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.
Happy Hour: The Official Journalist Of NASCAR · Kurt Smith · Friday November 6, 2009
I don’t know how many people noticed it, but I did.
It took longer to find out whether Ryan Newman was still alive after his nightmarish crash than it did for ABC to run a graphic that tickets were still available for remaining races once the red flag was finally lifted.
Did no one in the production booth question the timing of that? Or even worse, did someone think that right after millions of viewers and spectators finally exhaled seeing a driver walk away from a hideous wreck that it was an opportune time to try to sell tickets?
During the pre-race show, ABC showed Carl Edwards’ car going into the catchfence and injuring seven fans approximately a dozen times, in real time and in slow motion. Well, now we finally have a wreck more frightening than Elliott Sadler’s in 2003 for the highlight reel. You can probably bank on this, too: now that Newman is OK, his airborne crash will be shown in the promo for the next Talladega race on FOX in April.
Yet those clips worked perfectly for ABC/ESPN, who also decided to have a wives/girlfriends segment in the pre-race show before a race at the most dangerous track on the circuit. Part of the piece was wives kissing their husbands before they climbed into the race car, clearly in an effort to create a made-for-TV moment, the possibility of that embrace being their last show of affection.
But after spending all day Sunday promising that, “The Big One is coming, gonna be a wild finish at Talladega, stay tuned for the multi-car wreck!” the announcers suddenly seemed to realize that they weren’t supposed to loudly anticipate another Carl Edwards-style airborne crash while trying to spice up a broadcast of a 190-MPH freight train. So they modified their tune, repeating, “Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want it to happen, of course.”
Right… and I’m Michael Jackson’s half-sister and entitled to some of his fortune.
Remember that shot of Matt Kenseth’s pregnant wife in tears following his Nationwide race barrel roll last season? I’m sure they didn’t want to show that.
My goal in pointing this out to start my article this week isn’t to illustrate the reprehensible marketing of restrictor plate races, although it is downright sickening at times. It’s to point out that it’s the wrecks, danger, and the real possibility of a tragedy that NASCAR and the networks are selling.
Racing is a dangerous sport, and most everyone involved in it accepts that. What isn’t acceptable is a level of danger that is preventable but kept in place because it sells.
Please do not try to tell me that we can’t lower the banking at this track because it will make for boring racing like at Pocono and Indianapolis. If that’s worth a driver’s or a fan’s life to you, then Ryan Newman was right: go home, because you don’t belong here. But you needn’t worry about what I think. NASCAR welcomes fans who want calamity, and ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s race made this obvious.
It’s not “too impractical” to reconfigure the track to make the plate unnecessary, either. If a track has the time and the millions to reconfigure the grandstand, as Talladega is doing, then they have the time and money to reconfigure the track.
No, the only reason the restrictor plate remains in NASCAR after 22 years of consistently producing the worst wreckage in big time auto racing is the morbid possibilities and the revenues that those possibilities generate.
NASCAR will attempt to enforce insane yellow-line and bump drafting rules that change from event to event, they’ll change the size of the holes in the engines, raise the fences, and they’ll put out a car with a stronger roll cage. They’ll even hold an Indian ritual blessing at the track, which for all we know could have saved Ryan Newman’s life. But as long as networks can show abominable wrecks, rave about the wild races at Talladega and count the money, there will not be an alternative to the restrictor plate.
Not unless they take a hit on the balance sheets.
If the drivers in all three major series of NASCAR banded together and informed them that they will no longer race at Talladega until the plates (or “tapered spacers”) were removed, they would have this writer’s 100% support. No one in the broadcast booths, the stands, or in the sanctioning body praising the excitement of plate racing is in the race cars facing constant danger with zero margin for error for 500 miles. Almost universally, drivers hate plate racing, and post-race interviews at plate races reveal that. Sometimes, even after a thrilling win, like with Dale Earnhardt in 2000.
We know that a walkout has been tried before, in a mini-strike that ultimately ended in a victory for the iron fist rule of Bill France as he put scabs out on the racetrack for the scheduled race in 1969. But the drivers were right to do what they did. They had been demonstrating clearly back then that the tires would not hold up and no one was listening. And that’s not even close to the dangers they face at today’s speeds in big packs.
