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.
Goodness, there has been a lot of breaking news this week, hasn’t there? Austin Dillon is replacing Tony Stewart. Brian Vickers will be a full-time Sprint Cup Series driver next season. Juan Pablo Montoya is out at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the race weekend at Watkins Glen.
Remember when Silly Season used to be over the offseason, making an otherwise quiet couple of months something to keep fans engaged? Now, silly season is yearlong and drivers normally announce that they are leaving a team and where they will be racing the next year over the course of the season.
It creates conversation, sure, but by Wednesday we were already done talking about the race. Instead, it was about Stewart’s replacement and whether or not NASCAR could possibly go on without Juan Pablo Montoya.
Ok, so maybe I exaggerated a little bit there. Still, though, the musical cars game that is played in NASCAR tends to distract us all from the reason we’re all here in the first place: racing. Yes, drivers switching teams do have relevance on track and it’s much more interesting when Driver X crashes in a contract year than when he spins randomly in qualifying.
However, is that really the point? Do we really enjoy gossiping more about who hates who on pit road than watching the cars divebomb into turn three on the last lap? It sometimes feels like the former receives more excitement than the latter.
And don’t you Grumpy Gusses say it’s totally the media’s fault either. Sure we write the headlines and talk about it ourselves, but you still click the links. You still read the and engage with us on social media. It’s why we keep talking about it. Look, I’m just as guilty of any at getting sucked into silly season speculation as opposed to discussing the on-track competition. It’s easy to do.
But, man, we’re all here for the racing. Can’t we just focus on that for a while?
Oh, wait hold that thought …. I have to finish my piece about where Montoya will race next yar.
Now, onto your questions:
“I know Austin Dillon probably thinks he’s getting a great opportunity to drive for Tony Stewart with this deal, but I read he’s missing qualifying to do this. Has he forgotten that he still has a championship to win?” Candice
I think Dillon sees this as a “short term loss, long term gain” situation. His ultimate goal is the Sprint Cup Series, and I think he’d prefer some laps in a Sprint Cup car than participate in a non-points paying on-track part of the weekend in Mid-Ohio.
The only issue I have with that is the fact that road course racing is not by any means a track where qualifying doesn’t matter. Though the Nationwide Series cars aren’t nearly as aero sensitive as the Sprint Cup cars, and road courses aren’t as prone to that type of issue anyway, the layout of road courses make passing in a stock car inherently more difficult. I don’t have to know a lot about Mid-Ohio to know that this will likely be the case this weekend.
However, if Richard Childress Racing, Stewart Haas Racing, and all of the sponsors involved are ok with it, I don’t see any real reason for it to be a big deal to the rest of us.
“Summer, you criticize fans all of the time for complaining too much. So, did you see the video with Humpy Wheeler? He says the same things we are!! Are you really going to tell HIM he’s wrong?? PAY ATTENTION!!” Robert
I saw his comments, Robert, yes, and you may be shocked to find out I don’t fully disagree with him. Though I wasn’t a regular NASCAR viewer in the ’90s, I know enough about the history of the sport to know that the popularity of the sport soared in the 90s and, to an extent, the early 2000s. Everything was looking up in the sport at that time.
He said that everyone saw the sport as too “country” (redneck, basically) and that many thought the sport needed to be cultured and more relatable to the everyday American, and went on to say that those people were wrong.
I agree with him. Though I know that, as a business, your goal is to reach and appeal to as many people as possible, there is something to be said about reaching out to your base. Sometimes certain products appeal to certain demographics more than others, and stock car racing just happens to appeal to a Southern white male audience more than anyone else. It doesn’t make it racist, stupid, or white trash. It’s just that, for whatever reason, it’s appealed to those kinds of people. But because NASCAR stuck with them and didn’t care what the rest of the world thought, it grew in popularity and more people gained interest. Now, I know NASCAR fans of different genders, ethnicities, and from all around the country—even around the world!
They screwed up when they tried to go further and made their base feel like they weren’t important anymore. In other words, when NASCAR grew, they changed in order to try and keep those fans who were giving it another look.
