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!
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 · Monday November 22, 2010
The Key Moment – The Race: When Martin Truex, Jr. fell off the pace with an equalized tire, Carl Edwards lost the only competition that could keep him honest all day and drove on to an easy win.
The Chase: On the 24th lap, Denny Hamlin hit Greg Biffle and went spinning. The team never got back up on their heels afterwards, with their indecision on whether to pit during the ninth caution driving the final nail into their coffin.
In a Nutshell – The Race: Carl Edwards put on a dominating performance for a second straight week… but anyone who saw the race on ESPN can be forgiven for not knowing who won.
The Chase: After ten Outback Steakhouses worth of sizzle, the championship battle served up Clara Peller amounts of beef.
Dramatic Moment – There haven’t been a whole hell of a lot of them this year, have there?
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Did Johnson win this year’s title or did Hamlin lose it?
Is the No. 48 team’s fifth title going to draw fans to the sport to watch the new dynasty roll on, or drive away fans tired of seeing the same fellow win the title over and over?
Was de facto HMS team member Tony Stewart blocking for the No. 48 bunch throughout the race?
With three-time championship crew chief Ray Evernham at least semi-officially released from his obligations to RPM, rumors are rampant his former boss and friend, Rick Hendrick, would like to sign Evernham as the crew chief for the struggling No. 88 bunch next year. Honestly, I think that’s the one chance Earnhardt, Jr. has to get his career back on track though it will be an effort equivalent to raising the Titanic. But somewhere in those negotiations, he has to be told, “This is it. This is your last chance to make it here at HMS. If it doesn’t work, we’re done getting rid of crew chiefs and we’re going to find a new driver.”
Kasey Kahne has announced he’ll be having surgery on both knees just after the season ends. Kahne’s explanation is he tore up both knees playing basketball. (When will these young whippersnappers stop with this high-risk game of roundball and do something safe with their off time, like race motocross or skydive?) My guess is that Kahne saw how splendidly Denny Hamlin did in the sport after his ACL surgery and figures if one knee is good, two has got to be better.
Isn’t the silence from Brian Vickers’ peeps about his status for next season awfully concerning? Whispers say Vickers might not be ready for next year’s Daytona Speedweeks and could possibly have run his last race.
You can always count on Brian France for a dearth of information combined with a compendium of awkward quotes when he opens his mouth at a press conference. At Homestead, France admitted that changes to the Chase are still under consideration. He added, “What’s really clear to me is when you put drivers in a position where there’s a lot on the line, they just can’t have a good position and they actually have got to go out and win, lead laps, or compete high, they do it.” “Competing high?” Isn’t that what landed Jeremy Mayfield in all that trouble?
France also acted incredulous when told there were fans who don’t like the Chase. Can any human being actually be that stupid and not have drowned in the shower? When asked about fans who don’t want to see the Chase changed but would prefer it be eliminated, his response to the question was, “You met somebody who is telling you that?” Well, hell yeah, I hear from a couple hundred of those ex-fans a week. In the words of our Delta friend Bluto, the time has come for someone to do something pointless and meaningless. Remember back in the early days of the war in Iraq when France (the country) refused to back our policy? Some fringe elements of society decided the best way to punish France was not to buy French fries. (Which would have impacted Idaho a lot more than France, but the seeds were planted for the Tea Party… well-intended but ultimately retarded actions.) So let’s all join together and be as truly and unapologetically stupid as Brian France! I am calling on all like-minded individuals to teach Brian France a lesson by not buying French fries this Thursday! (Isn’t there something else going on that day?) When Brian sees the decrease in French fry sales over last November 25th, I am confident he will abdicate his throne and go back to being the spastic Village Idiot of Daytona Beach, FL. In place of French fries, I’d suggest you all chow down on turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and strawberry wine.
Volkswagen is apparently interested in getting involved in NASCAR racing. What I’d really like to know is which of the Detroit Big 3 is apparently interested in getting out of the sport?
You sometimes can’t help but wonder if NASCAR and the tracks have issued their officials laser-sighted hand guns to shoot themselves in the foot. Prior to Friday’s Cup practice, the beleaguered group couldn’t even remember which gate to open to allow the drivers to exit the garage area and get onto pit road. Drivers who showed up at the typical (and proper gate) were directed to another, where they were again denied access. After a series of three-point turns worthy of a driver’s ed class, NASCAR finally decided practice might be more useful if they actually allowed the race cars onto the track. You can’t make this stuff up; and in the midst of the hilarity, Ryan Newman tore reverse gear out of his transmission trying to jockey his way onto the track and missed most of practice. I cannot recall a single more embarrassing incident for the sport since Gary Nelson blew the engine to Ernie Irvan’s RYR Ford on the wheeled dyno after his pole-winning run in 1996.
