Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Thursday July 5, 2012
This is a truly sad state of affairs. I predicted a few weeks back that NASCAR was sailing into its annual summer doldrums but in my worst nightmares I could never have believed it would degenerate this far this fast.
When I started writing about racing four score and seven years ago I dreamed of writing columns like the late Joe Whitlock, who I grew up reading at a tender age. I wanted to debate the burning issues in the sport and make my readers think about the differing points of view on issues. I wanted to recount the magic of summer Sunday afternoons in terms so well written, fans would be moved to come out and join me for the Magical Mystery Tour that used to be the NASCAR Cup season and join what was then more of a cult than a sport. I wanted to craft imagery so magical that it would allow those who had not seen the race to be able to envision it as if they were there. I wanted to write stuff like, “Two cars, belly to the ground, heading off side-by-side into the setting sun off of Turn one…”
I surely never thought I’d be reduced to the level of writing about a commercial for fried chicken.
What were the big stories Saturday night at Kentucky? Well, first and foremost leading up to the event, it was whether the traffic nightmare of last year would be repeated. Thankfully, by and large it was not. Of course, it’s a lot easier to keep traffic moving when you reduce the amount of fans actually showing up by 25%. But let’s not go there; I don’t want Bruton Smith felled by a heart attack, at least not until he writes me into his will.
As a racing journalist (and I snicker to myself as I lay hold to that title) to me the big story Saturday night was aerodynamics. Despite NASCAR’s raising the skirts of the race cars (and I still snicker about that, too having listened frequently to Jim Croce’s version of The Ball of Kerrymuir) and the new sway bar link rules, that old bugaboo “the dreaded” aero-push was clearly in evidence Saturday night. A driver could run down the leader from a quarter lap down but when he got into striking proximity, losing the clean air off the nose of his car, he was helpless to make a pass.
If NASCAR is going to run these kinds of cars at this kind of track, at these sort of speeds, this issue needs to be addressed and quickly.
Another storyline I thought might get fans talking was an apparent case of ill will between Ryan Newman and Joey Logano during and after the race. Maybe if they’d gotten into each other’s faces after the race, pushing and shoving a bit, we’d have had a story — one which TNT would doubtlessly have missed because they’d have been in commercial break showing that same damned KFC commercial again. But having Newman and Logano square off has its limits; it would be too much like the Joker and The Penguin getting into a slap fight.
But traffic, the race itself and a potential feud brewing didn’t capture the imagination of the Vox Populi.
So what did, then? A particularly irritating commercial that appears to have been shown during every break throughout the 400-mile event. TNT may or may not know drama, but they sure as hell know how to air commercials.
During the course of the Kentucky race and in the late night hours after it, I received 57 emails, about typical for a Saturday night race. Two readers wanted to know if I knew what had gone wrong with Tony Stewart’s car, (A sensor in the EFI system) three wanted to know what went wrong with Kyle Busch’s car, and one wanted to celebrate his misfortune of what turned out to be a broken shock mount.
Another wanted to know why it seemed the Fords were so off the pace early in the race, and if the new sway bar mount rules penalized the Fords more than the Chevys or Toyotas. A handful wanted to know if I had an inside line on where Matt Kenseth was headed next year (I don’t). The rest wanted to talk about the relentless assault of commercials on TNT and that one obnoxious KFC ad in particular.
Hey, I agree with ya’ll. I was watching at home Saturday and it was practically unendurable.
Comments ranged from mildly irritated to absolutely outraged. One lady suggested I start a boycott of KFC until they pulled the ad. Another fellow claimed that if he saw that commercial one more time before the end of the race he was going to run out and burn down his local KFC — hopefully having ransacked their reserves of mac and cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy first.
For those of you who only followed the race online, on Twitter, or perhaps on PRN on the radio because you were without power after Friday night’s east coast wind storms, here’s the skinny:
KFC is currently running an ad that promotes the fact if you buy a certain minimum number of pieces of fried chicken you’ll get not one — but two side dishes with your order, and some biscuits to boot. The scary part about it is even as many times as I’ve seen the commercial I forget what the minimum order is and how many biscuits are included. My traditional order at the Colonel’s chicken shack, when I can sneak a visit past my cardiologist, is two original recipe center breasts and two biscuits so it really doesn’t matter to me anyway.
