Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
48 years into a misspent life lived on the edge, I don't think I shock very easily anymore. A healthy dose of cynicism helps one get by in a quirky world that seems to have gone mad at times. But I have to admit, when I learned a judge in Kentucky dismissed the lawsuit the Kentucky Speedway had filed against the ISC and NASCAR on Monday, my jaw dropped into full “fly-catching mode.”
For those not familiar with the lawsuit, the Kentucky track's argument was fairly simple. NASCAR awards Cup race dates annually to tracks of their choice, and they say that they do so with “the best interests of the sport” in mind. (Yeah, this California Labor Day experiment has proved to be a real asset to the sport). Anyways, the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) owns twelve of the twenty-two race tracks that will host Cup events this season, with those tracks awarded nineteen of the 36 points races that are on this year's schedule. Yes, that's more than half the season; and along with that distinction, keep in mind each date NASCAR awards gives tens of millions of dollars to track owners. Add in the concession money, TV money, etc. and we're not talking chump change here – making ISC the leading company in line to profit from the sport’s current schedule.
In the meantime, Brian France remains the CEO of NASCAR, a privately held company that belongs to the France family. That’s ironic, seeing as the ISC is run by Jim France – Brian’s uncle – with sister Lisa on the board of directors. While the ISC is a publicly-owned company, a controlling interest in the stock is held by the various members of the France family. So… how could there be a conflict of interest there, right? I mean, it seems perfectly logical that between swerving away from palm trees on his ride home, Brian might call Uncle Jim and tell him, “In the best interests of the sport, I think NASCAR has to take a date from Watkins Glen, the Dogpatch of the Circuit, a crumbling relic, and award it to a rival track owner.” Does that seems plausible to you? If it is, keep laying out the milk and cookies for Santa Claus.
How blatant is this conflict of interest? NASCAR and the ISC share the same corporate headquarters on Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach, Florida – it’s to the point they even share receptionists. To the casual observer, it might seem pretty obvious the relationship is a bit too cozy; but in the eyes of “Bubba Law” – the way it is administered in the Third World backwater country of Florida – these two are separate companies.
Kentucky's lawsuit tried to call NASCAR and the ISC on this Grand Illusion. They noted that since the same family ran both companies, and ISC was a major player in procuring race dates – which NASCAR awards – the playing field wasn't level for an independent track operator trying to land a coveted Cup date. And there is evidence that goes beyond anecdotal that suggests this the case.
For example, look at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Originally, the government paid for a great deal of the cost of building that track as a way to generate income into an area that was devastated by Hurricane Andrew – especially after the USAF decided not to rebuild the airbase devastated by the storm. But NASCAR decided only to award Homestead a Busch Series and Truck Series race when the track was first built, claiming it wasn't worthy of a Cup date. Even after another major and expensive redesign, the France family refused to budge; it looked like about the only way the track was going to get a Cup date was if the owners sold out to the ISC.
Well, that’s exactly what happened. ISC bought the track in the late 1990s, the taxpayers got the shaft, and – presto-chango – Homestead and the ISC had a Cup date. Similarly, when independent investors proposed a track in the Northwest, NASCAR had no interest in scheduling a Cup date in that area. But once the ISC proposed building a track in that same place, suddenly that land was all but guaranteed an event before a shovel dug into the ground. That commitment was intended to help leverage state governments into bankrolling a portion of the costs of building the track. At least this time – perhaps wizened by the Homestead debacle – the local politicians told the ISC to tape a flying flip at a doughnut, with the voters loudly repeating that offer.
But for some reason the right, honorable District Judge William O. Bertelsman didn't see a conflict of interest in the incestuous relationship between the ISC and NASCAR. A cynic might think that Hiz Honor will now be dumping a few cubic acres of cash into his basement for administering Bubba Justice Southern Style, but I have no credible evidence to prove that's the case. Bertelsman's argument is that this is a classic case of “producers” and “distributors.” In his ruling, the judge noted:
“A producer of a product is free under current antitrust laws to select its distributors, and to refuse to deal with would-be distributors, no matter how worthy or deserving they may beâ€¦”
Now, I'm not a lawyer. (There's one less reason to hate me). But in trying to find an analogy that fits my life, I present this: Let's say in a given area there are beer sellers (distributors) who sell the big two breweries, Bud and Miller/Coors. These are your distributors, prices are set at a certain level, and everyone makes money. Then, out of nowhere a new, third distributor wants to enter the same market and sell the product cheaper – even though they pay the same for the product. Well, that might upset the apple cart, so the producers decide they will not provide products to the new distributor, in order to keep prices high. Without the top selling flavors of beer, the new distributor is now doomed: You could argue the upstart can still get other brand of beer and microbrews, but the fact he can't get 30 packs of Coors Light and Bud are ultimately going to bankrupt his business. If that's legal… it shouldn't be, as it certainly isn't good for the consumer.
