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 June 4, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is our primary topic of discussion. Last weekend, NASCAR’s top-3 series were all in action at Dover International Speedway. For FOX, it was their final race weekend of the season.
Lucas Oil 200
On Friday evening we had the Camping World Truck Series on track.
Once again, the Setup began with a look at some of the past winners thus far in 2013. That’s nice and all, but they did that at Charlotte two weeks ago. The only thing that changed was the fact that Kyle Busch won. They need to find another way to start the show, to be honest.
The main feature was a look at Darrell Wallace, Jr., who just so happened to be on the pole for the race. Here, SPEED talks to Wallace and his parents about his demeanor and rise up through the ranks. We learned that he’s quite a laid back man, but nothing really all that personal. His parents did explain how racing has played into his travails at the track. Darrell doesn’t really think about it, but his mother especially sees some of the fans that don’t take kindly to him racing. My takeaway is that Wallace has a quiet confidence to him that is rarely compromised. The Daytona ARCA race from February was one of the rare examples of a time in which he got frazzled.
Aside from the Wallace feature, the show was light on content, which was a shame. Only Wallace and Chase Elliott got interviewed, while much of the rest of the show was spent analyzing, which is a little unusual for a SPEED race telecast.
Compared to the offerings put up by FOX and ESPN, SPEED’s telecast seemed to be a little more inclusive. There were more battles shown for position and the overall flow of the telecast just seemed to be a little better.
Chase Elliott was a pretty big story during the race and SPEED did a decent job covering his endeavors. That guy got lucky to snag a top-5 after his speeding penalties. I think the broadcast booth did want Elliott to keep himself up front, and this manifested itself in legitimate woe when he got busted speeding for the second time. Gotta be careful with that. People might take it to mean something else.
Post-race coverage was quite decent. SPEED provided viewers with seven post-race driver interviews, plus an interview with the winning crew chief, Rudy Puegle (Note: SPEED didn’t display Puegle’s name on the screen, so I’m actually guessing at it’s spelling). There was a check of the point standings, along with some analysis before SPEED left the air.
Overall, I liked the coverage on Friday evening. There was a fair amount of coverage to teams throughout the field. However, there was nowhere near the same focus on interlopers here because there was really only one of them (Kyle Busch) in the field. That allows SPEED to provide viewers with a more inclusive broadcast. With a fully standalone weekend in Iowa, we’ll see what ESPN can do without Busch, Matt Kenseth and other Cup drivers stealing the spotlight.
5-Hour Energy 200
On Saturday afternoon, the Nationwide Series went at it. Let’s see how it went on the high banks.
The primary feature during Countdown was a nice piece with Sam Hornish, Jr. Nicole Briscoe traveled to his home for the one-on-one interview, which covered Hornish’s move away from IndyCar to NASCAR, the struggles that he’s had, and how that affected him as a driver. It was an interesting piece. The interesting notion is that Hornish didn’t really feel pressure to perform at first. However, after a rookie year that saw him have to qualify on speed for nearly the entire season, it started to get to him. Like some other drivers, Hornish is a private person. The conflict with Jimmie Johnson, referenced here, is just one example of that.
Briscoe stated that Hornish says he doesn’t have to prove anything anymore. He’s racing for himself. That’s an interesting notion there.
Unfortunately, aside from the Hornish feature, much of the discussion was based around the exploits of Kyle Busch and how he can seemingly do no wrong. It’s getting quite ridiculous by now. It says a lot that Briscoe and Brad Daugherty gave the solid Ricky Craven “the field” when they did their picks for the race.
Even in the race, Busch can seemingly do no wrong on track. There was a lot of focus given to Busch during the race. Once he took the lead, everyone simply resigned to the fact that Busch was going to win again. Granted, that didn’t happen, but it shows that something is seriously wrong here. Especially since Busch isn’t full-time in the series.
