Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 "Sold" Off
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 23, 2014
After a week of uncertainty, Swan Racing’s two teams will show up at Richmond Friday night after a combination of mergers and acquisitions have kept the two teams up and running. The moves, announced in a press release Wednesday will keep rookie Cole Whitt behind the wheel of the No. 26 while J.J. Yeley moves into the No. 30, replacing Parker Kligerman effective immediately.
The solution for Whitt was rather simple: Swan co-owner Anthony Marlowe merged his portion of ownership into a deal with BK Racing. That team will now expand to three cars, with Whitt running full-time (for now) alongside fellow rookies Alex Bowman (No. 23) and Ryan Truex (No. 83). The move will also keep former Swan employees working full-time, rehired by BK as enough money was gathered up to keep the No. 26 up and running. Whitt, who has a best run of 18th this season (Fontana) will remain competing with his crew essentially intact.
“I respect Brandon Davis and everything he has done for the Swan Racing Company,” said Marlowe in the release. “Looking forward, my mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season. My friend Ron Devine and the BK Ownership group really stepped up to enable me to keep the No. 26 on the track. Cole and Randy [Cox, crew chief] are off to an auspicious start in 2014 for a new Cup Team and we are gearing up for Richmond. In addition to the No. 26 team’s performance so far this year, the new ‘win and you’re in’ system and qualifying rules were motivating and positive factors in my continued investment in NASCAR.”
As for Swan’s No. 30, the equipment has been sold to Johnathan Cohen and his Xxxtreme Motorsports operation. That team, which has yet to make a race this season with J.J. Yeley will now run that No. 30 with their own Chevys before switching to the new Swan equipment (plus their old number, 44) beginning at Talladega. It’s an opportunity for them to gain speed and perhaps run a full race. Xxxtreme, with patchwork funding has yet to run more than 66 laps in any Cup event, start-and-parking in every race it’s made since making a go at NASCAR’s top level in mid-2012.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity in our organization,” Cohen tweeted after the purchase. “But today, made a big step in the right direction.”
Co-owner Brandon Davis, who had been MIA before Tuesday’s public announcement praised both Marlowe and Cohen in helping keep the equipment, former employees, and one of his two drivers afloat while Swan searches for funding to keep racing.
“Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts,” he said in a statement, later reiterating those points on SIRIUS XM Radio. “It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. I am very relieved to know that the Nos. 26 and 30 teams will be in good hands and will continue to compete the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me.”
So what happens to Swan’s other rookie, Parker Kligerman? Davis has retained Kligerman’s contract, and while the team has officially suspended operations he’s actively searching for funding to get the No. 30 back on track. Should it happen, it’ll be a one-car program with Kligerman at the wheel despite an ugly start that left the first-year driver 38th in series points.
“We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties,” Davis said of Kligerman. “Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us [18th at Texas], and we are certain of his success in the future.”
The driver, in his response left the door open to run for other programs. Swan, which has partnered with celebrities like the NFL’s Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent may be able to parlay those connections into funding that gets Kligerman into another car in the meantime.
“Although it’s unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I’m confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team,” said Kligerman. “I value the relationship that I’ve had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be.”
Connect with Tom!
Daniel Suarez to Make Nationwide Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday April 22, 2014
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday morning that NASCAR Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez will make his Nationwide Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship will be provided by Silent Circle, a global service that allows for the sending of encrypted communications and Telcel, a Mexican telecommunications company.
Suarez is thrilled to have the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to make my NASCAR Nationwide Series debut,” Suarez said in a press release. “I want to thank Telcel and Silent Circle for believing in me and making this a reality. I can’t wait for Friday night in Richmond.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs is very excited to have an up and coming talent such as Suarez in the fold.
“Daniel is certainly someone that has proven to have a lot of talent and we are thrilled this was able to come together and allow him to make his debut at Richmond,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s exciting when you look at the young talent our sport has right now and we certainly feel that Daniel is going to be part of the future for NASCAR.”
For Suarez, the 2014 season has been very successful so far. He started tke K&N Pro Series East season with two wins in three days in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL (as part of the UNOH Battle at the Beach). Despite a crash at Bristol, Suarez still ranks second in points behind Ben Rhodes. In the Toyota Series, Suarez came from behind to win the season opening Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway in front of all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Another win in Chiapas and a second-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s oval gives him a nine point lead over Antonio Perez.
This will be a very busy weekend for Suarez. With the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to South Boston Speedway this year, the K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 will be held immediately after the conclusion of the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250. In addition, the Toyota Series will have their fourth race of the season at the Autodromo de Monterrey in Suarez’s hometown on Sunday.
