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.
Kurt Smith · Friday May 15, 2009
At Darlington this past weekend, three of the top five finishing cars were from Hendrick Motorsports. The other two got their engines from Hendrick. A part time Hendrick team finished seventh, making six out of the top seven either Hendrick or Hendrick-affiliated teams. It was domination from one team that has rarely been seen in a single event.
Looking through the glasses of NASCAR’s never-ending push for parity, it’s easy to look at the Darlington results and conclude that bigger teams have too much of an upper hand in this sport. That’s what glasses do. NASCAR’s well-meaning solution has been to place a limit on how many cars a team can field.
Jack Roush is going to soon have to make a decision about whether to let go of David Ragan or Jamie McMurray, assuming he wants to hold on to Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, which is a safe assumption. As a result, one of those two drivers will be out of a ride and a team will be looking for work in what is not a promising economy. And none of that is going to make Robby Gordon any faster.
When you think about it, Roush Fenway Racing is being punished for putting more money and resources into winning. And that, apparently, is only unacceptable if it works. Michael Waltrip Racing had a pretty expensive first season when one considered the results. NASCAR has denied it, but it’s hard to argue with Jack Roush when he says the rule is directed at him.
The limit on a number of cars was decided on in 2005, after Roush Racing put five cars in a 10-car Chase. At the time, the furor over multi-car teams was far more prevalent than it is today. Back then NASCAR’s most popular driver drove for a two-car outfit. It was believed that this was the reason they couldn’t keep up. This was only partly true. What actually happened in 2005 was that NASCAR made two rule changes with the intention of helping smaller teams: lowering spoiler height to produce more side-by-side racing, and eliminating Saturday practices to save teams money.
As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. As a government aiming for the big guy often does, NASCAR ended up hurting the little guy. Teams that had more cars could do more testing in place of practices, and Roush figured out the spoiler height on intermediate tracks before anyone else. Greg Biffle had the best year of his career by far in 2005.
Similarly, in 2007, NASCAR pioneered the new car, another innovation intended to help smaller teams by requiring fewer cars over a season. And Hendrick Motorsports won half of the races that year.
In the continuing effort to help the struggling teams, NASCAR eliminated testing in 2009, another attempt to save smaller companies money. To see how well that has worked, re-read the first paragraph of this article.
I had written, just last week in fact, that acquiring engines and tech support from a larger entity doesn’t guarantee that a lesser team will run well. And I stand by that. Haas/CNC was running with Hendrick equipment last year to 35th and 43rd positions in the standings. But given that Tony Stewart thanked Rick Hendrick on camera following his team’s 3-4 finish at Darlington, I have to imagine that Hendrick’s assistance of the Stewart-Haas team is worth something.
Which leads me to the conclusion that not only is the four-car per team limit not going to help smaller teams, it’s also unenforceable to any effective degree.
What is NASCAR going to do about teams supplying engines to smaller outfits, if Stewart-Haas cars are now considered part of the Hendrick stable? Will they all be considered one team? That would make EGR-Childress an eight car team at the moment, when you add John Andretti in the 34 and David Gilliland in the 71. Roush and Yates/HOF would be a seven car team. Michael Waltrip, Red Bull and even JTG/Dougherty and Robby Gordon all get their engines from Toyota Racing Development, making them effectively a nine car team. Can NASCAR put a limit on support a team can provide for another team? Where would that limit be?
And Hendrick, of course, would be a six car team, as many have already asserted. This wasn’t much of a concern when Haas was barely making races, but now with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman in the top 10 every week, it’s raised some eyebrows. On the surface, it seems to bear out the need for some restriction on competition.
But when NASCAR lowers the boom with the four car rule, Hendrick Motorsports, the team that put five cars in the top five last week through ownership or tech support, will not be affected at all. What Hendrick is doing now for its success falls well within the limit soon to be imposed.
And if NASCAR decides to disallow engine support of smaller teams, since it seems to make a team a six car operation in effect, who would that hurt? Not the bigger teams. So that is not likely to happen. And so, once the four car rule is implemented, Roush Fenway can simply move the equipment for the 26 team into a Yates complex. Which would basically make the rule a big waste of time and money for teams. Kind of like restrictor plates.
The most baffling thing about the four car rule is wondering what NASCAR is trying to do to the current level of competition. Even if such a rule could be enforced, do fans really want to see half a field of backmarkers and start-and-parkers in the name of lessening larger teams’ dominance?
Speaking for myself, I’d rather see four good teams field 36 good cars than see three-quarters of the field be at least two laps down at the end of every race. I’ve gone into more detail in other articles about this subject, but the short version of the point is this: multi-car teams have brought more parity to this sport than any rule change ever will, except for possibly using restrictor plates at every race. There are now as many as 20-25 drivers that can win on a given week. That should be encouraged, not discouraged.
