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.
Matt McLaughlin · Thursday March 20, 2008
It's hard to believe an entire year has passed since the first Car of Tomorrow race was staged at Bristol last year. (Some might say that the year is the only passing in NASCAR right now). The unsightly little bastards that looked so ungainly upon their competitive debut remain an affront to those with any sense of aesthetics; but putting their awkward looks aside, how has the new car performed to date?
A lot has changed since the new car debuted last year. The winner of that first CoT race, Kyle Busch, was pretty blunt in his assessment of the newly designed vehicle that day, noting that he felt it “sucked” and he hated the car he'd just won in. Other drivers were somewhat more politically correct, but they were almost universal in their dislike for the winged wonders.
Other things have changed since then. Perhaps most importantly, NASCAR moved up the new cars' schedule by making them the mount of choice in every race this season, rather than the more gradual rollout they originally envisioned. That was in response to team owners' frustration with the expense of having to field two sorts of wildly different cars rather than a standardized mount. Drivers have also toned down their criticism of the new car, by and large, partially because NASCAR told them to do so. Still others seem to have developed a fatalistic attitude that, while the new car isn't much good, everybody is dealing with the same issues and there's no sense in complaining about something that's not going to change anytime soon.
Cynics might feel that the Car of Tomorrow has done precisely what NASCAR wanted it to do. The standardized cars have wiped out years of notes, experimentation, and experience the Ford, Chevy, and Dodge teams had used as an advantage over upstart Toyota last year. And, lo and behold, one of those standardized cars carrying Camry logos rolled into Victory Lane at last. Surely, that's got to be a coincidence.
But putting aside cynicism temporarily, let's look at how the new car has done as far as meeting its design goals.
First and foremost, the new car was supposed to be safer in a wreck than the old car. Over the last year, no Cup driver has been badly injured enough to miss a race. We've seen several hard wrecks with the new car, and thankfully, the drivers have always hopped up. They’re a bit battered and bruised, perhaps, but always able to relay what had gone wrong — all while walking away under their own power (though the numbness in his legs Tony Stewart suffered after his Vegas crash was worrisome). That being said, we've also seen several hard wrecks in the Busch / Nationwide series races, and those drivers weren't injured, either… despite driving the older style cars. So, let's give some credit to the SAFER barriers and HANS devices, too.
In regards to safety, I'm in agreement with a line of thought I believe Mercedes Benz originally championed; "The best way to survive a wreck is not to be in one in the first place." That means a car’s active safety features — the ability to stop quickly, veer around a potential wreck, or maintain traction in dicey circumstances — is at least as important as passive safety features, things like airbags which mitigate consequences when an accident does occur.
In that regard, the jury is still out on the new car… but leaning towards conviction. The new cars have proven to be a handful in race conditions. The radical front suspension setups necessary to make the cars handle to date make the new cars unpredictable… and that’s being kind. On rougher race tracks like Daytona, we've even seen bent and broken control arms eliminate contenders. But that’s not the only equipment getting put through the wringer. The new cars are tough on tires; we've seen several wrecks triggered by failed right fronts. In response to those issues, Goodyear is bringing harder compounds to the track; but, as we saw at Atlanta, that doesn't make for very good racing. Doubtlessly stung by the criticism of their product after that race, Goodyear is certainly looking at alternative solutions. But as long as the new car produces the sort of stresses it does on those right front tires, Goodyear is going to compromise towards safety; and in the process, that's going to compromise the quality of the racing fans enjoy.
The Car of Tomorrow was also supposed to contain costs for the team owners. The fact some teams that wrecked their primary cars at California and were able to go to backups originally intended for Martinsville, a very different track, seems to indicate there is at least some progress in that regard.
But with the revised rollout of the new car, team owners suddenly found themselves with stables full of the old designed cars that were rendered obsolete overnight. There are only so many of those cars that could be absorbed by wealthy collectors, racing schools, and racers in other series with rules similar to last year's Cup Series. As such, those old cars now fetch pennies on the dollar, when normally those cars would have been eliminated through attrition while earning their owners some more prize money in the process. That's been a particular hardship on the smaller teams, who had to replace their stable of race cars in a single year while still holding obsolete inventory that's been rendered near worthless. After all, with the glut of used race cars on the market, would you buy a former Hendrick car — or one from Robby Gordon's fleet?
