NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Last season Joe Menzer of NASCAR.com took Chase opponents to task for still bleating about a playoff system that has been in place for several years now, as if somehow a rotten idea becomes better over time. Despite having little real basis for defending NASCAR’s unpopular playoff, he took some unfriendly shots at people who rightfully dispute the legitimacy of NASCAR handing out unearned points rather than letting drivers fight their way back into contention.
No matter how long any controversial rule is in place in any sport, there will be debate about it. The era of the designated hitter is now entering into its 37th season. College football still today has sportswriters determine a champion. And people who publicly oppose these affronts to sportsmanship are still right.
Much like these issues, the debate about the use of restrictor plates gone on since their implementation at Daytona and Talladega in 1988. But, the plate opponents—who generally win the argument anyway—now have 22 years of frightening incidents, odd rulings, and discombobulated results to point to as reasons to find an alternative to the restrictor plate. It’s doubtful that fans would complain about plates being a semi-sanctified “tradition” if the banking was lowered at superspeedways and the one thing that makes an auto race an auto race—horsepower—was restored.
Yet the folly continues. Already television is gearing up for the surely imminent carnage at Talladega this weekend. While the Texas race was in a rain delay Sunday, Fox re-ran their 10 best crashes (!) since the beginning of their coverage in 2001. Most of them (seven, I think) were at Daytona or Talladega. Number one was Carl Edwards going into the fence last year, with no mention of the broken jaw a fan suffered from flying debris. With the sport still directionless following the death of Dale Earnhardt (in a wreck that didn’t make Fox’s top 10), the restrictor plate wrecks are celebrated.
Following the Brad Keselowski upside down show in Atlanta, much criticism was directed at Carl Edwards for settling a score on a 190-mph straightaway at Atlanta rather than in a corner or at Martinsville. Being turned 180 degrees at that speed will often cause a racecar to go airborne, whether a wing is attached or not. We know, because we’ve seen it happen frequently at Talladega—Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Carl himself have all been upside down in recent Dega races, and it took Edwards going into the fence for networks to finally stop showing Elliott Sadler’s crash four or five times each Talladega pre-race show. And chances are good we’ll see someone go bottom up this weekend.
It stings enough for a driver to know that he had a great car—well, great for Talladega anyway, which means about .5 MPH faster than 30 or so others—and ended up with 40 points because someone ahead of him tapped another car. But it can’t be fun to go upside down and into the wall on top of all that, wondering if your luck might run out on this one.
So NASCAR attempts to control the uncontrollable. Their latest edict that drivers may bump draft and police themselves came after dozens of races with similarly knotty gray area regulation when it came to racing at Talladega. Drivers were put into a clearly dangerous situation and then told not to make it worse: don’t try to improve your position under the yellow line; don’t bump someone in the corner; don’t drive too aggressively. In other words, stop doing everything that got you to this level. For years NASCAR has been twisting itself into pretzels trying to enforce safety at plate tracks. We love the ratings big wrecks bring, guys, but try not to cause any.
After the fall 2008 Talladega race, where Regan Smith passed Tony Stewart below the yellow line on the last lap and was penalized as a result, a heated debate ensued whether Smith had been unfairly robbed of a victory. The debate was worth having, but a key point was often missed, that being that the necessity of a yellow line rule is asinine to begin with. That race especially should have been an argument against plates. NASCAR enforced the rule properly, but Smith didn’t violate the spirit of the rule. There shouldn’t be a need for it.
That a relative unknown like Regan Smith was even contending for a win should have been a surprise, except it happens fairly frequently at plate races, where catching a draft at the right time can elevate a driver from 21st to third in two laps.
Conversely, often times making the Chase is a matter of lucking out of DNFs at the superspeedways. Mark Martin and Kyle Busch last season had to fight to the death to make the playoffs, even with four wins apiece, largely because both drivers were caught up in plate race wrecks not of their own making (although Busch could take some of the blame for his Daytona night race wreck). Kyle in particular ran strong enough to win in both Daytona races, with a 41st and a 14th to show for it.
If you could say one nice thing about the Chase, at least it enabled Mark Martin to contend for a title after plates nearly took him out of it. Except Martin was then nearly knocked out of it in the Talladega fall race, getting turned on his roof in a big one for a 28th place finish. Which effectively negates that argument—or makes the case that there should be no plate races in the Chase. (Or no Chase.)
The skewing of points at plate races is easily illustrated by the results of any one of them. I selected four Talladega races at random to show the effect of plates on finishes and points. Take a look at some of the names in the top and bottom ten in these Talladega events—and note that they were all in Chase seasons:
If anything, this sample fairly well demonstrates that there really is no rhyme or reason to who runs strong and who runs weak at Talladega. For a time DEI owned the place; shortly afterward it was Hendrick who dominated. With the current car design limiting innovation, no team has really stepped out front. If no one has the slight edge, it all becomes “putting yourself in position to win”. In other words, it’s a complete and total crapshoot.
