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 30, 2007
As most folks who actually know me can attest, I am a pretty easygoing guy. It takes a lot (whether it's your actions or “beverages,” on my part) to get me riled up. Despite that laid-back nature, though, I can also be very blunt. Inevitably, people to whom I have been very blunt to often confuse my bluntness with being “riled up,” which is sad – because that is seldom the case. “Riled up” would mean that I actually care, and that, too, is seldom the case. Today, however, I am going to be both blunt and “riled up.” A rare treat, indeed! Lucky you, my faithful readers.
Last week, I made my yearly journey to Bristol to take in this year's edition of the Sharpie 500, as I have done every such August since 2002. Point being, I've seen a lot of racing, in person, at the fabled Speedway in Thunder Valley. I go to this particular track not as a member of the media, but as a fan – which works out rather nicely, as I've always been a fan first and a writer second. Truth be told, I think I only got into this writing gig as part of a drunken wager, the details of which are still quite hazy to all who were involved.
But that’s besides the point. After seeing things firsthand, I have no problem being bluntâ€¦the racing at BMS this past week was the BEST racing to take place on that track for a long, long time. If you did not like it, you have lost touch with the concept of what racing is truly about! However, do not be offended. There are a couple of excuses which I will accept for your ignorance.
The first is simple and straight forward enough. You have never been to a race in person at Bristol Motor Speedway. If you would have been there, or if you have been there in the past, you would readily, and quite correctly, agree with me about last week's quality of the racing.
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of two tracks on the circuit that you will ALWAYS see more racing by being AT the track than you would if you watch it on TV. Television simply cannot show you everything that you can see at Bristol as opposed to being in the stands yourself. Out of 160,000 possible places to sit, you can see EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, even if only in your peripheral vision, to which you can then focus your eyes (should you so choose) much faster than they do on TV.
But BMS has always been about the “experience” more than the racing. For years and years, there has been only one groove on the race track… and that is the bottom. The races there have always been a “parade,” and passes were made with the patented “bump and run.” It had become the accepted way. That “accepted way” resulted in the inevitable spin or crash, which made for great TV but lessened the purity of the race. With that said, the experience of hearing 43, 800-horsepower cars racing in a “bowl” is what makes Bristol what it is. It’s a sound that I can only describe as "having to shout into your own ear to hear yourself when you have a thought" which, oddly enough, can be achieved with the proper amount of beverages and a bit of practice.
So, as I sat and watched the Cup race last Saturday from my vantage point in the Pearson Grandstand, Sec. FF, Row 15, Seat 13, (Turn 1) I was absolutely amazed! I never thought I would see the day when cars were racing, three-wide in the corners at Bristol. They could go low, high, or in the middle…at speed! That is something that simply was never done at Bristol for at least the last ten years. I honestly do not have the words to express how truly great it was to see cars actually race there. The Cup race was the same way – the BMS slogan, "Racin’ the way it ought to be" is finally 100% accurate.
With that said, the thing that has me “riled up” is this; I come back home to find reports on radio shows and in the press that the race was boring! Now, radio show call-ins I can dismiss because, let’s face it, they probably were NOT there and on television, yes, a green flag pit stop at BMS could be construed as boring because that means a long green flag run with no crashes and, as we all know, no crashes at Bristol means no excitement…or so you've been trained to believe. Well let me tell you one thing; you have not experienced “boring” until you sit in the stands at Bristol and watch a race with 20 cautions and over a quarter of its advertised length run at caution speed.
But what really irks the living crap outta me is so called “professional” media types, such as David Poole, who, through a gross misunderstanding of his power to sway people's perception, continues to perpetuate the idea that last week's races were bad. Consider this bit of “expert analysis” that Poole authored in a recent article after the Cup race:
“But there is no possible way any sane person would think the average race fan liked what they saw Saturday night more than what they had come to be used to at Bristol.”
Since when does David Poole know what the average person likes? When I read that, I had to read it over again to see if I got it right. Was this guy at the same race I was at? OK, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he quickly typed something up to meet a deadline. But then I read the following, and I got really pissed:
“But as the fans who came to see it were walking out late on a hot August night, they weren't talking about all the great memories they'd just made. They weren't talking about how incredible it was to see the kind of racing you don't see anywhere else.”
