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.
Phil Allaway · Tuesday February 26, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast breakdowns are the main subject of interest. This past weekend was supposed to be one of the greatest weekends of racing all year. However, the crash that happened at the end of the Nationwide race overshadowed everything else, good and bad. Ultimately, I have to look at the telecasts under that lens. Because of that, the Camping World Truck Series event will not be covered in this critique. Quite simply, under the current circumstances, I would not be able to do SPEED’s telecast justice. However, it will covered later this week in the Critic’s Annex, a piece which can be found every Thursday in the Frontstretch Newsletter.
Saturday brought the Nationwide Series to Daytona for their season opener.
Pre-race coverage was somewhat typical for ESPN. A substantial portion of Countdown was spent inside of the Pit Studio with analysis from the assembled panel (Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty, in addition to host Nicole Briscoe.) Now, there is a certain amount of pre-race analysis with NASCAR’s other media partners, but no one includes as much as ESPN does. Yes, they did four pre-race interviews, but I’d rather have more interviews instead of pre-race analysis.
During the show, a piece was shown where Marty Smith sat down with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to discuss various historical moments in NASCAR, in addition to current events (i.e. Earnhardt Jr.‘s decision to step out of the car for a couple of weeks last year due to concussions). I found the piece quite interesting. Petty is just plain living history, thanks to all of his accomplishments while Earnhardt Jr. is the current driver most interested in NASCAR history. Another feature showed Austin Dillon taking a ride with the Thunderbirds, who had flown in for the weekend from their base at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas.
The actual race coverage was pretty good. A common problem that I had last season with ESPN telecasts is that they would miss a lot of things. Generally, that was not the case on Saturday. Even when the yellow came out for the wreck involving Regan Smith and Juan Carlos Blum, while they were in commercial ESPN returned from the break to inform us about what happened. Of course, having said that, I’m not really sure if that was more because of the wreck, or Danica Patrick’s engine woes. It could go either way.
ESPN had their primary broadcasting team for the race, and generally, they worked well together. There were no blatant screw-ups of note here that I would normally bring them to task over.
Despite being over their timeslot at the end of the race, ESPN chose to stay with the situation in Daytona after the big crash until 4:40 PM, roughly a half-hour after the race ended. In that time, ESPN tracked down as many people that were involved in the crash as they could. They chose not to show a replay for the majority of that time. That’s standard operating procedure with serious accidents. Nothing new. If you saw the abandoned IZOD IndyCar Series race at Las Vegas, in 2011 you know that they didn’t show replays of that mess right away.
Some fans accused ESPN of showing false concern. I think that’s looney tunes. Anyone that argues otherwise in this case better have concrete proof. Remember that they were at the track. They saw it just like we did, and in many cases, even more vividly than we did. Allen Bestwick wasn’t silent just to build drama. That is a stupid notion. I’d argue that Bestwick, like myself when I watched it on ESPN, was shocked more than anything else by what had just gone down. If you were there, you’d be shocked as well. Also, they were basically forced to wait for information. You can only do so much in that kind of a situation.
Others wanted ESPN to get their reporters out to the crash scene. I’m pretty sure a combination of NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway, track security and the Daytona Beach Police Department would never allow them to do that. Marty Smith, who was in the press box for the race, stated on Twitter that he was threatened with arrest if he did not leave the area guarded in and around the grandstand by a police officer.
Fans have attacked Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood, III and NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell for their conduct during the 7:00 PM press conference at the track. However, I have no idea just what you guys expected out of them. They cannot give any information on patient conditions. Chitwood explained this succinctly on Sunday morning. Even if they had that stuff on hand, it would be illegal for them to do that due to HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability, Privacy and Accountability Act of 1996), most specifically Title II, where privacy of patient records is strictly enforced. It is a federal law, passed with bipartisan support. Disclosing of patient information can only be done by the patient, his/her family, or in this case, by a hospital representative with family permission. As a result, Chitwood and O’Donnell legally had to redirect those questions in the press conference. The penalties for illegal disclosure are pretty strict. They would have been looking at jail time had they actually given that type of information out. Anyone who works in a health care facility is constantly reminded about how important patient confidentiality is. If any unauthorized employee in the hospital is discovered to have given out information illegally, they are guaranteed to be fired and likely jailed as well. Also, civil action could be in the cards.
