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.
One of the quickest ways to ensure a business disaster is to come up with a slipshod answer to a question nobody was asking, anyway. From such endeavors marketing disasters like the Edsel, Pontiac Aztek, New Coke, the Sony Betamax and the softer side of Sears were born. Eventually, we’ll be able to add NASCAR’s Chase point system, which has proved deadly effective in driving loyal customers from the fold to the list, but before you can start totaling up the casualties you have to wait for the train wreck to stop.
So unless you’re totally clueless, loathsome, and spent the offseason clubbing baby seals in Canada (and how are you, Randy G?) you’ve probably heard at least passing mention of the new points system NASCAR has adopted for all three top touring series this season. The winner gets 43 points, second place 42 points and so on down to one point for finishing 43rd. The winner gets a way too small three point bonus, anyone who leads a lap gets a one point bonus and the driver who leads the most laps also gets an additional one point bonus. And presumably, the winner of the most races gets an Edsel wagon equipped with a Betamax player and a cargo hold full of New Coke.
There’s just one problem with the brandy-spanking new points system: it shares the same three fatal flaws of last year’s relic. A driver who finishes third but leads the most laps earns more points than the fellow who finished second but didn’t lead a lap. A driver gets a point for leading a lap even if the race is under caution. And a driver who gets wrecked out early at Daytona (a not uncommon circumstance) but wins the next three races (think Bill Elliott circa 1992) can earn less points than a guy who cruises to four top-10 finishes in the season’s first four races. That’s not just counterintuitive, it’s plain old stupid.
It’s simpler to understand, Brian France pointed out proudly. Yeah, well a Model T is simpler than a new Mercedes Gullwing, but which would you rather drive from Daytona to L.A.? (Calm down, I love T’s too.) I never had that big of a problem understanding the old Latford points system. I tape a copy of the points awarded per position on the top of my computer and place another on the inside cover of my notebooks every season. And if NASCAR is adopting simplicity, how come the qualifying system for the upcoming Daytona 500 is so bizarre and Byzantine it reads like something Rube Goldberg would have devised while partying with Timothy Leary?
The message I keep hearing from fans and former fans here in this tiny outpost of the People’s Army of the Citizens’ Journalist Corps branch location (stuck right in the frozen tundra of Guthriesville) is that the fans think the racing would be better if winning paid a large points bonus. If you’ve read my ramblings for over six months you know I’m a staunch proponent of a points system that pays 500 points to the winner, 250 points to the second-place finisher, 125 to third, 75 to fourth and so on down to around twentieth place, which would be worth five points. Finish below twentieth, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you, thanks for playing but no soup (er, I mean points) for you. Realizing just about every driver and team is going to have a few DNFs at the end of the season, whenever points are tallied to decide a title a driver’s worst three finishes would be thrown out.
France went on to note another change to the Chase, wherein 11th and 12th spots will go to the drivers in the top 20 in points (after Richmond in Setpember) who won the most races, but missed a top 10 points position (Think Jamie McMurray last year as an example). I’m not a complete contrarian: I actually applaud the thought behind this move. But once again, NASCAR is failing to heed the message fans and ex-fans are sending. The fans who write me here at Eyesore Acres don’t want to see the Chase tweaked. They want to see the stupid thing eliminated, as in go Billy Jo McCallister on the thing and toss it off the Tallahatchie Bridge. No single move would better convince fans that NASCAR does care than scrapping the Chase. After all, last year the Chase accidentally produced a decent finale after all these seasons and the polls I read afterwards still said four out of five fans don’t like the system. I mean, if I’m running a business and four out of five customers dislike a change I’ve made, I’m changing back. Call it the “Ruthanne White-Sharon Malasics” factor.
In the same press conference, our dear friend and illustrious leader Brian (who ought to be bought a one-way ticket to Chocktaw Ridge for a tour of the Bridges of Tippah County) announced major changes to the qualifying system. In the event qualifying is rained out, the field will now be set by final practice speeds. Hooray! I wish I’d proposed the same thing over the last dozen years… oh, right, I did. But here’s the kicker. If qualifying is held (and if qualifying is held and nobody watches, is it qualifying all you fallen trees in the forest fans?) the slowest cars in practice will go out first and so on up to the fastest driver in practice, with the exception of the drivers who must run their way into the field who still go out last. (Again, simple, right? Sort of like Chinese calculus.)