Now, I can't say for certain just exactly where David Poole watched the race from last Saturday night – chances are it was from a monitor in the media center. However, I will bet my dollars to Poole's doughnuts that he definitely was NOT in the herds of sweaty race fans making their way out of BMS to hear what they were saying about the race they had just witnessed. Trust me; if you know anything about David Poole (or talked to people who know him), you would put your money on my side of the wager. Let’s just put it this way; everywhere in Bristol is uphill, especially from the media center! David Poole was NOT among the “fans,” I guarantee.
Well, Mr. Poole, I WAS among the sweltering masses that were exiting BMS, and I can tell you that during the long time I was amongst them (an amount of time you would appreciate should you dare to try it) NOT ONE of them ever said a bad thing about the race that I heard. The same goes for everyone I talked to and partied with in the campground where I was staying. Everyone loved the new Bristol…everyone that knows what they are talking about, anyway.
So, don't be duped by so-called "professionals" such as David Poole (the second excuse I would accept for ignorance). He wasn't where I was or sweated with the true racing fan like I did last weekend. He does not have a clue.
Instead, “racing the way it ought to be” finally hit the nail on the head. My hat is off to Bruton Smith and all those at BMS who brought this dream to fruition.
Stay off the wall, (easier to do since the re-paving!)
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Your article was well written and most of all — your opinion. The same way David Poole’s article was his opinion. And MY opinion is that I have to agree with David Poole. We race fans have come to expect a certain type of race at Bristol — and we didn’t get it and probably never will again. I’m always leery when drivers as a unit praise a new track or a change at a track. That usually means they don’t have to fight any more. They have to race for it — sure — but no blood and guts and glory is really involved. Bristol was the last of a dying breed. And now its gone. Rest in peace, Bristol and all that you stood for.
I agree with you 100%. I was also there Kulwicki section-it was the best cup race I have ever seen @ Bristol. The Busch race was awesome and I think we will continue to see great races at Bristol. Who would have thought you could have 3 wide racing at Bristol. It doesn’t get any better. You are also correct that TV does not do Bristol justice-you have to experience it to understand and Mr. Poole was basically watching on TV from the media center. As for the post from Carol-did you hear any post race interviews the drivers were exhausted-no lengthy cautions means they have to be on top of their game the whole night. They are not used to that at Bristol. It was a demanding race for them.
I have to agree with David Poole. Perhaps the problem was with ESPN’s coverage – or lack of covering all but the top five cars. I am sure the race was great if you were at the track but the vast majority of people see it on tv and we’re the one’s that feel that the race sucked. Yes we like mangled cars, helmets being thrown, drivers spewing anger motivated words at other drivers, beating and banging, rattling cages, etc. If that makes us bad race fans then I guess that’s something we have to live with. The bottom line is the true measure of a race is the perception those watching on tv had, not those that were at the track.
Jeff has it right on the money. I have never been there, but watched only on TV, and I thought it was the best Bristol we’d ever seen—the cars could actually race, imagine that, much more like other short track racing I’ve seen. Most of the former drivers have said that that was how it used to be. Now certain ‘fans’ have to admit they wanted to watch wrecks, not racing. I’m just not one of them. Poole has had a vendetta against other race tracks (Watkins Glen, where I have been one of the sweltering fans…) that has been absurd. The fact was, they made improvements for the fans and teams, not for the spoiled overfed journalists sitting in the air conditioned press boxes. And his ‘opinion’ in this case, is no more educated than any of ours, despite his years of experience. Jeff, thanks for the first hand account of what some of us had already seen.
I watched the race on TV, with Fox Trax up on the computer, and while participating in the race thread at the Speed Insider boards.
The race presented on the TV by ESPN was boring. The coverage was a bunch of empty blather intermittently punctuated by weird camera angle shots of cars running alone.
The Fox Trax showed that a great deal more was happening on the track than was being captured on TV.
Message board participants watching via Hotpass or listening to PRN confirmed that a much better race was happening than was on TV.
I’m willing to believe you and others I know who were there that it was a good race. I wish ESPN had bothered to show it to us.
