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.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Thursday June 11, 2009
Here’s your link to contact me. We’ve got some in-depth stuff this week, so I’ll keep the opening thoughts short. Actually, they’ll be non-existent. So take a guess as to what we’re starting with …
I have read several articles about Kyle Busch’s poor behavior, but seeing him tonight bash the Gibson guitar on the floor twice is the lowest I have seen him become. Someone needs to take him down a dark alley and teach him some respect and give him an attitude adjustment. This is a mark against his family and how he was raised.
Also I wonder what the Nashville Speedway people and the Gibson guitar people thought about this. I am sure their comments would not be printable, and rightly so. Busch should be bashed and raked over the coals by every reporter that writes about racing. He is a disgrace to the racing world.
A: Somewhere on Saturday night, Paul Stanley was smiling. Of course, Paul uses a prop guitar at the end of a KISS show, and maybe Kyle should have taken note.
You know Elvin, for such a black and white issue, I’ve felt pretty gray all week. I really don’t know where I sit on this one, and that’s rare. The left side of my brain thinks Busch should have thought long and hard about destroying a $30,000 trophy. It’s the only original, after all, and a lot of pride and hard work went into designing it. There’s also the issue of class. Whether he thought it was cool or not, it just wasn’t a classy way to celebrate a victory.
I live in Nashville, and let me assure you, the majority of those who follow racing (and even some that do not) did not like what they saw one bit. It hit a little closer to home for these folks who take pride in the musical heritage of the city and for how that specific trophy truly embodies the culture — it’s more than just a sparkly cup bolted onto a wooden base. It really says “Nashville;” and for a town that loves its racing (and still mourns the loss of its Cup Series dates) it was taken as a slap in the face, regardless of how Kyle intended it.
With that said, there’s still the right side of my brain that screams, “Whoa! I’ve never seen that at a race before … cool!” That may sound crass in itself, but we’re the ones that bemoan our vanilla drivers. We complain of rehearsed Victory Lane celebrations, and an endless list of sponsors that seem to mask true jubilation. Case in point: When David Ragan earned his first Nationwide Series win at Talladega just a month ago, I read that he didn’t appear happy enough. He was too ho-hum about it all, even if that is his personality and he doesn’t know any other way to be.
Well, this is Kyle Busch’s personality and for better or worse, he ain’t changing. I can’t help but wonder if a rogue, brash driver back in the day … say, Tim Richmond, had pulled the same stunt, would we still be throwing stones — or would our memories lead us to shake our heads with a grin and say, “That son of a gun … boy, those were the good ol’ days.”
I don’t know the answer, Elvin. And I still don’t know exactly where I stand on the guitar smashing, but those are my thoughts.
And if you’d like to know what the people at the Nashville Speedway thought of his antics, I’ll tell you that when I contacted Sean Dozier, the track’s director of public relations, earlier this week about the incident he was curt in saying, “Kyle did not ask permission or give us any warning that he was going to do this in Victory Lane. Sam Bass did not know about it in advance, either. He acted completely on his own.”
Cliff Hawks, the track’s Vice President and General Manager, said on a Monday drive-time radio program that (and I’m paraphrasing) if it were up to him, Kyle would never be invited back.
Matt, my question is what is the big deal about the NEW restart? I may be a little on the old age side, but I remember that was the way it was in the old days of NASCAR or any racing for that matter. You lined up in your position in the race at any restart and just received credit for the laps actually run past the start finish line.
Did I miss something, or do I not understand the restart procedure?
A: The difference is there are no longer cars one-lap down (or more) lined up to the inside of the leaders. Instead, the lead-lap machines will line up two-by-two (as opposed to single-file) like you’d see at the start of the race. The lapped cars now line up behind the lead-lap cars.
“We’ve heard the fans loud and clear,” Brian France told us last week. “‘Double-file restarts – shootout style’ are coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series!”
Jeez, you want a medal or something? Congratulations, you’ve taken the lapped cars out of the equation on the restarts. You’ve also taken a lot of pit strategy out of the equation, too.
Matt, in record time NASCAR has implemented double-file restarts for Pocono. While this gives NASCAR the appearance of “listening to its fans,” isn’t this really just another gimmick?
NASCAR has already given us the “improvements” of the top 35 rule, the Lucky Dog and the CoT — all trying to shore up the sagging attendance and ratings for the races that have been going steadily downward for the past five years. I’m not saying that the new restarts won’t be a good thing, but have they really done anything constructive?
However, NASCAR has thrown a lot of new ideas at us all of the sudden, and this from a sanctioning body that typically takes to change with the same zeal as I feel when my fiancé confiscates the remote and plants it on Dancing with the Stars. So the question is “Why?’ Why now, after ratings and attendance have sagged for the better part of two and a half years, has NASCAR decided it’s time to pull the trigger on these things? And why, if the sanctioning body is making changes at such a fast and furious pace, did it take so long to implement the current safety standards and drug policy?
Why? Because NASCAR is reactive. Four drivers perish within the space of a year and a half? Uh oh, better mandate those SAFER barriers, closed-faced helmets, and HANS devices we’ve had on the back burner. Some kid goes public that he raced in a Truck event smacked up? Hmmm … if we can’t tell a guy is geeked on heroin on raceday I guess this current “when we feel like it” drug policy isn’t doing the trick. And now, after two full seasons of lackluster racing that the powers that be have turned a blind eye to, we get some changes. Not meaty stuff, mind you, but changes nonetheless.