The bizarre suspension setups the new cars need to hustle around the track have also all but mandated a team owner have access to a seven post shaker rig — a piece of equipment that in and of itself costs more than some teams used to spend to compete in an entire season of racing. The days of drivers analyzing what a car needs by the seat of their pants and having their crew chief adjust the car to their liking are gone. The drivers tend to dislike the setups the computer generated testing produces, but the computers say that those bizarre setups are the hot ticket for speed — and most often, they are right. Of course, just having a seven post shaker rig isn't going to do a team owner any good unless he has some quality engineers to interpret the data and conduct the proper experiments. Those engineers demand high salaries and benefits. Transporting, housing and feeding them on race weekends isn't cheap, either. But just as the best engineer can't make up for an average driver, the best drivers aren't going to win races without quality engineers. More and more, we're seeing crew chiefs with an engineering background on top of the pit boxes, not fellows who learned how to set up a race car competing on the Carolina bullrings on weekends, while wrenching at the local service station Monday to Friday.
Another design goal of the CoT was to improve the quality of racing. To be fair, there have been some good races with the new car. I'm thinking in particular of Martinsville last Spring, with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson drag racing off Turn 4, beating and banging on each other like the good ol’ days. So far, it seems the new car is at its best on tracks that feature a lot of mechanical grip — places like Martinsville, New Hampshire, and Richmond, where the grip of the tires is more important than aerodynamics. Also, on the positive side, as ungainly as those rear wings look, it does seem that when a driver gets his car sideways, they aid in helping him gather the car back up rather than backing into the nearest wall.
Unfortunately, the new car suffers from the same Achilles' heel as the old. On the fast tracks, where aerodynamics dictate speed, the phenomenon of “aero push” is still compromising the racing. For anyone who has been living in a cave for the last five years, the problem is pretty simple. The car leading the race has clean air on its nose, which increases front end grip and allows its driver to look like a star. When the driver of a faster car closes in on the leader, he's OK until he gets within a few car lengths. At that point, he loses the air off the nose of his car and loses front end grip. That's why we see drivers increasingly circling the track at respectful distances behind the driver ahead of them, all to keep his car turning in the corners. That's not racing; that's a parade. Too many times, we have seen a driver who looked unbeatable up front suddenly become an also ran when bogged back in traffic by pit strategy.
There's a growing sentiment among fans that the drivers need to quit complaining about their cars, get up on the wheel, and race. Of course, that sentiment comes a lot easier safely seated on a sofa than it does strapped into an out of control car heading towards a wall at 185 MPH. Look at it this way; if a driver running second tries three times to get under the leader to make a pass, and each time his car takes off up the track towards the wall, he's not going to be real eager to try it again. Even if his self-preservation instinct isn't factored in, his career goals have to be. In NASCAR racing, consistency — not wins — determines championships. There's just not enough incentive given the points spread between a win and a second place finish to risk wrecking out of a race in the final laps.
For there to be great racing again on the big tracks, the drivers have to be comfortable running in close quarters side by side. The computers might say a setup is fast; but if a driver isn't comfortable that his car will react predictably, they're not going to push the envelope to find the car's limits. In that respect, the Car of Tomorrow must be seen as a failure, even if it is not solely to blame for conservative race strategies.
Increasingly, engineers and crew chiefs are saying the CoT experiment could be salvaged if NASCAR would allow them to extend out the noses of the new cars as little as three inches. That would put more downforce on the front tires, even when a driver was close to the rear bumper of the car ahead of him. That additional downforce would also allow the teams to run more conventional front end geometries that would, in turn, make the drivers more comfortable and more willing to race. What would such a car be called; "The Car of Tomorrow of Tomorrow?" Whatever they’d call it, it behooves NASCAR to do some work on their congenital idiot of a car in its infancy if they want to draw back the old time fans.
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©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
WOW!! What a fine summation!
I hope people read what you have written very carefully!
Hey timking, I think NA$CAR mandates the use of these stoppers! They dictate the shocks and springs, so this is a NA$CAR issue not anything a team has control over!
