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 23, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critique is the object of discussion here. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series were at Kansas Speedway for some ultra-fast action. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series took to the streets of Long Beach.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
On Sunday afternoon, the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to action on the 1.968-mile street course in Long Beach, California. How did the NBC Sports Network do with their coverage of one of the series’ crown jewels? Let’s find out.
With NBC Sports Network having multiple racing commitments last weekend, the decision was made to have Leigh Diffey stay in Connecticut in order to do play-by-play commentary for the Grand Prix of Bahrain. With Bob Varsha also busy at Road Atlanta, occupied with Grand-Am racing, the NBC Sports Network tapped Brian Till to replace Diffey for the weekend. Till was already in Long Beach, since he does TV coverage for the American Le Mans Series. As you might remember, Till filled in for Marty Snider as a pit reporter during the St. Petersburg race weekend during the NCAA Tournament for TNT/TBS.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Till in the booth. I find him to be somewhat boring. However, he fits in just fine in the IndyCar world.
With the attacks in Boston last week, Marty Snider detailed a rather substantial amount of security for the race weekend. Kansas Speedway announced a slight increase in security measures, as well for last weekend’s NASCAR races. For Long Beach, security was far stricter, including X-Ray scanners for entering fans.
There were no major features on IndyCar Live, but there was a montage of past Long Beach wrecks and a look at Saturday’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, won by Rutledge Wood. Finally, there were seven pre-race interviews. I don’t know why FOX can’t do a number of pre-race interviews. I suppose they feel that they would be stepping all over NASCAR RaceDay Fueled by Sunoco if they do. I vehemently disagree with that notion.
Coverage of the race was pretty good. There were battles throughout the field during the event and we got to see a good chunk of them. Also, compared to the NASCAR telecasts that I often watch for my articles here, the IndyCar telecasts on the NBC Sports Network seem to be a lot more cerebral. There was a lot of chatter about the different types of tires (red and black) and how they would react on the bumpy street course over the course of a run.
I like the fact the commentators are not afraid to call out drivers when they make ridiculous moves. Sebastian Saavedra received such an admonishment after he crashed on Lap 2 after overdriving Turn 9. Yes, he had the position on Simona de Silvestro, but let’s just be honest with ourselves: Saavedra was going way too fast for the turn and crashed himself. St. Petersburg winner James Hinchcliffe also got the “critical” treatment after his ridiculous crash on a restart on Lap 35.
Post-race coverage was fairly extensive. NBC Sports Network provided viewers with six post-race driver interviews, plus an interview with the winning Team Director (Larry Foyt for AJ Foyt Enterprises). There were also checks of the unofficial results and point standings before they left the air.
On Saturday afternoon, the Camping World Truck Series returned to action at Kansas Speedway for their first assault on the reconfigured Kansas Speedway. It turned out to be nothing more than a wreckfest. How did SPEED handle it? Let’s take a look.
NCWTS Setup started off with a “rewind segment,” focusing on the controversy surrounding Ron Hornaday’s contact with Darrell Wallace, Jr. under caution in Rockingham, plus the wreck that resulted from it. The recap included replays and interviews from Rockingham, live interviews with both of the main figures involved, and the broadcast booth talking about the situation and comparing it to when Kyle Busch dumped Ron Hornaday at Texas back in 2011. I would say that it was quite comprehensive. During last week’s edition of Mirror Driving, we discussed the incident ourselves and ended up agreeing to disagree. The two situations are similar, but not quite the same. Regardless, neither one is the right way to handle things.
The primary feature of the show was a look at Miguel Paludo’s quest to earn his green card last season, which was a very private battle few people knew about. Apparently, in order to immigrate to the United States as an athlete, you have to prove that you are considered to be elite. In this case, that meant Paludo had to finish in the top 10 in points; otherwise, he risked getting his Green Card application denied. Had that happened, he would have been forced to return to Brazil with his wife Patricia and son Oliver. Yeah, he probably would have landed on his feet there (Patricia mentioned that Miguel raced successfully in Brazil, although he still had a day job) but that is a lot to have hanging over your head. The piece talked about the constant stress that Paludo and his family were under, and how they were trying to live their American Dream. It was a really touching piece.
During the race itself, there were a number of crashes. Officially, nine of the 11 cautions were caused by wrecks, but it was really ten cautions for wrecks. The second “debris caution” occurred when Jeff Agnew hit the wall exiting Turn 4, then stalled while trying to get back to pit road. Although, I suppose you could call a disabled truck debris if you really felt like it.
When you have a situation like that, commentators usually talk about how the wrecks ruin any real flow that the race could have had, or how something is wrong with the vehicles. You didn’t get that out of this booth. The only time this particular type of discussion actually made it into the telecast was when Todd Bodine mentioned it after he crashed. When they weren’t wrecking, there was some pretty good racing out there for position, and I believe that SPEED did a pretty good job covering those battles.
I was well informed throughout the entire race, with the exception of one topic. That was Hornaday’s run up from three laps behind to ultimately finish ninth. We saw how he ended up that far behind (got busted for speeding on pit road during a green-flag stop, stopped for tires on his pass through, then had to do another one). I know that he got one Lucky Dog. I’m a bit unclear as to how he got the other two laps back. My best guess is that he took a couple of wave arounds, one of those being shortly after the penalty. SPEED didn’t exactly make it 100 percent clear.