Here’s the message NASCAR missed. The fans who write me hate the top 35 rule that ensures any driver for a team in the top 35 in owner points makes the race. But rather than admit a mistake and scrap the system, NASCAR once again decided to tweak it rather than eliminate it. You can add all the salt and pepper you want to a bullsh*t sandwich, but it still isn’t going to taste good. At this point, the Top 35 rule has made qualifying such a non-event (what hangs in the balance is pit selection) that it has turned grandstands into ghost towns most Fridays. Some tracks, including Pocono have decided to throw in the towel, cancel qualifying on Friday and run it on Saturday as a companion event to the ARCA or Truck races. Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient. I recall an era when on a nice Friday summer afternoon on Pocono race weekend it could take up to an hour to exit the parking lot so many fans attended qualifying. The proper answer, at least for me would have been to just scrap the top 35 rule and let the 43 (and speaking of simple, why 43-car fields?) fastest cars qualify.
Now hold on there a second, Bubba-Louie, some fans proudly polishing their “Fan for almost three years” medallions are hollering. If I’m laying out my hard-earned bucks for a race ticket, I want assurance Jimmie Johnson is going to race that weekend even if he blows an engine in qualifying. Yeah, OK, and if I book a hotel room in Indy next February I want an assurance that the Phil-a-dulph-ya Iggles are going to be in the Super Bowl. It just doesn’t work that way in sports. Not in legitimate sports, anyway, where “legitimate” in this instance means “not run by the France family.”
The key to problem solving is first to correctly identify the problem. Then, you come up with a solution that doesn’t mitigate the problem but eliminates it. The 2011 Cup Series season hasn’t even started yet and I’m already throwing my hands in the air in frustration. Keep your hands in the car, kiddies. This is going to be another dark ride.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Well said, Matt. I agree with almost every word that you said. I wouldn’t advocate for allowing a team’s three worst performances to be dis-allowed, but otherwise you are on target.
As a side note, Randy “need one more?”, “NASCAR Tuna”, “DansMom”, “VolcanoNacho” Goldman has decided to add “Jacob” to his many screen names. So, while I am sure I won’t agree with every word that you write, you will be able to differentiate me from the “other” Jacob, because one of us will sound informed and intelligent, while the other sounds like Randy.
So you came back for another year of torture Matt, glad you are back (misery loves company).
The only way I am for the fastest 43 qualify with no provisionals is if there were two rounds of qualifying and teams were allowed to do whatever was in their power to make their car the fastest it can be for qualifying (including swapping out engines).
Of course there is no doubt as to which posts are mine. Mine read as though they are written by an intelligent person, while your’s read like a retarded child has been throwing a tantrum. By the way, it is spelled B-A-R-R-A-G-E, just for the record.
As for your ridiculous and useless comment, by your own ‘Philadelphia Eagles should only be “locked in” while playing at Philadelphia’ argument, that means that Jimmie Johnson should only be “locked in” at Auto Club Speedway, as he claims El Cajon California as his “hometown”.
Bill B is right, you are too stupid to realize that you are in the minority, and use your multiple names, in order to make yourself feel like you aren’t alone. “Jacob” is your newest addition and I suppose it should make me feel good, after all, as the saying goes: IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY.
Well I wondered if Matt would be back – and yes, here he is! Welcome back! I really didn’t know if you would return.
The drivers were point racing before BF’s new point system and they will still be point racing. Nothing like motivating a driver by giving them +1 points if they try and succeed but -15 points if they try and fail.
Think about it: If you boss promised you a $1 bonus if you took on extra work and did well but you would be fired if you did a back job – I think 99% of the people would probably say thanks but no thanks and stay with the status quo. Same thing with the drivers: I can either drive the crap out of my car and gain a few spots but then risk losing spots if I wreck or wear my tires out – OR I can be happy staying where I am and forfeit my extra +1 point.
The top 35 rule is terrible but everyone seems to forget about the old provisional system was even worse. I remember one year Elliott Sadler couldn’t make the field 8 times. But he got in because in the old system you always received a provisional if you stayed in the top 25.
There has to be a better system. I bet if you got 5 real fans together for an afternoon they could probably create something that would work (no top 35 rule but all full time drivers get 3 mulligans each year?). But of course it won’t be BF’s idea so why even bother coming up with something.
This will be a very interesting year. NFL just set record TV ratings. If the Daytona 500 ratings are flat or down, then it really is NASCAR. Of course BF will create some excuse and will make some change in the middle of the year that will result in nothing but will allow NASCAR to claim that they “have heard the fans”.