This isn’t even considering the employment factor. Without a four car limit, we wouldn’t likely be questioning where Brad Keselowski is going to wind up now that Mark Martin is sticking around another year. And Keselowski, with his performance at Darlington, has made a statement. He isn’t going to languish in the Nationwide Series for much longer. If Rick Hendrick wants to start another team and employ dozens of engineers, mechanics and crew members to give a great young driver a competitive ride, why stop him, especially in times like these? Why put a rule in place that HMS will likely try to find a way to skirt anyhow that may result in Keselowski driving a car that doesn’t match his ability?
Lifting this rule might also help what ails the Nationwide Series. If Roush Fenway could put a sixth car on the track, he’d have a reason to put someone besides Kenseth or Edwards in his Nationwide cars. That could be another up-and-coming driver in a series that currently does not have enough of them. As it is now, he might as well not bother. What would be the point of developing a driver to ultimately drive for someone else?
I don’t doubt NASCAR’s sincerity in wanting to level the playing field. Heaven knows they’ve done some crazy things trying to accomplish that. But some teams will spend more money than others. Multi-car teams are not to blame for that.
More likely, the problem is that success is attributed only to wealth, rather than a team spending it wisely to hire the right people and get the best equipment. Stewart-Haas is demonstrating right now what a difference that makes. Just using Hendrick equipment certainly wasn’t enough last year.
Fans appreciate excellence in sports. NASCAR should resist the urge to place limits on it. Let the other competitors find a way to knock down the dynasty. The history of every sport shows that they will.
— First note concerning Jeremy Mayfield: I’m not convicting Mayfield without hearing all of the evidence, but Kevin Grubb’s story notwithstanding, denials from a public figure after testing positive for drugs are usually PR responses to anticipated fan backlash. I can’t think of one athlete who was ultimately telling the truth about being falsely tested. But then again, the Tim Richmond mess may be a reason for doubt.
— Second note on Mayfield: as one of my favorite commenters (thanks Gordon82Wins) pointed out, several crew members have been suspended without much fanfare, but when it is a driver—who would be far more dangerous than a crew member while hallucinating—there seems to be more concern about the validity of the drug testing and so forth. I don’t mind questioning the accuracy of drug tests, but I would hope no driver gets preferential treatment simply because his name is better known.
— NASCAR announced this week that they are looking into why ratings are down, including checking into timing of commercials, track spacing (?), and even whether the rain-shortened Daytona 500 left a residual effect. I don’t mean to be so testy, but why not try just watching? Ask yourself, am I annoyed by this gopher that has absolutely nothing to do with racing?
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
“do fans really want to see half a field of backmarkers and start-and-parkers in the name of lessening larger teams’ dominance”
I wonder this too Kurt. I have come to realize that there is a sizeable portion of NASCAR fans that would like the winner to be a crapshoot each week. I don’t understand it. Whether the guy that dominates is one of my favorites or not, I like to see a couple of guys be clearly head and shoulders above the rest and battle for the championship. I will be interested in seeing what kind of comments get posted by other fans.
The way it is going, we will soon have four teams. It doesn’t matter about the limits on the number of cars one owner can have. There will be team Ford, team Chevy, team Dodge and team Toyota. For each team, the best engine builder will build all of the engines, the best body builder will build all of bodies, and the best suspension suspension men will build all of the suspensions. The name of the owner will have no meaning.
NA$CAR would quickly understand why rating are down if they would lock themselves in a room and watch a complete race without interruption. Drugs or alcohol would not be allowed.
Why I don’t watch racing as much as in the past, in no particular order of importance:
1. The race broadcasts are an insult to my intelligence.
The reason nascar wants to limit one owner from having unlimited teams is that would give a few owners contol of many things like income from the races and the rules
The funny thing is that long ago, the NASCAR rule was that no owner could own more than 2 cars. That is why you started seeing Georgetta Roush, Geoff Smith, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, etc… listed as owners. They did not actually buy stock in the team or invest real $$ in the team, they just bought the NASCAR owner license and listed that car number as the team they “own.”
For example, now that Mayfield is prohibited from “owning” his team, do you really think there was a legal transfer of ownership from Jeremy to Shanna this week? It was all in the NASCAR licensing.
So, if they really wanted to stop the 3-4-5-6 car teams, the rule was in place YEARS ago. They just never enforced it. As they say, the horse is out of the barn and NOW they are trying to close the doors.
So that really begs the quesion, WHY did they make this rule? If it was truly cost savings, on a per-car basis, it is cheaper to operate a mega-car team than a 1-2 car operation. It was not to help the little guy, because the top-35 qualifying rule that was put in about the same time is the biggest detriment to the small, upstart team in NASCAR history. It was not for competition as we have seen that the mega team outperform the smaller operations. Despite what another posted said, I do think the vast majority of fans want to watch a race that the outcome is not pre-determined. The fact that we can narrow down the winner to 5-6 cars before the haulers ever show up at the track may have something to do with the drop in viewership.