Just for the record, I always hit the drive-thru and eat my meal at home because I can’t stomach the butter substitute KFC hands out, which I have deduced is OW5 motor oil. And they don’t serve beer.
To promote this doubling of side orders, KFC has filmed a reprehensible ad that starts with a grandfather and his grandson (hopefully… I mean this isn’t meant to represent Jerry Sandusky and a victim, is it?) arguing over which side entry to get. Pop-pop claims it is his turn to choose and his vote is for mashed potatoes with gravy. A sullen and cantankerous grandson with no apparent respect for his elders counters that it is indeed his turn to choose and he’d prefer mac and cheese.
Unable to resolve their differences in an amicable manner the two physically accost one another. Hard-dee-har. What’s funnier than domestic abuse which has become a plague in the current economic climate? Abuse against the elderly is a particularly troubling development as the economy forces multi-generational families to live under the same roof. Its’ a silent epidemic of voiceless victims and nothing to laugh about.
To add to the hilarity, the rest of the family has arrived home to witness Pop-Pop and Junior accost each other. One asks another if they should announce they’ve come home with both side orders but the other responds, “What, and miss this?” Had my mother or father ever arrived home to find me wrestling on the floor with my grandfather my thinking is they wouldn’t have been amused.
Here’s the ironic part. In the commercial, as Pop-pop and Junior battle, it’s apparent that the rest of the family has actually gone to get dinner at KFC and thus they have no actual voice in the decision of which side or sides to get. Perhaps mom screwed them both by getting green wings with a beaks and anuses salad? I felt maybe this commercial was a result of KFC’s sympathies towards the Occupy movement. Those who were truly hungry and passionate about their dinners were excluded from the decision-making process, all while those with the money got to choose for everyone how the meal would go.
The rich get center-breasts. The poor and excluded argue over the last biscuit. Or maybe I’m reading too much into the most annoying thirty seconds ever presented on TV, since Wayne Newtown replaced the Beach Boys in the Washington D.C. Fourth of July concert. Yes, James Watts, we still remember.
It was almost frightening to see the indignation unleashed in Twitterville overnight on the Mac and Cheese/Taters and Gravy issue. It seemed that it was all anybody was talking about at sites like John Daly’s The Daly Planet. Even mainstream journalists were in on the joke on their Twitter accounts. The normally mild-mannered Jeff Gluck of SBNation, watching from home Saturday, went off on such a multi-Tweet rant about that KFC ad he appeared to have gone insane. At one point he wrote “Should we tell them we got two sides. YES DAMNIT!!!! SO WE DON’T HAVE TO WATCH IT AGAIN!!! (Punctuation and capitalization are his, not mine.)
It’s too bad for KFC they green-lighted an ad that gets so many of us grinding our teeth. They’d been on a roll with the two hipster doofuses in the 1970 Dodge Charger rolling up to the drive-thru for their classic chicken pot pies while jamming to Motown – where they then inappreciably exiting their car to eat. If you’re wearing a vinyl-leatherette jacket, wouldn’t it be more comfortable to eat inside with the AC? But I digress, as is my prerogative.
Truthfully, KFC wasn’t the only offender pointed out by my readers in their invectives against Saturday night’s commercial marathon. A lot of them would like to see that Nationwide ad with Dale Jr. and Danica vanish more than their deductibles. Some weren’t thrilled with Mike’s Hard Lemonade ad featuring the carcass of a deer coming looking for its head (Washington Irving, eat your heart out). Boner pill commercials draw negative comments weekly, and if you’re an adult and you decide to dress up like Spiderman to get a free burger on the Fourth of July, you need to also grant your spouse an uncontested divorce.
Seriously, what’s the toppings on those burgers? It looked like cat-sick to me.
But yeah, Mac and Cheese vs. Taters and Gravy has elevated itself into the pantheon of most loathed commercials ever aired given its constant repetitions. It was so bad that late Sunday night I was having a great dream with me at a Barrett-Jackson auction in bad sneakers with a large sum of money to spend, except the dream was interrupted with a replay of that KFC ad. Had I come back from commercial with Taylor Swift trying to run me over with a 1970 Mach 1, it would have been the embodiment of how to ruin somebody’s perfect day.
