NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Thursday October 7, 2010
Have ya heard the one about a window, a Kleenex and a TV producer?
What’s that, boss? Too soon?
OK, how about the one where a guy in a yellow suit drives into this joint in New Hampshire, orders a bowl of Cheerios and says, “Hey, have you seen my rear end? The guys at the shop have been massagin’ on it for a month.”
Huh, boss? No good either?
Sorry folks, the blue humor isn’t flying today. Check back with me after Homestead.
In the meantime, send your questions to me using our trusty little link, and I’ll get you in next week. Now on to your emails …
I started watching in 2003 and I still really like it and follow it weekly. I hear fans say how different the cars are since the good old days. I’ve been to four races sine ’03 and wonder how the cars SOUND different at the track today compared to 20 or 30 years ago.
A: The engines have a more high-pitched scream than they used to. It once was a throaty, low growl. Head out to your local short track and listen to the street stocks. That’s pretty close, but not quite as loud. Good question, by the way.
Enough with the Busch bashing! Kyle ran up on Reutimann and the in-car audio told the story. Reutimann got out of the gas in the middle of the turn and Kyle was so close he couldn’t let up in time. It’s hard racing. That’s all. Kyle is supposed to be on his tail and looking for a way around. I like Reutimann, but that was more his fault than Kyle’s. Sometimes I think fans just bash on Kyle because he is an easy target.
I don’t have a problem with Reutimann getting his revenge, either. He felt he was wronged again, and sometimes you have to make a stand. This isn’t five-year-olds go kart racing. Let the boys have at it!
A: From my point of view, it’s hard to argue with anything you said. I think this incident pre-dates Kansas (think Bristol and Busch calling out Reutimann’s driving talent). His imitation of a pinball over the last month — being knocked around by everyone from Ryan Newman to Kevin Harvick to Kyle Busch — forced Reutimann to take a stand. And honestly, if you’re going to make a statement, using a Chaser as the target will get everyone’s attention.
And more so than any Chaser vs. non-Chaser issue, I was just glad NASCAR let it lie.
I have a question pertaining to the performance of Hendrick Motorsports’ car No. 88. What is the (No.) 88 team doing to the car each week that is creating so many problems for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. each and every weekend that the 24-48-5 do not have? Where does the REAL problem lay?
A: Boy, if that isn’t the million dollar question. Let’s eliminate a few things. Primo cars/chassis: Check. Reliable engines: Check. Unlimited resources: Check. Tier-A teammates to share info with: Check. That covers most of your at-shop, unloading and practice session variables.
We’ll skip qualifying, because no one has ever confused Junior for Ryan Newman on Friday, even when he was racking up 18 wins.
I guess that leaves race day. And quite honestly, I don’t know that anyone has identified the true root of the issue or “Rich” Hendrick would have fixed it, but I can tell you what I see. I see a driver and crew chief that most weekends have a decent (not great) car somewhere between the quarter and halfway mark. I then see a racetrack that transitions from day to night or cool to hot and a team that doesn’t anticipate the change, not making proper adjustments to stay one step ahead of the game. I see a car that looked somewhat racy at one point out in left field by the three-quarter mark of the event. I hear a crew chief and driver that do not seem to be speaking the same language, and I sense frustration and a loss of confidence.
It’s tricky competing on the Cup circuit with the last name Earnhardt — and crew chiefing for him. There’s pressure and expectations and a legion of people — fans and non-fans alike — that are watching and judging. This may sound simplistic, but I swear if I were Hendrick I’d throw the coffers at Tony Eury, Sr. and tell him to straighten this mess out. And if I were Junior, at some point I’d have to admit to myself that the decision to join the white-collared, buttoned-up world of Hendrick Motorsports wasn’t the right one.
Hey Matt. I enjoy listening to you, Tom and Braden on the podcast. I thought you hit it on the money last week when you said if NASCAR wanted to gain the fans’ trust and be viewed as a credible body they would open the doors to their inspection process. Agreed, Matt! I think fans want to believe NASCAR and their rulings because no one wants to think a percentage of their fav sport is being manipulated!
Be open with us, NASCAR! Tell us the facts. Don’t be sidestepping the questions, and it will go a long way toward gaining the fans’ trust. Thanks for the time, Matt!
