Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Imagine taking Pocono’s two traditional 500 mile races and turning them into a pair of two two hundred mile races run on the same day. Is it time given the realities of stock car racing today?
I proposed this idea last year in the Pocono race recap I wrote. Some people immediately accused me of hypocrisy because I have long defended the epic 500 mile length of the Pocono events. I can’t tell you if I’ve been to more races at Dover or Pocono, but growing up in these parts they were the two closest tracks and I’ve been to a ton of events at both tracks, and had a ball I might add. 500 miles at Pocono never bothered me back in the days the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Harry Gant, Tim Richmond and Davey Allison were out there racing each other like every lap was the last lap.
But lets face reality. The lukewarm, white-bread, points hungry, millionaire drivers of today seldom get up on the wheel until the final 20 laps. Thus race fans tend to see an interesting start to a race and an interesting end to a race, but a middle section, the majority of the race, is less than interesting to be polite. It’s like a horse manure sandwich, tasty toasted wheat bread on either end but nothing but crap in the middle.
Interestingly this past weekend’s Indy Car race at Texas was split into two 275 mile segments with an hour intermission between the two races. (An hour intermission is way too long by the way. I’d shoot for less than thirty minutes to keep the fans engaged. Sounds to me like someone is more interested in concession sales than the fans’ race day experience.)
So how would a Twin 200 mile race be run at Pocono? It wouldn’t be that hard. A pair of 100 lap races with the aforementioned half-hour break in between. The field would qualify as normal on Friday for the first 200 mile race. The race would be run as normal for the first segment and the finishers would be awarded half the points of a regular race (Sorry, can’t have Pocono awarding four races worth of points to the victor. Darlington maybe, but not Pocono.) After the first 200 miles the starting field for the second race would be set by inverting all the drivers who finished on the lead lap at the front of the field (a fairly common practice at the local tracks) with those who finished one lap or more back lined up behind them.
Any driver or team who wrecked a car or had terminal mechanical issues would be allowed to start the second race in their backup car but they’d start tail end on the field. During the break teams would be able to make any adjustments or changes they can accomplish in the allotted time period. But we’re not waiting on ya’ll. If your car is still torn apart at the end of the thirty minutes, you join the race a number of laps down. Other than that they’d just go out there and run another hundred laps.
Here’s why I think the idea would work. I’m a race fan. I go to races and watch races hoping to see good racing. I genuinely don’t care who wins. But I realize there’s a lot of folks who are “driver” fans, not race fans. If Junior or Gordon wrecks out or blows up early in the race they pack up their stuff and head for the exits, thoroughly disgusted with their decision to attend the race and lay out all that cash. Now the “driver” fans will have two chances to see their boy win the race or at least score a good finish. There are more laps of competitive racing rather than cruising which ought to help keep the fans of every driver on their feet and cheering. If I recall back in the day when I was an ardent Bill Elliott fan I knew Bill had a good race because I’d wake up the next day with sunburn in my armpits because I’d had my fists pumping over my head all day cheering him on while my ivory white Irish skin baked in the midday sun.
Two sets of sponsors get to celebrate a win for their poster boy in their clown suits. Sponsors like winning races. It helps keep the money pump ratcheting. The TV networks will probably see increased ratings and that sort like that. They can work in more of their commercial load during the break leaving fans watching on TV more green flag laps of racing live. (Yeah, I know, wishful thinking.) During the half hour breaks fans at home would have time to grille up some burgers and have a beer. As best I can tell, burgers, bread and beer are the last three items we aren’t importing from China so we’d actually be helping the American economy. (Yes, I am being somewhat facetious but I really do like burgers and beer….as my physique attests to). Maybe Pocono could up the ante by awarding a $100,000 bonus to any driver who could win both races on a single weekend and a one million dollar bonus to any driver who could win all four races in a single season.
