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 November 23, 2010
Hello, race fans. Sadly, with almost all racing over for the winter, this edition will be the last regular critique of the season. The Critic’s Annex will be wrapping up 2010 this Monday in our Frontstretch Newsletter.
The NASCAR schedule is over, too, wrapping up with Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway where we enjoyed the season finales for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. For the final time, let’s take a detailed look at how each of the television broadcasts panned out.
The Setup started out like any other Camping World Truck Series pre-race show does, with a recap of the previous event from Phoenix before getting into the normal lineup of driver interviews. There were also clips shown of the Traxxas Invitational, a Radio Controlled boat race on the man-made lake in the Homestead-Miami Speedway infield.
The main feature of this particular pre-race show was a short sitdown chat with Todd Bodine. Here, Todd described the struggles that marked the early years of his career. By early years, I mean pre-Hungry Jack sponsorship in the Busch Grand National Series. Todd came off as frustrated that he hasn’t accomplished more in his career. It could be argued that it shows that Todd still has the drive to win at age 46 after 20 seasons in NASCAR’s upper-most divisions. However, it should be mentioned that until recently, Todd never had all that much stability, bouncing between Cup and Busch.
The vault returned to give viewers a look back at the 2003 Ford 200, where Travis Kvapil clinched the title when Ted Musgrave was black flagged for an illegal passing maneuver on a late restart. The segment was too short, so not everything was covered. Yes, Brendan Gaughan’s crash with Marty Houston was covered, but it was not mentioned that Ultra Motorsports actually entered five trucks for that race to help Musgrave win the title. Houston was one of the ringers that Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith had brought in for that race (Tyler Walker and P.J. Jones were the other two).
SPEED brought out a four man booth for Friday night, with Darrell Waltrip joining in on the fun. Now, from past columns, you probably remember that I’m opposed to such a setup. Someone always gets crowded out. Here, that someone was Phil Parsons. Darrell used his Boogity! refrain at the start, but only after being prodded by Michael. It was obvious that Darrell didn’t want to do it, and Michael asked him (quietly) why he hesitated. As irritating as Darrell can be at times, he does know his place.
The action was fast and furious, especially late in the race and the booth was definitely up to the task in calling the race. Also, we saw the very first interview of John Jackson on-air after his crash into the sand barrels. Very rare that someone of his level would warrant getting an interview on ESPN, regardless of what might have happened to him.
Post-race coverage was typical of SPEED’s coverage of the Trucks, although there was coverage of Todd Bodine’s Victory Lap and of Mike Hillman Jr. wheeling around on his mini-cart. There were additional interviews with winner Kyle Busch, Ron Hornaday and Johnny Sauter before SPEED left the air.
The coverage was decent on Friday, but SPEED was somewhat limited in their camera angles, like all the cameras weren’t on for the event. For example, when John Jackson had his big crash with 23 to go, the only shot SPEED had was from a shaky handheld camera in the flag stand. You could tell that it was a big impact, but that was about it. I’m not sure whether all the regular cameras are in operation for Truck races like Nationwide races, but it would benefit the broadcasts in the future to keep them going.
Despite the fact that Brad Keselowski clinched the Nationwide Series drivers’ championship in Texas, a fairly substantial amount of pre-race was spent talking about points. The owners’ points, that is. Almost all fans do not really care about owners’ points. Especially in the Sprint Cup Series, the owners’ points usually match the drivers’ points. However, in the current era of Cup drivers sharing cars with non-Cup drivers and even multiple non-Cup drivers sharing rides, it is now a Nationwide story. Unfortunately, it is not a good thing. However, because the title was in doubt, ESPN felt the need to cover it. Whoopee.
When the infield studio was not discussing the owners’ points, they were talking about the changing track. The race started at what amounts to twilight before descending into darkness. Constant adjustments were necessary to keep up with the track.
Danica Patrick got a little coverage, but not all that much. I will admit that it’s good that she finally backed up the pace that she has shown in practice when qualifying rolled around. There was also a feature on Brad Keselowski and his championship season.
Saturday’s race broadcast was definitely the better of the two races. With no competition for the drivers’ championship, there was more focus on the race itself. Having said that, the booth did appear lost at times. Case in point, the fourth caution when Eric McClure crashed in Turn 2. The booth reacted as if they literally had no clue what was going on. A few seconds later, the camera cut to McClure’s Hefty Ford crinkled up.