Throughout its history, NASCAR and to an extent the ISC have been the happy recipients of the benevolence of Bubba Justice, backroom style. The fight may not be over; the Kentucky track has the right to appeal today's decision, and all indications are they will. In response, NASCAR will keep spending millions of dollars to thwart this lawsuit, because it threatens to cost the France family their cozy way of doing business. Even worse, if the suit were ever to reach an open courtroom, NASCAR would be forced to open its accounting books, a possibility they will resist until their last dying corporate breath. If folks were ever to see the obscene profits the France family makes, fans might rise up and stone them in the streets.
My guess is it's time for Kentucky to move beyond the lawsuit and invite the Federal Trade Commission to take a good look at the relationship between NASCAR and the ISC, as well as how the Cup schedule gets decided. My guess is governmental hearings would finally force the Frances to do what we all know is right: divest themselves either of their holdings in either NASCAR or the ISC to level the playing field for all track owners. At this point, we know this much: if this judge's ruling is upheld as correct in the eyes of the law, there is no conflict of interest – but to the eyes of logic, the status quo is a shameful monopoly.
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What’s so hard to understand about the fact that in a Free Country the owners of a business have the right to do business where they choose and with whom they choose? Kentucky’s lawsuit is and has always been as asinine as it would be to sue Dunkin’ Donuts for building a store in the neighboring town instead of in your town.
The kind of government interference with private business owners right to choose how to run their own business that you’re calling for is the utter antithesis of the American way of life.
If the law permitted government to tell Nascar where to hold its races it would also permit the government to tell your employer to close your workplace and open one in a city a hundred miles away instead.
If you want to live in a communist country where the government controls the businesses better move to China fast because all the other communist countries failed and China is moving towards giving their businesses more autonomy.
As anyone with any education at all knows ,business owners do not have the right to do business as they see fit . And thats because of , not in spite of, this being a free country . There are very good laws and regulations on the books to prevent companys like ISC and NASCAR from running over anyone or any law that gets in the way of their idea of success . KEEP UP THE FIGHT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY .
Monopolies are not permitted. But with the IRL, Champ Car, ARCA, USAR, American LeMans, USAC, NHRA, IHRA, ASA, and on through the rest of the alphabet soup of race sanctioning bodies out there Nascar is far from a monopoly.
Sports in general can’t be viewed in a monpolistic sense like an electric utility. We don’t NEED sports, we need electricity. Therefore anti-monopoly law is necessary to regulate utilites.
Kentucky was told before they started construction that they would not get a Cup date. What do they not understand?
Please point out the section in the federal constitution where the gov’t has a right to interfere in the activities of a private company. There is none.
Try reading “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism” by Dr. Robert Murphy to get a sense of what the free market entails.
Vote Ron Paul
I must agree with M.B., NA$CAR is not a monopoly. I would say that Beach Boy Mafia would be a better title.
NASCAR and ISC are a monopoly and should be broken up no questions asked. So none of you have a problem with you taxes paying top dollar for homestead and having NASCAR use thier infuence to buy it for pennies on the dollar? They have been doing this for decades and this is how they totally control the market. I just can’t believe your not pissed knowing alot of the money in the bank is your tax dollars.
Clearly you don’t own a private business. The concept of free trade is all well and good (and you can wrap it in an American flag) but take from someone on the front lines of a small business, the degree to which the goverment regulates, monitors, and legislates a small business would take books to document.
Of course the cozy relationships big businesses enjoy with elected officials mean they don’t have to play by the same rules as the upstarts. One need only recall that the state of Florida decided that building a pedestrian bridge over Speedway Boulveard wasn’t a public project but should be funded by NASCAR and the ISC. But a week after Daytona Speedway hosted a high profile media mania visit by presidential candidate George W. Busch then Florida governor Jeb Busch decided to fund the bridge after all. It’s just too bad that the ISC didn’t get Jeb to pay for the soft walls surrounding the track as well or perhaps Jeb would never have had to sponsor the autopsy photo privacy act after 2/18/01 (which I strongly agreed with)
But wait a second. Another hallmark of a democracy is a free press. So why would a governmental bill intended to limit the Orlando Sentinel’s right to access those photos as part of an investigative piece of journalism be allowed to pass and withstand court challenge? I mean such an investigation could have made NASCAR look bad.
