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!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Many driving enthusiasts and professional racers alike have memories of taking on their favorite twisty section of public road. However, stock car racing is not traditionally twisty, despite it’s origins in illegal running of the ‘shine on back roads. Yes, they turn, but mainly to the left, with little elevation change. That might change in the near future.
This weekend here at Watkins Glen, there have been a couple of topics that have gotten a lot of play at the track. One is the ongoing rivalry between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch, which resulted in rather terse comments from each driver during their media availability.
The other topic has been the question of whether NASCAR needs to adjust their schedule to give road courses more importance. This could be done in multiple different ways. One way would be to move one of the two existing road races to the Chase. Another would be to add another road race to the schedule.
The idea of adding a road course to the Chase has been floated about almost as long as there has been a Chase. The main argument is simple: If you’re going to bother having something like a Chase at all, it must be representative of all the different types of tracks on the schedule. In its present form, the Chase for the Sprint Cup does not meet that criteria. There are five races on intermediate 1.5 mile tracks, one on a superspeedway (Talladega), one on a short track (Martinsville) and two that kind of act like it (Loudon and Phoenix, although the reconfiguration makes that track a wild card), and a high-banked one mile oval at Dover. No road races.
Jeff Gordon is one driver that agrees with the idea that having a road course in the Chase would be beneficial, saying on Friday “I’ve always said that in order to make the championship fully complete and find out the true best team and driver, the only thing that I think we’re missing in the Chase right now is a road course.”
However, Matt Kenseth offered a dissenting view.
“There are only two road courses throughout the year, and that’s less than ten percent of what we do, so I don’t think it does,” Kenseth said on Friday. “It’s kind of a novelty and it’s fun to come and do because it’s something different and changes the pace up, but I don’t think it really needs to be in the Chase…”
Adding another race to the Sprint Cup schedule would be tricky, already full at 38 dates. If one were to be added, it would likely have to come at the expense of another oval already on the schedule. Which one would likely be slashed in order to make room for a third road race? That’s unclear. A look at attendance figures at certain tracks could give a good idea, but nothing would be in stone.
Then there is the question of where it would be. On Saturday, Jimmie Johnson stated after the Nationwide Series race that he would definitely be in favor of having a third road race in Canada. He did not mention any specific tracks, but he did say that there are a couple of venues in Canada that could easily host a Cup race. One possible site could be Mosport International Raceway in Bowmansville, Ontario, a track 50 miles outside of Toronto that Ron Fellows just recently bought into. The Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal would be another possibility, though that track would have to work out their promotion issues before hosting a Cup event. Regardless of where a Sprint Cup road race in Canada would be, it would likely be well-attended by a group of fans that have often been left out of being able to travel to Sprint Cup races.
Moving either Watkins Glen or Sonoma to the Chase would be an interesting move as well. Both events are, however more or less entrenched in their current places on the Cup schedule; Watkins Glen has occupied the same slot on the schedule every year since the series returned in 1986, while the Sonoma has moved around a bit, but generally run towards the end of June.
Another topic that has been broached recently is moving the annual Cup race over from the 2.45 mile short course to the 3.37 mile long course. This longer configuration branches off from the short course on the exit of Turn 9 and goes into what is known as “The Boot.” The Boot is a downhill plunge to the “toe,” Turn 11. That is followed by an uphill blast before heavy braking for a right-hander. Then, another plunge downhill into a valley before rising back up to rejoin the short course in between that course’s Turns 9 and 10.
Only a few of the current drivers in Sprint Cup have raced on the long course configuration, but many of them, including Tony Stewart, are thrilled with it. Stewart has never actually raced on it, but drove it as part of Seat Swap: Stewart vs. Hamilton back in June. At that time, he said that he would petition Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup to switch the Cup race over to the long course. At the time, Printup was receptive to the idea. However, some renovations would need to be made to the Boot to put it up to NASCAR’s standards; there is a large trap in Turn 12 (or 8, depending on who you ask) that would likely need to be paved over.
Juan Pablo Montoya echoed Stewart’s sentiment from June.
“As Tony [Stewart] said when they did the Swap [Hamilton vs. Stewart], it is a shame we don’t use the Boot here,” Montoya said. “But, it is what it is.”
Gordon continued to state that the idea of NASCAR shortening up road courses for Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races actually hurts the show.
