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.
I can only state the repugnance I feel for the Chase so many times without getting repetitive. (For those of you just tuning in or unsure of what “repugnance” means, I don’t like it. I don’t like it a whole lot.) But more than once I’ve been told, “OK, smart guy, if you think the Chase sucks, what’s your solution? If the Chase is bad, so were seasons when an eventual champion ran away with the points lead with 10 races left to run. Offer some constructive criticism rather than just destructive drivel.”
So, I’ve pondered the matter for a number of years. I’ve developed points systems and tried them out on current and past seasons to see if they work as I intended them to. I’ve studied the F1 points system, the IndyCar Series points system, and everything short of drawing numbers out of a hat. I’ve puzzled until my puzzler is sore. And I think I finally have a points system that, even if I’m not entirely happy with, will be my basis for tweaking going forward so I’m ready for that grand day when I am appointed Grand Puba of NASCAR and Brian France is demoted to Vice President of Reconciling Petty Cash and Ordering Sandwiches for Lunch.
Now, every points system has to have an underlying reason for its existence. The classic Latford system was designed (on the back of a cocktail napkin by most accounts) to give teams incentive to run every event in the era where factory support of racing was ending, teams were running only the events with larger purses, and Winston was still getting its feet wet in the sport. The Chase was designed because of some wrongheaded notion that, with the advent of the new TV deal, NASCAR needed something to keep folks’ attention glued to stock car racing when the NFL season started. This is like the notion of an average guy in college embarking on a high-profile binge of drinking too much, snorting coke, staying out too late, and wrecking cars in hopes that one day Lindsay Lohan will ask him out. It’s never going to happen. With that said, my points system is intended to make every race equally important, reintroduce hard racing at the front of the pack rather than points racing, and to first stop then reverse the erosion of interest among longtime stock car racing fans turned off by the Chase and the New Car.
My points system is like its author…simple. The winner of each race gets 500 points. 500 is a magic number in stock car racing. It’s simple and easy to remember. The second place finisher gets 200 points. Yeah, winning has its rewards. The third place finisher gets 100 points. The fourth place finisher gets 50 points. Fifth place earns 40 points and so on, in decreasing 10 point increments down to eighth place which pays 10 points. Finish ninth or worse? Well, thanks for playing—we have some lovely consolation gifts for you as well as zero points. Zero points to the ninth place finisher. Zero points to the 43rd place start and parker. Nobody remembers who finished ninth. That takes some of the sting out of a DNF caused by a driver going both guns blazing for a win that wrecks or blows, and it reduces the rewards for cruising. It also eliminates any incentive for a team with a badly damaged car to repair it and return the car to action only to get in the way of the leaders for points. Some folks still say consistency beats occasional brilliance, so my system still gives a nice reward for a top 5 finish and even just missing a top 5.
What would the points look like right now under my system? I did the calculations for the drivers in this year’s Chase and the two drivers who just missed the cut, Kyle Busch who won four races and Matt Kenseth who won two. Here’s what I came up with. Keep in mind, as always, given a different points structure drivers and teams might have strategized differently…
Editor’s Note: These totals do not include Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, just the 26 “regular season” races prior to the Chase.
Note that under my points system, any one of the top 3 drivers could leave NHIS with the points lead, and that’s without resetting the points after Richmond. Hypothetically, Kyle Busch could have left New Hampshire just 40 points behind Stewart if Busch were to win the race and Stewart were to finish the race ninth or worse. Under the traditional points system, folks always calculated that anyone with 161 points of the lead could take over the top spot. Of course, that involved the Chaser winning the race and leading the most laps while the points leader would have to finish last without leading a lap. That happens occasionally, but the guy leading the points didn’t get there by wrecking out on the first lap of a race a whole lot. Yet under my system, the full 500-point swing would occur if the Chaser won the race and the points leader finished ninth or worse, a scenario that is 35 times more likely to occur. With 10 races left and a potential 5,000 point swing in the standings, even Dale Earnhardt, Jr., his very own popular self, would still have a dog in the fight.
Let’s look at the implications in the final laps of a race. The driver who is second in the points by 150 points is running second, while the points leader is leading the race as well. To that driver running second, there’s a potential 600 points in the balance. If the points leader wins, Mr. Second Place loses another 300 points. But if the runner up can somehow make that pass, he gains 300 points instead and takes over the point lead. Or maybe the guy leading the race will drop a few more spots after burning off his tires and the points advantage will be even greater. Worst case scenario (evil grin inserted here), if I lose it on a banzai pass attempt and take out the leader as well, I’m no worse off than I was prior to the race.
Likewise, there’s enough of a points advantage between third and sixth to ensure some spirited racing towards the front of the pack, even if someone is running away unassailably with the race as sometimes happens.
