NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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
Monday March 3, 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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Phil Allaway · Tuesday May 14, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to the Critic’s Annex, where race broadcasts are the object of my affection or scorn, depending on what happens. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were at the traditionally difficult Darlington Raceway for 700 miles worth of competition.
VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200
On Friday night, the Nationwide Series returned to action at Darlington. ESPN had a fairly normal cast on hand. Jamie Little did get the week off for her planned vacation.
NASCAR Countdown devoted a significant amount of time to discussing Regan Smith’s season up to this point and wondering whether he’s a legitimate championship contender. Keep in mind that he entered Friday night’s race with a 27-point lead and had just won at Talladega with a high, English-swooping maneuver that made me think of this unsuccessful move that Lake Speed attempted on Rick Wilson around the midpoint of the Winston 500 in 1987.
Apparently, the Pit Studio isn’t convinced that Smith’s got what it takes, but they’re in agreement that his primary main objective is not winning the title, but getting back to Sprint Cup full-time. I’m not really sure what else they need to see out of Smith to declare him a championship contender. I suppose since he hasn’t dominated a race, he’s not a contender. Other than Kyle Busch (who seems to do it every other week), no one other than Sam Hornish, Jr. has done that all season.
Since it was Mother’s Day weekend, ESPN asked a number of drivers to talk about their mothers and what they mean to them. That was nice. Expected, but quite nice.
Finally, there was another edition of “The Real Juan,” an ongoing series where ESPN takes a look at Montoya’s life at or away from the track. Still seems a little weird that ESPN’s showing it during the Nationwide-only portion of their schedule. It takes away from time that could be spend introducing viewers to Nationwide regulars (Note: Montoya has not raced in the Nationwide Series since 2008.) This week’s piece saw Montoya (who is apparently quite the picky eater) enjoying a cookout with his race team. There were some chops eaten, and some chops busted.
On to the race. If there is one aspect of the coverage that I noticed on Friday night, it was that there really wasn’t all that much coverage of Nationwide regulars and really anyone not running in the top-5 positions all night. Yes, there was attention given to Trevor Bayne, but that was mainly because he got in a wreck with Bryan Silas and messed up his Ford.
However, Friday seemed to be all about the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, which finished 1-2-3 and could have gone 1-2-3-4 like they did in qualifying. Something’s wrong there, and not just with the telecast. While JGR did pull off quite a feat on Friday, it seems like almost no one else could even muster a defense. It was like the rest of the field lost a game of chess in five moves.
During the race, Jeff Burton came up to the booth and joined in the discussion for about 45 laps. During that time, Burton answered some questions about how his team was doing at Darlington and made some comments about the race itself. Honestly, it was a little like when Kyle Busch showed up in the booth during the ARCA race at Daytona. Didn’t really add all that much, but didn’t subtract much either.
Since the race ended well ahead of schedule, there was plenty of post-race coverage. ESPN brought viewers eight post-race driver interviews, plus checks of the point standings and the top-10 results. In addition, there was an interview with Gaye Busch, Kurt and Kyle Busch’s mother, in Victory Lane.
The strong focus on the Gibbs cars really did hurt the race broadcast. With a more inclusive telecast, ESPN would have been sitting pretty. There were no notable technical issues. It just seemed that there was a concerted effort to focus on the JGR machines and Sprint Cup regulars. With all this focus on Cup guys, I’m not surprised that ESPN has been having issues trying to make a return on their investment in the Nationwide Series. While I cannot speak for how much money (if any) ESPN is losing on televising the races, not giving the regulars in the series much in the way of exposure is another way of shooting yourself in the foot. The Cup dudes won’t be around forever, you know. People need to know who the future stars of the sport will be, and they need to see them in action. Right now, ESPN is doing mediocre with No. 1 and terrible with No. 2. That needs to change.
Bojangles’ Southern 500
On Saturday night, FOX returned to Darlington for the traditional 500-mile adventure at the egg-shaped oval. However, the race was relatively quiet until Lap 300 or so.
FOX’s Pre-Race show was extended from 30 to 45 minutes due to the unusual 6:00 PM ET start time that was new for 2013. As a result, there was a little more content that could be shown.
First up was a short feature where David Ragan got to talk a little bit about his victory at Talladega and how his career has changed since he was released from Roush Fenway Racing at the end of 2011. This segment might have been the first time that Front Row Motorsports really got much in the way of national exposure. It was good to see. Also, Ragan’s never really gotten much in the way of attention in the Cup Series (even when he was with Roush) so it’s good to see him get a little time in the spotlight.
