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 · Monday June 14, 2010
Hello, race fans and welcome to our weekly NASCAR TV Critique. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup Series was at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400. They were supported by the Camping World Truck Series with their running of the VFW 200, while the Nationwide Series was in Kentucky for the Meijer 300 presented by Ritz on Saturday night.
However, before we start, there is a little bit of news to cover. Last week, SPEED personality Wendy Venturini announced via her Twitter feed that she is pregnant with her first child. The due date is December 27. Because that’s scheduled for the offseason, the plan currently is not for her to miss a week at the track. We at Frontstretch wish Wendy and her husband the best.
On Saturday night, the Camping World Truck Series raced in the VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway. SPEED’s coverage started out with a recap of the last race in Texas, which is typical of a SPEED broadcast. That was followed by a recap of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream, which two full-time Camping World Truck Series drivers – Ricky Carmichael and Aric Almirola – competed in.
There were nine pre-race interviews (Skinner, Todd Bodine, Hornaday, Almirola, Carmichael, Elliott Sadler, Dillon, Kyle Busch, and Buescher), which is actually above normal for NCWTS Setup. Of course, I’m not going to complain about it, I like it. There was also a sitdown interview with James Buescher, who has run excellently since returning to the series full-time with Turner Motorsports.
The race itself was full of side-by-side, three-wide and even four-wide action. Quotes voiced on air compared the trucks at Michigan to a restrictor plate race. At times, especially after restarts and pit stops, it was true. The last 15 laps were effectively a giant land rush.
The event was delayed for 40 minutes by rain, and during that time (quite brief, knowing that this is a two-mile racetrack), SPEED conducted interviews with multiple drivers. However, they also cut away to bonus coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I don’t know how you guys feel about that, but I’m fine with that standby being used as a stopgap measure in a pinch. However, since this delay was only 40 minutes, I don’t think the race was stopped long enough for the tactic to be used. I’d like to see your thoughts on this move.
By the time SPEED returned to the Truck coverage from Michigan, the track was dry and the trucks were back out under yellow. Like I said before, this was an unusual tactic for the network to use. The idea of returning so abruptly to trucks already on the track is even more weird. Usually, if a network breaks away from coverage like that for alternative programming due to rain, they would return roughly 10-15 minutes before the cars restarted. Just goes to show that they shouldn’t have left Michigan.
As a result of the 40-minute rain delay, the race ran long by about that amount of time. SPEED provided what amounted to minimal post-race coverage. There was an interview with race winner Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch, along with a check of the point standings before SPEED left the air. The unofficial results were only shown in the scroll.
Looking back at this coverage shows a rather unusual broadcast style for SPEED. Most of the telecast consisted of what we’ve come to expect from the network: enthusiastic announcers, great racing, etc. However, the rest was just plain quirky this week. They’ll have a month to regroup before Iowa, though.
On Saturday evening, ESPN televised the Meijer 300 presented by Ritz from Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR Countdown was an affair typical of what we’ve grown used to this season. There was plenty of pre-race analysis from the Infield Studio. However, they spent a lot of time rehashing the Harvick-Logano confrontation from Pocono. ESPN, let’s be honest with ourselves and what series you cover right now. For the Nationwide Series, Harvick wasn’t even in Kentucky. It’s not like Harvick was going to be on the radio to Ernie Cope, forcing him to tell Mike Bliss to take out Logano like Larry Dennit, Jr. in Talladega Nights. C’mon, now.
Tim Brewer, in response to the Braun Racing tire-swapping penalty, conducted a Craftsman Tech Garage feature on how NASCAR keeps track of the tires distributed to Nationwide teams. It’s a little more than just teams putting number decals on rims – that was nicely done.