ESPN’s special guest this week was Brad Keselowski, someone that I personally think would make a great booth analyst. During the 70 or so laps that he was there, Keselowski actually fit naturally into the flow of commentary. That is a rarity for a special guest. Keselowski did not cut off any of the ESPN regulars in the booth, but was able to add in his commentary quite easily. I thought that he actually fit in better than Carl Edwards. Obviously, I don’t think that Keselowski would like to do it regularly until after he retires, but he brings a different feel to a race telecast. I think I like it.
Post-race coverage was a little longer than normal since the race ended early. As a result, ESPN brought viewers nine post-race interviews. However, once again, they refrained from showing viewers the point standings. Yes, they did state (during his interview) that Regan Smith was still in the points lead, but they had all the time in the world to slap a graphic up there and just chose not to do it.
ESPN is still too zeroed in on a few specific teams in their coverage. Such extremely limited focus hurts the series as a whole because potential sponsors don’t see any potential value in getting involved with the sport. On Saturday, I think maybe eight cars got a decent amount of coverage. Points leader Regan Smith wasn’t really among those eight. There are a couple of drivers (Alex Bowman, Parker Kligerman, Austin Dillon) that ESPN believes are the young guns, there’s the Cup guys, the championship contenders, and then everyone else.
FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks
On Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series returned to action in FOX’s final race of the season.
The telecast started out with what felt like a heartfelt apology for the issue with the nylon rope in Charlotte from Chris Myers. In addition, ESPN.com’s David Newton reported Sunday that NASCAR on FOX Executive Producer Artie Kempner attended the driver’s meeting prior to the race and formally apologized for the nylon rope issue. According to the Charlotte Observer, CAMCAT claimed on Thursday that mechanical parts on the CAMCAT itself did not cause the failure. In addition, they’ll likely conclude their investigation by the end of this week. We’ll report on their findings when the results become available.
The primary feature during pre-race was a look at Matt Kenseth, through the lens of his colleagues on track. As many of you know, Kenseth has the reputation of being a very quiet, boring kind of guy. It was his quiet, methodical domination of the 2003 season that was partially responsible for the creation of the much-derided Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, much like Jimmie Johnson, who is often accused of being vanilla, Kenseth has a dry sense of humor as well. Viewers were treated to drivers such as Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Mark Martin and more giving their opinions of Kenseth as a man.
The takeaway here is that Kenseth is definitely the quiet type until he wins. Then, the animal comes out to play. I thought this was interesting. Unlike drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, the Busch brothers, or even Clint Bowyer, we really don’t know much about Kenseth. He just goes about his business for the most part.
In addition, since we were in Dover, FOX showed a piece about the Drive for Autism Golf Tournament, the yearly charity golf outing hosted by Kempner to raise money for Autism Awareness. Kempner, a variety of drivers (including Jamie McMurray) and other notables who attended raised a total of $4 million for charity.
I still believe that FOX doesn’t involve their pit reporters enough with pre-race coverage. The only interviews conducted were Carl Edwards’ with Myers and the Waltrips in the “Hotel,” and Michael Waltrip’s Grid Walk. I feel like we’re missing out on some information that way. Speaking of the Grid Walk, FOX gave Michael a head-cam on Sunday. Yes, they’re fulfilling their promise to take advantage of their available technology, but was that really necessary?
I have to note here that there was quite a bit of nasty weather here in the Albany, NY area on Sunday. Because of that, there were three separate times when the coverage was cut into by live weather reports due to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. That bites, but it’s life. I can’t do anything about it and there’s a good chance that you guys didn’t deal with that. The Ryan Newman-David Gilliland crash occurred during the third of these cut-ins. There were also segments with the race sound muted due to EAS (Emergency Alert System) notifications. As a result, I felt lost for part of the race, just because of circumstances.
FOX didn’t show us anywhere near as much racing or position as there probably was. That never fails to bite. In the first half of the race, there was a substantial amount of coverage given to Joe Gibbs Racing’s three Toyotas. I know they’re quite strong, but there are other people out there.