So why go 500 miles? Why not just race 20? You could even still have the three green-white-checkereds. It’s not like having pitstops will make a difference; losing 10 spots means close to nothing in a joint where you can lose 10 spots in a lap.
You won’t get an argument here that plate racing is exciting in a morbid way. It does keep one on the edge of their seat waiting for the big one. Then the big one happens and takes out a fan’s favorite driver, and there they are grumbling about $*#!#^%@$ plate racing again. Usually the victimized driver agrees. Sometimes the driver agrees even after a thrilling win.
There are people who defend plate racing on the grounds that removing the plates and lowering the banking at Dega would turn it into Pocono. What’s wrong with that? At least you know there that it’s a lot less likely a driver you’re pulling for will end up on his roof, or that your fantasy team won’t take a huge points hit in a huge wreck from a tiny bumper tap, and we know that there generally won’t be four or five stars finishing near last while journeyman drivers try to stay above the yellow line on the last lap. For my money, a less than stellar race at Pocono beats a wreck fest at Talladega any week of the year.
NASCAR is addressing some of its problems if not necessarily all of the ones some of us would like. But it’s doubtful that the end results of restrictor plate racing—scary crashes, confounding rules, and perverted results—are going to be addressed, even if the Fan Council suggests it.
But if you hate restrictor plates, don’t give up. Baseball mostly did away with artificial turf. Anything is possible.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Fan’s watch because of wrecks. Anyone who claims they do not find the wrecks intruiging is either lieing or bandwagoning on the general opinion of bloggers, columnists, and nay-sayer fans the week of and the week after a restrictor plate race. This past Monday on the FS live blog, columnists and fans alike were commenting on how exciting it lookes when a car like Reutimann’s burst into flames, and how “the big one” at Texas changed the complexion of the race. Here we are 5 days later and the tide of public opinion has shifted to the PC notion that wrecks in NASCAR are bad. Like the people who say big hits in football, or fiting in hockey is bad. Those are some of the sports biggest draws.
And to accuse the sport as “directionless following the death of Dale Earnhardt” is nieve at best, a low-blow at it’s core. The safety mandates and innovaitons since 2001 include the HANS Device, SAFER Barriers, the COT, eliminating racing back to the yellow, and attempted “bump drafting regulations.” How effective have they been? Well, no one has died in NASCAR since 2001.
Pocono, June 2009
Top 10: David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr.
Bottom 10: Kurt Busch,
Shall we stop racing at Charlotte and Pocono as well?
Top 10: JJ Yealy, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd, Casey Mears
Bottom 10: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman
no, DansMom, no. Not all fans watch for the wrecks. And it’s insulting to say they do. Nothing warms my heart more than to see absolutely no one taken out by a severe wreck all race long—as happens very often at your local short track, or in dirt track races where drivers have respect for each other.
I’ve been a saturday night stockcar racer since I was 14, and I’ve said it a hundred times right to fans faces—if you come to this track with the specific intent to watch me injure or kill myself, I have no time for you.
Plate racing continues to be the worst form of motorsport on the planet—yes it’s “exciting” at times, but in a contrived, “jesus christ I can’t believe they’re doing this” sort of way. It’s awful, and when it finally kills another driver or spectator, NASCAR might make a change—then again, it’ll probably just be a smaller restrictor plate, to slow them down and make the racing even worse.
The plain and simple reason the plate races still exist is so asshole fans like you can keep cheering for someone else to die.
Why shouldn’t FOX use footage of the wrecks for marketing?
Historically significant events aren’t always asthetically appealing “feel good” pictures: the NASA shuttle explosion, back and to-the-left JFK assasination, shoot even Nancy Kerrigan v. Tanya Harding are all major events that have been relived through the media for years.
Let’s not overreact over a few wrecked race cars. Besides the cars are designed to wreck more “horrifically” because the explosion of sheet metal of the cars absorbs impact.
I also don’t wish for drivers to go to a racetrack with the intent of injuring or killing someone. I was not aware that was the case in NASCAR today. I thought drivers went to the racetrack to race.
But the fact remains, if you race at 200 mph you will wreck at 200 mph. And wrecking at 200 mph will put on a tremendous show. It is human nature to be interested in watching this, and I do not believe it requires malicious intent to watch wrecks.
Just as traffic slows to see the after affects of a a wreck on the side of the interstate, so will fans tune in to watch races with wrecks, and highlights of wrecks on sportscenter.
WOW!!! Kurt Smith, I have to ask you a question. Did you watch NASCAR before the COT and wing came into play? The spoiler and roof flaps did a reasonable job of minimizing rollovers. They happened, but not with the certainty that the wing allowed. Don’t be surprised if nobody rolls over this weekend. Don’t be surprised if somebody does, driving at 200mph is unpredictable at best.
