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 August 27, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast breakdown are the primary main objective. This past week, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were all in action at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Whelen Modifieds serving as the quaternary series.
However, before we start, we’ve got more TV news from the Sports Business Journal. Tripp Mickle and John Ourand are reporting that both ESPN and Turner Sports are looking at getting out of their deals to broadcast NASCAR at the end of this season, which would allow NBC to re-enter NASCAR one year early. Both networks apparently failed to submit a final bid in order to re-up their packages and are in the process of winding down their NASCAR operations and are not receiving a good enough return on their investment to stay in the sport.
ESPN, in particular, is losing quite a bit of money. The first four months of the season, when they only cover the Nationwide Series, is apparently nothing short of a money sinkhole for them. Once they get the Cup Series in July, they can spread out their costs, which are currently at $270 million a year. In addition, ESPN recently reassigned two of their NASCAR beat writers (Terry Blount and David Newton) to cover the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers beats.
Turner Sports essentially no longer has any inroads into the sport. They were already cutting costs this year with the elimination of their portable stage, never actually replacing Lindsay Czarniak when she left to do SportsCenter, and ditching their cutaway car in favor of groveling to teams to use their backup cars. The selling of NASCAR.com (and RaceBuddy) to NASCAR itself was the final straw.
The article states that ESPN and Turner Sports want what amounts to a refund for the final year of the eight-year deal signed in 2005. FOX and NBC want compensation for ESPN and Turner Sports getting out of the deal early. NASCAR is stuck in the middle. Do I think it’s going to happen? Probably not, but I’m not surprised that this is coming out now. There were rumors last year that ESPN wanted out for the same reasons mentioned in the article. In all honesty, I think it’s too late for ESPN and Turner Sports to leave for 2014, but expect additional cuts for next season. NASCAR Now might be even closer to death now than when it was moved to DVR Theater territory.
Steve Herbst, NASCAR’s Vice President of Broadcasting and Production, released a statement in response to the report on behalf of NASCAR as a whole.
“No current or future broadcast partner has presented anything substantive to NASCAR regarding desires to alter any of our TV agreements and/or arrangements,” Herbst said. “We will continue to have open dialogue with all of our broadcast partners and at the end of the day will always do what’s best for them, our track partners, team partners and most importantly, our fans.”
On the part of the TV partners, they’re not saying anything right now. ESPN stated that the report is nothing more than speculation, and thus, they can’t comment on it. Turner Sports just outright declined to comment. We’ll see what ultimately happens in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday night, the Camping World Truck Series returned to Bristol for their annual assault on the concrete high banks. Timothy Peters didn’t lead every lap this time. How did FOX Sports 1 do on this evening? Let’s take a look.
For the Setup, FOX Sports 1 decided to go back to the more normal setup of having Danielle Trotta (subbing for Krista Voda, who is out on maternity leave) at the podium at the end of pit road instead of at the FOX Sports stage. I’m fine with the move back. Seemed like a bit of a radical change and I don’t think it worked best for the telecast.
The major feature of the week was a “Grassroots Beat” piece. Here, Kristen Beat went to Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee to talk to Joey Coulter about racing dirt late models. Coulter considers it to be a fun night at the track, but claims that it doesn’t really help him with his Truck Series racing because it requires a completely different driving style.
During the race telecast, FOX Sports 1 did two things that caught my eye. The first thing was that they failed to provide any kind of replay for the first two incidents to cause cautions. I’ve stated this numerous times here in the past. If you don’t have footage of spins (in this case, they involved Nate Monteith and Brandon Jones), you have to tell the viewers what’s up. They never made any move towards doing that. Please do it. It’s like they didn’t even try.
In addition, FOX Sports 1 chose to focus on only a couple of different stories on the evening. The front of the field was one story. The other one was essentially Kyle Busch. Hooray. If you weren’t involved in one of those two stories, or you didn’t wreck, you were invisible. I know that it’s Bristol and stuff happens fast, but you can’t take such a narrow focus to a race and expect viewers to get the complete picture of what’s going on. It’s weak, man.
Having said that, not everything was bad. Despite their limited focus, FOX Sports 1 did actually make use of their side-by-side setups in order to cover multiple stories at once. That’s not a bad idea and they should do more of that in the future. Previously, the side-by-side setup was used either for replays, or to show multiple battles.
Post-race coverage was fairly extensive since the race ended relatively early. Viewers got eight post-race interviews and a check of the point standings before they left the air at 10pm to get to FOX Football Daily. I have no idea why they chose not to run the unofficial results outside of the scroll, though. They had the time.
