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 April 2, 2013
Hello, race fans. Hope you enjoyed Easter Weekend. For me, it was relatively boring. Ended up spending much of my Easter watching Indianapolis 500s from the 1990s on YouTube.
Well, this week in Couch Potato Tuesday, you won’t be bored here; we’re going to broach new ground. Most of the hundreds of critiques that I’ve written for Frontstretch involve me watching race telecasts and breaking them down, piece by piece. Even though I am not wholly negative in my critiques of broadcasts, I have definitely earned a reputation from some as a “Negative Nancy.”
As a result, we’re going to take some time today to take a look at the analysts we see on NASCAR broadcasts from week to week. I’m going to list my three personal favorite analysts, in alphabetical order and explain why they’re so positive for the sport. Afterwards, we’ll take a look at the season opener for the K&N Pro Series East from Bristol Motor Speedway.
I suppose that much of the reasoning why I like Craven as an analyst is centered around the fact that I’m a very cerebral, factual type of person. While I’m not opposed to people having fun on the job, I tend to prefer analysts that give information to viewers in a way that’s easy to understand, where it doesn’t come off like they’re talking down to them. I feel that Craven fits the bill.
Craven appears to be an easygoing influence at ESPN. He knows what he’s talking about, and explains topics in a fairly simple matter. It’s a simple get in, get out technique; not very flashy, but it gets the job done. Knowing some analysts that have had the tendency to talk over their peers and/or play-by-play commentators (both Waltrips, Justin Allgaier, etc.), it is a welcomed change.
I’ve written in the past about how I feel that ESPN under-utilizes Craven. It’s a shame, because having an all-business influence in the booth can help a telecast substantially. Unfortunately, the cupboard is full at ESPN; Craven is effectively the sixth analyst for the network. There are too many people in front of him in line. He’s the newest hire, brought in when Ray Evernham left to work for Rick Hendrick (he later returned).
I believe that if Craven were to become a free agent analyst, one of the other networks would pick him up right quick, especially if ESPN does not return to the NASCAR package after 2014. It would be a great move if the possibility ever came.
However, there is more to that than meets the eye. While hanging out in the garage, Petree is gaining mounds of information to use in ESPN’s broadcasts. As the technical expert in the broadcast booth, Petree takes that knowledge that he gathers on his own, along with information that the pit reporters gather for their own beats (the pit reporters all share what they gather with each other, and with the booth during production meetings), then weaves that information into his commentary. Like Craven, Petree is not the most bombastic person out there. But, I don’t need him to be bombastic. I need him to give me quality analysis – and he succeeds, time and again.
Petty’s role as an analyst is one of the no-nonsense, this is what is going on type. To me, that is very refreshing. It makes for a nice change of pace after 15 weeks of Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. If Petty sees something that he doesn’t like, he’ll call out whomever on it. That is a rarity in NASCAR. Many on-air personalities rarely take NASCAR to task on anything, as if they are the end-all.
On the flip side, being completely unafraid to offend people probably hurts Petty from time to time. I’m pretty sure that by this point, certain people are not as willing to help him out with exclusive information as they are with others. I doubt that Petty cares much, but it probably does hurt him.
Having driven in the Sprint Cup Series relatively recently also helps Petty’s case, even if he thinks of his experience as if it were the 1950s. Of course, having Petty as an in-car reporter maybe is not the best idea.
On SPEED, Petty lets his hair down to a degree. In the past, he did so with other “episode like” shows, NASCAR Smarts and various pieces with Rutledge Wood. Nowadays, he does a lot more work on SPEED’s NASCAR RaceDay Fueled by Sunoco during the majority of the season, but curtails his participation during TNT’s Summer Series. Just because he relaxes a little bit on SPEED doesn’t necessarily mean that he isn’t opinionated, though.
Last Thursday, SPEED aired the season opener for the K&N Pro Series East at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race actually ran immediately after the Nationwide Series’ Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 on March 16th.
As is the norm for K&N Pro Series East telecasts, Rick Allen and Phil Parsons provided the commentary, while Derek Pernesiglio was the eyes and ears in the pits. Prior to the race, Pernesiglio interviewed pole-sitter Michael McGuire.
The race was a bit of a wreckfest. There were never more than 21 laps run under green between cautions. As a result, it was a little hard to show much racing for position. There was never any racing for the lead. The only lead change came when Enrique Contreras, III ran over McGuire under caution, allowing Dylan Kwasniewski to make the pass for the win.
Allen made a reference to the marketing expertise behind the rise of 15-year-old Gray Gaulding over the past couple of years. For Gaulding, he is at the same age now that Joey Logano was when he was considered the next big thing. Logano, at 15, was full-time in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series and being touted by no less than Mark Martin as someone to look for. However, prior to age 15, not a lot of race fans knew much about Logano. With Gaulding, we’ve seen him on TV as far back as age 12. SPEED and ESPN have played a role in pumping up Gaulding’s career to the point that he is now considered by some to be overrated. For someone that’s 15 and looks 12-ish, I’m not exactly sure if you can be overrated, but few drivers have ever gotten as much coverage as early as Gaulding has.
The tape-delayed nature of the race led to a number of incidents having absolutely no replays. The wreck would happen, Allen and Parsons would talk about it briefly, then cut to commercial. Coming back, the restart would occur, and the incident wouldn’t be mentioned afterwards. This bites. After the race, McGuire referenced being involved in the crash that took out Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Sam Hunt. We never even knew that McGuire was in the vicinity until he outed himself as having tapped Hunt. That shouldn’t happen. I know that SPEED aired the race as part of a 60-minute time slot. It can be difficult to cover everything in that time period, but I think SPEED should strongly consider having 90-minute time slots for K&N Pro Series races in the future, knowing that these events air on Thursday afternoons as quasi-filler. Of course, with the upcoming rebranding to FOX Sports 1 in August, who knows what’s going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if these races ended up moving to a rebranded Fuel, or even directly to YouTube.
