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!
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 Cheap Seats · Jeff Meyer · Thursday March 22, 2012
Nearly five years ago, after the article you are about to read was published, I was engaged in a heated email exchange initiated by the late great motorsports journalist David Poole. David even went so far as to call for my head from my editors. I went so far as to offer to buy David a beer the next time I saw him. He declined rather impolitely, my editors let me keep my head and we never communicated with one another again.
Oh, I tried…back when Facebook was still relatively new and I learned he had an account, I asked him to be friends with me. Less than a week went by with no response to my friend request when the unspeakable happened…David unexpectedly passed away. I like to think that, since he never denied my friend request, he just never got ‘round to it. He was a busy man who was enjoying being a new grandfather as I recall, a feeling I now can relate to. While David and I were never ‘chummy’, I did respect the man and I did apologize for calling him ‘unprofessional’ in my article, which as I understood it, was what he was really pissed about anyway.
Why am I telling you all this? With Bruton Smith’s knee jerk announcement this week to bring back the ‘old Bristol’, it all seems quite relevant again. The article eloquently states how I feel about Bristol and the announcement I’m sure is giving David, where his spirit may be, quite a chuckle.
However, there is one thing I want to say…the simple reason people are NOT attending Bristol is NOT the track. Those that didn’t like the new set up quit buying their tickets right away…not all of a sudden. DUH!!!! It’s the economy, stupid!!! Gas prices are approaching the highest they have been in years. While ticket prices have come down a bit, they are still not cheap…just more available. But anyway, what do I know? I’m just a fan.
Without further ado, and my beer raised heavenward as a toast to David Poole…Here’s to you, David, have a good laugh on me and know that you are missed.
As published on August, 30th, 2007…
As most folks who actually know me can attest, I am a pretty easygoing guy. It takes a lot (whether it’s your actions or “beverages,” on my part) to get me riled up. Despite that laid-back nature, though, I can also be very blunt. Inevitably, people to whom I have been very blunt often confuse my bluntness with being “riled up,” which is sad – because that is seldom the case. “Riled up” would mean that I actually care, and that, too, is seldom the case. Today, however, I am going to be both blunt and “riled up.” A rare treat, indeed! Lucky you, my faithful readers.
Last week, I made my yearly journey to Bristol to take in this year’s edition of the Sharpie 500, as I have done every such August since 2002. Point being, I’ve seen a lot of racing, in person, at the fabled Speedway in Thunder Valley. I go to this particular track not as a member of the media, but as a fan – which works out rather nicely, as I’ve always been a fan first and a writer second. Truth be told, I think I only got into this writing gig as part of a drunken wager, the details of which are still quite hazy to all who were involved.
But that’s beside the point. After seeing things firsthand, I have no problem being blunt. The racing at BMS this past week was the BEST racing to take place on that track for a long, long time. If you did not like it, you have lost touch with the concept of what racing is truly about! However, do not be offended. There are a couple of excuses which I will accept for your ignorance.
The first is simple and straight forward enough. You have never been to a race in person at Bristol Motor Speedway. If you would have been there, or if you have been there in the past, you would readily, and quite correctly, agree with me about last week’s quality of the racing.
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of two tracks on the circuit that you will ALWAYS see more racing by being AT the track than you would if you watch it on TV. Television simply cannot show you everything that you can see at Bristol as opposed to being in the stands yourself. Out of 160,000 possible places to sit, you can see EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, even if only in your peripheral vision, to which you can then focus your eyes (should you so choose) much faster than they do on TV.
But BMS has always been about the “experience” more than the racing. For years and years, there has been only one groove on the race track… and that is the bottom. The races there have always been a “parade,” and passes were made with the patented “bump and run.” It had become the accepted way. That “accepted way” resulted in the inevitable spin or crash, which made for great TV but lessened the purity of the race. With that said, the experience of hearing 43, 800-horsepower cars racing in a “bowl” is what makes Bristol what it is. It’s a sound that I can only describe as “having to shout into your own ear to hear yourself when you have a thought” which, oddly enough, can be achieved with the proper amount of beverages and a bit of practice.
So, as I sat and watched the Cup race last Saturday from my vantage point in the Pearson Grandstand, Sec. FF, Row 15, Seat 13, (Turn 1) I was absolutely amazed! I never thought I would see the day when cars were racing, three-wide in the corners at Bristol. They could go low, high, or in the middle…at speed! That is something that simply was never done at Bristol for at least the last ten years. I honestly do not have the words to express how truly great it was to see cars actually race there. The Cup race was the same way – the BMS slogan, “Racin’ the way it ought to be” is finally 100% accurate.