Their season is over and NASCAR still hasn’t told the Nationwide Series teams what the rules will be for next season. Rumors are rampant that there will be some sort of limits on how many Cup drivers can enter the Triple A races, and if they will be eligible for points, prize money, or a title. Given that degree of uncertainty, it’s understandable many teams don’t know if they’ll be back in 2011 and sponsors are loathe to get in the game.
My guess is Ford chose a new F-150 to pace the field in Friday night’s truck race simply because it’s the only way they were going to get a Ford to lead a lap. A grand total of four Fords were entered in that race and Jason White in 23rd was the top finishing driver in a facsimile of a Ford F-150. That’s four more entries than the Dodge (or Ram now) camp managed to post. By and large, it’s now a Chevy and Toyota series; so much for “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” That’s especially true considering the Ford F series is easily the top selling brand of pickup trucks. Toyota, which claimed this year’s driver’s, manufacturer’s and team trophies in the series, remains an asterisk on that same sales chart of full-size trucks here in the States. (Give Ford style points, though, for rolling out the soon-to-be-released Boss 302 Mustang as the pace car for Saturday’s event.)
Related to the above, NASCAR might just have some designs to eliminate the start-and-parkers in next year’s Cup series for 2011. To date, they’ve remained mum on how they’d enforce such a ban over and above taking the first non-wreck related finisher’s car back to the R and D for a thorough check that makes airports’ full body screenings and patdowns look like a friendly handshake. PRISM Motorsports, the de facto originator of the trend, was rumored to be shutting down after this season, but one principal with the team loudly denies that.
Yeah, OK, Johnson’s title was the big story, but in addition to hearing he’d won his fifth championship it would have been nice to see who finished fifth as well. Audio problems during the trophy presentation were one final irritant for fans watching the race on ESPN in a terribly irritating season of race broadcasting.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
There are a lot of ways to lose a title. Hamlin and the No. 11 team mined most of them in the past two weeks. Phoenix was ugly, although they still arrived at Homestead leading the points. But while an early race spin didn’t ring the bell, the die was cast in what would be the end of the line. Uneven pit stops, a blown call that caused them not to pit at all during the ninth caution, and getting caught a lap down by the tenth and final one iced the cake.
Kyle Busch had a top-5 car most of the day until he ran afoul of a thoroughly irritated Kevin Harvick, who sent Busch into the inside wall. Right or wrong, having to hastily exit a car engulfed in flames wasn’t any way to end a season. (Kudos to Busch for a much more subdued and mature interview after that mess.)
Jeff Gordon’s season has been lackluster by his own lofty standards, but losing an engine in the final race was just one more disappointment and a bitter pill to swallow in his final race with DuPont as the majority primary sponsor. 37th, his season ended with a zero in the victory column for the second time in three years.
Martin Truex, Jr. clearly had a fast car and looked like he’d battle Edwards for the win, but an equalized tire ended his chances and dropped him to 11th.
Jeff Burton had to endure an early pit stop that could have been timed with a sundial, but managed to work his way back onto the lead lap. A hard trip into the wall ended his afternoon in 31st.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson had to overcome some slow pit stops (ironic in light of the crew swap at Texas with the No. 24 bunch) to claim a second-place finish and a fifth title.
After enduring a long winless drought and a disappointing season, Carl Edwards finished 2010 in style with back-to-back dominating wins. Hopefully, he didn’t actually screw up his leg doing the backflip afterwards. Lately, NASCAR drivers get group discounts on two things at the hospital: knee surgery and childbirths.
Kevin Harvick had to overcome a pit road speeding penalty that sent him to 26th for the restart. He stormed back to third place like his car was equipped with afterburners.
Aric Almirola ended his temporary tenure with the beleaguered RPM Bud team in style with a fourth-place finish. And he doesn’t even have to get out of bed for Monday’s 8 AM meeting. He already knows he’s out a job.
What’s the Points?
Johnson finally beat Hamlin by 39 points and Harvick by 41.
Edwards held on to the less-than-coveted fourth-place position in the standings, while Matt Kenseth remained in fifth. Greg Biffle jumped up to sixth, Tony Stewart ended the season seventh, and Kyle Busch was eighth.
Gordon’s DNF cost him three spots in the standings. He’ll finish in ninth, the lowest position for the four-time champ since 2005. He’s won just once in the last 113 races; Johnson has 24 victories in the same stretch.
Were it not for his 150-point penalty after the New Hampshire win, Clint Bowyer would have finished fifth, not tenth in the standings. Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton round out this year’s Chasers, both of whom won’t be standing up on stage at the banquet in Las Vegas.
In case you’re wondering … back under the classic points system, Harvick would have beat Johnson by 285 points. And yeah, I’d have been cool with that.
Mark Martin finished the season with the “Best of the Rest” award, thirteenth in the standings by 39 over Jamie McMurray.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — If you were actually watching the race, not where the Nos. 48, 11, and 29 cars were running, the event itself was pretty tepid. We’ll give this one two bottles of Corona, ‘cause down here, you need a reason to move…
Next Up – For those of you who might not have gotten the memo in your inbox, the 2010 Cup season, or what I like to refer to as the Hundred Year Wars of stock car racing, has finally reached its inevitable but wholly welcome conclusion.