I sat in Waltrip Section D and have been going to Bristol the last six years. This las t race is definitly the best race I have been to yet. I agree with Jeff, who would have ever thought that we would see three wide racing in the corners @ Bristol. Bristol has finally become racing instead of crashing. I am also tired of reading how boring this race was. Great artcle Jeff.
David Poole was definitely NOT in the media center…he was high up in the press box, sitting in the row behind me. Trust me, he saw the same boring race I did. With two drivers leading all but 30 laps, THAT is boring.
Just a short note. All I heard walking back to camp were fans saying they’ve never seen a better Cup race at Brisol. I guess to some, boring is a race with no crashes.
Right on Jeff!
I watched the race on TV, and thought it was excellent compared with past races at the Bowl. Admittedly, ESPNâ€™s coverage wasnâ€™t up to par.
You hit the nail head with your comment on caution laps. What kind of dazed & confused race fan enjoys watching a quarter of the race run under the yellow flag, or even one-seventh of the race for that matter?
I live 50 miles from the track and I have been to the night race at Bristol. Despite watching the race in high definition on a 52” TV with home theatre, the race was boring. I judge a race by whether my 54 year old brother can stay awake through the whole race. He fell asleep at lap 400. NASCAR’s spin regarding the increased amount of passing was not helpful to the discussion since most of it was not near the front.
I should have driven 10 miles from my house and watched a good race on our 1/2 mile dirt track.
I was at the spring race at bristol and for only the second time in my life, I went to the race as a spectator rather than a journalist. The racing I saw was first-rate. What I saw on television on Saturday was good racing but lacked the excitement of bristol of old. I immediately wrote to Jeff Byrd, GM of BMS. Apparently I was not the only person who thought the race was rather unexciting because the next day recieved the following reply:
We learned from NASCAR that there were 2,147 passes in the Sharpie 500 compared to 991 in this spring’s Food City 500. That alone doesn’t mean much but it does demonstrate that the potential is definitely there for great racing.
I believe that Goodyear brought the hardest tires available and that, coupled with the lack of testing or practice for the Cup cars, produced a tamer than usual race. We built a race track that produced incredible side by side, two and three wide racing on Friday night with 10 cautions. Saturday night had its moments but overall lacked the action of Friday night. I believe that by next March, the teams will have the new Bristol figured out. Just as Bruton Smith wouldn’t stand for the single file racing on the old surface, he will work to provide the best racing experience possible on the new surface. I know it will get better – the Busch race show is what Bristol will look like in the future. Thanks again for writing.
Perhaps ‘boring’ isn’t the right word. ‘Less than exciting’ may be more appropriate. I don’t believe we’ll ever see the helmet-throwing and flaring tempers at bristol again and that’s because the CAN race three wide there now. Excitement builds, and tempers flare, when three guys want a spot that is only big enough for two. Smith proved he could build an awesome track. The question isn’t ‘could he’ but rather ‘should he’… Some things are best left as they are… or were. I think that in the years ahead, tickets to the Bristol night race are going to be easier to get.
The Busch race was the BEST race I have ever seen sitting in the bristol grandstands…the cup race was no where near as good. Blame it on the chase and the COT…the only difference between the 2 nights
Too many people have never seen the Bristol used to be when it was asphalt. The racing was awesome. Perhaps not too many lead changes happened, but spectating any event, the experience of watching the whole thing is what should be viewed. Do you watch football by just looking at the quarterback and not the blocker wiping out the linebacker off to the side? Or the DB clocking the receiver on a sweep? How about baseball? Do you never watch how the infielders position themselves and move and crouch when the pitch is starting to be thrown?
There are so many more battles in an auto race than just who is leading at the time.
Open your eyes people (and David Poole)
I watched it on TV and thought it was a great race. I was shocked to hear people say it was boring. I have to agree with you…3 wide at Bristol, it doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve been around NASCAR racing since 1962 and gone from fan to track photographer, to crew member so maybe I appreciate the racing more than the crashing that the newer “fans” seem to like.
Thank you, Jeff, for your perspective. I agree with you 100%. I truly don’t understand when so called ‘fans’ can say that the bump and run is true racing when they can come in and run three wide. Why does there have to be contact to be good racing?