Final note: I don’t think even 4.99 of 5 fans hates the non-official media. NASCAR has went so far out of its way to bend the truth that the independent non-offical NASCAR sites are the only places that actually deliver real news and opinion. If by “journalist” you mean NASCAR.com and the other inside media – then yes I agree. NASCAR.com has been unreadable since about 2003.
Welcome back Matt. Glad you decided to stick around another year.
As ususal, your ideas are almost spot on. This new points system is even more regressive than the old Lattiford system. At least then there was a points advantage to fininshing in the top five or ten. There was a five point difference between the first six positions, a four point difference between the next five positions, and a three point difference between the rest. There was some (but not enough) reward for fishing higher. Now there is noting but the bonus points.
As far as throwing out the bottom three finishes, your suggested points system would effectively do just that. Every finish below 20th would be discarded by awarding zero points. Same thing would apply to everyone, so it would be fair.
I think the top-35 rule needs to be scrapped. Go back to two qualifying runs and take the fastest. If you screw up twice, you get to go home. Given two chances, if you cant get into the top 43 cars you don’t deserve to be in the race. Make the rule consistent that you have to start the race on the same setup you qualified with too.
Brain Fart needs to think about it for a second and realize that nobody is gunning for wins during the first 26 races. All focus is on staying in the top-12 even if it means cruising to a decent place finish. Better to finish tenth than to take a risk, wreck, and finish 40th. Racers still want to win, but they are discouraged from pushing their cars to the limits because the punishment of failure is much greater than the reward of success. The excitement is gone.
The racing has to come first. If it isn’t entertaining, nobody is going to watch no matter how the champion is decided.
Each race must stand on it’s own. The method of selecting the champion needs to be based on the best combination of individual finishes and should affect race strategy as little as possible. No solution will be perfect, but damn near anything would be better than it is now.
Randy, think of it this way. If you buy a ticket to a Yankees game expecting A-Rod to play, and he’s not in the lineup, do you just turn around and go home? There’s still going to be a game, just like there’s still a race even if Mark Martin isn’t in it.
Same for any other sport. Sometimes the stars aren’t in the game. Maybe they’re injured, maybe they just got the night off.
I suppose SOME would leave, if they ONLY went to see their favorite player, but they aren’t die-hard sports fans, and you aren’t gonna get a refund anyway.
The T35 isn’t about drivers. It’s about protecting sponsors, but it has horribly backfired, preventing new sponsors from getting into the sport with new teams, instead banking solely on established teams to guarantee exposure. In the NW and Truck series it’s even worse, with Start-and-Park teams who can’t even maintain minimum speed for one qualifying lap getting guaranteed spots over start-up teams trying to break into the sport.
Is it just me or is there a lot of negativity and personal bashing going on here on this forum? I thought the point of all of this was to talk about nascar and share some valid insights. While I haven’t been reading long enough to know RandyGoldman that well, I feel like all the other Jacob is doing is personally attacking him. Sounds like someone has some personal issues they have to deal with.
That being said, I am completely for the new points system. The old system was arbitrary and pulled out of nowhere, why is this one any different. At least in this one the numbers assigned make sense.
I’ll play the optimist. I think the Chase’s days are numbered. It only survived because it’s tied to ESPN TV deal. I look for it to go after the 2014 season, and hopefully take Sprint with it as title sponsor. Jeff Burton and Bruton Smith hinted at this during the media tour. I agree the change in the points system really doesn’t do anything. It does give a bonus to the winner, but not enough. I’ll give it a chance though and see if it makes a difference. I agree top-35 is obsolete now with so many underfunded teams. No way if you go back to the old provisional system there would be a big risk of a star on a top team missing a race.
1. I would observe that an Edsel Wagon is worth playing for. Were that the case I might care about the points.
2. “Chocktaw” is an incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is “Choctaw”. I know because I grew up on the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay and the local High School shared the name— but I’ll forgive you that because maybe you spell it differently where you are, but it is still wrong.
3. “Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient.” You are correct I’m Ancient and it is copyrighted.
4. Everything else you said I agree with, and for the first time in 2011 I herewith dust off my Chase mantra and place it before you: It cannot be mended. It must be ended.
Misery likes company so welcome back for another year of the NA$CAR “Glutton for Punishment Tour” Matt.
