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.
Happy Hour: The Official Journalist Of NASCAR · Kurt Smith · Tuesday September 15, 2009
When NASCAR finally took us at the Frontstretch in, recognizing us as part of their esteemed “Citizen Journalists Media Corps,” I finally felt as though I had achieved something that I had been striving for since high school: acceptance. I was finally part of the “in” crowd, no longer a misfit. I couldn’t remember what it was exactly that made me turn cool… but who cared?
However, it’s starting to look now like I am only here for comic relief, and I never will get that date with Shannon Spake after all.
Recently, Joe Menzer at NASCAR.com wrote a column letting us opponents of NASCAR’s playoff system know that we are just so uncool. Not since high school have I so fully felt the sting of rejection from the cool kids.
Menzer’s diatribe is a blend of weak defenses of NASCAR’s playoff brainchild along with some unflattering metaphors describing members of the press who stand on principle and still state (often very clearly) what is wrong with the system and why it’s a flawed method of determining a champion.
I’ll deal with his defenses of the Chase first.
Menzer states confidently that the Chase has “reinvented” Atlanta Motor Speedway as a legitimate Cup venue. I’m not sure how he arrived at this conclusion, nor was I aware that the old points system somehow de-legitimized Atlanta. Menzer’s big beef was that Tony Stewart came into the race with the points lead and left with it. As if a race needs to have the points lead change to be exciting… why would someone who thinks that cover this sport?
Note that two of the most memorable races in Cup history took place at Atlanta long before the Chase existed — the infamous Alan Kulwicki-Bill Elliott duel for the title in 1992 and Kevin Harvick’s emotional victory over Jeff Gordon in 2001. Does anyone think that since 2004 there have been better races at AMS?
Menzer goes on to say that people would have long ago lost interest in the championship battle with Tony Stewart holding a 237-point lead, as if it were preferable to focus instead on who can be 12th after 26 races and thus become a serious long shot for a Cup title. Now, he says, because of the Chase, people are intrigued about the possibilities.
Such excitement is clearly evidenced by the soaring ratings and attendance, right? Turns out the Chase has made this season so breathtaking, NASCAR has been asking the drivers for ideas on how to make the racing better, along with implementing a new restart rule after 62 years in a move to jumpstart the competition.
By the way, since when did 237 points with 11 races to go become insurmountable? A DNF or even a bad race or two would pull Stewart right back within range of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, just like what would have transpired with Kyle Busch’s large points lead last season after Loudon and Dover. Last year, we would have had a three-driver race with two of the drivers that ended up battling for it anyway. It might have been more interesting with Kyle in the mix, too, had he not had a lead that was built up with eight wins wiped out in the name of more drama.
You know what I thought was the most exciting thing about NASCAR last year? It wasn’t the last ten races. It was watching the No. 18 car defy physics for the first 26.
But I digress. Continuing on with Menzer, he then points out that without the Chase, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch with four wins apiece would have no chance at the championship. (This article appeared before Busch missed the playoffs). He mentions this point was a reason to celebrate the Chase… not bash it. Conveniently, he ignores that Juan Pablo Montoya, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, and Greg Biffle all have an equal chance at winning a championship while scoring zero wins. That is not a knock on any of them; they followed the rules as written.
But it is a knock on the system.
The argument that the Chase makes it possible for a team that falters early on to still win the title is a two-way street. The other direction, of course, is that a team can dominate for most of a season and lose a championship simply because NASCAR took their points away. Had Mark Martin had stronger engines in a couple of races and not fallen victim to the jaws of restrictor plates, he could very well be that driver today. Imagine if Mark Martin had the season Jeff Gordon had in 2007, scoring 353 more points than his closest competitor did over the entire season and still finishing second. That would be every bit or more of an injustice than winning the title now would be justice for Martin and his fans.
To this end, even Menzer throws up his hands, saying that’s just sports, and sometimes the best teams don’t win. This, presumably, justifies a playoff system that greatly increases the odds of the best team not winning.
And so it goes, as Menzer tossed out the usual defenses of NASCAR’s playoff. I wouldn’t have bothered responding to his article (or even reading it if a reader didn’t pass it on to me), but it got personal.
“[Chase critics] are starting to sound increasingly like the neighborhood dog who barks incessantly as bedtime approaches…[A]fter a while, they simply become annoying before fading away altogether into the night, eventually ignored by the masses who drift off into a peaceful sleep.”
