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 · Thursday July 23, 2009
Friday started out an ordinary enough sunny July day here in the suburbs of Philly, well west of the I-95 corridor. Given the spectacular weather and my penchant for such things, I boarded the Harley and spent some time exploring new blue highways. I arrived home in early evening and, as is my habit after a long ride, went inside to fetch a beer. I planned to enjoy it sitting beside my beloved Harley as the engine sang that soft clicking sound of an air cooled V-twin that had just gotten a good workout.
The first sound of the helicopters approaching wasn’t too worrisome. Here in Chester County, we have not only too many white-tailed deer but too many yuppies in their Land Rover SUVs yapping on their cell phones distracted to the point they’ll occasionally run into each other hard enough to inflict grievous personal injury. It’s unfortunate, but nature has its own way of clearing out the low tide of the gene pool. It was only when several black helicopters began circling over my farm that I became alarmed. When thick-waisted men dressed as Ninjas began descending towards the porch where I was enjoying the nightly show of fireflies amidst the Tiger Lilies, I began to get a little panicky. Now, I’ve done my best to live the right way — I get out of bed and go to work each day, but my blood was no longer so cool. Looking back at my admittedly misspent life, I could envision no sin so grievous to warrant such a high-profile invasion of Eyesore Acres, the odd bit of land I call home. All I could figure was that either Chester County was getting really serious about the collection of unregistered motor vehicles I share the land with, or the librarian at Ithan Elementary school was really determined to get back that biography of Ben Franklin I’d never returned before heading off to my aptly named “high” school.
The first fellow to approach me was clearly not in a kind mood. He took my beer, ground out my cigarette on the porch, and kicked my dog. And here’s the weird part: I don’t even own a dog. They’d brought one with them just to kick it. These guys were heavily armed, so I had to think on my feet. Very quickly, I decided to resort to my lifelong defense of “I didn’t do it, if I did so, I must have forgotten about it. I truly regret it and promise not to do it again. Can I have my beer back?”
“What’s the meaning of this?” I began, asking a bit too plaintively and whiny for my own tastes.
“Son, you’ve been inducted into the NASCAR Citizen’s Journalist Media Corps,” I was told brusquely.
“I’ve been what into who?” I asked confusedly. “Why didn’t I get the memo? I’ve never expressed a desire to join in any such thing and quite frankly, to be trite, I have no interest in having anything to do with any club that would have me.”
But these men wouldn’t take no for an answer, telling me in no uncertain terms I was to report to a re-education camp immediately. After expressing an interest in remaining where I was to continue watching the fireflies and Tiger Lilies, I was injected against my will with some substance the likes of which I haven’t ever encountered… other than the time I fell asleep at a Jerry Garcia concert during “To Lay Me Down” and woke up five years later at 23 years of age and gainfully employed, picking up the dog poop in the front yard hoping it was hard.
I woke up in a barracks with my fellow new recruits of the Citizen’s Journalist Media Corps at the unholy hour of 5 AM by a trumpeter playing “Little Digger.” Talk about a rude awakening: I haven’t had a wakeup call like that since I awoke beside the Chick From Hell I was engaged to and decided it was time to throw my stuff in the El Camino and get out of Dodge. Breakfast was somewhat palatable, trays full of piggies in blankets with a variety of enticing dipping sauces — but with nothing to wash them down with other than endless cups of NASCAR grape Kool-Aid that left me a little fuzzy around the edges. Still dazed, I was taken to a barber where my shoulder-length, aging hippie gray hair was trimmed back to something that looked like a Brillo pad that had outlived its usefulness. I was then stripped of my natty attire — faded blue jeans, a Grateful Dead-inspired Hawaiian shirt, and flip flops — and ordered into a pair of tan khakis and a little alligator polo shirt. Because of their previous dealings with the mainstream media, NASCAR officials were surprised to learn any writer might have a waist size under 50 inches; as a result, I had to be issued a hank of rope to keep my poor ill-fitting britches up.
Once properly uniformed, my fellow Citizen Conscripts and I — the drill sergeant called us hobbyists — were forced on the first of several 10-mile runs that day. Now, I’m an old guy, someone who breaks into a sweat walking to the mailbox; so the runs were painful to say the least. But worse yet was the chant we were taught and instructed to say as we wallowed through a swamp of meaningless press releases.