As to Mr. 3 Faces of Eve, seek some professional help. It’ll do wonders for you.
Get rid of the Top 35. The top 20 positions from the previous race are guaranteed a spot for the next race (Daytona 500 included). Everyone else qualify on time. Daytona can still use the crazy qualifying plus Duels to make up their 43 car field.
I’d like to amend my comment above – for the Daytona 500, (or a different race if Daytona is the first race of the year), no guaranteed starting spots. No one cares about last years’ finishes, so let’s start fresh.
I don’t like the new points system and would have favored one similar to Matt’s suggestions.
BUT. I’m tired of changes every year. The stick & ball sports wouldn’t survive either if the commissioner toyed with the rules this often.
So keep the Chase and the points system for another five years and let’s just accept what we have.
By that time maybe IndyCar will have recovered and I can watch them instead. If not, I want to the head of NASCAR (BZF is unlikely to last this long) to dump the Chase, go to stock bodied cars (not the Nationwide Funny Cars), and set up a points system that includes only the top twenty finishing positions where 1st place gets a minimum of 33% more points than second. No bonus points for nuthin’.
The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…One thing that was constant during the growth period of the sport was continuity…Every race was viewed as a Super Bowl, winning a race during a season may make a driver and/or team’s season and the driver who was the most consistent throughout the course of the year was the Point Champion…Did people think any less of Bill Elliott’s 11 win season because he didn’t win the points…He was the Driver of the Year, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, an instant legend but did all that go away because of a late season string of bad luck…No it didn’t…Stock Car racing to the diehard fans was(is) full of nuances and details that not everyone can see during an event, but only those with a trained eye…I really believe that as great of a driver a Rusty Wallace was, he has no idea how to watch, much less call a race…These days the events seemed contrived with all of the cautions and the season ends in the ultimate contrived situation…The points should be like a good old race…many long runs where the leaders tug and pull at each other for the full distance in what will eventually wash out and crown a winner or in the case of the full season, a Points Champion…Those who think it was boring will never get it, ever, and anyone who thinks every week a green/white/checker finish is needed to make a race exciting don’t get it…For me, I am done with it Period…
“The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…”
A) Then why are you here?!
B) I consider myself a “diehard fan” and I still very much enjoy watching the races. Very seldom does a week go by where i dont watch or at least listen to the race on the radio. Therefore, your statement is false.
Welcome back, Matt. An opinion on the points system: I haven’t followed Formula 1 or any other series for quite some time, so I don’t know how their points are done. But I do recall how it was done way back in my college days: Winner gets 9; second gets 6; next finishers get 4, 3, 2, 1 respectively. Now, in NA$CAR, with 43 entries, this wouldnt be enough. However, I seem to recall another racing series (was it SCCA? Trans-Am? Can-Am? Formula 5000? I can’t remember) that awarded them as follows: First got 20; second got 15; third got 12; fourth got 10; fifth got 8; and then it was 6-5-4-3-2-1 or something like that. This would make MUCH more sense – note how the difference between the winner and 2nd place is 5 points; between 2nd and 3rd is 3 points; between third and fourth is two points, etc. This would still give points to all finishers in the top ten (or so), but gives enough extra points for incentive to finish higher, rather than “settling for” a top ten. Of course, to keep sponsors happy for some 43 teams, this could esily be adjusted to include, say, the top 20 cars or so. Why can’t they do something like that? Oh, wait – maybe it makes too much sense. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Geez, why don’t we just say whoever wins the most races is the champion (providing they attempt to qualify for all 36 races). It wouldn’t be my first choice but it would shut everyone up who doesn’t think there is enough emphasis on winning. Then we wouldn’t need a points system at all.
Oh yeah, and here is a coming attraction…Now that each manufacturer has a unique nose,,, How long before the first articles appear where someone accuses one manufacturer of having an advantage?
If everything in NASCAR is so great, we wouldn’t have so many people complaining and offering their ideas, right?
Welcome back Matt
YAY…. welcome back Matt!
As a CUP after thought, I abhor the top 35 and I hate the chase, but if we must have the chase, I would modify it in the following manner: Anyone who wins a race is in. Yes, even road courses, rain shortened, a Caution or fuel mileage win gets you in… you just won a race at the top level of stockcar racing, and that’s saying something. Winning a races should be everything in this sport. Didn’t win a race? Sorry, you are not championship material. Points? 2nd place is the first looser… who want’s to be that? Flaws in this… sure… but is it better than what we’ve got… you betcha.