To take another governmental action near and dear to my heart recall the legislation to protect the Harley Davidson Motor Company in the 80s. Harley went to Congress with proof the Japanese big four bike makers were “dumping” thier product on the market. (In other words selling it below cost and at prices cheaper than in thier own domestic market.) Well, hey, if Honda wants to lose money on thier big CC street bikes, that’s thier right as a business entity, right? This is after all free enterprise, a hallmark of our country even if it costs Americans jobs at the benefit of Japanese workers and corporations. Even in the face of Free Enterprise Congress imposed tariffs on any Jap bike larger than 700ccs. Given some breathing room Harley developed new products that appealed to consumers at a set price and to this day Harley dominates the 700cc and up Cruisr Market. In fact they went to Congress a few year’s early and told them to rescind the tarriff early as they could compete with the Japanese bikes head on. And so it shall be, forever and ever, amen.
Need a better example?
People, People, People, you are way off the mark here. NASCAR may be a single supplier, but they do not qualify as a monopoly. The monopoly laws were set to govern things like railroads, utility companies, and basic needs suppliers, so that 1 company would not control American livelihood. NASCAR is not a necessity. In fact, it is mere entertainment, and anyone is free to build their own. In fact, I think Brian France and Vince McMahon are the same person. I don’t see anybody wanting to break up the WWE.
Actually, we DO own a business.
And there is nothing in the Constitution permitting the government to tell us where we can or cannot open offices or telling us that we can deal with Client A but not Client B or the if we deal with Client X we must also deal with Client Y.
The overregulation of businesses is almost entirely due to socialist contamination of our politics and the failure of the ordinary American to actually READ the Constitution.
The government does not exist for the promotion of “good ideas” to promote niceness. Its legitimate involvement with regulating business is almost entirely confined to the enforcement of contracts and the prevention of fraud.
Kentucky, let me see other than being the favorite topic of Jay Leno’s monologue and country music’s main source of cd sales, who are they now? No wonder Bubba judge did not take the suit seriously. If he only knew this Independent track is a sub division of of the Greater Cincinnati he would have taken the suit more seriously. If they had had the forethought to give the track a name identifying it with Ohio he would have taken the suit more seriously. I guess ol Teddy Roosevelt was the last good monopoly buster. Got two good ones running for the presidential nomination now. Edwards wants to Lawyer up and bust them, Obama wants to make nice and reason with them. Maybe the Kentucky and greater Cincinnati area should start a PAC and pick one to help them with their cause. I would pic the lawyer, this monopoly has to go, its bad for racing. It will always be tainted with this arrangement, just smells bad on both sides of the Ohio River. On a side note, a few miles down the road from that track is where they do all the mountain top removal mining and valley fills. They will have the biggest damn dirt track ever when they get through. You talk about a monopoly, will leave the South in a cloud of dust virtually. Seriously, lets lawyer up and fight this thing. We can wait on Al Gores global warming to take care of Florida and have this big high flat dry plateau up here in Kentucky to race on or we can bust up this monopoly now and share the sport.
Less Government, More Private Enterprise. That is the principles America was built on. Hey Matt, bet you want Hillary to be President, Too.
Matt, I love ya’ man, but you are dead wrong here, and your beer distribution analogy is seriously flawed. Ever heard of “protected territories” in business relationships? I sure have, and was the beneficiary of such relationships in the ten years I owned a business.
I like to call it “free association”. Sadly, we are all about freedom when it suits us but in favor of the heavy hand of government intrusion when things aren’t as we like.
Bottom line, dude, no one is stopping you from forming your own sanctioning body for stock car racing.
Let me see the people that own the tracks that get the cup races are owned by the organization or family members who dish out the cup races. If not a monopoly what do you call it. Conflict of interest for sure. Do district judges check their brain at the courthouse door or does some brain write them a check. If you took the family ties out of the mix and had them in seperate buildings this might not look so bad. Even sharing the same receptionists. Lends a new meaning to the term justice is blind.
While some valid points are made let’s look at another example, anti-trust action taken against Microsoft. Obviously Microsoft dominates the operating system universe though there are alternatives out there. What got them in some hot water was bundling thier Internet Explorer browser with Windows. Competitors of Internet Explorer screamed foul. The Justice department found those complaints to be valid. Is surfing the net a life essential activity or is it entertainment?