The television coverage has been mediocre at best since ESPN took over. I am sure it is because they believe they are showing us the cars the believe we want to see and not scanning the entire field. I wasn’t at the race live, but could tell it was exiciting. Heck, the stats in number of passes tells the story.
The one thing that could have made the race ‘boring’ was the fact that two cars hit the setups and the rest didn’t. That is a function of the CoT where less cars are going to hit the setups until the teams get used to it. Next year, I would imagine that we will have more cars battling for the lead.
In any case, I hope that future races at Bristol have the same type of passing and not the bump and run. I’m sorry, but I would attend a race at Bristol with true passing before I would to just watch the bump and run.
Yes I agree there are few places better than Bristol, that I have seen to “watch a race” Reading btw the lines tells me that the ones who thought it boring are jeffy, jimmy or “e” fans wanting other smash-up Bully/bowtie victory. Seems to them like its always boring when a Ford wins. Sorry but 3-wide makes for great racing, just like Michigan. War Carl Edwards
Well I agree totally with David Poole. From what I watched I thought Saturday night’s race was well not the worst but close, race I had ever seen at Bristol. The bad thing is when you have a lower tiered division making more speeds than your High profile series. But hey I cannot comment anymore, i slept thru half the race…boring as usual come on Nascar get your head out of you
Great article. Too Carol, Joe Mama, and all the rest of the idiots… go to a demolition derby at your county fair. It is cheaper and will assuage your neanderthal expectations of what a good race or racing action should be. The Bristol repave was a success; and before everyone rants I’ve been to Bristol before the re-pave, it’s much better now. Remember that many great events in history are first met with derision and later are embraced and accepted; too bad the Labor Day Cali race will never be one of them, ha, ha! Maybe the France morons will hire David Poole to come work for them; he seems to have a racing acumen on par with the rest of I$C and NA$CAR. Long live the Southern 500!
Yes, lots of crashes and bruised egos, but very little racing. Surviving Bristol was always more about luck than anything else.
Now it is about the racing. When you can watch those back in the field actually racing for say, 24th, 25th and 26th spot, it is truly awesome and refreshing.
Don’t be fooled, there is still bumping and banging, just not the carnage that happens on a one groove race track.
And yeah, it is MY opinion, but David Poole did NOT hear hot sweaty fans leaving the track saying they didn’t like the race. That is just plain crap.
And for the record…I don’t get paid one thin dime by ANYONE to write for FS.com.
David Poole was giving his opinion, just as you are giving yours. Unless you went around and polled EVERY single person who watched the race, and can say for a fact that the majority enjoyed the racing on the new surface, you have no more of a leg to stand on than David Poole does. And it does not seem very “professional” to turn your column into a personal attack on this guy.
That out of the way, I agree with you in as much that the racing on the new surface was better to watch. I loved the two and three wide runs and all of the passing. Sure, having two guys lead the majority of the laps took some of the excitement away, but that was a function of the 9 and the 99 hitting the setup compared to the rest of the field, and teams are still figuring out this whole COT deal.
I agree with Jeff. I have been going to live races since 1991 Daytona 500, and have gone to at least one race (more like 3) a year since. That was good racing!
â€œBut as the fans who came to see it were walking out late on a hot August night, they werenâ€™t talking about all the great memories theyâ€™d just made. They werenâ€™t talking about how incredible it was to see the kind of racing you donâ€™t see anywhere else.â€
Oh, so David Poole DID interview all those coming out of BMS?
I talked to more fans than he did. How do I know? I’m ONE of them. I live in the campground all week. I drink beer with them. I help them fix their campers when they need help. I grill and eat with them. I AM THEM. Fan first. VOLUNTEER WRITER second!
Sorry Jeff, but when one or two drivers stink up the show and lead all the laps, that’s boring. I used to relate Michigan with boring but Saturday night came darn close to overturning that opinion. Wrecks are not why I eagerly await the Bristol races. It’s the fact that the drivers can actually manhandle the cars and each other and NOT wreck. I taped the race because I refuse to watch all the commercials. Sunday morning I did laundry while watching the Bristol race. It was a 1-1/2 load race. I didn’t even get to load the dryer twice before the dang race was over. The fastest, most boring Bristol race of my life. I get so sick of hearing about the ‘aero’ packages and Rusty Wallace and his blue/gold air demonstrations that the road courses start to look good! Does anyone else cringe when they do that stupid colored air demo repeatedly like we ride the short bus and have to be reminded ad nauseum what’s happening around the cars? So yes, I look forward to Bristol. Maybe I spent too much time filling the Downy dispenser and missed all that great racing. I’ll be more careful in the Spring and do my laundry the day before.
