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.
Hello, race fans. Welcome to the first regular critique of the 2013 season. Before we get started, I want to start with my hope for the year, a lesson to learn through quoting the late Larry Nuber. On the second lap of the 1987 Winston 500, Nuber said, “I must tell all of you, racing on TV is the best because you can get right up in the cockpit, you can see all the way around [the track]. You don’t miss any of the action.”
In this case, Nuber was comparing racing on TV to being in-person, live in the broadcast booth at Talladega. Say what you want about Nuber’s ability as a booth analyst, but he had a point in what he was saying about telecasts. Racing is an excellent sport to watch on TV. However, not all of the action has been shown, for various reasons in recent years. NASCAR’s partners, be it SPEED, FOX, TNT, or ABC/ESPN should strive to get back to that “ideal” Nuber describes, becoming as inclusive as possible for their viewership.
The first weekend of the NASCAR portion of Speedweeks featured two major events. These races were the season opener for the ARCA Racing Series, presented by Menards and the non-points Sprint Unlimited for the Sprint Cup Series. Let’s check out how they were covered by SPEED and FOX, respectively.
Lucas Oil 200 At Daytona
Saturday afternoon brought the first ARCA race of the season. Venturini Motorsports swept the front row with possibly the most maligned duo of drivers that you could imagine, John Wes Townley and Milka Duno. Nothing against those two, but they have track records that are less than desirable, although Townley has shown significant improvement over the past couple of years. Could he back up his recent strength in restrictor plate races, and could broadcast partner SPEED carry over momentum from a strong 2012 covering all forms of stock car competition?
Let’s find out.
Pre-race ARCA coverage was seamlessly inserted into NASCAR Live, SPEED’s update desk show between the second Sprint Cup practice session and the ARCA telecast itself. As a result, if you were expecting much in the way of pre-race if you tuned in at 4:30, you were probably disappointed.
In the “pre-pre-race” time, SPEED conducted interviews with Townley and Darrell Wallace, Jr., who happened to be one of Townley’s three teammates for the day. There was also a little preview of the event. In contrast, once the actual live broadcast started, there was a brief overview before going directly to the national anthem.
In the race, SPEED felt a little behind at times, as if it took them a little longer than it should have to notice incidents on-track. For example, at the end of the first lap, Tom Hessert III had the entire tread of his left rear tire come off in the tri-oval. I saw it happen live and pointed it out from my couch. I specifically said, “Whoa! What’s that?” Honestly, I thought there was going to be a big ol’ wreck because of it, but thankfully, the “inner liner” of that Hoosier held up. SPEED eventually noticed Hessert’s issues, but it took something like 30 seconds. Also of note, I found it surprising that ARCA didn’t throw a yellow for the rubber in the grass. I feel like NASCAR would have dropped the yellow hanky there even though the debris there was well outside the racing groove.
On the positive side of things, I did note Phil Parsons pointing out Julian Jousse’s temperature problems early and accurately. He knew right away that Jousse was in a world of hurt, with his car overheating so expressively just a few laps into the race it needed crew intervention. More likely than not, Jousse’s team was responsible for the engine failure due to the overabundance of tape on the front end, plus the failure of the team to realize that their car was toast. Finally, Jousse has next to no stock car experience (he’s primarily a sports car racer who raced at Sebring last year for Henri Pescarolo’s Le Mans, France-based team). They should have known to call him in, but apparently never did.
Kyle Busch joined Rick Allen and Parsons in the broadcast booth and spent roughly half the event there. Unlike Justin Allgaier, who legitimately served as an analyst during his guest appearances last year to mixed reviews, Busch’s input seemed to be limited to answering questions based upon his own experience. It was dry at best. He didn’t add much to the telecast, but he didn’t take anything away, either.
Post-race coverage royally stunk. Simple as that. According to my on-screen guide and the schedule on SPEED’s website, the ARCA race had a two-hour timeslot that ran up to 6:30 PM ET. Apparently, someone forgot to tell that to the production staff. As soon as the checkered flag fell, SPEED basically tried to leave to get to NASCAR RaceDay Fueled by Sunoco early.
What was the point of doing that? They still had 15 minutes of ARCA time left. That would be plenty to give Townley his proper due, as well as Kyle Larson and Ricky Ehrgott. Readers, I don’t think you ever expected me to say this, but JWT got screwed over. And for what? Expanded Sprint Cup pre-race coverage for an event that was just barely longer than the pre-race show?
Yes, SPEED showed Townley’s Victory Lane interview, eventually but it was tape-delayed by nearly 30 minutes. Townley probably didn’t even know it aired unless the network did so during his post-race press conference (which, at this point might not be out of the realm of possibility). SPEED Production, you must realize that everyone from Townley to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has fans. Personally, I don’t know anyone that is a fan of the “Chicken Man,” but I’m sure someone that follows his career closely was on Cloud 9 Saturday. Had Kyle Larson managed to win the ARCA event, I don’t think this situation would have unfolded in quite the same way. That’s not fair, impartial judgment on covering a race if true.
Sadly, SPEED may have put together one of their worst ARCA telecasts in years on Saturday. Good work (for the most part) in the booth couldn’t overcome one of the most idiotic post-race decisions that I can remember. Also, for a good chunk of the race many viewers may have felt a little lost due to the focus on the few cars in the breakaway (Bobby Gerhart, Townley, Chris Buescher (multiple laps down, but running blocker as if he were the Bandit), etc.). Few other cars in the field were shown as a blind allegiance to the leaders led to a fairly narrow focus.
SPEED’s next ARCA telecast is at Talladega in May. Hopefully, we won’t see the same issues there.
