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.
Matt McLaughlin · Sunday January 20, 2008
Editor’s Note : With Speedweeks just around the corner, there’s an opportunity to take one last look at 2007 before moving forward. And that means we have a chance to honor the fantastic men and women that make this site tick – our talented staff of 19 writers who work hard each day to give the latest and greatest NASCAR news, information, and commentary. Our staff’s passion for this sport is unwavering, and their dedication unmatched – it’s because of them viewership for the site has more than doubled over the past year, even in the face of increasing concerns about declining TV Ratings and fan support. People may not like the direction the sport may be headed – but based on the numbers, it’s through the hard work of our Frontstretch staff that more people are coming here for a daily stock car fix.
So, in their honor, we present to you a special “Best Of” week, chronicling the best articles our staff presented to you in 2007. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and most of all, they’ll make you think – and hopefully, they’ll make your day just a little bit better. Enjoy, and look forward to bigger and better things to come as we head towards 2008!
This article was originally published February 5th, 2007.
As a season of uncertainty in NASCAR is set to begin after some football game this evening, NASCAR is circling the wagons. Unable, or perhaps unwilling to fix the problems that plague the sport, the organization has instead decided to ramp up their propaganda machine to proclaim all is well.
You expect that sort of dishonesty from geek puppettes on the corporate payroll of the very organizations they are supposed to be reporting on in an “unfiltered” manner, but recently, some surprising sources in the media are offering up the Kool-Aid to fans with the missionary fervor of Jim Jones down in Guatemala. Why? It all comes down to access, and for some folks access trumps honesty. Access, after all, keeps them employed. And in the Brave New World of NASCAR, there is no room for freedom of the press. Dissent must be rooted out and silenced. One need look no further than a note penned by the Dictator of the Banana Republic of Daytona, Brian France, to one well-respected scribe wishing him well in his new field of work when, in fact, that fellow had expressed no interest in leaving his current job.
The rallying cry of the Kool-Aid patrol is "NASCAR – Love It or Leave It." Simply put, they make blind adherence to the party line a bare minimum of what is expected of a good fan. That provincial attitude has always set my teeth on edge. What we are discussing here is, after all, just a sport. The stick and ball sport writers routinely diss the organizations they report on and nobody calls for their ouster. It’s like saying any discontent with the current foreign policy of this great nation is unpatriotic because the challenges we face right now make a mere sport look insignificant. Is a man less patriotic because he calls into question the mistakes he perceives our government making? Should such a fellow be deported to Canada? If every citizen of this nation who has grave reservations about our current foreign policy were, in fact, deported to the Great White North, I doubt all the sweat shop seamstresses in the world could ready enough flannel shirts to export for a decade. Likewise, if every NASCAR fan who has grave reservations about the direction the sport is headed were to be banned from the grandstands, NASCAR would need only a gallon or two of Kool-Aid to serve those who were left.
The latest PR blitz involves the almost universally ridiculed Car of Tomorrow program. Fans have been clamoring for years to have more "stock" put back in stock cars, but NASCAR is headed in the opposite direction, standardizing the new rolling stock. If I take any comfort in the fact the CoT is about to debut, it is that the fellow who designed the AMC Gremlin is once again gainfully employed. NASCAR would like you to know the new CoT will fit inside a standard size transporter. They'd like you to know that they hand out the ungainly Pep Boys wings on the back of the things prior to the race and collect them back afterwards so teams don't have to pay for them. They'd like you to know the inspection process will be a lot faster with the new cars. They'd like you to forget all the nasty things the drivers and team owners said about the new cars last year now that threats of unwarranted pit road speeding penalties are now suddenly toeing the corporate line. Well, bully for the Car of Tomorrow. The fact remains the dang things are so butt-ugly that you'd have to tie a T-bone to the rollcage to have a starving mongrel lift his leg in salute and urinate on the tire. They don't want to release figures on what the new program, to be phased in over the next three years, is going to cost team owners, how much more money those same team owners must now ask from sponsors, and how many sponsors will leave as a result. If that doesn't worry you or you think nobody will opt out of the game, you're due for some confusing afternoons on the couch each weekend trying to find things like the GM Goodwrench car. And, of course, NASCAR would like you to forget that the standardized car will be of great help to a certain automaker joining the sport this season, negating years’ worth of experience by the other teams.
Speaking of automakers, let's not forget the debut of Toyota Racing Development. This is, the party-line tells us, a good thing. It shows that NASCAR now has a global presence. (Well, except for those durn Europeans, unless the NASN folks in Jolly Old agree to up the ante to extortion prices soon). And, these folks are quick to point out, the Camry Toyota will be racing is made right here in the U.S., while the Charger, the Fusion and the Monte Carlo are assembled in either Mexico or Canada. (And not imported to Japan where cars made in America must be individually inspected by slow moving Japanese bureaucrats to help protect the domestic automakers. If only we'd been smart enough to adopt a tit for tat protectionist scheme to address the trade imbalance). Let's face it: the big three are in big trouble. Sometime this year, Toyota will surpass GM to become the world's biggest auto producer. Mercedes is said to be looking for someone to pawn Chrysler off on, and Ford is reeling and could possibly be heading for the mat. With the massive layoffs in the auto industry, keep in mind that for every three auto-workers laid, off two more Americans in related industries ranging from local restaurants to steel mills will lose their jobs as well. And that might be the very thing that derails the Toyota Express. After all, how many former UAW members that you’ve seen working night shift at a 7-11 can afford a Lexus?