Kenseth’s blown engine was undoubtedly a big story on Sunday. He was leading the race and all of a sudden, his car turns traitor on him. FOX provided him a substantial amount of coverage, aided by the fact that the caution came out. Jeff Hammond interviewed him and he was dejected as heck. When Travis Kvapil blew his engine shortly after the restart, we couldn’t get a picture of that. Mike Joy described what happened to Kvapil, and that’s all we got. I wasn’t necessarily expecting NASCAR to throw another yellow, At least give viewers a visual, FOX. This is not radio. Of course, having said that, a couple of laps after Kvapil’s engine blew, the second weather cut-in occurred. Perhaps we got a little more coverage during those three minutes that Albany’s FOX affiliate left the telecast.
Apparently, Timmy Hill also hit the wall around the time that Martin Truex, Jr.‘s engine blew. However, we never saw any video of that. Also, note that FOX was giving Truex dap when the engine died. Talk about some bad luck. Reminds me a little of when Carl Edwards had his engine problems in the 2009 Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix. Granted, it wasn’t anywhere near that bad because FOX was able to at least catch themselves before taking a commercial break. Gotta listen to your headset.
For your information, pit reporters have radio chatter in one of their ears during the race (they hear instructions from the Production trucks in the other), and I think they would have been able to pick up on it.
Post-race coverage was about average. There were four post-race driver interviews and checks of the unofficial results and point standings. In addition, there was some post-race analysis from both the “Hotel” and the broadcast booth while everyone on the production team down to the Maintenance people were credited in the scroll.
With a couple of exceptions, Dover’s races have become a lot more predictable ever since the track was concreted for the 1995 season. The events often turn into runaways. When that happens, the network televising the race must do a good job to give updates on teams throughout the field and show as many battles as they can. FOX did ok with updating the field. There were a couple of drop backs throughout the entire lead lap. The battle coverage was just ok. However, I would also suggest making a point of talking about everyone in the field and how they’re doing at some point in the race. This is something that TNN used to do in the late 1990’s when Eli Gold was doing play-by-play there.
It should be noted that potential issues with the TRD Engines was a big storyline entering the race, and sure enough, it bit some contenders. Some dap must be given for an important storyline that was fleshed out before the race began.
Since Dover is the final race of FOX’s portion of the season, it is now time to review what FOX has provided us. I’ll be taking up that task in this week’s Critic’s Annex.
That’s it for this week. Next week is the first real split weekend of the season. The Sprint Cup Series will be at Pocono Raceway for their first visit of the season with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards as support. The Camping World Truck Series will be racing Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway as support to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Finally, the Nationwide Series will make their first visit of the season to Iowa Speedway. Also, Formula One travels to Montreal for the Grand Prix of Canada. It’s a stacked weekend.
Tuesday, June 4
Time Telecast Network
Wednesday, June 5
Time Telecast Network
Thursday, June 6
Time Telecast Network
Friday, June 7
Time Telecast Network
Saturday, June 8
Time Telecast Network
Sunday, June 9
Time Telecast Network
Monday, June 10
Time Telecast Network
*- Tape Delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch.
In a press release, TNT has promised that they will follow one driver around each week in the lead up to the race for a feature. For Pocono this weekend, it will be Denny Hamlin. Admittedly, such a feature might be new to TNT, but it is something that ESPN did a lot of in the fall of 2010, starting with the five-episode run of Racing Shotgun: Kyle Busch. I think you guys remember that show. We’ll definitely take a look at it and give some thoughts next week.
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Here’s hoping the TNT crew can find, and show, the debris when the caution comes out to bunch up the field or keep the top drivers from going a lap down.
Sal, I don’t think anyone can see that debris except NASCAR. I also think TNT does the best job of coverage between the 3 networks.
Now that the Faux infomercials are over, maybe just maybe we can see some actual racing. Providing TNT jettisons the script from Daytona Beach on what will and won’t be shown.
“FOX didn’t show us anywhere near as much racing or position as there probably was.”
That comment has been posted for years, probably since Fox started telecasting the “race”.
The Waltrip’s on FOX, see ya, not going to miss ya! Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, good riddance boys!