Racing, or some contrived and silly approximation thereof, returns at the newly repaved Daytona track on February 12th of 2011 with some sort of clash, shootout, cage match, All-Star race or some such nonsense.
Many of you have written to me asking if I’ll be back next year. Straight answer, I don’t know. Retirement sounds good right now, but then it always sounds good by this point of the season so I give myself the luxury of a couple months’ off to decide what I want to do. But like Diehard movie sequels, I have that annoying tendency to keep coming back. I outlasted my old buddies over at the SpeedFX site (that domain name is now up for sale if you’re looking for an amusing stocking stuffer) and I’d like to think I can outlast Brian France as well before pursuing my next career goal of perpetual saddle tramp on the Harley.
Either way, this column is the last we’ll be dealing with each other this season. So to my most devoted fans who have followed me site to site, I appreciate your support more than words can tell. To my most venomous critics, you’ve helped make me a better writer by making sure my I’s are crossed and my T’s are dotted, as George W. might have said. To the rest of you, the majority of you who fall in between those two extremes, thanks for considering what I have to say and for coming along for the ride. What a long, strange trip it’s been. Best wishes to you all for a happy Thanksgiving, a joyous Christmas season with those you love, and better times for us all in 2011.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks for another great season, Matt.
Always a good read but NASCAR blew Irvan’s engine AFTER he won the pole at Talladega and the car was never a factor the rest of the weekend.
I never agree with you, but have always enjoyed reading your articles. Don’t blame you if this is your last year.
The Chase has absolutely turned this sport into a joke. I am probably going to watch the 1992 Hooters 500 on VHS and then call it quits as a NASCAR fan.
Good read though,even though the year was long,I’m sure gonna miss racin. So,until February everyone enjoy the off season!
History will look back on Johnsons 5 in a row and note they came in Nascars asterik years.
Clara Peller was the “Wheres the Beef” gal, if thats what you were going for Matt.
Thanks for all the great articles over the years at the various sites you have scribed for, and all the fun and frivolity that used to be had on the forums at Speed FX and the sight that shall not be named. I don’t blame you if you hang up your golden keyboard and get out of the sham that Nascar has become. I maybe watched one race this year in it’s entirety, fast forwarded through some and totally ignored most. I don’t feel like I have missed a thing and my weekends seem much longer now.
If you do not come back I want to thank you for the memories, and if you do I will be here to catch up on what I didn’t watch and read the rantings of certain readers from Daytona who feel the need to add their retort to your musings.
Since the real 2010 champion (Harvick) couldn’t win, I’m glad Johnson did.
Maybe this will drive more fans away, attendance will continue to go down, and ratings will drop further.
NASCAR is going to have to be (figuratively) burned to the ground before it can rise again. And lil’ Brian is doing his best to make sure that happens.
Also, Harvick’s speeding penalty… well, just one more questionable call by NASCAR to make the race “exciting”. Oh well. Harvick said it best over the radio “Just them doing what they do best.”
I hope NASCAR’s 2011 season tanks, and I’m glad I’m not going to watch it.
Thanks for the ride, Matt. If you come back for another season of reporting, well… That’ll be nice, and I’m sorry.
Sunday as a pivotal day in NASCAR history. It cemented Jimmie Johnson’s place as the the greatest driver in NASCAR history – no other driver has come close to his accomplishments. And continued to validate the Chase as the most viable and exciting points system NASCAR has ever used.
a HISTOIRC day for the sport!
If Sunday’s race also turns out to be the last one that Matt McAwful covers, it could quit possibly be the greatest day in the sports history.
If you really believe this Randy then I apologize. I only thought you were acting stupid.
I get that you don’t like the chase and you feel it is contrived, but isn’t any points systems contrived? The old points system was contrived. Maybe it made more sense but it was contrived.
I think the season is too long and the races are too long. I do believe Johnson would have five championships under the old system because I believe his team would race to the rules. Those who argue that Harvick would be the champion under the old rules might be right except they’re not racing by those rules.
My problem with the Chase or any points system is it reduces the incentive to win the actual race. I’d be happy with a driver’s point system that only rewarded the top three at each race. People pay too much money to go to Richmond or Talladega or Las Vegas to watch 1/3rd of the field protecting their points positions.
Hamlin and his team choked once again. He made it further this year than in years past, but he still choked. Maybe next year he can make it all the way to the end and then choke in the offseason. The only thing more insufferable than a Hamlin championship would be an Edwards championship.
Hearing Brian France coyly act like he’s never heard a fan that didn’t like the chase made me want to kick him in his nuts through the tv. Well, yada yada, yada, the new tv is being delivered today. What a putz. Unless he has his head burried so far up his ass that he can’t hear, there is no way he can be that oblivious to what’s going on.