Now how much simpler can that be?
i should amend my system with points are only awarded in the chase.
EZ, just for my own clarification, what is a “newbie” defined as?
I think that Sprint or the networks are the ones that want to keep this Chase garbage. I know France doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb, but you can’t convince me that this is all Brian’s work. Someone is demanding this. Is France a sellout to these people? Absolutely. But I don’t think he is keeping this Chase afloat by sheer stubborness.
For qualifying, if I went to a race and my driver didn’t qualify, I would be bummed but I would still watch the race. If he wasn’t fast enough to qualify, chances are he would have a lousy day anyway, so this justifies to me the fastest 43 should start the race. My only adjustment would be having 2 rounds of quals in case someone hits the wall or has problems on the first run.
First, welcome back, Matt. I enjoy your columns and agree very much that NASCAR totally missed the “point” here with the new-simplified points system. Not what I was looking for after last season. Other than Randy, most of us seem to be in agreement that we don’t like the chase points system but Brainless France isn’t even aware that any of the fans don’t like it.
I don’t mind getting rid of the top 35 but I think a champion’s provisional is still a good option to have.
I don’t remember a time when I was less interested in the racing getting started.
Somewhat arbitrary but I’ll take a shot….
Woohoo! I made the “old school fan” team. I do believe the first race I saw in person was a Martinsville race in 2003. I probably watched Nascar since around 2001.
Do I get an old fart medal like the rest of you guys?!
First, let me apologize for the re-print..I’m extremely busy work wise and wading through so much of the verbal bilge here does get tedious. So here goes again..“I am tired of trying to convince you people that winning is what matters and that a point system that pays 90% of the winners points to the guy who finishes fifth is idiotic. That system, combined with the ridiculous chase means we can count on 26 races of most competitors cruising around and trying to stay out of trouble. Why bust your butt or blow up the equipment for another 2%? One of these days youll figure it out. All I know is once its warm enough here to get out on a bike or an old car, I’m gone. Ill catch the results at night on speed or check online, maybe.” TTFN!!!!
Welcome back Matt! I have always enjoyed your tell it like it is style.
As usual, NASCAR got it wrong. Again. The Chase is not exciting or fun. Whichever points system is used, WINNING as many races as possible should be the goal. If everyone was running to win all year long, then no chase would be necessary for excitement.
I’m going to watch, using my DVR to skip the repetitive commercials and pre-race ya-ya. Sometimes I just listen to the radio broadcast instead because they have better coverage of all drivers, not just the chosen few.
Oh, yeah…I forgot to mention that I was highly insulted by Brian France’s assertion that a simpler system was necessary because we fans are too stupid to understand the old points system. I’ve been a fan since the 1970’s. I learned basic math in elementary school and I can use a calculator.
Glad to see you back matt.But i see your little piss ant has found his way also.
I am glad you are back Matt, I will continue to read your columns every week.
Looks like King Brian fixed something else that wasn’t broken. I personally have NEVER heard anyone complain about not understanding the point system. It was what it was. My list remains the same, dump the chase, dump the top 35, dump the IROC format, the Bud Shootout is for pole winners form previous year, NASCAR should return to being a body that stages a RACE not a marketing arm that puts on a staged performance. They have openly said they are trying to appeal to an 18 to 35 demographic, which explains why they have lost so many longtime fans. As for that Randy Goof, me thinks he should find King Brian and give him a Big wet kiss, that is if he can find him.
Not that it matters, but NA$CAR hasn’t done themselves any favors. Just like any “welfare” system, everything NA$CAR does brings the top teams down closer to the level of the worst and take away all incentive to be creative and win.
I personally have no issue with the bonus points for leading a lap. It adds an extra wrinkle into the race (i.e. people staying out to lead a lap).
Side note: I also do-do da cha-cha.
Welcome back Matt! Was wondering if you would return. Other than “Octo-Alias” most on here enjoy your take on races, your ramblings on music, muscle-cars and other gasoline powered entertainment….Me included! I am the same age as you …on paper :^) and still have many (way over my marital limit) cars I play with….And I also nearly killed myself 100 times on sleds and 3 and 4 wheelers! Keep up the good work and the good fight!!!
Glad you’re back Matt. Why was second round qualifying done away with years ago? Have second round qualifying with no provisionals.
