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.
There’s nothing like a week down the Jersey Shore to refresh an aging soul. Yeah, it was quite hot here in the Northeast while I was away, but generally along the shoreline it was pretty comfortable and if it got a bit hot there were always cans of liquid air conditioning at hand. The sand, the sea, the breezes and girls in their summer clothes. I had to come home, but I know I’ll be back next year and every year after that until I am too old and decrepit to carry a rolled up rice mat and a six pack cooler to the waterline.
It wasn’t that many years ago (OK, it was a few) the annual trek east to the Shore involved a complete disconnect from NASCAR and related news. Nowadays, everybody (except me) has some sort of portable digital device that retrieves information from the web with the alacrity of a Golden Retriever puppy sent after a tennis ball. Thus I was able to keep up with what was going on though whether that’s a blessing or a curse I don’t know.
Here’s a couple things that piqued my interest:
Uneasy Lays the Head That Wears the Crown: Being a crew chief in the Cup garage is a pretty sweet gig. A lot of the crew chiefs with the bigger, more successful teams now have multi-million dollar Prevost and Newell motor coaches just like the drivers and team owners. But in the current “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” climate in the garage area, those crew chiefs better not let their teams go into a slump. See, the pay is good but the retirement benefits are lacking.
As a sultry July gives way to a steamy August the portion of the season Mike Joy once coined “Silly Season” kicks into high gear. Drivers, crew chiefs and crew members begin their annual game of high stakes musical chairs looking for the right opportunity for next year.
When I was in college, a friend who was in the Marines ROTC once told me during an amphibious assault against the enemy, the life expectancy of the average first lieutenant was under a minute. It’s the same with crew chiefs. If a team isn’t living up to expectations, someone has to get thrown under the bus. Usually it won’t be the driver because the sponsor often has marketing tie-ins with him. It’s usually impractical to fire the entire pit crew and try to replace them in a week. So that leaves the guy atop the pit box making the calls, often a fall guy for a plethora of other problems with the team, but usually the fall guy anyway.
Initially, I was stunned about Todd Berrier. Berrier has been around a long time and I don’t think his qualifications as crew chief are open to dispute. But then I looked at the big picture. Jeff Burton and the No. 31 team are 25th in the points. Their chances of making the Chase are gone and Burton used to be a perennial title contender. They have a big name, high dollar sponsor and things just aren’t going to plan. It’s time to start building a new alliance for the rest this season to get ready for the next one.
In the same week, Brian Pattie of the No. 42 team and Mike Shiplett of the No. 43 team bit the dust. Shiplett will be replaced in turn by Greg Erwin who was recently released as Greg Biffle’s crew chief.
Meanwhile, Kenny Francis of the No. 4 Red Bull team got some better news. He’ll be making the switch to the No. 5 Rick Hendrick car along with his driver Kasey Kahne. With the future of the Red Bull team still in the air, that had to be welcome relief on the job security front, but it’s got to leave Lance McGrew scratching his head wondering what “key role” at HMS he’s been promised for next year.
Editor’s Note: McGrew will be working on development of NASCAR’s new 2013 car, part of an R & D role within Hendrick Motorsports.
Under nearly every shade tree in the rural south there’s some determined young mechanic wrenching on his buddy’s race car with dreams of eventually becoming a NASCAR crew chief. But this recent rash of firings is one of those instances where you need to be careful what you wish for…
Does Watching NASCAR Racing Cause More Accidents?: Frankly, I was flabbergasted at the very premise of the headline I saw over at Jayski while on vacation… and more than a little annoyed. In the midst of this economic crisis, the government and universities living on governmental largesse never seem to lack funding to study the most ridiculous things. Perhaps “The Military Uses For the Frisbee” study was the most infamous case.
West Virginia was chosen for the site of the study because the researchers claim that more people in the oddly-shaped state identify themselves as NASCAR fans per capita than any other state. (I didn’t know that. Chalk one up for the researchers.) These noble truth-seeking scientists go on to claim that because there are no tracks that sanction any of NASCAR’s top three touring divisions within the (relatively small) state, all of these NASCAR fans are glued to the TV every Sunday. (I hate the term “glued to the TV.” My sister’s idiot cat Bootsy once knocked over the rubber glue on the arts and crafts table at the house then took a nap in her favorite spot, atop the ever warm TV in a five-child household. As far as I know, Bootsy is the only creature ever to have been glued to a TV, and she didn’t like the extrication process much if I recall it.)
I haven’t been able to get a copy of the formal study yet, but I’m not sure how the researchers determined which proportion of the self-proscribed NASCAR fans actually tune into each race. That’s the odd thing about NASCAR fans nationwide. Though they profess to be hardcore fans of the sport, less than one in ten of them watch each week’s race.
Secondly, the average NASCAR fan who attends races will travel 600 miles to attend an event. That leaves folks all over the great state of West Virginia easily within travel range to a dozen NASCAR tracks if they choose to (and can afford to) attend. So maybe some of these “aggressive” drivers actually were at the races, not watching them on TV (after gluing the cat to the TV for safekeeping, of course.) I’ve met plenty of folks from West Virginia at races and have seen license plates from the state on cars at tracks across the country.
