NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
When NASCAR holds a special closed-door driver’s meeting, you can bet it’s because they are not happy about one or more participants being critical, and it usually entails Mike Helton reminding the drivers that they should consider themselves lucky to be there. (Or they’re warning the drivers before a plate race that bump drafting is a no-no but that a certain amount will be tolerated. No kidding, Helton really said that once.) The irony of NASCAR’s sanctioning body not considering their own monumental luck in possessing considerable riches for doing virtually nothing—in the rare moments when they are smart enough to do nothing—is of course lost on them.
Did anyone get a look at Junior being interviewed after Pocono? He looked about as spent as MC Hammer’s fortune. Call them privileged if you like, but the drivers bust their butts in a dangerous, high-intensity arena every week, and most of them have paid considerable dues to get there. This columnist doesn’t think it’s too much for them to ask for a drivable car like most other racing series have.
Maybe one of NASCAR’s “brasses” should sit behind a wheel and battle 42 other cars for 500 miles on a 90-degree day. The most physically grueling task Mike Helton performs on a weekly basis is grooming his mustache. He can let these guys blow off some steam after they’ve been sitting in a sauna of a racecar for four hours.
We’ve seen this sort of “consider yourself lucky” dressing down from NASCAR before. After Tony Stewart compared NASCAR to the WWE on his radio show last year, his hauler was forbidden from unloading that weekend until he was given a stern talking-to from the bigwigs. Out of concern for his team and sponsor, Stewart eventually caved and emerged contrite, chalk dust still lingering on his fingers from writing “I will not speak ill of NASCAR” 500 times. It would have been interesting for Stewart, or any other driver receiving a similar reprimand, to tell the bosses that he’ll say whatever he danged well pleases. What would NASCAR do? Fine him? Park him? And why, for complaining about racing in a heated boxcar?
NASCAR can blow the “they need us more” horn all they want. Paying customers know better. Wander around the grandstands, the concourses, the parking lots, or the merchandise haulers at any NASCAR event and you will not likely see any T-shirts, flags, or banners that bear Brian France’s visage, unless it is portrayed in a derogatory or insulting way. Certainly, it would be easier to find someone wearing, say, a Kenny Wallace or J.J. Yeley T-shirt. No one buys a ticket to see Robin Pemberton give a ruling. Who would be easier to replace, Jim Hunter or Jimmie Johnson?
NASCAR’s drivers have built up huge fan bases and their racing skills have made for all kinds of golden moments in the sport. NASCAR’s current management, by comparison, has managed to cut ratings and audiences almost in half, largely through showing the same lack of respect for their customers that they are now complaining about receiving from their drivers.
Jeff Gordon is one example. Gordon burst onto the scene out of nowhere and became an icon in the sport before he was 25. He fueled interest in NASCAR, not only by bringing in fans from outside of Alabama, but by piquing interest in anti-fans bent on seeing him fail…because he was that good. His ability to outduel everyone from Dale Earnhardt to Rusty Wallace won him four championships, second only to Earnhardt and Richard Petty. With all due respect to Bill France, Jr., it is Jeff Gordon that expanded the sport beyond the South. In his dominant years, Gordon was to NASCAR what Michael Jordan was to basketball…a head and shoulders above the rest superstar who put butts in the seats.
In turn, NASCAR implemented a ratings-motivated playoff system that has arguably denied two championships for Gordon, preventing race fans from seeing the 24 team pursue title number seven from 2008 forward, which would place Gordon side by side with the all-time very best where he belongs. That system also failed in its goal of higher ratings. Win-win.
And for all Jeff Gordon’s help to grow the sport above the Mason-Dixon Line, Brian France has contributed almost as much to shrinking the popularity of the sport below it. We don’t need to re-ignite the feelings of Darlington fans rehashing that.
So who has been more beneficial to the sport?
Or try Carl Edwards, who started racing in Cup in 2005…and with his wins and subsequent gymnastic displays brought a whole new shade of color to the sport. He’s won 10 races and has executed his famous backflip as many times to the backdrop of thousands of popping flashbulbs. And thanks in part to Edwards, NASCAR audiences are still in the thousands.
The closest NASCAR will ever come to an entertaining backflip is its frequent flips on rule enforcement. What is more likely to bring out a caution—a multi-car crash on the last lap, or a piece of foam on the track on lap 30? Is a car being too low after a race in which the driver has won a “Car of Tomorrow” penalty? Is it legal to pass the pace car or isn’t it?
Kyle Busch, who through remarkable ability and unapologetic attitude, has made a big splash in 2008, winning four races in inimitable fashion. Busch’s occasionally Ali-style “it ain’t braggin’ if you can do it” persona has re-ignited some fan interest…for many of the same reasons Jeff Gordon’s success did. Kyle, by both winning and thriving on fan disdain for him, has also done his part to apply a tourniquet on the ratings bleed.
