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 26, 2011
Hello, race fans. Welcome to Talking NASCAR TV, where race broadcasts and what goes into them is the name of the game. I don’t have a Smokin’ Hot Wife (or a Smokin’ Hot Girlfriend, for that matter) and I don’t have any “Little E’s,” so racing is my primary focus.
This past weekend, the Sprint Cup Series took their final weekend off for the season. However, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any action to go around. In fact, there was plenty. The Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series had a standalone race weekend at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee, two summer shootouts broadcast by SPEED and ESPN, respectively.
However, before we start, the Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter is reporting that ESPN is planning a test of their NASCAR NonStop setup. It will take place during the broadcast of the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day Weekend. The format itself will premiere two weeks later. Now that we’re done with the news… onto the critique.
Lucas Deep Clean 200
Friday night saw the Camping World Truck Series return to Nashville for their second visit of the year. The usual crew was all in place for the show.
The Setup started off with the normal look back at the previous event, the Coca-Cola 200 presented by Hy-Vee at Iowa Speedway.
Starting off the features for the week was a look at Ricky Carmichael’s new motocross iPad game, Ricky Carmichael’s Motocross Matchup. Essentially, Carmichael showed off the game to some of SPEED’s on-air personalities. Krista Voda got her turn, as did Ray Dunlap. The game looks pretty fun. As long as the makers get the technical stuff worked out, it could be nice. That was NASCAR 2011: The Game’s issue. For those of you wondering about that game’s struggles, Eutechnyx just released a big patch on Friday that took nearly four months to put together. It fixed about 30 different problems with the game.
The other two features were more fitting of a race in Nashville. One was based around the all-important trophy that winners receive (a Gibson Les Paul guitar with a special paint scheme). SPEED took cameras to the Gibson factory to show how the Les Paul is put together. The feature would be completely out of place if it were not about the trophy for the race, but I found it interesting. Outside of the trophy context, however, it would need to be on another channel. Perhaps GAC (Great American Country)?
The third feature was a celebration of Mike Curb’s 500th start in NASCAR as a owner. Over the past 30 years, Curb has owned a full-time team in the Cup Series (remember, Richard Petty drove for Curb in 1984 and 1985, winning his final race in a Curb Racing Pontiac). He also serves as a co-owner of Baker-Curb Racing. This celebration included a number of drivers joining Curb in a music studio along with a few selected drivers: Austin Dillon and Johnny Sauter, amongst others.
Outside of the features, SPEED gave viewers six pre-race interviews and a good amount of pre-race analysis.
During the event, SPEED brought back the split-screen replay, where a replay of an event could be shown in one box while the live coverage continued in a second box. I was very happy to see that. I have been arguing in favor of such a setup on broadcasts for years. FOX was the only one of the three partners to ever use it in Sprint Cup, and that was two years ago. It appeared a couple of laps into the race when SPEED wanted to show a replay of what happened to Justin Marks at the start. SPEED, please keep this up in the future.
However, there were a couple of technical issues with the broadcast. For example, there was no sound when SPEED cut to Matt Crafton’s in-truck camera early on in the race. It was a little weird, to be honest. Maybe a little old school… but it shouldn’t happen today. Thankfully, SPEED and BSI got that fixed later on.
After Max Papis had his spectacular engine explosion, Michael Waltrip made a series of references to Papis’ sponsor GEICO that all but had nothing to do with what was going on. The aforementioned Jim Utter ranted about it on Twitter during the race. I figured that this would be a good discussion point in the comments area. Do you think Waltrip goes too far with his silly mentions? Or, is it all in good fun? Post your opinion below.
It’s a little annoying at times, but it appears to be completely within Waltrip’s character. And yes, he’s been like this for years, long before he ever got a TV presence. I saw a clip on YouTube from a Busch race at Bristol from either 1997 or 1998 where he snuck into the background of an interview with a real funny look on his face and silently plugged his sponsor, Band-Aid during someone’s else interview. Now that he’s constantly on television, Waltrip can do it to his heart’s content. It’s debatable whether SPEED would ever call him into the cable television equivalent of the “Big Red Truck” and give him the what for since, whether you agree or not, he’s a sizable draw for the network.