Thanks for another entertaining year Matt. Hope to see you back next year.
Randy, I sure hope you and your “friends” find another sport that you are experts in. Personally I have seen here that talking to you does no good…..maybe someday someone will teach you respect the old fashion way, for you certainly need it!!
First of all, Matt, Denny dominated Phoenix, Carl just took the checkers.
According to SPEEDTV.com, Ray Evernham has said that King Richard has financiers to support his 2011 efforts, and that he has offered to help “in any way necessary” should this team survive. Rumors suggest that the new and lackluster Petty team could be a factory Ford operation. Ray’s interview also said he has no interest in being a crew chief or owner, so HMS might want to beat next year’s Christmas rush and start looking for a new driver now!
Dodge has already pulled out of na$car for all intent and purposes, so you really have to wonder which of the Big Two might be looking to leave. (It’s not GM) Mercedes and Nissan have also had talks with brian as potential manufacturers in the coming years. This could soon be the “RICK HENDRICK CHEVROLETS COMPETING VS. EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER IN THE WORLD STOCK CAR RACING SERIES SPONSORED BY WHATEVER CORPORATION brian france CAN BILK OUT OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS“ It might not be as catchy as na$car, but at least there is truth in advertising and would save on a lot of name changes.
Last season, TWO Hendrick teams combined to win 12 events, neither Jeff Gordon, nor Jr. won a damn thing.
You can’t retire Matt. If you do, everybody left behind at this site will have to listen (or read) to RandyGoldman rant every week about how he chased you out of the sport.
Finally, let me congratulate the champions of 2010:
Brad Keselowski, your complete domination of the Nationwide Series was well deserved, and earned honestly. I hope that they limit you, Carl and the other Buschwhackers before all of you kill the series in its entirety.
Kevin Harvick you did everything right and deserve to be called the 2010 NASCAR champion, however; this is na$car, and your efforts will be quickly forgotten by the masses.
I watched the last ten laps of the race yesterday (right after watching Sanchez throwing the winning TD pass – Go Jets!). Here’s why I don’t like the chase; Jimmy Johnson was very content with finishing second. I’ve always felt that winning the race was all that mattered.
Congrats to Carl. He’s had the best car when it counted the last two races. He was better than Hamlin even before Denny had to pit at Phoenix. Congrats to JJ for winning 5 in a row. Congrats to Randy Goldman for making a fool out of himself every week; that takes talent. And congrats to Brian France for being the worst, most inept sanctioning body leader in all of professional sports.
PS. The comment about competing high could’ve been directed at JC France and his powder- enhanced street racing in Daytona Beach.
1. Thanx for being the most entertaining part of the NA$CAR season once again.
Thanks for the great articles and the laughs Matt. You’ll have to come back for another year to see your semi-prediction come true. Ray Evernham will get the job as Jr’s crew chief and Jr. will win the championship! That will bring the fans back to NA$CAR in droves!! Oh wait, I must be building Brian’s fantasy team already.
NASCAR.com’s post-race poll asks: Who is most responsible for the 48 team’s five-year championship run?
The choices are Jim Johnson, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick or All of the Above.
My question is, where is the choice for NASCAR and their officials?
Count me as one of those who will spend the time until Daytona deciding if I even want to watch na$car after about 30 years! It is more scripted than WWE!
I think Kevin Harvick said it best after his crew informed him of the penalty. He told them “It is just them doing what they do best!”
Kevin’s biggest crime: being a challenger to Jimmie Johnson’s chance at another “championship.”
If this keeps up, Randy, then you may be the only fan left thanks to Brian France.
Thanks for all the years of writing, Matt. Have been a fan since the RacingOne years (another NASCAR related website that is barely in service. (My goodnes – how many lost jobs is Brian France responsible for?)).
Your articles has been one of the best things about Monday morning – and for that Matt, you have my eternal thanks! Good bless and I wish you the best.
thanks for the column, Matt. I always enjoying reading your take on things. I’m going to have to take some time and decide if I’m going to bother with being a NASCAR fan next year. Like you, I’ll take a couple of months and think about it. Hope that you’ll be back in 2011 since even if I’m not watching, I’ll probably still be reading.
Jacob, Gordon won the spring race at Texas in 2009. Not much like the old days of dominance, but please, after this season, I don’t want to miss even his lone victory.
Little RandyGoldman, it is you that is constantly “making stuff up” not me.
@ Bill B:
Thanks for the correction. I forgot all about Texas 2009.
New year, same story. Though no matter how different Jimmie would have raced he would not have beaten Jeff Gordon under the old points system in 2007. Sadly, Brian France still has his head way up his rear, and it sounds like the Chase will become more of a sideshow next year (15 drivers, a second point reset). If NASCAR wanted to make a bold move they would eliminate the Chase and introduce a new points system along the lines of Formula-1. Something, with a points cut off in the running order and more points for the winner and top finishers. But they won’t. I think they know the Chase has failed to deliver the promised parity, but won’t admit their mistake. Brian France is the classic rich kid who ruins the family business.
