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.
Bubble Breakdown : Tracking The Top 35 In Nextel Cup Owner Points · Mike Lovecchio · Sunday July 8, 2007
Nobody could have been happier with the down-to-the-wire finish of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night than Brian France and the big dogs at NASCAR. After all, it was just one day earlier that the sport was criticized for its handling of the rain-drenched qualifying session that ended just 14 cars from its conclusion. In the blink of an eye, the man on the provisional pole went from the dream of two consecutive 1st place starts at Daytona to packing up his trailer and getting sent home – a cruel end to a qualifying session which proved a difficult reality for several drivers who watched strong runs turn into spots on the DNQ list instead. NASCAR is ahead of the curve in many aspects, but the obsolete Top 35 rule that shut out these drivers is not one of them; as the rain poured down in droves, the need for a rule change has never proved greater.
What happened Friday night is a difficult situation to try and diagnose. If there was ever an excuse to reschedule the end of qualifying to the following morning, this weekend would have been it. The rainout wreaked havoc on several teams with limited schedules who came to qualify for one of the sport’s biggest races…only to realize they never had a chance in the first place. As the final superspeedway event with the current chassis, the money spent by low-budget organizations such as the No. 60 team driven by Boris Said essentially went to waste when they were bumped from the field by Mother Nature. The money put into the car, as Said himself put it, had transformed itself into "the most expensive show car ever built."
But if you put yourself in NASCAR's shoes, you see that it's unfair to hold separate sessions of qualifying in separate conditions. They had no clue at the time the decision was made exactly when the rain would subside, and on that night, their number one priority was starting the Busch Series event on time. It turned out that got postponed, as well, proof that even had NASCAR waited things out, things would have never got back underway.
With that in mind, you simply can't blame NASCAR for setting the field by owner points; but you can blame them for keeping an obsolete Top 35 rule that’s part of that scenario, a rule that should have been adjusted when Toyota first came into the sport this season.
When the Top 35 scenario first was implemented back in 2005, it was when car counts were extremely low, with the exception of a few select races. Because of that, NASCAR wanted to guarantee full-time teams with major-market sponsors and high-profile drivers that there would be a spot for them in the field each week no matter what transpired. But when Toyota came to the sport this season, car counts went up, high-profile drivers jumped ship, and sponsors flocked. But all of that hasn’t translated into immediate success. At the midway point of this season, there is not one Toyota team that is guaranteed to make a race each week, including teams sponsored by: Red Bull Energy Drink, NAPA, Caterpillar and UPS. Among the group on the outside looking in are big-name drivers and past winners Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and Brian Vickers, struggling through seasons filled with both struggle and sacrifice. All of these teams – with the exception of Jarrett, who had a past champion’s provisional – were essentially behind the 8-ball from the get-go with just eight spots, at most, available in each race due to 35 “locked in” positions.
With 53 cars trying to make the field, this was the first weekend where NASCAR’s problems with the Top 35 rule truly came to light. Whether qualifying got rained out or not, there were going to be issues, for even if qualifying DID run there was a possibility that the eighth place car could have been sent home. Since it was an impound race, those cars “locked in” to the field preferred to qualify with essentially race setups, while those on the outside looking in attempted their runs in qualifying trim. That resulted in go-or-go-home cars capturing the top seven spots at the time of the rainout; with Bill Elliott forced to use a champion’s provisional, that meant if one more go-or-go-homer qualified in the top seven, the eighth fastest car would be sent packing. Just doesn’t seem right, does it?
So, what does NASCAR do from here?
It's more than likely that there will be a rule change for next season. As much as Boris Said played off his misfortunes, what happened Friday night did bring to light that there is a problem with this rule. An obvious solution would be to limit the number of cars guaranteed each week from 35 to a smaller number, around 20 or 25. With this scenario, more spots would be available in qualifying, but it would risk the possibility of a high-profile driver that's having a subpar season (i.e. – Kasey Kahne) missing the race.
Well I say, so be it. In a dream world where money wouldn't matter, I would love to see the impound rule thrown away and only 12 spots - since that is the magic number these days - guaranteed. With this scenario, 31 spots would be available. Teams would unload and prepare for an all-important qualifying session, using Happy Hour to adjust for race conditions. Of course, sponsorship and money concerns would never allow this to happen; but a guy can dream, can’t he?
NASCAR is continuing to grow. It was just days ago that the sport announced that the Nextel Cup would be renamed the Sprint Cup in 2008, the same year the CoT will take over as the full-time chassis. It would be the perfect time to readjust the Top 35 rule to make it more sensible for an ever-growing car count.
What will NASCAR do? Feel free to Email Mike with your opinions on how you think the sport can fix the problem.