To Brian France (above)… Whether anyone wants to admit it or not the reason Bristol is so popular is because fans love to see a driver make an ass out of himself when things don’t go his way. The Bristol race was still one of the best races of any compared to other races and tracks but compared to past Bristol races it wasn’t as wild. Let’s face it, the majority of people love watching a train wreck. it’s like two monkeys playing catch with a hand grenade, you just can’t stop watching.
To rjh (above) why would hoping for a wreckfest be in the interest of jeffy, jimmy and little e fans? They would be as apt to be wrecked as anyone else wouldn’t they? so hoping for wrecks has nothing to do with who you root for.
I have to agree, once again, with everyone else who is stating that the “televised” race was just plain and simple, BAD. The coverage by ESPN was terrible and made for some really boring NASCAR entertainment. As I’ve stated earlier this week; if you were lucky enough to actually attend the Bristol race, then I’m sure it was very exciting, but if you had to endure watching it on ESPN, well, it wasn’t the same. With the race in California this weekend, I’m afraid to even imagine what to expect. Who knows, maybe if I drink enough before the race then I’ll be able to create my own excitement; despite ESPN! As for you Joe Mama…I agree with everything you said!!
I was there Saturday night & haven’t missed a Bristol night race in well over 10 years. I go to Bristol for the racing but also for the entertainment. Bristol is/or was different from any other track on the circuit. Now they’ve made it like all the others IMO.
I also agree with Laidback Racing with this quote
The Busch race was the BEST race I have ever seen sitting in the bristol grandstandsâ€¦the cup race was no where near as good. Blame it on the chase and the COTâ€¦the only difference between the 2 nights
To quote JMyer –
“Oh, so David Poole DID interview all those coming out of BMS?
I talked to more fans than he did. How do I know? Iâ€™m ONE of them. I live in the campground all week. I drink beer with them. I help them fix their campers when they need help. I grill and eat with them. I AM THEM. Fan first. VOLUNTEER WRITER second!”
You may have talked to more fans than David did, but at the end of the day you are both giving an OPINION. NEITHER of you can claim to speak for all fans as to how they truly felt about the race. That’s why he has his opinion, and you have yours. Which is fine and dandy until you use your website to attack the guy personally because you disagree with him.
Nas has it right…The big change between the two nights was the COT and the Chase..I think both of those factors had an effect on the race. That being said I didn’t think the race was that bad..what made it seem that bad would have been the coverage. Anne states that seeing two guys lead the race makes for a boring race which while I can see her point I supose what really enforces that perception is the fact that whoever has the TV coverage, (They all are about the same, Fox, ESPN, etc,), only focuses on the top cars..maybe the top 10. That is the issue..the race is covered for maybe 4 hours so you’d think that they could actually show other passes on the track verses a guy driving away lap after lap. I get annoyed when they show “Lets go through the positions..” as first they rarely make it through all 43 cars, and second they show them at whatever position they are in verses perhaps when they are actually passing someone, or some sort of action. If the blame is to be put on boring racing I’d start with the way its covered by the TV stations. I agree fully with Anne that actually covering the race verses showing me more “cut-out” car stuff, “loose/tight” and that awful aero-draft bit would be a good start. If indeed France/NASCAR wants to be like the stick/ball sports he should realize that “What is a home run?” is not descibed game after game in baseball..if at all…File that under the “Duh” folder…
Been to Bristol, although not this year! BUT! Poole is 100% correct!
It seems you are easily impressed with noise!
I on the other hand love racing! REAL RACING!
And the “new” Bristol is not it! Follow the leader, but that is exactly what most people now think is “good racing”!
Oh great! Instead of 43 cars going single file bumping for the lead, you now have 43 cars in different grooves, at times “dicing” for position??