More at fault then the chicken parts purveyor in this nightmare is the network presenting the race itself, TNT. Four races deep into their six-race schedule, TNT has presented what’s been almost a parody of a NASCAR race broadcast, presentations so disjointed, off topic, poorly presented and so constantly interrupted by commercials they are unwatchable.
According to the stats, TNT is averaging four minutes of racing followed by two to three minutes of advertisements. That’s not going to work. Take a really good novel… in my case my favorite guilty pleasure book, Stephen King’s Christine, (“Don’t make fun of my car, Arnie!”) and before reading it go through and tear out every third page. There will still be some good writing and an interesting story but with so much missing you’ll never be able to put the plot together. Characters will have been sidelined with you having no idea what happened to them. Plot lines will have unfolded, but you’ll only catch up with them in retrospect 20 pages later. And eventually, you’ll get annoyed at the lack of continuity and not being able to figure out what’s going on, tossing the book in the trash. (Or through the screen of your TV if you stumble across the Pop-pop vs. Junior ad.)
Racing is a difficult sport to broadcast. Many networks have tried and only a few have succeeded, and in those instances it was only for an ephemerally brief period like ESPN in the mid-to-late 1980s. There’s no scheduled timeouts in stock car racing. We don’t have a halftime or seventh inning stretch. In the old days, the networks would cram the commercials in during caution periods, but there are so few cautions these days that’s not working any more. My guess is the deli meat and beer industries are suffering in the NASCAR market, because you used to be able to go to your kitchen to make a sandwich and grab a brew under caution — even if you were one of those gourmands who demanded mayo, horsy style sauce and pickles on your lunch.
Bruton Olin Smith insisted this weekend that NASCAR start adding mandatory cautions throughout the race to bunch the field back together and provide for more exciting racing. The ASA series already has a rule that if the race goes green for 75 laps, a competition caution will fly. I’m still on the fence on the issue. It’s gimmicky but I’m coming around to the idea if all the teams and drivers knew going into the race that a caution was going to fly at the one quarter, halfway and three-quarter mark of the race they’d plan and adjust their strategies accordingly. Everyone would be on the same page (presumably torn out of a Stephen King novel). Teams would have more chances to adjust on their cars, hopefully resulting in a larger number of competitive entries scrapping for the win at the end of a race. Fuel economy races would be greatly reduced in number and I hate seeing someone win on gas mileage.
OK, give it a shot. Anything beats the current status quo which involves fans and media members reduced to discussing commercials after a race.
Networks pay big bucks for rights to NASCAR TV. They say they have to recoup that cost with ad minutes because we are after all watching for free. The only logical solution is to air the commercials side by side with the racing like they do with the Indy Cars. Nobody is seeing the ads if they’ve all turned the TV off in disgust halfway through the broadcast anyway.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The Professional Association of English Majors (POEM) salutes this line which will be added to the Really Ripping Rhetoric HoF: “Its’ a silent epidemic of voiceless victims and nothing to laugh about.”
Aside from that had I my druthers, which I, as usual, did not I would have preferred endless repetitions of the world famous Thundershirt! commercial:
because there is no intergenerational strife and it has a tune you can whistle while you bitch.
KFC overkill? Probably, but at least no NASCAR driver ended up like Stroker Ace, driving in a chicken suit.
And as for Christine, you left out the part where Stephen King had to throw out a phantom caution so she could repair herself without going a lap down…
I was actually in awe of the telecast.
I kept saying – “they are not going to commercial again are they?”
And they did!
Over and over – it was quite a spectacle really.
Between the boring racing (racing?) and the commercials – I think I started to drool at some point.
“Are they going to commercial again!?” Yes they are!
Scheduled pit stops is like the raising the white flag on Nascar, but maybe that is where we are. With today’s racing what interval is needed though – 30 laps? Remember Indianapolis a few years ago? Yikes!
Thanks for the point about violence against elders. The violence takes many forms.
Not sure a Sandusky joke is needed though.
Also remember the Beach Boys substitution.
Wow, it seems as though NASCAR broadcasts have gotten even worse since they were one of the prime reasons I actively ignore the sport these days. TNT used to be the best at covering the sport, which is saying very little when Fox and ESPN are your competition. Wayne’s World’s network could do a better job than those two.