I’m not endorsing a drivers’ union, not after seeing what powerful unions have done to the price of baseball, football, and New Jersey public schools. It isn’t necessary to form a band that will unite millionaires to strike for even more money and disgrace the image of the sport in the process. That’s something NASCAR truly doesn’t need.
But there can be a simple unified front on the part of the drivers… the guys who are in the arena, who people are paying to see, and who face this unacceptable insanity four times every year… that NASCAR will not be profiting from their efforts until the situation is fixed, until something is done to throw the restrictor plate in the trash.
Given the quotes from drivers like Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Elliott Sadler, and almost everyone else, there shouldn’t be a problem getting enough big names to sign on. Michael Waltrip is retiring, so he won’t be a voice of dissent.
Give NASCAR the prospect of a race in rural Alabama without Dale Earnhardt, Jr. participating, after they’ve done everything imaginable to help him be prominent, and that just might sober them up. It’s just like it took four years of steadily dropping ratings and attendance to stop blowing off opinions from drivers and fans. Sadly, the only way NASCAR seems to want to listen, as I’ve illustrated with the first half of this article, is if the bottom line is affected.
Bill France did not have as much to lose then as Brian France does today. It’s not going to be as easy to offer a few million dollars in rain checks for future races to fans that paid to see Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and saw backmarkers from the ARCA series instead, along with a race that would probably be mostly run under yellow.
So now would be the time to take a stand, drivers. Give NASCAR every opportunity and plenty of time to fix this problem before the next Talladega race. Don’t threaten to skip the Daytona 500. Just let NASCAR know the score now, before many Talladega tickets are sold. And watch the ticket sales when NASCAR says to shut up and race or be replaced, as the prospect of Talladega’s spring 2010 Cup event becoming a $70 Camping World East also-rans race becomes more and more likely.
The destruction-promoting networks need to get that message, too: no longer will they be able to promote restrictor plate races with the possibility of a driver or fan death. They can repeat how many times the new car is so much safer all they want after a huge crash; we know damn well the networks love the violence of plate races. It shows in every plate race broadcast: in the announcers’ chatter, the television ads, the pieces on drivers’ wives kissing their husbands before they strap in, “knowing it may be the last time.”
So it’s an insult listening to announcers act somber when a driver looks like he might be seriously hurt. Why not just come out and say “Whoa! He might not be OK! Exciting, eh fellas?” Just be up front about it—that is the selling point of Talladega. Networks want violent crashes.
Fans have been sending a loud message with their wallets and remote controls that it’s time for NASCAR and for the networks who broadcast it to get its act together.
Now, it’s the drivers’ turn.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Good points but if we fans truly cared about our drivers we could also fix the issue and stop watching.
I agree that the wrecks are horrible but that is a byproduct of the speed – the concept of plate racing is actually quite cool. If they could simulate that style at slower speeds how awesome would that be?
Don’t hold your breath that the drivers would somehow “band together”, a random act once in a while, but certainly nothing “organized”!
At least on a consistent basis!
Just way too many millionaires on the circuit, coupled with many drivers just seeking a job, and the mix is not there for any organized revolt!
HOWEVER! Always have an out of course, IF the drivers let word out discreetly, that they will do the very same thing, i.e., “single file racing”, at all restrictor plate venues! MMMMM, such as Daytona in February, maybe the NITWOKS would get wind and place suitable pressure on NA$CRAP to do something!
With declining ratings, actually in a free-fall, the NITWORKS could ill stand another yawner, particularly at Daytona!
Now, as far as NA$CRAP using these very violent accidents to “help sell tickets”, please remember, your talking about an organization that only cares about the money! NOT! the drivers or the fans, or the racing!
But in my estimation, the ABSOLUTE WORST case of advertising from NA$CRAP, was a couple of month’s ago the lead in of a NA$CRAP commercial was a picture of THE BLACK #3! How is that for sacriledge?
Using a driver who lost his life IN A RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE!
As a way to promote 2009 races! And thus ticket sales!
Does this not EXACTLY prove the point, and admit on NA$CRAP’S behalf, that this years racing sucks, and they have to go back several years to “sell” tickets to this years races?
So, are you saying, the stands will be filled with people all watching 43 cars at 100MPH go round and around a race track, all bunched up cozy like?