In 1992, four drivers had a legitimate shot at the championship going into the last race. It came down to leading one lap more than the other guy, to get the five bonus points. That was under the point system recently abandoned. You can’t force competition. If you try you create a system that does, someone else can use it to their advantage.
Glad you’re back, Matt. Looking forward to your thoughts on the up-coming season.
Welcome Back Matt
Once again You are spot on, and only the uninformed and newer fans who have not followed You or the sport continue to bash you and your Fans.
While You are not always right you do have a true love of the sport and want to see it return to its glory days, with packed stands excitied fans talking about last weeks race until after the next race. I remember those days, I also dream of their return.
I like Tim’s idea about F-1 points and want to say I would like for a win and a couple 8-10th place finishes to earn more points then 3 3rd-5th place finishes.
Silver State cars at Wilkesboro. 1700 lbs. 700hp no restrictor no chase and DAMN FAST. Who needs NASCAR
Sorry, I confused myself, USAC Silver Crown cars will be at Wilksboro. Musta been thinking of Nevada.
I still don’t understand why everyone who hates Matt so much continues to read, comment about it, and complain. And why bash those of us who actually enjoy the articles put out by Matt? WE’RE the stupid ones for following something we LIKE instead of something we HATE? riiiiigghttt….
Matt, nice to see the down time of the off season has brought you back to us. We all were afraid that we had lost one of the only writers left to call it as THEY see it. Will always enjoy the fact that you will write it as you see it and let the chips fall where they may.
I to have become dissatisfied with this “SHOW” that is now NASCAR. Brief history as for where I speak from, I been a fan from the first bakers dozen (13) Talladega 500 races, that’s when the races were ran there in August and you had to drive the car. I have attended races each year through out my life. So unlike some of those writing on this blog, that haven’t been to a total of 13 races, it gives me a perspective to which I can make a comment. This “SHOW” is not and will never be our daddy’s “SHOW”. However that being said the “SHOW” should improve with age, not regress.
Glad to see your back this year. I excitedly read your article and practically fell out of my chair with your RG comment. Spot on. What an a$$.
Matt – Welcome back. Like some others have mentioned, I wasn’t sure you’d come back. Glad you did.
The new points system will ‘tighten up’ the Chase – simply because there isn’t any significant spread at the top finishing positions. The Latford system utilizes a declining difference as you move down the finishing order (5 points, 4, 3, etc.) so the top finishers start to get a little breathing room as the season wears on. Removing this will artificially reduce the points between drivers in the standings.
As far as JJ blowing a motor in qualifying, in the old days he’d go out in second round on Saturday AM. If he can’t get it done in 2 sessions, then I guess he’d have to go home. The NHRA has made this type of qualifying work fairly well over the years (granted its 4 rounds, typically). If your driver isn’t prone to making the show, you better go watch him race in qualifying…
I’ve always hated the Top 35 rule because it has the unintended side effect where it stifles teams that aren’t in the ‘club’. New sponsors that lower placed teams are trying to court will simply see that they have a shot at eight spots versus 43. Can’t blame them for thinking the deck is stacked against them before they write that check.
Welcome back Matt, its good to know 1 of the few people who still write from the heart about nascar is back for another year, keep sharing your opinions, for the real fans that read you, we consider your columns must read every week, for little randi he gets to win an argument against himself every week.
Knew you couldn’t stay away! Looking forward to another year of wit & wisdom, prose & pot-stirring…doesn’t matter if it’s cheers or jeers as long as we’re paying attention, right? Thanks for not leaving us Matt-less on Mondays & Thursdays!
Welcome back for the 2011 season, Matt. I was pretty sure you’d be here; but I didn’t expect you to be happy about the state of things. I guess we can all watch Brian France dig a deeper hole for another year. I’m just glad they finally disguised that fishing dock on the lower nose of the Cup cars and made them look more like a racecar again.
Welcome back Matt. I’m glad to see that you and Jacob are now dating. I’m also guessing that your column is going to be yet another year of you bi-ching about the state of NASCAR. NASCAR mades changes during the off season. It’s SAD to see that YOU didn’t.
Why did people think you were leaving? ‘Tis odd. You know why, too. Eagles said it, You can check out any time you want…
and then there is the nuclear option: Everytime I Think I’m Out They Pull Me Back In
You, Matt, as I, am doomed. And you’re younger than me so you are doomed longer…
@ Ancient: This bit from T.O.L. Homestead Recap 11-22-10 is why we thought Matt may not be back this year.
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.