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
Tuesday March 4, 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.
Don’t take this the wrong way, faithful Frontstretch readers, but sometimes I feel like the kid in the Emperor’s New Clothes story.
The Vegas Nationwide race early this year was an example. Despite the CoT and the current Nationwide cars being so vastly different, Goodyear usually brings the same tires for both races on race weekend. As a result, the Nationwide Series put on a miserable race that day. At the end, 17 cars were out of it, and five more were more than 25 laps down. Some of the best Cup drivers lost control of their cars as they struggled to find grip while driving a Nationwide car with Cup tires. There were 12 caution flags, and nearly a third of the race was run under the yellow. There were two red flags, surefire excitement killers in any race. The first 25 laps took over an hour, for an average speed of about 40 MPH.
To paraphrase one of racing’s most famous phrases: that’s racin’?
Zero of the drivers or announcers complained, which was too few to be a coincidence. It was as if six out of 13 figure skaters in a tournament all fell during their performances—and the announcer simply commented on what bad days everyone seemed to be having without questioning whether there was a possible problem with the ice surface.
Following this farce, I felt like I was in an alternate universe reading about how great this race was from so many writers. I even got into mini-spats with my family members at the Frontstretch about it. With little support from participants or viewers, I started doubting myself about it for a second, but only a second. Despite being alone in my conviction, I was firm. The Sam’s Town 300 stunk, with a capital Stunk.
I get a similar wilderness feeling today hearing repeated assertions of “safe” regarding the current Sprint Cup car. There have been so many offhanded affirmations about the safety features of the present machine, both from commentators and fans, that the idea that the new car is safer than the previous one is simply accepted as fact without scrutiny. It sometimes seems like I’m the only one that thinks this is a little weird.
The CoT was, of course, hatched with safety in mind first and foremost. And there are features of the car that are geared towards less risk, like the movement of the driver’s seat four inches toward the center and roll cage to the back. It was a good idea to move the exhaust to the right side. No one here is denying that such features are commendable and, for those, NASCAR should be applauded. And most of these things could have been done without a radical reengineering of the Car of Yesterday in an effort to equalize the cars for better racing.
It seems odd that a machine that NASCAR dubbed “The Car of Tomorrow”—as if to make fans think about future technology enabling cars to run without fuel or oil—handles worse than anything the sport has run in the recent past. Certainly, the Car of Yesterday (before 2007) looks sleeker and more modern than the Car of Today.
This columnist wouldn’t mind hearing how much safer the current car is, except very often, there is no underlying explanation of what makes it safer. The compliments for safety are repeated most often when a driver climbs out of the car after a hideous wreck, like Joey Logano at Dover or Michael McDowell at Texas last season. No one says “he’d have been in trouble if the roll cage was where it used to be” or “it’s a good thing he had the air dam slowing him down.” It is simply declared so every time a driver walks away from a crash, as though it never happened with the old car.
It is also rarely mentioned that while driving the previous car, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and many others had emerged unhurt from colossal end-over-end wrecks at Daytona and Talladega, most of which were, visually at least, even scarier than Logano’s or McDowell’s crashes. (Nor is it noted that nearly all of the most frightening crashes in recent years have happened at restrictor plate tracks. Anyone notice that?)
One can argue that McDowell’s wreck resulted out of loss of control of the car, similar to Jeff Gordon’s hard hit at Vegas last season. A driver climbing out of a totaled racecar unhurt does suggest that the car is safe, but that a professional stock car driver lost control of the car in the first place because it is near impossible to handle in the best of conditions does not. Even NASCAR has said that the car is designed to be more difficult to drive. No one disputes that particular attribute of this machine. Isn’t a car that is difficult to handle at high speeds, by definition, unsafe?
The new car is “boxier” because it is higher, and a higher car means a higher center of gravity, which as we now know is brutal on right side tires. Imagine driving a bus around the racetrack at top speed and think about what would happen with all of that weight on the right side. Goodyear is not entirely to blame for frequent tire problems of late. Whatever deficiencies may afflict the Official and Only Tire Provider at the moment, Goodyear is making some better efforts these days, even if it took some disastrous races to get them going. But right now they are the color blind man who has been given a Rubik’s cube.
Goodyear continually says that they are trying to strike the right balance between a race-worthy tire and a safe one. At many tracks, it is clear that they haven’t figured it out yet. But like the adjustability on the new car, there is sometimes less than zero margin for error. To keep from blowing up on a speedway, a tire must be made so hard that drivers feel as though they’re on the edge of a wreck constantly. Being on the edge of wrecking doesn’t sound very safe either.
There is also the little matter of that splitter, which, on several occasions, has cut tires as a result of hard side-by-side racing, which there will be more of every time NASCAR legislates that all cars be created equal. And needless to say, driving with a cut tire is also fraught with danger. At a plate track, this is almost a formula for a Big One, and it’s surprising that it hasn’t happened yet.
