Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday October 7, 2010
Last week in this very space, BSNews reported that Brian France had been given the Stupidest Man Actually Living and Loose (SMALL) award. Now, as you may have figured out by now, (and if you haven’t, you may give France a run for his money during next year’s awards) BSNews is just that… BS!
However, during that report, I made up some quotes attributed to Brian. I do my best to try and write like he talks whenever I do that, but quite frankly, it gives me a headache thinking down to that level. The following is a prime example… and I assure you it is not BS! It’s on the subject of upcoming changes that NASCAR is planning for the Chase…
“We’re going to make changes in the Chase that we think would serve us well for many, many years,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier this year. “If that means it’s not something we’re reacting to, whether it’s lower ratings than we want… we look at these things annually. We looked at it very hard last year…but we didn’t think the timing was right. But whatever we do, it will be with the industry having lots of chances to weigh in, and us in the end thinking this is something that we can build around that enhances winning, enhances the championship, gives us more of a playoff field than we currently have now, if that’s where we end up.”
Go ahead, take your time and re-read it as many times as you need. Everyone else does, including myself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how many times you read it, you still will not have a clue as to what was actually said after the first sentence, so I will begin there.
First of all, we started this Chase nonsense in 2004. Since then, it has been modified from 10 drivers to 12. There have been 6 “Chase Cups” handed out among 3 drivers: Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and of course, the last four to Jimmie Johnson. This year will mark our seventh Chase Cup champion. Those are facts. But wait, let’s back up the train a bit here!
Wasn’t the whole idea of the “Chase” back in ‘03 supposed to be the biggest and best thing to last us for “many, many years?” Oh, that’s right… Junior was having trouble making it in…better expand it to 12…oh, and let’s give the drivers ten extra points for a win ‘cause that’s what the fans want! NOW it is good for many, many years!
But wait once again! In the only seven (obviously “many, many” in Brian years) years the Chase has been in existence, it has been “tweaked” twice, but that wasn’t good enough. Now all of a sudden Brian France and NASCAR think they have FINALLY come up with the changes that WILL serve us well for many, many MORE years? Give me a freakin’ break!!!
The reality is, they don’t have a clue as to what to do and are just too damn stupid and stubborn to admit it. Instead, they are grasping for straws and excuses.
When France says “whatever we do, it will be with the industry having lots of chances to weigh in,” what he means is “the networks who paid me billions of dollars might know what to do,” so let’s look at one of those network’s ideas, namely ESPN.
That network, mind you, is almost as stupid as France, and I offer the following as proof:
“It’s concerning to us. We’re looking at every single factor that we can possibly look at,” said ESPN Vice President of Programming & Acquisitions Julie Sobieski. “There’s so many things that are potentially at play. The rating declines that we’ve seen are not from broadcast-only homes. We know it’s not from the drop of broadcast to cable. Last year, ESPN outdelivered ABC. We don’t think it’s attributed to that.”
And just what does ESPN think the problem is? Well, the start times are too early! Can you believe that? It’s true.
“While during the rest of the year that may not be a factor, it is something we are paying attention to in conjunction with the start of the NFL season,” Sobieski said. “Whereas when it was at 2 o’clock, we were ending that race at the beginning of the 4 o’clock [NFL game] window. We’re now concluding those races right up against the 1 o’clock windows. That’s just one factor we’re trying to looking into. We need some more research. The first two weeks isn’t enough to tell us that.”
All that, just after NASCAR got done trumpeting how “they listened to the fans” and gave us earlier, uniform starting times! Guess us fans are stupid after all. I can see it now… one of the changes to the Chase will be… first 26 races will have the same earlier, uniform start times, all Chase races will be started when ESPN sees fit. Since when does ESPN know a damn thing about what NASCAR fans want? In the end, ESPN wants to sell an “elimination style” playoff system to us fans and NASCAR. What they fail to realize is that we ALREADY have that…its called sucking in the last ten races!!! Duh! Any Chaser who doesn’t do well the first few races is pretty well out of it anyway! What a bunch of morons. ESPN does stand for Entertainment & Sports Programming Network… maybe this whole Chase thing is just not good “entertainment” (it sure ain’t sports!) Perhaps that is why ratings are down. But what do I know?
While NASCAR’s best idea is to once again increase the number of spots in the Chase from 12 to 15, stars of our sport, past and present, have their own ideas on how to change the Chase…
Kurt Busch suggests the Chasers have their own points system.
“The first Chase guy would get 12 points no matter where he finishes, and the last Chase guy would get 1, that could be a scenario,” said Busch.
Man, you can almost feel Kurt’s brain hurting after thinking that hard! Way to go, Kurt! I think Jeff Burton feels the same about Kurt’s idea as I do…
“Our series is built on racing the entire field,” Burton said. “If you finish 35th, you should get 35th points, not 12th-place points. You should get the points you earn that day based on the entire field. If you win the race and you are a points guy, let’s say three people finish second, third and fourth that aren’t in the Chase … well the next guy that’s in the Chase, he didn’t finish second, he finished fifth. He wasn’t second best, he was fifth and should be awarded fifth-place points.”
While Burton did agree that a separate system might appear to be more exciting, “…it is not the most fair way to crown a champion.” Score one for common sense!