Congrats to the 48, I would probably be rooting for him if I wasn’t still bitter over 2007. I just wonder what would happen if Chad decided to leave Ray Evernham style. Speaking of Ray, I don’t think he could help Jr. He hasn’t crewed a car in 10+ years. Still looking forward to 2011, I’ll be at my first Daytona 500. Early prediction, Jeff Gordon takes his fourth Daytona 500 tying him with Cale only behind the King. Before we put Jimmie in the conversation with Dale Sr. and the King he needs to win the 500 a few more times.
Congrats I guess to the 48 team and Felony Motorsports. Have not watched a race all year. Spent the weekend putting a Buick nailhead into a 32 deuce my buddy owns. That was a lot more fun then watching NA$CAR.
Folks, this Goldman clown is obviously on NA$CAR’s payroll so just ignore him. He is the Michael Waltrip of posters. If NA$CAR tells him that poop on a stick is really good, then he will say poopcycles are fantastic.
Sorry MATT, I loved that line when you came up with years ago. If you do retire please stay in touch with me and Susan.
Thanks Matt. I have enjoyed your articles, sometimes not agreeing, but enjoying never the less
Congrats to JJ & crew, gotta play the hand your dealt.
Just wondering Johnson told by nascar to replace Drive shaft cover no explaination from nascar, Johnson told by nasacr to replace Lug bolts no explanation from nascar. Bowyer car less then 1/16 out of spec 150 points.Yes this Sport is legit.
I see the black helicopter crowd is alive and well. It goes to show how that even in the information age, the power of ignorance is still strong.
Jimmie Johnson is a legitimate champion, and one of the greatest to clmb into a race car…and I’m not even a JJ fan!!!
I don’t always agree, Matt, but enjoy reading your columns anyway. I hope you stick around.
Its hard to keep going. I want to watch it crash and burn. I wish it would hurry up so I can be done with it.
Wow!! Another victory for Hendricks Cup. That loud sound in the distance is the footsteps of more folks exiting the pretend world of nas$car. I’m done after 30 years.
sigh…..not sure i’ll be back. just showed how money talks.
i honestly think brian france wears an oxygen tank and face mask in order not to drown when showering.
only word i have for him is IDIOT.
rest in peace na$car. you’re all but done, so will the last one to leave the building turn off the lights and lock the door.
To mix things up today, I decided to throw out one of those good ‘ole SAT analogies.
Brett Favre is to the NFL as…
a)Matt M. is to Frontstretch.com
“Did you actually just ask me to provide documents that prove Rick has bought brian? Such things would be done with cash and not leave paper trails.”
So can we just admit that this “conspiracy theory” is exactly that, a theory and has completely no proof whatsoever. I bet you think there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll too. Back and to the left.
Great column, Matt. Thanks for another year. I’m one of those guys who’s been with you since Speedworld, and I really hope you come back next year, but if you don’t, I wish you health and happiness.
Oh, and one more thing… I am most definitely NOT a Jimmy Johnson fan. I have grown up with a close buddy of mine who loves him and takes every opportunity he gets to rub the Jimmy championship thing in my face. But, as a real NASCAR FAN, I can honestly say I respect what he has done and agree that he is one of the greatest drivers to ever race the sport.
I think it is amazing that many of you (who I am sure are much older and far more mature than I) are so stuck in the pass that you cant admit a good thing when you see it. You all blame my generation for the downfall of Nascar but I believe it is your “old-fashioned” ways that are doing far more damage than I.
I’m still tying to figure out what Bret Michaels and that woman were singing prior to the race. I’ve heard feral cats on acid sing better. Glad Shrubs car burned up. I know he would have gone back out and wrecked Harvick if he could have.
First, let me mention the article on page 1 of the NY Times sports section yesterday: “Nascar has the Finish, if Not the Viewers, It has Craved”. Secondly, thanks for your efforts Matt. I haven’t always agreed with you but I do respect your opinions. I would love to spend the winter riding my Harley, but unfortunately it gets too damn cold here in Connecticut. A few comments on the season If I might.
1)Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and his team. Im no Hendricks fan ( my bias, if I have one, is to Ganassi)but the kid can drive the wheels off a race car. I despise the chase as much as anyone on this site but Johnson is not responsible for this idiotic format, Nascar is. Brian France heads Nascar because he is a member of the Lucky Sperm Club; otherwise he would be the assistant manager of a 7-11 on South Atlantic.