“I don’t know, but I been told, the Car of Tomorrow is better than the old. I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, the Chase is the best way to determine a Champ-eee-yun.”
As we progressed in our Citizen’s Corp training, we were fed more Kool-Aid and forced to perform feats of strength (like wading through groups of screaming female fans, ignoring their unfettered playful piglets as they leapt to get to Jeff Gordon, and ask inane questions about his back pain). At sunset, we were paraded before a giant bronze image of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and taught to bow down in worship and to never, ever, ever have the audacity to ask the Chosen One why he basically sucked this season. Finally, Brian France, all on his own, launched into a press conference. We were all told to translate his gibberish into something that seemed like it was said in the English language, rather than the rants and raves of a Holy Roller speaking in tongues and handling snakes on the Fourth of July.
It was too tough a test for me to swallow. Bobby Dylan once said that to live outside the law, you have to be honest; and as a longtime outlaw, my column on the press conference contained the phrases “silly bastard” and “pompous ignoramus” too many times to skirt it past the editors. I was told, in stern terms, I was a hardcore case and, as such, I should report to the day room to await a frontal lobotomy. Well, I’ve always preferred a bottle in front of me to a frontal lobotomy. But when all seemed lost, that’s when a guy we all called “the Injun” tossed a water cooler through the French doors of the day room, allowing us hardcore types to make our escape. I ran towards the rose-covered “Wall of Veritas,” confident a lifetime of scars would allow me to overcome the thorns when a guard dog named Ramsey grabbed hold of me by my ample buttock. Armed security forces were closing in on us as I wailed in pain.
“Son, I was told, “There ain’t no crying in the Citizens Journalist Media Corps.”
Desperately, I clicked my ruby red Tony Llama bootheels together chanting, “There’s no place like home…”
I awoke in my lawn chair beside the still-cooling Harley, bathed in sweat and a spilled Coors Light. A thorough check of my pockets revealed no Grateful Dead ticket stubs, and I decided it had all been a dream bought on by the late-setting July sun. Or had it been? I was greeted by a well-kicked silver Labrador Retriever who seemed confused as to who I was, and I’ve now got two small scars on my graying temples that I didn’t earning racing motocross. When I sat down to write this column, I was suddenly paralyzed and found myself chanting, “I don’t really miss the Southern 500 that much. It was just a silly race…”
Obviously, none of the above happened. It is just a product of my fertile imagination, and any farmer can tell you what fertilizer is made of.
But it is true, and perhaps no less bizarre, that without forewarning or counsel, I did in fact find myself Friday a newly minted member of the internet Citizen Journalist Media Corps. Like I said, I never got the memo; readers had to tell me that was the case before news spread to everyone on our site. So, let’s see … I am a citizen, and a proud one, of the greatest country in the world. To some extent, I am a journalist, and that makes me a part of the media. But you add that fourth word “Corps” and the whole term becomes positively Orwellian to the point it makes testes draw up.
Some of you have wrote me on this issue, and the most repeated question has been “Matt, how the f*@k did this happen?” Others wanted to know if I volunteered for this honor, whether I was going to have to change the content of my columns, or if I was about to get fired again. No, no, no, and no.
I’m not sure how I got signed up for the Corps. If there’s a brown shirt I am supposed to wear, I haven’t received mine yet. But then again, I am so far out here in the country that the UPS man craps kittens when he has to deliver the occasional old car part I bought on eBay. Even the local Amish mock me for being a hillbilly.
Here’s what I’ve been told by site management… it’s business as usual. I trust Tom (who owns the site) and the various editors too numerous to shake a stick at even if I was a stick-shaking sort. They tell me I can continue to be my nasty, old, cynical self, though my guess is this column will cause them enough hand-wringing to make Pontius Pilate look like he whistled and spit on his palms before rubbing them dry on his jeans. If, in fact, anyone from NASCAR or the ISC ever tries to get me to back it down a few notches, I will leave you, gentle readers, with the Mother of All Columns — a love letter written in your names before facing the storm to come. (‘Cause it surely looks like rain?) I may not always be right, but I’ve always been honest with you on how I feel. Honesty is like virginity. You’re only cherry once.
So as a newly, unwitting member of the NASCAR Citizen’s Journalist Media Corps, I promise you all it’s business as usual. When NASCAR makes the right call, I will say so. When they screw up, I will say so; usually in colorful, profane, and blunt terms. For this old jackass has felt the stick too many times not to be wary of accepting a suddenly-offered carrot.
