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 · Monday September 2, 2013
Hello, race fans. Welcome back to another edition of Couch Potato Tuesday. This weekend was quite the doozy. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were both in action at Atlanta Motor Speedway for their one visit. Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series made their first-ever visit to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport) in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Chevrolet Silverado 250
On Sunday afternoon, the Camping World Truck Series held their very first race outside of the United States at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. How did FOX Sports 1 do in their first-ever road course telecast for the series?
There wasn’t all that much on the Setup as far as features went. Max Papis (pre-face slap) took viewers for a tour of the 2.459 mile circuit in a Chevrolet Corvette emblazoned with Sport Clips logos. Since there was absolutely no coverage from Bowmanville except for the race, I think that this was necessary. As much as I don’t like to admit it, there might not be as much crossover between fans of different types of racing as I think there is. So, a fair number of the fans watching Sunday’s race from the United States might not be all that familiar with the circuit.
During the race itself, I was missing a lot of stuff. Races for position, incidents, everything. Of all the spins we had Sunday, I think maybe three or four even got replays at all. I’m not even talking about the side-by-side replays that we’ve become accustomed to, but anything at all. Seems like FOX Sports 1 really skimped on their production crew for this week. Honestly, it made me think that FOX Sports didn’t use their own production team, but a Canadian crew. Problem is, this race would have aired on SPEED in Canada (it still exists there), so that explanation is out. In addition, the production crew didn’t seem to be the best at planning their commercials to be as inextrusive as possible. We missed a number of cautions coming out and the final stops for a number of the top finishers due to breaks.
Now I know that due to contracts, FOX Sports 1 had to take their commercial break after the checkers. However, we missed so much during that break. Couldn’t they have cut out of the break to show us all the shenanigans that were going on? We did get three post-race interviews and a check of the point standings before they left the air to get to other programming. We did get to see the slap live because it was literally right after Papis finished up his interview with Hermie Sadler. Rick Allen seemed to find the slap troubling. I ended up seeing footage on SportsCenter that was new to me hours after the race. SportsCenter almost never shows highlights of the Camping World Truck Series, so that should tell you something.
Even though Sunday’s race was very exciting and I love the idea of trucks on road courses, FOX Sports 1’s telecast really hurt the race as a whole. I don’t like missing things in race telecasts, and we missed way too much on Sunday. I’m sorry. You screwed yourself, FOX Sports 1.
Great Clips/Grit Chips 300
On Saturday night, the Nationwide Series returned to Atlanta for 300 miles of racing. Once again, Cup drivers dominated the race.
The start of NASCAR Countdown was delayed by 12 minutes, not because of a game running long, but because of ESPN desiring to give more time to College Football Scoreboard. The country was under a split schedule, where some markets got Syracuse-Penn State in the 3:30pm slot on ESPN 2, while others got Mississippi State-Oklahoma State. One of those games ran a little long, hence delaying the scoreboard show. However, unlike the games that preceded it, and the programming afterwards, College Football Scoreboard is a studio show. A highlight show. As far as I’m concerned, it should never take precedence over NASCAR Countdown.
With only 18 minutes (including commercials) to work with, there was only so much that ESPN could do. Here, they did two things. One was to give viewers a good number of pre-race interviews (five). The other portion of the show was dedicated to discussing the announcement of Kyle Larson as the new driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya. For the amount of time that they had, I thought that ESPN did a good job making up for their own network shafting them.
During the race, there wasn’t all that much action for position. First Kyle Busch, then Kevin Harvick, ran away from the field and hid. ESPN had a couple of stories that they were ready to talk about. One was Larson’s move up to Cup. This was discussed at one point not too long before the halfway point.
Another story was the tire issue that Joey Logano had that put him in the wall on Lap 84. I think that ESPN played up the pitting out of sequence a lot more than it needed to be. Compared to what happened on Sunday night, this was nothing. Logano pitted almost immediately after smacking the barrier, then everyone else stopped about eight laps later. Logano hit the wall in an almost flush manner, minimizing the damage on his Discount Tire Ford.
