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
Tuesday March 4, 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.
Couch Potato Tuesday · Phil Allaway · Tuesday April 24, 2012
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecasts are the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series traveled out to Kansas Speedway for their spring race weekend. Also, the Formula One World Championship basically screwed themselves this weekend by going forward with their date in Bahrain despite all of the protests.
Grand Prix of Bahrain
If you’ve watched the news over the last year and change, then you likely know why Sunday’s Grand Prix of Bahrain was so controversial. SPEED’s on-air crew never really mentioned their opinions of the whole mess (aside from noting that the Sahara Force India team’s explanation of “already learning everything we needed to know from the first practice” for skipping Free Practice No. 2 on Friday didn’t hold water). However, they did make it unclear to anyone who follows them on Twitter that they weren’t really feeling Formula One racing in Bahrain and the series being used as a political tool.
Naturally, since the ongoing issues were the biggest stories at hand, there was a breakdown of what’s happened for the past year at the beginning of the Mercedes-Benz Pre-Race Show. This breakdown was an unbiased look at just what has made the event so controversial. Even the hackers at Anonymous got involved last week, briefly taking down Formula1.com with a nasty DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attack on Friday morning.
Will Buxton gave his first-hand account of what he saw during his time in Bahrain in the days leading up to the race as well. He saw a quieter country than he was used to, mainly due to the enhanced police presence. He thinks that this was what the Bahraini government wanted people to see instead of the actual protests, which a few other F1 journalists did see first-hand. Buxton’s not really a novice in this regard. Last year, he basically got stuck in Bahrain when the protests first started during a special GP2 race weekend.
In addition, there was a montage featuring a number of different drivers (Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastien Vettel, etc.) talking about the crazy racing we’ve seen so far this season. Quite honestly, it has been almost the complete reverse of what we’ve seen in Sprint Cup.
In regards to the actual race, the main discussion topic was tires. Pirelli chose to bring the soft and medium compound tires to Bahrain, a track that is already fairly hard on tires without sand blowing onto the circuit. During the actual race, the soft tires lost all effectiveness beyond Lap 10 or so, while the harder tires would last 20 or so. Steve Matchett constantly made references to wear and degradation of the tires. On SPEED’s Formula One Debrief show that aired Friday night, he explained that there is a difference between the two. For lack of better words, degradation refers to the tire breaking down. In NASCAR, many complain about a lack of wear. Problem is, when Goodyear introduces tires that wear, they also degrade to zilch. They cannot find that happy medium and NASCAR seems to be content at the moment to not try.
Once the cars rolled off, the race went off without a hitch. The race coverage from FOM is quite a bit more inclusive this year than in the past since more teams are in contention to earn points on a race-to-race basis (basically everyone except Caterham, Malrussia (formerly Virgin F1) and HRT). As a result, we’re seeing more racing for position.
Varsha, Hobbs and Matchett are very enthusiastic commentators and it is a joy to listen to them early in the morning on Saturdays (Bahrain was the first of the races to start in the traditional European time slot, despite being in Southwest Asia). They create a broadcast that is equal parts entertaining and informative. Perhaps, FOX’s NASCAR team can learn a little bit from their commentary.
Post-race coverage was of the typical type for Formula One. There was coverage of the podium ceremony and the press conference. In addition, there was post-race analysis from the commentators and checks of the unofficial results, driver point standings and constructors’ point standings before SPEED left for the Sunday morning edition of SPEED Center.
SPEED’s commentators did very well under very difficult circumstances last weekend. They provided a telecast that was to the point. Granted, only Buxton was actually in Bahrain for the race (SPEED’s booth team does the race from Charlotte), but just doing anything having to do with the race had to have been difficult.
Saturday afternoon brought the Camping World Truck Series out to play for their longest unrestricted race of the season. And, of course, immediately afterwards, they take a month off. Schedule rants aside, how did SPEED do? Let’s take a look.
The main piece that SPEED rolled out Saturday was a send up of The Newlywed Game entitled “Just Married.” Here, Rick Allen (in a ridiculous suit that Bob Eubanks definitely would have worn back in the Chuck Barris 1970’s era of the show) hosted a send up of the show where three couples that wed in the off-season (Cale and Jennifer Gale, Matt and Ashley Crafton, and James and Kris Buescher) talked about their spouses. Now, I don’t think this is the place to go over the rules of The Newlywed Game. The show has been around in various incarnations (at least six that I can think of) for the last 45 years. Let’s put it this way. They didn’t stray from the basics.