“I think sometimes that’s one of the things we miss on the road courses as we shorten the tracks up,” Gordon continued. “Particularly [at] Sonoma when they took out that inner loop (Turns 4-6, which included the Carousel), to me, it took away the best passing zone that we had on that race track and I miss that and the challenges that came along with it.”
Historically, NASCAR has made moves to shorten road courses when they felt that it would put on a better show, or if it would have been too hard on brakes. Years ago, NASCAR used a shortened 2.62 mile circuit at Riverside that bypassed Turn 7. At Infineon Raceway, they purpose-built a shortcut just for NASCAR to use starting in 1998 (and have re-profiled it twice since).
However, the track shortening for NASCAR was not limited to after the track was purchased by SMI. Prior to the Cup Series racing there, shortened versions of the track were used for Winston West (now K&N Pro Series West) races in the early to mid-1980’s. Finally, Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was curtailed from 2.795 to 2.518 miles (bypassing the Horquilla complex) when the Nationwide Series raced there.
As Frontstretch’s resident road course racing zealot, I am strongly in favor of additional road races on the schedule and the idea of a road race in the Chase. If there is one facet of racing that was affected the most by the move to permanent double-file restarts, it is road racing. Prior to the change, the only double-file restart all day was the initial start of the race.
Now, we’ve had a substantial increase in aggressive driving and bumping on restarts since the move has been instituted. Some writers have taken to calling a place like Infineon Raceway the “New Bristol.” However, some drivers aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of the move.
“When they announced that [the double-file restarts] were going to happen, you know the rumblings in the garage were like ‘Oh my God, wait until these road courses, this is going to be disastrous,’” Clint Bowyer said on Friday. “It’s pretty much held up to that. Despite being an August race since 1986, I would not be opposed to NASCAR moving the race to early October in order for it to be part of the Chase.
Some diehards might object since that was traditionally the time of year that Formula One raced at the Glen, but that is not important. Such a move would substantially raise the profile of a race that many of the series’ regular beat writers chose to skip this year. Also, it couldn’t hurt to lengthen the race a little, possibly to 250 miles or so.
As for additional road course venues that could host races, a number of them have hosted races in at least one NASCAR series. There’s Portland International Raceway, which hosts the K&N Pro Series West currently, and formerly hosted a Truck Series event after the half-mile Portland Speedway converted to dirt when they couldn’t afford a repave that NASCAR required.
Heartland Park Topeka is still an option, but it’s only 70 miles from Kansas City. Road Atlanta, where Brad Keselowski had his big testing crash, would likely be out for the same reason. That track hosted a couple of Busch races in the mid-to-late 1980’s. Lime Rock Park in Northwest Connecticut would likely be considered a little too short for Sprint Cup on a road course, and would be nigh on impossible because the track is dark on Sundays.
There are many more options here in the United States that if the Sprint Cup Series raced there, they would put on a great show. That’s also without factoring in street courses. NASCAR has raced on temporary circuits before, but not for decades. The earliest road races were at temporary airport circuits in places like Linden, New Jersey and Bremerton, Washington. The closest thing to a street race that NASCAR has held for the current Sprint Cup Series was the first race at Watkins Glen. That race was held on a circuit comprised of local roads that are basically on top of the current circuit’s property (Ex: The current ticket office is just off where the course ran, and the TV Compound is just west of it).
However, there have been a couple of NASCAR-sanctioned street races in the past. In 1986, the Winston West Series raced on a temporary course around the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. There was even a street race in Los Angeles for NASCAR’s Featherlite Southwest Series in the late 1990’s.
Regardless of where any additional road races might end up, the current rules would mean that they would be very exciting, competitive, and full of action. Yes, there won’t be 25-40 lead changes during the race. Unfortunately, that’s just not in the cards for a road race. However, the Cup Series will put on an excellent show anywhere they are scheduled to race, whether they’re turning left, or left and right.
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Disregarding all other things for brevity…maybe.
Replace a track with, say, Watkins Glen unedited.
Adding more to the season? No. Costly enough to teams w/out megabucks to set up cars, set up backup cars, take huge chances with wrecks, and so forth.
By the time the Chase rolls around, most can at least afford to just take a pass on racing the circuit.
I have a caveat, though – any addition of a circuit track to the Chase comes with a pricetag – no more ringers.
You actually race your team’s car, or your number, whatever, on every course – or you are excluded.
No exceptions, short of severe injury, and in that case, substitute a team member or development driver and lose points for that race.
THAT..will keep things level and interesting.