So, my thinking it was all about power. As teams got larger and larger, they could gain more and more clout and power. At one point there were 3 owners that owned or had significant influence over almost half the field. If they decided to up & leave a la CART in the late 70’s, NASCAR has a huge problem. If those owners were all allowed to add another 2-3 cars each, they would have had even that much more power.
Have you ever wondered why all the NA$CAR announcers are required to wear suits and ties? How many people do you see at the races in suit and tie? Watched the Indy Car qualifying last weekend and their announcers looked like they belonged at a race track in their sport shirts! Just doesn’t make much sense to me. Just an opinion. Also agree that they should lock the execs in a room and make them actually watch at race on TV !!!
At the risk of receiving backlash from this Mike characture, I seem to remember last year when NASCAR announced they were going to closely monitor the “working relationship” between Roush and Yates Racing. I do not recall anything being said about monitoring the “working relationship” between Stewart-Haas and Hendrick. Now, am I suggesting that NASCAR turns a blind eye to anything Hendrick does? I have always thought there was too cushy of a relationship between the France/Helton Group and Hendrick ever since I watched the bunch of them during that broadcast of the announcement for the Hall Of fame location. Why was Hendrick the chosen call owner? And while we’re at it, after Talladega, there was so much negative commenting about Edwards comments and the assumption that when he and roush were “summoned” to Daytona that Edwards was told to shut up, or better yet, as this Mike dude said, maybe told to count his days in NASCAR as they were about to come to an end. So if what edwrads said was so bad, why is NASCAR consulting with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson? Am I suggesting that maybe Hendrick has too much say in making the rules. I’ve always felt that!!
As for NASCAR reneging on the five-car rule, I began to wonder that with Mark saying that he will run full time in 2010 and Hendrick needs another car for Keselowski. And I’m not the only one who said to watch NASCAR change their minds! Whatever Hendrick wants, Hendrick gets!
I agree that punishing success and rewarding failure is stupid. Punishing Roush, Hendrick, Gibbs, RCR, etc. for being good at what they do while rewarding those who enter Cup underfunded and over their heads for their incompetence is the very definition of injustice.
You don’t improve competition by adding to the back of the field.
“You don’t improve competition by adding to the back of the field.”
Good one! Someone in the media should use that.
NASCAR screwed up years ago by not strongly enforcing the 2 car limit. No team should be allowed to field more than 2.
But lets take a look at what NASCAR has inadvertently done this year. The no testing rule seems to have taken a bit away from the larger teams advantages. Roush hasn’t been all that. Hendrick has Jeff and Jimmie now Mark…all hard to beat no matter who they drove for. If the bigger is better theory is right, then why Jr not running good?
As for all the media guys and fans who keep saying Stewart/Haas is a Hendrick team…I beg to differ. Anyone that wants to give Hendrick the credit for Stewart/Haas success explain to us WHY did Haas racing stuggle to stay near 35th for YEARS while they got Hendrick parts??? You didn’t blame Hendrick for all those years of bad finishes, so now they finish good why does everyone give Hendrick the credit?
“Let the other competitors find a way to knock down the dynasty. The history of every sport shows that they will.”
Well, so far I don’t see this in nascar. One would think that the other teams would pick up on what the Hendrick teams do. Mostly the 48 team. But the results so far don’t show it.
I predicted the no testing policy would hurt the small teams and help the big teams. I don’t know if that’s the reason but the results speak for themselves.
“NASCAR announced this week that they are looking into why ratings are down…. why not try just watching?”
And try listening to the fans for a change. Nascar say they listen but it doesn’t seem like it.
Frankly, I’m glad ratings are down because just MAYBE nascar will make some much-needed changes. Unfortunately, I don’t trust the current leadership of making the RIGHT changes.
WHY did Haas racing stuggle to stay near 35th for YEARS while they got Hendrick parts???
But NOW they get access to the Hendrick team notes. Straight from Tony Stewart’s pie hole.
Make no mistake about it, it says Stewart-Haas on the door, but inside, it’s all Hendrick.
“But NOW they get access to the Hendrick team notes. Straight from Tony Stewart’s pie hole.”
Which makes the Jr. issue even MORE confusing.
No confusion, Junior sucks. Driver Jr or Crew Chief Jr. Take your pick.
I agree with you Carl in Pa. Jr & Jr suck.Why doesn’t Jr.E take all the $$$ he has and take a long long much needed vacation from racing. What about the racing complex he was building near Mobile Al? He should sell that back to the locals real cheap. Then the Jr nation could find someone else to pull for. I quit being a Jr fan when he moved to HMS.