Changes Expected for NASCAR's Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, NASCAR 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.
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 changes are expected to take place beginning 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 October 8, 2009
We all know that NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) are basically one and the same. They are run by siblings Brian France and Lesa France Kennedy. One sanctions the races, while the other owns the lion’s share of the race tracks upon which the races are run. They are tighter than a “newbie” released into general population on a prison cell block.
Over the years, these two corporations have amassed billions of dollars for the France family, and have taken stock car racing to popularity heights that were once thought unattainable. But that was “back in the day!”
In the last six years, this “Titanic” corporate entanglement seems to have hit an iceberg or two along its journey. For ISC, one of the ‘bergs was the complete and utter rebuff of fans from city dwellers in New York (a much coveted jewel to add to the sibling’s crowns) and the Pacific Northwest. For NASCAR, the biggest iceberg that it encountered, at full ramming speed I might add, was Brian France himself.
After receiving the reins to the company from his late father, Bill France, Jr., Brian was like an eight-year-old boy on Christmas morning. In came the Chase, in came multi-billion dollar deals with Nextel and the television networks, in came the CoT, in came the blatant desire to be bigger than the NFL, in came the aggressive schedule changes in pursuit of nothing more than “the casual fan” and the biggest “markets.” Among other things, out to the trash heap went Winston, the traditional points system, and — probably most important — long-held traditions of the sport.
As with any impact on the scale of a large ship hitting an iceberg, vibrations and shudders were soon felt. Television ratings began dropping. Attendance figures began going down. Fans screamed at the tops of their lungs to no avail about moving the Labor Day race to the “second-largest market.” Fans ranted about rising ticket prices and tracks (mostly ISC tracks) only selling tickets in “packages.” Fans (and drivers) said the new car sucked and made for boring races. Sponsors are fleeing the sport like lemmings over a cliff. Yet all of these warning signs went unheeded by co-captains France and Kennedy. Why, Brian himself would annually get up in front of a large group every year and tell us that “everything is just fine!” “The sport is as healthy as it’s ever been.” “This sport is unsinkable!”
But is it really, or are the “captains” finally feeling their feet getting wet? Consider the following;
In the first half of this year, ISC recorded a net LOSS of 6.5 million dollars compared to a net PROFIT of 62.25 million over the same period of 2008. ISC of course, writes most of that off on the fact that their merchandising arm, Motorsports Authentics (MA), has been struggling greatly to the tune of a 55.6 million dollar write-off.
MA, as you might be aware, is partnership between ISC and SMI that formed to buy out the successful Action Performance brand that was wildly successful, but of which ISC was getting none of the profit. At its peak in 2002 as Action Performance, AP had 400 million in revenue and over 500 employees before the buyout. In 2008, Motorsports Authentics had 200 million in revenue, and analysts predict that in 2009 those numbers could drop to 125 million and fewer than 200 employees. Reports in the last few days indicate the MA may soon file bankruptcy altogether.
On the more publicized NASCAR side of things, as mentioned before, ratings and attendance are at all-time lows since the first major TV contract was signed in 2001. A prime example of that is the fact that this year’s August night race at Bristol (an SMI track) sold out only DAYS before the event. What was once one of the hardest of tickets in all SPORTS to obtain, can now be easily had at modest prices.
These are but a few of the problems that has begat the ISC/NASCAR ship. But what is being done about it?
For NASCAR, even while he just recently said that lower ratings did not concern him, Brian France (or someone with a brain anyway) seems to suddenly be listening to the few “traditional,” hard core fans that haven’t already jumped overboard. The implementation of “double-file restarts, shootout style” was a step in the right direction, as was the mostly symbolic schedule change of moving the Labor Day race back to the South, even if it was to Atlanta. Another sudden change that took place only yesterday was the out of the blue announcement that unified start times for races will be implemented for the 2010 season, addressing another longtime beef of the fans.
Why the sudden changes of heart by Brian France? Why is France only now “listening to the fans?” Because he is scared, that’s why!
But what about ISC? What are they doing to stop the water from coming in?