A: Thanks for tuning in to the podcast, Samantha. We certainly have a lot of fun producing it. Yeah, I stated that a more open-door policy would go a long way toward lending a credibility that many observers feel is lacking. I wouldn’t expect cameras rolling while every inch of a car at the R&D Center was being inspected because NASCAR doesn’t want to divulge specific teams’ info, but a well-written or detailed explanation is in order.
I can’t tell you how many times over the last three weeks friends have asked what, exactly, was so illegal about Clint Bowyer’s car at New Hamsphire. “How could sixty-one thousandths of an inch be worth a penalty of that magnitude?” they wonder. It’s often hard to explain, besides to say, “Well, that’s NASCAR …” Some expert, right?
Of course, the irony of it all is that Bowyer’s car probably was illegal, and NASCAR probably called a spade a spade. It probably got it right, going by precedent. Trouble is, fans presume the wizard is really behind the curtain over in the corner, pulling levers and turning knobs, operating without transparency and ruling with an iron fist.
A little clarity on NASCAR’s part would earn a lot of much-needed fan trust. Throw in a dash of understanding by both sides, and we’re be getting somewhere.
Thanks for sticking around to the end, folks. I miss Loren Wallace. Or was it Lauren? Or Warren? Whatever. Gone but not forgotten.
Connect with Matt!
©2000 - 2008 Matt Taliaferro and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Since when is Hendrick blue collar?? Think that was supposed to be WHITE collar.
Put some damn mufflers on these cars. You go to the track and can’t hear yourself think. I enjoy Daytona as the cars sound good but are quieter with the plates. You can actually hold a conversation with someone next to you. Went to Atlanta one year and am never going back. It is like assault and battery with the sound levels can’t even hear yourself think. I could only imagine Bristol or Martinsville. The Audi R15 and Peugeot 908 LeMans series cars would run circles around the COT and they are very quiet.
When he joined Hendrick, all he seemed interested in was the paint schemes.Maybe he traded his racing career for purdy cars? They are purdy, but I liked the red better.
Mistake corrected, REAL. It happens…
Johnson runs great, wins allot, and occasionally has an off day to confuse his rivals. Jeff Gordon consistently runs well, has a bunch of top 5s and 10s, yet can’t seem to tune the car in enough to win. He seems to have a similar fading problem to Junior, yet when his car falls off, he’s usually running in the top three or four so he ends up finishing ninth.
Mark Martin has been as out to lunch in ’10 as Junior. Junior/Martin are within 2 points on driver rating, Junior has led more laps (barely) and has completed more lead lap laps. Others have blamed Junior’s inheritance of a few 5 employees for Martins trouble, and they may have a point, although I think there is a deeper issue in the 5/88 shop that is seen occasionally in the 24/48 shop. I have to believe there is a shop/car/chemistry problem.
I am a Junior/Stewart/Harvick fan with an occasional man crush on Johnson. I love it when Junior is up front. I think it makes NASCAR a better sport. You can feel it in the fans. The energy level rises 10 fold. A similar thing happens when Stewart gets the lead, although not as much. I believe NASCAR has a Junior problem and they need to get with Hendrick and poor some energy into solving the problem. Lifting the testing ban might help. I know the old adage that the drivers come and go but NASCAR is always racing. Well, I don’t think there is anyone in the garage right now that will bring fans back to the track like a resurgent Junior. No one else has the backstory nor the charisma to bring butts back to the stands and to the television. If Junior started winning and running in the top 10, I guarantee there would be an additional 25,000 fans in the seats and 1,000,000 fans watching on TV. It seems like it would be worth it to get to the root of the problem.
Matt and Lorraine: The problem with Jr., starts with Jr.. If you have ever watched Jr. give an interview, he simply isn’t very articulate. This translates over to a difficulty describing what he is feeling in the car, and what he wants to feel. This begins in practice, and carries across the entire weekend.