Gene Haas' Formula One License Application Accepted By FIA
posted by Phil Allaway
Friday April 11, 2014
This morning, the FIA announced that the license application submitted by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas had officially been accepted. As a result, provided that everything comes together financially and technically, Haas’ new Formula One team will have a spot on the grid at the start of the 2015 season.
Upon receiving the news this morning, Haas released the following statement.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas wrote. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.”
“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”
Haas’ team would be the 12th team on the Formula One grid for the 2015 season if all the current teams return. Much like the failed USF1 team that Peter Windsor was involved with, the team would partially be based in North Carolina with an additional European base.
Stewart-Haas Racing is setting up a press conference for Monday to further discuss the move. We’ll have more information here at Frontstretch as soon as it becomes available.
Speeds Approach 220 MPH At Michigan Test
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Goodyear held the second and final day of their tire test at Michigan International Speedway. The overall goal of the test was so teams could come up with a solution that would encourage better racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval, while at the same time allowing for a compound that would not blister.
Much of the headlines from the test seemed to stem from high speeds reported. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted a computer readout that stated he reached 215.2 mph. Clint Bowyer went a little bit faster at 217 mph, which Bowyer later described as “whites-in-your-eyes fast.” Greg Biffle told ESPN’s Shannon Spake on NASCAR Now that he reached 220 mph and a 204 mph average.
Despite the high speeds, the drivers who tested Tuesday and Wednesday believe that there will be better racing this year in the Irish Hills. Michigan winters are a bit harsher than in most locales on the Sprint Cup calendar. As a result, there is more weathering from year to year.
Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be quite happy with the track.
“I enjoy racing here,” the two-time Michigan winner said. “It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”
As is the norm for Goodyear tire tests, no official speeds were announced. However, Earnhardt Jr. stated in the Media Center that while he was going anywhere from 212-215 mph at the end of the frontstretch, he was only dropping down to 180 or so in the turns.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman echoed Earnhardt Jr.’s sentiment when asked about the track surface. They expect the track to support multiple grooves for racing when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return in June.
As for track management, they definitely appear to like the high speeds. Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis spent part of Wednesday retweeting top speed posts. However, Curtis understands that going fast is not the only thing that matters.
“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome,” Curtis said. “The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition…”
Since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season, the number of lead changes at Michigan International Speedway has been relatively flat with the years before the repave. However, the number of cautions are up as well, which can skew the lead change numbers a little. Complaints have come more from a rock hard tire compound, made by Goodyear for safety reasons which has made passing more difficult and actual “wear” (which leads to speed dropoff) hard to come by.
Sherwin-Williams To Sponsor No. 51 Cup Car At Darlington
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, HScott Motorsports announced that Sherwin-Williams will serve as the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The No. 51 will primarily be advertising the automotive finishes division, in addition to the AWX Performance Plus Waterborne Refinish System the company makes.
Allgaier is very happy to have Sherwin-Williams onboard.
“I’m thrilled to have Sherwin-Williams on the car at Darlington,” Allgaier said in the press release. “They are a big supporter of HScott Motorsports and NASCAR. I can’t wait drive the No. 51 with the Sherwin-Williams colors on it at one of my favorite tracks.”
Sherwin-Williams has a fairly extensive history in NASCAR. They currently serve as the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR.” Prior to that, the company served as a primary sponsor for a number of cars in what is now the Nationwide Series.
As for Allgaier, Saturday will more than likely be his first career Sprint Cup start at the historic oval. However, in five Nationwide Series starts, Allgaier already has two top-5 and three top-10 finishes. His average result is an excellent 9.8.
Bass Pro Shops Primary Sponsor For Austin Dillon In Two Cup Races
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
Announced Tuesday in a ceremony and car unveiling at their Concord, NC location, Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing made it official that the national outdoor sports retail giant will be the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS for two races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Talladega (May 4th) and Daytona (July 5th).
Bass Pro Shops has been associated with Dillon’s career dating back to 2010, when they sponsored his No. 3 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and also followed Dillon to the Nationwide Series as a sponsor for his No. 3 Chevy Camaro for RCR. The two won a pair of NASCAR championships together, and the retailer has also served as an associate sponsor for Dillon’s car in the NSCS this season.
During the announcement, Bass Pro Shops noted that the retailer has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 1998, when they became an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by legend Dale Earnhardt.
Now, the sponsor is back on the Cup level, paired with the No. 3 once again and hoping to elevate the program to Victory Lane. Already, Dillon has one pole to start the season at Daytona, where he posted a ninth-place finish, his best result to date during this rookie campaign. 21st at Texas last weekend, he’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings.
For the Bojangles’ Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington, Dillon will have Dow Chemical on board as the primary sponsor for the No. 3 car.