Actually I think for the last race NA$CAR “allowed” some different things, but overall I think the CoT is a poorly and under-developed car that NA$CAR forced down the throats of the teams like it or not!
Maybe Matt can verify what I said for accuracy!
You didn’t mention the COT’s amazing ability to recover from being so sideways that you can read the door numbers. An ability that has saved at least a dozen wrecks in the handful of races we’ve run so far. But that would go against your determined negativity, wouldn’t it?
I liked what Richard Petty had to say about the situation. He essentially called the drivers and team wusses and whiners by telling them that he used to get a new car every year and had to race it without any of the kind of testing that teams do now.
The best feature of the COT is its toughness. Unlike the situation in the aero-monstrosity (now that was a affront to aesthetics with its twists and distortions) — where the tiny dent from hitting a mosquito would ruin the car’s chance of running well — the COT is so durable that Kyle Busch won Atlanta in a car that had slapped the wall and “bent something” in the rear end.
And but for a fuel pickup issue Denny Hamlin could have won Bristol in a car that had had its right rear fender folded up, unfolded, and taped into a rough approximation of its intended position.
If people want light, responsive, agile, designed-for-perfection race cars they can go over to open wheel.
Stock cars are supposed to be bulky, heavy, clumsy dinosaurs that call for great skill in adapting to challenges and overcoming difficulties. (I hear that those F1 drivers made quite a mess of their first race without traction control). That’s why the best of the best are driving them.
I have “gone over to open wheel”, at least those cars handle and are nimble on their feet!
Not slugs of metal called “race-cars”!!
Hey M.B. Voelker, I forgot to add:
BRIAN FRANCE LOVES YOU BABE! KEEP SENDING MONEY HIS WAY!
Brian found yet another gullible one!
“Also, on the positive side, as ungainly as those rear wings look, it does seem that when a driver gets his car sideways, they aid in helping him gather the car back up rather than backing into the nearest wall. “
Hey Voelker, try actually reading the article, mkay?
The COT was supposed to save the teams money. It hasn’t. It was supposed to eliminate aero problems. It hasn’t. It was supposed to eliminate the restrictor plate. It hasn’t.
The only plus is the safety features which could’ve been built into the old car.
The coil binding is mandated, so it will take an act of God, or someone who thinks he’s God, to get that changed.
Stock cars never handled like the open wheel cars but in the past, they were able to turn. The COT doesn’t turn like the old car or even like the real stock cars in the old days before they had power steering.
The COT is the half-baked idea of a half-wit.
Anybody ready for a large serving of irony?
How ‘bout if NASCAR sez, ‘Hey, everbody…wotch-iss…we’re gonna have ya’ll do yer front fenders jest like Chat and Steve brought to Sonoma last summer!!’
Oughtta get some front downforce, any-hoo.
Matt said: “Over the last year, no Cup driver has been badly injured enough to miss a race.”
Did you forget about Ricky Rudd at California? Or were you talking about wrecks in the new car?
Mike at 12:12pm, NASCAR does not mandate bump stops or coil binding or any thing of the sort. The teams are using bump stops because they are more effective than coil binding in the new car. And while it hasnt eliminated the restrictor plate, it was enlarged a bit, and the driver’s DID notice the improved acceleration and response that gave them in Daytona.
Hey Douglas at 9:47am, why dont you respect someone else’s opinion in this still-free-as-of-today country we call America? This isnt politics, its NASCAR.
Hey Kevin In Socal, I really do think NA$CAR mandates the springs, bump stops, and so forth on the CoT! But, as I said, Matt can verify this!
OH! OH! Did I offend? I really thought was I said was kinda accurate!
Oh my, and you state “this isn’t politics, it’s NA$CAR”!!
HUH??? More politics in NA$CAR than most organizations I have seen!
But thanks for keeping me in line at times, I need a reminder once in a while! Will be more “careful in the future! (or try to anyway)!
I think Mike @ 12:12 summed it up best! “The CoT is the half-baked idea of a half-wit”!!
“You didnâ€™t mention the COTâ€™s amazing ability to recover from being so sideways that you can read the door numbers. An ability that has saved at least a dozen wrecks in the handful of races weâ€™ve run so far. But that would go against your determined negativity, wouldnâ€™t it?”