This does not make racing!
It is entertainment, and only entertainment!
The new paving resulted in racing like it used to be at BMS in the old days, when it was paved with asphalt.
I was there too. I can imagine the broadcast wasn’t great because the race at the front wasn’t great. Not to mention, it’s NASCAR’s broadcast and, well, NASCAR has let ESPN/ABC/NBC/FOX/TBS create bad broadcasts for some time now.
The racing throughout the pack was awesome. My favorite aspect was how soon-to-be lapped cars could really give the leader a hard time. The Busch race on Friday was even better and at least a 9 out of 10.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A couple of different responses on this thread before I close it down…
First off, I have been lucky enough so far in life to view racing from three unique perspectives – right where David Poole sits (press), working on the actual TV broadcast itself, and sitting in the stands as a fan. All three offer uniquely different opportunities to view the product we all know and love – and each will lend itself to a special type of “insider info” you can’t get anywhere else. Whenever I do TV, I come back with a far different viewpoint compared to when I’m taking notes in the media center, press box, or on pit road. Of course, any of those options give you a much more far-reaching view of the actual race itself – as you’re not limited to Trackpass or watching the race on TV. You can actually see the whole track – see everything going on, and that offers you a greater ability to both analyze and reflect. As several of you have mentioned, that allows you to see a far different race than if you’re a slave to whoever TV wants to focus on over at FOX, TNT, or ESPN. Some of the best TV races can be the worst in person…and vice versa.
However, NONE of those types of “special access” offers you the exceptional opportunity to have direct contact with the “Average Joe” fan in the stands – while the race is going on. To do that, you have to actually sit WITH the fans…and that’s exactly what Jeff Meyer did. Yes, as a writer we use sources, message boards, fans email us – it’s not that David was lying about any of that because I’ve been there, done that just like the NASCAR writing legend. But what Jeff is offering here is perspective from his weekend trip as a fan, where he got to talk to several fans in a natural setting of watching the race in the stands. Truth be told, Jeff is not doing himself justice – he has covered several races for us as a member of the media, and has been writing for us for over four years – developing a style and level of expertise that doesn’t make him some random stranger. So, when Jeff says he talked to fans after the race – we’re not talking one or two here. We’re talking a journalist clothed as a fan, asking everyone he came in contact with over four days at the track what they thought of the new Bristol repaving job.
What has come out of that is an opinion – based on Jeff’s own analysis. David Poole has an opinion, too, and they’re both entitled under freedom of speech to disagree with each other. My opinion? It lies somewhere in between the two…but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that this Bristol race has generated more fan opinions – positive or negative – than any race I’ve seen in quite sometime. In that sense, I feel Burton Smith has done a fantastic job – because after a few years of races dominated by one select driver (see : Matt Kenseth, 2005, 2006) he’s got fans yapping about Bristol all over again. It may not be about drivers throwing helmets…but Bristol is still the #1 topic amongst fans all over again, and it’s likely to stay that way for several weeks. That, in my view, is a sign that Bruton Smith has generated excitement and controversy here all over again – for every fan that’s disinterested in the new track, there’s another one ready to argue to death that this is the best thing that ever happened to this half-mile bullring.
Some are concerned about what they construe to be a personal attack on David Poole. Here at the Frontstretch, we back the content of our writers and take advantage of our resources as an independent media outlet to go further than your typical nascar.com article. The great thing about FS is you’ve got an amazing mix of professional writers, semi-professionals doing this as a hobby, and fans with a voice – all of whom are given the right to say what they want, without the fear of being told to “shut up.” Under the laws of Freedom of Speech, Jeff and David are allowed to disagree…it happens all the time. If the president can be criticized, so too can any member of the professional media – me, Matt Taliaferro, Becca Gladden, David Poole, or anyone who goes to the race tracks each weekend to do this for a living. That’s both the blessing and the curse to write in a public setting – everyone has the ability to openly criticize anything and everything we say.
I’ve decided to lock this thread from future comments. Any specific concerns from anyone, feel free to address them at email@example.com. I’d be happy to answer any comment or question you may have. Jeff’s email, for those who would like to continue this discourse, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading the Frontstretch, and making your feelings known.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
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