To listen to NASCAR and Brian France, though, the minuscule ratings increase from the sport’s mediocre 2007 performance has resulted entirely from their brilliant innovations. We frequently hear “the racing has been great”, as if the new car was responsible and not the best stock car drivers in the world and their teams and crews. And only Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s subpar performance last season could offset the excitement created by the Chase. France himself acknowledged that Junior’s not being in contention in 2007 may have contributed to sagging ratings…which, while asserting as such may direct attention away from their unwelcome meddling, would also seem to suggest that NASCAR needs Junior more than he needs them.
The next time you see a promo for the Nationwide series where NASCAR touts the skills of Joey Logano—who hadn’t even participated in a Nationwide race before being the focus of a commercial for a struggling racing series—ask yourself why they aren’t touting their own skills in handling sponsorship issues, which resulted in their accepting a third of the original asking price to sponsor the very series where the young phenom has just begun racing. One wonders if they would tell Logano to just shut up and drive if he brought that subject up to the press.
What had been the cause of NASCAR’s ratings plummet over the last few years, finally stabilizing this year, and a continued dive in attendance in a sport that was once recession-proof? Is it drivers complaining about the cars? Or is it advertising bonanzas masquerading as broadcasts, inconsistent rule enforcement, the unceremonious departure of key races from long-revered venues, or a new car design on which even the best teams cannot seem to get a consistent handle?
What has NASCAR done, exactly, to keep people watching that equals the contributions of Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, or Jeff Burton? Does an elitist crowd tune in now because they race near L.A.? Does the “they just go around in circles” contingent reserve spots in front of the TV for the last ten races? Would people who wear Miller Lite No. 2 T-shirts trade them in for Sprint T-shirts?
NASCAR’s sanctioning body is like every government. They have simple jobs with disproportionate compensation and prestige; yet they bristle at legitimate criticism, and they can never accept that those they govern would be better off if they were on a permanent vacation. As the Roosevelt quote at the beginning of this column suggests, this sport needs Brian France and Mike Helton about as much as it needs me. Maybe even less so; I had nothing to do with implementing the Chase.
Maybe NASCAR could spend some energy on reducing the unholy amount of commercial breaks and corporate logo-enhanced sideshows during green flag racing in their broadcasts, rather than on instructing drivers to be PC robots. There might be less concern about ratings then.
“Shut up and drive”? How about: “Shut up and count the till”. The drivers are hardly the only ones who should consider themselves fortunate to be millionaires.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Confusious say “popularity don’t need sport ,sport need popularity! “
Faast foreward to 2010. Bruton Smith signs a contract with a major tv network to cover a series of 36 races at his tracks and other independent tracks. Running in direct competition with Nascar and with each race paying at least $500.000 for first place. Wonder how many drivers would make the switch,especially if you could drive what ya brought? Just some food for thought.
Thank you Kurt….Nascar needs to realize I dont spend money to watch nascar officials….I spend money to watch drivers,teams and good racing.Without those drivers and teams we have NOTHING!!!!!
Well said, well put Kurt. I wonder who at NA$CAR has the tedious job of reading all that is written each week about this “great” sport and then reporting back to the head shed about how the massed really feel. I bet it’s a scream sometimes. Or even better, do they even know we exist?
I can see it now….. Court Jester to BF “Your Majesty so-n-so wrote such-n-such about last weeks blunders” His Majesty “off with his head…no wait….they’ll know it was us…..give another bad week of racing…that will fix ‘em good….”
That’s it; maybe we should just “shut up and watch”
Mark, you can bet that someone reads and reports. That’s why writers like Matt Mclaughlin are not given press passes. NaXcar sees itself as omnipotent. Brian the Lesser rules with an iron fist and is doing his best to cut off the hand that feeds him. It’s a typical case of the spoiled brat children inheriting a thriving business, and using it as a plaything until it is driven into the ground. The empty seats each week are not all directly due to the economy.
the fact of the matter is they BOTH need us fans EVEN more than they need each other ,racers will always race (someplace)and na$car will always be able to find someone to be a part of the legendary series…BUT without US the FANS ,AINT NOBODY GETTING PAID !! So instead of bitching about all the negative attention brought to the series (and COT ) MAYBE it might be worth listening to some of those lifelong fans that basically funded the evolution of NA$CAR !
Preach on, Brother Smith! Preach on! :o]
You are exactly right Kurt. I wonder how many “sodas” King Brian would spill trying to drive the COT. The other members of the France family need to “park” HRH Brian for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) before it’s too late.
And when NA$CAR tells the drivers to “SHUT UP!
That just drives myself and lots of other fans further away from the fence!
Did you see ALL THE EMPTY SEATS AT MICHIGAN???
That should be embarrasing to Brian & Company! But then again you have to be sober to be embarrased!
Welcome to Brian’s world!
When I was racing the payout used to be. 35% to the track, 35% to the Car owners. (Split 60-40, with the driver) & 30% to the promoter. I have no way of knowing what the split is with NA$CAR. But I paid particular attention when they signed the mega $$ TV deal a couple of years ago. It didn’t seem like the payout was increased that much. What NA$CAR needs to understand. Is that they aren’t the show. They just put on the show.
Wish this site had a “forward to” link. I would love to see everyone flood Nascar offices with emails of the article to Brian and Mike. “Reality Check, guys”