Ruud To Sponsor Buescher, No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
RAB Racing announced that Ruud, heating and cooling brand, will be on board the No. 99 Toyota Camry as primary sponsor this weekend at Darlington for the VFW Sport Clips Help-A-Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The brand joins Rheem as a primary sponsor of the car during the 2014 Nationwide Series campaign. Ruud will also sponsor the No. 99 of James Buescher in several other races this season, according to a team statement.
Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is driving full-time for RAB Racing and making the transition from the Truck Series to the NNS this year. The No. 99 team was recently penalized by NASCAR at Bristol for a P3 penalty (illegal weight added to the car improperly, which was lost during the race), which led to crew chief Chris Rice being fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief John Guerra was also placed on probation by the sanctioning body for the incident.
Sitting ninth in points thus far in 2014, Buescher’s best finish this season has been 12th at Phoenix. The 24-year-old, Plano, Texas native has one career win and 14 top-10 finishes in the NNS since his first start in 2008.
Five Sprint Cup Teams Test At MIS For Goodyear
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
After a long winter in Michigan, five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams visited Michigan International Speedway for a Goodyear Tire Test taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prepare for the test, MIS reported having to use the track’s jet dryers to clear and melt snow and ice from the two-mile track.
Due to the snow melt, frost, and rain on Monday night, MIS had to delay the tire test for most of the day because of weepers around the track’s surface. The track crew worked throughout the afternoon to dry up the moisture so that testing could get safely underway. Finally, Greg Biffle took his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion to the asphalt at MIS around 4:00 PM ET as the first driver on track.
In addition to Biffle, Goodyear has scheduled drivers Clint Bowyer; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Newman; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take part in the tire test, which is open to fans from 9 AM to 5 PM today.
Michigan International Speedway is in for a busy summer in the Irish Hills as the track plays host to the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15th, then the Pure Michigan 400 on August 17th.
Logano's Four Tires Triumph Over Jeff Gordon's Two At Texas
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Joey Logano would overcome Mother Nature and a green-white-checkered restart with four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano, with his trip to Victory Lane Monday afternoon also became the seventh different Sprint Cup driver to win in 2014 in as many races.
Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps on the afternoon, appeared to be on his way to a dominating victory until two laps to go. That’s when Kurt Busch blew a left-rear tire on his No. 41 Chevrolet, spraying debris all over the track.
“When you got like 40-something laps after the last pit stop, you got a pretty sizable lead, really all you’re thinking is, ‘Where is the white flag? Where is the white flag?’” Logano said after the race. “Then, you go into turn one, you see the [No.] 41 up against the wall. You’re like, Please no caution, please no caution. Boom, it comes out. You got to be kidding me. You get so mad you can barely control yourself.”
This incident, the third for Busch on the day would set up a decisive yellow-flag pit stop before the final restart. Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team then rolled the dice, jumping from sixth to first with only two tires while Logano and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski would take four. Keselowski, who was second coming in would then get caught speeding while exiting pit road, eliminating him from contention. The Penske Racing driver, after leading 85 laps in his own right dropped to a disappointing 15th on the afternoon.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said, who lost a chance to become the series’ first two-time winner. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road, wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
That left Logano dealing with Gordon and Brian Vickers directly in front on the restart. As the cars accelerated, he wasted no time dispatching Vickers for second and set his sights on the bumper of Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. On the white-flag lap, Logano was able to take advantage of his four fresh tires to get underneath Gordon, clearing him by the exit of Turn 1.
“I mean, coming in sixth, you’re in that position that you can gamble,” said Gordon, who did earn a consolation prize — becoming the Sprint Cup points leader for the first time since the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 (see below). “You’re not going to win it with four tires, you’re not going to win it with none. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off.”
After clearing Gordon, Logano was able to cruise to his fourth career Sprint Cup Series win, his second with Penske in a little over a season with the team. The driver’s confidence is high, stemming from crew chief Todd Gordon whom the 23-year-old was quick to praise after the race.
“He (Todd Gordon) made a last-minute decision to put fuel in it, gave me better balance for what I needed and the guys made the ‘money stop,’” Logano said of the ending. “I was the first guy out with four tires on.”
Behind Logano and Gordon in the top 5 were Kyle Busch in third, followed by Vickers fourth and rookie sensation Kyle Larson in fifth, the only rookie to run inside the top 20. Greg Biffle was sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, while Clint Bowyer earned his second top-10 result in eighth. Paul Menard earned his fourth top 10 in five races, running ninth while pole sitter Tony Stewart rounded out the top 10.
