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 July 17, 2009
Never in my years of being a follower of the sport have I witnessed the state of near-panic that NASCAR is in right now. They’re changing rules that had been in place for half a century, opening the press doors to people they once considered irrelevant, installing suggestion boxes for drivers and practically begging fans to tell them what they want. Never did I ever think I would see NASCAR, or any sport for that matter, dropping its tight-fisted, take-it-or-leave-it guard so quickly and obviously. It brings back memories of the 180 the town of Concord did when Bruton Smith threatened to move his speedway.
But these efforts do little to address much of what ails NASCAR. Chicago was another nearly unwatchable race, and venues of its type are a good part of the reason why.
The event was another spiritless display of aero package and track position ruling the day. The combination of the aero push in the current common stock car and the plethora of 1.5-2 mile common stock speedways has been a lethargic explosive powerful enough to not only knock fans out of their seats but even away from their television sets.
It’s long been my opinion that the Chase was NASCAR’s biggest mistake of the last 20 years. It’s hard to argue with people that would say it was their worst decision ever. But the more I witness NASCAR in its continuous and steady decline, the more I’m convinced it isn’t any one problem or decision that is driving fans away in droves. Chicago was just one more display of why. The speedways are a big piece of the puzzle that NASCAR is trying to solve.
It’s beyond obvious that with the current NASCARmobile, the leader has a decided advantage in clean air. Even with two fresh tires as opposed to four, a pit crew can win a race for a driver simply by getting him up front at the end. Every race, time after time, the leader pulls away as everyone else fights briefly for position, at least as much as it is possible to pass.
In theory, the lead-lap-cars-up-front restart rule should have changed that—a car strong enough to be in second would now have a chance to overtake the leader, which was one of the main reasons for the imposition of the rule. Yet NASCAR put a key provision in the deal which basically nullified that: you cannot overtake the leader before the start-finish line. In other words, if you see yourself passing the leader as you’re halfway to full speed, you best back off. And so the leader is in front by the start-finish line, and most likely, pulls away from the field yet again.
No one’s denying that Hendrick Motorsports built a superb machine for Mark Martin to drive last Saturday night and deserved the victory. But he didn’t win the race by fighting through the field during the green. He won by getting out front in the pits and pulling away on the restart, and then benefiting from Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson’s slightly reckless battle. Then he was out in front on the last restart and won the race.
Now, I’ve said that Mark Martin is the second best driver in NASCAR today. But I also believe that Elliott Sadler could have pulled that off in a car that good and with a pit crew that flawless.
Nowhere is the clean air effect more prevalent than at the speedways. It’s impossible to say who has a superior car, because the leader can lead 100 laps convincingly enough to make the announcers wonder who could catch him, yet as soon as that driver gets dropped in with other cars, he can’t pass anyone worth a damn. Most drivers will tell you that to pass anyone in this car, your machine has to be vastly superior. How much better can a driver’s car be than someone running second or third?
The clean air problem isn’t as pronounced at places like Martinsville, Richmond, Bristol, or Dover. It’s hardly, if at all, noticeable. No leader has clean air for long at any of those places. But that’s only eight races out of 36—and we keep hearing it may be less than that soon.
One of the reasons we’ve had so many race winners this year, aside from Mother Nature’s role, is that track position is everything. The best of the best have all kinds of difficulty passing in the current car. And it was supposedly designed with the opposite outcome.
Add the Chase to this and you begin to see why drivers don’t fight as hard for position as they might…why wear your car out doing so and even risk wrecking when the important thing is to score as many points as possible? In the position Mark Martin was in before Chicago, he would have been pretty happy with a third place finish and wouldn’t have risked a DNF going for anything better. And rightly so. The current rules dictate that that needs to be his main concern right now. It’s often said that we need to add 20, 50, or 10,000 points for a race win, but nothing will eliminate the focus on points racing as long as there is a Chase. (Suppose there is 10,000 points given for a pre-Chase win. Where is the incentive to go for a second win once a driver has one?)