The safety argument for the new car very often puts the cart before the horse. I have noticed that the new car seems easier to save when it goes sideways. And when that happens, D.W. or someone else will be sure to note that “A driver can get sideways with this new car. He wouldn’t have saved that in the old car.” Right, and in the old car he likely wouldn’t have gotten sideways in the first place.
Besides, the ability to save a car is only relative. It may seem like a safety feature, but in the long run, it really isn’t. Michael Waltrip wrecked his car in a Bristol practice because as his brother in the booth said “he never lifted”. Waltrip might have seen the great saves on TV and thought that a sideways racecar was no big deal. So ultimately the idea that the new car can go sideways and be saved doesn’t make it safer…all it means is that it has set a different limit to how far a car can be pushed. No matter where that limit is, someone is going to push it too far.
NASCAR and the racetracks are to be lauded for many of the safety measures they have taken, particularly the mandating of the HANS device and the installation of SAFER barriers. Both of these measures together, taken sooner, may have saved the lives of Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and others, and I wouldn’t dispute that the measures have saved lives since then. If those drivers’ deaths meant anything, they have at least helped to make an extremely dangerous sport much safer for its participants.
But I’m not falling in line and agreeing that the flying brick is safer, at the very least not until Goodyear figures out what kind of tire to run it on, and something is done about the splitter. Teams may figure out a way to get it to handle better than it currently does. Until they do—and a boxier car by definition is not going to handle better—the new car design is cumulatively not safer than the Car of Yesterday, at least in this writer’s humble opinion.
Maybe a driver has a better chance of walking away from a hideous wreck, but I’d rather NASCAR took steps to see that the driver didn’t wreck in the first place.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thank you! I have felt the same way about the improved ‘safety’ of the COT too! Nascar has figured out that the best way to sell everyone on the rolling shoebox is to claim it’s safer than the ‘old’ car. That way, if you hate on the COT, you’re hoping a driver gets injured in a wreck. Amazing how they can ignore how many drivers have walked away from terrible wrecks…especially since the HANS device and aterations to the seats. A few inches of styrofoam and moving the seat 4 inches is a more dramatic improvement? And, as you point out, making the car harder to drive and handle in traffic doesn’t sound better to me. But as long as Nascar can wave that ‘safer’ flag, they can vilify anyone who thinks the car is a huge boondoggle.
Great article Kurt. I too cringe everytime I hear NASCAR and their talking robots in the booth try to justify the car using unsound logic.
WOW! WOW! WOW!
Be warned though, your taking on not only “THE ESTABLISHMENT”, but the “FAN BASE” that BLINDLY has repeated the NA$CRAP line of “THE POS IS GREAT”!
Let me describe in my terms what the POS, and I REALLY DO MEAN “PIECE OF CRAP” really is:
1. it is JUNK!
2. it has not contributed to overall driver safety!
3. GOODYEAR IS TO BLAME for the tire problems, after all they agreed and paid for the right to supply tires for this car! IT IS A GOODYEAR PROBLEM, PERIOD!
4. the POS is UGLY to watch on the racetrack!
5. drivers do not complain because NA$CRAP threatened their very jobs if they did so!
And hopefully, a real race fan can relate to what I am going to say, but I can visually see the difference between the old car, and the POS as it goes around the track. the POS just has a funny, very funny, motion and attitude about it! That is why I simply don’t go to ANY races anymore, it just LOOKS STUPID, HANDLES STUPID, RACES STUPID!
And anyone that thinks this is a “real race car” is just plain _ _ _ _ _ _!
(sorry folks, just have to call it the way I see it)
RACING IT IS NOT!
And the worst thing, the VERY WORST THING about this whole mess is???
NA$CRAP REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!
Gee, come to think about it, did you mention they, NA$CRAP, claimed it also saves the teams money??
SAY WHAT? more testing is going on now to try and “figure” out this car than at any time in the past!
And those that can afford the testing win, those that cannot sink further to the rear of the field!
So much for “PARITY”! But then again, that’s what that “YELLOW” flag, (for phony debris) is all about, to keep half the field, or more, from getting lapped by the rich teams!
It’s all tied togather, and I feel sorry for the fans that blindly accept the POS!
Nice job summarizing what an awfull lot of us have known, and been saying, for a couple of years now!
Thanks for not drinking the Cool Aid!!!
But now with the CoT it seems any time a car is hit off center of the rear quarter panel this thing rolls over like a schnauzer.
But boy it sure is safe huh?
Just something to think about….
And now you know the reason I call myself “THE TURNIP”!
Because NA$CRAP treats it’s fans like they are DUMBER THAN A TURNIP!
All NA$CRAP want to do is bleed all the money
Who cares what they (The Turnips)think as along as the money flows in!
Would making the width of the splitter 4 – 6 inches less than the width of the car result in less tires being cut down? Bring in the edge of the splitter so it’s not near the other cars’ tires, problem solved. At least I think so. There might be issues when the car is turning, but that can be figured out, can’t it? But I’m not an engineer, so if there’re any engineers out there, can you weigh in on this?
COT sux, no doubt. It created a IROC-ish vehicle which Americans cannot identify with so they needed some reason to sing it’s praises. At it’s worst NASCAR racing is safer than most major sports. They knew they laid an egg and were too proud to admit it. IROC failed for the same reason.