My guess is given my points system, from the drop of the green flag of the first race of the season the teams and drivers capable of winning would be going all out to do so to collect those 500 points, knowing they might come in handy down the stretch. No more cruising for points and top 10 finishes to get into the Chase. Stand on it, baby, just stand on it. Make sure those fans at home need fireplace tongs to get the cushion out of their butt crack after the way they puckered up down there watching the final 10 laps. That’s what we all really want to see, the best drivers in the sport gunning all out for the race win each week, with gentlemanly conduct damned to the lawn croquet tournament.
I’ve toyed with other ideas within my points system, including awarding double points for the Daytona 500 (the first race of the season), Darlington (the oldest race), the World 600 (the longest race) and the season finale wherever it is held just to throw an Ozark into the final points standings. A potential 1,000 point swing in the standings? I’m not adverse to the idea. I’m just averse to doing any more math to see how it would play out this season.
Under my system, there would be two big winners. Kyle Busch would move from “out of the chase” to fourth in the standings. And fans both at the track and at home watching would see each and every race, just not the final 10, as a unique and important event into itself, a key stepping off point to a title.
Under my system, consistency would have its rewards though winning would be the most important thing. Every race would matter, and there’d be no silly resetting of the points and seeding after the 26th race. I guarantee there’d be more hard racing up front throughout the year, sparing the annual ritual of drivers already in Chase contention cruising conservatively to maintain their advantage which made this summer such a bummer. I leave it to you, gentle readers, to poke holes in my system the way an iceberg punched a hole in the Titanic below the waterline. But if my system is imperfect, it simply can not be any worse than the Rube Goldberg complicated joke that is the Chase.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I would take almost any points system that DID NOT reset the points. Why not start only 36 cars(to get rid of start and parks) and give ALL the money that 37-43 are getting now to the winner.
It is only a matter a time before you start to see drivers, who are locked into the chase,take races off to get rested up, then it really will be like the other sports.If you remember Jeff Gordan talked about taking off for the birth of his baby girl a couple years back, this would not happen under a point system that did not reset itself.
At first I thought this system was strange, but thinking about it I kinda like it. The only problem is that you wouldn’t have full fields, if there’s no chance at any points a lot of teams won’t even bother.
I agree with wcfan though, I’d be happy to see the field size reduced anyhow.
The implementation of this points system is about as unrealistic as Lindsey Lohan running in NASCAR. Might make a horrible movie, but lets face reality – and write about stuff that matters.
And WHY would anyone put Brian France in charge of ordering sandwiches? I’m a firm believer in lunch and would hate to have the “sandwich of tommorow” everyday. God knows if my actions were detrimental to sandwich ordering procedures, I’d be docked 25 mustard packets ad nauseum. That’s 5 weeks of bland – cookie cutter style subs!!
Fans at home on the couch complain about lack of coverage of drivers not racing out front. Drivers a lap or two down have almost no incentive to race under this system – therefore, why would networks even be tempted to mention them.
Also, what about the franchising top 35 rule? Through 5 races you may not even have 20 cars that have earned points.
Interesting but I think you hit on a major flaw when you said “if I lose it on a banzai pass attempt and take out the leader as well, I’m no worse off than I was prior to the race.” I think the huge points swing would promote an even more WWF atmosphere. While I think winning should get more points I’m not sure it should warrant that big of a swing. I also agree that cutting points off at a certain spot would be a good idea but I’m not sure about everyone finishing below 8th getting zero points.
I like it. If you notice, the top 12 under Matt’s plan have the driver’s with no wins at the bottom the way it should be. Another good thing it would do is pretty much guarantee that the eventual Champion would have to have at least a couple wins. With the current system, there’s a lot better chance for a driver with NO wins winning the championship. (I kind of hope this happens so NASCAR will have a ton of egg on its face). Also, if your favorite driver isn’t mentioned on TV and can’t compete in this points format, maybe they should work a little harder to get their cars to go faster and they will get mentioned on TV.
Interesting, but way too much emphasis on winning.
For one thing, where is Logano in your chart? By my calculations he should be somewhere around Vickers for winning NH in June, but he is not even listed, which brings me to my point…all wins are not created equal.
Logano’s win was a win, but a cheapie. Gordon and #2 Busch were the best cars that day, and they just needed a few more laps to get to a great finish, but the rains came. Giving the #2 a 400 point kick down the ladder for something like that would be a bit of an outrage.
Winning is great, but this is not a one on one competition…coming in somewhere in the top ten and getting squat for points would make for an awfully frustrated group of racers.
I may be mistaken, but I believe it was the television contracts that required 43 cars start every week. Any sport that pays thousands of dollars to a car to take a green flag and then park a car is flawed.
