Changes Expected for NASCAR's Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, NASCAR 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.
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 changes are expected to take place beginning 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.
Matt Stallknecht · Friday November 8, 2013
It’s hard to believe we are only a week away from the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, but indeed, here we are. Bizarre, unusual, wild, unpredictable…such words are apt to describe what has been a largely memorable year. That, fourth word, “unpredictable,” would also be apt to describe the aura surrounding the race this upcoming weekend in Phoenix. Jimmie Johnson has a slim 7 point advantage over Matt Kenseth, and neither driver appears to be showing any signs of backing down. It’s anyone’s guess as to which of the two is actually going to take home the title two weeks from now in Homestead, but I’ll make an attempt to formulate some sense of what could happen this weekend anyway. Scroll down a bit to see that attempt in full…
1. Is this title battle really wide-open?
By most accounts, the 2013 title battle has not disappointed. Unless you are an incredibly jaded fan, it’s hard to find fault with the slugfest that Johnson and Kenseth have been engaged in for the past 8 weeks. One week, Kenseth is on top, the next week Johnson is on top, and the two continue to just battle back and forth. Entering this weekend, Johnson happens to be the one arriving to the garage with a smidgen more of momentum.
That can and probably will change this weekend in Phoenix. Both drivers have been so-so at best on the new Phoenix surface. Neither driver is in the top 7 in terms of overall points scored in post-repave Phoenix races. Of course, one should never discount the power of momentum, and each team has it right now in spades, meaning that it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see both drivers outdo their usual standard for performance on the post-repave Phoenix circuit.
As for who will come out on top, it’s truly a toss-up. Kenseth has been better on flat tracks in 2013, Johnson has been better on flat tracks before 2013. It’s a wash. This title battle is still wide-open, and much like last week, its simply going to come down to which team wants it more and makes the least amount of mistakes. For now, I’m calling Kenseth by a few positions on the racetrack, leading to a head to head showdown in Homestead for all the marbles.
2. Will aero be a factor again?
The spring race at Phoenix this year was a bit of a strange one. It was the first non-restrictor plate race with the Gen 6 car, and teams were still in the process of learning what the car needed to be effective on the race track. The “newness” of the Gen 6 car, combined with an especially conservative (read: rock friggin’ hard) tire from Goodyear, and what resulted was especially tough passing conditions.
So tough was it to pass in the spring, that Denny Hamlin unleashed a passive-aggressive shot at the Gen 6 car after the race that landed him a nice five figure fine the next week in Las Vegas. Given that the series is headed to a track with such previous passing troubles, there is obviously great trepidation that such issues will arise again. Luckily however, those concerns are overblown, and I can tell you why.
First off, Goodyear is bringing a different left-side tire compound this week that promises to be softer and more racing-friendly based on results from a tire test conducted a few weeks ago. In addition, the teams have come a very long way since the spring in terms of making the Gen 6 cars drive and pass effectively on flat tracks, meaning that passing ought to be much easier to come by on Sunday.
All told, passing won’t be especially easy (it never is in this era of NASCAR), but fans should expect greatly increased levels of passing and a decreased exhibition of aero disturbances compared to what was seen in the spring.
3. Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. due for a win?
One of the more interesting stories to follow thus far in the 2013 Chase has been the surprising level of competitiveness seen out of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 team. Junior has registered 3 top 2 finishes and 6 top 10s during the 2013 Chase- by far his best Chase performance with Hendrick Motorsports and perhaps his best Chase since his title-run in 2004. By all accounts, Junior finally seems to have exorcised the demons that plagued him during the COT-era, and his recent performance is indicative of a driver that is competitive once again.
The one lingering issue that Junior has yet to correct, however, is his inability to close. Junior has had three opportunities to win races in the past 8 races, and he (and his team) has failed to capitalize. If Junior wants to reach the next level of competitiveness, he and his team absolutely need to figure out how to close races.
Look for Junior to be competitive once again on Sunday. If he’s in a position to “seal the deal” once again and fails to do so, it ought to serve as a wake up call for the No. 88 team as a sign of something to work on for 2014.
4. Is this Justin Allgaier’s final shot to prove his worth?
As we speak, Harry Scott and Co. are busy renovating the once cash-strapped Phoenix Racing outfit into a Chase-level organization. It won’t happen overnight, but given enough time, Phoenix Racing (which, mark my words, will be renamed at some point in the near future to fit into the Turner-Scott portfolio) has the clout to eventually be a Chase-contending organization. Harry Scott has deep pockets, solid sponsorship, and good engineering at his disposal. The only part of the equation missing for 2014 is a driver.
Common sense would say that Justin Allgaier is the most likely candidate to take the keys of the No. 51 car full-time in 2014. Brandt appears ready to step up and go Cup racing, and Allgaier is plenty ready to make the transition. The problem, however, is that he doesn’t seem to have the ride locked up just yet. Indeed, the rumor mill has been filled with wild rumors as of late as to who could possibly fill the seat in 2014, with names like Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, and other veteran-types scrambling to take over what looks to be the last semi-quality available ride left open.
Allgaier has performed admirably in his two Cup starts thus far, but it seems as though he may need to deliver one more convincing run to satisfy team principals that he is indeed the man for the job. He’ll get one more opportunity to prove his worth this weekend in Phoenix. It shall be interesting to see if he can make a case for himself, as his future in the Cup Series could rest on his ability to step up his game this Sunday.