Twice the fun for the price of one ticket? No more watching one driver lead the last 156 laps? Yeah, sign me up Dano! In this economy and with American’s current lack of attention span it’s all about giving the fans more than they expect for the hard earned dollars they lay out to attend a race, a not inconsiderable sum. A bold experiment? Perhaps. But if the Pocono track management agrees I’ll show up and anyone who doesn’t like the experiment can throw rocks at me after the race on pit road. I’ve been stoned before.
Interestingly enough such an experiment would not be unprecedented in NASCAR racing. I know a lot about the history of the sport after forty years of studying that history. But here’s something I didn’t know until recently. The spring race at Darlington started as the “Rebel 300”. But in 1963 they split the race into two 150 mile segments. The overall winner of the event was decided by whichever driver garnered the most points in both events. No, really. There’s an article in the July issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines written by Jim Donnelly that documents the event and offers tons of photographic evidence. Joe Weatherly won the first segment and Richard Petty the second, with Weatherly getting the nod over the King for a better overall finishing average. Two sets of fans, arguably the two most popular drivers in the sport in that era, went home happy.
This really isn’t that novel an idea. They’ve been running motocross motorcycle races under the “twin race” format back since the day when my knees and lower back allowed to race and occasionally win in MX racing.
Give this idea a try. If it doesn’t work, scrap it.
On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones who when within the grasp of victory sat and waited and waiting died. -Winston Churchill
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I think we should just leave it alone. I thought the IRL experiment last weekend SUUUCKED. I watched the first race and then had no interest in the 2nd race. BTW, your idea would necessitate tracking points down to the half (3.5 points for 2nd place).
Also, since your premise is that the millionaire drivers only mix it up at the beginning and end, then I must ask, why Pocono? Why not all the other 1.5+ mile tracks? It’s not like Pocono has a monopoly on a boring middle part of the race.
Oops, I meant 3.5 points for 7th place.
Lets just go with the simpler solution shorten the Pocono races to 400 miles. The Indy thing in Texas reeks of desperation for a series trying to remain relevant outside the Indy 500. I don’t think the drivers or crews would like it one bit having to worry about 2 points races in one week. I’ve been to Pocono, and 400 v. 500 miles would not be a selling point of going there again. More important would be improving the traffic situation so it doesn’t take longer to get back to the highway than it does to run the race.
Gee, Matt. You make too much sense. Go away. We don’t want no sense.
But, ya know, I can see that in my head and my voices in there tell me it is a good idea. It would make it more like local track racing. I mean in my area we might have 4 races of an evening and it is fun to watch and if you have a car you get multiple chances at scoring something as a reward for dragging the thing to the track.
But it is just too sensible. So go away. We don’t need no sense ‘round here.
Two fairly-interesting Pocono races in one day vs. one usually-boring race…. though the traditionist in me hates the idea, the race fan says sure, give it a try. I don’t like the half-points, though… award points based on the average finishing position in both races. Tie-breakers could be based on laps lead.
Shortening the race from 500 laps to 400 laps doesn’t improve the racing one bit. It just shortens the crappy part in the middle. If you have to shorten a race because of boring racing, you haven’t addressed the real problem.
As with 99% of the time, I am with you, Matt. In the “old days” races couldn’t be long enough to suit me! Though I did have the opinion a track with two races should have differing lengths (ala Daytona and Charlotte … and once upon a time also Atlanta and Darlington … and originally Michigan). But, times have changed. What I would like to see is the “race” is divided into THREE events. Hence, no matter the number of entries, everyone “turns a qualifying caber” and the “odd number qualifiers” are in HEAT #1 and the “even numbers” in HEAT #2. And, ONLY the TOP TEN finishers in each heat qualifies for the MAIN EVENT. Length of heats and main would vary from race-to-race and track-to-track as is the case now. Also, no points paid in heat races; in fact, I say only pay points to the TOP TEN finishers in the MAIN EVENT (Formula 1’s point system works!). Also, no “crazy contrived rules,” i.e. “required pit stops,” etc. If you can run the heat race on a tank of gas, then more power to you! The “Main Event” should “require a gas stop(s)” simply on distance alone. Starting lineup for the “Main Event?” Win your heat and you are on the front row. Finish second, row 2, etc. Also, no “wild cards” or “fan votes,” etc. gets you in the main event — “Top Ten” in the heat race means “Top Ten In The Heat Race!” … … … Questions? … Comments? … Joys & Concerns?