Despite the fact that Saturday night was the better of the two ESPN races, there was still too much focus on the Cup drivers in the field. There are other drivers out there, and they only seem to get coverage when they greatly overachieve, or if bad things happen to them. In the case of Jeremy Clements, both could apply on Saturday.
I still feel that Danica got too much coverage for her skill level and positioning. However, she finally seems to be improving. Still needs more testing, though.
Post-race coverage was relatively brief due to the fact that the race itself went long. The checkers flew right as ESPN was supposed to sign off and go to their Sportscenter special—shot in the Infield Studio. ESPN did provide six post-race interviews before leaving the air. There was very little points talk after the race. Likely, Kyle Busch winning simply ended the discussion right there, but there could have been at least a check of the regular points to see where everyone behind Brad Keselowski ended up.
The championship was clearly all that mattered to ESPN on Sunday. Then again, you probably knew that was going to be the case going in.
NASCAR Countdown from Homestead somehow found a way to be even more championship-focused than last year. I’m still trying to figure out how that was possible. There was a solid 40 minutes of championship hype.
ESPN aired a one-on-one interview conducted by Marty Smith with Denny Hamlin. It served as a look at Denny’s past year, including the torn ACL.
Brian France made a quick appearance in the Infield Studio for a chat. Brian basically said the same things here as he did on NASCAR RaceDay earlier in the morning. Brian constantly refers to “we” when he talks about NASCAR. I find it annoying, to be honest. Just how much “we” are we talking about here. Is there a committee that agrees on changes, or does Brian simply make edicts? Also, it should be noted that Brian didn’t exactly have the best weekend in Homestead. He was eviscerated left and right by nearly anyone with a computer.
The only interviews during pre-race coverage were with the three championship contenders. Everyone else was basically just there. As you may remember from last year’s Behind the Scenes articles, there are typically 24 teams that get what I’ll call “primary coverage” from ESPN. The rest get basic coverage. Let’s just say that the basic coverage segment must have grown a bit for Homestead.
For the race, ESPN instituted a permanent third bar below the scroll that showed the points for the three contenders throughout the race. I was fine with it, to a point. They should have just let it be. However, there was a constant need to reference the points every minute or two. All that approach does is irritate me. I don’t need to be reminded constantly about something in plain sight.
It could be argued that if ESPN had used that permanent point check correctly, they could have just covered the race the way it should have been covered and let the fans see how the on-track action affected the points. However, that just wasn’t in the cards. They just had to constantly pound the points home, to the point of insanity. It says a lot that people who actually watched the race all day did not realize who had won (Carl Edwards, by the way).
For example, Aric Almirola finished a career-best fourth on Sunday and was knocking on the door of a potential podium. He got some mentions during the race, but not many. Other non-championship contenders ran well for much of the race and got nothing unless something bad happened, like A.J. Allmendinger with his wall contact.
As you may remember, there was an incident during the race in which Juan Pablo Montoya and Joey Logano had contact on the backstretch on a restart, putting Logano head on into the wall. Logano came back out on the track after the crash and eventually punted Montoya under caution. We did not see the retribution at all. No mention was made of it until after both drivers were in the garage and out of the race. There was a reference to Logano going to Montoya’s garage stall and attempting to confront Montoya, but being prevented from doing so. That is a big story that was all but ignored in favor of more championship talk. Why? The dumping occurred during the caution that Denny Hamlin missed pit road. The entire caution (when ESPN was not in commercial) was spent talking about the No. 11 team screwing up.
ESPN’s race telecast was streamed in its entirety at nascar.com. The stream appeared to be roughly five seconds behind ESPN’s TV broadcast, which in turn was roughly two to five seconds behind reality. Nascar.com and ESPN have been sparring recently about online race streaming since ESPN introduced live streaming of their main network for Time Warner Cable customers.
Nascar.com’s stream was not the best. It was simply just a bare bones stream of the race telecast. That could be enough for people stuck in office buildings on Sunday, but those looking for more, it just doesn’t cut it. Also, the feed cut off during commercials. I don’t watch races on my computer just to stare at the ESPN logo for up to three and a half minutes during commercial breaks. I look at it so that I don’t have to watch commercials. Thus, the stream is simply a “fail.”
The thing that really chafes me about streaming races is that nascar.com already has a perfectly good setup for the TNT races. Turner Sports should not hoard the good stuff for themselves here. Full time RaceBuddy for 2011 would be excellent for race fans.