My guess is that the arrival of Toyota will produce a quick boost in TV ratings and track attendance. After all, you can't have Batman without the Joker and you can't the Three Stooges (a rather apt metaphor for current management of the Big Three) without Vernon Dent. Folks will want to see the good guys beat up on the foreign interlopers and will cheer lustily each time a Toyota suffers mechanical problems or a wreck. But once the bad guys start winning, and trust me my little pretties, they will continue spending great sums of money until they do so regularly, I expect ratings to tumble and interest in the sport to diminish greatly.
How out of hand is the latest round of dishonest propaganda spewing from Speedway Boulevard? I was reduced to paroxysms of laughter causing Corona to spew out my nostrils yesterday reading the breathless press release heralding the fact that NASCAR has signed a five-year extension of the deal that gives Goodyear exclusive rights to produce tires for the sport. Here are some of the nuggets Mike Helton, about as grievous a corporate gasbag as has ever yessed his way to the top an organization, had to offer:
"Our longtime relationship with Goodyear is a testament to the company's consistent high-quality tire it supplies the race teams,"
Well, um, yeah, except for all those races that were ruined when Goodyear’s poorly designed tires completely ill-suited for conditions started blowing like popcorn. But, of course, the party-line is the teams were doing bad things to good tires with their inflation pressures and alignment settings. Never mind examples like one particular night in Charlotte, when NASCAR tried to spare Goodyear any additional embarrassment by mandating and checking pressures, race leader Tony Stewart, who had no tire issues to that point, blew a tire and slammed the wall hard. Those things don’t register on a one-sided radar screen.
"Goodyear has been a vital partner, which has been essential to NASCAR's side-by-side competition."
"Side by side competition?" Wow, Goodyear has been around a long time, and we haven't seen much of that side-by-side thing over the last few seasons, have we now?
"Goodyear has been a vital partner, which has been essential to NASCAR's side-by-side competition."
Oh, I get it. It's the Goodyear execs who get to decide when the phony debris caution flags are thrown to tighten up a race and make sure everybody installs a new set of tires before they fail.
“Since it first began supplying tires to NASCAR, Goodyear tires have logged 1,410 Nextel Cup (formerly Winston Cup) victories, and the number continues to rise.”
Well, of course it will, you blathering buffoon. You've given them exclusive rights to be a tire supplier, and thus, by definition, they will win every race. In most every other major form of auto racing where Goodyear has faced actual competition from other makes of tires, be it CART, the IRL or F1, they have taken their ball and gone home tails firmly between their legs over the last decade. It was Goliath's Goodyear that insisted on switching Cup cars over to radials to rid themselves of the pesky David (Hoosier), a move which helped make side-by-side racing a thing of the past. If Goodyear is really interested in increasing the excitement level of the sport, they could always reintroduce the bias ply tires. But, they will howl, we haven't produced bias ply tires for street use in over a decade! Well, believe it or not, most passenger car owners do not have the option of not driving in the rain or changing their tires every hundred miles. There is absolutely no correlation between the Eagles raced in NASCAR and the street market nowadays any more than there is a need for blimps to replace airliners in corporate travel.
I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused, by the lengths some corporate lapdogs will go to regurgitate the corporate line unmasticated. My favorite instance last year was when the general manager of the track in California said the reason the grandstands looked so empty was that all the folks in those empty seats were under the grandstands shopping. This year, I read that the declining TV ratings are nothing to be concerned about. All sports have seen their TV ratings decline except for that "aberration"; the NFL. Wasn't it just a few years ago that NASCAR TV ratings were the aberration, and thanks to our new network partners and the Chase, the NFL's days atop the heap were numbered.
As I have stated previously, and I truly believe, this season will be a pivotal one in the sport's history. As someone recently inadvertently pointed out, NASCAR is both sport and entertainment. I agree. It's just that the teeter-totter has tipped a little too radically to the side of entertainment to the detriment of sport. What's the difference? What's the difference between Olympic wrestling and the alphabet soup of "professional" wrestling organizations complete with bizarre nicknames, staged results, and busty blondes some folks still watch? Sports by nature are entertaining to those who understand the rules and nuances of the game. (Such as the difference between a pistone and a lugnut) Entertainment by nature is not sporting. Results are staged for the best possible story. Does NASCAR decide a winner before a race? Not yet. But by throwing unnecessary caution flags, arbitrarily changing the rules on a weekly basis, the highly contrived method of determining a champion, and bogus penalties during and after an event applied unequally to name drivers and others. they are heading in that direction. At least, that’s what I can tell you, as I have not partaken of the corporate Kool-Aid.
Maybe I'm right and maybe I am wrong; time will tell whether it is the cynics or the Kool-Aid dispensers who have a better grasp of where the sport is heading. Honestly the answer is likely to be somewhere in the vast gray area between corporate white and doom black. Whether NASCAR continues to grow or begins to fade will not be decided by the scribes of either ilk, but rather by the fans who vote with their pocketbooks and four hours of couch time in front of the TV. Unfortunately for the sport, the fans I hear from don't sound like they've ingested their Kool-Aid. Hell, even the fans of the chief purveyor of Kool-Aid on the Internet regularly voice their own displeasure with how things are going despite that site's adherence to the party line drawn up by the site ownership. Many of them also seem to think that the warning message is flashing "racingdone." So, gentle readers, I will leave it up to you to decide whether the Brave New World of NASCAR we see this year is better than the "good old days," seasons like 1989, 1992 et al and whether the Car of Tomorrow is better than that winged wonder of yesteryear, the Plymouth Superbird. (And I remain a fan of both the Plymouth and the Dead…sue me.) That's your right as a fan, and don't let anyone silence your opinion pro or con on the issues. But I'd stay away from that Kool-Aid NASCAR’s serving. And you might want to avoid those hot dogs, too.
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