Race coverage was pretty good, but I noticed a couple of things. For one, I think Marty Reid mixed up the number of cautions in the race. He claimed that there were 12. In reality, there were ten, and this perplexed me for much of the second half of the race. I guess Reid simply misspoke. Then again, cautions in Nationwide races can come as fast as obscenities in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
Also, ESPN didn’t make any real mention of impending weather until well into the second half of the race. It’s not as if people at the track didn’t know that it was coming. In fact, ESPN’s own Allen Bestwick, when not giving recaps, was keeping track and posting about it on his Twitter. However, Bestwick referenced this oncoming weather on his feed an hour before the broadcast did. That’s not good, ESPN. I know you prefer not to talk about it, something on-the-road employees told me to my face before – at Watkins Glen last year. However, you’re doing a disservice to your viewers for not mentioning it as soon as it became a potential issue.
Post-race coverage was rather limited, and for good reason. The thunderstorm that was bearing down on the track was very close by the time the race ended. In their defense, Marty Reid explained to viewers that a quick off-air was likely going to be the result. I’m fine with that. Safety first. I want to see a good broadcast, but I don’t want a cameraman or pit reporter to get struck by lightning in order to get it done. ESPN still filled their slot and provided interviews with three drivers and the winning crew chief (Kevin Kidd).
Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series returned to Michigan International Speedway for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400. Countdown to Green was an OK affair. I still don’t understand why TNT feels the need to relegate so many of their pre-race interviews to RaceBuddy. Is this change the result of “well, we’ve got the service, let’s just move it there?” Regardless of the reason, there should be more interviews on TNT proper.
The Pride of NASCAR feature was on Davey Allison, a driver that, like Tim Richmond, came into the series, won his many races, and perished before the sport really took off in popularity. I thought it was an interesting look at Allison’s life, punctuated with insight from his family and friends. However, if you’ve read Peter Golenbock’s book, Miracle: Bobby Allison and the Saga of the Alabama Gang, then there probably wasn’t anything discussed in the piece that would be new to you. Davey Allison, despite being a promising talent in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, has been more or less forgotten by many fans, or outright not learned about by incoming fans, and this is a shame.
There was also a sitdown interview with Mike Helton that was conducted by Lindsay Czarniak. It was centered on issues such as the “Have at it, boys” mentality that has been encouraged this season, and whether the changes have increased the number of yellows or hurt NASCAR in general. Helton was his usual self here. I always say that he reminds me of Mr. Ferris, who was the Principal of Bell Top Elementary School in North Greenbush, New York when I was a student there in the early 1990’s. A quite imposing fellow to a young kid, somewhat stern – but generally friendly if you don’t cross him.
I will also note that a substantial amount of Countdown to Green (maybe 75 percent) is centered on Czarniak and McReynolds. Yes, this focus leads to moments when reality comes to light (Lindsay got busted for speeding on the way to the track, apparently), but I think the aforementioned duo is overworked in pre-race. The only person that does as much as they do on-air before the race is Jim Noble, and he’s all but RaceBuddy-only.
The race telecast was generally pretty good, with plenty of coverage of side-by-side competition. TNT accomplished a look throughout most of the field, despite a race with a green-flag feel and Denny Hamlin pulling away to an over ten-second lead late in the event. I had no real issues with Alexander in the booth, or the pit reporters. However, there were a couple of other concerns.
For one, TNT failed to show viewers the debris on track during the two debris cautions. From reading this column over the past year or so, you would just assume that I’m not pleased about that. Ryan Newman actually hit the debris during the first debris caution, which damaged his splitter and ruined his day.
However, my anger reaches a new level when they fail to identify on-track debris that completely changed the outcome of the race (for everyone except Kasey Kahne). Now, if there actually wasn’t any, then TNT would be absolved and all my vitriol would be centered at NASCAR themselves (and Kahne). During Mirror Driving, which will run Wednesday, we debated whether it was there or not. The determination was made that it was there, but didn’t make TNT’s broadcast (it did make the RaceBuddy service). If that is true, then we have an issue with the director failing to use the appropriate camera on air. And that, quite simply, is a crying shame.