Post-race coverage was actually relatively brief. There were two interviews each with champion Jimmie Johnson and car owner Rick Hendrick. In addition, there were interviews with race winner Carl Edwards, Chad Knaus, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs and Kevin Harvick. In a rather interesting twist, the Sprint Cup trophy and check presentation was marred by a microphone dying. If you remember, the same thing happened during the Izod IndyCar Series trophy presentation last month in Homestead. However, the offending microphone had been an issue for much of the race on Sunday, not just during the presentation. Luckily, someone gave Allen Bestwick a backup mike so that the presentation didn’t have to be delayed.
In the future, ESPN just has to show the whole story. We know the championship is important. The season has been going on for nine months and almost everyone that was watching on Sunday knew what was at stake. Also, you cannot have a race in which people watching don’t know who won. That should be Rule No. 1. I shouldn’t have to remind my co-worker that Carl Edwards won. Normally, he’d know on his own, but the Johnson coverage usurped Edwards doing anything. He could have led all 267 laps and won by a full lap and still would have gotten the same airtime.
That’s all for this week’s critique. Since the season is now over, there is almost no motorsports programming left on television. At least, nothing on pavement. There are only two events that will be televised. Discovery’s HD Theater will televise highlighted (and tape delayed) coverage of the Wales Rally GB, the 13th and final round of the World Rally Championship. Coverage starts with a preview Saturday morning at 9:00 AM ET, followed by Day 1 coverage at 9:30 and Day 2 at 10:00. Day 3 coverage appears to be packaged into a event review that airs Sunday at 10:00 AM. I’d recommend giving it a look-see if you have the required digital cable (or satellite) and a HDTV. CBS is also showing a tape-delayed off-road event from Las Vegas, presented Sunday from 5:00 – 6:00 PM ET.
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique,
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!
Sure, Phil there were more than three people on the track in Homestead. But the real question is, “Were there more than 3 people watching ESPN’s broadcast of the race?”
ESPN’s broadcasts were a disaster this year. The Dover mess was the worst. I can’t believe they missed the Logano-Montoya brew ha ha. It makes you long for when NBC with Benny Parsons had the Cup broadcasts. DW can be annoying at times, but love the passion and the knowledge you get from the Fox crew. Fox improved this year with less Digger. I just hope they can that annoying “Lets go racing boys” song.
Phil, I think you were too nice about Sunday’s race coverage. Marty is driving me crazy. If I wanted play by play I’d listen to the radio broadcast. I honestly thought about putting some wide blue painter’s tape over the permanent points update at the top of the screen! I’m so sick of hearing only a small portion of what’s going on! It’s like covering a football game and only being able to see footage and hear stats on the quarterbacks. No wide enough angles to see what the rest of the offense is doing, no wide shot to the end zone, just a myopic of two players.
I have to admit I tried watching with the mute on, but again, not much camera coverage of anyone but the three points guys, so I finally switched over to re-runs on HGTV.
Jacob, to let you know, I did watch Sunday’s race and I felt sorry for Carl Edwards. I felt sorry for Harvick too, but more so Edwards because he put on a dominating performance, only to be totally ignored! Oh well! As for the rest of the race broadcasts, as much as I like Mike Joy as a broadcaster, I am now dreading the return of Toyota loving/Kyle Busch cheering D.W. Hint to FOX/Speed: Please kick the Waltrips out of the booth, please! Neither Darrell, nor Mikey, add anything except total annoyance to the broadcasts. Here’s to a better 2011!
Since I listened to the race on Radio I got a much better angle on the Lagono/Montoya dual and my driver’s (the Dinger) race. Those broad casters ran through the field about every 10 minutes or so to let you know where your driver was at, and who he was battling with. I still say put NASCAR back on real TV & you will bring back the fans. Thanks & watch the reruns for two months.
Who was in charge of the programing after the race? Carl certainly should have had his time! I was afraid Carl was going to get run over while doing his “flip” .He should have had his time. He did just finish winning two races in a row.I also agree with ESPN poor covering. Didn’t know a thing Lagano and Montoya did til yesterday. See you next year!
One thing that irritates me as much as “if the race ended now”, is referring to the podium. As in “For example, Aric Almirola finished a career-best fourth on Sunday and was knocking on the door of a potential podium”. NA$CAR is not F1 or the Olympics. The only person on the “podium” is the winner of the race.
Congrats Carl,Good race.
ESPN and crew are probably patting each others back thinking that they have done a good job and not knowing how much they have screwed up race broadcasts. I’m so sick of them. With the clueless Brain France Praising them in his press conference I believe that the worst is yet to come. Everything ESPN did through out the chase was geared towards the casual fan while the core/die-hards whom just wanted to see racing were forgotten. I’m glad there is no more ESPN for a longtime.