It would be like the hip hop music industry going to play in front of a Starbuck’s to bring in the white girl crowd. It just doesn’t work.
Now, where I get critical with the fans is when the constant bitching in spite of a good product continues. People complain incessantly about the chase, but it’s given us some great championship battles that would have otherwise sucked. Jimmie Johnson wins the 2013 championship this year, no matter what, without the Chase. It’s already over and there are still 14 races left. Heck, it was over way before that, but it’s certainly over now.
The 2011 championship wouldn’t have come down to a tie on the last lap of the race without the Chase. Last year’s championship had its moments.
The Chase has its flaws. I’ll admit that. But you take what you can get, and the fact is the product it has created has been heads and shoulders above what it had been before then in some cases.
Also, calling every single race boring or flipping out when Jimmie Johnson wins gets old too. That’s where my criticism comes from, not that NASCAR has tried to get away from its core fan base. I agree with that part completely.
In other words, I thought Humpy Wheeler was right and I loved his ideas about more points for winning and passing. I’ve expressed similar ideas before, and I’d love to see Wheeler in a leadership role in NASCAR to bring some of these ideas to fruition.
However, saying I’m not paying attention is ignorant. I enjoy the races because I look for reasons to enjoy them. Sometimes it feels like fans look for a reason to complain.
“What is Mark Martin doing next year now that Vickers has his ride?” Jeannie
Michael Waltrip Racing never said whether or not Mark Martin would be with the organization next year, though Waltrip did say during the Vickers announcement that they still wanted him to be a part of the company.
I haven’t heard Martin say he’s ready to hang up his helmet just yet, though, so another part-time schedule wouldn’t be surprising. I’m not sure if it will be with MWR or not, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see MWR pull another sponsorship miracle out of a hat. I know Waltrip wants to run the Daytona 500 and is looking for sponsorship there, so perhaps he and Martin will share a ride next season.
Then again, maybe Martin has another offer from somebody. I can’t imagine with who, but stranger things have happened in this sport.
Rest assured, though, Martin isn’t done with racing until he says so. And he hasn’t. All signs point to Martin being a part of NASCAR in some capacity for a while now.
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It’s great to see someone like Humpy saying what the regular joe’s are saying. We need more “big names” to step up and talk about these issues too.
Yep….“SIX TIME!” is on the way. The very LAST THING nascar needs…especially now.
If I were an owner and my car(s) were say 17th or lower in points, I would treat every race from now on as a true complete test session like I wasn’t in the race at all. If you don’t make the chase nothing else matters…not even winning a race matters. The sponsor likes it sure, but I would spend time just testing for the next year.
I agree with a lot of Humpy’s points and the tone of his video. However, I don’t think gimmicking up races with points for passes or for repassing the leader is the answer.
Looking at this as a Northerner, I sympathize with Southern/Traditional fans in the way NASCAR treated them in the 90s and 2000s. I understand the need for NASCAR to reach out to new audiences and markets, but at times they really stuck it to Southern fans. The biggest sin was eliminating the Southern 500 on Labor Day. Also, bloating the schedule with 1.5 mile race tracks didn’t help.
However, Humpy should remember that his former employer is just as responsible for some of the “changing of NASCAR” as NASCAR/ISC or Corporate Sponsors were. SMI and Bruton Smith were the ones that teamed up with NHMS to buy and shutter North Wilksboro. It was a Texas Motor Speedway shareholder that sued NASCAR/ISC. Rockingham ended up being part of the sacrifice needed to settle that. Hopefully, though this spurs a little more of the get back to the roots efforts in NASCAR.
I agree with Humpy’s comments for the most part. I also agree that NASCAR’s decision to abandon its major fan base in order to pursue the casual fan was a dumb idea. It would have taken someone smarter than BZF to balance things so that NASCAR could have appealed to both. Instead, they got away from tracks where the racing was interesting and put a spec car and a playoffs into the mix. It has taken a while, but slowly but surely the fans HAVE spoken, by not going to races or even watching on TV.
