NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro announce Fanschoice.TV
posted by Mike Neff
Wednesday March 12, 2014
Free live streaming of events will allow fans to view previously unavailable live events online
AMA Pro, NASCAR and IMSA announced the launch of Fanschoice.tv today. The free service will stream motorcycle races, sports car races and regional touring and local short track events. The first event will be the AMA Pro flat track 200 from the 1/4 mile dirt track at Daytona International Speedway.
Fans will have access to multiple camera angles, live timing and scoring and a feed from the track’s PA system. In addition to the touring events from IMSA, AMA and NASCAR, three NASCAR Home Tracks have already signed on to be part of the release. Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, OH., and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. will have all of their races available for viewing on the new service.
NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour will all be shown on Fanschoice.tv. The awards banquets for both the Whelen All-American Series and the Touring Series will also be streamed.
IMSA coverage will include streaming of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the two IMSA national sports car series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of the recently-announced five-year agreement with Fox Sports.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt Stallknecht · Friday July 26, 2013
The off week is over, Eldora has come and gone, and the big boys of the Sprint Cup Series are ready to spring back into action. Yes folks, its Indianapolis week, and this Sunday, the stars of NASCAR will take to the Brickyard to contest the second biggest stock car event on the planet: the Brickyard 400 (I refuse to call it by whatever ridiculously wordy name they have bestowed upon the race this year). Despite the perceived loss of luster over the years, the Brickyard 400 still stands tall as one of the biggest, most prestigious, and most important races of the year, no matter what anyone says or thinks, and as such, the sport will garner far more attention this week than it usually does. Can the race live up to it’s annual hype? I’ll address that and much more in the wall of text listed below.
Could this year’s Brickyard 400 restore the race to its former glory?
For a very long time, the Brickyard 400 was a huge deal in the world of sports. When I attended this race back in 1999, enthusiasm for the event was at an all time high, and there was a real sense that the Brickyard was not only one of the biggest events in NASCAR, but one of the biggest events in all of sports. Among the drivers, teams, and even parts of the media, that prestige still remains, and those who have been to Indianapolis and have bathed in the track’s history can likely attest to that prestige as well.
Yet, unfortunately, the race has lost a great deal of its former luster over the years in the eyes of general fans, which is a shame given how much pageantry used to surround this event. The race began to lose its mainstream appeal right around the time the COT debuted. Up until 2008 (the first year of the COT), Indianapolis generally put on a fine show with the Generation 4 car, and was regularly the most attended race of the year. The Generation 5 COT car, however, was totally ill-suited to the track. The COT was too boxy, too-intensive on the right-front tire, too bulky, and lacked the right aero-format to put on a good race at Indianapolis. In turn, for 5 years (2008-2012), Indianapolis staged joke-worthy races that ruined the track’s reputation for putting on good NASCAR events.
There is hope, however, that the Gen-6 car can bring competitive racing back to IMS. A major Goodyear tire test was conducted in mid-July, and every single one of the drivers raved about how the Gen-6 car, coupled with a new Goodyear tire for this weekend’s race, drove on the track. The general consensus among drivers was that Goodyear finally nailed a tire combination that wore out well enough to bring back competitive racing to the speedway. Couple this enthusiasm with the new Gen-6 car, a very drafty and downforce-heavy car that is actually quite well-suited for the tight turns of Indianapolis, and suddenly there is a real possibility that Sunday’s event could be a much different race than we are accustomed to at Indianapolis.
All told, this year’s Brickyard 400 is looking to be a much better event than iterations of the race that permeated the COT years. A softer tire that wears out correctly is a recipe for more comers and goers, while the aero package of the Gen-6 car is such that the cars will actually be able to suck up and pass each other on Indianapolis’ long straightaways. Could this be the year that Indy regains it’s favor with race fans? The answer could very well be “yes.”
Who are the favorites heading into the weekend?
Indianapolis is undoubtedly one of the three or four most difficult tracks on the circuits. It tests every single aspect of a team. The driver is incredibly important at Indianapolis, as the track’s four tight, technical turns are insanely hard to nail lap after lap due to how narrow the groove is coupled with the incredible corner entry speed (up to 212 mph is expected). On top of the technical nature of the turns, the drivers also have to deal with another unique challenge they don’t usually have to worry about: draft. The long straightaways of Indianapolis make it such that a trailing car can get a massive pull on a lead car, which can lead to some hairy moments when a driver is in deep traffic. As such, draft and traffic management are more important here than at most tracks, which is yet another challenge for the driver.
