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 · Thursday April 1, 2010
Hello, race fans and welcome back to our weekly TV critique, where I look into the race telecasts that we all watch on television. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series were both at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and Kroger 250, respectively. The Izod IndyCar Series was in St. Petersburg, FL for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a 100-lap race on a 1.8-mile street circuit.
On Saturday, the Truck Series raced in the Kroger 250. SPEED provided the coverage with its usual on-air crew of Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, and Michael Waltrip in the booth, with Adam Alexander and Ray Dunlap in the pits.
NCWTS Setup, hosted as always by Krista Voda, started off with the typical recap of the last race, the E-Z-Go 200 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Setup also included a brief sequence in which Timothy Peters went to his hometown of Danville, Va. (located a couple of counties east of Martinsville) and giving a somewhat random woman free tickets to the race. Touching. She was absolutely overjoyed and pledged to be at the event on Saturday to root Timothy on.
Additional features included “Ricky Carmichael University,” which was a riding school held at Daytona International Speedway during Bike Week. SPEED’s own Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty participated in the school as part of the feature, which had actually already gotten some publicity back in Atlanta. Rutledge and Kyle weren’t really the focus, though, which is good. They’re on SPEED enough already. Instead, the feature focused on the actual education and the groups of regular people that attended the school. Good stuff to watch.
The race coverage was fairly good from SPEED, albeit heavily focused on the frontrunners. I know I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to issues like this over the past year and change, but if there is no action up front, there is no issue with taking a look further back in the pack, where there often is action.
I’ve noticed that the SPEED Spotlight drivers are getting a little more air time this year as compared to last year. Since the majority of the drivers that are profiled here are drivers campaigning for smaller teams, this can only be good. This week’s Spotlight drivers were Chris Eggleston (No. 21 for Gun Broker/SS-Green Light Racing), Clay Greenfield (No. 46 for Team Gill Racing), Narain Karthikeyan (No. 60 for Wyler Racing, making his NASCAR debut) and Brian Johnson, Jr. (No. 76 for Hackett Racing).
Also of note, there was a point during the fourth caution in which Michael Waltrip called out Chris Lafferty, driving his own No. 89 Chevrolet, as being someone that was holding up the pack. This is true, although I‘d take it a step further and refer to Lafferty as a “Rolling Chicane.” I know that Lafferty doesn’t have the best equipment on earth, but in that case, he needs to know when to get out of the way. Lafferty caused two of the first three incidents in the race by making contact with faster trucks.
Also of note, Saturday’s Kroger 250 was also covered via NASCAR.com’s RaceBuddy service. What did I notice about RaceBuddy’s coverage? It appeared to be about two to three seconds behind the coverage on SPEED. Most of the battle shots were of the same action that SPEED was showing, as well. I don’t know how most viewers use RaceBuddy, but I tend to use it as a supplement to the actual SPEED coverage. As a result, this type of RaceBuddy coverage is not exactly ideal for me, but might work for others. Also, more importantly, there was no active leaderboard. This is normally one of the best features about RaceBuddy, and nascar.com gave us nothing. Weak.
Having said that, one of the main advantages of having RaceBuddy around is the fact that you can figure out the reasons for cautions that come out during commercial breaks on SPEED before the commercial break ends. The last three yellows all flew during commercial breaks, so it definitely came in handy. I will also admit that the frequency of this has led to me beginning to note which cautions fly during commercials for the rest of the year.
Post-race was fairly extensive compared to what we’ve been getting recently. SPEED provided us with eight post-race interviews, in addition to checks of the unofficial results and the point standings. Also, SPEED gave us coverage of the confrontation between Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday. This was done from a camera on top of the roof (of the press box) at first. Once that view was blocked, SPEED then switched to the roof cam on Ron Hornaday’s truck, which provided a nice view of the argument. SPEED also earned a coup by getting both Hornaday and Sauter to agree to on-air interviews afterwards (Sauter more than Hornaday). All in all, this was pretty good post-race coverage. I can’t complain.
Goody’s Fast Relief 500
On Sunday, the Cup Series attempted to hold the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. However, rains prevented this from occurring. In lieu of actual racing, FOX presented viewers with their typical pre-race show at first. There was a feature on the new blade spoiler and quarterpanel extensions that eventually made their race debut on Monday. Chris Myers also conducted a serious sit-down interview with Roger Penske.
FOX brought in their Storm Scout, Rick Dickert, to discuss the weather that could be an issue. However, knowing what actually ended up happening now, I believe that they were being ultra-conservative in their forecast. They basically made no predictions about when the action would get underway.
