NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday February 7, 2008
I honestly didn't want to start my year out like this, but I have been given no choice. You see, what happened was Brian France opened his mouth and spoke — the ramifications of which are further proof that the world has gone totally insane. That’s right, insane … it’s to the point that I would rather listen to a year's worth of presidential candidates than 20 minutes of Brian France.
That’s bad… but the really insane part is that, put side by side, I would be more inclined to put my trust in, and understand, the politician. If you continue on through the rest of this column, you too will be more than willing to tune into the next Presidential Debate, if for no other reason than to bring a bit more understanding and mental stability back into your life. At least with politicians, you know and they know and they know that you know that they are lying to you. Well, Brian France simply isn't that sharp.
A disclaimer: what you are about to read is real. It is a few questions and answers that were recently asked of Mr. France during the NASCAR Media Tour last month. These questions and answers are taken from the Official NASCAR transcript of the event and are presented here, word for word. I apologize in advance for any migraines that you may suffer; hopefully, my commentary — which will be injected intermittently — should alleviate some of the pain.
To start you off slowly and to give you some sort of preview of what you are up against, the following statement is from Brian's opening remarks.
Brian France : We certainly are proud we’ve been able to attract new fans virtually every year NASCAR has been in existence. But we’re also proud of those fans who have been with us for many decades.
We’re also proud the very first NASCAR superspeedway, Darlington Raceway, is still on the schedule. Several years ago, we took what was perceived as a gamble. We moved the Darlington spring race to Mother’s Day weekend. As it turned out, it wasn’t a gamble at all. It was a sure thing, thanks to the power of the Darlington tradition and the loyalty of our race fans. That event has quickly turned into one of the season’s highlighted events.
I believe, if I am not mistaken, the very fans that Brian is suddenly so fond of are the ones he tried to run away from just a few scant years ago. You know, all of us patriotic, beer drinking, wrench-turning, rubber burning, possibly Rebel Flag waving, factory working, middle class types that have been watching and following for how many years now? What was that word Brian called us? Oh yeah, now I remember. NASCAR wanted to get away from its “redneck” image! Now he is proud of us again? Well, ain't we the lucky ones!
And then, there's that power of Darlington tradition and fan loyalty! Is this true? Did he really just say what I thought he said? Does he really have the testicular fortitude to mention Darlington, tradition, loyalty, and Spring race in the same sentence!? Can you spot the omission?
Yes, Brian, for the last few years those loyal fans that you are now so fond of again have talked of nothing else but the fact that the that moving the Darlington Spring race to Mother's Day weekend was what the rest of us were too stupid to know was best for us and, most importantly, the sport. Somewhere, tucked neatly in a drawer in his resplendent office desk, I'll bet Brian has figures to prove that more NASCAR fans than ever before are spending their Labor Day Weekend in sunny Southern California! But let's forget all that for now. Let's move on to the questions. (And remember, I am NOT making any of this up).
Q. The possibility of an economic downturn, recession, how important is it for the economic health of your teams in terms of sponsorship, but more importantly, the fans to be able to maybe work with your promoters, make some value packages available so some of these people don’t get hit quite as hard trying to attend your races when it may be tough for them to pay their bills at home?
Brian France : That’s happening. That’s happening all over the circuit. We’re not obviously immune to any downturn in the economy. As a matter of fact, we may be more at risk than most in that our fans drive further, stay longer … you guys know we’re in the mega event business, not (for) just a season ticketholder. So, it is costly for our fans to get to the speedway. I know our tracks are already trying to make sure they’re offering the right amount of value. They’re as aggressive as they can be. I’ve talked too many of them … they’re on that very point.
What Brian (NASCAR) fails to see is that, in many instances, less is more. What the average Joe wants is good old-fashioned racing … not hyped up “value packages.” But don't take it from me; take it from some of the comments left by ordinary fans from Monday's FS.com feature article on how NASCAR can keep from bleeding to death.
This is typical of Big Business. The 3rd generation makes changes to the business model that has brought success in an attempt to make their mark. It usually failsâ€¦ as for TV coverage they need to make the TV experience more like the on track experienceâ€¦ Their success in the future is in keeping up with their past.
As several people pointed out (on these comments), ticket prices need to be affordableâ€¦ the average family of four can't afford to go to a race. I don't even want to know what the profit margins for ISC and SMI are. It all seems just a bit out of balance.
No more stupid music acts and other sideshow crap: This is supposed to be racing.
That is just a few comments from what the disgruntled fans had to say. However, while we are on the subject of the economyâ€¦
Q. Brian, there’s going to be a lot of talk this year about the economy, the trends in the sport. As you talk to the senior people in NASCAR, at what level would you say your concern is? I don’t know how you would do it on a scale. Are you guys in sort of — I don’t want to say in crisis, but what is your concern about the so-called lull or whatever? What is your level of concern about that?