Oh, I have seen that of course, at the County Fair, it’s called bumper cars! Check it out!
Restrictor plates are a tool to put money in the pockets of greedy execs from TV networks and dumb@sses like Brian France. Its the NA$CAR equivalent to a bunch of white trash getting drunk and watching the demo derby at the county fair. THIS IS NOT RACING.
Let me start by apologizing up front to everyone, but I, personally, like the excitement of the crashes and the wrecks. Do I want any of the drivers to ever get hurt in one of these wrecks, hell no (well, maybe Shrub – just kidding). Maybe I’m the only fan here that gets a thrill of watching a car flip end over end, or seeing a driver get t-boned on the track. Again, that doesn’t mean I want to see anyone get hurt. But after watching so many races, weekend after weekend, where the racing is so God awful boring, I look forward to tracks like Talladega, Martinsville and Bristol. Unfortunately, because of the Chase, those races have become almost as boring to watch as the ones at MIS. So if the drivers aren’t going to drive, and my apologies again to any Newman fans, but when he said that fans who like to see what happened to him last Sunday should just go home, well, I have to say to him, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, that as a fan, I expect to see drivers race, not ride around the back of the track to avoid any kind of trouble. So to Ryan Newman, maybe he should have been actually racing last Sunday instead of being a wimp and riding around. Maybe HE should go home instead of the fans that, for what it’s worth, are looking for some kind of excitement in the Cup series. So bring on the comments that I’m sick for wanting to see ‘The Big One’ but if you are all honest with yourselves, I’m sure you’re going to agree that the wrecks in NASCAR, like the fighting in hockey or the body flipping and turning in downhill skiing is one of the reasons we all watch the sports we do. And if the drivers don’t like running on these tracks, I am sure there are 100 other guys or gals that are more than willing to get behind the wheel, taking the chance of dying while doing something they love, and odds are, they will survive and make a good chunck of change in the process. Nobody is forcing any of the drivers to run these tracks. Bring in ringers like they do for the road courses if they are scared, timid, or frustrated. Again, many, many others would love to have the opportunity to race Talladega! OK, I’ve vented and I hope I haven’t offended too many people for my love of seeing something, anything, other than single file, no passing, racing.
I like watching buildings burn down if no one gets hurt.
I like watching train wrecks if no one gets hurt.
I like watching stuff blow up real good as long as no one gets hurt.
I’ll give you credit for being honest but be honest with yourself, all those things carry a probability that someone will get hurt and that is why they are to be avoided. There is also the added issue that, even if no one gets hurt, there is some destruction of property involved which also costs someone money.
Hey 24-4-5, well, your kinda close.
After all, Auto Racing “is supposed to be dangerous”!
That is what “RACING” is all about, or should be anyway. Let each driver decide the risks he or she wants to take, and race accordingly!
If it is too dangerous for a certain driver, well, tough! Today, we have a very watered down sport of auto-racing!
Unfortunately, we can’t have it both ways, one being “SAFE”, the other being “TRUE AUTO RACING”!
BUT! With that said, please, please remember ALL of what Ryan Newman said! And your conveniently leaving out what was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HE SAID!
And that was “ back in the days, the drivers themselves had control over their cars, and respected each other, driver to driver”!
The “RACING WAS NOT DICTATED BY THE OFFICIALS”, “things were settled on the race track, by the drivers”!
The drivers in a REAL RACE, make the decisions! NOT the officials!
So please go back and watch ALL of Ryan’s comments, he certainly NEVER said he wanted anything perfectly “safe”, he said he only wanted control over HIS life, and his race car, not an organization that as a surprise just before race time makes a change to the rules!
His words were “we are put into a box”!
You may be right that there are plenty of men and woman to run the race should the drivers revolt, but how many tickets do you think will be sold if it turned into essentially an ARCA race? It would hurt Nascar in the wallet big time and you might actually get change from this.
My idea would be very simple. At Talladega, Dale Jr should announce that he will not race until something is done. This threat alone would drop tickets sales since 2/3 of the grandstands would be empty on race day. You wouldn’t need all of them to revolt. Just the one that has the biggest following. At Talladega, that would be Jr.