There is one part of this disaster where criticism could be warranted. NASCAR’s conduct in trying to pull every scrap of video from the crash off the internet was them basically using the most draconian interpretation of their rights policy possible. Technically, they can do that whenever they want, for whatever reason they want to. They claimed that they did it to protect the victims and their families. That’s nice and all, but this incident is international news. You can’t try and pretend that something didn’t happen, which is what NASCAR’s actions looked like on the surface. It says a lot that YouTube denied NASCAR’s copyright claims. That almost never happens.
Ultimately, ESPN did the best that they could, given the situation. Knowing that there really wasn’t much information to be had while they were on-air, they couldn’t have done much more.
Having said that, SPEED went on-air nearly non-stop after ESPN left for two hours, giving updates on the situation, talking to some race fans around the impact zone and did an admirable job, given the circumstances.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 was the highest rated Sprint Cup race since 2006.
“Ten Big Ones” is not just a refrain from when a contender won a one-on-one event on American Gladiators in the 1990s. It also equates to FOX’s overnight rating for their telecast (in addition, it achieved a 22 share). Since NASCAR’s strength in viewership is not exactly in the biggest markets, expect the final rating to be a little higher than that. Many believe that Danica Patrick was responsible for the boost, which I disagree with. In reality, the Larson wreck getting replayed a buttload of times played a much bigger role.
However, just because quite a few more people were in front of the television watching the race doesn’t mean that what they saw was necessarily FOX’s best effort.
The network’s pre-race coverage started off with Mike Joy in the flagstand, where he immediately made mention of the big crash at the end of the Nationwide race. He then gave out information I thought was a little dated by that point. That was the only mention of the crash on the pre-race show. I don’t really agree with that approach, especially knowing that the crash was the sole focus of ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Monday, in addition to leading Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption, something NASCAR never, ever does. A later update during the second caution of the race from a lonely Chris Myers in the Hollywood Hotel was the last mention of the incident in the whole telecast.
I know that FOX doesn’t cover the Nationwide Series, but they didn’t give what happened Saturday the attention or the focus that it deserved. Halifax Health was putting out press releases about the injured fans during the race. I just think that FOX could have done more. Maybe cut some of the pre-race analysis out of the show to cover the event more thoroughly? However, the condensed schedule due to potential rain meant that almost everything didn’t get the attention that it deserved.
There was a feature where FOX followed Clint Bowyer around. Bowyer is portrayed as someone who is a bit weird (Who wraps a 1980s Cadillac Brougham in camo and puts steer horns on the hood? Choose one or the other) but also someone that is incredibly inpatient. Ultimately, Bowyer comes off as likable and not afraid to get down and dirty. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think it changed any of my opinions of him. However, I could argue that the feature was designed more for new race fans, perhaps catching their one race of the year more than long-term ones.
There was a piece where Chris Myers sat down with Hendrick Motorsports’ quartet of drivers at Hendrick Motorsports Heritage Center, where Rick Hendrick (also interviewed) keeps his classic car collection (not open to the public). Granted, it appears that the quartet like to spend time together, even though they don’t do it all that much. Regardless, the questions were inane. I don’t know why, but Myers felt the need to throw up a bunch of softballs. Not even some good music from Creedence Clearwater Revival could save this dud. There’s more to the interview than what actually aired, though. The full piece can be seen at FOX’s new NASCAR Blog, Shake and Bake. (Also, that site’s name is a lawsuit just waiting to happen… but not from Kraft Foods…)
Daytona also marked the NASCAR debut of one Erin Andrews. Oh boy. I have all the respect in the world for Andrews, but I don’t think she was expecting what happened in Daytona. The primary task she had was a sit-down interview with Brad Keselowski that was about Keselowski’s individuality. It was OK, but she didn’t seem comfortable there. As a result, she took a rather unusual tone that I found annoying. Also, I wasn’t a fan of her cutting off Keselowski. That’s not cool.
Then, FOX dispatched her on a grid walk… or more succinctly, a Patrick hunt. While there, special guest (not of FOX) Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, showed up and tried to make out with her in an incident at least equal in salaciousness to a drunken Joe Namath hitting on Suzy Kolber on Monday Night Football. Perhaps the name for a blog will come out of Sunday’s incident, much like the Namath incident gave the name to one. (Note: Viewer Discretion Advised) I can understand her being mentally knocked off balance by that.