Summer, also I disagree with your comment about the chase and saying it’s OK to just take what you can get. No,it isn’t. Why should the fans settle? It’s pretty obvious that a lot of fans don’t like the chase and NASCAR and in particular Brian France continues to act as if that isn’t the case.
Also many of the media for a lot of years have been so quick to tell the fans that they just didn’t understand or were downright stupid because they didn’t like things, that also became a turn off for many fans and that includes you. The fans are allowed to have their opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. I stopped watching RaceDay because I was tired of Kenny Wallace’s shtick about “listen up race fans” where he would then tell all of the fans what we SHOULD, in his opinion, be thinking.
Sorry, but I’m capable of thinking for myself AND making up my own mind about what I like or don’t. I don’t need NASCAR, the media or even my favorite driver, telling me anything but facts.
NASCAR caved into TVs demand for a “more exciting” championship hunt because Matt Kenseth did his deal. Personally, I want to see the championship decided over the full season. This 10 race nonsense with the first 26 races devoted to seeding the top 10 has made watching a race a lot less fun.
Yes, Johnson would have it wrapped up this year, but he wouldn’t have for the other years. Plus, since the TV guys got what they wanted and ignore anyone who isn’t IN the chosen dozen, that leaves a lot of fans having NO reason to bother watching. I know that if my favorite isn’t in the chase these days, I have no reason to care about the last 10 races at all.
It’s the law of unintended consequences and NASCAR has reaped what they have sown.
I am tired of the media and Nascar telling me that I am stupid and I don’t “get it” because I am not buying the bull they are selling. My love affair with racing and following Nascar goes back to the 70’s. The Chase is one of the biggest problems facing Nascar right now. The insanely dumb format is an insult to true fans. Let them race till Homestead. I don’t agree with all Humpy said but at least he threw it out there. You don’t need gimmicks, you need RACING. Which is not what we have today most of the time, we have follow the leader.
“Now, where I get critical with the fans is when the constant bitching in spite of a good product continues.”
Would that be the good product where the cars aero design translates into little passing for the lead? Or the good product where drivers point-race for basically two-thirds of the season? Or maybe it’s a good product because of all those intermediate tracks on the schedule and the exciting races they so often produce.
I’ve been watching Nascar for most of my 54 years and I have a license to bitch. I bitch not because I hate the sport, but because I love it. I bitch because I know it could be managed better someone more competent than the current boss and by someone who cares as much about the sport as I do, and not someone concerned solely about how fat their wallet is. I think Humpy for the most part understands where we “complainers” are coming from.
And yes I bitch about Jimmy Johnson. I’ve also said it’s up to other teams to step up and beat him and Chad. Hell, it’s been done the last two years, and it may happen again this year. I sure hope so. I agree that some people go overboard with their complaining, but I think the majority of the fans are just tired of seeing the same team win so much. That’s only natural and that’s part of what makes the sport what it is. Fifteen years ago it was Jeff Gordon, today it’s Jimmie Johnson. Hey, I remember when everyone outside of the state of State of South Carolina hated Cale Yarborough’s guts. A few still do, but they all live in Alabama and so we just dismiss them as ignorant and tasteless. (Okay I’m just kidding there… My son-in-law is from ‘Bama. Roll Tide!)
I agree that Mark Martin will probably continue to race for a while. Bobby Labonte is probably done, which is a shame but at least he has a championship. Mark and Jeff Burton will retire without one, but I’m pretty sure they won’t lose any sleep over it.
Brian France reminds me of the kid that goes off to get his degree at a fancy school and is embarassed to tell his friends he grew up in a shack and his Daddy drinks domestic beer. NASCAR didn’t have to alienate their base to attract a fan in NYC, but they did it anyhow. I disagree that you have to change to attract a different demo…put on a good show and the people will come. Trust me, I know. I’m not a redneck and I found this sport on my own before they targeted me. Back when the sport was fun. Humpy is 100% right. Passion is NOT allowed in a corporation; compliance and conformity is required. The sport is boring. Jimmie Johnson wins and you get an over rehearsed litany of sponsor thanks. He’s “corporately inclined” and then some. That little HBO series he did was a nice attempt to show he was indeed edgy but that lasted, what, 4 weeks? Bah! We need drama, tears and villians and we do not need the Waltrips and analysts like you telling us how to think and pronouncing us annoying when we dissent.