And then wake up to find that their cars are gone. WOOF! WOOF! No one is fooled by an artificial resetting of the points! WOOF! Ratings and attendance are falling! WOOF! The NFL is no longer threatened by NASCAR! WOOF! WOOF!
(Sound of NASCAR snoring in a peaceful sleep)
“So-called racing purists always want to say the Chase is garbage, that it takes away from the season as it was meant to be. These are the same people who can’t stop talking about how great racing used to be, and how awful it is now.”
Well, I’ll read an article from a “so-called” racing purist over a “so-called” racing fan any day of the week. Just to clarify: the reason “purists” say the Chase takes away from the season as it was meant to be is because the Chase takes away from the season as it was meant to be. That sounds pure enough to me.
Actually, I’m not even one of those that yearn for the ’70s so much. The only time I think of the past is when I think about how Jeff Gordon could well be chasing championship number seven this season, placing him in the company of past greats like Earnhardt and Petty. But at least the championship battles under the Chase are more exciting. After all, it was truly exhilarating last year watching Jimmie Johnson fight for a 38th place finish at Homestead to clinch the Cup.
“Those who think the Chase was and remains a bad idea are being left behind like the drunks who sit at their barstools too long arguing about what’s wrong with the government — year after year, closing after closing, no matter who’s in charge. They need to get over it and go home. Or they can keep talking. But fewer and fewer folks are listening to them any longer.”
Wow. Words almost fail me.
The phrase “fewer and fewer folks” certainly describes the grandstands at races or how many are watching on television better than it does those clicking and commenting on articles critical of the points system. Unless our hit counter is fooling me, seems like the Frontstretch isn’t hemorrhaging fans like NASCAR is right now. If anything, maybe fewer folks are listening in NASCAR’s world because fewer folks are even around to hear.
So now, help me out here folks. At least he tried to argue for it a little bit, but do you see any logical or worthwhile justification of the Chase in Menzer’s statements denigrating writers that have what remains a perfectly legitimate beef with it? Does that not say it all about the current state of the sport?
The problem with the Chase and why we’re still barking about it is inarguably simple. The Chase artificially gives points to teams that did not earn them. There it is, in a proverbial nutshell. And this reality is still not disputed, by Joe Menzer or anyone else.
Not even by calling its critics incessantly annoying drunken so-called purists.
Editor’s Note: Kurt’s Happy Hour column will return to its regular day next Friday. And remember, race fans, as with all commentaries the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Way to spit that Kool-Aid out, Kurt!
My thought as to why the Chase is just absurd is the fact that the 31 other drivers that didn’t make the Chase are still in the races and can effect the numbers of points the Chase drivers earn.
Either have only 12 drivers in the last 10 races. Or don’t have the 31 other cars effect the Chase points. For example, if 11 of the 12 Chase drivers finished 1st through 11th, and one wrecked on the first lap and finished 43rd. That one Chase Driver that finished 43rd should get 12 place points, if not, 31 non-playoff drivers just screwed him over.
Granted, that is the extreme example there, but usually a non-Chase driver will finish in between other Chase drivers. And I haven’t even brought up non-Chase drivers that may wreck a Chase driver.
Either get the 31 other guys off the track, or put in place a new points system just for the 12 Chase drivers that ignores the other 31 drivers. It would be really easy to do, just come up with a 12 driver points system, and award the points based on where they finished in relation to just those 12 drivers. Is that a hard concept to grasp?
No other sport has players/teams that failed to make the playoffs in their playoffs. Why NASCAR can’t see how absurd this concept is just blows me away.
Thank you! When I read the article by Menzer I got so angry….! I’m tired of media people like him telling fans we’re idiots for prefering a system that uses the entire season to determine a champion. Besides, each race used to be as (if not more) important than who ended up on top at the end of the season. While ESPN was bragging about their ratings Sat. night beating ‘Cops’, I did notice that, as the race went on, the numbers dropped, rather than increased. What does that say? Maybe that fans aren’t hanging on to the last lap to see who finishes in 12th spot. That doesn’t hit me as a ringing endorsement for the format. I guess he figures that insulting the very people racing counts on to support their ‘racertainment’ is the way to fill stands and keep viewers? I’ve always thought that when someone thinks out shouting you makes their point, they are aware on some level that they really don’t have a leg to stand on.
Good article Kurt. NASCAR’s official writers tend to take the same approach as NASCAR’s leadership – they piss on our head and tell us it’s raining.