From here, Andrews tried to find Patrick for a quick interview with 50 Cent close behind (uninvited, I’m assuming). However, she was unsuccessful (she claimed that she literally could not find her). The grid walk would definitely have worked out better had FOX’s pre-race show gone the full two hours. Opening ceremonies were literally right after the failed hunt.
I don’t believe Andrews will be back for the rest of FOX’s portion of the season (she’s primarily their studio host for college football these days after leaving ESPN), so she won’t be able to improve. Sunday marked a chance for Andrews to show her versatility, but it’ll just go down as one of the more unusual moments in her career instead.
Andrews ran into Kevin Harvick on the way and asked him a quick question or two. In addition to an earlier interview, he was the only driver given an interview during the entire 75-minute show. Normally, I’d lambaste FOX here, but this critique just isn’t the time.
During the race, there were three debris cautions. One featured definitive debris (I guess it was a crush panel) that smacked into Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson’s cars with ten laps to go. The other two, I don’t know. Joy said that the first yellow flew for “metal debris,” but none of us ever saw that. I’d like to see it. Some fans accused NASCAR of throwing that caution just so Jeff Gordon could get the wrappers off his grille.
In addition, FOX unveiled a new “Digger Cam” in the middle of the backstretch that got a lot of use. Too much. Once it got covered with rubber, they should have curtailed it.
Post-race coverage was substantial. Despite starting the race 40 minutes earlier than planned, FOX stayed with the telecast until the original sign-off time of 5:30. That allowed for nearly an hour of post-race coverage, which was filled with interviews, a check of the unofficial results and analysis. A rare interview with Michael McDowell was featured here; kudos for that.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will make the long haul out to Phoenix for their first visit of the year to the Southwest. They will be joined by the K&N Pro Series West. Meanwhile, Grand-Am will be in Austin, Texas for their inaugural outing at the Circuit of the Americas.
Tuesday, February 26
Time Telecast Network
Wednesday, February 27
Time Telecast Network
Thursday, February 28
Time Telecast Network
Friday, March 1
Time Telecast Network
Saturday, March 2
Time Telecast Network
Sunday, March 3
Time Telecast Network
Monday, March 4
Tme Telecast Network
*- Tape Delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races for next week’s critique here at Frontstretch. For this week’s edition of the Critic’s Annex in the Frontstretch Newsletter, I will write about the SPEED special Richard Petty: A Racer’s Life, which premiered last week after the late model portion of the UNOH Battle of the Beach.
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When I listen to Blue Oyster Cult playing “Don’t Fear the Reaper” I always think it needs more cowbell.
While watching the Fox coverage of the 500 I kept thinking “This needs more Danica”.
I was annoyed at the announcers constantly hyping a rather boring 500 as some of the most exciting racing NASCAR has ever seen. I guess they’re not allowed to pan the racing, but listening to them sound so excited while the cars went by in single file with nary a pass made me think they must have been watching a different race.
can anyone make dw stop saying ‘boogity, boogity, boogity’… it is SO tired and SO done
Can anyone make DW stop talking about Danica?
I think I’m gonna stop watching races and start listening on the radio. I’ve never heard a boring race on the radio. Those guys are great at making them seem exciting. Even if it is because they just yell. Hell, I heard the call from the end of the 500… they made that exciting! And didn’t shill over Patrick like the second coming.
‘Jaws’ seemed to be all Danica all the time. It was sickening, along with a commercial every 5 laps. At least Michael McDowell got an interview on Fox, unlike Regan Smith and JJ Yeley.
I agree with the comments of steveh,Cory and Kevin. Unfortunatley Speed/FOX have turned into the MWR channel.Does anybody not have a problem with the car owner and his brother being in the TV booth.
While I didn’t watch the entire NW race, I did see the crash live. I would be willing to bet that the booth saw that tire and debris launch over the fence into the grandstands. That would make anyone speechless so I no problems with how it was all handled.
The FOX crew was a different story. Constant Danica, constant commercials, constant crap on my tv screen, and constant shilling for the race that everyone else would say was not entertaining. FOX has not improved a thing on their broadcasts from last year except add more in car cameras that fans DON’T want. And since they signed this huge tv contract the commercial load I fear is going to be even worse than last year, if that’s possible. If the 500 was any indication, I’m correct. Looks like I will be recording alot of races this year.