His constant pimping of the Aaron’s Lucky Dog is more of a problem since he’s a compensated spokesperson for the rent-to-own chain (and has been since 2000). Perhaps SPEED is banking on the idea that everyone watching knows that he’s been in Aaron’s pocket for the last 11 years.
The race ended up pretty quick, which allowed for plenty of extra post-race coverage. However, SPEED chose not to give fans as much as they could. SPEED aired seven post-race interviews (six drivers, plus the winning crew chief) and checked the unofficial results and point standings before leaving the air 15 minutes early to get to an unscheduled repeat of The 10.
While I like The 10 (I‘ve already written about the show this season in The Critic‘s Annex), why are you going to cut away from post-race coverage early to show it? It’s not right. Also, SPEED was still close enough to the end of the race that there were still people around they could get on-air for interviews. Weak.
Aside from the post-race coverage that left me wanting more, SPEED’s telecast from Nashville was fine. There was plenty of coverage throughout the field and there were no issues with any of the on-air personalities. However, something that SPEED should look into covering, maybe during the Setup in the future is the series’ plummeting recent truck count. Although a full field is entered for Friday night’s AAA Insurance 200, they’ve had fields as small as 31 recently.
Federated Auto Parts 300
Saturday night brought the Nationwide Series back out for their second visit of the year to Nashville Superspeedway. A relatively small crowd (estimated at 18,000) showed up for the race. If you were to determine the excitement of the race based on the SportsCenter highlight package, then all the excitement happened before the event started with the quirky invocation from Joe Nelms. However, there was far more to ESPN’s broadcast than Nelms going on about his wife, his kids, and Roush-Yates engines.
Since it was a standalone weekend, the Pit Studio took the weekend off. Instead, Jamie Little hosted NASCAR Countdown from the grandstand. Interesting choice, but one that provided a problem or two. Little didn’t do anything wrong, but she was blocked out by some guy’s butt while she was speaking at one point. I guess that’s just a necessary hazard that comes with shooting live TV like that.
The main feature of the week featured Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. wanting to learn how to do a backflip on a motorcycle. Interesting. Should be noted that there is almost no other sport that would even let a participant do this ever, let alone in the middle of the season. It would be even crazier for that participant to allow ESPN to film it. But, Stenhouse was cool with it. Enter Brian Deegan and the Metal Mulisha. Stenhouse proved to be a very fast learner, accomplishing the feat after only three attempts into a foam pit. Deegan turned out to be a very good teacher in that regard. It was an interesting look into what amounts to be another world, definitely in line with NASCAR’s attempt to try to court younger fans. Also, a random note: Wasn’t Deegan (or fellow Mulisha member Mike Metzger, who is currently rehabbing serious injuries) looking to get into NASCAR a couple of years ago? I guess that’s not going well…
Saturday also continued ESPN’s hyping of Travis Pastrana’s Nationwide Series debut, scheduled for Saturday night in the Kroger 200. They have packaged the race and all of his X Games events together under the umbrella name of the “Pastranathon.” What does that mean for us NASCAR fans? Expect an unusually high amount of Pastrana coverage, even if it is unwarranted. If he drops out of the race somehow, don’t be surprised if the driver doesn’t show up somewhere to help out with ESPN’s coverage Saturday night.
The race telecast itself was relatively quick due to the low amount of cautions (three). Especially early on in the race, there was a high amount of coverage centered on the front couple of drivers. Even though Brad Keselowski led the first 58 laps of the race, Carl Edwards was never all that far away. It was never really a battle until Lap 58, but the two drivers kept in close enough contact that ESPN felt the need to stay close even though nothing was happening.
Unless you are a fan of Edwards or Keselowski, you were left wanting for coverage of your driver. On the other hand, ESPN did provide a decent amount of reporting on Reed Sorenson’s electrical issues, including an interview with Sorenson’s right tire changer after the battery change was made. That might be a first for ESPN. Even though pit crews are front and center a lot of times, the crews operate on an almost anonymous basis. Of course, ESPN has their Over-the-Wall Reporter (usually Mark Armstrong, who appears to be just about the only one of them that ever says anything on-air), but he mainly just wears a camera on his helmet and ESPN uses the footage from his camera somewhere in the broadcast. Nothing new. They’ve been doing that since at least 1989. Interviewing a tire changer is actually interesting to me during a race, and I would not be opposed to that happening again (that is, if the crew chiefs don’t put the kibosh to it, which is always possible).