For the lack of time available, there was a fair amount of post-race coverage. SPEED provided viewers with three post-race interviews (winner Kwasniewski, second-place Brett Moffitt and the aforementioned McGuire interview), along with checks of the unofficial results and point standings.
I suppose that I should be happy to get coverage of just about every race in the K&N Pro Series. However, I’m a perfectionist. I want every series to get the coverage that I feel they deserve. SPEED’s editing of the race left me a little uninformed at times; if that’s the case, I could only imagine what someone tuning into this type of racing for the first time must feel. Having said that, SPEED has done much worse with their coverage. A past telecast from Bowman-Gray Stadium, for example, aired segments of the race out of order. I have no clue how you mess that up, but believe me, it happened.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend, we have a full slate of racing on our hands (Yay)!. The Sprint Cup Series will be back in action at Martinsville Speedway, with the Camping World Truck Series serving as primary support (and it’s about time they have their second race of the year). Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series will make their annual visit to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama with the Rolex Series and CTSCC as support. Here are your listings:
Tuesday, April 2
Time Telecast Network
Wednesday, April 3
Time Telecast Network
Thursday, April 4
Time Telecast Network
Friday, April 5
Time Telecast Network
Saturday, April 6
Time Telecast Network
Sunday, April 7
Time Telecast Network
*- Tape Delayed
It should be stated that SPEED is showing live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Palm Beach, FL this weekend. As a result, Sprint Cup Qualifying and Happy Hour will be tape-delayed, while Camping World Truck Series Qualifying and Sprint Cup Practice No. 2 will not be aired at all. Also, take note that the Barrett-Jackson Auction will take precedence over the Thursday night edition of RaceHub. It will only air at 7 AM ET Friday morning. Finally, the Rolex Series race at Barber Motorsports Park is scheduled for a 1:30 PM ET start on Saturday, but won’t air until after the Cup race ends on Sunday. I’m not a fan of Barrett-Jackson programming during the season for this reason. However, I’m sure that the auctions get some viewers.
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Camping World Truck and IZOD IndyCar Series races in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. In the Annex this week, we have multiple possibilities available. One is the season opening Feature race for the newly rechristened FIA GT Series at Nogaro in France. This race was aired live on SPEED2 yesterday morning at 7:30 (That‘s right, I critiqued a race before I went to work). We can take a long-delayed look at NBC Sports Network’s special on Ryan Hunter-Reay, or at the Clipsal 500 that was originally scheduled to run here before an editor’s discussion changed the plan.
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below, or contact me through the email address provided on the website in my bio. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons below. Finally, if you would like to contact any of the TV partners personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage from last weekend, please click on the following links:
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Good choices, Phil. I’ll admit I’ve never been a Ricky Craven fan, and I can’t disagree with you too much on that one because I haven’t paid that much attention to him.
In regard to Petree, his analysis always seems to be dead-on, and he does it in a good way.
Kyle grew on me, much as it seems he grew on you. I know it hurts him from time to time, but I like the fact that he doesn’t cut ANYBODY any slack.
Thank you for your kind words about Rick Craven. I’d like to see him more frequently, also. I like on-air personalities that ‘know whereof they speak’, like Craven. I really miss Johnny Benson and Ken Schrader, both of whom know the cars from the ground up, and understand all aspects of racing. (Maybe they could replace the Waltrips and Rusty Wallace?)
Please if there is a way get Ole’ D.W. his innane brother and corn pone Larry Mac off t.v. Anybody but those three! Ricky Craven and Kyle Petty at least make it a little more interesting.
I wish we could replace that mean-spirited and biased Larry Mac with Ricky Craven!
And I could also do without DW and brother Michael. But they don’t seem to bother me as much as Larry Mac.
Didn’t like Kyle Petty much when he was driving (yes was a fan then) But as an analyst he is #1 in my book as the most credible (tells it like it plays) he dosn’t drink the koolaid…Keep it up Kyle..Ken Schrader is always good (non koolaid drinker but funny to) ..m waltrip has lost all respect as him & his brother are huge koolaid drinkers & are so blatant about being Toyota biased (& the mwr teams) it’s a disgrace! I’m shocked Toyota lets this go on..& Please retire Goof Ball wallace (koolaid drinker & Toyota as well) & his brother Darrel who over the years (koolaid drinker) has lost all credibility
Sorry above should read Rusty (just dosn’t seem to get it)…& then Darrel…Further with on losing larry mac & replaced with Petree..Why don’t Fox, Speed,ESPN, et al Have online surveys rating their on air talent (w/live results)& don’t worry if it’s not on twitter micheal w won’t see it
I agree with all the comments posted above so far. I do really like the three you chose and for the reasons you stated. I also have come to the point where I “can’t stand either Waltrip,” pure 100% buffoons! I’d like to see the ratings of how many people watch the FOX broadcast with the volume muted and listening to other audio.I’m sure that number is growing as I know many who do it.As far as Larry Mac and Hammond, probably nice guys, but terrible on air skills, really hard to listen to. It’s time for FOX to change their on air people!
ANYONE is better than the 3 amigos in the fox booth….I don’t watch much anymore but they are terrible!!