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 July 20, 2010
Hello, race fans. It’s that time of the week again, the one where I go through race broadcasts with a fine-toothed comb. The Sprint Cup Series took this past weekend off. However, as you’re probably aware of by now, the events of this past Saturday night will probably play a role in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were in action at Gateway International Raceway, while the Izod IndyCar Series was in Toronto on Sunday.
Lots to talk about, so let’s get right into it …
Honda Indy Toronto
On Sunday afternoon, the Izod IndyCar Series held their tenth race of 2010, the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets around Exhibition Place in Toronto. This was the fifth and final ABC-televised race of the season.
Compared to Versus, ABC’s pre-race content is significantly less beefy. However, the network did provide viewers with some pre-race analysis from Marty Reid and Scott Goodyear in the broadcast, and five pre-race interviews (Paul Tracy, Danica Patrick, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and Dario Franchitti).
There were a few references to footage perhaps not being produced by ESPN for the broadcast. That will likely not be the case with the Nationwide Series race in Montreal next month, but has been the case in the past with the street races in Toronto. TSN2 televised the race in Canada, and they were likely in charge of the camera shots for the broadcast. As a result, there were some rather unusual shots used during the race. However, TSN didn’t miss most of the important things. The exception would be when Bertrand Baguette slid into the tires at Turn 3. There was no replay shown for it, and no reference to the incident possibly not being caught on camera.
I did like the split-screen pedal cam on Danica Patrick’s car. The footwell is a place that is rarely seen on an Izod IndyCar Series telecast, and this gave the viewers (including myself) a bit of a treat.
ESPN also did an “Onboard-only Up to Speed” on Lap 45. I guess it’s nice and all, but I don’t think that is the way to go in the future. First of all, there are only six cars carrying in-car cameras in normal Izod IndyCar races. Those cars could be completely scattered throughout the field (as they were on Sunday), or all grouped together. The normal way an Up to Speed is typically done is fine in this case.
Post-race coverage was relatively brief due to the six full course cautions during the race. As a result, there were interviews with winner Will Power (and his race strategist, Clive Howell), Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Justin Wilson. In addition, there was a check of the point standings before ESPN left the air. The unofficial results stayed in the scroll.
It was an interesting race to watch on TV with all the strategy in motion and the on-track competition. ESPN did an adequate job bringing us the action, but TSN hurt the telecast with their sub par (at times) camera work. This is something that they can improve upon knowing that they will be shooting next weekend’s race in Edmonton.
Originally, the Camping World Truck Series was scheduled to race Friday night at Gateway International Raceway. At first, everyone thought that was going to be the case. However, a power line failure in East St. Louis, Illinois put the kibosh on that.
Having said that, SPEED’s normal schedule went off without a hitch, thanks to generators (which would have been on-site, regardless of a power outage). NCWTS Setup started out with a typical recap of the Lucas Oil 200 from Iowa Speedway, complete with replays of Victory Lane interviews with Austin Dillon and car owner Richard Childress.
Continuing with the RCR theme, SPEED recorded a follow-up feature with Austin Dillon and crew chief Dan Stockman, basically for reactionary purposes. In addition to this feature, there were the typical number of interviews with drivers.
However, it was only at the end of NCWTS Setup that the viewers were notified (by Rick Allen) of the power issues that eventually delayed the race to Saturday afternoon. To fill what turned out to be two hours before the race was eventually called for the evening, SPEED conducted a series of interviews with drivers, crew chiefs, and team management while periodically giving viewers updates on the power situation. That is how we know the issue was centered in a swampy area of East St. Louis, and that it didn’t just affect the track. Traffic lights off the track’s property were out as well.
When SPEED came back on Saturday at 1:30 PM EDT (12:30pm CDT), it was effectively straight to the opening ceremonies. After the anthem, there was a brief recap of Friday night’s issues, and some pre-race analysis from the broadcast booth.
It was the usual crew on-air for SPEED on Saturday during the race, with Adam Alexander back on pit road now that his TNT obligations are over for the year. Since the Setup went off as planned Friday night, Krista Voda did not return for Saturday.
Watching this race, I had no real clue why the first caution was thrown. Yes, there was a lot of contact between Mario Gosselin and Stacy Compton, but that’s no reason to throw a yellow. There was also no mention of debris. This was a nothing caution. What the deuce. It should not have been thrown. Aside from showing the replays of the contact, there was no admission from the booth as to why the yellow was thrown. C’mon, SPEED. You have to be better than that. However, I do blame NASCAR for this ludicrously unnecessary caution.
Moving forward, SPEED also simply did not have a very good view of what happened to Ryan Sieg on Lap 50. The booth did point out that the center of the right front tire (sitting in the grass on the inside of Turns 1 and 2) was broken, meaning that a wheel failure likely caused the crash. However, neither of the replays aired showed the No. 39 hitting the wall. As we could see, it was a very hard hit for Sieg. No interview with Sieg was conducted on air, and since he drove the Chevrolet back to pit road, we have to assume that Ryan was OK.