Teams already have put the time and money into having a roadcourse car and backup…wouldn’t it make sense to use it more than twice a season? With so many of the Cup regulars becoming more proficient at road course racing, it seems ridiculous not to have a road course in the ‘chase’, or not use the entire track at The Glen. It’s like saying the Natiowide cars can run on rain tires, but not the Cup cars. Granted, a downpur with standing lakes on the track isn’t reasonable for stock cars, but drying the track to just damp and allowing cars to run would certainly work.
A couple of comments; first, the question of where to put a road course in the schedule would be moot if we could dump the chase.Secondly, my vote would be for Montreal. Its easy to get to the track by subway and its got access to all the hotels and restaurants of the city itself.The Canadian fans are enormously knowledgeable about all forms of motorsports and deserve an event in Canada. Thirdly, using the boot at the Glen makes enormous sense. The long course provides an additional couple of good passing zones so the race would be enhanced. Lastly, no reason not to run in the rain. The tires are available, the Nationwide guys do it so have at it.
Don, I’m right with you on Chase dumping. I hated it the minute Jimmy Spencer let it slip at Homestead in 2003. I would be fine with Montreal, but there are some promotion issues. That would be the only reason why that couldn’t happen. If they were solved, have at it. It would require some more brake development, though, since the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the toughest track on brakes in all the world.
F the CHASE. We don’t need it. The POINTS system wasn’t broke, so WHY would NASCAR think it had to fix it?
Phil, I don’t think promotion of a race in Montreal would be any problem at all. The two Nationwide races I attended had good sized crowds, probably more than attend most stand alone Nationwide races here. Secondly, Montreal is only 6 hours from NYC and 5 hours from Boston, so its an easy straight shot ride for New England fans to get there. Tons of hotels and restaurants in the greater Montreal area.
I agree with you on braking, but I’ve been involved in road racing for more than 40 years; not that big a deal to set up quick change pads and/rotors. The baseline info is there with the Nationwide cars so its not that difficult to do.
Circuit of the Americas. It’s going to be incredibly wide like all new F1 tracks, but that would be more helpful to NASCAR anyway. Large runoff areas are another F1 requirement that NASCAR also wants (and is lacking at many US road courses). It would give Texas three races, but the state could probably support it, and the road race would draw different fans as well. It works for the Chase as well since a race in Texas should be in either the Spring or Fall. The only issue with that is the November F1 date, which might put the two races too close together and affect ticket sales.
Count me in for another road race or two and I don’t care where they are held. Let’s get rid of a couple 1.5 mile cookie cutter snoozer tracks and let ‘em turn right!
Put a road course in the Chase. Make it simple: swap dates with New Hampshire and Watkins Glen, putting the Cup race around the date of the old US Grand Prix when the fall foliage is in full bloom.
If there’s a road course race in Canada it should be at Mosport. Richard Petty has already raced there. The drivers would love it. It’s fast and scary.
Why not Limerock? YES it is small, but couldnt that fit NASCAR standards even more? I mean it would race sorta like an oval in that sense just have a few right turns as well…works for me.
And the issue with long courses I have and its the same issue that i have with Road America, they put on great races but you have to find a way to shorten up the track during qualifying periods, because no fan wants to sit through 4 caution laps at a track that is almost 3 miles long. If they could use the boot at walkins glen and then maybe during cautions take the short way? I am not sure on the logistics of that though because how would you prevent cars from going the short way anyway could be tricky, but i would not want to sit through that long of a caution.
Putting a road course race into the current play-off format would break up the monotony of the 1.5 mil cookie cutter tracks which dominate the play-off schedule. Road America, Road Atlanta, Limerock, and others could easily replace some of the cookie cutters currently on the play-off schedule.
I’m all for dumping the play-offs. It’s proven to be a failure since it was implemented and has chased away more fans than it’s brought in.
More Road Tracks would be great. I live on the in the North East and would welcome Lime Rock, Mosport or Montreal. But how awesome would it be to see 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup cars diving into the Cork Screw at Laguna Seca (Mazda Raceway)? I know the likelyhood of this track getting a cup date are pretty much slim to none, especially with its proximity to Infineon. But, it is a great course and would definitely be a challenge for the racers. Plus from a fans perspective it would be great too! Either way, I would like to see more road races and less cookie cutter races. Both Road races this year had me paying attention the entire time and not nodding off at all. I have been to Watkins Glen a few times now and would also like to see the boot used!!