Already, the methodology is suspect but let’s take a result at the findings published to date. The scientists would have us believe that a NASCAR TV broadcast causes a spike in the number of accidents related to “aggressive driving” for the next five days. Jezum Crow, Auntie Em, no crap? With your typical Cup race run on a Sunday the next five days are weekdays, what those of us outside the Ivory Tower of Academia call “the work week.” You have more cars on the road. You have congestion. You have traffic jams. You have road construction. And people with low degrees of frustration (NASCAR fan or not) start taking some stupid and unnecessary chances trying to get where they need to be. Wrecks result… and that certainly isn’t just in West Virginia. Short of confessions by West Virginian NASCAR fans who ran a red light and broadsided another car then went on to explain they were driving like they’d seen Kyle Busch do so on Sunday, I can not see how a correlation can be made.
Fortunately, after five days the demonic possession caused by a NASCAR race wears off. Obviously. Less cars on the road, less congestion, less accidents. (Except those tragic single vehicle late night types after the bars close.) Sunday, the researchers would have you believe those fans are glued to their televisions not out terrifying the gentler populace on the roads.
Let’s look at some more stats for the state of West Virginia. The roads there are ranked the fourth worst in the nation leaving three states where I must presume even the interstates are goat-paths. West Virginia has the fourth highest traffic fatality and injury rate per capita of the 50 states. There’s a strong correlation between the quality of roads and the deaths per mile driven on those roads and there’s something the State and Feds can actually do something about.
In terms of average income per capita (what the average citizen makes) West Virginia is ranked 49th in the country above only Mississippi. That would help explain why the registered vehicle population of the state is the 47th oldest in the nation. Older, more affordable cars often don’t have such life-saving niceties as air bags, antilock brakes and stability control, much less some of this new high-tech stuff like blind spot avoidance systems, self-actuated braking, and the like. You actually have to drive older cars using a combination of two or three pedals and a steering wheel. Mistakes can prove costly.
Even if the conclusions of this study turn out to be indisputable (which I highly doubt) what do you do with the results? To increase public safety, do we ban broadcasting NASCAR races in West Virginia? Do we issue special permits to watch races only to West Virginians who complete a psychological profile with results stated that their frontal lobe is well in control of their hypothalamus? Do state workers hand out cookies and sodas to drivers Monday morning to calm the savage beasts at the wheel? Do ESPN and FOX have to run those ubiquitous “Professional driver, closed course, do not attempt” warnings throughout the race? I’m sorry, but to me it sounds like the Nanny Federal government is just looking for a way to screw up another one of life’s little pleasures.
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The only dangerous correlation I can imagine between Nascar and aggressive driving is if you happen to be listening to a race on the radio as you are actually driving your car. The temptation to ‘put the pedal to the metal’ as if you were on the track could be a hazard.
Good point Matt. I wonder how they proved is was NASCAR causing the accident and not church. They both occur on Sunday (or Saturday night). How did they determine it was specifically NASCAR that is the causation. People also get more sleep on the weekends. They probably stay up later too. They drink more alcohol on the weekends. How did they single out NASCAR?
Dumb research project. Just another way for the government to waste taxpayer money. Maybe that is one of the jobs Obama created.
I vote with Sharon.
It could also be the university struggling to spend all the money in their budget. That which they don’t spend must be given back and it decreases what they receive the next year. It’s stupid and it should be stopped. In my opinion, the universities should have to provide project details to someone to have them approved before getting the money.
I vote with Sharon, too. anyone who’s ever driven on a highway in the northeast knows that boneheaded driving is not limited to NASCAR fans.
When I put Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” on in my car and crank it up, I tend to drive like Kyle Busch on the NC backroads. For some reason, listening to Sarah McLachlan doesn’t have the same effect.
Formal study complete.
Another one of the billion reasons why we have a 14 trillon dollar debt problem.
Matt, not to take away from your road trip but ya really need to get out here on your Harley and ride north up Highway one.
Put some Dead on the head set when you hit Carmel, Monterey etc. It will all come into focus. Especially in Big Sur.
Having traveled West by-Gawd Virginia extensively over the years, I can attest to their generally pathetic state (the roads). Its quite simple as to why so many poor roads exist in WV.
In 95% of the state roads must follow a drainage or ascend/descend the ridges. Which means hills and curves. Lots of hills and curves. Coal trains are numerous, as are train crossings. The Semi traffic (coal, timber, everything else) uses the same roads, sometimes overweight. Slips are commonplace along many of the winding roads, so traffic ends up in the opposite lane.
Add in the work-week, the older cars, top it all off a good dose of deer and fog, and black ice in the winter. Get the picture?
Those Country Roads are nasty.
Saying NA$CAR is responsible for accidents in WV is laughable at best. I’d pretty much guarantee that none of the academics that authored this “research” have ever driven WV’s roads.
You hit the nail on the head R Rockingham.
boneheaded driving is not limited to NASCAR fans
Or West Virgina… from a Massachusetts driver!