Due to the sheer amount of wrecking on Saturday, SPEED reached the end of their timeslot on Lap 129 of 167. The race ended roughly 40 minutes later than expected. As a result, post-race coverage was very short. My guess is that NASCAR informed Matt Crafton (after he roasted his rear tires doing his burnout) that he needed to get his tuchis to Victory Lane in order to do his winner’s interview. SPEED only interviewed Crafton and showed the top 10 in points. The unofficial results were only shown in the scroll. Once that was done, SPEED left Kansas to get to the Rolex Series event at Road Atlanta, which was supposed to air live, but had to be time-shifted.
Overall, I liked the Truck broadcast. There was a lot of action for position (and we could see quite a bit of it), although I could have done without all the wrecking.
On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series returned to FOX at Kansas Speedway. How well did the network do with the telecast? Let’s take a look.
During the pre-race show, there was the typical amount of analysis and features FOX provides (Gas-N-Go, etc.). The primary feature of the show was a one-on-one piece shot on Friday night (based on booth chatter after qualifying) where Darrell Waltrip interviewed Kyle Busch. This format is not the first time that Darrell’s interviewed Kyle. It reminded me of the last time he did it, to be honest. There was a fair amount of discussion about some of the stupid things Kyle does with his wife, Samantha. We learned that Samantha loves the ugly sweaters at Christmas (which I just can’t get into for multiple reasons). I really wish we could learn a little bit more about Kyle, but it seemed like the questions were all softballs.
There was a brief piece on Pat Summerall, former head play-by-play man for NFL on FOX who died last week at age 82. Granted, this piece had nothing to do with NASCAR, but it was well put together. Summerall was one of the longest-tenured employees of FOX Sports, having come over from CBS (along with a number of others) when FOX won the rights to air the NFC starting in 1994.
I still believe that FOX should be doing more pre-race interviews than they currently do. As it stands, Clint Bowyer did one with Chris Myers and both Waltrips (in the Hollywood Hotel) via a headset. That was the only formal interview on the show. The only other driver quotes we saw were from Michael Waltrip’s grid walk, which continues to be a nightmare. Not enjoyable at all. C’mon, man. You’re supposed to be helping the viewers out with additional information. Instead, we get Michael Waltrip in a self-serving situation. Maybe it’ll change at Talladega, where FOX will have a full hour to play with.
I’m still not a fan of Jeff Hammond’s roving reporter role on FOX. Yes, I imagine that he’s quite busy during the race, running all over the property and putting good miles on a golf cart to do what he does. Also, for some reason, Hammond seemed to be the guy tasked with interviewing drivers after they dropped out of the race. I thought that was a curious choice. Usually, whoever was assigned to that specific driver on pit road does those interviews (I think Victory Lane works fairly similar). My guess is that since there are only three pit reporters now, they really can’t leave their beats to go interview drivers who have gotten involved in crashes anymore because they’re too busy (each reporter has 14-15 pits to cover).
However, I believe that division of work hurts the telecast. Hammond should be back in the Hollywood Hotel with Chris Myers; period, end of story. Say what you want about Myers, but that setup worked. This format does not.
I thought that FOX did a decent job early on with showing the action out on the track. However, the further they got into the race, the more restrictive the focus became. Having said that, they did do a pretty decent job explaining to viewers just how Kasey Kahne was able to close up on Matt Kenseth in the closing laps of the race. The graphics showing the actual distance that the two drivers were apart was put to good use here. We’ll see if it gets much more use for the rest of FOX’s portion of the season.
Post-race coverage was somewhat typical for FOX, despite the fact that the race ended roughly 15 minutes beyond the end of their timeslot. There were five post-race interviews, plus checks of the unofficial results and point standings before FOX left the air.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend is relatively light as far as on-track action is concerned. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be back in action at Richmond International Raceway. And… that’s it. Rumor has it that Denny Hamlin will be back in the No. 11 Saturday night. We’ll just have to see. They’ll be joined by the Nationwide Series while everyone else takes a breather.
Tuesday, April 23
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Wednesday, April 24
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Thursday, April 25
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Friday, April 26
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Saturday, April 27
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Sunday, April 28
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Monday, April 29
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*- Tape Delayed
Note that the Nationwide race is on ESPNEWS because of Rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft airing on Friday night. I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races from Richmond for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. For the Critic’s Annex, in our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter I will be covering Sunday’s running of the Grand Prix of Bahrain.
Also of note, while there is a page for the race on SPEED’s website, there is no reference at all to any coverage for the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, scheduled for Thursday night. That’s a great shame. Also, the Blue Ox 100 for the K&N Pro Series East that precedes the showdown will air on SPEED, just not live. According to the notoriously clunky program search function on their schedule, the race will air via tape delay on Thursday, May 9th at 3:00 PM.
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The segment on Pat Summerall was well done. One statment that was made during the segment stated that when Summerall and Madden were hired, that it gave credibilty to Fox Sport. Until the Waltrips are removed from the booth ,Nascar on Fox will not have any credibilty.
ditto to what Old Fan Bill said above. especially the waldorks having to go.