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.
Jeff Meyer · Wednesday March 12, 2008
Recently, a colleague who is relatively new to the NASCAR media frenzy, not to mention a foreigner (but we don't hold that against him!), posed a very interesting question in our Frontstretch Forum that really made me think.
That question was essentially; “What made NASCAR so great â€˜back in the day'? What did I miss?”
At first, I thought, that's easy! But the more I thought about it, I really had to sit down and actually think! What HAS NASCAR meant or been to me these last 30 years? I say 30 years because, while like any other kid growing up in the early to mid 70s, I knew who Richard Petty was, but never really took notice until another icon was bursting upon the scene.
Of course, there are many out there that have been following NASCAR a lot longer than I, and naturally, will have a vastly different answer than mine. That in itself is one of the things that make this sport great – the vast age difference of the fan base and the many stories that those that are older have to tell.
At any rate, when the question was posted, I expected a long and drawn out thread would ensue. I was greatly surprised however that there were as few responses as there were. After all, we are all fast on the draw to complain about the â€˜sorry state the sport is in today' and â€˜how much better it was back in the day'.
After much thought, I started typing. As I typed, more and more came to my mind and started to spill out, perhaps resembling a ramble. What follows is my actual answer, as I posted it. I realize that it may not be as polished as a normal article, or may not be what you would expect from a member of the media but it is from the heart. After all, it was many of the things that I mention that led to me writing for Frontstretch.com in the first place.
What made NASCAR so great back in the day?
One of the biggest things that made NASCAR better “back in the day”, say, over the last 30 yrs, is ONE MAN.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Sr. became, through his marketing savvy and with his notorious driving style, bigger than NASCAR itself, DURING THAT TIME.
NASCAR, while it is the marketing juggernaut as we know it now, had to play catch up with Dale, Sr. NASCAR has always said that ‘no one driver is bigger than the whole’. I don’t believe that was true during Dale’s reign. Richard Petty, started it, Dale, Sr. perfected it.
NASCAR played catch up to Dale, Sr. They had too. In the golden age of marketing (aka the fleecing of the stupid people), Dale was first. NASCAR rode on his coattails to where they are now. Oh, make no mistake about, NASCAR was a quick learner and, as you see now, has perfected the game.
The biggest things that happened to NASCAR in the last 30 yrs are this (and in chronological order):
1979; the Yarborough/Allison fight at the end of the first wire to wire broadcast of the Daytona 500
On that fateful day (and in the immediate future following) in 01, NASCAR rose to the highest pinnacle it will ever reach. His death already captured the “casual fan”. Brian France did nothing.
A “casual fan” (CF) by definition, is one that ‘knew’ of NASCAR, but never followed it. The CF reacted to the death of Dale, Sr. Plain and simple.
It is the same as if Tiger Woods were to suddenly die. People would follow golf for awhile because it is the popular thing to do and Woods was such an icon. Or Michael Jordon with basketball, same thing. Brett Favre, NFL, take your pick.
Dale, Sr. was the ONE man whom NASCAR had little to no control over. He had become bigger than life itself, even if he had not intended it to be that way, or should I say, to that level. Given his stature, and the fact that he was respected by the “old, old guard”, aka Richard Petty et al, combined, when push came to shove, NASCAR in its “marketing growing pains”. They dared not cross him too much. Like it or not, if Dale, Sr. at some point had said, “Guys, let’s not race until NASCAR does this (or that)”, I believe 9 out of 10 drivers wouldn’t have raced on any given Sunday.
Granted, his powers were waning as the 90s drew to a close, but only because NASCAR was catching up to his level of marketing. His death put NASCAR over the top, during which it enjoyed about 3 yrs of exponential popularity.
Dale’s demise is old news now. We (as fans and the general populace) have grown used to it. Just like we’ve grown used to 9/11 and there is not the total outrage that there was on that day or immediately following. And that brings me to another belief that I have held for along time, and one which happens to be shared by Bill Elliott (even though I said it before his book came out!). And that is this: It could have any 5 other drivers that died on that February day and we would just now be getting SAFER walls at all the tracks—THE ONLY REASON IT WAS MANDATED AS FAST AS IT WAS IS BECAUSE DALE EARNHARDT DIED!!!!!! Anyone else and we still might have some ISC tracks without them.
My wife often said that I was the most callous or hard hearted person she ever met, and that is true to a certain degree. Simply put, you cannot go getting all torn up over ever little evil thing that happens in this world or you will drive yourself insane. It’s not that I don’t care, or am trying to be negative, but the reality of life is, unless the evil touches your own life in some immediate way, it DOES NOT DIRECTLY AFFECT YOU OR ALTER YOUR DAILY LIFE! There are 4 things that I can remember seeing on the TV in my life that brought (and still does) me to tears, and one of them is fictional!
The episode of MASH where they kill off Henry Blake
Dale, Sr., whether you liked him or not, was that BIG!!!!
As I said earlier, those thoughts may not be the usual style or humor that many are accustomed to reading in this column, but it really does reflect the way that I have perceived NASCAR for all these years. It doesn't make me right, and it doesn't make me wrong. It makes meâ€¦well, ME!
We all have different perceptions. What is yours? Whatever it is, I ask that you please share it with us. Who knows, maybe it will make my colleague a better writer! (Not that he's bad now! I'm just trying to help a brother out!)
Stay off the wall, (but get on your soapbox!)
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Back In the Day means when drivers were men who acted like men! They took care of their own on-track problems after the races. The way it should be done!
I Think that Janet Holland said it well. Now days the cookie cutter drivers are all pansies catering to the corporate bunch. In the old days the drivers had “disagreements” with other drivers, crew,and writers. Those days are gone forever.