I agree with you (and most fans and drivers) when you say the restrictor plates should go. But you are DEAD WRONG when you say to lower the banking. Pocono is a fairly boring race, always. The exciting moments at Pocono: Steve Parks roll-over; DW’s wild flip; Davey Allison’s head actually coming out of the car in a horrifying roll-over. The point is, the banking of the corners does not eliminate airborne cars. Don’t think that I am just loving the wrecks. I don’t care who wins ANY race, I just care that all the drivers, crew members, officials, and fans get home safe. Pocono is a boring follow the leader snooze-fest settled by fuel mileage nearly 100% of the time.
Nobody will ever convince me that running 200 mph 3 wide nose to tail in a pack is safer that running 230 mph all by yourself. Before restrictor plates, 3 cars finishing on the lead lap was a lot. But NASCAR won’t allow that because it would cost ISC hundreds of millions of dollars to make the necessary changes to the track, i.e. moving the fans farther away from the racing surface. And $1000.00 worth of restrictor plates makes sure they don’t need to.
The only consistent rule to motorsports is this: Anything can happen at any time on any track. Every race is a gamble and a crap shoot.
Finally Kurt, NASCAR is all about having equal cars so ANY driver has a chance to find the front of the field. If you want to cover a motorsport where only the drivers that are supposed to finish up front do, then F1 is where you should probably go. As for me, I seriously like to see an underfunded underdog team come in and give the powerhouses a run for their money.
I completely agree with Dansmom (and kinda hope that she is hot).
Fans dont watch Nascar JUST for the wrecks, but they definitely watch because it is a part of the race. Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks and I think it is so popular because of the high probability of wrecks and spin-outs. No one ever says “man did you see that caution-free, clean race last weekend? That was awesome!”
Wrecks are a part of racing and anyone that says they aren’t excited when someone hits the wall is lying.
If you had a scale that measured the degree to which the rules insured that the team with the fastest car won a race (or championship) versus how randomness or luck should determine the winner, tell me to which side the following rules would tip the scale….
Green White Checker
I guess it all depends what you want when you watch a sport – a contest where the most deserving wins or a crapshoot.
Now where would the circus and the County Fair be without thrills , spills , and excitement . That’s what brings in the spectators . Auto racing promoters know that now , they knew that in the late 1800s when racing began . If you can keep the fans on the edge of their seat with contrived close racing , and the inevitable big one , why wouldn’t you ? It’s a question of marketing . Ask DansMom , she gets the memos from Brian and Ramsey just like all of the NASCAR Marketing employees do .
Dansmom… can you get me tickets to races since you work for Nascar? I also want to meet Max Papis so bad it HURTS!
Ok. NO ONE wants to meet Max Papis…
have a look at sportscenter, what do you see HIGHLIGHTS! big hits in NFL, broken Glass in hockey etc… sports fans love action, that is reality. Fox is well within their rights to show cousin carl upside down in an ad.
If Fox wants to show the “good” wrecks where everyone walks away, also show the “bad” where they don’t. There are new fans out there who do not know that this sport can serious injury (B. Allison, Irwin, Nadeau) or kill you.
As Robert Yates said years ago, Cup cars have far more horsepower than is needed – and reducing horsepower needs to be done not just for Talledega. In today’s economy, with attendance down for NASCAR (as well as most other pro sports) I find it amazing that I haven’t read where any of the giant brains in the media has written that now is the time to pull out some of the lower rows of seats to increase fan safety.
Glenn has a good point. It’s nice for people to not make things so black and white, some issues can be viewed from the GRAY area.
Once again, WC, no one has died since 2001. When we report on H1N1 should we also show clips of the plauge? or polio?
Isn’t this a non issue when we go Fuel Injection next year? Well, maybe it’s a new issue!
@Dan’s mom: J.D. McDuffie was killed in the 1991 “Bud at the Glen,” less than 9 years before Adam Petty lost his life. Clifford Allison was killed in 1992. Neil Bonnett was killed in practice for the 1995 Daytona 500. The very next day a NASCAR Goody’s Dash driver was killed. (Sadly, I forget his name.) John Nemecheck was killed in a Craftsman truck racing crash in 1998.
Along the way, we saw many driver nearly killed. Including Michael Waltrip at Bristol. Bobby Allison at Pocono. Ernie Irvan at Michigan (TWICE). Loy Allen at Rockingham. And others the list goes on and on.
NASCAR needs to improve their safety standards. We saw the 2000 season claim Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Tony Roper. Then 2001 opened with the death of Dale Earnhardt. Only THEN did NASCAR become proactive about safety. That is laughable. In the English language, a governing body that waits for the death of 9 drivers over the space of TEN YEARS could best be described as REACTIVE!
To use another analogy, and I am not attempting to make a political statement here: NASCAR has not had a death since 2001. So the safety problem has been solved. America has not had a single successful terrorist attack since 2001. So that problem is clearly solved as well.