This next one is almost unbelievable…
“You have to remember these guys have built this sport over the last 60-plus years because they’re smart and have good people around them who are smart,” Tony Stewart said. “Guys like myself, we don’t worry about it, because there is someone else thinking a lot deeper than we are. It doesn’t matter to us. As long as we know what the format is, then we know what we have to do to win it.”
Tony Stewart said that!??? Tony Stewart, once considered the most outspoken, rebel voice in NASCAR!? Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Tony must have secretly gotten married since he became a team owner? Someone sure has his balls tucked in their purse somewhere! Sounds like they might be found in Mr. France’s purse! “…they’re smart and have good people around them who are smart.” Man, that is RICH!!
Possibly the only one who truly doesn’t care, as Tony said, is Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.
“I don’t care what the points system is, how many drivers, what tracks, I will show up and do everything I can to try and win the championship,” Johnson said. “I could care less. Whatever the scenario is, I’ll race it, and I feel like our team is strong enough to be competitive in any format.”
Yup, been there, seen that! Hopefully not again this year.
There is, however, another voice of reason…someone who sounds like he has been reading this very column for the last 7 years, former Cup Champion and now ESPN employee, Dale Jarrett.
“I hate that scenario, (ESPN’s idea of elimination) even though the company I work for proposed it,” Jarrett said. “Our sport is different because others participate and so many things can happen. It’s not like those two drivers are going head to head. If we’re going to get down to two drivers, they should have their own race.”
This next part is the déjà vu part…getting rid of the Chase altogether…
“People say, the drivers don’t think enough about winning,” continued Jarrett. “I promise you everybody thinks about winning, and I’ve said that forever, and I know that’s the case, but if you want to put an emphasis on winning, make that first spot worth 60 more points. Even if someone jumps out to a 200-point lead, he can lose that lead in three races if a Tony Stewart or Kyle Busch gets on a three-race wining streak. Even if that driver who was leading finishes second, he’s lost 180 of his 200-point lead, and now we have a battle.”
Why should anyone listen to Dale Jarrett? Well, the Bible says in Proverbs, and I am paraphrasing here, gray hair is a sign of a long life, and of the wisdom gained from their experiences throughout their years!
Who wants to bet that Brian France is lining up Just for Men as his next corporate sponsor!
Stay off the wall,
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I heard rumors when Ryan and that other driver (Denny?) were fined that Tony got in trouble. Next thing you know, Tony is on stage with Brain at Texas and hasn’t stepped out of line since so I figured he got the worst punishment of all—yes man to Brain.
It is laughable watching NASCAR consider more tweaks to a playoff system that an overwhelming majority of fans hate. These are millionaires in suits sitting at a meeting who still believe you can polish a turd.
Great article. I couldn’t agree more.
Jeff: You can find Tony’s balls in Rick Hendrick’s purse. You know that if you want to keep your job, you can’t piss off your owner too badly.
Finally, was there REALLY anybody that thought last week’s article was real?
Great article Jeff! I wonder if the brain trust ever reads these columns?
Great article. sort of like Nixon’s comment years ago and I think this is is: I know you think you know what I said, but what you heard is not what I meant.
I simply cannot listen to Brainless. It hurts my head too much and makes no sense.
Great article here. I can see the merits in what Kurt Busch’s points system is proposing, but I also see what Jeff Burton is saying. Nascar is unique, and I think the Chase is the best way possible to have a playoff scenario in which other drivers also race. No one would watch a twelve car race on a 1.5 miler. I just think Nascar needs to stop tweaking the Chase rules and let it play out for a couple of years.
Tom Jensen wrote an article that ran right around the time that Brian France was “tweaking” the chase format the first time. I wish someone would run it again, because it was rather prophetic based on what we’re seeing now. (Not to mention hilariously funny and insightful!)
You’re right on the money and most folks who are NASCAR Racing fans (not PR fans) know you’re right!
Way to go, Jeff. Dale Jarrett for president of NASCAR.
Dale Jarrett STABBED his fans in the gut when he left RYR and went to Yoyota.
Dale Jarrett is too smart to want the job. It’s beyond fixing now.
Why no dump the damn thing option on the vote? I will vote for neither. Stuff to do, peoplke to see, food to eat. Bye!:}
Seems like South Park parodied the wrong stupid people in NASCAR, they’re all in the offices in Daytona Beach. Kudos to DJ, NASCAR and ESPN want the Chase to be like “stick and ball” playoffs. You can never have that in auto racing without creating something so gimicky it belongs at the county fair.
Drop the chase!
Brian France’s Mantra:
If it makes sense don’t do it.
If it makes cents do it quickly.
Michael in SoCal said: No one would watch a twelve car race on a 1.5 miler.
It is getting to the point that no one wants to watch a 43 car race on a 1.5 miler.
Drop the Chase for Chumps. Give the race winner 50 more points and only award points for the top 20. Guys finishing outside the top 20 are for the most part just riding around anyway. Don’t give them any points. JMO
In light of last week’s deal between Kryle “Um, I have a problem with what just happened…” Busch and Ruetimann I foresee a tweak to the chase that will be a separate points deal for the chasers. It will be a typical Bozo France knee-jerk reaction. Jeez, too bad we can’t vote Bozo Brian out of office, wouldn’t that be nice?
We dont need the CHASE so just drop it.
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