Matt Stallknecht’s Pre-Race Predictions for the 2013 AdvoCare 500:
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Another week and another “Will Jr. win?” LOL.
Waiting for Jr. to win is like waiting for Obamacare to work.
Just think…if those stupid penalties that Nascar gave to Kenseth had stuck, this season would be over already.
LoL @ JP. I agree!!
How come the first Phoenix race is called “spring” when it happens in February/March when its still winter? How come the Bristol night race is called “fall” when its the middle of summer?
Boy the writing in this column really rates a big “who cares?” as far as content.
Ouch. Big criticism from GinaV24 today. May I ask what you thought I missed in terms of content? Because I’m pretty well certain that I hit all of the major storylines this week.
Gina, I’ve read your comments in the past, and I am well aware of the fact that you are not exactly a big proponent of the Chase, but the reality is that the Chase title battle is a huge deal to a lot of people and is undoubtedly the lead story this week. The quality of racing is a big deal to a lot of people as well, so I’m puzzled that you gave a “who cares?” to that too.
A resurgent Dale Earnhardt Jr. is always a story, whether you like the man or not. And given that the #51 car is the only quality 2014 ride still available, I think that’s a pretty major story too.
So given these points, Gina, you’ll have to fill me in on what you think I missed.
burton? labonte? puh-leeez
i’m not taking away from past accomplshments but when i see a long in the tooth driver (or a punk ass rich kid with or without the right family connections) potentially taking a spot from some a fresh blooded deserving driver… well. that just gets me.
heh. is jr due for a win? i agree, the way he’s been running one might think so, but chad or kenseth will have to be off their game a bit.
will earo be a factor? yes, a big one. this is the gen 6 car after all. i agree with a fellow poster who asked if nascar was going to refund the fine to denny… seems to me they prolly should.
The new baby giraffe at the Toronto Zoo is named Mstari. Is her last name Debris?
OK, Matt, here’s why I wrote my comment. You say this season has been “largely memorable”. Really? Not the racing that I’ve been watching. I can agree with bizarre, but memorable, no. Most races have been the same old, same old that they’ve been for the last several years – follow the leader parades or dominated by one or two drivers w/o much passing or side by side racing – regardless of what NASCAR tries to sell the fans with their loop data stats. Most of those lead changes have occurred during pit stops, not passes for the lead on the track. Some of the races I went to in person were so snoozeworthy that if I could have found a place to lay down, I would have.
Is the 10 race trophy wide open? C’mon, its been between Johnson & Kenseth from the get go. Barring them running like 3 legged goats, everyone else was a long shot, so it comes down to them. Again, I’m sure they are both nice guys, but neither of them are interesting personalities. The commercials with Kenseth as a robot, well, he and Johnson together are about as exciting as watching paint dry. You’re right, I don’t like the chase, I’ve never made a secret of that and although Brian France may not realize it, I’m not the ONLY fan who feels like that. I think is a stupid way to determine the champion. France instituted it because the TV networks wanted it and he thought it would capture the interest of the “casual” fan that he was so anxious to cultivate. He got casual fans all right , mostly by turning off the hard core fans to the point that they don’t devote nearly the time to the sport as they used to do. I can tell you I am one of those. I used to watch EVERY minute of NASCAR programming I could find but IMO, it is no longer interesting enough to warrant that level of time.
“Will aero be a factor”? is there some reason to think it won’t be? Since the Gen6 car is on the track and gee unless NASCAR made some huge change or Goodyear has brought a magic tire, the car that gets out in the lead will probably stay there – even at a flat track like Phoenix.
The Dale Jr point? He’s had a really good season and I know his fans are really happy. That’s great, it’s always more fun when your favorite is doing well. I have nothing against him as a driver, but let’s face it, as JP also pointed out – another “will Jr win” as a burning question? It’s been done.
Lastly, one week from the end of the season. Thank heavens! I read an article about NASCAR considering changes for the 2014 season to “help the racing”. Fans have heard this same song over and over again. The ability of NASCAR’s current management for being able to make effective change has been abysmal. They are going to have to prove it to me by showing me passing & side by side racing ON the track – and by more than just the 48 car.
Did this answer your question?
I have been watching since I was a youngster many decades ago. The Sr. Frances would hate The Chase, as 90% of diehard fans do. How in the love of Mary can you crown a champ based on 10 races? Then the hype to deal with, Gordon gets another drama filled gift to be in The Chase, he has a few good races and “he is contention” after a horrible season. Who in their right mind think that is correct? As for Jr. that hype will continue, I have nothing against him, he is the most likable out of the HMS stable, but lets face reality, its keeping a name alive, not so much loving HIM. Sad, people grasp at straws, Dale Sr. is gone and it seems people can’t let it go, and Brian France or Rick is not about to disappoint. Again, nothing against Jr. its his fans that are most annoying. I feel that Jr. has a great gift and burden to bear.
I see absolutely no proplem with the content of this article and i have been around this sport for a very long time. With that said I believe JJ winning number six will have a devastating effect on Sprint Cup racing. He is an awesome driver and Chad is on his game (still say he is very creative with the rules and gets away with it)However he is the nost benign vanilla driver in racing . Fans like character in whatever form and JJ is just plain boring. Burton and Labonte please move on , let the fans have great memories of your success and not like DW embarrassing himself at the end of his career.