Monday’s race started in bizarre fashion, under a rare, green-yellow flag condition for ten laps to ensure that the 1.5-mile quad-oval was dry and fit for racing. Jet dryers were still on the track during this period to help the process. Unfortunately, the air from the dryers managed to get inside the wheel wells and affect the hood and roof flaps of several cars. Keselowski’s Ford actually ended up with a damaged hood hinge, resulting in four pit stops during this period for repairs. Many additional cars came down pit road to fix the flaps as well. NASCAR allowed the cars affected to make their stops without penalty, provided that they not add fuel or change tires in the process.
Then, shortly after going green Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s day ended prematurely after just 14 laps when he misjudged his positioning and clipped the grass in Texas’ quad-oval. The miscue resulted in the car digging in, popping a wheelie and shooting the No. 88 Chevrolet straight into a SAFER-less wall, resulting in a fiery crash. Not only did that ruin Earnhardt’s day, but it also impacted the race of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson wound up with windshield damage and a bent left-front corner of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Losing multiple laps for repairs, Johnson ended up 25th on the day while Earnhardt Jr. was scored dead last (43rd).
“You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground,” Earnhardt said of the incident. “Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
Kevin Harvick had another fast race car, one capable of going up and taking the lead away from teammate Stewart on Lap 25. However, Harvick’s run of bad luck continued after blowing an engine just a couple of laps later. Harvick ended up 42nd, sitting just 31 points inside the top 30 needed to make the Chase after his win at Phoenix.
A look at the Duck Commander 500 by the numbers. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers, while seven cautions for 49 laps slowed the pace to 134.191 MPH.
Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to legendary Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The Green flag is scheduled for 6:45 PM ET on Saturday night.
Keselowski - Busch Feud And Other Martinsville Sidebars To Follow
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Monday March 31, 2014
Keselowski, Busch Feud
Two former Penske Racing teammates didn’t play the part Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch starting a feud that almost kept the latter from Victory Lane. It all started during the competition caution, on Lap 43 when the two cars made contact on pit road. Keselowski claims Busch turned into him, breaking the front suspension on the Miller Lite Ford in an accident that also included Kasey Kahne.
“I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him and Kurt (Busch) just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us,” Keselowski said inside the garage. “I tell you what, I’m about tired of his recklessness.”
So Keselowski went back on-track, found Busch’s No. 41 car and promptly slammed into its right side. Trying to flatten tires, it seemed the endeavor ultimately failed but still fired up Busch to the point he started ranting inside the car.
“Welp, guess we’re going to get in a fight afterwards,” Busch said. “I’m going to **** that dude’s ****ing face!”
After that, Busch got focused, starting a drive that would end with him in Victory Lane. Keselowski, meanwhile ran 38th and still remained frustrated after the race.
“Tell him come here. I’m right here,” he said when told Busch was OK with fighting. “He knows where I’m at. Leave Victory Lane and we’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity and he’s probably the most talented race car driver, but he’s also one of the dumbest, so put those three together.”
Busch’s response, initially was to downplay the incident. But when pressed in the media center, post-race he finally broke down a bit. Calling the contact by a damaged Keselowski a “punk-ass move,” Busch said he’d be enacting revenge at a time of his choosing.
At press time, Keselowski had calmed down a bit, claiming he wasn’t trying to wreck Busch on Twitter and that the rivalry would not continue into Texas. No penalties from NASCAR, by the way occurred during the race or are expected for either side.
Crafton Claims Rain-Delayed Kroger 250 Victory
Due to Saturday’s complete washout, the Camping World Truck Series held their second race of the season immediately after the Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500 wrapped up. With a 5:30 PM start time, some feared the race would be called early due to darkness. Ultimately, that was not a concern.
In a quick event, Matt Crafton took the lead from local favorite Timothy Peters on Lap 209. From there, Crafton held off the rest of the pack through two green-white-checkered restarts to claim his first career Martinsville grandfather clock.
In the scrum on the final restart, Darrell Wallace, Jr. rose up to second, while rookie Ben Kennedy was third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth while using the front end of his Toyota Tundra in a manner similar to a battering ram. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5 finishers.
For more on Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race, please check out Kelly Crandall’s Tracking the Trucks race recap at Frontstretch.
Tires Fail To Adhere to Track
Goodyear tire engineers stated Sunday that it takes a track temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for their tires to lay down a proper groove in the turns. On Sunday, the track temperature never reached that point during the race. As a result, tire wear was very high on Sunday. Rubber chunks would shear off, early during green-flag runs and gather just outside the racing groove.
Drivers would ask for new tires every 20 laps or so. If there was a caution, nearly the entire field would come in for fresh rubber. There were examples of
“The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles,” said Kenseth, who recovered to run sixth while Stewart wasn’t so lucky (17th). “They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad.”