Well, they have started to offer “single event” tickets at selected tracks. Let’s see, what else is there…oh yeah! ISC recently announced they are changing their corporate logo! Gone is the old logo, and in comes a new, sportier one, which still maintains the rich history of the old!
Well, ain’t that grand! Here ya got a company that has tracks barely eight years old (Kansas) that need repaving or fixing, one in Fontana which needs a whole new reconfiguration, and a whole lot of other infrastructure problems at other tracks that need attending…but wait, we can’t afford to do that now! No, ISC needs to join a venture to build a casino at Kansas, and since they are moving into brand new headquarters in Daytona, they might as well have a new logo! How much is it to change a logo for a large corporation such as ISC, and how long would it take? I wondered that, too, so I asked ISC’s Director of Marketing Communications, Lenny Santiago.
“We have not disclosed the costs related to the new logo development and rollout. Given the timing of our move into the new International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach, and upcoming launch of a new corporate website, it made sense to revisit our logo and update it at this time,” Santiago said. “To answer your second question, we continue to be cost-conscious so there will be a period of time over the next several months before it becomes universally adopted… but the logo itself is final. It’s just not financially prudent for us to immediately scrap perfectly usable business collateral.”
Another ISC change (although unneeded in my opinion) is the raising of the catchfences at Talladega and Daytona as a response to Carl Edwards crash earlier this year in ‘Dega. I say unneeded because hey, the fence DID it job as designed; it put the car back on the track with only minimal shrapnel damage to a few fans. Apparently, that is not enough for ISC, as they have installed a bigger and better fence on that will presumably fling a car even further back into the track. As with the logo, the cost of this is not being revealed either but whatever it is, ISC has said when it comes to safety, the cost is never too great. It’s just a shame they didn’t think that way prior to February 2001.
Are all these sudden changes enough to save the floundering ISC/NASCAR ship? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: with new logos, new buildings, new fences… she’ll sure look good if she does go down! One thing, though, that has to amuse the longtime fan is the sudden backpedaling of Brian France! Who wants me back now, eh!?
Stay off the wall (you might scuff the new logo!),
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I get a mental picture of Brain France outside the bedroom windows of the “core” fans holding a large boombox over his head pumping out Lynard Skynard, waving the Stars and Bars and crying for them to come back.
Brain pooped where he eats, and now he’s paying the price. It’s too bad that Nascar has been destroyed by his ineptness, but it’s gonna take a lot more than consistant start times to get me back. Get to the point of actual stock based cars, no chase and get back to the basics of television coverage and I may come back, but it has to be proven by actions first.
As a former fan of 45+years until Brian screwed up what WAS the best racing in the world, NA$CAR & Brian France can fold up and rot in hell. I couldn’t care less about it and it appears that no one else does, either. Sh*tcan the stupid and insulting chase, put Rockingham & THE Southern 500 back where they belong, get rid of toyota (they make a fine car but have NO PLACE in nascar) and hang Brian France from a very tall tree and I might… MIGHT start watching again… but I doubt it.
Really!!!? ISC has a new logo? Well, that changes everything. Problems solved.
I’ve spent more time reading this article than watching a race this month! But the logo is nice! Im sure that will bring me and ten million fans back. Way to go Brain!
You guys are killing me this morning!
I will say, the consistent start times are a step in the right direction. I was really sick of the indigestion from eating dinner at 8:00 when the race was finally over.
NASCAR could go a long way with me by losing the Chase. Just about everything else I could live with, albeit while grinding my teeth, including the car which I believe will get better. But the Chase really killed it for me.
Great article Jeff. I’m afraid these changes are too little too late. At the current rate I$C and its’ conjoined, incestuous twin are losing money, they’ll be bankrupt in less than 18 months.
Instead of spending $17 million to build the amusement park in the Daytona infield, they should’ve used it to reconfigure Fontana or repave some of the other tracks which are in dire need of it for safety reasons.
When the T-bird was retired, the last of the stock looking cars was gone. Since then, we’ve had the used bar of soap looking things and now the COT which resembles nothing. Had they put stock sheet metal on the COT, it might have been more accepted but that would make sense and we can’t have that in NA$CAR.
