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.
Phil Allaway · Tuesday April 7, 2009
Hello, race fans. Texas provided us with long green flag runs on both Saturday and Sunday’s races. Usually, this means that the field gets extensively stretched out, and Texas was no exception to the norm. So, how did this weekend’s television coverage add up? Let’s take a look.
On Saturday, the Nationwide Series, back from a week off, raced in the O’Reilly [Auto Parts] 300. ESPN2, with their commentary crew of Dr. Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree was on hand for the call. Kevin Harvick, winner of the most recent Nationwide Series race (the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol), did not race on Saturday and sat in with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty in the mobile studio.
Having Harvick sit in resulted in some interesting conversation during and after the race. I think this was handled a little better than when Ned Jarrett sat in on one of the Nationwide Series races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last year, when Ned was the “4th wheel” and could barely get in anything edgewise.
The race coverage was OK, but I wasn’t really a fan of how it really centered upon the cars up front. To their credit, ESPN2 did go back through the field at one point during the race, but otherwise, coverage of teams further back was far and few between. For example, during the last green flag run, the commentators (I believe it was Petree) said, “There’s close racing all the way back through the pack.” However, at that point, none of the cameras were showing that action. Instead, they were all showing Kyle Busch in his NOS-sponsored No. 18 running away from the field.
With the slightly controversial coming together of Carl Edwards and Joey Logano with a few laps to go, I feel that ESPN could have covered that better. The cameras missed the incident when it happened live, but the commentary crew noticed what happened. As it stands, there were no replays of the incident until after the race ended. In addition, there was no shot of Edwards coming into the pits for some brief repairs (he came out just as Kyle Busch took the white flag). As for Joey Logano (the other car involved), there was nothing on that car. By that, I mean that ESPN never so much as showed a shot of the GameStop Toyota after the contact with Edwards and the wall. The viewers didn’t even know Logano was involved in the incident until replays were finally shown after the race.
Due to the relative high average speed (there were four yellows during the event, only one of which was for a crash), ESPN had a significant amount of time to fill (roughly 25 minutes) after the race’s conclusion. This was filled with the usual interviews with the race winner (Kyle Busch), Carl Edwards, Logano, Busch’s crew chief (Jason Radcliffe), etc. Tony Stewart was interviewed for the broadcast by team owner (for the race) Kevin Harvick. Since Harvick was inside of the portable studio at the time, Stewart donned a headset for the interview. This was rather interesting to watch. At the end of the interview, the camera panned out to show that Stewart was actually using Shannon Spake’s headset (she had been standing just outside of the frame during the interview).
Sunday brought the Sprint Cup Series to the forefront on FOX.
Unfortunately, my words about the Digger cartoon disappearing for good from the pre-race show in last week’s critique were incorrect. Sunday saw the return of the Digger cartoon to the pre-race show after not being seen since Atlanta. For those of you wondering what happened in this clip, Lumpy Wheels, the badger whose job it is to catch Digger, was threatened with unemployment if he didn’t catch the creature. What ensued was three minutes of essentially CGI whack-a-mole (or in this case, whack-a-gopher).
That cartoon kind of came out of nowhere. I didn’t expect it to show up, but all of a sudden, Chris Myers introduced the cartoon about halfway through the pre-race show. My best guess as to why they took the break is that they only had a few Digger cartoons in the can for this year (say seven or eight for the 13-race FOX block) and they didn’t want to get into showing re-runs. Then again, knowing the target audience for this creature, kids probably wouldn’t mind reruns. It makes me think back to when Nickelodeon still had rights to show Looney Tunes back in the pre-Cartoon Network days (for those of you who may not remember, Nick showed Looney Tunes every night at 7 p.m.). Nick didn’t have the rights to show everything from the Warner Brothers animation library, and a significant chunk of the cartoons from about 1938-1948 were off limits (those rights were held by Turner and shown on TNT and/or TBS). I looked forward to seeing Roadrunner and Speedy Gonzales cartoons and stuff from the infamous “Hunting Season” trilogy (Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!). I, however, did not like black and white Bosko and Buddy cartoons, and was happy they were jettisoned off the network when Cartoon Network launched.