Brian France : I would disagree with you on one point: there won’t be a lot of discussion from my chair or anybody on our team. Look, the economy is what the economy is. I’m not an economist. I don’t know if we’re in a recession. Of course, it will have an impact. It has an impact on every leisure activity.
What you’re not going to hear from us is statistics and worry about all that. We’re worried about how good the racing is on the track. That’s what we’re going to be talking about in our internal meetings. We’ve got one starting tomorrow that we do every year with our senior staff.
We’re talking about going back to the basics. We’re talking about the Car of Tomorrow producing the best racing in the world. That’s what you’re going to hear from us, not statistics and downturns, upturns, sideways. That will take care of itself. We’re getting back to the basics.
Did you catch all that? Brian is not an economist. He does not know if we are in a recession. Why doesn't Brian France know if we are in a recession? Because he is a gazillionaire, that's why! A recession does not affect the very rich. Oh, I'm sorry, it does affect them — it slows down the pace at which they are accustomed to getting richer. At any rate, according to Brian, there is no lull. NASCAR isn't going to worry about that. They are not going to point out empty seats or other useless statistics. No, we are gonna race! Do not pay attention to that other stuff. It does not exist because we are not going to talk about it! Just watch the race please. Ah yes, the racingâ€¦and just exactly why is the racing so good nowadays?
Q. Brian, last year at Homestead you indicated NASCAR was going to have a renewed emphasis on working with core fans to try to energize the long-time fan base. Can you give us some specifics about what you’re going to be doing in that direction in 2008?
Brian France : Well, somebody once told me that you’re good at whatever you talk about being good at and you focus on. It starts with me. It starts at the top.
What’s important to what we talk about going forward is making sure we’re not missing anything. This whole change item that I spoke about in my earlier remarks, we’re fans, too. It’s hard to keep up with all the moving parts and different things that are going on. So we want to just focus on — it’s one of the reasons we sped up rolling out the Car of Tomorrow, Car of Today, the car, for now, for every event, so we didn’t have more gradual this, that, and the other things to keep up with. It’s one car, it’s the car.
I think you’re just going to hear us when there are initiatives. I think the 50th anniversary of Daytona, the 500, all those champions are going to be back at the Speedway, so we’re going to be able to go back and recognize our history a little bit. That’s important to our core fan. They like to reminisce and hear about that. We’ll get an opportunity to do that. And we’re going to minimize change and we’re going to zero in on the best racing in the world. That’s what we’re going to do.
That's right core fans, the COT or the "car" as Brian so eloquently put it, was rushed into production and use because you wanted it for the better racing it creates. But wait! There's more! At this year’s Daytona 500, there will be 24 past winners attending! Oh, thank you, M'Lord! Oh, how we have longed for these days of yore. We return our allegiance to thee and shall follow you blindly for evermore!
OK, I admit, I might be getting a bit carried away here; but why does Brian think the way he does? Why? Does he actually believe this stuff?
Q. Brian, talking about the change, you’re not going to add change now, race fans spend a lot of time debating you. Do you think the race fans don’t know you? Do you ever listen and think, They don’t know who I really am? Talk about why you made all the changes. There’s a lot of talk about why you’re not changing now.
Brian France : I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, you know, what everybody understands. I certainly want them to know where we’re coming from. That’s the most important thing. Where we’re coming from is to try to keep delivering the best form of auto racing in the country. I have made changes. Mike has made changes. We all have made changes. You have to make changes.
What we’re saying is that our thinking is, because we’re race fans and sports fans as well, and if you change all kinds of different things in any particular sport, there comes a point when you need to slow that down. It needs to be very compelling if you have to make additional changes. That’s where we are. Once again, there were a lot of things that we did that were out of our control from a timing standpoint. Anheuser-Busch decided it was the end of a 26- or 27-year run, that was a decision that was made. When Sprint buys NEXTEL, rebrands the series, that’s a change, a big change, but those are the kind of things that were out of our control that will ultimately benefit the sport.
We want the discussions that happen on talk radio, in publications, any form of media, to be on not trying to keep up with this change and another, but on the drivers, on what’s going on, who’s winning what, who’s doing what, who’s performing well. That’s what my hope is for 2008.
When I say “get back to the basics,” that’s what I mean, that the story lines on Monday aren’t television ratings, this sponsor, that sponsor, it’s what happened on the track. That’s the most important thing. We’re going to get back to that.
"I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, you know, what everybody understands." Oh, my! That is classic. All I will say is that it really must be lonely to be that much more intelligent than you and I.