2) I know its rewarding to do the math under the old system and conclude that Mr Nice Guy, Kevin Harvick would be champ but lets get serious here.Any of you that know racing well know damn well the tactics, strategies and results of the first 26 events would be quite different if they all counted.OK, enough…the seasons over. Happy Turkey Day to one and all. Ill be at the parade looking for the Nascar float with Brian France (in a turkey suit of course)waving to the crowd, thursday morning in Manhattan. LOL
Thanks for another great season Matt..
Enjoy, sit down and patch your bones.
Have loved all of you guys all season! Do come back Matt! I’m sorry so many of the readers who write in are so bitter about everything!!! Seat back and enjoy! I can hardly wait til next year already.Guess we’ll to watch more football and catch up on books I want to read. Til next year I wish everyone a Happy Holiday season!
Been reading this column for 10+ years and a racefan alot longer. We’ll miss the columns if you retire…….. Don’t always agree with your take but look forward to my Monday morning reading. Have a great Thanksgiving!
P.S. It is time to absolutely ignore certain posters (one person) and get this forum back to an adult conversation.
I will not need a little while to decide that I will no longer support Na$car. This year I watched one race beginning to end. I don’t even remember which one. I used to plan weekends around the race on TV. No longer. I read your column on Mondays to get the results. I will not be back to Na$crap. If you start covering football or hockey or anything, I will gladly read your take on it. Thanks Matt.
Not to take anything away from the 48 team’s accomplishments, as they have exploited the system presented to them. However, I think eventually these championships will have asterisks beside them. But more importantly than the debate over legitimate championships, is I fear this is only going to make things worse next year. I think there will be even more decline in ticket sales, and even lower TV ratings. If NASCAR wants to save NASCAR they need to show Brian France the door. Now before he does some more really dumb “stuff” in the off season!
Matt if you retire and dont come back all the long time fans will surely understand. I hope you do come back, I look forward to your articles every Monday and Thursday. Have been following you for a long time. If you dont return, enjoy your retirement and keep the shiny side up!
Black helicopters or not, I’d still like to see the computer readout for Harvick’s speed entering pit road. Or was it just NA$CAR’s bad luck that it happened when KH was taking the lead and JJ had another poor stop? Makes me wonder.
Yes Jimmy Johnson is THE legitimate champion, but only of the CHASE for five years. Not the same for previous champions or those who have led most of the season, only to get the biggest point penalty of the year…some 200 or so points lost when points are reset. Why don’t we just give the championship to the REAL points leader after 26 or 30 races to end season, and then CHASE championship run as demolition derbys at end of year to determine last man standing for elimination format that they are looking to do.
Matt, reading your articles is a lot more efficient and usually more entertaining than sitting through the races the last few years. Hope you’re back next year, but regardless thanks!
You’re pissed off? That’s too bad.
Matt, thanks for another great year!
Have I missed something? For the last 24 hours, I’ve read consistently HMS has 10 Cups to Petty Enterprises’ 9. By my math, Lee’s 3 + Richard’s 7 = 10. Or perhaps because PE was once known as Petty Engineering, is HMS discarding one of Lee’s championships? If so, puh-leeze.
I’m with you, Randy. I actually don’t visit this site often and the things you are saying about the attitude of the writer and the commenters is exactly why. If they are so fed up that they don’t watch NASCAR races any longer, why are they taking time to post in here? Do the fans (the real fans) of the sport a favor and just go on your merry way. None of your arguments hold water, so why keep trying?
Randy has proven to me that a pissant can eat a bale of hay hiding behind a keyboard. Rave on little pissant.
According to your definition then, a REAL Nascar fan is one who simply accepts whatever Nascar serves up to us as perfectly fine. Spec cars, splitters, the late lamented wings and most of all the chase. If our ancestors were willing to be as docile with King George as you expect us to be with Brian France, we would all be sipping tea and singing “God Save the Queen.”
Congratulations NASCAR, thanks to your contrived “Chase” handing Jimmie the cup on a platter, you’re officially as boring as Formula One was when Schumacher won 5 straight—but at least they did it purely on technical merit.
Can’t wait for the next World of Outlaws season to start.
How about 6 straight championships for JJ? If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. Like Dave said … going to watch the 1992 Hooter’s 500 and remember the good old days. Nascar can shove their “product.”
My problem is not with the 48 team. Congrats to them on an amazing accomplishment, and I believe they would have won under the CORRECT point system. My problem is, I want to see the 48 win a 36 race chase. The Chase is so flawed and scripted.
The fans get robbed of real racing for the first 26 events of the season, due to the fact a driver would rather stay comfortably in 4th place and increase his chase chances than go for the victory. This isn’t baseball, there aren’t a series of races like going to a baseball game and having at least multiple opportunities to see the Phillies vs the Mets. Some fans are lucky to see the drivers once a year, and to go to a race and see drivers race conservatively rather than all out is a shame.
NASCAR might as well split the drivers into divisions for the first 26 races of the year. Have Gatorade Duel style events on Sundays for the fans. Only one teammate allowed in each division. Shorter races and fields would eliminate phantom debris cautions and sandbagging. Take the top 15 from each division and they advance to the playoffs, and the points leader would start last every race.