I’ll be watching Nascar.com for Menzer’s future columns “Shut Up and Learn to Love the COT”, “Cookie Cutter Tracks are Better Because We Say They Are”, and “Brian France: Born To Lead”.
Damn Kurt, that was a tirade if I ever saw one. Awesome work.
The main problem with Nascar’s point system, Chase or non-Chase, is that it fails to sufficiently reward winning and over-penalizes a bad day.
Wow talk about being out of touch with the fans.
Darn good article, Kurt! I can’t help but see a glaring similarity here: (My advance apologies for dragging politics into the mess) NASCAR.com’s lapdog columnists are racing’s clone of the Mainstream Media’s hacks. “We are here to tell you that everything our government (NASCAR) does is for your good, irregardless of whether you think so or not”. Case in point: the tax protesters that converged on our nation’s capital numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but the political hacks at ABC estimated “some 60,000 or so”. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN! Listen to me! I’ll tell you the truth. Trust Me! (Question: how has NASCAR.com’s readership done over the past season? I know that when my wife and I became serious fans, that was the first website we read. But it wasn’t too long before we began smelling the BS that was pouring out). We love the sport, but can no longer stomach the “All is well” garbage. I hope you guys keep up the good work!
SIMPLY AND “UDDERLY” AWESOME!
(gee, now I have company on receiving hate mail) thanks for taking some of the pressure off!
And a guess on my part! BUT! If everyone was not “just gathering the points”, we would see better racing, such as cars actually going for the win!
Instead, they just lie back and collect whatever points happen to come their way!
Wonder where Joe W is this morning?
Joe Menzer is a tool.
Hey “Brian France Sucks”, that’s not what I would call Joe Menzer!
Gimmee a “W”
Gimmee an “H”
Gimees an “O”
Gimmee an “R”
Gimmee an “ (whoops, please fill in appropriate letter)”
Good article — I have quit reading most of the articles by anyone who writes for NASCAR.com since they all follow the same deal – a bunch of zombies following the party line. I hate the chase, I have since it’s inception. It takes away from the racing that is on the track because all of the TV broadcast focuses on the chase crap and misses the actual racing action.
I’d like to have been able to see if Gordon could have gotten to 7, too, but I’ll never know now since we’re in the 10 race crapshoot, rather than an actual season championship deal. The sprint cup championship is just that, a sprint for 10 races. Who cares?
Anyone who would call themselves a journalist should be running away “ shootout style “ from being a Nascar insider .
I agree NASCAR.com is a waste, that Menzer was a tool for writing that article. Saying “shut up” to whoever doesn’t agree with you is anti-American.
I also agree that every playoff system – team sport or “The Chase” – means that the person with the best regular season record doesn’t always win the championship. The difference is that in team sports, different teams play different opponents, with different schedules, so you can’t just compare them by record to decide who is the best, you need a playoff to match them against each other. Whereas in racing, all the racers face nearly the same opponents (especially with the Top 35 rule, a separate rant) on the same track each week. So you CAN compare racers based on overall points. So a playoff isn’t needed.
What’s needed is a system that doesn’t press the reset button with 10 races left, that doesn’t overpenalize for a bad outing and underreward victory.
I propose that they make the wins count for more points – say 20 bonus points, to just throw a number out there – and that every racer from, say, 30th on back gets the same number of points (you can tweak these numbers as you see fit). No bonus because you led a lap. No bonus because you led the most. And perhaps renovate how much each position is worth in the points while you’re at it because right now you need a math degree to figure out how much each racer has earned.
Okay, some of these ideas won’t work, but you get the point. You could tweak the old system and come up with a better system than the chase.
Ha, go get ‘em Kurt. There are no more audacious writers than those at Nascar.com. I stopped reading their trash sometime ago. I don’t need their opinions or their telling me who to like and who not to. They are just an extension of the crud Nascar has become with it’s hare-brained leadership. I long for the days of Bill France, Jr. He may have been a dictator, but he at least kept some semblance of order in the sport.
Menzer looks like he doesn’t miss a meal, he’s well fed from Nascars payroll. His article is nothing more than shock writing to get more folks to talk about him and his chicken scratchings. He’s ignorant and a human remora. Bottom line is that Nascar.com’s articles are approved by Brian Farce, and what does that tell ya?
Your ‘short’ about go-kart racing was cool! Almost made me wanna be there.