I really don’t think Sr. epitomizes what “back-in-the-days” really means. I think that the Sr. thing is more present time than the past!
Back-in-the-days to me means the shirt sleeve drivers, the true “stock” cars, the less sophisticated drivers, the settle it on the track attitude, the ability to manhandle a car around the track, the short tracks, the dirt tracks, the emotions showed by the drivers (yes folks, the drivers used to be able to show emotions at the track, how about that?).
Today, and all things change and must change, is the sport is now to “corporate”, from money hungry NA$CAR on down! Heck, new drivers take screen tests now because their biggest goal is to be able to make commercials! It is now a sport of popularity, not of driving skills!
Hey, Sr. was good, and good for the sport, but the Petty’s, the Junior Johnson’s, The Allison’s, the Waltrip’s, as in Darrell (yes, he was good and was good for the sport) make no mistake about that one, the Yarbrough’s, man the great list goes on! So lets not overate Sr. when we talk about the good old days!
Sr. took advantage of what was established already! Give him credit for that, but he did not make the sport! It was alive and well before he arrived on the scene!
I pretty much have to agree with what Douglas said, but want to add that “Back in the Day” the race cars looked like what you bought at your neighborhood showroom. Each brand had it’s own look. You didn’t have to look for a decal to tell what it was suppose to be. I’m not just talking about the COT. It was getting harder to tell the different brands apart in the later years of the “old” car, especially if you couldn’t see the grill.
“Back in the Day” to me means iron men driving iron cars and they had testicals of steel. They said what was on their minds, they didn’t coddle to sponsors or the Frances, and if they thought something was wrong, they reacted whether it was verbally by calling another driver a dirty S.O.B. or going out behind the garage and have a bare knuckle brawl. They drove cars that were purchased off the showroom floor and fixed up to go racing. They drove on dirt and asphalt, sometimes in the same car and during the same week. They had no power steering, they had no fireproof suits, they had no coolers to keep them cool and yet they went out week after week risking life and limb for a pittance.
Nowadays, it’s pretty boys who all look, sound, and drive alike for the most part on tracks, with a couple of exceptions, that all look the same in cars that all look the same. The days of the driver who called a spade a spade are pretty much over with. You have the few exceptions like Stewart, Robby Gordon, and to a lesser degree Kyle Busch. It’s gotten to be like the old paper strip across the toilet seat in a hotel that says “Sanitized for your protection”.
I think Mike summed it up well. It was cars which looked like the cars we drove. It was drivers, who knew what a piston was,actually turned wrenches and got their hands dirty. It was cars that didn’t need constant tweeking and could race side by side for lap after lap. There was no “aero push” and drivers could pass with power, not by “taking the air off.” The drivers were not wet behind the ears teenagers, but men who were allowed to race competitively past age 30. They had to work their way into the sport, not be taken in and paid exobitant amounts at age 20. The sponsors didn’t choose the driver, and it didn’t matter if his English wasn’t perfect or if he spoke with a southern accent or any other accent. It was country music on Labor Day at Darlington, not rock, and some Hollywood actor didn’t wave the green flag. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Douglas…I agree whole heartedly….the NOT…(nascar of today) sorry, couldn’t help it. is boring no need to watch the show except for the last ten laps …cause thats when they race!!! rest of the time they stay in single file afaid to pass cause they might bend a fender OR EVEN WORSE OFFEND ANOTHER DRIVER!!!!!!
Actually “back-in-the-days” they did not bother to even go behind the garages, they just jumped out of their cars and started flailing away!
It is so important to the image of the “sport”, they still show the tapes of these to get people excited about racing! Racing as it used to be anyway! Real drivers, real emotions!
Bad thing is, they don’t have any “recent” footage, well not much anyway! Everything is “sanitized” these days as you say!
Wasn’t the Harvick/Montoya bout great?
And picking up on your “sanitized” comment and reference, maybe when the cars all line up on the pre-race grid they all have an oversized banner across the hood “This car & driver has been sanitized for your protection”!!
Wouldn’t that be a hoot??
Jeez, another homage to Earnhardt… No one driver in the history of the sport makes or breaks the sport!
What made racing great in the late 80/90s to me was the great side by side battles we had at most of the tracks. Not every race was a classic, but more were competitive every lap than these days.
Your right Dale did not make or break the sport, But he made a HUGE impact in it.
Many people forget he was also the voice of the drivers. He would go to Nascar with driver concerns and issues that needed work. After his death the drivers lost their voice. Jeff Gordon had said he didn’t want to step up and be that person. Jeff Burton started to. To my knowledge the drivers still do not have that one person that goes to bat for the drivers. Dale was respected by Nascar enough they would listen to the drivers concerns. That is gone. Maybe the CoT would produce better racing if there was more constructive drivers opinions heard.
Because of his death the drivers are safer then the ever were.
Many fans were lost when he died. The older drivers are retiring or switching car makes so drivers people have followed for years either died, retired, or switch car makes.
Many good things about racing died with him. I was not his fan, but I sure can tell how much Nascar has gone downhill since he died and wonder how much better racing would be if he was here.
Nascar is trying to reach young fans but they to get turned off by all the BS.
It’s funny to me how “old school” NASCAR love how ruff and confrontational the drivers were yet the poster-boy for redkkknecks ‘ deemed the “intimidator” never kicked any a$$ and couldn’t even intimidate someone as non imposing as Jeff Gordon the so called sissy of NASCAR. This community SUCKS!
I like your idea of the “sanitized” banner on each car Douglas.
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