Until the old system is back, or divisions are created, the chase is going to continue to kill this sport, no matter who wins.
After I heard Hamlin blame Biffle I was pleased to see Johnson win the Championship.
Like the many others who have posted before me, thanks for extracting what little joy there is left in na$car. If you do retire, it will be a sad day, but completely understandable. I am also contemplating my exit as a fan.
I am particularly sick of ESPN’s jj @$$-kiss-fest. My wife, who is not a racing fan, actually suggested that our sons write congratulatory e-mails to Carl, so at least someone cared that he won.
By my count, Jimmie Cheats-a-Lot has 4 chase championships and 1 Cup championship (last year’s, where he actually SCORED the most points rather than being AWARDED the most). That makes him only the best driver to pick up points at 1.5 mile tracks, and not much else.
It would be worth sticking around if not for the fact that Brainfart France kidnapped Tony Stewart and replaced him with a Stepford stand-in.
Give IndyCar some credit. They’ve heard from their fans that the series sucks and are trying to do something about it.
Oh well, LET’S GO PENS!
oh very true Dave, I have nothing personal against Johnson or his team, they’re among the greats. But The Chase has ruined what could’ve been 5 highly interesting/entertaining racing seasons.
Thanks for another entertaining season Matt and hope to see you back next year.
While I don’t agree with you 100%, I do agree with you most of the time. We seem to differ on our beer ratings. Mine are lower.
As the WWE on Wheels ends yet another season of contrived, artificially generated excitement, ARCA and USAR are starting to look mighty tempting for next season.
Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas everybody. Even Randy.
Gail Forrester – I wasn’t making a comparison between the Jets and JJ. But since you brought it up I’ll expand upon it. If the Jets were leading the game the correct strategy would be to run out the clock. But they weren’t so they didn’try to run out the clock. In JJ’s case, he was not leading the race but yet as you said “ran out the clock”
Gail Forrester – I wasn’t making a comparison between the Jets and JJ. But since you brought it up I’ll expand upon it. If the Jets were leading the game the correct strategy would be to run out the clock. But they weren’t so they didn’t try to run out the clock. In JJ’s case, he was not leading the race but yet as you said “ran out the clock” That’t the problem with the chase
Glad to see you survived the press conference the other day, Matt! When Big Bri acted astounded that a reporter had met a real, live person who didn’t like the Chase, I laughed hysterically—and worried about your blood pressure. Thanks for a great season, and I hope you’ll be back.
The Connive for Five in 2010 has ended. Coming in February? The Fix for Six in 2011.
Funky D: “Brainfart France kidnapped Tony Stewart and replaced him with a Stepford stand-in”
I wondered what happened to the real Tony Stewart…. the one with a spine.
I don’t always watch the races anymore, but I always read your column. Hope you are around here for a lot longer. You make up for what’s been lacking in Nascar for quite a while.
Harvick winning under the old point system… yeah that would have been cool and righteous – he earned it.
What would be even cooler would be you outlasting France…
Have happy and healthy holidays.
Randy Nacho Goldmom said;
“Many fans on this site don’t watch the races, but believe everything Matt says – that’s what I have a problem with.
Form your own opinions people!”
I guess my problem is that my opinion of Nascar was formed from the late ’60s to 2000, then Fox took over, then BZF was handed the Nascar sceptor and the world of Nascar was forever changed. The problem with some respondents here is that all they have known of Nascar is the view from the childrens table, and they have not yet earned the right to sit at the adult table and partake in the adult conversations, but feel the need to hurl insults from the high chair.
Good job Brian France you are now officially a joke. Here’s the answer CNBC, it’s the Chase and a 10 year policy of alienating race fans. http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232/?video=1657856902&play=1
Will Randy and I wake up one morning and finally be pessimistic about everything related to the sport that we claim to love? If that’s the case, I’ll keep the kiddy table. Shoot, set me up a booster seat for all I care. At least I can settle down every sunday and enjoy my nascar with a tall frosty bud light lime.
Matt, I really think you have a bad outlook on the sport. Every week you come on with some sleazy comment about Brian France, restrictor plates, or the track coming up. You remind me of all the sky is falling people who say the sport is dying. I personally enjoyed this season way more than 2009, the on track action was better and it was a much more more exciting finale than previous years. Stop being such downer and how about giving us a positive outlook next time (IF YOU RETURN)
Thanks Matt. If you decide to pull the plug, happy trails. Perhaps you can post something on down the road. Stay healthy.
As an impartial person here who loved past racing and can respect what the drivers in the Chase format have accomplished.
At the very least, what the 48 team has accomplished is nothing short of amazing. The cars are supposedly as equal as can be and when the smoke has cleared the past 5 years, Jimmie Johnson, a guy whose highlight before this historic run was slamming into the foam at the Glen, is holding the trophy.