With that said, the thing that has me “riled up” is this; I come back home to find reports on radio shows and in the press that the race was boring! Now, radio show call-ins I can dismiss because, let’s face it, they probably were NOT there and on television, yes, a green flag pit stop at BMS could be construed as boring because that means a long green flag run with no crashes and, as we all know, no crashes at Bristol means no excitement…or so you’ve been trained to believe. Well let me tell you one thing; you have not experienced “boring” until you sit in the stands at Bristol and watch a race with 20 cautions and over a quarter of its advertised length run at caution speed.
But what really irks the living crap outta me is so called “professional” media types, such as David Poole, who, through a gross misunderstanding of his power to sway people’s perception, continues to perpetuate the idea that last week’s races were bad. Consider this bit of “expert analysis” that Poole authored in a recent article after the Cup race:
“But there is no possible way any sane person would think the average race fan liked what they saw Saturday night more than what they had come to be used to at Bristol.”
Since when does David Poole know what the average person likes? When I read that, I had to read it over again to see if I got it right. Was this guy at the same race I was at? OK, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he quickly typed something up to meet a deadline. But then I read the following, and I got really pissed:
“But as the fans who came to see it were walking out late on a hot August night, they weren’t talking about all the great memories they’d just made. They weren’t talking about how incredible it was to see the kind of racing you don’t see anywhere else.”
Now, I can’t say for certain just exactly where David Poole watched the race from last Saturday night – chances are it was from a monitor in the media center. However, I will bet my dollars to Poole’s doughnuts that he definitely was NOT in the herds of sweaty race fans making their way out of BMS to hear what they were saying about the race they had just witnessed. Trust me; if you know anything about David Poole (or talked to people who know him), you would put your money on my side of the wager. Let’s just put it this way; everywhere in Bristol is uphill, especially from the media center! David Poole was NOT among the “fans,” I guarantee.
Well, Mr. Poole, I WAS among the sweltering masses that were exiting BMS, and I can tell you that during the long time I was amongst them (an amount of time you would appreciate should you dare to try it) NOT ONE of them ever said a bad thing about the race that I heard. The same goes for everyone I talked to and partied with in the campground where I was staying. Everyone loved the new Bristol…everyone that knows what they are talking about, anyway.
So, don’t be duped by so-called “professionals” such as David Poole (the second excuse I would accept for ignorance). He wasn’t where I was or sweated with the true racing fan like I did last weekend. He does not have a clue.
Instead, “racing the way it ought to be” finally hit the nail on the head. My hat is off to Bruton Smith and all those at BMS who brought this dream to fruition.
Stay off the wall, (easier to do since the re-paving!)
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Re: “if you have been there in the past, you would readily, and quite correctly, agree with me about last week’s quality of the racing.”
Gee, Jeff, thanks for telling folks what you know I think. The problem is, you are dead wrong. I’ve been to Bristol, and I DON’T think Sunday’s race was so great.
This is the most asinine, self-centered, presumptuous piece of journalism I’ve ever read, and believe me, I’ve read plenty—I used to teach the subject to high schoolers. Even the self-centered teenagers weren’t so smug as to think they knew that everyone agreed with them.
I agree with what the last commenter said…. ^ Bristol sucked and has since the repave…. I went to races under BOTH configurations…. and short track RACIN’ is supposed to have bumpin’ and bangin’…. without it, Bristol is like a toothless lion…. BORING!
You can blame some of the empty seats on the economy but not as many as we saw last Saturday.
Anyway, the idiots have spoken, 3 to 1, in favor of the old Bristol. Count me as an idiot.
The ‘new’ track configuration has definitely made the Bristol races become actual “races”, not crash-fests.
Given the previous commenter’s toothless quip, “short track RACIN’ is supposed to be bumpin’ and bangin’ “, I suppose a house is only a house if it has wheels under it? Sheez.
I preferred the old Bristol, but I don’t think three wide racing there should make a race boring. And I submit that it’s the Chase that neutered Bristol, not the repave. You have to repave a track sometime.
I’m a little surprised that Poole got so upset with you…he usually blew off comments about his weight. I miss his columns sometimes because he took NASCAR to task when it was warranted, but Poole did have a little of the elitist “I’m smarter than the public because I’m a journalist” attitude so prevalent in media types.
Two things actually killed the excitement at Bristol. One was the reconfiguration. The other was the COT. I was at the last race under the old configuration which was also the first race for the COT there. Fans were actually sleeping in their seats because it was boring. A single file parade going round and round. So if Bruton really wants to improve Bristol, he’s going to need to have a car race there that can actually turn and handle, which is something the COT can’t do. And as NASCAR won’t let that happen, Bruton will be caught in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” quandry.
