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.
The Key Moment - Ryan Newman appeared ready to get around Jimmie Johnson; however, he had to back down when David Ragan's last lap spin caused the race to end under caution.
In a Nutshell - Hand-to-hand short track combatâ€¦racing the way it ought to be.
Dramatic Moment - A two lap shootout at Martinsville had every fan in the jam-packed grandstands on their feet.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Unlike some other race tracks recently, there weren't any empty seats at Martinsville. Hmm. Is there a lesson there? It seems NASCAR's three remaining short tracks are perpetual sellouts.
I guess its ironic that Newman spun Ragan earlier in the race, and Ragan's last lap spin ended Newman's chances to finally end his victory drought – a mark which now stands at 77 races.
After yet another mechanical failure, will the No. 8 team let Junior run the old style engine rather than their trouble-prone R07s for the final four races of the season?
Reports a few years ago claimed some teams were hiding traction control devices in their alternators, but the resultant alternator's durability was suspect. So, why do the same teams keep having charging system issues?
What can be done at Martinsville to keep the drivers, teams, and fans from suffering from the ill effects of exposure to carbon monoxide?
Lately NASCAR has become more and more like Formula One racing. Increasingly, one or two superteams dominate the sport, and the cars are more important than driver skill. There's not much passing, and increasingly, the real drama is played out in courtrooms – not on the track. But for all the faults F-1 seems to possess, at least their points system seems to work. This year's title came down to a three man battle for the top spot, and the driver (Lewis Hamilton) leading the points entering the Brazilian Grand Prix drove poorly, had mechanical issues, and lost the title. The key points to the Grand Prix points system NASCAR needs to look at are twofold. First, winning a race earns a driver substantially more points than finishing second, and points are only awarded to drivers who finish in what amounts to the top half of the field. All other drivers earn zero points.
Robin Miller of SpeedTV claims that a move is in the works to have Jim France take over running NASCAR while Brian France would take the reins of the Grand Am series. Let’s just say if I have a vote in the matter, I vote "HELL YES" – with apologies to fans of the Grand Am series, of course.
When a race breaks the Martinsville record for caution flags in a single event, you know it was a long race. This week, NASCAR officials decided not to red flag the event when Bill Elliott blew an engine and oiled down the track with a handful of laps to run. That’s a far cry from the week before, when the 500-miler at Lowe’s came to a halt for over 12 minutes – even as Saturday night inched ever closer towards Sunday morning. I'd just like to see some consistency in NASCAR’s calls.
Apparently, ESPN was stung by criticisms of their missing restarts during a race. They did a much better job of catching the restarts this time, and that's tough at Martinsville, as yellow flag laps pass quickly on the .526-mile short track. However, it did seem NASCAR might be trying to give the network a hand by extending the length of cautions for routine single car spins to accommodate the TV folks.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s engine was failing for the last half of the race, but he managed to stay in the Top 5…until the last handful of laps.
If he can find a ride for next year, David Stremme ought to consider Maytag as a sponsor. He spent much of the race in the spin cycle.
Give Martin Truex, Jr. the "Cole Trickle" award, because he actually did hit everything but the pace car.
Kurt Busch had a blown tire drop him from contention.
Bobby Labonte had a solid race going until Tony Raines drove into the back of him late in the race.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Jeff Gordon dropped from the lead pack to 33rd when his pit crew failed to tighten a lug nut, but he charged his way back through the field and used pit strategy to contend for the win once again. A timely caution also helped Gordon, who didn't have a full load of fuel because the catch can fell out of the car during a stop. When's the last time the No. 24 team made two crucial mistakes in one race?
Denny Hamlin had an eventful day – the No. 11 car was all used up by the end of the race – but he still posted a Top 10 finish.
Juan Pablo Montoya seemed to get sideways every lap in the middle portions of the race, but he went on to finish in the Top 10, as well.
Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart could easily have been eliminated after getting stacked up in both Kyle Petty and one of Martin Truex, Jr.'s wrecks late. Edwards also nearly drove straight into the wall on one restart, but managed to gather the car back up. Edwards wound up 11th and Stewart 13th, respectively.