At the very least give the man his due. All other drivers have to play by the same rules.
Matt, if you leave who will remind the new and old fans that Earnhardt is no longer with us because of restricter plate racing. That the real families of NASCAR are the Pettys, Woods, Allisons, Waltrips, and Earnhardts. That NASCAR has two many mile and one half tracks that JJ does really well on. Who will tell the new fans the 5th championship that JJ won would have been won by Harvick and Dale Earnhardt’s old owner if the same system was still in effect that Petty and Earnhardt won their championships under. I could go on, but I think that is enough to bring you back next year.
Thanks once again for another year of extremely entertaining articles. You say it like it is and your column is what makes the season enjoyable. God Bless
I just love the posers opps posters who found this site this year and have done nothing but Bitch about Matt and the many fans that have followed Matt for years.
Matt’s column have not changed in years and those of us that have followed him for many years and numerous sites know what we are going to get every week. An honest opinion from a fan who has followed this sport many years and knows and understands its history.
While I do not agree with everything Matt says, I value his opinion and hope that He enjoys whatever choice he makes for next year.
For the many Kool-aid drinkers, if you do not like the content of Matt’s column, just remember he has done Damn good without your input for many more years then you have followed this sport. and if mr. france has never heard from any fans who do not like the chase, there most be many sites you can go to with like minded “fans”
I can go to any number of websites to get updated on the latest Nascar info. There are very few, however, that deliver that same info in an actual writing style. Matt, it’s never mattered to me whether I agreed with you or not…I have followed you around cyperspace because of the way you write. Funny, sarcastic, wistful, exasperated, passionate; it all comes through (usually in the same article!) giving your work personality. I hope you continue, but if not how about another book or two? “Eights and Aces” was a great read. I’m betting you’ll be back next year (I hate goodbyes). In the meantime, many thanks to you for being a unique voice and have a wonderful off-season!
Matt, just go ride. Used to be the negative comments were directed to racing opinions on this column. Now it seems to be invaded by the usual internet jerks that have no life and no valuable opinion. Hell, reading the opinions on most columns, I’m not even sure this is still a racing website. It’s more like a bucket for pissing contests by folks who wear their panties up their butt crack.
I really believe if Dale Earnhardt were still alive and racing, we wouldn’t have Frances CHASE ten race championships.
Thanks for another year Matt. If your back on Frontstrech I will catch ya next year. Thanks to all the FS writers, lots of great articles all year. Congrats to JJ – wow 5 in a row.
I wasn’t going to post or comment on Matt’s possible retirement. But I am or was a loooong time fan of NASCAR. I think what the younger fan fails to grasp is the reason for the NASCAR bashing so to speak. You see youngsters, if people like Matt and the folks that post here concerning the demise of NASCAR, stop letting NASCAR know how the vast majority of fans feel about the direction of the sport, then it is assured there will be no sport. I know a lot of younger fans would like to see the “old fans” leave NASCAR to them. There has never been a time in this sport when there has been such a divide between the young and old fan. The simple fact is that it is not change that irritates the “old fan” it is stupid ignorant change that hurts the sport or changes that move the sport away from the rich history of NASCAR. Brian has done both, and continues to deny it daily. The COT for example a “completely” contrived vehicle. Not one produced by any auto maker known to man. The younger fan accepts this breech of historical rule, the older fan does not. And why? Because it goes against one of the corner stones of the sport, that a manufacturer actually has to build and sell a “stock car” before it can be raced. This is but one example of “change” that is not good for the sport. There are many many others. The old fans are leaving and we are taking our wallets with us. It is a fact that the older fan has a whole lot more disposable income to spend on NASCAR than the younger fan does. In short when the old guard leaves there will not be enough “new fans” to sustain NASCAR. Us older fans know it, the younger fan will learn it when the last NASCAR race is run.
There will be no excuse from me because we will have a genuine champion. I’ll congratulate him and buy a t-shirt.
Susan…obviously Dale Earnhardt at his age today wouldn’t be getting top 10’s…what NASCAR would need today is his voice/opinions and they would listen.
I’m waiting for the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ elimination of the lowest point holder every week to occur to Brian F. coupled with fan voting through Sprint messaging. Sounds like a real money-maker for na$car. At that point the last person can all turn off the lights and we will remember the old NASCAR fondly like we remember being able to play tag in elementary school. Images from a forgotten time.
I’d hate to see you retire. I’ve been reading your columns for years.
Randy, this is rapidly becoming “your” NASCAR. Look at the crappy attendance and TV ratings and let me know how it is working. Just like the combo of Jimmie & Chad shouldn’t be messed with, NASCAR shouldn’t have changed the championship format and started throwing competition cautions to spice up the show.
Regarding Petty’s nine championships, didn’t one of Richard’s come with Mike Curb rather than Petty Enterprises? Richard’s six plus Lee’s three would be nine.