Another feature focused on the resurgence of Richard Petty Motorsports thus far in 2013. Looking at the standings, it’s more of a No. 43 resurgence than an overall upswing. Ambrose is flat at best compared to last year. It’s Almirola that’s really had the breakout season thus far, even though it’s really just an extension of what we saw towards the end of 2012. This segment could have been stronger. Obviously, Richard Petty’s pleased, but a lot more credit was given to the “Petty Blue paint schemes” than should have been. Too much silliness there.
There was footage shown of Jimmie Johnson, in disguise working in the paint department at a Charlotte-area Lowe’s. My best guess is that it was a stunt to advertise new offerings from Valspar Paints (the scheme Johnson ran Saturday night was a tasteful mix of white and metallic emerald green in honor of emerald green being Pantone’s color of the year), which are heavily sold at Lowe’s. According to our own Amy Henderson, that particular guerrilla marketing stunt was done a couple of weeks ago. One of her friends was confronted by the disguised Johnson, but this part of the piece did not make air.
It should be noted that FOX rolled out their ad campaign this past weekend to promote FOX Sports 1, the replacement for SPEED that will launch on August 17, less than 100 days from now. Surprise, surprise by the way… Trackside will survive the relaunch. Could have fooled me. Last year, I thought that show wasn’t even coming back for 2013.
What you need to know here is that very little NASCAR programming will be affected by the relaunch. We’ll still have the Camping World Truck Series, practice and qualifying sessions. NASCAR RaceDay Fueled by Sunoco will remain as well. Most of what will be canceled are the series that most of you can’t stand (Dumbest Stuff on Wheels, RU Faster Than a Redneck, etc.), plus a series or two that you probably don’t want to go (Wind Tunnel) as well.
Due to the ad campaign, the FOX Sports 1 logo was everywhere on Saturday night. I can understand the commercials for it. Those weren’t bad. However, that wasn’t it. The Crank It Up segments were sponsored by FOX Sports 1, as well as a couple of the in-car cameras. Michael Waltrip’s detestable grid walk was also sponsored by FOX Sports 1. Good lord. Getting a sponsor for that stupidity is a way to legitimize it. Made me groan out loud when I saw it.
During Saturday night’s race, I noted that the commentators would reference situations on the track that we would never actually see. Such instances started as early as Lap 3, when Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. were battling hard for position on track. Mike Joy referenced the battle, but we never saw anything. That was just one of a few examples of such during the race.
As the event wound on, there were less and less battles for position. By Lap 270, it appeared that FOX didn’t really have an idea of what to cover. Obviously, they never came out and said it, but I’m sure that they were really hoping for a caution to break up the monotony. For a couple of segments, the coverage seemed to just focus on a couple of cars at a time before the next commercial. We weren’t really getting any information. It stinks.
Also, we had another instance where Darrell Waltrip’s personal opinions on drivers may have played in a role in his commentary. As you know, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne had a real sweet race for the lead with 34 laps to go that ended with Kahne in the Turn 1 wall. Some observers were quite confident in saying that Busch had contact with Kahne. Kahne wasn’t sure, but blamed Busch for the wreck. Waltrip took the approach of “maybe.” You might think that he just wasn’t sure. After all, it was quite a tough call to make. However, I feel that Waltrip’s personal feelings may have played a role with his call here.
If you’ve watched NASCAR on FOX over the past couple of years, you’ve probably noticed that Waltrip has a friendship with Kyle Busch (and by extension, his wife Samantha) likely due to the two having somewhat similar driving styles. It has come out in past interviews, like the one that talked about ugly Christmas sweaters back in April at Kansas. I hate to say it, but I think Darrell’s friendship with Kyle may have affected how he perceived the incident. I cannot say for sure, but the evidence is in favor of it being so. And that is unacceptable. As much as it annoys me on a weekly basis, I can deal with the stupid boogitys 15 times a year. But, if Darrell cannot put aside his friendships with drivers to call a race equitably, then I don’t think he can stay in the booth anymore. If Kyle Busch does something inappropriate on track, then he must call him out for doing something inappropriate. If he does something amazing, make note of how amazing whatever the deuce he did was. All I ask is that Darrell be fair to everyone.
Despite the race being run at record pace, the event still went over the end of its time slot (I have no clue how that was possible, by the way). FOX provided viewers with four driver interviews (the podium, and Kasey Kahne) along with checks of the unofficial results and point standings. Steve Byrnes also reported from the garage that Kyle Busch’s No. 18 had the cut in the right-rear tire that caused him to fall like a stone in the last 20 laps. My best guess is that Byrnes did try to get an interview with Kyle Busch after the race, like about 26 other reporters. However, the Shrub just wasn’t having it.