Without further adieu, here is an abbreviated version of this week’s Bubble Breakdown, a week in which there wasn’t much movement to report. With Johnny Sauter’s 18th place finish for the No. 70 team, the gap now stands a season high 178 points between 35th and 36th place:
Dave Blaney (No. 22) – Finished 23rd; Moved from 37th to 36th in owner points.
Scott Riggs (No. 10) – Finished 41st; Moved from 36th to 38th in owner points.
Dave Blaney (No. 22) – Finished 23rd.
Highest In Owner Points: Blaney / No. 22 (36th)
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I couldn’t agree more. I hate it when pro-top 35 people argue with points like “it’s protecting the top teams!” and “a star driver missing the race would be devastating!”. An individual called into a radio show last week and said that were he to pay the money to go to a race with his family and his driver failed to make the race, he would leave the track and not watch the race (in the wake of the JJohnson/JGordon suspension talk). That just seems absurd to me, and I love how these people conveniently ignore that there are star drivers going home every week, along with powerful sponsors. One could also say it’s to protect teams that have been loyal to the sport and whatnot, but how does that explain Morgan McClure and Wood Brothers teams going home multiple times this year?
NASCAR is trying to make a sport that puts on a good show for the fans and is fair and balanced for the teams. Unfortunately, they’ve ended up alienating the fans and making things completely unfair for low-budget and startup teams.
I think NASCAR should reduce the number of ‘locked’ teams to 25 (as has been rumored), and for the first 5 races of the season, only lock in the 12 Chase drivers from the previous season. It’ll never happen, of course, but I think it would be an ideal solution.
As a Robby Gordon fan, I could care less about the teams suffering under this rule. My driver suffered under it for a full year in 2005 and the first 5 races of 2006, and those entry lists were just about as big in 2006 as they are now. But you know what, no one made a peep about it then because it only hurt small one car teams (Ask that #32 car how they feel about it..oh wait, they went out of business). It is hypocritical now to blast a system that drivers benefited under the previous 2 years (yes I am talking about you Michael Waltrip, Dave Blaney and Scott Riggs). If you dont have the talent to be in the top 35 when you were guaranteed the first 5 races of a season..too bad. Suck it up and do it the hard way Robby
As for the Daytona debacle..how about NO IMPOUND races??? It doesn’t take a brain surgeoun to figure this one out. That way everyone shows up to qualify (not just take 2 laps in race trim), and we won’t hear all the whiners about how we were top on the charts and had to go home…
I think a better answer is keep the top 35 rule and maybe expand the field to 45 or 46 cars. Most of the big tracks can easily adjust pit road and get the xtra stalls. On smaller tracks do the “Dover” rule (where the 42nd snd 43rd place cars share a stall) where the last few qualifers from 41st to 43rd “share” the pit stall with the 44th-46th place cars, with the current car higher up in the race gets to come down first.
Either way, anyone with half a brain should have seen the day when this was all coming, so if you dodn’t call it unfair in 2005 (when all races were impounds, too), dont whine about it now. It is what it is.
Another point/possible outcome of lowering the locked in teams to 30 or 25 is this:
now my math may be a little fuzzy…but lowering it to 30 or 25 still sends home the same amount of FULLY FUNDED TEAMS each week…lol It’s not like Morgan Shepard and Derek Cope are locked in…
All lowering the # of locked in spots does is put more fully funded teams in jeopardy of losing sponsors (as they will miss some races). Why sponsor a car who is 26th and may miss races when I can sponsor a top 25 guy. Hence the rich get richer. It’s the same exact argument as the top 35 rule..excpet now even MORE is at stake im my opinion.
Nascar has to decide if they are going to cow tow to whining teams like MWR and TRB who haven’t paid their dues and such..or do they want to see Evernham, Gnassi and Petty teams possibly get run out of racing instead.
Ugh..it’s a mess of a situation no matter how you look at it. I think the only palatable solution is to increase the fields to 45 or 46 cars like I said above. Hopefully that would be feasible to do at all the tracks.
Or perhaps bring back the old provisional system? That would be fairer to the non locked in teams in that if they qualify well and in the top 36 on speed regardless of owner pts they’d be in to that race. (whereas now they may not be if they are not in the top 8 fastest of the go or go homers).
It would also light a fire to the top teams that they have to show up on qualifying day or risk using up their provisionals and possibly start missing races, too.
How about the old system of 2 days of qualifying? Lock in the first 30 on day one, let the others qualify, or re qualify on day 2. You get your effective ‘top 35’ (on time) in the race, and the rest qualify for the remaining 13 spots. Takes care of anyone who has trouble on Day 1. And eliminate the stupid lock in of cars.
It’s a difficult situation for NASCAR… somebody is going to go home unhappy each week. I agree that the impound rule should be eliminated to make qualifying important again. By lowering the # of cars that are locked in it opens up more spots that are available through qualifying. Kirk Shelmerdine was 13th fastest at Daytona 3/4 of the way through qualifying and was to be bumped from the field. That can’t happen.