If the story sounds familiar to readers, it should. Last Fall, track temperatures struggled to reach 80 degrees through much of the race. However, the tire issues that resulted were not quite as severe.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
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Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday December 5, 2007
As longtime readers of this column have come to know, I hate “stupid.” If someone in the world of NASCAR says or does something that is extremely stupid, I have no qualms whatsoever about pointing it out, no matter who they are or what position they may be in. Just ask my editors!
(By the way, is that somewhat related to the fact I have yet to get my invitation to the Frontstretch.com Christmas party? But I digress…)
Over the years, my pursuit to expose those that are stupid has led some readers to think that I hate NASCAR. People email me and say I should write about something else; or, that I do something I think is anatomically impossible – at least for me, anyway. At any rate, I assure you that that is not the case. I love stock car racing – and if you are one of those that think otherwise, well, if you were worth a page of copy, I'd expose you, too!
However, in the world of NASCAR there is one person that, over the last few years, has been the subject of many of my columns. That person is NASCAR CEO Brian France.
It’s not that I particularly enjoy writing about Brian; it’s just that some of the things he says – with increasing frequency, I might add – are so mind-bogglingly stupid that I feel it is my duty to point it out, so that not one single fan may catch whatever it is that he suffers from.
At a recent Reuters Media Summit in New York, France uttered the following comments that once again make my job very easy.
Here’s the scenario: NASCAR’s CEO was commenting on continued falling TV ratings that are plaguing the sport as of late. In need of an explanation, none other than Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s name came up – unprovoked.
"It would have helped if he would have been competitive,” said France. “He didn’t win an event, and he certainly didn’t make our playoffs. And that’s unhelpful if you’re trying to build ratings.”
So, there it is. Laid out as plain as day from the mouth of the man who can do no wrong! You, Junior fans, are the reason television ratings were down 13% from 2006. Shame on you! But wait! There’s more. What was that that Junior didn't makeâ€¦ “Our Playoffs?”
Flashback to a January 2004 NASCAR press release explaining the new points formatâ€¦
MIKE HELTON: This is not a Playoff. Every one of our events will continue to be Super Bowl-type races, with all 43 drivers competing against each other at the same track to win a race.
BRIAN FRANCE: The seeding process is how you finish after the 26 events. That’s the seeding process. You did see that we did reward if you finish first, you have got a 45-point lead over the 10th place competitor after 26, and five points for every position in sequence – so we have, we won’t call that a seeding – because what we’re not going to call this is a Playoff. It’s not a Playoff. It’s not a single elimination. It’s not a win or lose and you are out. Not a best three out of five. It’s better than all that, because it still has consistency; still has 10 tracks over two and a half months to compete. We think we have got something that’s better than the Playoffs.
I must have missed the press release that announced that Brian has decided that it is a playoff in the last 4 years – my apologies, and I will try to pay better attention in the future. However, there was one thing that Brian said last week that proves – even though he is not bright enough to realize it – that he has no clue as to what he is doing.
"The margin of error for all the sports to manage their business smarter is more narrow," France said.
Now, let’s seeâ€¦double digit ratings drop for multiple yearsâ€¦two failed attempts to build tracks in places where NASCAR was not wantedâ€¦two longtime Series sponsors (Winston/Busch) bailing, soon to be three (Craftsman), not to mention a massive scaleback of Budweiser sponsorship dollarsâ€¦multiple lawsuits, some settled out of court, some notâ€¦yada, yada, yada.
Yep, Brian France is right. There is a narrow margin – and his head is too big and thick to get through it!
Stay off the wall (and too much Egg Nog!),
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks for a thought provoking article. Here’s my thoughts on it that I sent to my friends. Joe Roux
More and more of those who are around this sport each and every day come over to my way of thinking (which came to me late 2005 if you recall). I will now accept apologies.
In my opinion, this is what brought NASCAR up to its level previous to 2005. ESPN.
We all knew what racing was about in and before the 90â€™s, ESPN brought it to a much broader audience. The thing at the time was that the personalities and the racing hadnâ€™t really changed all that much. Good hard racing, punching each other out along the backstretch, etc. ESPN only brought it out to a nationwide audience. As I said, we all knew what it was and had.
Now itâ€™s glitzy, commercialized (how much more commercialization do you need other that a car sponsored by a bra manufacturer?) sterile and antiseptic. Personalities??? HA! Forget about it. If they can make Tony meek and mild, what the hell is left??