I was disappointed with FOX’s coverage of the race, especially in the middle section of the event. This is FOX’s 13th season covering the Sprint Cup Series. By now, they should have all kinds of different techniques as to how to cover a race (from Plan A to Plan Q and beyond). They shouldn’t be looking clueless at times. Also, as mentioned above, I cannot have a repeat of what Darrell did Saturday.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend begins a celebration of speed in the Charlotte area for Sprint Cup teams. It is the non-points Sprint All-Star Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where they’ll be joined by the Camping World Truck Series. Meanwhile, the IZOD IndyCar Series teams will qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and the V8 Supercars will make their first-ever appearance here in the United States at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas.
Tuesday, May 14
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Wednesday, May 15
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Thursday, May 16
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Friday, May 17
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Saturday, May 18
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Sunday, May 19
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*- Tape Delayed
Note that those of you who have Verizon plans can watch the practice sessions that are being streamed from Indianapolis on your cell phones and/or tablets (or whatever you have that requires a data plan) via the IndyCar 13 app. However, if you don’t have Wi-Fi at your disposal, note that using the app will count against your data for the month quite quickly.
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series events from Charlotte, along with the ARCA race from Toledo for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. The Critic’s Annex for this week is a toss-up between the coverage of the Chill Perth 360 from Barbagallo Raceway on SPEED, plus a special Racer’s Life piece on Richard Childress that aired Sunday.
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I think you make a fair assessment of DW and Kyle. But, in my opinion, he offsets Larry Mac and HIS love of all things Chevy/Hendrick and the 48.
Larry Mac is ALWAYS quick to point out what HE sees as Kyle doing wrong. And he’s just as quick to wet his pants when the 48 is taking the lead.
It’s interesting to watch and hear the interaction of the two during a race. I, for one, can feel a little tension there. And sometimes Mike Joy, bless his heart, doesn’t know how to handle it.
i turned on the race friday and saw the busch wackers up front, then turned it off. whether it is to feed their egos or whatever i am tuning in less and less to watch the nationwide races to see the “big” boys come down every week.
Kyle must have crashed Kasey as DW has said time and time again how Kyle has such great car control. if that is the case he knows exactly what he did.
Why does no one seem to object when the booth ALWAYS gives JR. and Danica a pass, no matter what? Also how can you be annoyed at the Waltrips, and not at espn’s Daugherty,and Rusty?? At least,unlike big bad Brad, both Darrel and Michael are racers with knowledge of today and history,too. Personally I enjoy both of them,as do most people, which is why they’re still in that booth.
You can never give too much attention to the fact that an RPM car with less than 50% Petty Blue is a crime against humanity.
IMO, the article’s title really should be: DW’s affect on the fans.
banzaibonnie, ha, the announcers have become paid shills. Michael Waltrip has NO business being in the booth, he is an active owner with drivers ON the track, his cars are Toyota’s. What make does KyBu drive? Yes, that would be Toyota. I think that has a lot to do with the bromance DW has with KyBu.
Unprofessional and for me, it has all become not worth tuning in to watch. I guess I’m not alone in that response since the ratings were down for Darlington, too, just as they were for Richmond.
In this case, I was at the track, so I didn’t have to put up with Fox and its poor coverage. Yes, the long green flag runs were, well, long. I was wishing for a caution, too but at least I could see the action on the track w/o being subjected to commercials or bad camera work.
If Fox, TNT and ESPN would just focus on calling the race, as it is happening on the track and not interject their personal feelings for the drivers or teams into it, the broadcasts would be better. You don’t see this type of thing in ANY other professional sport – except maybe the WWE.
I’m starting to wonder if ESPN is getting desperate with their NW coverage. Apparently, they don’t think the regulars can put on a good show that people will watch. They also apparently think the Cup guys are why people watch. They might want to rethink that based on tv ratings and how the grandstands look. Its not pretty and shoving Cup guys down our throats is actually pushing people away. I’m one of the ones that turned on the race, saw the top 5 as Cup regulars and changed it to something else.
As far as DW and Kyle, this is nothing new. Not sure where you have been. Anytime Kyle is at the front of the field, its the DW lovefest. Funny how DW hardly spoke of Kenseth when he drove a Ford, but now that he drives a Toyota, he has been talking a whole lot more about him.
One word describes the coverage both nights: UNWATCHABLE
No other way to say it: NASCAR TV coverage on FOX is garbage. DW and MW are sickening. I truly feel sorry for Mike Joy, he deserves better. Fox made the TV coverage of the race UNWATCHABLE.
Yes they go out of their way to talk about the 88 and the 10 when they are doing nothing special, but I feel FOX is rather fair about what they talk about. I don’t see any bias in favor of Kyle Busch. I do not see any Larry Mac love for Hendrick (to respond to another commenter, though I do with Richard Childress).
The only part of the 18-9 incident I think Waltrip missed on was talking about the angle of corner entry. The interview with Kahne brought this to the forefront.
Whoever (director?) chooses what they show and when they show it could be replaced at FOX, but I think the three guys in the booth do an outstanding job. I think you are all being unfairly harsh.