After what happened at New Hampshire during the Nationwide race, I will now give weekly coverage to whether there were any instances of bias on family lines. I did not detect any issues along those lines during Saturday’s broadcast, thankfully. Regardless, it’s still a weekly check for the rest of the season.
Since the race ended quite early, there was plenty of time for post-race coverage. To that degree, ESPN obliged with 11 post-race interviews, some post-race analysis from the broadcast booth and a check of the point standings before leaving five minutes early to get to SportsCenter. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if ESPN could have gotten an interview with Brad Keselowski after the race. However, since he finished 12th, he was under no obligation to speak to the media (officially, only the top-3 have to; anyone beyond that is gravy.)
ESPN did redeem themselves with some coverage of drivers further down the order towards the end of the race when there wasn’t all that much going on up front.
That’s all for this week, folks. Next weekend is a big week for racing. The Sprint Cup Series returns from their final off-week of the season to race at The Brickyard, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race also marks the return of ESPN to Sprint Cup coverage and Allen Bestwick’s first Cup race in the booth since 2004. This cartoon character is most definitely pumped up about that move. We’ll see how it ends up working. The Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series will be a few miles at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in nearby Clermont for what might be the final NASCAR weekend at the short track.
Thursday, July 28
Friday, July 29
Saturday, July 30
Time Telecast Network
Sunday, July 31
Time Telecast Network
*- Tape Delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series race telecasts here at Frontstretch next Tuesday. The ARCA race will be covered in the August 4th edition of The Critic’s Annex, available in our e-mail Newsletter. This week’s Annex will contain critiques of both Versus’ telecast of the Edmonton Indy and FOX’s delayed broadcast of the Grand Prix of Germany. It’ll be an open-wheeled delight.
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.
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Mikey has been a sponsor pimping non-driving talent, since the day he sat in a Cup car. Always has been, always will be. Keep in mind 462, four hundred sixty-two starts and no wins. 14 full-time years in cup. He could never win on a finesse track, where it took talent. A personality yes, a driver not a chance.
I thought Michael Waltrip’s Geico mention when Max Papis’ truck done blowed up was just him mentioning a sponsor’s name to help the sponsor out. I don’t believe there is any relationship between Geico & Waltrip, nor their respective race teams, other than both teams racing Toyotas. I actually thought it was good of MW to get Geico’s name out there when he could. That isn’t to say he doesn’t go a little overboard sometimes with some sponsors (especially his own), but I see that as a job requirement for the most part, even when he is providing race analysis or commentary.
All I know is that Mike has 4 more Cup wins then any schmoe I know. Oh, wait, I know one more thing. It was Benny Parsons who coined the lucky dog term. Anyone gonna blame him for it? Don’t think so. Aarons bought the sponsorship for it. They get to have it pimped. No different then whoever pays for the “this pitching change” or “this power play” brought to you by…thing that all sports broadcasts have these days.
Neal,it was wally D who coined lucky dog !!
Lighten up people!! Mikey is funny, and our world needs all the humor it can find.
Usually Motormouth Mikey annoys me know end, but I laughed when he did the Geico thing. It was funny and worked in the moment. When he goes on and on about HIS sponsors when he’s in the booth as a broadcaster/commentator/whatever his role is then it annoys me but in this case, it was OK by me.
This clown Michael Waltrip must be paying Speed in order to be on the broadcast because all want is attention to himself. He is extremely annoying to listen to. Put Hermie with the other 2 and you will have a respectable booth crew. WALTRIP, OUT…
I would like to see both Waltrips OUT OF THE BROADCAST BOOTH. They’re idiots and they contribute to the Nascar = wrestling connection. Tell these two jerks to go home to Kentucky and live in never ending traffic for the rest of their lives.