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.
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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.
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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.
Mike Neff · Monday March 18, 2013
The folks at Bristol Motor Speedway had the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg. They threw open the gates and sold out the joint for a generation: 27 years, in fact, from the summer of 1982 straight through 2009. Then, nearly a half-dozen years ago the powers that be made a fatal mistake; they repaved the goose. While the simple act of repaving is not a bad thing, especially with a concrete track, the process of adding progressive banking and trying to make more than one lane of racing — especially on a place that made its reputation by people wrecking each other to pass was the kiss of death.
It’s a shame, because the “new school” Bristol battles were fantastic. You had cars running two and three-wide for multiple laps, with the guy on the outside having just as good of a chance as the guy on the inside of gaining the spot. For fans who love to see great competition, it was Nirvana. But for those who wanted to see cars destroyed and drivers throwing water bottles and booties at each other, it was horrendous.
The track that once had a waiting list longer than the Denver Broncos for season tickets now had empty seats, despite an end result which is what many fans of short track racing would like to see. Side-by-side action, faster cars able to make passes both high and low while working their way to the front, the best drivers with the best cars able to rebound after putting on fresh tires… I could go on and on. Unfortunately for the folks at Bristol, that is apparently not what the majority of the fans wanted to see who buy tickets to the northeastern Tennessee speedway. It culminated in the Spring race of 2012, when the stands looked like there were as many ushers as there were fans (OK, not really, but 45,000 people in the stands at Bristol looks really bad when the place holds 165,000). Bruton Smith, alarmed asked the missing ticketholders what they wanted, and the majority of them spoke up, loudly. They asked to see the track go back to a single-file parade, where you had to at least bump someone out of the way, if not wreck them, to make a pass.
So after spending millions of dollars to turn the racing surface into a fantastic venue, he spent millions more to bring in a company to grind down the top groove of the track in an effort to make it unraceable and force the cars back to the bottom. When August came around, the Nationwide Series did just that. But by the end of the race, some drivers had moved to the top and were finding some grip. The next thing you knew, they dropped the rag on the Cup side and people were against the wall and digging to the front within 100 laps. While the fans showed up with a near-sellout crowd, the racing was still multi-groove and there were only 13 caution flags (even though seven of them were for multi-car wrecks). When the checkered flag flew, it seemed like the fans were happier but, when the gates flew open Sunday, it appears as though it wasn’t all that good.
NASCAR is not estimating attendance this season, so we don’t have an official count – and that is probably a good thing, considering how bad they were at it – but from looking at the stands they were showing on television it was a terribly attended event. Sources on the ground say, for certain the track was well short of sellout capacity. There are certainly debates about the people in the stands, or lack thereof. The ridiculous price of hotel rooms around the speedway has been identified as a major hindrance. However, while gouging fans with $500-a-night rooms and three night minimums has been the norm around Bristol, it was never a problem before the racing changed. It certainly could have an effect on the people attending the events, but most of the time, fans are willing to ignore such blatant abuse if the action itself is worth the price of admission.
The other point that has been proposed multiple times since the track was reconfigured is the economy. The Great Recession of 2008 means the region went in the tank right around the time that track was changed. That downturn has most likely contributed to the struggles of Bristol filling the seats but, in other years when the economy was less than ideal, people found a way to purchase their tickets. In fact, indicators are beginning to show that the economy is coming back around so one might think that the fans would be able to spend a little more. In the end, finances might be a factor but it still appears the racing is the problem.
Mind you, the competition “crisis” is for those fans who are interested in seeing people wrecked. The track now has many ways to pass, which affords drivers the chance to run on the bottom or the top of the track. The fast way around right now is the top, but the inside line affords the chance to make passes without having to move other cars. Similar to Richmond, which is often called the best track on the schedule, it can take a large number of laps for a driver to complete the pass but, as they try to, the racing is intense and side-by-side for most of that time.
In the end, Bristol is different than it used to be. The racing is less costly to the teams because fewer cars are torn up. The drivers have multiple options to try and work their way around those that are in front of them. Drivers who have faster cars can make their way to the front if they have a penalty or a bad pit stop without wrecking cars. While the fans of Bristol have made another vote, with their wallets by not showing up for the Spring race, the true litmus test will be in August when the Night Race hits the high banks. In the meantime, we’ll be left to wonder why the fans will not support a style of competition that does not require a dozen cars to be taken off the track on rollbacks.
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©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Losing fans is easy. Winning them back takes time.
The so-called gouging is simply a case of supply and demand. If the motels didn’t sell out then they would lower the prices accordingly. We camped right next to the track and there were plenty of empty spaces.
Just wait until taxes go up….again.
I just love the ‘new’ attitude about the ‘old’ Bristol. The attitude that, for many years, what fans loved about the track, and what produced years of sold out stands wasn’t ‘real’ racing. Shouldn’t the fans and their willingness to spend their money on attendance be the best judges of that? If your idea of real racing is lots of room and multiple grooves, then you can go to MIS, California, Chicago, Kansas, lots of other tracks. How many years of sold out races have any of those tracks had? To me, this is the same ‘elitist’ attitude that we get from BZF, that they know better than the fans what we want to see. Nascar spent many more years racing on short, tight tracks where some beating and banging grew the sport. I’m not saying that the race this Sunday was not exciting, but don’t turn your nose up at what made Bristol so unique for so many years.