Matt, you seem to be under the impression that NASCAR gives a rat’s behind whether their sport is family-friendly to watch. I remember sitting through the ESPN/ABC broadcasts and thinking I wouldn’t want my kid watching any of the promos for ABC’s TV show lineup. I’m sure NASCAR must have heard about these ads from some folks, just like they’ve heard how much the Chase blows from most folks.
Deaf ears, and then they blame the press for a great sport going down the toilet.
What’s worse? Two idiots fighting over boxed mac-n-cheese vs. instant mashed potatos, or Michael Waltrip dressed like Liberace and shaking his ass in your face?
The Mike’s Hard Lemonade commercial with the headless deer at the door is damned funny, unless you’re a PETA member or you still cry when Bambi’s mom goes the venison route.
I like Kyle Petty and I think most viewers do too, but he needs to walk away from TNT before his reputation is as tarnished as theirs. It’s not too late.
I’ll say it again… DVR, DVR, DVR.
Mark down one NO here. Absolutely not. That would be the final straw to me. Planned cautions are BS. There are already enough stupid rules to manufacture parity. The lucky dog, wave arounds and double file restarts all undermine the happenings of the first 3/4’s of the race.
I DVR’D the race and waited over an hour to start watching it and wound up watching live TV well before the end of the race.
The ending of aero push is so simple … Cut off 2” from the bottom of the cars front from the outside to just inside the tires (ala 80’s spoiler cars)…Some air gets under the cars, slows them down in corners and makes passing easier. Ptroblem solved for the cost of a few sawz-all blades
The only thing that would have been worse is if Larry Mac was doing the commercial sitting in the 48 with JJ. LOL.
Nascar is dying a slow death. It’s sad.
Glad I missed the “race”.
since i have recently lost my daytime job, unfortunately tv is on during the day as i search for work. i see that kfc commercial so much that even if i ate kfc (which i don’t thanks to a maggot incided in the 1970’s and a bucket of the cornel’s birds)..i wouldn’t eat kfc for the annoyance factor of grandpa and sonny boy.
i would imagine that tnt will push their new summer programming season which will start in a week or two during the daytona race, along with the good old kfc mess.
i knew the kentucky race was bad when i’d open my eyes from my race induced sleep and they’d be at commerical.
i laughted when i saw the story about bruton wanting mandated cautions. i thought we had that already as in the mystery debris or hendrick cars a lapdown cautions.
oh yeah, i thought of a way that the kfc commercial could be more nauseating……dw and mikey fighting over mac & cheese and mashed potatoes.
I’m with you 100% on the planned cautions. The only thing I will add, though, is without the “manufactured parity”, Hendrick teams would probably win just about every race. Even so, having planned cautions to keep the race interesting is like putting lipstick on a pig… it’s still a pig. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I say fix the racing and lose the gimmicks.
Didn’t watch the race, so I can’t comment on the KFC thing. I’m with Sue Rarick’s post. saw off 2 inches. plus, go back to bias ply tires and let’s see who the real drivers are.
We DVR’d the race too and luckily we both fell asleep and woke up in time to see the end. But we never give them less than 2 hours before we start watching or else end up watching live and pissed off.
I vote NO to the idea of mandatory cautions. Fix the real problem which is the car, tires and the chase and take away the IROC car that NASCAR has mandated and let’s go racing.
Ugh, the image of Mikey and Larry Mac “rasslin” over the choice of sides is going to give me nightmares!
Didn’t watch the race. The TV broadcasts had become so annoying that I decided to go back to the Sixties and wait for the race summary, with an occasional live listen on the radio.
This was a great article. It told the story well but had lots of humor to set it apart from the many other articles about the KFC controversy.
I think IndyCar proved this year that if you want to put on a great race, make the cars hard to drive, make the tires fall off quicker than a tank of gas burns off, and your cautions will come and the racing will be better. Getting rid of the lucky dog and the wave around would help too. Drivers would actually have to race hard the whole race!
Was this your first Steely Dan reference or have I just missed them before? One of my all-time personal favs!
The KFC commercial is about as irritating as the singing grill from years ago. That one didn’t last long after many complaints from viewers.
I have nearly worn out the FF button on my remote watching NASCAR this year. TNT is the worst with commercials, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but at least DW can speak without stuttering most of the time and is occasionally funny.
This is why I DVR races and tune in an hour late so I can skip all that nonsense.