Jacob. I don’t know where you get your information, but I listen to JR on raceview every week and he gives as good information as most of the other drivers. He gives feedback after a few laps, and asks questions.Unfortunately, the car just doesn’t get better. JR’s main complaint is a lack of speed. I hear him saying “I can’t find any speed in this car” a lot. Now if a car comes off the hauler slow, it is not going to improve much tinkering with it at the track. Do they need to spend more trouble in the wind trouble?? I don’t know.You can look at Jr’s speeds during first practice and know what his weekend is going to be like; if he practices in the high 20’s or low 30s’ it is going to be a long weekend. As to him telling his crewchief what to do, doesn’t he have an associates degree in automotive technology; lf so he may have more of a idea what makes the cars tick than some other drivers. As to not being articulate in an interview; he is know to be a shy introvert and if that is so, I am amazed to does as well as he does in an interview. I agree; Mr Rick needs to make POPS an offer he can’t refuse to come and straighten the mess out; I don’t see any other solution.
Lorraine Fabian the problem with Jr. is Jr.
He is not a good race car driver. Ralph is out after a few seasons if his name were Smith.
Was the 48 torn down after JJ’s win? I agree, if trail courts can be open, so could the inspections.
But then NA$CAR would not be able to create their Show.
when a race car is set up by the crew chief and he can’t get it right how in this world is a driver supposed to get any speed out of it. everyone wants to blame JR, but why can’t they let Chad just one time set his car up to speed and then maybe Lance could learn a few things?? if the dang car has no speed what is Jr supposed to do?? yeah just like he does….set in the stupid thing till the race is over and then try to explain to every media person why his crew chief is not able to do his job?????? i don’t think Rick would go for that one. Rick is making a mint off Jr,,,,,why does he care if he wins or not,,,,he is trying to get JJ up there to beat Dale Sr’s record. And it is coming. Jr needs to dump Hindrick and go some place he will be appreciated and can drive a GOOD car as we know he can. He didn’t have toooooo many problems getting the WRANGLER 3 in victory lane. Of course Lance wasn’t in charge of that race. the handwritting is on the wall.
Another reason for the sound being different is the implementatiion of the SAFER barriers. Depending on the size of the track, the engine noise bounces off of the steel walls differently than it does concrete. Depending on where you sit in the stands you really notice a difference.
I go to the racetrack to HEAR and SEE the cars. 43 cars screaming down the frontstretch at 180+ MPH is a treat to me. Dont ever change that. If its too loud for you, get some ear plugs. I enjoy 8000 horsepower Top Fuel Dragsters at the NHRA track too. And yes I wear my ear plugs.
YankeeGranny: The reason Jr. can’t get speed out of his car, is Jr.. I know you can’t possibly be saying that HMS cars are slow.
Obviously, you are just one of the millions of Jr. fans that will look for ANY reason to blame EVERYTHING but Jr..
The change in sound is mostly due to the size of the engine. A big block 426 or 427 was limited to about 7200 rpm and growled down the straight at 180 mph. The short block (358 limit) is “whining” now at 9000 plus rpm. The F1 cars are screaming with an 18000 limit.
I can remember Doug Warnes at Nilestown around 1968 trying to get to 9000 with a 283 and the engine saying “Nope!” by blowing itself to pieces.
The exhaust setup can make a difference too. 180 degree headers sound different than the normal setup.
Jacob. I am saying ,in words of one syllable so you will be able to read and understand them, that, if a car comes off the hauler and is not able to run as fast as the other cars, it is not the fault of the man driving the car, it is the fault of the people setting up the car. The driver drivers the car he is given, if it is slow it cannot compete with the other cars and will run in the back of the pack. The driver can say how the car is working at any given minute, but there are only so many changes that can be done during a race. Face it, Lance is not the brightest bulb on the tree where being a crew chief is concerned, but he does a good job of making a bad car worse. Facts are facts, excuses are excuses and Jr haters are idiots. You have fun, too.
First let me say I am not a fan of Reuti nor really any Toyota driver.
If Kyle had called out Reuti’s driving talent before why would he drive so close to him since he believes he has no talent? I personally try to stay away from stupid drivers (mostly texters these days and some drunks) on the highway. That may even mean speeding up and get around them or hanging back until I am sure they are in control and then pass. Kyle could have either attempted to pass or hung back until the right time to pass. If he believes Reuti can’t drive than he has to drive smart around him. And plus cars let up all the time going into turns and get back on it going out of the turns. So he should expect the car ahead of him to let up.