Another explanation for the drop in attendance is how the home viewing experience has improved over the years, while watching at the track remains the same as it has been. Notwithstanding the announcers, fans at home get replays, explanations of what happened to particular drivers, telemetry readings and the ability to pause the race to go to the bathroom or grab a cheap beer, none of which is available to fans in the stands. Why spend all that money to go to the race when it’s so much easier and cheaper to watch at home? (while viewership is also down, I think that is due to NASCAR losing the casual fan)
Great column, as always.
I just want everyone out there to be aware, if you go to Bristol’s website and want to purchase tickets, the same will happen, as the tickets have been sold to Ticketmaster, who sold them to a couple other sellers and they are scalping them at obscene prices.
I had 5 seasons tickets for 10 yrs , The costs doubled in that time with camping and fuel added . My net income has shrunk , so I bought a good tv and stayed home.
To the fella whos wife bought him tickets , You can get tickets at face value at the ticket office at Bristol , just walk up..its much cheaper
i think fans realize the racing is best at small tracks. no the economy and available funds to attend races is not what it was. but small tracks has actual racing. 1.5 mile tracks will never have racing that is exciting. there is no way with the cars speed that anyone can pass. so the race is actually on pit road. who can get out the fastest. that is what turns me off. i was at chiago last year and where you came out of the pits is close to where you stayed when the racing conitued. put more small tracks back on. the best “racing” is at bristol, martinsville, phoenix, richmond, and it is this way for a reason. cars going 185 miles per hour will not be able to pass because they cannot cut thru air very well at those speeds. if nascar wants success they need to fill the schedule with smaller tracks and lower prices to make it more affordable and realistic to attend, especially in this “fixed” economy
Bristol also has the problem of being in the middle of nowhere, like some other good tracks. It’s easier for hotels, etc. to gouge fans when the track isn’t near a decent size city where there would be more rooms available/competition. Camping would be the best option, but if you don’t have a nice RV why freeze your rear off camping in TN in March when there is the marquee “night race”.
What I saw yesterday at Bristol was real racing. If folks want boring, parade racing then go to California (ugh, I’ve been there) or MIS. Sunday’s Bristol race gave us the best racing I’ve seen at that track in a few years.
It was good racing at Bristol yesterday, but I don’t expect to see the stands full come August. When they reconfigured the track they threw away a following that took decades to build up, and it will take a decade of racing like yesterday to get back to full stands and sell outs. When it was the hardest ticket in Nascar the fans would put up with an occasional dud of a race, knowing that the next one would be an instant classic. Bristol needs to prove once again that the majority of races will be top shelf before the fans come back en mass.
The “Bristol of Old” is gone forever, but the race yesterday was about as good as one can expect in todays Nascar.
They blame the hotels for high prices while at the same time, the ticket prices have not dropped like they have at many speedways. The cheapest seats I could find for the night race was just over $80 (and who would want them?) They deserve the attendance they get.
i thought the racing was amazing – get rid of the chase or alter the schedule to get the night race back to racing and not parading – and the fans’ll come back.
Just a thought. One of the things that always boosted attendance for a Nascar race was the fact that people were willing to drive for hours to attend. Perhaps people aren’t as willing to drive like they used to. Interstate congestion, fuel prices, and the increase in air travel may take a toll on a track in a place like Bristol.
Attendance was down but ratings were up. Perhaps that is a bittersweet trend now with traveling and lodging costs escalating out of the reach of the average person.
It’s Bristol Baby – Sit anywhere you want!
I was at the race this weekend. Yes it was cold, yes there were PLENTY of empty seats, and yes I thought the racing was very exciting. The Busch (oops – Nationwide) race on Saturday had you hinged to the edged of your seat in the final laps. The Sunday race was also exciting. I like a track that has multiple places to run. And, if you watched the race carefully, several drivers used several different lines throughout the day. If they needed to get around the guy running the bottom, they just raced their way into the top grove. Don’t say it wasn’t done – I watched it happen. If you want to see the beating and banging required to win a “race,” then go to the demolition derby. I liked the “old” Bristol and now I like the “new” Bristol.
The cost of attending the race – I live in Northern Virginia (12 miles from Washington DC) and that means 380 miles one way. Diesel was running $3.96 if you looked hard enough. My little 22 foot camper cost me $120.00 for the weekend across the street from the track. They also charged $40.00 for my ATV. Food, beer, a big bottle of Mr. Daniels’ pride and joy, and the other non-needed essentials – I dropped another $300.00. Tickets were $40.00 and $65.00 for the weekend. All told, 3 of us dropped about $1600.00 total for the weekend. And yes, I thought it was worth it.
I think Bristol will rebound, but, it is going to take time – let’s hope NA$CAR doesn’t get in the way and impose some screwy new rules on the racing to hamper that resurgence.
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