Matt, I watched all the races this weekend (Nascar, Indy, F1) and by far the most boring was the Pocono race. The Indy race would have been better if the intermission was shorter and they inverted the field for the second. They have to do something to spice up Pocono because that race is almost unwatchable. I’ve had long road trips stuck in a car that seemed shorter then that race. I think your idea is excellent and I would love to see Nascar do something different. Although by far, the best race this week was the F1 race and they go two hours max. Maybe they need to just shorten some of these races instead of having drivers ride around for 400 miles before they start to get up on the wheel.
Sounds as gimmicky as the Chase, which I believe, Matt, you are on record as hating.
As if the All-Star race wasn’t drawn out, boring, pointless, and endless enough, now you want essentially a multi-segment points race. It would truly become the 24 hours of Pocono.
Just throw a competition yellow at the end of each quarter of every race. The ensuing smash-ups on the restarts should be enough to keep even NASCAR fans awake. We know at least half the drivers have not mastered the stick shift yet, (including a couple of former champions), so this would really separate the drivers from the riders.
If NASCAR ever decides to do this I hope they do what they should have done before they instituted the chase; try it out in the lower series first to see how it works and work the bugs out.
I was at TMS for the twin 275s (as I am for every TMS race). This was excellent, and the drivers went all-out the whole race. This actually might be an advantage for Penske/TCGR…because most of the other teams can only keep up when the 2 “red car” teams out-strategize themselves. But, the racing was hard. I’m as surprised as the next guy that they weren’t on top of eachother and wrecking, but the racing was excellent.
If they reduce the time between to 30mins, and do an inversion rather than a draw, it would be just about perfect.
Matt, normally your writing solicits lots of eyerolling and yawning from me (not that you should care, I wouldn’t). This is an excellent idea for…well, several tracks.
I don’t think the 2×275s had anything to do with desparation or trying to stay relevant. Eddie Gossage always wants the races at Texas to have some sort of differentiator beyond being an excellent venue. NASCAR has no interest in this (which is a benefit to noone), but Indy works with him. This is one of the reasons why the Indy/truck weekend is always the best weekend for racing at Texas (much better than the Nationwide/Cup weekend in April or the triple in November…but at least the Nov weekend has the Trucks to help)
Where do I sign up for this suggestion. I probably would be awake for the duration. Im in!!!!
I think it’s time to put the blame for the boring races where it belongs, on the drivers. They don’t care where they finish. Get rid of their salaries and make them earn their money on the track. Pay them a percentage of what the car earns in the race. The higher up the finish the more money there is. Like in the old days. When they realize that the driver ahead is costing them money, it might make a difference in their racing. There will probably be a lot more feuds.
V8 supercars in Australia have been running split races at a number of tracks for a while and it works OK. They even have separate qualifying for each part. Keep the hour break and have a short 1 lap qualifier in between the races.
Is Matt off this week? Did Humpy Wheeler write this column? LOL
Ya know, I just don’t care what they do in NASCAR. It is such a load-of-crap dog and pony show. I mean, last night on NASCAR Hub, they ran a story about “Are Fords Too Dominant”. Seriously? They win 4 races in 2 years and they warrant this kind of story? When in the last DECADE have they run a story about Chevy being too dominant? DW, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson have won over 25% of ALL Cup races since 1983 in Chevys. That is factual research, not just made up numbers.
NASCAR is just a whorehouse that smells like Sunoco and Goodyears (gotta plug the sponsors). The France family sells out to the highest bidder, an honor typically held by Chevrolet – now maybe rivaled some by the free Lexuses (or is it Lexi?).