Food City 250
On Friday night, the Nationwide Series returned to Bristol for 250 laps of action. Kyle Busch dominated it…again.
NASCAR Countdown was focused upon pre-race analysis and interviews. No features ran during the show. Instead, we got seven pre-race interviews and a little less analysis than normal. I liked the increased number of interviews. No offense to the individuals that populate the Quicken Loans ESPN Pit Studio, but I’d rather listen to drivers in the event give insight. Also, Brad Daugherty tends to say some strange things in there. For example, he claimed that after Mid-Ohio, Nelson Piquet, Jr. would get wrecked before he finished Lap 1. That didn’t happen, although he did spin on his own to bring out a caution at Lap 105 after brushing the wall.
The race telecast focused quite heavily on Kyle Busch. I know he’s whoopin’ serious tail in the No. 54…again. It never ends. However, there are other stories that need to be covered. For instance, Regan Smith dropped back through the field due to what turned out to be a broken wheel. We saw Smith dropping back due to what they thought was a serious handling issue. Then, ESPN did an Up to Speed in which they mentioned that Smith had to pit and he had a broken wheel. I have no clue when this pit stop occurred. It was in a 30 lap stretch. That’s all I can tell you.
After the race, the following tweet was sent out.
“One more thing… It’s been brought to my attention that some of @ESPNNASCAR thinks its a 3 car race, can’t wait to make them eat crow.”
That tweet was from Smith himself. That’s not good when one of your championship contenders is bad-mouthing your coverage. ESPN must be more inclusive with their coverage. Not every race has to be the Kyle Busch show.
In addition, ESPN struggled to tell the story of just what the heck happened when Brian Vickers and Parker Kligerman crashed. It took something like seven replays to be able to tell what happened. You had the perfect storm of incorrect camera selections, and the cameras selected were zoomed in too close to tell much even if they were the right cameras. It was painful to watch. However, like the Smith-Elliott Sadler incident in Mid-Ohio, we did finally get the full story.
Post-race coverage was decent. ESPN provided viewers with six post-race interviews, plus a check of the point standings before they left the air.
Unfortunately, the telecast left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m sorry, but there are more people out there on the track than Kyle Busch and Sam Hornish, Jr. Last I checked, 40 dudes started this race. It’s as if no one else mattered. As much as ESPN might not realize it, their telecasts are the primary way in which the Nationwide Series is promoted. As sole broadcaster, they can set the tone as to how the series is seen. Right now, that perception is everyone is Arnold Jackson and Kyle Busch is The Gooch (the only difference being that Kyle Busch is seen a lot, while The Gooch is not). That needs to change.
Irwin Tools Night Race
Saturday night saw the Sprint Cup Series return to ABC for their first appearance of 2013. Bristol Motor Speedway was the venue. Yes, Michael Buffer was in the house, inexplicably.
NASCAR Countdown was hosted from the roof of the Media Center in the Infield because the Quicken Loans ESPN Pit Studio is parked outside of the backstretch, and ESPN wanted their analysts closer to the action before the race. I’m not opposed to that.
Pre-race analysis was centered upon who really needed a good run in the race to solidify their position in the Chase, which I suppose is to be expected. There was also a good bit of Kyle Busch chatter since he was going for another three-peat. There were also five pre-race interviews.
Bristol is well known for incidental and intentional contact, and there was some focus given to that. Buffer’s presence was just one aspect. We had montages of past incidents that either involved driver aggression, or caused aggressions, and hyperbole about what was about to take place. However, in recent years, the Bristol night race has been tamed to a degree due to Chase responsibilities. I wasn’t expecting much craziness to happen. What we got was more or less what I expected.
Compared to the Nationwide race, ESPN’s coverage was a lot more inclusive. There were more drivers that were actually covered during the race. ESPN did try to show races for position as much as they could, which is always good.
I must note that Saturday was the night when ESPN adjusted their scroll to show those in, out, or trying like heck to get into the Chase. Chase discussion did come into play in the commentary during the race, but not all that much. In other words, it wasn’t too intrusive. It will get worse on Sunday night.
Even though the telecast was a lot better than what we got Friday night, I do have some thoughts. ESPN didn’t do as good a job as they should have in reporting that Kurt Busch went behind the wall for his hub issues. Of course, it was all over Twitter with fans freaking out and writers making note of it. However, ESPN didn’t note that Kurt had gone to the garage until after he had already come out. That’s not good. Like the girl in the State Farm commercial who can’t get the dollar bill on a fishing hook, You’ve got to be quicker than that. ESPN cannot expect their scroll to do their job for them.