During the coverage, I was under the opinion that they simply didn’t want to jinx anything by actually referencing the rain. We’ve been over this before. I’m not a fan of this. I know no one wants a rainout, especially the TV partners. I feel for those unfortunate souls who have to rebook all the hotel rooms for FOX’s staff (I don‘t know how many people FOX has at the track for Cup races, but I want to assume somewhere between 50-100). To be fair, it was actually raining during the pre-race ceremonies and FOX more or less ignored this by never really showing the track. It was weird. I personally knew that the chances of getting the race in weren’t great when I could see that the track was almost “gone” during the post-driver introduction pickup truck rides.
FOX also passed the time by conducting multiple interviews (ten to be exact), and they unveiled the Top 10 finishes on FOX from 2001-2009. Unsurprisingly, the Craven-Kurt Busch finish from Darlington in 2003 won. I think this was supposed to air around the Coke 600 in May, but I’m not sure. Also, Mike Joy gave a glowing review of Mark Bechtel’s, “He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back,” a book about the 1979 Winston Cup season. I’ll admit right here that I finished the book myself Monday morning, and it is very good. I’m just not sure whether this was the appropriate forum to pimp the book.
Once NASCAR postponed the race to Monday, FOX scurried off the air really fast. I believe this caught the affiliates off guard (or at least, my FOX affiliate (WXXA, Albany, NY). There was about three minutes or so of nothing before they switched to an episode of TMZ.
On Monday, FOX came on the air at noon, cut to the Hollywood Hotel for a welcome to the broadcast. There was also a quick check with the Storm Scout before going to the Opening Ceremonies.
The race coverage was pretty good at some intervals, however, I do have some thoughts. As you may remember, there were a lot of blown tires during the event, mainly due to bead issues. After the first one, which struck the No. 87 of Joe Nemechek, FOX cut down to Jeff Hammond, who did a mini-feature during the yellow about the brake packages. That’s good and all. There is one thing that FOX failed to mention. Remember this race last year. The same thing happened. The setup of the race car is the primary reason why this happens. Yet I don’t believe FOX mentioned that part of the issue on air all day. Note how it is always the same cars that have the blown tires. Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Regan Smith, and Robby Gordon are examples of drivers who had multiple right front tire failures.
Another thing I didn’t like is the fact that with all the cameras FOX had at Martinsville (once again, I don’t have the number handy, but it’s more than two dozen), they somehow missed David Reutimann’s spin on Lap 75. All FOX gave us was a replay of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano getting together. This caused a stack-up that contributed to the crash, but FOX never told us who actually caused the wreck.
I was not a fan of the coverage of the sixth caution, which was when Elliott Sadler spun as a result of a chain reaction entering Turn 3. FOX had only one somewhat blurry replay of the wreck. This also did not really show the real wrecking very well at all. We saw A.J. Allmendinger and David Stremme with severe damage, but we all but couldn’t see how they got the damage.
However, the worst part of the coverage was during the tenth caution, which came out for David Stremme stopping on track. Of note, this happened during a commercial break. There was no mention of what happened to Stremme’s car to cause it to stop on track, and no replays of the round of pit stops that occurred while FOX was in commercial. This was wrong. I don’t know what was going on here.
The coverage at the end of the race was OK, although a little “cheerleadery,” if you know what I mean. This was very exciting, and I swear that Waltrip and McReynolds sounded like little girls overflowing with happiness. I had to rewatch the last couple of laps in order to understand what they were saying.
Post-race coverage was a little underwhelming, to be honest. FOX provided us with the quickie post-race coverage. This means post-race interviews with the top 4 finishers (Hamlin, Logano, Jeff Gordon, and Newman) with the unofficial results in the scroll at the top of the screen. There was also a quick check of the points before FOX left the air.
I’m not really sure what kind of a timeslot a race will be allotted in a last minute scenario such as this. According to my on-screen guide, the race was slotted in until 5 PM, although I doubt that the slot was that large. I guess it could be assumed that they would be trying to get back to regular programming as quick as possible (even though FOX technically doesn’t have a weekday afternoon schedule, like the Big Three (ABC, NBC, and CBS).
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Originally, the Izod IndyCar Series was scheduled to have their second race of the 2010 season start around the time that the Cup race in Martinsville was supposed to end. However, that wasn’t meant to be. Heavy rains, high winds and lightning scrubbed the race, forcing the event to be rescheduled for Monday at 10 AM.
The Sunday broadcast on ABC started out with some pre-race analysis from Marty Reid and Scott Goodyear in the temporary broadcast booth, followed by a recap of the season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300. The downtime was spent having the pit reporters (Jamie Little and Vince Welch from ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasts — although they worked IndyCar Series races before ESPN regained the rights in 2007 — and Rick DeBruhl) conduct interviews for the most part, and in the case of Helio Castroneves, Helio conducting an interview of his own teammates (Will Power and Ryan Briscoe). Always good for laughs.