Once the sun set and the lights came on in Daytona, a select group of Sprint Cup drivers took to the high banks in the first race for the new Gen-6 race car. How did FOX do in their first race back since June?
Let’s dissect it. While FOX did have a short pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay Fueled by Sunoco on SPEED served as the de facto pre-race version, as far as I’m concerned. On there, the majority of the starting grid was interviewed, some multiple times. Brad Keselowski, who did not win a pole in 2012 and thus, failed to qualify for the race, served as a special guest analyst in FOX’s Hollywood Hotel. He seemed to be quite amped, from start to finish and brought the right energy to the telecast. Keselowski is an interesting case to me, someone who came prepared with detailed analysis and something to say virtually every time he was called upon. The reigning champ would make for an excellent TV guy, but he won’t be quitting driving anytime soon.
During the race, FOX showed off their new gyroscopic in-car cameras that actually debuted on Friday during practice coverage on SPEED. If that is going to be the norm this year, it might take a little getting used to. At first, it reminded me of the time that CBS affixed a camera to Richard Petty’s helmet in the 1991 Daytona 500. A little later, a moment from late in the 1993 Daytona 500 sprung to mind. CBS took the in-car camera in Geoff Bodine’s Motorcraft Ford and screwed around with the picture to create a similar sensation to what we’re getting now. It’s no less weird now than it was 20 years ago. On the other hand, its angle, which replicates the banking on the speedway does bring back the view to the right of the driver that has been used sparingly over the past decade or so.
Secondly, FOX debuted a new aerial cam suspended on cables above the tri-oval. It’s pretty sweet and quite reminiscent of the network’s Sky Cam from their NFL broadcasts; however, Daytona is not the first time they’ve had it. A few years ago, FOX had DLP (via Texas Instruments) sponsor a similar aerial cam. This one appears to be a little bigger, though. Should be excellent when we get to Bristol next month.
Luckily, for a race with as small a field as the Sprint Unlimited, it’s pretty easy to cover everyone. FOX did a decent overview, during all 75 laps of focusing on all competitors. Of course, when you have only 19 starters and that number was quickly whittled down to 12, it’s pretty hard not to do a good job in that department.
Post-race coverage was relatively short. There were only a couple of post-race interviews (winner Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart) along with some brief analysis before FOX left the air to get to the local news.
FOX’s first night out didn’t really stand out for anything good or bad. The broadcast booth is working together well. Mike Joy was his usual self, while Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds were back into their in-season groove, with fewer annoying quirks. Jeff Hammond briefly was in the grandstands before the race started but spent the night as a pit reporter, interviewing a couple of the drivers who fell out due to the big wreck. If that is what his roving role for 2013 will look like, I’ll be fine with it. The Hollywood Hotel was also much improved, but it remains to be seen what next week will be like with Michael Waltrip more than likely competing in the race.
That’s all for this week. Today is the final day of the Inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach. Modified and K&N Pro Series cars will be on the temporary oval on Daytona’s backstretch all day. Then, the Budweiser Duels will determine who does, and who does not race in the Daytona 500. Finally, all three of NASCAR’s National series will be holding their season openers next weekend.
Tuesday, February 19
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Wednesday, February 20
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Thursday, February 21
Time Telecast Network
Friday, February 22
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Saturday, February 23
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Sunday, February 24
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*- Tape Delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series season openers next week here at Frontstretch.
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Post-race interview with atleast the winner is a MUST!!!! Stop cutting away from it just to show some lame pre-recorded programming or preview show.
You may try to be rather kind if you choose, but for MANY of us, anything that includes DW is mind numbing. We could get him a job working monster truck shows where his talents (?) might be more suitable.
I know the motorsports world are not big fans of Townley, but come on, talk about getting hosed. Prerace for a 1/2 hour before interviewing him tape delayed? Seriously? At Daytona? That just gave me a bad taste in my mouth towards FOX the rest of the night.
As far as the Unlimited (where nothing about it is unlimited), I see the boogities are back and saw 2 commercials within the last segment (I thought the breaks between segments were for commercials?) This tells me that not much will change when we have to endure them over 3-4 hours. They just didn’t have time to provide the normal annoyances yet. I’m trying to keep an open mind for the 500, but I’m not expecting much.
And let me get this straight, people have been complaining for years about the overuse of in car cameras, so we are going to get beaten to death with more in car cameras this year because FOX thinks this is what we want? Meh!
We felt different about Brads performance than you did . He was trying so hard to imitate the “Big Boys “ that it was comical!!’!!!!!
Guess I’ll have to find another place that disects the Cup broadcasts. Do you REALLY see ANYTHING worthwile in the Speed offerings? DW? C’mon.
I’ll be looking forward to your take on the TV coverage because I won’t see it firsthand. I will not watch any Cup racing until July. I will continue to do so until DW is removed from the broadcasts.
I’ll probably skip the Chase too, since ESPN doesn’t care about 2/3 of the field.
Radio coverage is excellent, and I can watch the race highlights on YouTube the next day with the sound off.
I agree with Steve also. There are too many in-car shots. They exist solely so that the networks can sell ad time to whichever logo is pasted in front of the lens. The whole sport is being filmed in telephoto and the fans want wide angle.
Not a word about the commercials in the Sprint Unlimited? I thought the rest of FOX’s broadcast was good, but the commercial load was inexcusable. In the second and third segments, they went to commercial within five laps of the race restarting. And then they came back from break in the final segment for all of a lap or two before cutting away for yet more commercials.
On the plus side, early indications are that the booth dynamic might have shifted for the better (aka more Mike Joy and a more subdued DW).