I guess he forgot about the little fact that last year’s final point margin with the chase was 69 (Johnson over Edwards). Without the chase, hypothetically, the margin would have been a mere 16 points (Edwards over Johnson).
I’m right here Douglas. Oh by the way I am not a fan of the chase. I think it is sort of contrived. So we are in agreement on it. I just disagree with you on thinking everyone should be a checkers or wreckers driver every race.( And I was a huge Ernie Irvan fan!) Sometimes you just have to take what you have and make the best of it. Top 5 and top 10 finishes. Consistancy was the rule for winning a championship long before the chase. However if we must have a chase I like some of Freds ideas for it.
Hey Joe W. YES! On the “swervin’ Irvan” support!
How much more exciting could it have been, “back-in-the-days”?
Ernie Irvan still has a soft spot in my heart, always will!
See Douglas we can agree on something. I got to meet Ernie several times. He will always be my favorite. I loved the Black Texaco Thunderbird the best but I rooted for him in the Kodak Chevy and the M&Ms Pontiac too. I sure miss what he brought to the table. I just don’t see Kyle Busch as the new Ernie. Ernie was more fun and has a sense of humor about it all. I remember when he lost the 1st Brickyard because of a cut tire. He handled the dissapointment much better than I did. LOL Watching him and Jeff Gordon racing for that one is my fondest memory of Indy. I just wish that tire would not have gone down. It would have been awesome between those two on the last lap.
There is no way in the world that the sponsors will allow their cars to be parked for the last 10 races, and no way in the world the teams could attract sponsors if the sponsors didn’t know whether they were in the final 10 races or not. There’s no way the track owners/promoters would allow all but 12 racers to be sitting out either – imagine how ticket sales would take a hit for the last 10 races now that Junior isn’t in the Chase if he wasn’t even at the track! And fans of the non-Chase drivers would be pissed too (especially those of us who had to buy tickets to early Chase races not knowing who’d be racing). So that’s not going to happen. Better to dump the Chase and come up with a more coherent points system. Someone somewhere suggested the F1 system, which apparently does what a lot of us want the points to do, but I can’t remember who or where I saw that…
Hey Joe w., Ernie Irvan was himself a unique individual, and cannot be compared really to anyone!
I like what Kyle brings to the table, BUT Ernie was, is, special!
Members of the press who stand on principle – now that will sure crowd a phone booth.
You make some great points, but from someone who has followed NASCAR for over 30 years, I think the Chase works fine. If you go back over the five year history of the Chase and apply the old points system, I don’t think you’ll find much that would have been different.
As for the fans that are vocal about hating the Chase, keep in mind that people with an axe to grind are more likely to speak up than those that are happy with the way things are.
Like many, I would like to see a tweak to the points to award wins. The biggest reason would be to remove the tendency to “points race” and encourage aggressive attempts to win race — like we saw with KyBusch in Daytona.
Having said all that, I’m still tickled Shrub didn’t make the Chase.
Hey Lee, your: “ keep in mind that people with an axe to grind are more likely to speak up than those that are happy with the way things are.”
So true, but also way too many people just blindly accept what is presented to them.
And some of us are more than just the “casual passive” observer!
We know what we want, what is right, and are not afraid to make better racing a passion!
A TRUE PASSION! Cause we know what REAL RACING is!
AND! You say “the chase works just fine”!
Now for the last ten “events” (as built for television), a driver with FOUR (4) BIG wins is now ineligible for the chumpionship?
AND, did you see this past weekends TV ratings?
NFL games were in the 15+ rating range, NA$CRAP in all it’s glory was about a 3 rating, even an ESPN TALK SHOW (3.3 rating) outdrew NA$CRAP!
And the “quiet” ones really are being heard! They simply are not going to the races! By the tens of thousands!
The quiet have spoken!
“Happy with the way things are”? (your quote)
Me thinks not! Count the empty seats!
Whoa! TIMEOUT! It’s time to start the 10 race do-over, “Farce for the Chumpionship”! YAWN…. Tell it like it is Kurt.
I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in my disdain for the tragedy that has become NASCAR. I watch less and less and care little, if at all. How did things become so ruined?
It is as if our hearts have been run over by out of control vehicles in a “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Race”, and the drivers are all part of a dream gone bad.
NASCAR…..We regret to inform you the patient is….terminal.”
Joe W and Douglas, I have an Ernie Irvan #28 Diecast sitting on top of my TV.