As for the Digger Count, I don’t have a full count on hand here, but what I do have shows, at the minimum, 30 Digger appearances — with 11 of those animated. Lumpy Wheels was also included in appearances when FOX was coming back from commercials as to what amounts to an extension of the earlier cartoon (in other words, more whack-a-gopher). Jayski’s count more or less backs up my statistics.
Furthermore, FOX Sports President David Hill was quoted in February as saying that he eventually wanted there to be a Digger Saturday morning cartoon, and maybe a full-length movie. If they seriously want this to come into fruition, then I suggest that they come up with something longer than a two minute and 42 second clip to show to viewers and find an outlet for it outside of the pre-race show for Cup races. Perhaps they could go the Nick route and create a half-hour pilot and stick it on their Saturday morning lineup to gauge interest. Nick did this with shows like All That and CatDog in the past.
Now, to the race broadcast. More technical changes have been noted for this week. FOX reverted the starting lineup graphic back to the one they’ve used for the first four races of the season (the one with the individual rows displayed, in reverse order from row 22 to the front row). I’m fine with that move. In fact, I requested that it come back a couple of weeks ago in a previous critique.
Another returnee last week was the top 10 graphic on the last lap. This feature had a new wrinkle on Sunday. When it first came up, it was the same graphic that debuted earlier this season. However, it then configured itself to show the gaps between the cars in the top 10. I find this interesting. It kind of reminds me of one of the graphics in B-Spec (Director Mode) in Gran Turismo 4 for the PlayStation 2. In GT4, that graphic showed the relative distance between the cars, and also measured said distance (in seconds). In addition, if one car was gaining on another, a reddish orange arrow pointing to the left would show this.
I think this graphic has its place in the broadcast, but just not on the last lap of the race. A better use for it may have been before the first caution of the race, when Kenseth and Reutimann were up front. If the arrow function mentioned above could be integrated into the graphic, cool — I’m fine with that.
The only technical issue that I noticed during the race was with the “quad pits” during the last round of pit stops. Of course, the quad pits being there in the first place is another story itself during the race coverage. They take up the whole screen, which means that viewers cannot see the other teams pitting their cars. Such a setup would only be useful if there were four cars on the lead lap that all decided to pit under caution. Oh, well; at least it’s not the “Quint Pits” that FOX experimented with in the past. That setup actually blocked part of four boxes to allow for the inclusion of the fifth one. Luckily, that was a one-time deal.
Back to Sunday’s technical issue. The clocks on the quad pits weren’t working properly. Yes, the second counter was fine, but the tenths counter was not working properly. This seems to be a recurring issue with not just computer-generated timers, but scoreboards (especially older ones) as well. It almost reminded me of the old issues that were created when the NBA went to having tenths of a second on the clock in the final minute of periods in 1990 — only in reverse. Those issues ultimately resulted in mass scoreboard replacement due to the clock sticking on the 00.1 before going to triple zero. This also resulted in the infamous “Trent Tucker Rule,” but that is another discussion for another time.
I also didn’t like how some of the graphics were being brought up in the middle of the screen. For example, during a roof cam shot on Denny Hamlin’s car, the graphic displaying his current position and starting position was shown in the middle of the screen, blocking part of the view. It was just weird. Can’t really explain it any better.
I also think that the Cheez-It Bite of the Race is pointless. Audio is interlaced throughout the race coverage, so I really don’t see the point. Plus, it only lasted about 25 seconds. It’s expendable.
For the race coverage itself, I have a lot of the same issues as last week. FOX spends too much focus on the top 10 and a few selected drivers (Ex: Kevin Harvick) that were not running well. Granted, since the race had such a “green flag feel” to it that the field was mostly spread out, I was OK with the amount of side-by-side racing during the broadcast. At one point, one of the commentators mentioned that there was not any real racing for position on the track at that point. Unfortunately, that happens sometimes. It’s the consequence of long green flag runs on a long track with plenty of room to operate on.