I am no fan of government intrusion. As a hot rodder I resent the Hell out of the government telling me what I can to them, as far as lifting four wheel drives, dumping the cats on my Trans Am, or running a 67 350 in my Monte. Back in the day a fellow by the name of Joel Rosen ran Motion Performance and teamed up with Baldwin Chevrolet on Long Island to produce the legendary Baldwin-Motion line of hyper muscle-cars. One of his later projects was producing a series of V8 powered Chevrolet Vegas. As a former owner of two (home made, not BM) V8 Vegas I can say those things were scary quick. One ride in a buddies BM 454 Camaro convinced me I’d never ride in it again. And so everyone was happy, right?
Nope. The feds got outraged. Rosen was dumping the emmisions systems off his cars. It wasn’t anything everyone wasn’t doing in thier garage or under a shade tree anyway, but he was doing it for profit. But as Rosen saw it, if he didn’t provide a buyer with a V8 Vega, either the guy would build his own or buy an earlier (and higher polluting) Chevy hi-po car with none of the emmisions junk. The government issued a cease and desist order and threatened Rosen with huge fines and even jail time. His business was effectively ended except for selling some garish auto body parts and the parts needed to build a V8 Vega at home.
So it the government could attack a small business that produced less than a 1000 V8 Vegas, why should NASCAR be exempt?
Matt, you’re still missing the point on monopolies.
NASCAR would be in a monopolistic situation if it A) bought up all stock car racing organizations (ARCA, Hooters Cup, etc.) and declared itself the onlyorganization in the US solely responsible for ‘stock car’ racing in the U.S., B) bought or forced ALL the other non-stock car racing sanctioning bodies (IRL, ALMS, NHRA, etc) out of business (And by forcing them out of business, they start their own “copy cat” leagues) and then declared itself the sole auto racing sanctioning body in the U.S., or C) Practiced vertical integration to where they set rules on every aspect of the sport from who builds your chassis and engine all the way up to owning <>every<> track in the series.
The Microsoft example that you use is a perfect example of anti-trust law and monopolistic intent. While yes, you can live a full life without surfing the net, if you want to you should have choices on the software you can use. Netscape was a stand-alone app added to your PC. Microsoft used their market position to undercut Netscape by giving their browser away free with something you NEED to run a computer. Why buy from X when it’s free from Y? A similar situation would be something Wal-Mart has been taken to court for doing: The accusation is that they come into a town, open a store, and deliberately underprice prescriptions, using the profits from other departments to make up from the loss. When the small pharmacies around town go belly up because they can’t match Wal-Mart’s prices and still be profitable, Wal-Mart has 100% of the pharmacy business in the town and slowly the prices are raised back to profitable levels. That’s an example of the type of “undercutting” Microsoft was sued for.
NASCAR hasn’t done anything like that YET that we know of. If they said to Kentucky Speedway “We will give you a race IF you don’t run races from any other series on your track”, then they might have something, a broken contract at the least. If Kentucky did what NASCAR said to the letter, NASCAR gave them a Cup date, and then took it away to give to an ISC track and Kentucky went belly up, then that’s on the fringes of a monopolistic practice.
Think of it this way: I build a car dealership in my town before I decide what brand or brands I want to sell (Pretty dumb, I know, but it’s an analogy). I do my research and decide I want to open a Chevrolet dealership in my town. My town already has a Chevrolet dealership (it does in real life). I go to GM and say “I want to buy a franchise to sell Chevrolets. It will be five miles from the existing Chevy dealer in my town.” GM does market share analysis and says there’s no way two dealerships selling the same make of car five miles apart will turn a profit. They decline to offer me a Chevrolet franchise. Should I take them to court for restraint of trade? I had no confirmation from GM before I broke ground that I could get a franchise, much like Kentucky Speedway didn’t have a Cup date confirmation.
As for the V8 Vega case, Emission controls are a Federal Mandate from the EPA to manufacturers. If you go into business advertising a product or service that removes something federally mandated to be on a car or ANYTHING else, expect a visit from Uncle Sugar. True, you, I or anyone else can disconnect every emissions control from our car or truck and the government will be blissfully ignorant. But we’re not advertising it. Now if it comes out NASCAR simply dumps used motor oil from the garages into a grass parking lot, the EPA may come calling to talk to the fine folks in Daytona.
Matt, I don’t like the way NASCAR has changed for the (IMO) worse any more than you do. As an open wheel and stock car racing fan, I see ominous signs that I saw during the heyday of the late CART series. But this column may be “yelling just to yell”.
Just because someone builds a racetrack… there’s no requirement that NASCAR give them a date!
How the heck do you swallow this bunch of stoopidity?
NASCAR owes Kentucky nothing; there’s no contract, no requirement, no duty, no understanding.
Back away from the computer and take a deep breath of… something.
Look at it this way; I’mna build a new garage; Lexus owes me a car to put in it?