As I recall, WWWAAAAAAYYYYYY back in the 70â€™s, the one race that put the sport on the radar was the Allison Bros. vs. Yarborough in the backstretch. Iâ€™m not looking for a race to breakout at a fight but these were people whom I cheered and jeered for. The best thing you can hope for now is for Spiderman to climb up to the flag stand after he wins the race (and heâ€™s been chastised for that too!).
For Christmas, I think Iâ€™m going to send each of the heads of NASCAR a crowbar. They can use it on each other to pry eacv others heads out.
How can one average (at best) driver make or break a sport that is being driven into the ground by the sanctioning body? One again, Prince Brian (the all kowning) shows us why he should be subject to the NA$CAR substance abuse/testing program.
How about less pop culture and more good ‘ol traditional hard nosed racing by men with personalities?
How about stock cars that look like what I can buy on Monday? How about the fastest 43 cars make the race?
What’s next? My prediction:
44 car field filled by 11 four car franchise owners, with Brittney Spears as the official voice of NA$CAR.
Ok, maybe only the first part of that. Anyone care to bet against me?
Sooooo…is Brian trying to say that most NASCAR fans are Jr. fans? If so, it would appear that NASCAR would go under if something happened to Jr. You know, maybe he is right. Maybe Jr. is the only driver that appeals to a large number of fans. Maybe that’s why the sport is failing. If he doesn’t do well at Hendrick’s and there is a chance that he won’t, then the sport will fall further into the abyss. Nah, that might make sense and we all know that Prince Brian has never made sense of anything.
After carefully digesting this article and viewing it from every possible angle I personally conceed that N.A.S.C.A.R equally is being damaged by too many modifications and too many fair-weather fans!
It seems to me that nascar won’t be able to weather the storm of sub par performing “super star” and if that be the case then popularity will be an ironic demise for a orginazation fueled by it.NO PUN INTENDED!
Well, as we in the JR Nation found out: Just because you’re CEO of an organization, you aren’t necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed.
Well, from what I’ve seen, Brian might have a point. Damn, that hurt. Have you ever seen a race where Jr dropped out early? Not hard to miss, there were several. The swarm of red leaving the stands was overwhelming. There are Jr fans, and there are race fans. Real race fans stay thru the end even if their driver drops out. I’ve dealt with it. Of course, I also attend local short track races. I bet most Jr fans don’t, because he won’t be there. In closing, Brian, get you head out of your A** and step down and let someone you haven’t corrupted take over. Your ideas haven’t worked. Am I the only one who misses Bill Jr.
The real problem, which Brian France is obviously to stupid to realize, is that the reason the Jr. fans leave or quit watching is because after he is out of the race there is nothing left that is exciting to watch! You can’t turn this into a “spec” car racing series and then actually have the nerve to sound confused when people quit watching. If people wanted to watch IROC racing then it would still be around.
It’s plain and simple folk’s, you can’t take the racing out of racing and expect people to want to watch it, because you have stripped out all the reason’s that they began watching it in the first place. To Brian it is all about money and who will pay him the most regardless of what is left of the sport when he is gone. Speaking of which, thank god he is leaving, because if I’m not mistaken he is going to run the Grand Am Series, god help them.
Get someone in there that will let these driver’s have their personalities back and make this sport interesting again and not some watered down, over commercialized sport with nothing but a bunch of robot’s driving the cars. You would think that someone in the upper rank’s would want to make the changes, but maybe that would affect their paycheck’s! Idiot’s!
Desperate men do desperate things. To place blame (of any kind) for the current condition of NA$CAR on a single driver is utterly ridiculous. This is really the begining of the end for NA$CAR. When the man in charge is finding fall-guys that aren’t even employeed by the company tells me that something is very wrong inside their organization. What next, will he say that the reason the seats are empty is because there aren’t any fans showing up…… “Gee, I can’t understand why… we dropped the ticket price to $200.00 a seat, where is everyone…..”
Remember what NA$CAR stand for:
Now All we $eriously Car About is Revenue
Brian may have a point. I’m not a NASCAR fan, I’m an Earnhardt, Jr. fan. When he’s out of a race, I couldn’t care less what the others do.
Isn’t that the whole idea? Root for your driver? If not, maybe “you’ve” missed something. What brings the crowd to the races? NASCAR? NO, the drivers do. So, when my guy’s out, I’m done, gone to the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc.
Sorry, but that’s just the way it is!
You do realize that Nascar didn’t stop with blaming Junior for the ratings drop. Earlier this year when ISC announced there would be a several million dollar shortfall in predicted revenue from souvenir sales, it was mostly blamed on Junior changing teams/numbers. Hasn’t Nascar always contended that the sport was bigger than one single driver? Guess that has changed, too. But I guess, when you are the self proclaimed ‘genius’ of Nascar, you better find any source for the problems other than those who make the decisions. Again reminds me of the old saying about staying quiet and letting people think you a fool than opening your mouth and prove it!