Look, I’m all about making the product better, but lining the lead lap cars up side-by-side on restarts at the front of the field ain’t bringing my buddy who quit watching three years ago back. He can’t tell the difference on restarts, because to him the cars all look the same anyway, and quite frankly, he doesn’t care anymore. He’s gone for good, along with thousands like him because (this is his own words), “All the tracks and cars look exactly the same. Why devote 36 Sundays to the same thing every weekend?”
Cosmetic changes just aren’t going to do the trick anymore.
And to complete the current events trifecta (had we gotten a Mayfield question, we’d have hit the superfecta) …
Did NASCAR take that many points from Petty and that much money[referring to the Carl Long penalties]? Or is it the small company situation?! “I (NASCAR) can get these guys ’cause I can.”
They would not try this with Hendrick, Roush or others.
A: I’d agree that NASCAR wouldn’t lower the boom on one of the big boys — not this hard. A 12-week mandatory vacation would never, ever be given to a Hendrick, Roush, Childress or Gibbs (or Stewart, which I guess is the most fitting example). The 200/200, $200,000 would be levied, though. No doubt there.
Actually, the history of the 12-race suspension goes back to Petty’s oversized engine that you inquired about which took place in 1983. His powerplant after the Charlotte fall race that year measured in at a whopping 381.983 cubic inches (well above the 358 limit). The King kept the win but was docked 104 points (the difference between the winner’s points and the last car on the lead lap). He was also fined a then-record $35,000, although I’ve been told that he won $40,400 anyway, so he came out ahead. No suspension, though. It was then that NASCAR announced that the next oversized engine would cost you 12 races.
To my knowledge, no team owner, driver or crew chief has served a 12-race suspension due to a big engine. Junior Johnson was close, getting the book thrown at him in 1991, but he appealed and had it shaved down to four.
I think the important thing to remember in all this is that Petty and Johnson got nailed for running big engines in points-paying races, knowingly using them to gain a competitive advantage. Long got crucified with a hand-me-down piece of crap that was 50 horsepower light in a qualifier for an exhibition race. Big difference.
And before I go, and not that anyone asked me specifically, but for the love of God, no…Danica is not coming to NASCAR! Why are pixels being devoted to a story we all got burned on a couple years ago? The move makes absolutely no sense, and is an obvious bargaining chip in her desire to wrestle a bigger and better contract from someone in the IRL.
Don’t get sucked into the hype, people. Danica = web hits.
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RE: “Oversize” engines. The written info is that Long’s engine was .17CC’s over! (or CI’s), whatever, a very miniscule amount.
This is probably yet another one of those rules, oh, oh, there I go again thinking NA$CRAP has rules, real rules, anyway, I digress, so what if Jr.‘s engine measured .16CC’S, would that be considered simply “in tolerance”?
See how the lack of credibility in NA$CRAP gets one thinking?
Very informative and entertaining read as usual Matt. Learned a lot about the Carl Long issue that I didn’t know. Thanks.
Sally should do her homework a little more before writing in. 2005 was NASCAR’s highest ratings, and they have been falling ever since. That was four years ago, not five. The top 35 rule came out at the start of 2005 when the ratings were good, in response to several full-time teams missing races due to start-and-parks making the field in 2004. The lucky dog rule came out in 2003 when they stopped racing to the yellow after Dale Jarret’s accident on the frontstretch at New Hampshire. Again, that was when the ratings and attendance were good, not as an attempt to restore poor ratings. The COT was developed and then introduced in 2007 not to help ratings but to make the cars safer and protect the drivers better during accidents.
While the jury is still out on double file restarts, IMO, I believe it will only benefit one racer. And that would be the third place position. Why? Because on restarts, a well placed nudge (going into turn one) in the back of the lead car will push him up and into the outside car. Watch for this at Bristol.
For anyone who would like to help out Carl Long, donations big or small can be made online at carl-long.com or mailed to him at Carl Long, 156 Painted Bunting Dr., Troutman NC 28166 This is a chance to tell Nascar how we feel about this fine and suspension!!!
Kyle didn’t ask permission from Nashville Speedway to destroy the trophy ? Kyle or any other driver isn’t required to ask their permission . Nashville Speedway needs to get over themselves .
And for the record!
THANK YOU KYLE BUSCH for livening up the OH-SO-BORING races as “orchestrated” by the stooges at NA$CRAP!
In another web sites columns, one Jenna Fryer called Kyle “immature” and said he was “ruining” the sport!
Wonder if she ever called King Brian “immature”, he is doing more to ruin that sport than a hundred Kyle Busch’s!
Kyle should be held in the highest esteem and congratulated for going above and beyond on providing excitement! REAL EXCITEMENT! (not that manufactured NA$CRAP stuff).
DANG! I forgot!
Remember “sports” fans, when critizing Kyle for the guitar smashing episode!
That it was non-other than King Brian himself who decreed that NA$CRAP is “ENTERTAINMENT” (as opposed to RACING!
And entertaining Kyle is!
Fits King Brian’s decree to a “T”!
Matt, Thank you for clearing the air about who said/asked what to whom. For the record, I agree that the trophy was won by, & presented to Sprout. After it was in his hands. It was his to do with as he pleased. I also agree that in a period of politically correct drivers. Toeing the company line. Kyle’s frankness is a breath of fresh air. Winning the first COT race, then saying what he really thought of the car, in victory lane was classic. That having been said, when the blow back started to come off the fan. He fell back on what most immature people do. He lied! If he had really thought the whole smashing thing through he should have known what the outcome would be. Had he thought about trying to lie his way to lessening the flak. He should have known that wasn’t going to fly either. Both these actions go hand in hand with running away, when things don’t go his way. My take on Sprout,….Great talent, spoiled, immature, brat!
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