I agree on a number of points. If you were to believe everything the media says, you would think that the old car left behind the broken bodies of drivers at every track the circuit visited. Outside of Jerry Nadeau (PRE-SAFER Barrier, I may add), who was critically injured or killed on any of the national series in the post Earnhardt era?
The old car could have utilized many of the improvements that were put into the new car, without the huge expense to teams and the castration of the racing that we have seen over the past 2 years.
They could have avoided the twisting on the ‘old cars’ if they had used a ‘claw’ type arrangement for them to go thru tech. That was another reason Nascar used to foist the COT on the public. And how much (and how long)does it cost in $ and time to get each chassis certified by Nascar? Still saving teams $$$?
I’m glad Frontstretch is around so those of us who have opposing views regarding nas$car can voice our opinions. Too many of the nas$car commentators are shills who do not allow people like me to respond. We don’t exist. AE (after Earnhardt) has been a tough time for us older nas$car fans. The France family took a great series and sold it to the highest media bidders. nas$car as we know it does not exist anymore. The car is hidious and bears no resembelence to brand it represents. Safety is fine, but there has to be a way to incorporate racing and safety in the same package. nas$car blewit. In the process it sold it’s soul to the devil. In closing I’ll respond to anybody who tells me if I don’t like it, don’t watch it. Sadly, I have to say this. Last week-end for the first time in as long as I can remember I didn’t watch any nas$car racing. They’ve lost me. nas$car…R.I.P.
I have to agree with everything “The Turnip” said.
Don’t forget Rusty at Dega in ’93. Disney-Pixar took that wreck frame by frame and recreated it for “The Kings” wreck in the movie “Cars”. I was in front of the TV that day and was scared that Rusty was dead, but he walked away with a broken wrist.
If anyone out there is seriously interested in learning something about safety in motorsports then i strongly suggest you read “Rapid Response” by Dr. Stephen Olvey, the CART medical director from 1979 to 2003. Its a comprehensive look at the evolution of safety equipment, medical practices and procedures since the days of cardboard helmets and short sleeved shirts. Youll learn a lot of FACT from the book, not the BS that passes as true nowadays.I should mention that Dr. Olvey was not terribly impressed with Nascar’s attitude towards or efforts in safety until Dale Earnhardts death in 2001.Its a good read.
MMMMM, so many things, first, thank you “Bad Wolf”! Just common sense right?
And Kurt, those four (4) flat tires on your car, and those Big Bad Black Helicopters hovering over your house are just a “mere” coincidence to your article!
But did you notice the black helicopters all had FLAT GOODYEARS on them? And flying the YELLOW FLAG?
King Brain was supposed to be in one of those black helicopters, but he is still recovering from last nights binge!
The truth is just hard for some people to admit!
Again, a big thanks for writing about the obvious, sometimes the truth & the obvious make for the very best reading!
I suspect Jeff Gordon and others who have been in bad wrecks recently might just disagree with how much safer the new cars are, and I have to assume that DW knows much, much more about the safety of cars – ask him about that metal rod he had in his leg several years ago.
In answer to no one has an issue with the inducties to the Hall of Fame. I think since the France family owns NASCAR and Big Bill founded it, Sr. and Jr. should be in a different class. Since it is the first year for inducties 10 would be a better number followed by 5 the following years. I guess Bryan and Lisa France will be inducted next year along with some of the old inspectors, flag men and pace car drivers.I think the article about the COT safety hit the nail on the head. Even Jeff Gordon said NASAR needed to let he teams have more flexability to help with the handeling.
Hey Richard in N.C., not sure what your point is?
Example, I was at Michigan International Speedway a year ago, watched Dario Franchitti get upside down and tumble his OPEN WHEEL RACE CAR at over 200MPH, he walked away!
And he was NOT DRIVING THE COT!
How do you figure that one?
What your implying, and as another poster here wrote, it sounds like any accidents “PRE-POS” caused deaths!
SIMPLY NOT THE CASE!
And your so funny using a NA$CRAP SHILL, in this case DW, as the “final” word in support of the POS?
Dang, now that’s rich!
You are now an official member of us TURNIPS!
Welcome to the club!
Competition from other sports, start times, the economy…. NASCAR has experts who study these problems and report back with rationalizations as to the decline in attendance, viewers, fans. What they really need to study is the one thing they will not honestly address, the product they are trying to sell to the public. Since the first COT race(with very few exceptions) any true race fan can see that racing is NASCAR’s least concern and only through manipulations from the control center has there been any excitement at all. The COT is slowly killing NASCAR.
Just got in from a weekend away from home, not because I needed to disappear after this article or anything :-), and just now read the comments. Good stuff all and thanks for reading. Appreciate yas.
Turnip, I’m saying I’m willing to take the word of the drivers that the COT is a safety improvement – at least until someone finds a driver who has been thru a big wreck and says he would just as soon have been in the pre-COT car. Besides, you only get 1 chance to survive a bad wreck.