What's the Points?
For all intents and purposes, this year's championship battle has come down to a two man affair. Jeff Gordon still leads the points, but Jimmie Johnson’s victory closes him to within 53 of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Clint Bowyer remains third, but is now 110 points behind Gordon, probably an insurmountable gap with just four races left to run. Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch remain fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively; Stewart is 244 points out of the lead, while Edwards and Busch are tied, 280 points back.
Looking further back, Kurt Busch had the worst points day amongst the title contenders, dropping three spots to tenth. That allowed Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Burton each to advance a spot to seventh, eighth, and ninth. Truex and Kenseth remain behind them all, three full races worth of points out of the lead and planted securely in the Chase basement.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. maintains "Best of the Rest" honors in 13th. However, he is now just 66 points ahead of 14th place Ryan Newman. 15th place Greg Biffle is a further 29 points behind him, while Casey Mears fell two positions to 16th, allowing Newman and Biffle to each advance a spot.
On another note, Michael Waltrip moved up two spots to 44th; he is a mere 5,031 points out of the lead (and only 2,580 behind 13th place Dale Earnhardt, Jr.).
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) We'll give this one a five, though it might have been a six had the race ended under the green flag – or simply if the action hadn't been slowed 21 times by caution flags.
Next Up - This many Yankees haven't headed to Atlanta since Sherman led the March to the Sea.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The chase is not down to two. It’s down to one—Hendrick. It doesn’t matter which one of the drivers wins the chase. To me, they’re clones of each other. The chase has become about as exciting as kissing your sister.
I dunno, Matty, it looked like there were a LOT of empty seats. The grandstands were 80% full at best. Even the original Fathead, Jimmy Spencer commented on the Speed Victory Lane show that they looked half full. Furthermore, Kenny Wallace added to it by saying that he hoped that Martinsville doesn’t suffer the same fate as the Rock.
Maybe, just maybe Jim France can save NA$CAR. It’s not Martinsville’s fault for the empty seats, it’s NA$CAR.
Forget pop culture, the NA$CAR touring car, variable starting times, 1.5 mile cookie cutter tracks, and get back to what made the sport great, the RACING !
I noticed also that there were a lot of empty seats. I saw this right after ESPN/ABC mentioned about having a “packed house.”
I this is true about King Brian leaving for Grand Am, then it cannot happen soon enough. I just feel sympathy for the people in Grand Am.
Hum, I must of watched a different race. I saw empty seats at Martinsville, a fair amount of them.
Also, ESPN might of caught the restarts, but, in my opinion, they sure missed lots of cautions. Everytime they came back from commerical, I could tell by the sound that there was a caution on the track.
I’m also confused, I thought the next to the last restart was with 10 laps to go…How come no single file restart? Maybe the lap crawl was different on my tv.
I must be almost completely cured. For the first time in years I didn’t watch Martinsville and I’m really not interested in reading Matt’s recap. Sorry Matt, you are still the best.
I have some obsevations about several points you made . All of the constant whining by Dale Jr. about his engine , just makes him look foolish . How bad can your engine be if you are running in the top ten and higher while whining ? Hendrick is going to have his hands full with this guy .
“Robin Miller of SpeedTV claims . . . “
Matt, half of Robin Miller’s “reports” are misguided speculation and unfounded rumor, another quarter are his own wishes, and the last quarter MIGHT contain a kernel of truth, wrapped up in his own spin. So you shouldn’t put your faith in ANYTHING Robin claims. Besides, he’s OPENLY critical of NASCAR and its fans on WindTunnel, so who would tell him the truth? If he did stumble on something, well, even a blind dog can find a bone once in a while. As you might write, if Robin Miller claimed the sun would rise in the East tomorrow morning I’d still call the National Weather Service tonight to confirm it.
And btw, I agree with other posters. Channel surfing past ABC a few times yesterday I saw that not every seat in the house was full.