Allen asked the three couples various questions about their relationship with a NASCAR-slant. After a commercial break, Allen whipped out the classic question with a reference to “whoopee,” something that just had to be included, or the send up would have been incomplete. Granted, I could care less that Kris and James had “relations” nine times during their honeymoon, but it seemed like fun for everyone involved.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of The Newlywed Game. I’m more of a Tic-Tac-Dough, Press Your Luck, Hot Potato, Joker’s Wild and Jeopardy-type when it comes to game shows (if that’s actually a type). However, as Frontstretch’s resident game show nut, I have to say that SPEED missed an opportunity here. There is a current version of the show hosted by Sherri Shepherd that airs on GSN. Instead of filming the piece on a set that could be best described as plain and spartan, they could have requested that all three couples fly out to Los Angeles and do it on the set of the actual show. You know, for cross-promotional purposes. Then again, the Camping World Truck Series does get better ratings than almost anything that’s ever aired on GSN in the network’s 17+ year history.
In addition to the Just Married piece, a piece on Nelson Piquet, Jr.‘s weekend was aired. This was very similar to the piece that aired before the Rockingham event and was focused on Jason Leffler’s team.
Finally, there was a feature on team owner Joe Denette. This piece basically filled in a lot of the holes about Denette’s past and how he got into NASCAR. Learned some new stuff here. For one, I didn’t realize that Denette was involved in Hermie Sadler’s runs in the No. 48 a couple of years ago (had figured that it was Andy Hillenburg’s team fielding the truck). For most fans, they just viewed Denette as a race fan who started a team after hitting the Mega Millions. Now, we know more, and I liked the piece that presented that information.
Race coverage on Saturday was fairly decent. There was a good amount of coverage throughout the field, and a lower amount of random, apropos to nothing references to watermelon. Of course, that could be traced to the fact that Ross Chastain had mechanical problems and fell out early.
However, SPEED was a little slow on the gun when it came to finding the proper shots to show Brennan Newberry’s hit on the wall during the big wreck on Lap 41. I must give SPEED credit for sticking with it and eventually getting that clip on-air, but it took a while.
There was a strange instance during the fifth yellow where seemingly everyone was convinced that they were going to commercial. Then, the director nixed the commercial at the last minute. That led to a rather uncomfortable moment in which everyone seemed to be wondering just what the heck was going on. Just goes to show that TV doesn’t necessarily play NASCAR’s hand in how things happen. If SPEED had that kind of power, they could have taken a two-minute break, then come back for a live restart that NASCAR would have held off just for that purpose. Sure, it would have ticked everyone in the stands off, but it would show TV’s power. They don’t have that power in NASCAR.
Post-race coverage was a little bit beefier than normal. SPEED provided viewers with five post-race driver interviews and an interview with winning crew chief Michael Shelton. There was also a check of the point standings and some post-race analysis before SPEED left.
Sunday afternoon brought the Sprint Cup Series back out to play at Kansas Speedway. After the boring 500 mile marathon in Texas on the 14th, FOX had nowhere to go but up in many of your eyes. Did they?
FOX’s pre-race started with Clint Bowyer serving as a quasi-tour guide around the Kansas City area, talking about the area’s sports heritage (while historically hearty, none of the city’s teams are doing much right now) and the well-known barbeque food. Kinda pointless in that most everyone already knows about that kind of stuff. What Bowyer said is basically everything that someone would tell you if you asked them to talk about Kansas City.
Another feature had Martin Truex, Jr. talking about his season and how he felt that his first win for MWR was right around the corner. Oh, how true that was. He was just a cloud away from getting that on Sunday. The “Double Trouble” feature also returned with discussions of Kansas Speedway’s “wide open spaces” and seams. This was informative, although the idea of wide open spaces didn’t ultimately play into the race as much as Darrell thought it would.
Speaking of Darrell, he took to Twitter after the race Sunday and on Monday to talk about how FOX went about broadcasting Sunday’s race in a completely different fashion. He even went as far to say “If someone says we covered the race yesterday like we do all the time, they didn’t watch the race, from top to bottom we did it differently!”
Well, I’m not going to say that FOX broadcasted the race the same way as normal, because Darrell’s right. There were some differences. For example, there was more usage of the blimp shots and wider shots in general right after restarts. This was good to see because it allowed us, the viewers (not just me) to see a little bit more of what was going on.