McLaughlin, paragraph 12:
“Also, on the positive side, as ungainly as those rear wings look, it does seem that when a driver gets his car sideways, they aid in helping him gather the car back up rather than backing into the nearest wall.”
Determined negativity, indeed.
Douglas, according to Speed’s RaceDay on Sunday morning 3/16/08, Kenny Wallace, Jimmy Spencer, and Hermie Sadler said the bump stops were not something NASCAR makes the teams run. The teams run the bump stops to keep the splitter from hitting the ground.
Hey Kevin in SoCal!
So, if the teams “voluntarily” use the bump stops and such to “keep the splitter from hitting the ground”!
Would that not indicate a design problem with the CoT? In other words, if during “normal” racing the suspension cannot be tuned to prevent the splitter from dragging,and the teams have to resort to suspension stops, thus limiting proper suspension travel and binding the springs, then I say something is wrong with the total design of the car!
So, here we have NA$CAR saying to the teams: “Teams, here is your new car, the CoT, now in order for this car not to drag it’s front end on the ground and bottom out, you will have to run bump stops”, “We know this lack of suspension travel will then bind up your suspension,causing a poor handling race car, but that’s your problem”!!
Is that the scenario?
Sounds like it!
The idea that the new cars are more
Douglas, once again you show your ignorance on setup.
They make springs in different spring rates. Sure, they could put a stiffer spring in the car so that the splitter doesn’t drag the ground, but by using bump stops with a softer spring, they can control the exact height the car rides off the ground.
Why do you pretend to know what you’re talking about Douglas? It’s obvious that you don’t have the technical knowhow to pump your own gas, and yet, you want people to think that you have suspension geometry theory down pat. Your a $ad man Dougla$$. A $ad, $ad, man
Margo, you bring up a good point. I didn’t watch the whole Bristol race but I did catch Jimmie Johnson saving his car from going into a full spin..nice save. But what actually got my attention was the bobbleheads in the booth talking about the new car being the reason for such saves. If I recall one of aspects in the design process for the brand new spanky Car was to take care of aero issues that previous cars had. What had me somewhat baffled is how the NASCAR parrotheads in the booth came away with Bristol being an aero track. I would give merit to the design of the new car aiding in a driver trying to save his car on a superspeedway or an intermediate track..but Bristol? C’mon guys..you don’t always have to break out the pom-poms in the booth..how about..“Damn, that was a nice save..”
This is an great overview of the CoT, much more even-handed than I expected. I like the idea of extending the nose to help, the aero push. I suspect, though, that the only true solution is to slow the cars down by 15 mph on the faster tracks to lower the aerodynamic drag on the cars.
Matt Kenseth to Robbie Reiser, Martinsville #2 2007:
“What’s the computer say to do?”
Somehow I think the real answer to that question may be better left to the guys with grease all over their hands and not to a slew of microprocessors in a supercomputer somewhere.
I guess the drivers and teams are just trying to do their jobs…using whatever they can to be safe, go faster, turn left better.
Matt “The bizarre suspension setups the new cars need to hustle around the track have also all but mandated a team owner have access to a seven post shaker rig â€” a piece of equipment that in and of itself costs more than some teams used to spend to compete in an entire season of racing.”
That’s not entirly true. Roush-Fenway is allowing all Ford teams to use their in-house 7 post and I believe Hendrick is also.
VIPER who Petty just donated two cars to, also allows some teams to use their 8 post shaker although access is somewhat limited.
This is probably the best explanation of bumps stops I’ve read.
“Something new this year is the use of bump stops, which can affect the tires the same way that coil binding did in the old car. In the old coil-binding setups, the cars were configured so that at some point coming into the corner, the coils on the spring would compress enough to touch. The spring lost all its springiness, so the driver was driving on one (or sometimes two) wheels essentially without springs. Imagine jumping on a pogo stick and having the spring suddenly disappear. The only thing bouncy is the rubber end, so thatâ€™s all you have absorbing the force of the bounce. In a coil-bound car, the tire is forced to fill the role the spring should be servingâ€“ absorbing bumps. The problem is that tires are not designed to do this.”
I’d also recommend reading that entire post and the other two i the series dealing with tires.
P.S. What’s that old saying? “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Here’s the potential imitation of NASCAR’s new car.