NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Full Throttle · Mike Neff · Monday November 5, 2007
Kurt Busch has proved his stock car talent, winning the 2004 Nextel Cup championship. On the flip side, teammate Sam Hornish, Jr. has yet to prove he can make a race as a Nextel Cup rookie.
But both may have the same comfy exemption to make starting fields for 2008; and that has left many a NASCAR observer scratching their head in disbelief.
The word around the garage at Texas was that car owner Roger Penske is considering making a change next year to his driver lineup, taking advantage of the rules as they are written to ensure Hornish a starting spot in the first five races next season. In a move that would put all three of his cars on solid ground, Penske is thinking of putting his open wheel star turned stock car rookie into the No. 2 car – or at the very least, applying the owner's points from that car to Hornish’s ride for the 2008 season. In the meantime, Kurt Busch would have points from Penske’s third entry, the No. 06, which he plans to bring full-time in 2008. Under that scenario, the slew of Hornish DNQs which have plagued him throughout the Chase will stop in a hurry; his team would have an automatic starting spot in the first five races, based on Busch’s owner points from 2007. All the rookie would need is to flip the ignition to earn the spot; meanwhile, Busch would qualify on speed, with the luxury of his Past Champion's Provisional to fall back on should he falter.
Such a move doesn’t appear to be illegal; but while this would appear to be within the bounds of the rules as they are currently written, it is by no means how they were intended, a shady manipulation which appears as nothing more than a cheap move by what was a classy organization.
Of course, competition can often get in the way of classy, and Penske’s fire to rise to the top of the sport remains strong; he has long been haunted by the championship drought he’s endured at the NASCAR Cup level. With 11 championships in open wheel cars and multiple Indy 500 titles, he’s reached the pinnacle of everything that brand of racing has to offer; in addition, he’s won titles in Trans Am, USRRC, and SCCA Can-Am throughout a long, storied career as a car owner. Penske’s had race-winning success in Cup, too; but despite 57 victories spread over three separate decades, he has never been able to bring home the championship. For some reason, the ultimate prize has eluded him ever since he started winning NASCAR races in 1973 with Mark Donohue.
But as Penske found the road to the top that much tougher after an up and down ’06 and ’07, he’s realized that to take the next step, his team needs to once again go back to a three-car operation, hoping to take advantage of the economies of scale and compete with the Hendricks and Roush Fenways of the sport. Of course, when weighing the concept of expansion, Penske has the added benefit of having a past Cup champion in his lineup. That means increasing the number of cars will not translate into having to gamble with qualifying for that new team – as long as Penske takes advantage of the aforementioned loophole in the rules. It’s a scenario that gives him the opening he needs to give an open wheel transplant, Hornish, the cushion to develop into the stock car talent the car owner strongly believes he can become.
But while the loophole exists, should it really be taken advantage of, or for that matter even considered, by someone as classy as Penske? There has never been a question about the man's ability to manage, or to get the right people in the right positions to be successful in whatever endeavor he undertakes. The one thing that has been unquestioned about Penske since the beginning is his demand for perfection. Everything must be done the best it possibly can, and the lack of success in Cup has to be gnawing at him like a bad rash. But even with the strength of conviction that Hornish can provide the missing piece he needs, it is still surprising that someone who is such a stickler would stoop to this level to make sure his new driver makes the races to start the new season.
Of course, that decision is to move Hornish to Cup in the first place is controversial; no question, he has been less than stellar in his short stock car career. The Ohio native has yet to qualify for a race at the Cup level, and his Busch Series record is not something that legends are made of. Hornish has not scored a Top 10 finish in nine career starts in that series, with his career best being a 15th at Atlanta earlier this year; his next best finish is 25th, and he’s failed to finish nearly half his starts due to wrecks of his own making.
With that said, there is no question that Hornish is a good race car driver. The man has won the Indianapolis 500 and is a former IRL champ; however, the fendered cars do not seem to be suiting his style, and after six failed attempts to make a Cup race, it’s clear he may need some seasoning in a lower series before being labeled a competitive threat in Cup.
But the time to prepare appears to be running out. As of now, it looks like Hornish gets just two more Busch Series starts before taking the green for the 2008 Daytona 500 – no matter how he performs throughout Speedweeks.
Beyond the questions surrounding Hornish’s development is the ultimate issue of the intention of the Past Champion’s Provisional rule, and the fact that Penske is seemingly spitting in the face of it with his actions. This special exemption was put in place originally to try and allow for the older champions who were near the end of their careers and driving less than top of the line equipment (like Darrell Waltrip) to still be able to make the shows – allowing their large numbers of fans coming to the races an opportunity to see them run one more time. At its peak, it worked well, limiting DNQs of Waltrip and Richard Petty while allowing their fans the relief of not seeing the indignity of a NASCAR legend fail to qualify for the main event.