I agree totally with the MBeard comment!!!
The FS has a Christmas party? Must be nice. Where I work we have a “Holiday” party. PC blows chunks.
I KNEW IT WAS JR’S FAULT!!! Hehe.
Brian’s an idiot. And he really is stupid.
NASCAR has out grown the south and some fans can’t accept it. It’s sad!
That is sad. But I wonder what will happen when the Big Cruel Real-World that they have migrated too snaps them in half. Will NA$CAR coming whimpering back homeâ€¦tail tucked between its legs. And like the people of the good ole South usually are, weâ€™ll take â€˜em backâ€¦.. but only after a good tongue lashing donâ€™t you think?
We also tend to flip channels when Jr goes out or down several laps. After that the last 10 laps is all we need to see. And we have been tempted (only tempted) to actually leave a race when he goes out. Reason for that is long drives home head start on the traffic.
TV broadcast are to blame for the turnoff. They show only the leader for 3-4 laps with no one challenging them and then go to commercial and when they get back they show us the same exact thing. Somewhere within the field has to be someone fighting for a position but we’ll never see it. No wonder sponsors are hard to find, their cars may never end up on the screen unless they crash then they’ll get some air time. We have yelled at the TV “come on show us someone besides the leader and commercials.”
We get to see 7 laps and break again for commercial – not showing the restarts. Another thing many many people do not have cable nor satellite and the races are broadcasted on TV you have to pay for. The NFL is starting that up now also. If you want viewers cater to their needs.
Ratings decline top 10
1. commericials every 90 seconds.
2. Gushing over openwheel has beens.
3. Muted personalities
4. manufactured endings.
5. forgoing the tradition and history of the sport while pushing non racing celebrities.
5-A Fontana is not hollywood and niether is nascar.
4. Pushing forgieners-car or driver.
3. taking the manufacturer out of the car.
1. The official femininne hygene product of nascar
Mr France: If Junior fans are so all powerful…
Then may I suggest you stop acting like a twit and ticking us off!
Two years ago we were all told that the sport was bigger than a couple of drivers. That having Dale Jr & Jeff Gordon not in the Chase was OK! You still had 10 great drivers in the Chase.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND! You don’t get to have it both ways. You want to know what is wrong with the NASCAR ratings…look in the mirror dude! It is YOU!
Your decisions are hurting this sport. You can say all you want that the racing is better. Here is one simple little fact…what you think really doesn’t matter much! If WE don’t like it, it isn’t good! Simple, WE are the ones you need to please.
Do you remember us? We are the fans, fans of ALL the drivers. Fans that buy the overpriced tickets, and fans that watch the rotten coverage on TV. WE need to be pleased with YOUR product…WE AREN’T. That is why the ratings are down.
This really isn’t rocket science, I would think that even the powers that be in NASCAR could figure it out……but, as always, lets just take the easy way out, and blame our mistakes on someone else.
My point exactly. Jr fans aren’t race fans. So stop trying to attract them.
@ Connie & Just A Fan:
I agree with you guys. Now I don’t have to type it all out. Thanks.
What kills NASCAR is inconsistency, caring more for the $ than the fans, Allowing frequently caught cheaters continue to work and cheat, not allowing drivers to have emotions (speak they’re mind with no holds barred), Always messing with the car (let’s be honest the C.O.T is just a way for France to pad his pocket and can anyone tell the difference between cars w/out looking for an emblem), changing the rules for no reason (they all fall under the “detrimental to NASCAR” rule) not allowing drivers to beat and bang to the finish, they’ve watered it all down to a Hollywood dream because NASCAR is afraid of being called a redneck!