The engineers are more important at Indianapolis than anywhere else as well. With how fast and aero-intensive Indianapolis is, aerodynamics and horsepower become absolutely paramount to success here, more so than any other intermediate-style track. The pit crew must also be on point, as a bad pit stop or a fueling miscalculation can spell disaster given how large Indianapolis is. If a driver runs out of fuel, they likely won’t make it back to the pits.
As such, given the sheer number of challenges Indianapolis provides, only the very best teams and drivers succeed here. You can probably see where I’m going with this. This weekend has Team 48 written all over it. Johnson and Co. have won the Brickyard 400 four times, and given how strong both driver and team have been thus far in 2013, one can safely assume they will be a threat to win an unprecedented fifth time at Indianapolis. Matt Kenseth also figures to be a threat. His No. 20 team has shown more speed than anyone else on downforce tracks this season, and given that Indianapolis is the ultimate downforce track, it only makes sense that he will be the main threat to topple the No. 48’s shot at a fifth Indy victory.
Is this Juan Pablo Montoya’s final shot at a Brickyard win?
It may not be completely fair to say that it is do or die time for Juan Pablo Montoya, but unfortunately for the talented Colombian driver, I’m afraid it is reaching that point. The former F1 standout has had a rough go of it throughout his foray in NASCAR, and considering the fact that his contract with EGR runs out after this season, the murmurs that his NASCAR days are numbered grow increasingly easier to believe. It doesn’t help that EGR development driver Kyle Larson is knocking on the door of the Cup ranks either. As such, Montoya enters Brickyard 400 weekend, and the rest of the season as a whole, on something of a hot seat.
As for Montoya’s efforts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they have been something of a microcosm of his NASCAR career as a whole. Twice, Montoya has had by far the best car in Indianapolis, only to be robbed of wins due to unfortunate circumstances. In 2009, a questionable pit road speeding penalty cost Montoya the win, and in 2010 a bad strategy call by then crew chief Brian Pattie led to a series of events that led a lightning fast No. 42 car into a wreck at the back of the field. Lots of speed, very little luck, and a great deal of overdriving: that has been Montoya’s career in a nutshell.
Given the raw speed that Montoya has displayed this season, coupled with his previously shown acumen for the Brickyard, Montoya figures to be a factor in the race he so desperately has dreamt of winning once again. Should Montoya win the race, it will likely save his ride, his sponsorship, and perhaps even his future with NASCAR. But if Montoya has another late race collapse like he had in 2009 and 2010, it could very well be the nail in the coffin of what has been a largely underwhelming NASCAR career.
Will ESPN’s coverage quality sink now that they are a lame duck?
A major piece of the puzzle that is NASCAR’s future was put into place on Wednesday. NASCAR announced that a massive 10 year, $4.4 billion dollar deal had been struck with NBC Sports which stipulates the final 20 races of each Sprint Cup season be broadcasted by the Peacock Network. Seven of those races will take place on NBC’s conventional over-the-air network, while a whopping 13 would be placed on the cable-based NBC Sports Network. Frankly, the deal does not look to be a very smart one at this stage of the game, as NASCAR is simply too large, too popular, and too important to be relegated to such a relatively unknown cable network for so many races, and I fear that the sport will stand to lose much more than they will gain in this deal. But that’s a story for another column.
The most immediately relevant consequence of this announcement was the fact that ESPN / ABC would no longer be producing coverage for anymore NASCAR races from 2015 – 2025. By extension, this means that ESPN will essentially be a lame-duck TV partner for this year and next year, and that could spell disaster for the production quality of the races ESPN covers this year and next. When NBC was in a similar lame-duck position in 2006, its coverage quality absolutely tanked, much to the chagrin of the millions of fans who watch the sport on a weekly basis. Sunday’s race at the Brickyard ought to give us a pretty clear picture of what sort of broadcast experience fans can expect out of ESPN for the next year and a half as they transition away from the sport. If ESPN’s Sunday coverage is rock-solid like it has been the past two years (ESPN seriously amped up their quality in 2011, and objectively took over as the top race broadcaster in the sport), then there is reason to believe that the coverage will probably stay that way through the end of the contract. But if the coverage is suddenly poor, it could be a telling sign that ESPN is pulling resources away from NASCAR now that it sits in a lame duck position. It is certainly something you will want to keep a watchful eye on these next few weeks.