In regards to the Harvick-Hamlin conflict, the broadcast booth was sitting on pins and needles when that happened. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It’s a little similar to when Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya came together at Watkins Glen back in 2007 and Rusty Wallace (then a booth analyst) stated, “Let’s see if they’re gonna fight. I want to see this.” They just didn’t say it. Knowing Bestwick, he just wanted to see how it was going to play out. I know some of my readers are going to accuse Bestwick of trying to play up the drama. However, even though he’s been working races on TV and radio for 30 years, Bestwick’s a fan just like you and me. I’m fine with what he did. Personally, I’m happy that Jamie Little was able to get an interview with Harvick so quickly after the conversation.
Due to time constraints, post-race coverage was a little lacking. ESPN provided four post-race interviews (the top-2 finishers, plus Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, who got wrecked). There was also a check of the points and the top-10 finishers were shown outside the scroll before the coverage ended so that we could get to the 11pm news.
Overall, ESPN did a much better job covering the Cup race than Friday night’s Kyle Busch Invitational that masqueraded as the Food City 250. However, even though things happen fast at Bristol, ESPN must relay information to viewers as quickly as they possibly can. The regular bar graphics can be used to help out in a pinch, if need be.
That’s all for this week. Next weekend, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series make their one visit of the season to Atlanta Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series will make their first-ever trip to Canada for their first visit to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport). In addition, the Izod IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series will make another visit to the bumpy-as-heck Streets of Baltimore, Maryland. Here’s your listings.
Tuesday, August 27
Wednesday, August 28
Thursday, August 29
Friday, August 30
Saturday, August 31
Sunday, September 1
Monday, September 2
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series telecasts for next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. For this week’s edition of the Critic’s Annex, I have earmarked either FOX Sports 2’s telecast of the TitanRoof 135 from Wednesday evening at Bristol (referred to as such since it was time-shortened), or Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma for the Izod IndyCar Series.
If you have a gripe with me, or just want to say something about my critique, feel free to post in the comments below, or contact me through the email address provided on the website in my bio. Also, if you want to “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, please click on the appropriate icons below. Finally, if you would like to contact any of the TV partners personally with an issue regarding their TV coverage from last weekend, please click on the following links:
Note: If you’d like to contact the NBC Sports Network about their coverage of Formula One and/or the Izod IndyCar Series, unfortunately, you’re out of luck. The contact page on their website legitimately cannot be found. Hopefully, they get that fixed right and proper soon.
As always, if you choose to contact the network by email, do so in a courteous manner. Network representatives are far more likely to respond to emails that ask questions politely rather than emails full of rants and vitriol.
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How in the world do we have a bristol nite race with NO v.lane?? There were enough story lines to explore to fill at least an hour!! Fs1 is ajoke as far as racing is concerned,and I’ll no longer pay dish or anyone else for this crap.
I find it quite funny that the first paragraph talks about ESPN losing money on NASCAR and then read further on that the entire Nationwide race was centered on Kyle Busch? Coincidence? I think not.
People are tired of the Kyle Busch show and are looking for other things to do during those races. And his involvement is really hurting the excitement of a good points race.
Too bad ESPN doesn’t see that. For years, they have thought the Cup guys are what people wanted to see. They were way wrong, so I can’t feel bad for them. I hope Nascar doesn’t give them a penny either. They made their bed, now they have to lie in it.
interesting about ESPN & TNT wanting out of their contract. Can’t say I blame them, but that means that if NASCAR won’t allow them an out, the coverage will be even worse than it already is for NASCAR fans.
Considering the lack of coverage of anyone other than KyBu & Sam, do they really wonder why no one is watching the Nationwide series?
GO KYLE GO !!!!!!!
LOL! Drivers like Kyle, Kurt, and Kez are the reason I still tune in to Nascar. Because they remind me of all the great drivers from 20 years ago.
It’s too bad nascar ITSELF isn’t like 20 years ago. Otherwise BSPN wouldn’t be dumping Nascar.
They do like their Kyle Busch, if I was him I would be embarassed. Joey L. got it done too on a part time schedule last year and you didn’t nearly hear a peep about him, funny stuff. They have their favorites. Friday nite was horrible, good racing and we barely heard or saw it. I dare say those drivers were better again than the Sprint Cup drivers. I’m betting “I didn’t know who Kyle Busch was”(or something to that effect) Samatha is thrilled more TV time for her!!!
Phil, I’m pretty sure Regan Smith was referring to what ESPN analysts were saying about the title standings, not the race broadcast.
Sounds like ESPN and Turner signed A-Rod-like contracts.