There were some slight technical issues with the broadcast, including a couple of quick audio dropouts at certain points. I’m sure that everyone saw or heard those. What I’m not so sure that everyone witnessed was the screen freezing up briefly, especially early in the race. The issues were gone by Lap 25, but it was still annoying.
Post-race coverage was relatively brief, knowing that this was a rescheduled race. There were interviews with winner Kevin Harvick and his crew chief of the week, Ernie Cope. There were also interviews with Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski, and Johnny Sauter. SPEED left the air at 4:00 PM after checking the unofficial results and point standings.
Aside from the technical issues, this was an OK race to watch. If you took Kevin Harvick out of the field, perhaps it would have been a more competitive race; but oh, well – that happens.
Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250
On Saturday night, the Nationwide Series returned for the first of two trips this year to Gateway International Raceway. Due to the final Izod IndyCar Series race of the season splitting up the on-air ESPN crew, a slightly different one was sent to Madison, Illinois. Gateway marked the broadcast booth debut of Dave Burns, normally a pit reporter. He was paired up with Ricky Craven and Rusty Wallace. Mike Massaro hosted NASCAR Countdown, and joined Shannon Spake and Dr. Jerry Punch on pit road.
NASCAR Countdown was a full hour this week. You know I’m not a fan of that from past columns, especially here, where I can’t really figure out a reason why this would need to be a full hour. However, this was not your average NASCAR Countdown.
Since the Infield Studio didn’t make the trip to Gateway (my guess is that its in the shop for maintenance before the long Sprint Cup haul coming up), Massaro hosted from pit road. There were 13 pre-race interviews, which is more than I remember ever seeing in a pre-race show that wasn’t affected by some outside entity (rain, power issues, raw sewage, etc.). Also, there was a feature about Justin Allgaier, his wife Ashley, and how they basically play off of each other. As I’ve said in the past, its always good to do these features in order to learn more about the drivers in the series. There was also a Craftsman Tech Garage feature focused on cooling brakes, and air pressure buildup.
Most of the discussion that would have normally occurred in the Infield Studio was done between Burns, Craven and Wallace in the broadcast booth. Perhaps that’s just better in general because they are the three people that will be calling the race.
Dave Burns appears to have been studying race tapes in anticipation of his booth debut. I generally believe that Burns was decent in the broadcast booth for the first time out.
I don’t think he’s the best at acknowledging S&P teams, though. Burns basically did one roundup of them around Lap 30, while also pointing out that Danny O’Quinn, Kevin Lepage and Chase Miller hadn’t parked yet, but “had all the signs of starting, but not continuing much further,” which was the truth, of course. This pun can work… but it came off as a little awkward.
I was quite peeved that ESPN was unable to catch what happened to Jason Keller’s No. 35 under the first caution. It appears that his right rear brake rotor exploded, then went through the tire and right rear corner of the car. It appears to have been quite the sight to behold. Unfortunately, the only people who would have seen it were the people at the track. ESPN only gave us live aftermath footage.
As for the finish of the race, the call was great. Obviously, I disagree with Ricky Craven’s notion that Carl failed to pull off a crossover move here. Knowing the backstory with these two, it was obviously intentional, but I guess Craven didn’t want to say that on air.
Post-race coverage was relatively brief, since ESPN was right up against the end of the timeslot. There were post-race interviews with Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Bob Keselowski (Brad’s father, former racer himself) and pole-sitter Trevor Bayne. There was no check of the points at all, while the unofficial results stayed in the scroll.
With the situation that ended this race, I believe that ESPN2 did a disservice to the fans by leaving the air that quick. I know they had taped coverage of qualifying for the NHRA Autolite Nationals from Infineon Raceway to get to, but this needed an extra ten minutes of post-race. This lack of post-race coverage, especially after such a good pre-race show, really hurts Burns’ debut. In the future, ESPN would do well to make sure all corners get covered when there is a controversial ending to a race like this one.
That’s it for this week. Next weekend is the big show in Indianapolis. The Sprint Cup Series returns after a week off for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This also marks the return of ESPN to the Sprint Cup Series. However, only a couple races will be televised on ABC this year due to the earlier start times instituted for this season.
Meanwhile, about 20 miles west of Speedway in Clermont, Indiana, the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series will run dual 200 lap races at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Here’s your listings for the week.
Friday, July 23
Saturday, July 24
Sunday, July 25
I will provide critiques of the Brickyard 400, the AAA Insurance 200, and the Kroger 200 in next week’s regular critique, along with any TV news, if it breaks. This week’s edition of The Critic’s Annex (exclusive to the Frontstretch Newsletter) will cover last weekend’s NJMP 250 for the Rolex Sports Car Series. Next week’s edition will cover the Honda Indy Edmonton for the Izod IndyCar Series.
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 TNT, ESPN, or the SPEED Channel personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage for 2010, 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!
I can assure you that no one at the track saw what happened to the 35 either. It seemed to happen somewhere at the end of the backstretch, which is as far away from the stands as you can get. And, of course, everyone was looking at the leaders/pit road, just like ESPN was, since you don’t expect anything to happen to a random car somewhere in the pack. The caution came out for debris on the middle of the backstretch, so maybe it was related. No one really knows.