And so it goes. Right off the bat after the inevitable mess restrictor plates leave at Daytona, fans are immediately subjected to watch-the-leader-pull-away events at Fontana, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Just when people start to see some decent battles at Bristol and Martinsville, back we go to Texas.
As more and more speedway races pass by without leaving a mark, the reputation of a follow-the-leader, unmoving auto racing series continues to grow in NASCAR. Were any of the speedway races memorable this season? It’s not that they never have their moments, but they decidedly pale in comparison to Bristol or Martinsville or Richmond or Dover in the quantity of such moments. There is the occasional good finish at some of the speedways, but they are the exception, especially with the current car. And as snoozer after snoozer like we saw in Chicago piles up, more and more fans lose interest. This sport used to be recession-proof. No longer.
I doubt any of this will come to mind when deciding what track should lose an event for a race at Kentucky or another at Vegas.
But hopefully, with their newfound status, the citizen journalists will keep pushing the issue.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I would like to see the points stay as is but take say 5 or 10 million dollars from the point fund and add that to Just the winners purse every week and see if that would get them to race harder for the win. Let the Trophy and endorsement by the prize for the championship. And give the race winners an extra $150,000-$300,000 every week.
I know its hard to fix the racing with these cars and the cookie cutter tracks. The above is just a suggestion to fix the points racing problem.
The results haven’t been with Harvick the last few races, but Gil and Kevin seem to be doing a much better job at improving the car through the race, something that Todd just plain wasn’t doing. Wrecks at Daytona and Infineon and a power steering leak this past week were the causes of poor finishes at those tracks after the team had got the car running really well each race. If Kevin is unhappy with the switch, it’s an impression I don’t get from his radio chatter. Sounds to me like he’s unhappy with the engines… and given that his teammates are running similarly mediocre this year after finishing 4-5-6 in the standings last year, I’d say that’s a more likely complaint.
Your: “Add the Chase to this and you begin to see why drivers don’t fight as hard for position as they might…why wear your car out doing so and even risk wrecking when the important thing is to score as many points as possible? In the position Mark Martin was in before Chicago, he would have been pretty happy with a third place finish and wouldn’t have risked a DNF going for anything better. And rightly so. The current rules dictate that that needs to be his main concern right now. It’s often said that we need to add 20, 50, or 10,000 points for a race win, but nothing will eliminate the focus on points racing as long as there is a Chase. (Suppose there is 10,000 points given for a pre-Chase win. Where is the incentive to go for a second win once a driver has one?)” is ONE GREAT SUMMATION OF POINTS RACING!
As far a Mayfield goes, I am still in his corner! (just wait for the out-of-court-settelement).
And as far as Danica, money is the name of the game these days! She will go where the money is! BUT! I firmly believe it would be a HUGE mistake to switch to NA$CRAP! She is used to cars than actually can be adjusted and react accordingly, switching to the “WMD” cars, commonly called the CoT, would create HUGE problems for her!
They simply ain’t race cars!
Generic tracks with generic drivers driving generic cars does not make for good racing. Whats makes it worse is NA$CAR manipulating the race with fake cautions. The best pit work wins rather than the best driver or the best car. The late “debris” cautions make the first 90% of the race meaningless for most of the teams. Football season is just around the corner and the dropoff in NASCAR ratings may take a larger drop this year than in the past.
I can’t imagine why many fans, and media folks like Jenna Fryer, think that ‘dega was the best race of the year so far. Was it just because of the last lap? If that’s the case then the race should only be about 10 laps total and spare us the 3 hour run around.
If there was EVER a time when short tracks were needed it’s NOW. Especially with the new restart rule. Then I wouldn’t have to listen to so many co-workers complain that nascar is boring.
I believe I’ve said this before and I can’t remember if I read it once before taking it as my stance:
Keep the chase, but change the qualification rules. Everyone who WINS a race gets into the chase. As well, the top 10 drivers in points without wins also get in.