The ticket prices got jacked up sky high and drove fans away because they couldn’t afford them. In an effort to close the barn door after the horse is gone, they’ve lowered some of the ticket prices in an attempt to get fans back. Too late I’m afraid.
Even the uniform start times aren’t that uniform. By 3 pm Eastern on Sunday, race fans who also enjoy football will be locked into whatever football games are on. Had all the daytime races been started at 1 pm Eastern instead, they might have had a better shot at getting more folks to watch. Of course, with the way 2 of the 3 networks broadcast the races, nobody wants to watch them anyways because they don’t bother listening to what the fans want. They do what the leadership in Daytona tells them to do in between drinking “sodas” and running into palm trees. It would require some major changes from 2 of the networks to get some of the fans back. But with David Hills attitude about not listening to the fans and ESPN’s boring coverage, I’m afraid the ratings will continue to decline.
Folks complained before that some seasons were a total blow out under the old points system. So we got the current play-off system, which was cherry picked from the Hooters Pro-Cup Series in an effort to compete with the NFL. Now folks complain about the regular season leader getting screwed out of a championship and drivers not making the play-offs. Maybe if NA$CAR had adopted the full play-off system used by the Hooters Pro-Cup Series, it might have made for a more exciting season finale and a better process of a champion winning for the year.
I could go on with the mistakes that have been made by the leadership in Daytona. Long story short, the leadership has screwed the pooch and is scrambling to try to save their butts. Too little too late I’m afraid.
You make a lot of good points in your article…but I think it also should be noted that one of the biggest problems is NASCAR competing with teams for sponsorship dollars. I am a marketing director for a small automotive services company and we tried to enter the sport as a sponsor a few years ago. We found a team and wrote a big check… but that wasn’t enough because they will make sure your sponsorship gets no attention unless you pay the sanctioning body, the track and the media. Don’t forget your sports marketing company. You cant even get a picture of your car at the track without paying NASCAR images. I understand why they do all of this…but it discourages small businesses from joining. The most loyal fans are usually employees at sponsor companies. How many fans do you think they lose when a company walks away?
btw, they destroyed bristol by over-engineering the track. I used to go to every race if I found tickets…but now the bump and run is a thing of the past and they just ride around in a circle with very little excitement. Thanks for that extra groove :(
And as regards “The chase”, so, after 26 races they “adjust” the points, presumably to make the race for the chumpionship “tighter”, but after just three (3) races of the ten (10), ONLY three (3) drivers now have a chance!
Next idea please King Brain?
Waited for this article for a good while. My sig sez it best.
+1. I barely keep track of where they are racing any more. I plain forgot that they were racing, at where? the last two weeks.
and I used to have season tickets to TMS.
Now of course EESPN and the economy could not have anything to do with declining ratings and attendance, could they? Of course it is not allowed to criticize the World Wide Leper in Sports for its mediocre job in handling NASCAR races – including having the guys in the booth, with over 75 years of NASCAR experience, call what the tech’s in the truck think is important instead of looking out the window.
The real story of the quarterly earnings report was the demise of Motorsports Authentics. It makes null and void all the contracts with 50+ drivers. Bet that supplied a significant amount of income to Dale Jr, Gordon, et al. Now they get a haircut on their earnings.
Jeff said: “one in Fontana which needs a whole new reconfiguration”
As a new fan from Southern California (since 2003), I still have yet to understand why Fontana gets constantly dumped on, yet Michigan never gets mentioned. They’re almost entirely the same track! My guess is its a combination of East-coast bias, and Michigan being around a lot longer on the schedule.
Kevin….well there’s you problem right thar! You nailed it…“They’re almost entirely the same track!…and Michigan being around a lot longer on the schedule.”
Exactly! If we already had ONE, why in the world would you need TWO?
For the same reason that there is Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, Chicago and Las Vegas when we already have Charlotte and Atlanta.
As I recall, the media could not say enough good about Fontana when Roger Penske built the track – but the media view turned negative after it was acquired by ISC, which must just be a coincidence.
It also never ceases to amaze me that it seems almost all the tracks built in the last 10 or 15 years have had to have major renovations not too long after being built to make them really race-worthy – like Texas. Whether it is an ISC or SMI track I would think they could be designed right when built.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
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