Speaking of RaceBuddy, their leaderboard froze on Lap 122 on Sunday and stayed there for over 50 laps. I thought that my feed to RaceBuddy had frozen at the time. However, after refreshing once, exiting and re-entering, it was still the same. Then it quietly went back to normal right before the Lap 182 caution. I still have the same leaderboard complaints for RaceBuddy as I did last week (that it is slow to update (and thus, behind), and doesn’t include intervals). The tweet feature is not really the best. It’s clunky to use, and I’m not really sure how they’re getting these tweets. Are they from PR minions representing teams, or what? The camera footage is good, though.
Since the race only had four cautions (two of which for debris), TNT had plenty of post-race coverage. However, they didn’t fully use their slot. It could be argued here that they were effectively saving footage to use for the RaceBuddy-exclusive post-post race show. However, when FOX was in a situation where they had plenty of time left in their slot for substantial post-race coverage, they scrapped the extra show. This may have been a situation where TNT could have scrapped the RaceBuddy-exclusive post-race show, taken the content that was included in that and just included it in the regular post-race show – but they simply chose not to.
That is all for this week. Next weekend, NASCAR gets a case of road racing fever, and I couldn’t be happier, since I’m an unabashed road racing nut. The Sprint Cup Series will be at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma, California for the 22nd running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Nationwide Series will be in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the inaugural running of the Bucyrus 200. In addition, the Izod IndyCar Series will be at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Here’s your race listings for the week.
Friday, June 18
Saturday, June 19
Sunday, June 20
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Izod IndyCar Series races in next week’s article here at Frontstretch.com. Also, on Thursday in the Frontstretch Newsletter, I will be covering the Prelude to the Dream from June 9.
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 the SPEED Channel personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage from last weekend, please click on the following link:
As always, if you choose to contact the network 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.
©2000 - 2008 Phil Allaway and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Instead of getting angry over tv not showing debris , why not just go to the races yourselves like writers are supposed to do . Then you could break out the binocs and see for yourself . Then , if you want to write a column about the tv coverage , use Tivo and give us some real insights from both .
I’m confused over the almost constant tv exposure of Larry McReynolds . And for that matter Jeff Hammond and DW . These three are disliked by the majority of viewers of NASCAR . And now that FOX is gone , these three still remain , on different channels and shows .
I’m in a unique situation with ESPN. It isn’t a part of my cable package, but it’s one channel above where mine ends, so I can still see a pretty good picture while I listen to the race on the radio. That’s probably a good combination. PRN (or MRN? I think it was PRN since it’s an SMI track) did a great job of talking about the approaching storms and blatantly said on several occasions that once the rain arrived, the race would be over, because it would take too long for the rain to end and the track to dry. I wish TV would be so upfront and honest about these things.
Ever thought of asking Mike Helton, or John Darby, or Robin Pemberton what the debris was? Knowing the facts can put a real hole in an article.
Mark, I couldn’t have said it better. Your points are all one I have been thinking for a long time. I wish the networks, especially FOX/SPEED would read all of your points and act on them.TNT was so good last year, even that guy Mark Fein was good. Now they get rid of him and rely heavily on Larry Mac, who will never be good as a TV broadcaster. What is so obvious to us seems to go unnoticed by these networks.Matt McLauglin once called Jeff Hammond the worst broadcaster on TV, I totally agree, but the Waltrips, and Larry are right there with him. I’m constantly cringing when they speak, as they don’t seem to get it.And I know there are other people, as you gave as examples, who could do much, much, better.I know most of my friends, and myself, don’t watch if a Waltrip is on, that’s how much viewers are sick of them.Racing used to be fun to watch, but these named TV people have ruined it for me and a growing list of viewers. NETWORKS it’s time to take action and remedy this situation.
Mark, couldn’t agree with you more. These guys need to be off the air after their portion of the season is over. They add nothing.