There was what amounted to a silent round of pit stops under the second caution of the race on Lap 134. I’m on the fence when it comes to basically doing a Crank It Up here. Yes, the raw sounds are interesting (granted, some stuff would be censored out if someone gets a little angry at something), but we’re missing something here. FOX’s pit reporters are typically the best out there, but they’re already criminally underused. Having silent rounds of stops just makes it worse. They need to be able to get on-air and disseminate their information properly. We all benefit from their presence down there. They’re not a bunch of goons that stand around and play Draw Something all day on their iPads while the race is going on.
I’m still not a fan of Hammond’s roving reporter role, but not because of anything Hammond’s doing. He’s solid. I just don’t want Michael Waltrip on the broadcast. Remember, he’s a team owner. Therefore, he is biased. Yes, he tries to be impartial, but it is impossible to do so in his current capacity. However, I do like the University of Farmers pieces. One that aired during the second caution showed Kansas Speedway’s repair trailer that contained any number of things needed to make track repairs. Also of note, there were a number of additional chunks of the race track on a table, which shows that the breakage issue was a lot more serious than previously believed. However, it doesn’t appear that anything came up during the race on Sunday.
Even though the race was run at a record pace (for the second week in a row, believe it or not), FOX still ran over their time slot. I have no clue who’s in charge of scheduling at FOX, but whoever thought three and a half hours, including 49 minutes of coverage before the green flag flew was enough time to block off for NASCAR coverage is a moron. Having said that, FOX did provide us with a decent amount of post-race coverage, regardless. There were five post-race interviews and checks of the unofficial results and point standings before FOX left the air.
Yes, there were some changes to FOX’s broadcast. However, I’m not sure if casual viewers would have noticed them all that much. Hardcore viewers that notice minutiae (like myself) are the kind of people that would notice the kind of changes noted above. Its a step in the right direction for FOX, but I want to see more. I’d still like more inclusiveness. We had more long green flag runs on Sunday. Search out battles for position more often on track instead of following certain drivers.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series travel to Richmond International Raceway for some short track racing. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series makes their annual trek to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Let’s hope that thunderstorms don’t hamper the race again this year.
Thursday, April 26
Time Telecast Network
Friday, April 27
Time Telecast Network
Saturday, April 28
Time Telecast Network
Sunday, April 29
Time Telecast Network
*- Tape delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and IZOD IndyCar Series events in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday right here at Frontstretch. For the Critic’s Annex, we’ll run the look at ESPN 2’s Long Beach telecast on Thursday. For the May 3rd edition, we’ll take a look at the British version of Top Gear. Their NASCAR adventure is scheduled to premiere on April 30th on BBC America at 9:00pm EDT. We’ll see how they handle NASCAR.
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!
“SPEED’s on-air crew never really mentioned their opinions”
“However, they did make it unclear to anyone who follows them on Twitter that they weren’t really feeling Formula One”
So they didn’t give their opinions on or off air? You’re being unclear.
I have yet to find anything to like about the Waltrip family!! They are both over inflated blow hards that I can’t believe fans enjoy. Their ego’s are just sickening.
The Kansas race on Fox was like an “infomercial” for anything from POS-Racing/Motormouth Motorsports, POS, and his well-worn-sponsors.
I will be so glad when Fox is done for this season and I don’t have to listen to either JAWS or POS during a Cup Race. It will be welcome relief when TNT or ESPN takes over the Cup races.
There just could never be two more biased guys, with an adgenda for CRAPA, 5-Hour Energy, Aaron’s Rent-To-Own and that import/foreign car company.
Just how much of these two “country-bumpkins” must we fans have to tolerate?
Ditto what Johnboy60 said.
Another ditto to what johnboy60 said.
Can’t really ad anything else to what has already been said with regard to FOX’s Shill Brothers. They are making the broadcasts unbearable for sure. Thank God for MRN/PRN!
However, on a lighter note, I did notice something on Raceday that really caught my attention, and wonder if anyone else noticed. I know this annoys a lot of people when they show the crowd holding up signs. At the beginning of the show, there was this one sign held up that cheered on Jeff Gordon. The sign could be seen behind Kenny Wallace. Then, when the sign was turned around, there was a message that said that “Senators should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we know who they really work for”, or something to that effect. But, by about 30-minutes later, the sign completely disappeared! Ah, censorship! I was wondering if anyone else caught that? beginning,
This is the first race in over ten years that I wasn’t there or watching on TV, including all Monday races!
Looks like I didn’t miss a thing.