Many fans online have commented on FOX’s lack of a “Through the Field” feature like what TNT has. The truth is that FOX really hasn’t had one during the eight previous years that they have covered the now-Sprint Cup Series. They tend to prescribe to the “go to the pit reporters for information on an exceptional basis.” What this means is that they generally leave the crew chiefs alone so that they can do their jobs, unless the issue at hand is really pertinent. As a result of that, it really doesn’t surprise me that they don’t have one now. It would not be a bad idea to come up with something along those lines for the future, though.
Finally, the first caution was thrown on lap 98 for debris on the backstretch. Radio transmissions that were put on the broadcast at the time (for a completely separate reason) claimed that there was a can on the backstretch. But no can was ever shown on the track. Last week, the cameras did, in fact, find a beer can (I believe it was a Budweiser) on the track when a caution was thrown for it. A couple of years ago, there was a big uproar about mystery debris cautions. The result was an increased effort by FOX to make sure that there were actual pieces of debris on the track. I think that FOX (and TNT and ESPN, for that matter) needs to make sure that all these pieces of debris that cause yellows are shown on screen just as a service to the general public that watches the races on television.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend is Easter Weekend, a traditional week off for the Cup Series dating back as long as I can remember (and before that, as well). However, the Nationwide Series does not traditionally take this weekend off. In the past, the series raced on Easter Sunday itself. Today, the series holds the Pepsi 300 on Holy Saturday, and I will critique that race. I will also cover the Camping World Truck Series race from Martinsville on March 30 and give my thoughts about ESPN2’s NASCAR Now. I originally wanted to critique the show back during the last off-week, but college basketball intervened. At least this week, the show will actually air!
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below, or contact me through the e-mail address provided on the website in my bio.
If you would like to contact FOX, ESPN, or the Speed Channel personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage of NASCAR, please use the following e-mail addresses below.
As always, if you choose to contact the networks by e-mail, do so in a courteous manner. Network representatives are far more likely to respond to e-mails that ask questions in a courteous manner than e-mails full of rants and vitriol. Thank you, and have a great week.
©2000 - 2008 Phil Allaway and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I don’t even bother to watch the pre-race anymore, especially on Fox. I might catch a few minutes of Nascar Today on ESPN2, or a few minutes of RaceDay on Speed…but I usually tune in just in time for the green flag.
I completely agree with you that there is not enough coverage of the entire field. No wonder these teams have trouble getting sponsors, Nascar uses up all the advertising time with their own commercials. Then to not show the entire field – why would you want to sponsor a car that is denied TV coverage during the race?
The Cheez – It Bite of the Race is just as pointless as all of the naming rights . But no matter how silly they make the sponsoring company look ( don’t worry about how silly it makes FOX and NASCAR look , they’ve shown how crass they are for years ) these little exercises in marketing 101 will continue . Why you ask ? Because the networks and NASCAR can charge money for them . If enough sponsors show an interest in having their name attached to a race broadcast , every minute of every race will be Presented by ….. or Brought to you by …..
I hope I never see another “Digger” so stupid and worst camera angle ever
I’m finally at the point where if I miss a race, I really don’t care. If there had been a race and a baseball game on yesterday, I would have watched the base game. If nas$car is looking to chase away what fan base they have left, they’re suceeding beyond their wildest dreams. You combine domination by one time, exceedingly boring races, a frigging rodent that I’d gladly put out of it’s misery with a shotgun, a car that encourages boring racing, vanilla drivers (except for a few), commentators trying to make a lousy product , amd a conglomerate (nas$car) that could care less what the fans think about the toxic mix. Me and a friend used to never miss a race. Now we’ve both moved on in frustration. Since Dale Sr. died, nas$car has went to hell in a big hurry. Go SF Giants.
The racing has been so boring lately, I’ve actually found it more exciting to watch the “classic” races they show Thursdays on Speed (and the older races they occasionally show on ESPN Classic), even though I’ve seen them before and already know the results. And the only funny thing about that damned rodent cartoon is my brother’s observation that the grandpa gopher looks a lot like our dad.