Theoretically you could have 20 chase contenders, or you could have only 10.
You’d add so much excitement the final few races because literally anyone could get themselves into the chase. And a mutliple winner might want to push hard to avoid yet another driver wiggling his way into the case to compete against him.
I believe that a more equitable distribution of tracks as well as more-win-oriented points would produce better (more) racing.
Less Intermediates. Move a California date to Irwindale. Move a Michigan date to…I dunno, is there a short track nearby? Move Chicago’s date to Iowa. Move atlanta’s 2nd date to Road Atlanta. Pocono used to have a half-mile interior track for the Modifieds. Run that configuration for 1 of the 2 dates.
Intermediates have their place, but not “half the schedule” place.
Increase the points award for positions 1 thru 10, as well as the difference between them. Everyone 26-43 gets the same points (no need to drive rolling debris around for “points”) If you have a big difference in points between 3rd and 4th, that position has more value.
I liked the idea posted above about taking “points fund” money and moving it to winner’s money at the tracks.
As with anything, rewards (or punishments) determine behavior. If you reward conservative points racing, that’s what you get (by making bad finishes much more negative than good finishes are positive).
We see almost every week a car that is capable of driving up through the field, even with the “car that can’t pass”. All it requires is that the reward be higher than the risk. Stewart passed 3/4 of the field under green. He then passed half of that again, under green. Kahne passed a bunch of good cars under green. Gordon and Kahne ran side by side for multiple laps competing over 2nd.
Hey Ken! Your “The late “debris” cautions make the first 90% of the race meaningless for most of the teams” is right on baby!
PURELY FABRICATED RESULTS!
AND NOT RESULTS EARNED ON THE TRACK BY RACING FOR POSITION!
don’t you just wish more people would understand when they buy a ticket just what they are watching!
It sure ain’t “racing”!
Big thanks for writing your thoughts!
Maybe we should coin a new NA$CRAP phrase to describe Sunday afternoon “events”!
I agree: if you win a race, you are in the chase. I don’t care if there are 25 drivers in the chase. Keep the chase format though and let’s have more short tracks. The others are so boring.
Tires are whats wrong !!!
Nascar and Bruton Smith has also gutted Bristol , the great slamming and bumping that made the place a legend is no more. In its place is a cookie cutter track in half mile format . I never thought I would say boring and Bristol in the same sentence , but its true . Its become just another nascar snooze fest …
PittCaleb, I like the idea. Unfortunately, the COT takes any hope of any driver “racing” harder. NA$CAR has brought a mule to the Kentucky Derby.
Good article about the points racing, but the comment about Atlanta is not necessary, it is one of the oldest tracks on the circuit with several of the closest finishes. Youre just not going to get side by side finishes every week, how often did we get them with the old car…….?
The speedways are a big piece of the puzzle that NASCAR is trying to solve.
No, they’re not. They know the problem is with the cookie-cutter tracks they’ve added to the schedule (California, Chicago, Kansas) and the sorry-ass COT they’ve forced on the Cup teams. Those are the two biggest things wrong with the Nascar product. But instead of addressing those issues, Nascar officials have tried to solve their problems with diversionary tactics like “Single-File Restarts.. Shoot-Out Style!” and giving some internet reporters access to the garage. They absolutely refuse to admit they made bone-headed decisions and they refuse to make the real changes necessary to correct the racing on the track.
Also, Nascar gambled that the new fans they would gain by giving races to new markets would offset losses in the traditional base. They were wrong. Now they are paying the price for their folly.
Hey Mick, your comment “I can’t imagine why many fans, and media folks like Jenna Fryer”, etc., well, please remember Jenna is a NA$CRAP schill and will say anything to keep in the good graces of King Brian and company.
Maybe King Brian invites her over for “cocktails”? (by the way, know any?)
And while Cup racing keeps getting worse and worse, The Camping World Truck Series and even the Nationwide Series when they go to SHORT tracks are putting on shows 10x better. And they’re the ones in financial trouble. Go figure.