Personally, I hate the wrecks. I hold my breath waiting to see if everyone is okay. What makes a race exciting to me is watching a driver take a car that has no business being up front and putting it in Victory Lane. They have taken the drivers out of the sport. Everything is aerodynamics, tires, etc. I miss the days when the drivers would manhandle a ill-performing or damaged car and show the rookies how it’s done. Nascar took that from all of us and replaced it with a 500 mile or lap show meant to please the advertisers and the new viewers who don’t have a clue.
So, if you like the wrecks maybe you should start watching that god-awful fighting series. That should satisfy your appetite for violence.
One could also question the motive of the governing body creating a car that would result in more spectacular wrecks just to put asses in the seats. How else do you explain a wing on the back that makes the car go airborne if it gets turned around.
I think the drivers tried to make the point last weekend at Dega, not from getting together before the race but it all came together while they were on the track. They tried, but Nascar carries the big stick of the competition debrie cautions, and with the “Double File-Shootout Style” everytime they pull that flag out of their ass the field is once again bunched up, and real racers will start fighting to keep their positions. Add that to Nascars penchant to scrutinize any drivers and teams for not towing the company line and the drivers are pretty much under the thumb of Brain France and Nascar.
Next year they need to get together and run all but the last 5 laps single file at around 150mph. All pit at the same time and resume the single file parade.
If Dale Jr. Didn’t race at Talladega he wouldn’t qualify for the chHAHAHA sorry, almost got through that without laughing.
I personally do not like the wrecks because it screws up my fantasy team! Move on, next topic.
Plain and simple. It ain’t about the racing anymore. It’s a circle jerk with the tv networks and nas$crap holding hands.
Someone must have stroked too hard last week, then, because NASCAR is blaming ABC for Talladega being a boring race.
Apparently, ABC was so intent on telling everyone how boring the race was, that they misses some “seriously intense” racing.
I suppose that could be true, as long as there was a slug and a turtle somewhere in the infield jockeying for position. But on the track, it was either boredom or crashes.
Racing has deteriorated to the wreck factor when what is really important is the competitive factor. Granted, crashes are part of the competition, but are not the reason to watch. Talladega has deteriorated into no longer being a competition. People who have lost their sense of what is important are warped.
I personally like the excitement that plate racing provides. (with the exception of Sundays race) Lap after lap of lead/position changes. Watching the skill of drivers racing in such close quarters is well, just exhilarating. I do not necessarily want wrecks, BUT that is always a possibility. Dega or Bristol.
what a bunch of babies! crying about wrecks, do the math most of us can name all the flips that have happened at the superspeedways in the last 20 years. Put that number over the laps run and you will get VERY low odds of a major wreck. Sorry but in the real world sometimes wrecks happen, change the wing, change the car whatever sometimes wrecks happen and (get this) excitement sells, watch ESPN and you will see football highlights of the hardest hit. Baseball highlights of outfielders running and diving for balls, sometimes into eachother. Get over your sensitivities before this whining turns whats left of NASCAR into Indy racing or some other uninspired money loser. I wish Dale Sr was here to fold his arms and tell these whiners to shut up!
Well, no doubt there truly are idiots amongst us. Just review some of whats already been written above. As to the drivers boycott, love to see it happen but it probably wont: so I guess the only alternative is us…those of us who are racing fans and not demolition derby fans. We need a movement and a petition. NO MORE PLATES!!! Obviously I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I will NEVER watch another plate race again..which means I’m not watching any of the commercials. As the poet said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Amen Glenn, and thanks for saying what most fans think. Why is it that if I say I want an exciting race, and if that so happens to involve a crash or wreck, then so be it, but because I say that then I’m not a race fan? Sorry, but I’ve probably got more years under my belt as a fan than most of you. And it would be nice if you actually read what was written instead of interpretting it the way you are. No one is saying they want anyone to get hurt when they wreck, but we like the excitement of seeing the crash. Sometimes our dreams are squashed because it’s our driver that got involved in the accident and other times we cheer because it happened to someone else. For those of you who think otherwise, well, go back to whatever rock you crawled out from under on any given Sunday afternoon because wrecks are just part of racing; and yes, it is good tv viewing when it happens.
Hate to break it to you Glenn, but Dale Sr. hated plate racing too.