Thanks to NASCAR Trac Pass… at least I got to enjoy KB and the 51 crew in a solid top 10 with out having to listen to a biased clown call the race.
I read alot of racing boards and a vast majority voice a similar thread – The Waltrips are agonizing to watch and listen to. They shill endlessly for their teams……. Cannot wait until FOX is done with their segment. Thank God for the mute button.
Ditto to johnboy60 and thank God for a mute button.
Another big ditto to ddsbstrb and johnboy60. Fox and dumb and dumber are unbearable. Had a great thing happen on Sunday. Driving home from South Carolina to Florida and couldn’t watch the race. Forgot to DVR it before I left. Ended up listening to the XM broadcast in the car and it was wonderful! I could visualize the race and wasn’t irritated with inane shills! No more FOX for me! I’ll start watching when TNT comes on to broadcast the races. Are you listening advertisers on FOX????
Does Nascar realize these broadcasts are killing the fan base? What casual fan would be compelled to go see a race live after watching this crap. Show the bleepin race!
I thought we actually had more side by side through the field action (5-6 & 10-11 etc) which is by far preferred to watching the leader lap the field for 2 hrs. Seemed that way from what I saw (still just a Dull D)…On the MW …What were they thinking using an owner to broadcast live..This has to be the most Toyota biased reporting yet & those of use with other MFG interests are tuning out…I’m shocked Chev/Ford & Dodge are ok with this or are they going to get those team owners to do their telecasts also? …REALLY blew it fox …But try & keep more wider shots & passing we’ll just turn the sound off (really good for advertising)
If Mikey or Digger’s Daddy or any of their “people” or employers look at ANY, and I do mean ANY forum this week they will see the revulsion among the hardcore fans toward them is still growing.
Were this revulsion fissionable material, and I a FOX/NASCAR Nuclear Engineer, I would be warning my employers that reaching critical mass is not now just possible, but moving rapidly toward likely.
I think ddsbstrb, Steve, and johnboy60 pretty much covered it.
It sure will be nice when Fox is done for the season. I think I’d rather have a root canal without anesthesia than sit through another Sunday show with the Motormouth brothers providing a never-ending shill-a-thon and man-love fest for one make of car, HMS & their subsidaires, and MWR (Mikey’s Whiny Raceteam).
HOW CAN THE NASCAR RACE BE CALLED A (STOCK CAR)RACES WHEN THE MODEL CARS THAT ARE RUNNNING ARE NOT EVEN 8 CYLINDER CARS? AND DOTTO WITH THE JAWS BROTHERS!
They create a broadcast that is equal parts entertaining and informative. Perhaps, FOX’s NASCAR team can learn a little bit from their commentary.——Very true, Phil. The F1 commentators are not cheerleaders. NASCAR’s are. I do feel that ol’ DW was an all-time great——driver. But he and his brother have driven me away from the TV on NASCAR race days. Seems like I’m not missing much. A mighty shame because the best racers are as good as can be at any level.
I like watching the Waltrip brothers and enjoy FOX broadcasts. These negative post on them brings interest to FOX and the advertisers. Mikey seems impartial during the broadcasts to me at least. I noticed when Fords were running well he would mention how they were and seem to focus on the mainstay marque drivers like Jimmie, Dale, Harvick, Kyle, Denny, Kahne, and so on. Rarely he focuses on his own drivers or mentions the Toyota unless the running well. Others on the crew mentions his teams and ask Mike how much they been running well and what he felt like as an owner. DW is awesome to listen too. He brings the drivers view of the race and helps us viewers who don’t know much about what loose and right is. Larry Mac helps us know the car stuff and Hammond helps us understand why the crew chiefs did what they did. All the personnel on the broadcast brings an element to the viewers. I enjoy the watching FOX. ESPN has it’s own way, somethings I enjoy but I rather watch FOX.
Your friendly local F1 reporter here Phil – just a quick word on Speed. We’re spoilt here with our coverage on Sky and BBC, but I am familiar with Will Buxton from his GP2 coverage – I’ve always found him to be an excellent, knowledgeable and erudite commentator (plus he’s a nice bloke too!) I rather suspect that Speed’s potentially tenuous hold on F1 broadcasting rights meant that they were VERY reluctant to do anything that might adversely influence Mr Ecclestone…….the way’s of dictators eh!?
I had to go out and was watching on the DVR and was almost caught up to the live broadcast when it shut off with 8 laps to go. I missed the end but it was fox so I wasn’t that disappointed. I just looked it up online and it really didn’t bother me.