MMMMM, nice try, but still needs some thought!
Guess we need to start thinking outside the box! The “points” box anyway. As long as you have 43 cars starting a race, only rewarding the top 8 places, well, in my opinion, lets not even run the races, lets just all go to the Hendrick Shop and present the trophies! (Stewart/Martin/Johnson!
How about just going back to doing things the way they were when the “sport” wasn’t broken. NA$CAR was great before the Drunk took over. Now it is just an afterthought in the sports world with minimal ratings and no real direction. Stop changing things to try to be like other sports. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. There was no reason to change it up in the first place. Greed will destroy most everything
Your system is a gazillion times better than what we have now, but Jim makes a valid point about rain shortened races. It doesn’t seem right to penalize a team a potential 500 points because they made a wrong call on rain strategy. Chad Knauss has a pretty strong resume, but I have a feeling “meteorologist” isn’t on it. And could you imagine the potential controversy if the last race of the season was rain-shortened?
Come up with a fix for that and I’ll recognize you as “ Grand Pooh-Ba” (correct spelling per ask.com) even if no one else does.
Hey “Walleyed France the Drunk”!
Your probably the closest on this thing! All we seem to be trying to do is FIX” THE CHASE!
Lets just dump it and get back to basics!
(maybe with a tweak or two)
The way NASCAR changes the rules from minute to minute…why not try your proposed points system? It just might work.
I think your system is good, but, I prefer an IRL type system. Winner gets 200, second gets 160. If your going F1 style, as your system does, I would pay points out to 16, and have a 200 points for first, 150 for second.
Ha Ha Wall eye! So true. Maybe look at what was going on when this sport was booming: NO CHASE, a car that drivers and teams could work with, NO BRIAN FRANCE! I thnk if they made these minor adjustments it would take off again =)
Yeah… if Walleyed’s option is on the table I vote for that.
I like it. Maybe a few more positions should be rewarded, though; Indy and F1 have smaller fields than NASCAR.
And a race that ends under rain should be considered equal to all others for points purposes. A win is a win, and a win on a wet track is no less valid than a win on (insert your least-favorite track here).
Or how about ZERO points being awarded, race by race, and the CHUMPION at years end is the driver who won the most money!
Leave it the way it is and quit your bitching!
The gap from 500 to 200 is too, too huge and drivers who win on a fluke like Keselowski/Logano/Reutimann (none of which you listed) would get way too much advantage. Even F1, renowned for acknowledging winning the most, only had a gap from 10-6, and then changed it to 10-8. The proportional equivalent to what you are suggesting would have been 15-6.
F1 and IRL and CART all award or awarded 80% of the winner’s points to second place and that seems fine (it’s still more than the winner gets now). F1 which has fields of 20-22 depending on the season awards the top 8, CART which had fields of 28 in its heyday awarded the top 12, and IRL which usually has smaller fields awards everyone by giving 18th-24th the same points and 25th-33rd the same points. That’s another effective way to help ensure people don’t return to the track many laps down. The one cheesy thing about the IRL points system is that it awards half points to drivers who fail to start, but besides that, that system is what an ideal Cup points system should be modeled after.
1 – 200
As a lot of you know I have been advocating a 100 point differential between first and second on the grounds that second is first loser. Also points only to the top dozen or 15 or whatever we agree on. (Lets get the rolling wrecks off the racetrack) Absent that..Ill take your system Matt….anything but what we have now.
Actually, I like the concept. Especially in terms of rewarding the winner of the race. One comment referenced Logano and why he wouldn’t have been in the Top 12. Well, consistency in some sort would still have to be a factor. In other words, he didn’t run up front enough to benefit from the sole victory. That in itself would prevent ringers coming in for specific races (road courses) and making the Chase.
The one problem I have is that they need to pay down further. I think it is important to keep full fields, but by awarding points down to only 8th is counter to that. I would say the Top 25 or Top 30 would be awarded points in some fashion. That would remove the incentive of those teams that have problems early of getting back on the track only for the purpose of gaining points.
Otherwise, I think for once you are onto something.
The latford system was good but it did not pay enough points for winning it should be 225 to win and 175 for 2nd and if someone runs away with the championship they deserve it and it is better than a driver winning it who does not. If the morons at Na$car and sponsors insist on the chase it should be to make the chase you must win 1 race and finish in the top 10 in points you must do both and if 6 drivers make the playoffs so be it at least you would have a deserving champion.
Here is how I would set the points:
Winner – 250
Pole – 10
The biggest problem I see with Matt’s system is I believe it will turn into a destruction derby with 10 laps to go. The 9th-12 place cars are going to start wrecking the guys in front of them so they can get into the points.
How about we keep the current system we have now, but only pay points to the drivers on the lead lap?