Why wasn’t Carl Edwards the talk of the tower? The Chumpion should have waited respectively for Carl Edwards winning rubber burn, winner’s circle, and interview. HE was the race winner, not the Chump. The Chumpion gave his pit crew a slap in the face when they opted for Gordon’s crew. Who’s going to be recognized for the pitcrew of 2010 the Chumps or Gordons? I am sick of the Hendricks crap and #48 is obnoxious as always. I said in the beginning of the season that #48 was going to win some and stay as far front as possible not drawing too much attention to himself, until the actual last 10 races came about. I was right he was a wolf in sheeps clothing. Get real NASCAR people are sick of the chase. It disrespects the drivers and their crews. The tv broadcasters are only interested in Gordon, Johnson, Harvick. They have to recognize Kyle Busch only because he wins and they can’t avoid him. Wake the H___ up NASCAR.
I think you hit the nail on the head. Fans discontent with this series has all to do with the points chase being shoved down our throats week in and week out more than the races themselves. And France thinks start times are the reason nobody is watching? Inexcusable to not show the Logano/Montoya incident. I didn’t hear about it at all until this morning.
I also think Jimmie showed alot of disrespect to Carl (even though I do not like Carl). Jimmie should have waited for Carl to do his back flip burnouts etc then take his stage. Instead he drove his car around and almost hit him. I guess when you are Jimmie Johnson you can do anything you want. Nascar has pretty much proved that anyway the last few years.
Good article, Phil. ESPN has frustrated me with their broacasting for the last couple of years. I don’t think that next year I will bother to watch any of their races. I can find out more with trackpass, the radio feed and twitter than what they show me on TV and I’m a lot less irritated at the end of the day.
Brainless once again proved that it is good to be King, even if he is clueless about the sport and the effect that the chase and the tv broadcast partners (all of them)are having on the sport. Nope, according to him, it’s the start times. No, fool, that’s NOT the problem.
I am curious. I know there are people out there who have actually kept track of who the real champion would have been (in many peoples minds) since the chase has been forced fed on us. I am curious to know if Johnson would have been a champion of any of these.
Thanks in advance for these answers.
Johnson would have picked up 2 of the 5 trophies regardless of the points format. I don’t have the seasons written down. I hope that helped.
The only thing that makes me feel better about having to listen to all of those of only 3 drives, was knowing that it was probably irritating those people doing the talking as much as it was me. :)
Thanks Jacob. It helps alot but I really would like to see a listing of the years with chase winner and who would have the the old format championship.
Nascar created the chase because of Kenseth winning the championship for being consistant the whole season but didn’t have the wins. Now it looks like Nascar created the chase for JJ to get championships he otherwise would not have had.
I have always said if we have to have this “chase” that Nascar should hold 2 races on Sunday with the original # of laps split in half for each race. One race for the chasers and one for the non chasers. Those 12 drivers would be forced to race hard every single lap and fight for each spot. Now that could be some exciting races.
Once again, ESPN sucked. That “if the chase ended right now” is such BS. Marty Reid drives me nuts. Good idea, though, next year trackpass and MRN. Screw ESPN. And bring on Race Buddy; that was cool.
I think all of the networks have done a poor job covering NASCAR of late. I prefer the simple broadcasts that ESPN used to do many years ago.
The consensus seems to be that FOX has the best coverage but I think that’s only because we’re excited about a new season of racing and haven’t been worn down by the same stories week after week.
Mike Joy and Alan Bestwick are by far the best broadcasters but Joy appears to have become tired of the circus and is just going through the motions. I’d really like to see someone besides DW in the booth, and like what Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett bring to the table.
Thanks to those who posted about JJ almost running into Carl at the end of the race. I was honestly beginning to doubt what I knew I saw. Yes, I’m an Edwards fan, but it doesn’t matter who he did it to, he should have waited until the RACE winner did his thing. It comes back to the notion Gordon had earlier in the season, that apparently JJ thinks everybody should back away and not challenge him, either on the track or in the limelight. And I also had real issues with ESPN’s coverage, or rather, lack thereof. Had it been JJ leading the race, that’s all we’d have seen, is the #48 going around in circles all by itself. And it’s criminal to not cover a retaliatory dumping! Shoot, I didn’t even know it happened until I read this article! I dread the coming of ESPN each season, tired as I get of DW. Let’s take the booth crew from TNT and the pit crew from Fox and broadcast on Fox all year.
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