However, there was also a completely unnecessary look back at Danica Patrick’s escapades in the ARCA Series and Nationwide Series over the past couple of months, prior to her obligatory interview. I don’t tune in to an IndyCar Series race to watch Danica struggle in a stock car. Don’t do that again, please.
The rescheduled broadcast on Monday started off with a brief delay due to IndyCar Series officials determining whether the event would start under a wet or dry declaration. Once the dry declaration was made, the race got underway.
Since the race got delayed to Monday, there was no Side-by-Side coverage. Instead, there were regular commercials during the telecast on ESPN2. Reid notified the viewers about this right before the first in-race commercial break. At least we knew this change before it happened, but I think Reid should have informed the viewing audience before the race started.
I still believe that Danica Patrick receives too much attention on the broadcasts. However, it is nowhere near as bad as when Todd Harris (of the Met-Rx World’s Strongest Man telecasts) was the play-by-play commentator back around 2006. The Patrick pimping at that point was just ridiculous. Here, ESPN dropped back and did an update on Patrick when she was the last car still on the track in 22nd.
Aside from those thoughts mentioned earlier, the telecast was fine. For St. Petersburg, the action was quite furious and it was a great race to watch. Just wish it could have been held Sunday instead of 10 AM Monday morning.
Since this was a rescheduled race and the telecast had gone over time due to the late start, post-race coverage was very brief. There were simple interviews with the top finishers and a check of the points (the unofficial results were in the scroll during the interviews) before ESPN2 left the air.
That’s all for this week. This weekend is Easter Weekend, a traditional week off for the Cup Series for as long as I can remember, and then some. However, the lesser NASCAR touring series don’t always follow this norm. The Truck Series and Nationwide Series are both at Nashville Superspeedway this week for a doubleheader.
The Truck Series event, the Nashville 200, is actually a new event to the schedule. Previously, the trucks raced only once a year in Nashville, as the support to the Izod IndyCar Series event in August.
Despite having two races this weekend, there is very little coverage of the action. In fact, outside of the races themselves, there is none. The Truck Series coverage starts with NCWTS Setup at 7:30 PM EDT (6:30 PM CDT) on SPEED. Race coverage starts at 8 PM.
Coverage of the Nationwide Series Nashville 300 starts Saturday afternoon with NASCAR Countdown at 3:30 PM EDT (2:30 p.m. CDT) on ESPN. Race coverage of the Nashville 300 follows at 4 PM. Of note, Saturday’s Nashville 300 will feature the booth debut of Ricky Craven as an analyst. Previously, Craven’s TV experience consisted of appearances on NASCAR Now. Generally, these have been well-received, so ESPN is giving Craven the chance to flex his muscle. Craven will be replacing Andy Petree, who will be taking the weekend off as part of ESPN giving each of its on air talent a vacation week or two during the season. I will be providing critiques of both of these races in next week’s edition.
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 email address provided on the website in my bio. Also, if you would like to follow me via Twitter, you can go to my Twitter page here. And if you would like to contact FOX, ESPN, or the SPEED Channel personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage of NASCAR, please click on the following links:
As always, if you choose to contact the networks by email, do so in a courteous manner. Network representatives are far more likely to respond to emails that ask questions politely rather than emails full of rants and vitriol.
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You seem a little confused over the IRL broadcast Phil . You see no reason for a review of Danica’s ARCA races ? I got news for you , the fans who tuned in for that race are IRL/possibly Danica fans , not NASCAR tv critics , probably not even NASCAR fans . They were happy to get the Danica coverage . And Danica pimping by the broadcast team ?? We were watching two different IRL races my friend .
Great review as always Phil. I always look forward to your column. Speaking of “Rolling Chicanes,” how about Norm Benning? At least Lafferty only ran 40 % of the laps. Norm tried to go the distance falling 12 laps short, albeit, constantly in the way of battles in the front. After the Fontana truck race last year, I was shooting the breeze with some guys afterwards and they were talking about how bad the race was, I respectfully disagree with this on the truck and Nationwide fronts. Apparantly, they had talked to Norm right after the race and he told them, “I’m not coming back to this race next year.” I’m sure that if Truck Series officials got word of Norm’s intentions, they would soil their pants at the thought of such a marquee driver missing the event. Fortunately for Norm, they pulled the plug on the race for 2010 and he doesn’t have to worry about missing the race and putting a damper on his championship run.
FOX and SPEED are the same for me. They both have a Waltrip and the broadcasts are akin to watching a rerun of the Beverly Hillbillies. Time to get professional and rid the broadcasts of the goofy, unprofessional people they have.
But goofy and unprofessional is what NA$CAR/WWE has become because of their goofy and unprofessional leader. Perfect match.