Editor’s Note: Before you take off, Frontstretch just wants to add our own little addendum to the Corps. Yes, we have been contacted by NASCAR and have agreed to become part of the CJMC. To answer some basic questions: No, NASCAR does not own us now. They don’t own even a tenth of one percent of the site. No, our content, our writer lineup, nothing will change as a result of our membership.
And yes, to clear up any and all confusion we had almost all of the credential and media benefits already. So, why join? The answer, my friends, is the exposure offered, as well as the chance to both interact and grow together with some other outstanding independent sites finding their way in this ever-changing 21st-Century World. Independent journalism can only effect positive change through mass exposure, and we’ve been offered the opportunity to join in a process that’s pledged to increase our readership and support for the sport we not only cover, but love. When you’re offered an olive branch like that … there’s no reason to say no. And rest assured, if a reason ever pops up you will no longer see us as part of the program; it’s as simple as that.
Most importantly, thanks for being a part of this site for the many days, months, or years you’ve been a fan of the sport. We couldn’t do this without you, and look forward to bringing you along for the ride as we only get bigger and better in the years to come. You are the true citizens that drive our passion for telling racing stories, and we pledge to continue providing truthful, provocative, insightful, and — most importantly — unfiltered content each and every day. That’s what we’re known for … and that’s who we’ll continue to be.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Congratulations FS on your new membership and as suspected I did not think that anything or anyone at/on your site would change. And if they (NA$CAR) were too insist that a “tweak” of your site was necessary, I’m sure you would have told them just exactly where to stick their secret-decoder ring.
“It ceases to be free speech when some other bonehead tells you what to say”….um…I don’t know if anyone has ever said that…so….credit it to me…..MJR
Does Idiot France know you’re at this site? I thought NA$CAR black-balled you years ago!!! Be interesting to see how things go with the Citizen Corps.
How could Mayfield pass a drug test at the beginning of the season..but not now? Odd he could abstain then..but now with the world’s eyes upon him he can’t seem to abstain long enough to pass the tests? With the amount of drugs showing in his test results..dead or meth head..it’s odd. Either NASCAR was lax in the testing at the beginning of the season..scary..or Jeremy had a twin take his tests??
Carry on Matt and Frontstretch. I never miss one of your columns. I am just a hillbilly who enjoy the plain truth. The language gets a little rough but nothing I haven’t heard before and a heck of a lot tamer than the movies.
Keep up the good work. It won’t be long before NASCAR realizes it has made a mistake and buys the site like last time. Let’s hope the owners stand up to France’s Dark Ninjas and do not cave in like that last bunch, whatever that site was called. I haven’t been back since.
Congratulations as well from me—a silent supporter (until recently) for a few years. I too wondered how this happened and if something sinister was at work here from Nazicar. Good luck and keep up the straight shooting. I will be curious to see how it goes from here. DISMISSED!!! LOL
This may be like watching a train wreck — can’t turn away but gawd is it ugly — go get’em Matt — were all waiting to see how Nascrap reacts to your “style”
All could have been said in three or four lines—what a waste of space! When I began to read, I thought something was eventually coming about racing, but nooo. . . .
Hope it all works out.TELL IT LIKE IT IS!!
Josie said: “How could Mayfield pass a drug test at the beginning of the season..but not now?”
Mayfield was diagnosed with adult attention deficit disorder in March or April and started treatment with Adderal at that time. Then he was busted by NASCAR during his next random drug test.
Congrtas to all involved…and what it means to this site.
NASCAR Citizen’s Journalist Media Corps? Sounds commie to me.
Hope you folks in charge here do not sell out or bow down to NA$CAR like other places have.
I have long considered Frontstretch to be among the top 28 websites covering NASCAR, and now BF has confirmed it.
Remember the days when websites were ‘fan sites’ and not legitimate media outlets??
Well put Matt – that dog that grabbed you sent me an email…and actually answered some questions…
Matt and FS Staff
Keep on keeping it real and good luck. Don’t drink any more Kool-aid from Daytona. By the way, I have a couple of somethings that will scare off those pesky helicopters if they continue to be a bother. Just let me know.
I found Frontstretch.com after doing a search for Matt on the internet, wondering what had become of him from years ago, so in a sense, I am only on the site because of Matt, have been enjoying the articles for years and years.