Here’s what I think he’s trying to say: all these changes, do not focus on those. Do not try to understand what they do… just look at the pretty cars on the track. Watch them go â€˜round and â€˜round. Besides, us fans are too stupid to care or understand what it takes to run this business. How do I know? Well, Brian said so, of course!
Q. Brian, you just touched on, you said the sport has had as much change as it can stand. At the same time, we all know you’re not sitting back doing nothing. Long-term, five years down the road, what is your vision for where this series is?
Brian France : Listen, those kind of things are necessary to run the business side of the sport. What we want to focus on, what we want to talk about, most of our race fans, most of them could care less about any of the management moves or moves that we made. They may care in the end when we manage things correctly.
The fans care less about management, eh? Oh fans! What have ye to say?
_To fix NA$CAR : “Can” Brian France.
â€¦to me, the over-arching problem is the unbridled contempt that the France family has shown to the people who made them extremely wealthy. Big Bill and Bill Junior kept the rough edge from showing. (But) Brian just can't contain himself. Want to bring NA$CAR back? There needs to be one more change: a big "under new management" banner down in Daytona Beach.
Bottom line is, NASCAR's Bosses are greedyâ€¦
Currently, NA$CAR is a very sick organization. And for the record, this will be the first 500 I will either not attend in person, or watch on TV!
Well, from that small sampling, it would sure seem to me that the fans care about management issues; but hey, I could be wrong.
And what about the NASCAR rule book? Let’s discuss…
Q. Brian, certainly the last year or so in other sports, officials have been questioned. There’s certainly been some officiating issues. You mentioned the impact a special Dale Earnhardt, Jr. season could have. Some people could interpret that has helping him out in a way. What kind of assurances can you give the fans that some of these officiating issues you’ve see in some other sports won’t creep over here with all the advertising?
Brian France : _I’m not going to comment on other sports’ challenges that they’ve had. That wouldn’t be appropriate.
One of the things you get over 60 years, you hope you get, by doing the right thing all the time, not that we’re perfect, we’re not, but doing the right thing with the highest level of integrity over six decades, people will either believe that it’s done properly, and it is. I think by and large there’s a high degree of confidence that we’re going to continue to be able to execute that. And obviously, we always say of course it would help us if Dale Jr. wins. I also remind you and remind everybody else, he’s got to earn that. This is a performance business. He either will or he won’t.
Again, this is one where I'll let you, the fans, do the talking for me.
I would suggest that NASCAR should put their rulebook on the web so we can all see it. I think it would do a lot to change the perception that NASCAR has an ever-changing rulebook that changes to benefit certain parties with the most money and/or influence. Having some integrity and eliminating the conspiracy theories is key to gaining respect and maintaining a healthy series.
No victory for illegal cars. It sucks to see a car not pass post-race inspection keep the win.
(NASCAR’s) "Rules Controlled SHOWS" lack any credibility. Real FANS do not trust NASCAR and it's Rules Controlled SHOWS because it bears little resemblance to the real racing from about 1969 back.
Folks, I realize that this has been a longer than usual column, but it is one that has practically written itself. Brian France spoke. The fans spoke. I just copied and pasted a lot, and threw in some sarcasm for good measure. I just feel it is my obligation to let you know exactly how Brian sees you and, hopefully, give you a better understanding of just exactly who is piloting this ship. Before I conclude, I want to throw out one more part of a quote that Brian said.
Brian France : For all the things that are quoted, I think most — I know about every auto racing series or league would like to have NASCAR’s problems, I can tell you that. I can tell you that we’re very pleased with where the sport is on balance.
You know, NASCAR fans are a generous type — and they know what they want! So, all you other racing series that want our problemsâ€¦ TAKE BRIAN!!!! Then you, too, will have our problems.
Give me a politician any day!
Stay off the wall,
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Have you done anything but whine and gripe for the past year? Your articles, which used to be “must read” are turning into “must ignore” because all the complaining has gotten tremendously tedious.
If you really hate Nascar so much there are other sports you could be writing about.
Good column Jeff. Are you sure Bryan France isn’t a politician? His answers were typical political double talk. As for M.B., one of these days, soon, when you are the only fan in the stands, you will understand what we are all talking about. In the meantime, just keep your head buried in the sand.
BRIAN has turned nascar into WWF on wheels the drivers and team are the some of the best in the world cut out the b.s from the office AND LET THEM GO RACING THEY KNOW HOW..
Mr. Voelker, I assume that you think no one should find fault in the way our sport, which I have been involved in for 50 years, is being ruined, in my opinion, and apparently Mr Meyer’s also, by Brian and co. Oh Never Mind….nothing any of us would say will change your opinion, so why waste the time. Great Insight Jeff!!!