He hated it because of the lack of throttle response, I remember the interview, he was simply lobbying NASCAR to let the cars run. Not crying about the odd possibility that a car may go upside down. Go ahead and boycott, Tennis or Golf are on the other channel since everyone seems to want a completely sterile, safe sport, the rest of us will watch T-Dega, or maybe go there.
I love the macho comments from people who would crap in their pants on a race track!!!
I can’t block or kick very well either but that doesn’t mean I want NFL turned into flag football because someone might get hurt! Same principle, I guess you would have all the danger taken from NASCAR, well the fact that they are on the edge is very exciting to most fans and ryan Newman doesn’t get to judge. If he is scared there are plenty of drivers to take his place.
I doubt you can drive either.You have the balls to call Ryan Newman scared? Would you do it to his face? Whats your hobby…golf or croquet? What a joke!
Yeah, name calling that’s cool! Right back to the 7th grade. Sorry I thought I was talking to grownups, my fault. I didn’t call him scared, I just offered him an option. I said “if”. The joke is on anyone who decides to gut Nascar of it’s inherent danger, that will spell the end.
“If he is scared there are plenty of drivers to take his place.” Looks to me as if you are questioning Newmans courage. What did I miss?
Maybe we should mandate no helmets in Cup so that we dont “gut Nascar of its inherent danger” too much.
Well, if we wanted things to be dangerous, NASCAR really would be racing “Stock” cars off a showroom floor again instead of the spec cars they race now.
After 27 years of attending every race run there, (1973 thru 2000), I simply stopped going. For a lot of reasons, racing at Talladega has turned into something that doesn’t interest me anymore, which I thought would never happen. Lot’s of people do like it, but from the looks of those stands quite a few are staying away, and I think it’s more than the economy. From the generic cars that don’t look like anything on the street to the rules that make sure no one can get any kind of real advantage, the cars are forced into a 500 mile pack that inevitably results in someone upside down, on fire, parts flying, etc. I have better things to do with my Sunday afternoons. Sorry NASCAR, you lost me.
You may want to debate who’s “scared” and who’s not but the bottom line is, do you really expect the drivers to cook the Goose? They may be brave enough to drive @ 200 mph,inches apart, but they ain’t brave enough to give up those tasty paychecks. NA$CAR holds the ultimate card. The driver’s lifestyles. Any bets on the final payout when “The Anointed One” wins his fourth. No wonder he doesn’t say crap.
Does anyone watch skiing, downhill mountain biking, WRC, air shows, 4×4 racing, etc for the wrecks? Those things are inherently dangerous, people die every year in them, and yet I can’t remember a single person, media or fan, ever say they watch for the wrecks and hence death potential.
And yet NASCAR has a fair number of fans that like the racing because its inherently not safe and hence has death potential. And the media and sanctioning body promote the death potential like something to be proud of. And I don’t get it.
Why not make AJ and JJ get drunk before the race then? Wouldn’t that be even better?
Hey Glenn, you said “ ryan Newman doesn’t get to judge. If he is scared there are plenty of drivers to take his place.”
Ryan Newman NEVER said he was scared! Please go back and read, and understand, what he said!
HE SAID HE WANTED CONTROL OVER HIS RACE CAR, AND THUS HIS LIFE!
He will indeed put his life on the line, BUT he does not want to be put into “a box” as he stated, where the risks are out of his control.
Gee, he came out of sprint car racing! Ever heard of it?
Every lap you put your life on the line, BUT you decide when you want to take that risk, not have it dictated to you by some jerk, such as Mike Helton!
At Dega it is a given that your going to run “in the pack”, that’s they way the rules package on the cars makes it. And that infamous hasty mandate, do not bump draft, which started the whole thing at Dega!
Someone said earlier, “if there is a big one at Dega”!
HUH? It is not “IF”, it’s simply how many!
How many fans died in auto accidents getting to Talladega? It seems to me there is a displaced concern for the safety at the track when part of the appeal of auto racing is the danger. No one wants to see a driver get killed, but the chance exists at every track NASCAR races. Burton hit the wall on Friday in Texas and he is so sore he can barely walk. It didn’t look like much, wasn’t dramatic or exciting, but he was hurt never-the-less. I think this conversation needs some perspective and as Booty Barker said this week, “Don’t change a thing.”