All told, losing ESPN as a broadcast partner is a rather short-sighted decision on NASCAR’s part, given the fact that with the loss of ESPN, NASCAR will lose a great deal of exposure and clout among the general sports community. We will see on Sunday if ESPN is willing to maintain a high quality of coverage despite all of this. If the coverage proves to be poor, it could be a long rest of the season for fans who watch the races from home.
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©2000 - 2008 Matt Stallknecht and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Is it possible for ESPN to back burner Nascar more than they do now? Other than a few distainful interviews on their ‘mainstream’ talking head programs from people who obviously know little or nothing about racing, they haven’t done much to promote racing as a legitimate part of their programming. Their lone Nascar related program, ‘Nascar Now’ has been dumped to a time slot that is so changeable it’s like trying to catch eels bare handed. Hard to remember they once led the charge for racing on TV.
BSPN has never given a flip about nascar. Indeed, their TRUE colors may come out on the TV broadcast. In fact, I hope it does.
This is why I love listening to races done by PRN. They aren’t afraid to speak up.
Having races on NBC is not the issue…the issue is that Nascar races are still just that. I mean, consider where the race is this weekend. You think that will be a great race?
I hear fans attending the race will see an ad for legalizing pot.
Great for the whole family…..right?
I agree with JP. All a network has to do is to make a deal with PRN/MRN to have an audio feed and then the network can just provide the picture. If the picture and the commentary don’t match, oh well. We’d be better informed and still have something to watch. Too many times the tv guys don’t cover everything happening. The radio guys cover everything, all 43 drivers. Otherwise, each network sucks in it’s own way. None of them have nailed it.
former glory? i don’t remember much glory. hype yes… i’m not holding my breath.
You make a good point that the racing was better before the COT. Will the Gen6 really race better there, I guess we’ll see on Sunday, although I’m not holding my breath and certainly won’t waste my entire afternoon in front of the TV.
I doubt that ESPN can treat NASCAR any worse than it has since they won the contract back. SC makes fun of NASCAR on a regular basis. The regular Nationwide races are bumped for everything under the sun – little league playoffs for instance. I like Bestwick as the PXP guy, DJ is a nice guy but pretty bland to listen to, I actually like Andy Petree the best. Rusty & Brad – total waste of air time.
Lucky NASCAR fans, we have Fox with the Waltrip Brothers show, ESPN with their suits and scripts and chase, chase, chase ad nauseum.
Hopefully NBC will bring a better broadcast to the fans, but I agree that having it on an obscure cable channel won’t help ratings. I had to search to find it so I could watch the races they do show now, but they do a great job.
oh no…..if johnson gets 5th win sunday at indy it will just seal the deal. i read story this week where knaus is fueled by fear of never winning again. how about if we give the field less the 48 a 5 lap head start and see how long it takes the 48 to take the lead?
indy has never been an exciting race. in my opinion it’s rarely lived up to the hype, well in 1995 when earnhardt won was great (i was there!). indy is a track not built for “taxi cabs”. remember the gen 6 car is suppose to be good on all tracks this year and what result have we ended up with?
i wonder what the weather forecast is for indy on sunday?
Thank goodness for DVR. Not going to waste a perfectly good Sunday afternoon watching the “Chad and Jimmie Show” set another record,yawn.If someone else wins I’ll watch the recording. If the 48 wins it’s the delete button.
Anybody else see the nationwide entry list. There are six cup drivers listed. Hey nas$car. I quit watching that series because regulars have very little chance of winning. As for the cup race, if it turns into the chad and Jimmie show, I will just switch channels which I’ve been doing more and more of. As for BSPN, they don’t hide their disdain for nas$car.
I Don’t know what ESPN broadcasts you’ve been watching but espn has had Nascar on the back burner for years (think they were po’d when they wern’t the (discounted) “choosen ones & have never treated Nascar as more than a sideline …Also not everyone has espn as were I’m pretty sure I can call my satilite provider & get NBC Sports…
As fat as ESPN goes, yes, the way they treat NASCAR on shows like SportsCenter and PTI and such is often deplorable. A lot of that is unfortunately just a result of their anchors lack of NASCAR knowledge as opposed to outright disrespect of the sport. Same thing happens with hockey, soccer, and tennis on the network.