I have a question. When are they going to separate Busch and Cup racers. I mean the drivers that run in the Cup series DO NOT belong in the the Busch series. That is like having A-Rod play in the minor league just for fun. The rule should be all drivers must run 1 full year in the Busch series before being allowed in the Cup series and once in the Cup series you have to stay there. No going back in forth. I watch the Busch series to see the up and coming not the top drivers of the Cup series. Thanks for listening.
I’m seriously considering trying to find some Roller Derby to watch. It’s just as believable as Brian France.
Gee does Brian know what is really in Brian’s head. I would guess empty space but hey not being worth a million bucks makes me dumb, right Brian. I race and I watch racing and you can bet when it comes to rules money is king and if you are the dude on top they (NASCAR) will keep you there. The biggest mistake he will make and that his father made was in not listening to the fans! They never get it! I’ll watch it on TV at least Brain will not get my money.
here’s my comment: Brian France is a butthead. All he is is big business and nascar has gone to the dogs. Nothing is going to bring it back. When Texas opened up mi bought 4 seats, wgat they called personal seats. The cost $2800.00. Oh yes, in order to keep the seat you had to be a season ticket holder. the at that time $1100.00. the next year it was 1300.00 and the $1600.00. Today I don’t have any idea what they cost. I don’t go to races any more. Can’t afford too. And there will be others who won’t beable to afford to either with the way the economy is going. Face Mr. France and use that term loosely, you’re going to go out of business. Everham Racing’s gone, Bill Elliott’s gone, Jr. Johnson gone. How many more teams are you going to lose before you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Your dad built a great sport and you are tearing it down.
The whole scene has quickly become just pure BS. IT is another example of the kids inherit a business, then put it into BANKRUPTCY, trying to IMPROVE on what made it successful. I am done with NASCAR, except reading your very perceptive columns. Stay focused on Brian. It beats a “B” movie!!!!!
Good column Jeff.
The ultimate insult is Brian France talking to â€œusâ€ out of his rear where he feels he can just say anything like we are idiots, and expect us to believe it. People arenâ€™t stoopid(purposely misspelled) Brian. When you think so little of your â€œfan baseâ€ as to just feed us lines of crap, then you have lost all trust and respect back at you.
People are fans because they like â€œracingâ€. And tradition. Bring back the â€œSouthern 500â€. On Labor Day.
We are fans because we can identify with most of the sponsors. Open wheel has died because they failed to see this. Nobody can identify with drivers that they donâ€™t know, who are there for one to two years then gone. And for crying out loud, who can root for any sponsor that isnâ€™t a â€œtangibleâ€ product? Yeah go CRW, go Delphi. NASCAR, for the most part, has tangible sponsors that the fans can purchase, use, patronize, etc. (DuPont being the exception(no knock on Jeff, he has done well)). We can buy Tide, Bud, Best Buy, go to Loweâ€™s, etc.
Add me to a growing number of long time fans (25 years) who will not watch NASCAR at all this year..I only watched the super track races last year but with the advent of the COT this year must say sayanora..Congratulations to Tony George France..
I didn’t realize that George Bush had another brother. And Jeff, the only thing I disagree with, is sending Brian to another series. The scariest thought was when it was rumored he was going to Grand AM. I am another longtime NASCAR fan/participant that is fed up and have no intention of buying in any longer. I’ll bet the 24hrs of Daytona had fewer advertisements and far more compelling racing on Speed in 17 hrs of coverage than 3 hrs of Daytona. It’s another series that starts it’s season with Daytona, but unlike NA$CAR, the rest of the season is filled with excitement and PROMISE. Can NA$CAR deliver that? Not with the “CRAP OF TODAY”.
Hey, if Brian France wants to improve NASCAR, how about getting someone reasonable in charge of competition and replacing bully/thug Mike Helton!
The Sprint Cup, (this years name..who knows next year) has essentially become a spec series like SCCA’s spec Miata, just with way more expensive iron. Spec Miata however is a participant driven series, unlike the Cup. The fact that the cars are essentially identical now, as was so nicely noted in the blurb about Robby Gordon turning his “Ford” into a “Dodge” by swapping noses will eventually, in my opinion, drastically diminish any brand loyalty. Let me know when you find a Camry V8, my mom needs a new car.
Nascar has miriad of problems and for some reason Brian France is not hearing what the fans are saying. There lies the biggest problem. For one thing the majority of the fan base does like the top 35 rule. I for one feel it does not matter what a team did last year. This is a new season and every team should have the oppurtunity to start off on an even playing field. The top 35 rule fails miserably in that aspect.
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