Been going to Bristol for the better part of 13 years with my Mom, who travels from PA to NC to TN once a year for the trip to Thunder Valley…and I’m pretty sure that this was the last time we’ll attend. I always found Bristol to be a purer form of racing than you would find at bigger, faster tracks. It took someone with skill, nerves, talent and resolve to make your way around the concrete bullring and into Victory Lane. The bump and run was an art form. Those who were adept at it used it as a scalpel. Moving the slower car up the track without wrecking them. Those who had not mastered the skill used it as a club…get the hell out of my way and who cares if you crash.
Those who won at Bristol, pre-progressive banking, were the best of the best. Those who have won since then are just pretenders to the Bristol legacy. When the words “fuel mileage” are used as a possible strategy to win Bristol, you know there’s something wrong somewhere. But keep telling yourself and the rest of us that the racing is better now than before. Maybe one of us will believe it and I doubt it will be me.
I have seen both types of races there with both kinds of cars over the last 11 years. I have to say I liked both of the tracks. Yes, we all have to admit it, it is kind of cool to see a couple cars pile up, spin, twist, and get crumpled. That is as long as every man, woman, and fan walk away unscathed. But to sit and watch 20 cautions is just a bit much. What I really liked about the “new” Bristol was the side by side racing – and yes there was plenty of bump and grind. And, in my mind that race had just enough bumping and grinding to make it a good race.
There is an old saying (my kids hate when I do this) “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” And that fellow race fans is exactly where we are with the Bristol quandary… one guy is going to love it while the dude sitting right next to him hates it with a passion. It’s life – get used to it.
The reconfiguration was not what killed Bristol (ok let’s say it’s a serious wound right now) that’s just a lame excuse from most of the fans that walked away. I really think it’s a combination of a whole pant load of factors from NA$CAR right down to the cost of diesel (I got a big-boy truck) and a camp site. Good luck Bristol…get well soon.
I have to agree with Meyers. When 25% of the laps were run under caution during the old wreck fest it was absolutly boring to wait for a few laps of green flag racing. I remember one of the Sauters taking out 5-10 competitive cars. Gee that was great entertainment, what amazing skills and I get to watch 5 great cars drive around on the apron without sheetmetal, even better. We used to joke about the pace car having the most ‘laps led’ at Bristol.
Bump and run is Chicken Crap racing requiring NO skill, to call it an art form is preposterious. With no way to ‘set up’ a pass the driver really had no choice. A little bumpin and bangin is part of the race on any track.
I’m not saying old Bristol wasn’t entertaining just that new Bristol is a real race now.
oldfarmer, this column was written after the August 2007 Bristol night race, and is not referring to the most recent race at Bristol last Sunday.
GO ROWDY. Best of luck in August.
It was the track re-configuration, Stupid.
Keep telling yourself otherwise, but Bruton is not a moron and would not spend a million dollars to put it back if he did not do the math and research the root cause of the decline from a 5 year wait for tickets to half empty stands.
Sometimes you can be too close to something and can’t see there’s a problem.
Bristol stinks now. It’s no different than the mile and a halfs.
But I blame the Chase and Top 35…and maybe the COT as well.
Fans want bangin’, not boring. And behold! Here comes Fontana. Looks like I’ll get to cut that grass after all.
God, I miss David Poole.
I actually liked the old Bristol; when it was asphalt and the cars ran on bias ply tires and the ass-end of the car hung out through the turns as the driver manhandled it through the turns while the tires literally smoked from the heat.
That’s the Bristol I miss.
I bet all those who love the ‘new Bristol’ are drooling over the prospect of the racing at Fontana this weekend. LOTS of room to race. LOTS of lanes to get strung out on. they must also love Kansas, Chicago, MIS, Homestead…in fact, the majority of the tracks now on the circuit. With the exception of Martinsville, and the road courses, and formerly Bristol, most of the tracks now offer lots of room and multiple grooves. Heaven forbid a few of them should actually be unique. As for the ‘racing purists’, I guess you weren’t exposed to the roots of Nascar…lots of short tracks with single grooves, where drivers had to race the way Bristol used to. How lucky for you that you didn’t have to watch those ‘crude’ drivers and races on those tracks. That is the ype of track where Nascar started, where it grew, and where it gathered the huge following it used to have. The ‘chase’ started the decline, and the repave just sealed it. After 10 years, I gave up my season tickets when I struggled to stay awake during the night race, even with 43 cars roaring around the track. That isn’t what made me want to go to Bristol But, by all means, let’s make all the tracks similar and make it lots easier on the drivers, even if it puts fans to sleep.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
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