What you guys are missing is that NASCAR’s very presence on the worldwide leader n sports means something. Even though the coverage is usually subpar, NASCAR still gets covered in some fashion on every episode of SportsCenter and NASCAR ads permeate the network like crazy. All of this keeps NASCAR in the minds of the mainstream sports community and allows it to be held in the same breath as other sports.
Without ESPN, NASCAR loses that sheer exposure, it loses some legitimacy as a competitor to the stick and ball sports. NASCAR needs the casual sports fan, and without ESPN your going to have a hard time getting any casual fan to take notice.
NBC Sports? It’s an invisible network. Who cares how good the coverage is if its a small time network that can’t help grow the sport? The average kid sitting at home watching TV on a Sunday, the one NASCAR hopes will stumble upon a race, doesnt flip on NBC Sports Network hoping to find something new. He flips on ESPN.
Some of the old school hardcore guys may not see this like I do, but being a 20 year old college guy who has grown up in a male culture that watches nothing but ESPN all day, you can see why I would be troubled by the loss of this broadcast partner for our sport.
Janice, Chad Knaus’s fear isn’t fueled by the fear of losing his job or never winning again. His fear is that, one day, all his “tricks” will catch up with him and his felonious car owner, and NASCAR inspectors will finally do their job and crucify the jerk! After all, one day, The Felon won’t have Brian in his pocket anymore! If this divorce mess he (Brian) is finding himself involved in gets any worse, Brian might just step down as CEO and run away and hide to avoid alimony payments! We can only hope!
And if you think I’m kidding about Hendrick having Brian in his pocket, I suggest you read “Arrogance And Accords”. The book is about the Honda scandal back in the 80’s and 90’s. Hendrick was paying off Honda managers to get what he wanted. Well, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, and Hendrick is a ruthless scumbag who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants, which in this case is the total domination of NASCAR. And since Brian France is all about money, and he has no morals, you can bet that there is some “green exchange” between him and The Felon! It wouldn’t surprize me in the least!
Brain Farce and Helton only care about how much they can bank. If they cared they would have guidelines for the networks for viewing and representing our sport. The ratio of racing to commercial minutes should be defined at a palatable rate for fans. The Frances have given the keys to the entertainment suits and the sport is doomed.
ken…i despise hendrick. when jr went to that team i saw he made a deal with the devil. hendrick saw how jr, regardless of how he races, is the cash cow in merchandising.
being the cynic that i am….i’ve always wondered about the amazing recovery from cancer hendrick had after he avoided jail time and bought a pardon from clinton.
na$car isn’t like it was in the 60’s to mid-90’s. the birth of the multi-car teams was the beginning to the end.
just way too money driven now.
Indy is still a very difficult place to get around in anything that’s not low-slung, light and loaded with downforce; in short, everything that a stock car is not; so I’m not expecting a miracle but should be a more bearable race than in years past.
Would be awesome to see Juan win it. I’ll cry if Johnson gets it again.
Having Nascar on BSPN the last several years has done NOTHING to improve the ratings or to grow the sport.
Nascar is still nascar no matter what station it’s on. The racing is what it is and it’s still the “Hendrick Cup” series.
Matt, do I understand you to say that you are a 20 yr old college student?
Also I don’t think any of us are missing the point. Having ALL of the current TV partners disrespect the sport and the fans is a big part of why ratings has fallen off.
ESPN may be the WWLOS based on the fact that they have managed to corral as many sports as possible. That also means that they try and dictate $ for cable fees, etc. The only time I watch ESPN is if there is a NASCAR race on or if I happen to be somewhere that SC or other ESPN programming is endlessly running.
For me, BETTER coverage on another network works out as a win for me since it makes me angry to see the sport I really like treated so poorly. ESPN would not do the same thing if this were the NFL.
I’m with Dan on this, too. I won’t be sitting around watching the race. I’m tired of the chad and jimmie show already this season.
The solution to another boring race is staring NASCAR right in the face, but nobody has the sense to do it. Use the damn road course, make it 400 kilometers so the length will be about the same time wise and we would have a good, exciting race with some of the lesser teams having a real shot at the win. Also adds another road race to the program.