I watched VERY little NASCAR this year, way before Jr didn’t make the playoffs. After 10 years of faithful watching it’s just become to bland to give up 5 hrs
I think the opposite of MBeard. While I have a favorite driver and I do hope he does well,(not that I’d actually see any of it as he’s not Jeff, Dale Jr. or a few other over coveraged drivers), its really the racing that is, (or should be), the excitement for me. Hearing 43 race tuned engines coming to life is music to my ears. Brent’s post is the one that really nails it though..NASCAR has really become IROC and its only going to get worse…there is a reason that IROC races never really took off, the only reason that people tolerated them was that there were only so many a year and it pitted drivers from various racing arenas so it had that going for it. Connie raises some good points as well with the only correction I would make is its not just Jr. fans that are flipping the stations…even with my driver still in the race I flip channels as I know he will barely get a mention or a camera on his car and more importantly I tire pretty fast of watching the same guys all the time, the same small group of drivers. I think Jr. is a pretty good guy and all but if he is not in the silly chase and is running in the bottom of the pack is there a reason that we are still heavily covering him? I would think even Jr. fans would have to admit that the coverage just prior to the chase was a tad over the top as it would’ve taken quite a few miracles to happen for Jr. to make the chase but the way the media potrayed it on TV you would’ve wondered if there was anyone else racing that day. I think that’s my point..alot of fans I would think are pretty tired of watching and hearing about just a few drivers. Connie is right..I know I’ve found myself talking to the tv as well asking if anyone but the top-5 and/or chase drivers are going to get any coverage. I think Truefan is right in regards to modifications being an issue as well..the COT goes right back to what has been said in regards to the IROC series and if/when they go to spec engines..well, heck, we’re just about there. On the issue of fair-weathered fans I can see your point Truefan but I look towards NASCAR as to why there may be fair-weathered fans. Perhaps if NASCAR didn’t worry so much about concerts, TV stars, selling product after product and actually worried about what NASCAR’s product is,(or perhaps “was”), which is something called “racing” then I think you wouldn’t see a drop in ratings and empty seats at the tracks..like any other company out there..if your product is good then it will sell..if your product is bad, and even with all the bells and whistles you add to it,(concerts, etc), it still won’t sell..Tell Brian to go to his local community college, he can learn that in chapter 1 of “Business 101”.
Not sure where all your readers are getting this misinformation but it was Ken Squire, CBS, Diamond P Sports and TNN that brought this sport into it’s accepted adulthood with the with the fans. Certainly not ESPN!
I am a motor race fan. I have sat through hours of curling to see 5 minutes of racing on Wide World of Sports.I get up early to watch F1. I now mostly sleep through NA$CAR Cup.
Blob cars, blah personalities, slow cars race, fast cars go home, gear rules, COT. NA$CAR didn’t have to print a rule book because there were only a couple…you race this size motor, you weigh this much, you have a wheelbase of X and you have a car body that you can buy in the showroom. That was pretty much it. All other race series if you fail tech, you go home. If you qualify fast enough you race, if not you go home.
I am there for the smell of hot oil, burning tires and hot under the collar drivers. The loud enough to shiver your timbers race motors. I don’t care if it is Joe and Susie Blow that are racing…if they are racing I wanna watch. Too bad NA$CAR isn’t about racing any more.
I agree, why does the south regress while everyone else seeks to progress? It is indeed sad!
Couldn’t have been said better Sleepy…
You can lead horses to water but you can’t make them drink it and we all know who the horses are.
I agree with Chris2’s comments. People watching the races need to be race fans of the overall sport. That includes some knowledge of the sport which includes knowing who all the drivers are and actually attending some of these races to get the complete fan experience. While its fine to just follow one driver, doing so can block out the fact that a lot of other things are going on during the race. Personally, I think better coverage of the “rest” of the field and better announcing from the “booth” and “pit road” would do wonders for keeping our attention so we watch the entire race longer. The timing of commercials are another set of big problems as well! How often this year did we miss the action on the track during a commercial? Personally, I think a bunch of people writing in these forums would do a better job than the idiots in the booth this year! Where’s Ned Jarrett when you need him?
“NASCAR has out grown the south and some fans canâ€™t accept it. Itâ€™s sad!” ——— WHAT A JOKE! THE MORE NASCAR HAS TRIED TO HEAD NORTH, THE WORST IT HAS DONE!!!
True Fan – do you mean horses? or horses ass?
There are at least 8 directions to grow so the anti north statements suggest obvious disdain for a particular area, sounds like someone is still pissed about the civil war.It seems nascar is nothing more than a cover for unsettled “yankee” hate by people who are living vicariously through regional drivers hence Dale Earnhardt and the like.
I am a Dale Jr fan. After he’s out of the race( and that happened way too many times this year)it’s over for me. Nascar has too many stupid rules,penalties and, that really dumb Chase format. I was at Homestead and you should have seen all the people leaving when Dale Jr was down 5 laps. The race was over, as far as I was concerned.
While I too miss the days of Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, & Neil Bonnett calling the races, two are retired and Neil is gone. Having said that, ESPN needs to get rid of morons like Kuselias and let Jerry Punch and Allen Bestwick call races. Not the idiots they have in there now. The only series I watch anymore are the trucks. Those guys are not afraid to let it all hang out. The other thing that needs to go is Bill Weber and TNT. That idiot wants to be Howie Cosell so badly….somebody needs to kick his sorry a** over to football coverage. Then he can go gush over the thugs there. Jim France, Please kick your stupid nephew out of the chair and bring some common sense back to NASCAR
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