursday night, African-American driver Ryan Gifford won the first K&N Pro Series East race of his young career. Surviving a five-lap shootout, following a red flag he cruised home over Brandon Gdovic.
Connect with Tom!
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Penalized As Engine Fails Kansas Post-Race Inspection
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 24, 2013
Until the end of time, Matt Kenseth can say he crossed the finish line first at Kansas Sunday. NASCAR Record Books will say the same. But after a harsh series of penalties announced on Wednesday, should they stand that’s about the only thing Kenseth can hang his hat on after a successful weekend turned sour.
According to multiple reports, officials at the NASCAR R & D Center in North Carolina discovered a connecting rod on Kenseth’s engine, brought in for Kansas post-race inspection weighed three grams less than the minimum weight of 525g. The consequences, announced today are crippling for both driver and team. Kenseth, along with car owner Joe Gibbs have been docked 50 driver and owner points, actually reducing their overall totals heading into Kansas even though the No. 20 car won the race. That lost chunk of points drops Kenseth from eighth to 14th in the standings. More importantly, the win “won’t count” for either bonus points in the Chase or determine postseason eligibility; that means the driver, now in “Wild Card” position is considered to have one win so far this season instead of two.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg on these consequences. Crew chief Jason Radcliffe, fined $200,000 based on the infraction has also been suspended for the next six Sprint Cup points events, along with the All-Star Race. Toyota, whose TRD engine department ultimately supplies the JGR powerplants has had five points deducted from its total in the manufacturer’s championship. And finally, Joe Gibbs himself, already docked 50 owner points has had his license suspended by NASCAR, which means he’s ineligible to accrue owner points for the No. 20 until the next six Sprint Cup Series points races are completed.
Gibbs, NASCAR has clarified will still be able to travel to the racetrack despite a suspended license. In a tersely worded statement, the owner says he’ll appeal the ruling, which violated three parts of the series rulebook. The one most pertinent is Section 20-5.5.3(E) which states only magnetic steel connecting rods, with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted. Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4J, which gives officials the right to penalize for parts they claim do not conform to NASCAR rules were also cited in the sport’s official release.
Toyota Racing Development’s Lee White, in a statement released early this afternoon took responsibility for the violation.
During NASCAR’s routine post-race tear down of Matt Kenseth’s race-winning car and engine from Kansas Speedway,” he stated, “One of our engine connecting rods weighed in approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams. None of the other seven connecting rods were found to be under the minimum weight. We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine used by the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team this past Sunday in Kansas — JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines. It was a simple oversight on TRD’s part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage. Toyota is a company that was built on integrity, and that remains one of the guiding principles of the company. The goal of TRD has always been — and will continue to be — to build high-performance engines that are reliable, durable and powerful, and within the guidelines established by NASCAR.”
Kenseth, who has led 482 laps this season, two higher than his total last year has been one of the strongest competitiors on the Sprint Cup track in 2013. His engines have also passed several previous inspections.
Johnny Sauter Penalized For Fuel Cell Infraction At Kansas
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 24, 2013
Thorsport Racing, along with former Truck Series point leader Johnny Sauter are reeling this Wednesday after a major penalty involving their No. 98 Toyota. On Wednesday, NASCAR announced the team was fined $10,000, crew chief Joel Shear has been suspended for four races and 25 owner points were taken away as a result of a faulty fuel cell, confiscated during pre-race inspection at Kansas. Driver Sauter was also hit was a loss of 25 points, completely reshaping the championship Chase heading into the next race of the season at Charlotte May 17th.
According to NASCAR officials, the team violated multiple sections of the rulebook. The key ones involve Section 20B-16 and 20B-16.1B, regarding the proper size and functioning of fuel cells. “Once a fuel cell or fuel cell components have been certified,” the rules say, “Modifications of any kind will not be permitted.” The 16.1B portion refers to black safety foam, with a minimum height of eight inches that must be used as a safety mechanism when putting together the fuel cell itself. By violating that rule, NASCAR is insinuating the team modified or enhanced the cell in some way by cutting back / replacing that foam.
Section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing was also listed as a rules violation along with 12-4K, which gives NASCAR Officials the leeway to penalize teams when they feel previously legal equipment was modified, in any manner after being initially inspected.
Thorsport, as of yet has not said whether they plan to appeal. The penalties mean Matt Crafton becomes the new Truck Series point leader, by 13 over Jeb Burton while Sauter gets pushed back into a tie for second place.
Find tons of cheap tickets to 2012 speedway races like Talladega NASCAR schedule, Brickyard 400 at Indy Motor Speedway, Coca Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway tickets plus the full 2012 Monster Jam schedule
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
|Subscribe to The Frontstretch Newsletter|
Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday August 8, 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)
NEW YEAR? NEW NEWSLETTER. LOOKING FOR THE INFO YOU NEED ABOUT NASCAR IN 2013 – SENT RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Frontstretch Newsletter gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up and get all the information you need. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!
©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 agree 100% I am becoming a casual fan but I don’t want to give up just yet.Maybe I need to start a website “fans for better racing” or something. There has to be a way to unite the fans and make a statement to nascar. What would Nascar do if fans united, enough is enough, and refused to turn on the tv. If ratings dropped like a rock things would have to change. I don’t know how to start such a movement, but if the casual fans united, we could grab Nascar by the throat and demand changes.
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.
I was feeling ok about myself till I read that post! Now I’m gonna have to make an appointment with my therapist! Thanx alot! LOL
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.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?
Top Ten Reasons People With No Sense of Humor Write In And Complain About These Lists
Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.