They showed plenty of empty seats from the blimp shots. It wasn’t as bad as last year’s fall race, but there were plenty of empty seats. You can blame that squarely on the conjoined twins of I$C and NA$CAR and their not caring about the fans or the facilities, only the almighty dollar.
Robin Miller’s report about Jim France taking over is interesting considering I heard it last month at the Wilkes County Racing Heritage Celebration from a person well connected to NA$CAR. You have to pity the poor Gran Am Series under the guidance of King Brian.
But on the plus side for him is that the cars are pretty much spec series cars like what NA$CAR is now. Plus more of the “beautiful people” go to those races than Cup races, so he’ll be able to rub elbows with folks like Jacque LeStrap, sip wine, eat escargot, and be a complete and total snob like his friends. If he actually has any friends.
Short tracks are where it’s at and is where NA$CAR really got it’s start. Get rid of these cookie cutters and bring back some real action to places that NA$CAR has seen fit to abandon in pursuit of the almighty buck.
When Dale jr. is in position to win a cup title the ratings and attendance will sky rocket until then we just have to hope somebody similar to Dale sr. like STEWART to stop JIMBO and WONDER BREAD!
I have to admit that the thrill is gone concerning nascar . I started watching F1 racing at the urging of my friend , and their racing and their season in general were much better than nascar . The tv coverage is far superior and the commentators ALL KNOW WHAT THERE’RE TALKING ABOUT . Sundays’ F1 race was as exiting as nascar used to be .If the nascar broadcasts and cup racing in general don’t improve , i’ll be watchimg F1 next year .
WRT the attendance at Martinsville, I was at the race. Hadnâ€™t planned on going, but a couple of daughters harangued me into driving up. I didnâ€™t buy my tickets from I$C. We had no problem negotiating some great seats for 2/3rd face value. There were, in fact, empty seats at green flag, most noticeably, the “Chicken-bone Alley” seats down in turns 1 & 2. But it was a great crowd; I would estimate 95% of the seats were full.
What was striking was the number of fans who left as the race progressed and their favorite driver wasn’t faring well. By the checkered flag, I would say that 80% was about right. I’ve seen fans leaving early at lots of races in the past, but never in those numbers. There was still a heck of a lot of good racing left, and Martinsville is not THAT hard to get out of.
Going back to Martinsville live reminded me of what we have lost. There are legitimate criticisms that can be leveled at short-track racing at an old track like Martinsville. I was struck by how long the lines were for the ladies restrooms. That was one clear example of how the demographics of racing have changed. But short-track racing is exciting. My neck hurt the next day from the constant turning to catch the action going on all over the track. And as grateful as I am for flag-to-flag TV coverage, you can see so much more watching live. It was fun watching Gordon knife his way through the field after the lug-nut problem. It was fun watching all the little dramas developing between drivers back in the pack. Little Eâ€™s engine blowing up at the end was impressive. His tailpipes were spitting out basketball-sized puffs of grey-black smoke in every turn.
All that made it more of a mystery to me why fans who paid big bucks to see a race on a gorgeous Fall afternoon saw fit to get up and leave with a hundred laps of racing left. Must be The Brianâ€™s â€œcasual fans.â€
I was at Martinsville for both the CTS race and NCS race. In my estimation the CTS race was a much better race. How can you call the COT event a “premier” event, when the trucks turned the track 8 mph faster than the COT did. I thought there were quite a few more folks in the stands on Saturday than normal, and yes there were an awfully lot of vacant seats on Sunday. I have been going to Martinsville since the early 60’s, and this is the latest I have ever left the stands. Granted the race started later than it normally does, but the 20 cautions didn’t help matters. As far as people leaving early, a lot of people go to Martinsville that live within 300 to 400 miles from the track. These people drive back home that night to go to work on Monday.
How many other people saw the very authentic looking Dale Earnhart walk down through the stands in the 4th turn and wave to all the fans? He looked exactly like Dale Sr. Many folks waved and cheered, and some even stopped him to have their pictures taken with him. I saw him sit down and have his picture taken with a little boy. He had Dale’s walk and even had his wave down pat. It was exciting for me, as I was a big fan of Sr’s.