I will state that ESPN did a good job to get viewers a look at the tire that Logano blew shortly after the aforementioned round of green flag stops. That tire is a curious case. They never did state exactly what caused the failure. Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett thought that it was some type of “ply separation” since there didn’t seem to be any evidence of a cut.
Since the race ended relatively quickly Saturday night, there was a good amount of time available for post-race coverage. Unfortunately, ESPN did not take advantage of all the available time. In the time they did use, there were eight post-race interviews, plus a check of the point standings. Only the top-10 finishers were shown in a graphic outside of the scroll, while the rest were confined to the scroll. There was also some post-race analysis from the broadcast booth before ESPN left to get to “College Football Final,” yet another college football highlights show, with 15 minutes left in their timeslot.
Ok, I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t give a hoot about college football, or really, football in general. We’re talking about a sport where injuries just play way too much of a role for me to get into it. However, football highlight shows should never cut into live broadcasts of other sports. I can begrudgingly understand that the dudes that create the schedule slots for college football games have no clue how long the games last, which results in times where the game has a full period left when it should be over. I’m sure that’s going to happen at some point this fall. I just don’t know when.
However, studio shows are not live sporting events. They should not take any precedence over a live sporting event, or even pre-race coverage.
On Sunday night, the Sprint Cup Series returned to Atlanta Motor Speedway for 500 miles of action. ESPN provided live, prime-time coverage.
Due to potential bad weather encroaching on the end of the race, NASCAR decided to move up the start of the race by about 15 minutes. Because of that move, ESPN made the decision to move up the start of NASCAR Countdown by five minutes to 6:55pm EDT. This move was made with only a few minutes of notice.
With a shortened amount of pre-race coverage, NASCAR Countdown ended up being very much Quicken Loans ESPN Pit Studio-center. There was quite a bit of discussion about the upcoming Chase and how Atlanta would play a big role as to who would get in (ultimately, that was true). In a taped piece, Petree talked about the new dual zone tires that debuted in the Sprint Cup Series Sunday night. Petree showed that most of the tire was in one zone, while the inside shoulder was in another. This was a little different from what I had been led to believe. I thought Petree’s explanation was pretty good, but that it left one thing out. Yes, the dual zone design is based off of passenger tire technology. However, passenger tires like the one Petree used in his description usually have three zones instead of two.
During the race itself, there was a fair amount of tire discussion during the race. However, the tires held up perfectly during the race. Joey Logano was forced off-sequence because his rear tire changer screwed up and left a couple of lug nuts loose, and Matt Kenseth misdiagnosed a tire issue. Those were the only times in which someone pitted for what they thought were tire issues. I think that we’ll see a lot more of these dual zone tires used in Sprint Cup, maybe as early as Chicagoland.
Sunday’s race also saw an increased focus on the upcoming Chase, more than what we saw in Bristol. However, it didn’t necessarily manifest itself in near constant point updates like we’re likely to see next weekend in Richmond.
I thought that ESPN showed a decent amount of racing for position around the cautions. However, at times, they tended to focus on individual cars during the long green flag runs.
I did note two individual things that I liked. ESPN was about to go to a commercial when Clint Bowyer’s engine decided to go up in smoke. They were already playing the music that was going to send them off to commercial when Andy Petree noticed smoke coming from Bowyer’s Camry. This apparently convinced the production staff to hold off on the commercial. Sure enough, Bowyer’s engine let out it’s magic smoke and coated the track with liquid once again. It bites for Clint Bowyer, who later said on live television that he was going to go have a beer, but good for us. We didn’t have to be left in the dark.
Later in the race during one of the long green flag runs, ESPN decided to do updates on the drivers currently on the lead lap (at that time, there were 17 of them). During this fallback, there were a couple of battles for position between cars on the lead lap and ESPN took breaks from their fallback in order to cover them. I thought this was a great idea. Perhaps they should do it a little more often.
Finally, I must note that I had some audio issues that cropped up in the last 35 laps of the race. The audio would cut out for a few seconds, then return like nothing happened. This occurred multiple times late in the race, during post-race coverage, and during SportsCenter after the race.