However, the rule was not put into place to afford a team owner the opportunity to expand his operation, giving another driver a free pass into the first five races of the season while letting a recent past champ rest on the laurels of the provisional with a new car. Certainly, there have been owners in the last few years who have juggled points to ensure that a car would be guaranteed a starting spot; but those have generally been when drivers were switching teams, and the Past Champion's Provisional was not in play. Now, the fact that Penske risks taking the points away from a true Past Champion that needs them just seems to fly in the face of the spirit of the rule. In this case, Dale Jarrett appears to be the innocent victim; with just five races remaining in his storied career, he will go from being a lock to make his final starts in the No. 44 UPS Toyota to being in jeopardy of failing to qualify every time out.
Let's hope that NASCAR will see clear of this ruse and prevent the movement of Penske’s owner points before the start of next season. Unfortunately, since there is precedent of points being moved between cars in the past, NASCAR may sit on their hands and choose to do nothing, citing the need to remain consistent. Based on what’s been seen and heard so far, that’s exactly what they appear to be doing. However, let's all hope – for the good of the sport – that they reconsider, holding up a stop sign to Mr. Penske and informing him that such shenanigans will not be tolerated.
For in the end, the proper way for Sam Hornish, Jr. to start his Nextel Cup career should be to get into races the old-fashioned way – on speed.
©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Penske has ALWAYS stretched the rules! This would be nothing new for this cheat!
“For in the end, the proper way for Sam Hornish, Jr. to start his Nextel Cup career should be to get into races the old-fashioned way â€“ on speed.”
Actually, the only way ANY driver should get into races is on speed. Ditch the Top 35, ditch the “Past Champion’s Provisional”, and make EVERYONE qualify on time. If you’re determined to keep handing out mulligans, make starting spot 44 the “promoter’s option”. If your favorite driver doesn’t make it, well, tough, not every team or athlete is guaranteed a win or a championship in stick-and-ball sports either. Look at the history of the Indianapolis 500: Defending series champions (Bobby Rahal in 1993) and defending 500 winners (Al Unser Jr. in 1995) have failed to make the race by being too slow.
Maybe shennanigans like Penske’s this will finally put these “gimmies” to rest.
I agree with MMACK, however I would qualify the top 40 on speed and let the track owner, not NASCAR, pick the 3 provisionals. I would also allow only 2 provisonals a year per driver.
There has never been anything “classy” about Penske.
This is not Stock Car racing…. it’s racertainment brought to you by NA$CAR. Penske is just playing the game by the rules that are written. 10 years form now, if this “thing” still exist, it will make the wrestling look good. Now that will be a hoot.
How on earth is this any different than what DEI did with Menard?
Magi is right. NASCAR already “let the horse out of the barn” by letting DEI merge with Ginn and give Menard’s team the #13’s owner points.
Based on this, how can NASCAR say “no” to Penske?
Why is Jerrett driving for Mikey? Why is Elliot driving for Woods? Wise up it’s going on all the time!
Mmack has it right..qualify on time and thats it. None of this “locked in” business. EVERY driver trying to qualify has sponsors and fans that would like to see their guy out there. Some obviously don’t have the fan base of someone such as JG, JJ, or Jr. but that doesn’t mean we should buy into NASCAR’s theory of “What happens if one of the top drivers doesn’t make it in? We can’t have that..sponsors and fans would be upset..” That’s exactly what is happening now NASCAR, you just don’t see it as a problem because the drivers that are not making the show aren’t worthy of your attention. Look a few weeks back when all the guys outside of the top-35 qualified better than alot of the top teams yet a bunch were sent home. That was pretty fair NASCAR. Sam Hornish has proven he can drive open wheel cars, no doubt, but at this point after so many attempts to_just qualify..alone on the track..by himself..and he can’t get that done maybe its best he learn a little more about stock cars and their handling characteristics. The guy has only had a limited number of Busch starts that haven’t lit the world on fire,(keeping in mind that even if he had a best of a 15 place finish that the field probably had 10-12 Buschwhackers so I guess that would have to be taken into account).
This is one area where NASCAR should take some pointers from the NHRA. Everyone gets in on speed. If you’re not up to speed, go home and work on it.
One quick add on: I haven’t checked on this..is Hornish a victim of the Top-35 in the times he has tried to qualify? Has there been times he would’ve made it in if there was no Top-35 rule but because of it he was actually knocked out? If so it would be hard to knock Hornish if he’s fighting to get into the race with 10 other guys for a few spots..almost can’t blame Penske if that was the case for trying to find a work-around for the idiotic Top-35 rule.
Okay Neff , we got the point . You hate everything about Penske and also Hornish Jr. You seem to feel that Penske is out to single handedly destroy the purity of NASCAR . And Hornish Jr. , where does he get off trying repeatedly to qualify for a NASCAR race ? Someone needs to point out to him , and Penske , that no driver in history has ever had trouble qualifing for a NASCAR race until he came along . How dare they !