I do not like him but there is no denying Kyle is a great driver!! He does not have to drive dirty to win races but he wants to be the man in black of Nascar and or just plain likes to wreck other drivers. I am just glad someone finally gave him some of his own medicine and glad it looks as though no other cars were hurt because of it. If he does not win the championship he has only himself to blame. Kyle and Carl do not respect the 42 other drivers and put their lives in danger when they play these wrecking games. Plus the money that these guys cost the other teams.
Stephen: Nice perspective on the 5/88 issue. I recently put it this way. 24/48 = A-team, 5/88 = B-team. That’s how they are garaged. The B team has not had the speed that the A team has had for most of the year. Maybe the information sharing they claim to have is only within each team. How’s that for conspiracy theorizing?
All Hendrick cars are NOT created equal. A Chad Knaus car will be faster because of… you guessed it… Chad Knaus! A Lance McGrew car will be slower because… he’s NOT Chad Knaus. I’m not saying that Junior doesn’t bear any blame… it’s his job to let the crew chief know what the car needs during the race, and I think he still has a ways to go in that area.
There’s no need to hate Junior. Last time I looked he hadn’t stomped on any puppies or made any babies cry. He’s just a guy with a famous last name trying to do what he enjoys and make a living at it, same as you and me. The fact that he’s been unsuccessful of late is no reason to treat him like he’s Nancy Pelosi.
granny: I guess it’s a good thing that I’m NOT a Jr. hater. I AM, however, realistic and not blind, deaf, and/or stupid.
Matt, In either Chicago or Michigan, the announcers said that JJ & JG had the 2 new 2nd generation cars. None for Jr. I guess that takes care of your ‘primo chassis’ & ‘unlimited resources’ also. Mark & Jr. have both said that they don’t have ‘speed’. Mark is 15th in pts & Jr. 17th. I had thought that since Jr. brings in more money than any of the other drivers, probably all of them put together, that Rick would jump at the chance to get a chance to get a proven cc like Addington for him last fall. Didn’t happen. Why not…? It would probably help if you did some research before wrote an article. I believe that Jr. will not be competitive as long as he yoked to Rick. Have you ever heard of the 25/88 r&d running competitively for a championship…? No! If Rick wanted Jr. winning, he would be. I don’t believe that Rick wants Jr. winning. I believe that Rick wants 8 championships for JJ so that he can break the record by Earnhardt & Petty. Jr. probably doesn’t have the tricked up shocks that JJ does where they have to let his car, i.e. the gas in the shocks, cool before it can pass post-race height sticks. For years Roush denied that Jeff Burton was running r&d for him, & after years he finally admitted it.I believe that Brian France could pull off a huge public relations coup for himself, & make more money…by dipping into some of his petty cash fund & buying or doing whatever it takes to get Jr. out of HMS. It would fill seats at his tracks to have Jr. running up front and winning again, which I do not believe that Rick is every going to allow. If Rick wanted Jr. winning, he would be. He doesn’t & it isn’t going to happen as long as Jr. is yoked to Rick. Free, Jr.! :)
And how many Jr fans thought Dale was going to win 5 races a year and win the championship after signing with Hendrick? My, how quickly opinions change.
To Connie, You wrote what I was going to say. Great post. ;)
Bowyer’s car wasn’t 64/1000’s off, it was 64/1000’s beyond tolerance.
For an example with less mind-boggling numbers, I sew in a parachute factory. There is a specific component I make that has to be sewn to a 1/16th tolerance.
There is a place on that component where I have to sew 3 lines of stitching on top of or beside each other 1/8 from a fold. When I’m done I put a ruler on it.
If one of those threads just touches the inside of a line 1/16 of an inch from that 1/8 inch mark the component is good. But if that thread is just one thread’s width further along, about 1/32 of an inch, so that it lies beyond that line the component is out of tolerance and won’t pass inspection.
Commercial sewers and race car builders are both human so there is a tolerance built in to allow for slight imperfections in the manufacturing process. But if you’re outside your tolerance you fail inspection.
Of course its not so serious for me because all my QC inspector is going to do is ask me to pick and resew. Maybe tease me a little because I have a reputation for extremely high pass rates on my work. But nothing out of the paycheck. :D
I don’t know what to say.
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