With ESPN pretty close to the end of their timeslot on Sunday night, there wasn’t all that much post-race coverage. ESPN provided viewers with only three post-race interviews and a check of the points before leaving for the 11:30pm edition of SportsCenter.
Overall, I found the Cup telecast to be the most enjoyable (read: least objectionable) broadcast of the weekend. There was a much wider scope of coverage Sunday night as compared to either the Nationwide or Truck races, plus they actually made a point to try to show us as many people as they could. While the Truck race probably had the best racing, the broadcast was just a mess because of the substandard production values. Maybe they couldn’t get all their equipment up to Canada.
That’s all for this week. Next week, the “Race to the Chase” comes to a head at Richmond International Raceway. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be there. Meanwhile, the Camping World Truck Series will make their second visit of the year to Iowa Speedway. Finally, we have Formula One at Monza in Italy and Grand-Am at Laguna Seca.
Tuesday, September 3
Wednesday, September 4
Thursday, September 5
Friday, September 6
Saturday, September 7
Sunday, September 8
*- Tape Delayed
I will provide critiques of the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races in next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at Frontstretch. The Critic’s Annex will cover Sunday’s wreckfest in Baltimore. Never seen a street racing weekend that had as many incidents as Baltimore.
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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I’m worried about FS1’s Trucks coverage. Last week they didn’t break from commercial to show the final restart at Bristol—this week they’re in commercial during all the postrace chaos and don’t cover it adequately. They seem overly eager to get to all their other shiny new shows even when the Trucks have put on nothing but great races since Speed switched to FS1.
More generally, I feel like the networks are trying to fit the races into smaller timeslots. The Cup race had the start moved up by 15 minutes, it had 9 cautions (about the norm for Atlanta these days) and it still finished over 15 minutes outside its time slot.
FoxSports1 is just another Stick and ball channel like ESPN. Nascar is not on their radar it seems. Race Hub is knocked back to 1/2 hr. and Victory Lane is completely gone.I did send a very polite email to FS1 inquiring about Victory Lane and I got the canned reply, thanking me for my interest and too many emails for them to reply, etc. etc. I think Nascar has really screwed the fans real good this time by extending FS1 contract. No weekly TV content sucks. Many fans don’t have the internet to keep up with the news.
NASCAR is going to get short shrift from all the networks – FS1, even though they have the NASCAR contract for Cup and trucks, wants to up the level of attention paid to other sports.
I watched the end of the truck race and part of the Nationwide race on ESPN (mainly because the weather here was so miserable that going outside wasn’t an option). As usual, there were too many Cup drivers in this race, which is the main reason I no longer bother much with the series. I did watch the Atl Cup race and it was fairly good. I also use twitter & raceview to keep up with what I want to know since most of the time TV doesn’t provide the info.
I’m sure that we’ll be beaten over the head with points as they run all night at Richmond.
I’ve noticed a couple of times watching race shows on FS1 that they will go back to the show in the middle of the comml break. Oops, seconds later they’re back at commls. I saw Danielle Trotta talking to Larry Mac, but it was a conversation they were having during the comml break. The other time it was during Race Day. I can’t remember who was talking to who, but obviously they too were talking during the break. Very amateurish, imo.
I agree with Sue. FS1 is emulating BSPN with their version of Sportscenter running for hours. I guess no more reruns of the races. :( We’re doomed race fans.
I’be been telling all of you that FOX sucked for 4 years. They have lowered the bar BUT people like Phil just keep drinking the kool aid. Idiots.
but i did turn on fs1 and saw the mad max face slap!
I think its time for Nascar fans to accept the fact that College Football, even scoreboard shows, draw more eyeballs than a NW race.
Football is one of ESPN’s bread and butter sports, so it will come first every time. Get used to it. Its only going to get worse once games start going over their time slot.
Not sure why everyone is so upset about missing prerace shows anyway. Their usually garbage anyway. And not having Kenny Wallace tell us what we should like is not necessarily a bad thing.