Summer, with all due respect, if you weren’t around even in the 90’s then there’s a lot you just can’t understand what NASCAR once was and why the fans brought it to it’s height. What you know NASCAR to be is what has been made with enormous funding from companies, engineers instead of innovators, Brian France throwing away the fans that made NASCAR. How’s that working for him?
I’ve been a fan since the early 60’s, have been a part of of a Busch championship team, held a NASCAR mechanics license, I’ve been there and seen both sides, the rise and decline.
Humpy Wheeler is spot on, except maybe adding more points for whatever. To what he said I’ll add this, the “chase” makes the championship less than what it should be. Nothing about it makes the season better, NOTHING.
When the Junior Johnsons, Smokey Yunick’s were replaced by 7 post rigs, software, engineers, the fans which held those men as kind of hero’s lost just as much as they lost when Richard,Cale,Bobby,Dale sr., moved on. Those fans moved on especially when France openly made it known that he wasn’t interested in them anyway.
In my opinion NASCAR will never be again what it once was. A major reason for that lies with Brian France, the CEO that doesn’t care enough about the sport his family led to even attend his own show. He has distanced himself from the sport and the fans are following his lead. I can remember Big Bill getting out of his sick bed, getting in his car and driving to a race to settle an issue that Bill Jr. couldn’t settle. He cared about his show, it was his life, his Grandson is more interested in counting money ($534K) and thinking about glass dashboards. He just seems hell bent on proving himself to be a fool, albeit a really rich one.
Personally I think one step to bringing NASCAR back would be to eliminate all engineers, all software and computers, limit teams to two and no brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, friends, listed for owners of teams that they don’t own anyway. Throw out the stupid chase. Two teams out of one campus and one owner. Give the cars back to the crew chiefs and drivers. Spread the wealth. Oop’s, wouldn’t that lead to real parity?
Right on to all the responders of this article. I am glad to know what I suspected that Miss Summer has not been around that long, it explains alot!!!!!
Summer, your use of the word “product” throughout your article clearly illustrates your lack of understanding as to the damage NASCAR has done to the sport, (not product), as well NASCAR’s disconnect as to the issues to the sports, (not product), current decline. I suggest you spend some time and immerse yourself into the history of NASCAR, perhaps watch a few races from the 80’s and early 90’s. Simple example: Many race fans still support their local short-tracks yet NASCAR continues to move away from short-tracks because they do not seat as many fans. It is this type of short-term thinking that turns off old fans and discourages new fans.
I’ve been in the heart of this sport for 50+ years. I’ve never seen something go so wrong as it has in the last few years. NA$CAR has been turned over to the “marketing geniusry” by France & Helton. All individuals involved have been designated partners and are only concerned for what benefits them. This is true for promoters, owners, drivers, crew chiefs, et al. The Chase has killed racing for the checkered flag. Everyone is points racing.
Maybe the NA$CAR entramanures should take a look at Duck Dynasty for a marketing model for what we rustics will support.
While echoing most of the responses above I have to laugh at the “limiting 2 cars per team”. No fake owners and no satellites teams. Just think about that. We are down to about 5 teams making engines (and chassis too?). What would happen in the short run if only 10 of those teams (5 × 2) could use them. How would a team like Stewart Haas get an engine building program together in a couple of years? How would the Toyota TRD deal work?
Carl D and nekked, you said it right.
Geez,if I’m supposed to pay the tab to see the races and for my cable bill, then yeah, I’m going to “bitch” if I don’t like the product. This nonsense has been going on since BZF took over and everyone, including the tracks did their best to gouge as much money as they possibly could from the fans by demanding we all buy ticket packages – even if it wasn’t for the race we wanted to see. Now, they are having to take seats OUT of the stands because the fans got wise to the fact that the “product” wasn’t a good value any longer.
Just like any company that messes with its products or customers too much – first they complain and if no one listens, they go somewhere else.
Sound familiar, Summer?