Hornish would have made the field at Dover, Talladega and Martinsville.
Penske didn’t write the rules, he’s just using them to his best advantage, as he should.
As for DJ being a “victim” of the rules, I see it quite differently. He’s cashed in quite nicely on the champions provisional rule in the form of his big contract with MWR, where the promise of a starting spot if the new team was not up to speed was a major consideration. If he does not use up his alloted champion’s provisionals in the first six races because of Penske’s ploy, and one of the MWR teams is again out of the top-35, don’t be shocked to see him “un-retire” for a few more races later in the season.
It would be easy to get the teams to quit considering this option. Get rid of the Champion’s Provisional. It has long outlived its purpose and is being abused.
The top-35 rule is a mess, but the speed-only argument has a gaping hole in it.
Remember folks, Michael Waltrip took a pole. How did he do it? At an impound race where the top teams worked on race setup and the go-or-go-home crowd put qualifying setups in. That creates a situation in which cars that are going to race like dump trucks are in the front of the field. If you watch racin’ for the wrecks, you’re gonna love it. If you love racing…? Not a pretty sight. Getting rid of the top-35 rule would make this a regular occurrence.
Now you could get rid of impound races, but that adds to costs. The teams that supposedly would benefit from race-your-way-in would be at a growing disadvantage.
I like the idea of a limited number of provisionals—five or six would do it. That ensures the top teams will make the race and fans will get their hard-earned dollars worth when they go to a race, but increase the odds that a new team could work its way in.
While we’re talking about changes, I would limit each driver to a certain number of “Lucky Dogs.”
Denis makes a good point. If I’m not mistaken, John Force failed to qualify for an event earlier this season or possibly last season. He’s a 14 time champion in his division. Not fast enough? Go home! See ya next week. How do you think his fans and $pon$or$ felt? This was originally for Richard Petty, who I don’t think actually used it that much. Then D.W. used it 20 times in one season, because his team at the time didn’t give a #*&@ about qualifing. Unfortunately, they didn’t give a #*&@ about race set-up either.
Nascar needs to take lessons from the NHRA.
If you don’t make qualifying, you go home. Doesn’t matter if you’re 14 Time NHRA Champion John Force or the new guy on the block.
NHRA gets alot of respect because you have to race your way no matter who you are. GOOOOOOOOOO NHRA!
Chris2 makes a VERY good point; and without further ado, here’s Sam Hornish’s qualifying results in the races he’s attempted:
13th fastest – Talladega (a throwaway considering the setups the non-Top 35 teams use for qualifying)
35th – Atlanta (would have made the race under the old provisional rules)
38th – Martinsville (DNQ either way)
So, under the old rules he would have been one for six; still not much better, and Hornish would not have gotten over the hump until last weekend.
Thanks, all of you, for your insightful comments and for reading FS!
- The Managing Editor
Roger Penske is a genius!! His selection of Kurt to drive the 2 was one of the BEST decisions made in all of NASCAR history. No, I am a JG and Hendrick fan since Bill quit driving full time.
Roger making the best of the assets he has available is what makes racing so much fun. I watched DW ruin any respect anyone had for him prior. I saw DJ make a fool of himself last year.
JG would have six championships except for the rules of NASCAR. This is another rule of NASCAR, I don’t like it but I think Penske is BRILLIANT for using the rules to his advantage.
Alot of these comments are crock and the reason I am so strong in my opinion is because ; remember back when VILLINEUVE qualified and went to the back to appease the “people” of N.A.S.C.A.R. and everybody applauded it but now when a driver appears unworthy we bash N.A.S.C.A.R. for allowing a driver to be granted diplomacy.Come on N.A.S.C.A.R. fans let’s be straight up and give racers like VILLINEUVE our support for earning a spot and keeping it ; and calling him a whimp when he forfits it for the sake of crybabies like those at the Hendrick stable if we are going to bi##ch about Hornish getting a free-b!
I agree that it is a pretty shady move to manipulate the past champions provisional to expand a team’s operations.
Penske should have never folded the 77 team after he left Kvapil go. Even 2 years ago a top 35 was extremely valuable, and given the imminent arrival of Toyota expanding the car counts, Penske shouldn’t have been so short-sighted.
However as for the whole this could screw DJ out of a fitting retirement, I don’t buy it for a second. DJ is the reason they changed the privisional for the way MWR tried to exploit it (but failed miserably so far I might add).
Penske should take some heat for it, but Waltrip deserves more, he tried it this year, and next year’s “retirement tour” for Jarrett is nothing more than their attempt to bring a car into the top 35.
So who deserves a top 35 slot more? Penske a cornerstone team of Nascar for 20 years. Or MWR a lousy startup team that hasn’t earned anything? I’m not sure, but I’d go with Penske.