Exactly why they need to get rid of impounds (ESPECIALLY AT A PLATE TRACK). If the top 35 guys are in qual trim, I can guarantee you Kirk Shelmerdine will not be sitting 13th….lol
Very true…if everyone was in Q-trim there is no way Shelmerdine is anywhere near the front. But it still brings to light the fact that it IS possible…although very unlikely.
Or NASCAR could go really crazy, on Friday you have tradition qualifying with the top 20 or 25 locked instead of the top 35 and if a driver outside that group gets in they are in and extends the “locked in field” by a position. The other non-qualified drivers to go Saturday’s 50 mile/lap qualifying race to set the remainder of the field. This scenario could have the unintended consquence of cutting down on the number of number of Buschwackers.
Everyone should have 6 provisionals, the top 30 qualifiers are in the race and the last 13 use provisionals based on owners points. You use your provisionals up and you are not in the top 30 of qualifing you go home.
I really liked Tim’s idea of a qualifying race for those cars not locked in. Right now qualifying is a joke. I am only interested when one of the go-or-go-home guys are qualifying. Let the top 35/25 qualify to determine starting position then have a last chance qualifying race for the rest. This would provide a show for the fans plus allow the “outsiders” to work on race setups. The way it is now, even if they qualify, they have no chance in the race
Scrap the STUPID impound rule (that does NOT save any $$$ anyway) and qualify ALL drivers on time and let the fastest 43 in the show. I don’t think it would hurt NA$CAR’$ profit to allow the fastest cars actually race. (That would be a novel idea!)
…but then when Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson get caught cheating again, they WILL have to go home (like Vickers did) when they are not allowed to qualify. Nascar will never allow that, hence why they will never EVER just let it be top 43 on speed. There will always be some sort of top x number of cars protected.
In light of the number of fully funded teams, either increasing the field or going back to some resemblance of the old provisional system seems fairer in terms of qulaifying for the field.
I also like the idea of a qualifying race. NASCAR needs to so something to encourage the middle of the pack to get the lead out and to give new teams a real chance to get into a race any week. Let every team going to the track have a real opportunity to get into the show. Get rid of all provisionals, including past champion, and lock in only the first twenty (20) in owner’s points. Make everyone else race into the big event The qualifying race could be held instead of time trials and be a sprint maybe ten percent (10%) the length of the big event. The starting grid could be chosen by lot. To jazz it up at least one green flag four tire pit stop should be required.
The top ten of the locked in teams from the last race would have posts 1 to 10 of the main event. The balance would be interweaving the posts with those getting past the qualifying race and the balance of the twenty locked in teams.
The qualifying race would constitute a big new income source for NASCAR, with a new sponsor and another hour of exciting TV time, not just boring time trials
I think qualifying races are a bad idea. Albeit they would be exciting, but now you are talking about having one or 2 practices just for the guys running this race to tune their cars. And then nevermind the other practices for the locked in cars.
Exciting in theory but probably economically unsound, and nevermind the added time pressures for track time to pull this off with possible Busch, Truck or Arca companion races at the same track at any given weekend.
Look at it this way, Jarrett, Blaney, and Riggs were in the top 35 for 5 races. It’s their problem they’re not in the top 35 now. Say congrats to the teams that struggled (even some missed one race) and still made it to the top 35. Instead of complaining how about for once complementing the teams that played by the rules and made it work?
This isn’t an issue about commending the teams that did well under the rule or blasting ones that can’t seem to cope well with it. It’s the fact that the rule was implemented under circumstances that were drastically different than they are today. NASCAR implemented the rule as a basis to protect not only full-time sponsors but to protect smaller teams as well. Now we’re running into things where teams like the Wood Bros. and MMM are getting destroyed and fully-sponsored teams are going home in favor of, in some cases, cars without a single primary sponsor on them.
Some might say that changing the rule would be pandering to MWR and Toyota, but if you’re in NASCAR’s situation, what else do you do? Sure, you’ll still send fully-sponsored teams home, but at least there will be more parity in terms of having different teams going home each week which will spread the points more evenly amongst those outside the top-25 (or whatever) bubble, and you won’t have a situation like it is now where once you’re out of the top-35, it’s almost impossible to race your way back in (sure, Nemechek and JoSauter did it, but sitting 33rd and 35th in points respectively, it seems that the t35 rule is the only thing preventing them from falling out).
It’s definitely a sticky situation. If NASCAR keeps things the way they are, eventually the MMM, WoodBros, MWR, BDR’s 2nd team, and TRB’s 2nd team will all end up biting the dust. If you’re for that, well, then so be it, but I’m sure there’s many more who would argue that that isn’t in NASCAR’s best interests.