So do you think drivers will now put a clause in their contracts which states that the points they earn STAYS with them?
I can tell you that if I were Kurt, I wouldn’t want to sign back up with Roger Penske.
Maybe Kurt will just let up on the peddle a little so he doesn’t make the race. But he will still get paid by Roger Penske.
Falcon325 said:“Remember folks, Michael Waltrip took a pole. How did he do it? At an impound race where the top teams worked on race setup and the go-or-go-home crowd put qualifying setups in. That creates a situation in which cars that are going to race like dump trucks are in the front of the field.” But isn’t this exactly how all teams used to qualify?!? All teams in qualifying trim on Friday and then you spent Saturday switching/testing in race trim for Sunday’s race. Now your saying that the guys that still do this, the ones outside of the top-35 could potentially cause wrecks due to this? You’ve proven exactly_why the top-35 does not work properly. The teams in the top-35 have nothing to worry about getting into the race so they concentrate on race trim only..while the guys outside the top-35 need to race their way in with qualifying trim. This creates a level playing field that NASCAR speaks about so often how exactly? In NASCAR’s “Alice in Wonderland” logic it does.
Sounds good to me .Ever one is doing it so they should to.
jdunn was correct about the 77 Penske, but it excapes all of you where those points went the next yr. for no reason except $$$ to M Waltrip, the whole family has ruined the reason those things exist. Talk about NO CLASS!! I can’t remember an article condemming Waltrip for any thing they do, & if DJ gets outshuffled, good!
I wouldn’t be too worried about Hornish Jr. next year regardless. He’ll quickly fall out of the top 35 once the 6th race of the season begins anyhow. His Busch series finishes were not very good with the superior equipment he had in that series. Another part time year in the Nationwide series would probably be a lot better for him than running laps in 30th place or worse every week in the Cup series. The bubble cars next year are going to be the same ones as this current year. They will include car numbers 7, 21, 45, 38, 88, 15, 96, 06, 00, 55, 10, 37, 27, 44, 4, 66, 83, 84, and 70. I also don’t think I’m going on much of a limb with these predictions either. I even predict a car from a top team falling out of the top 35 due to bad luck in the first 5 races next year as well. The race for the 35th spot this year is actually pretty interesting with the prize being an automatic start in the Daytona 500.
I personally find it quite repulsive to read this discustingly rhetorical nonsense about the rules, regulations and what have you when really deep down inside we’re p’d-off that our driver isn’t winning! So you guys go ahead and wax philisophical all you wan’t and I’ll keep it real and just say wait to next year and my guy will get em!!
Truefan, I agree in the sense that I always hope that my guy will win one but I tend to think of the whole sport, not just one driver. I’m not p’d-off at all that my driver hasn’t won one this year and nor does the top-35 play any part of it but I do have a passion for this sport as a whole..from the top to the bottom and everything in between so that to me is “keeping it real”
Chris2 – I respect your point of view. Thanks for your insight!
As I repect yours as well. Its interesting to see that there are a few recent columns that have really brought out some passion for the sport from various posters. Good to see.
It seems to me that I should develope more interest in the sport as a whole if I am going to continue to be a “True Fan”.
If you know the difference between “Loose” and “Tight” your halfway there..and if you don’t the guys in the booth, (pick a network, doesn’t matter which one), will be glad to tell you the diference every 15 laps.;-) Oh, and a slight correction..it does jerk me a bit when my driver has a lousy run..I shouldn’t say it doesn’t bother me, if it didn’t then I wouldn’t be a true fan either.
Thanks again for the corespondence Chris2 and thanks Frontstrectch for the forum ; gotta go do my N.A.S.C.A.R. “research” catch ya tommorow.
Bashing Penske but Jarrett/MWR a innocent victim…you have got to be joking. Waltrip has bought owners points from two different cars, if I remember right and bought Copes ride at Charlotte. Jarrett sold his PCPs and this year has shown his championship was probably a result of RYRs HP and cars not his sorry driving ability. Full speed ahead Penske…You are not making any more of a mockery out of the rules than the rest of them.
cant blame the man for using THEIR rules against them …its all about the money and na$car is proving it …where else can sponsors spend a butt load of money to exclude their competitors from participating too ? These deals should have been a CLEAR signal that its no longer about competition to the folks in charge …so why would it be to anyone competing ????
Race fan, I agree..I just responded to True Fan about this very thing in the “SMI Acquisition Of New Hampshire Serves to Benefit Sport, Fans” column.
The biggest issue I have with the Top 35 rule that causes all these points swaps is the fact that this year’s performance has a huge impact on next year’s season. With the old provisional system, only the last few spots in the early races were affected by prior year results; now 83.7% of the Daytona 500 field will have qualified for the race by the end of this November. That’s asinine!
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