The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Race Fans Are Ticker-ed Off by Summer Bedgood -- Wednesday February 19, 2014

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NASCAR Mailbox: Race Fans Are Ticker-ed Off

Summer Bedgood · Wednesday February 19, 2014


Ah, it sure was great to have stock cars on the track again in an actual race. Testing was great and all, but there is nothing better than some good competition amongst some of the best drivers in the world. The race was generally well-received by race fans, which was a positive start to a season full of changes. If anything, it bodes well for an exciting Daytona 500, and that’s aside from the fact that the pace car caught on fire.

However, the Sprint Unlimited was hardly the only race this week as the first couple of weeks of February are generally filled with various forms of competition within the Daytona area. One other race that is televised and made available to race fans everywhere is the Daytona “Battle at the Beach”, which showcases drivers from NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Run on Daytona International Speedway’s backstretch on a makeshift short track, it produces some of the best racing we will see all year, regional or otherwise. It puts the spotlight on those who might not otherwise get it and gives anyone who tunes in their money’s worth.

It’s a great reminder to race fans of the roots of this sport. Most importantly, it’s a reminder that there is a future to this sport beyond the current crop of drivers and new round of changes. Many of these drivers are climbing the NASCAR ladder, and are able to showcase their talents because of events like the Battle at the Beach. Even as some doomsday naysayers seem to think that just because they don’t like everything about the sport that somehow it is dying, there is still much interest and many competitors actively trying to break their way into the sport. Aside from the exciting racing, what this race spells for the future is one of the reasons that I was looking so forward to seeing this event again in 2014. I hope it’s a tradition that continues for many more years.

Now onto your questions:

“I’m so excited to have Tony Stewart back! I couldn’t even watch the end of the season last year without him in it. It just wasn’t the same. I know that we fans can’t talk him out of racing in sprint cars again, but are they at least making it safer? I can’t stand the idea of him getting hurt again!” Dalton

Absolutely, and they were a direct reaction to either the wreck that put Stewart out or others that caused the deaths of other drivers. Those changes include three new sets of safety tethers and two driveshaft torque tubes. Stewart sustained a broken leg in a sprint car race at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa when the tube struck his leg as it bounced around during the wreck.

Let’s keep in mind, though, that the injuries and deaths that occurred in sprint car racing were excessive last year, and exceedingly rare. Stewart could run double the sprint car races he did last year and come out completely unscathed without the changes. It was a bad year in general for that form of racing, and you shouldn’t worry about your favorite driver. Racing will always have its risks, but very rarely are the results that negative. There was a time when that sort of year was normal, but that is no longer the case.

”Do you know if there will be a NASCAR game released this year? And if so, when?” Melissa

Speaking of Tony Stewart…

NASCAR 2014 was released on Tuesday, which is the first time that Eutechnyx has released the game prior to the start of the season. Stewart was actually voted by fans to be on the cover of the game, proving that Dale, Jr. fans are not insurmountable when it comes to popularity contests. Honestly, it was one killer cover.

A couple of things about the new game, for those of you who are considering adding it to your collection. First of all, they are adding a free patch to the game to at some point align the game with NASCAR’s new rules. So if you don’t believe those of us who are saying that these changes are going to add a whole new excitement level to the sport, you can try it for yourself before we ever get to the end of the season.

Secondly, Eutechnyx has added a new feature called “NASCAR Challenges”, which places you in the middle of various scenarios from past races and allows you to race them yourselves. No word on whether or not “scratch your arm” is a cheat code in said scenarios.

So, Melissa, no need to mark your calendar. The game is available right now!

“I just wanted to ask what you think of the new timing thing on the screen for Fox Sports. I really hate it. It doesn’t tell how far behind a car is from the one ahead, etc. Are they actually going to use that for the regular races? I sure do hope not. I remember way back that they used to use something like that when NASCAR first was televised. Why go back!!!!!!!!!” Marilyn

Wow. An e-mail from a NASCAR fan saying that they don’t want things the way they were back in the day? It must be the end times.

I tend to agree that I’m not a huge fan of the ticker. The idea of providing more room for racing on the screen sounds like a good idea in theory, but in this case, it’s not an improvement. First of all, this new “box” that Fox Sports has doesn’t provide near the information that the previous ticker did, such as the number of cars on the lead lap or how far back second is from the leader. Even if it took up more space, this is information that fans want to know. Even if it takes up more space, the only information that Fox Sport’s current ticker provides is running order. The previous ticker helped complement the broadcast, though, since the commentators can’t cover every driver at the same time.

With all of the outcry I’ve seen on social media sent directly to Fox Sports 1’s Twitter account, I think it’s fair to say that they will probably change it. NASCAR fans complain about one of things, but the ticker at the top was never one of them. I’m always an advocate for changing things that need to be changed, but this was not one of them and they need to put things back the way they were.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Carl D.
02/19/2014 07:48 AM

Agree…. that ticker has GOT to go.

I’m glad Stewart is back too. I don’t care for him and don’t pull for him, but he sure adds some excitement to the races, especially when he gets wrecked.

02/19/2014 07:55 AM

I hate to burst your bubble, Summer, but the only reason Tony won the Nascar game cover was because Dale Jr took his name out of contention and advertised it on Twitter. If you don’t believe me, check it out.

02/19/2014 07:59 AM

I’ve seen tweets that Fox says they don’t plan to change the ticker back to the top. It wouldn’t surprise me if they refuse to do it. Fox broadcasts have degraded over the past 7 years. It’s now the Waltrip Brothers show and not much to do with actual racing. I usually follow the race with my computer and use the radio feed through that. I get more accurate information and I don’t have to listen to people in the booth being silly, rather than calling the race.

Carl D.
02/19/2014 08:34 AM

GinaV24… I agree with you about Fox refusing to change the ticker back to the top. They don’t care about the fans. I remember how much people hated Digger and Fox kept him around for several years. They’re like Brian France…. they think their ideas are gold and refuse to accept critism.

joe branham
02/19/2014 09:16 AM

get rid of the ticker and the waltrip boys

02/19/2014 11:38 AM

i really couldn’t read the box, even with my glasses on. with ticker, i could read it once i put specs on. box just too annoying! kind of how i feel with foxsports1 channel….everytime i flip to it, they’re doing a football show. i thought football was over til august. maybe i missed something.

02/19/2014 01:13 PM

Carl D, no the TV “partners” don’t care about the fans, any more than NASCAR. NASCAR cares about $ and they make more from the TV money & the various sponsorships they sell than from the fans, so while they will talk about doing things because the fans want it, that is not the driving factor.

Janice, I had enough trouble reading the old ticker with the white text against the background, this “in the way” box ticker tells me even less and is also not useful. Another reason why I use the computer to follow along – even though it means I have to pay for it on top of my cable bill. The really bad programmers at had better have their act together with the scanners for raceview for the 500. The audio didn’t work right for the exhibition race. I expect a program that I am paying $ for to work properly every time.

Jackie Johnson
02/19/2014 03:03 PM

While everyone is bitchin’ about the box versus ticker, I’d like to get rid of the scroll at the bottom. If I wanted to watch or keep up with another sport, I would be on their channel, not watching NASCAR. I’d also like to see less eye candy and more knowledge as commentators and on track folks.

Bill B
02/19/2014 08:50 PM

I’d rather have the scroll with the intervals and laps down. That at least allowed me to keep track of who was gaining positions/time and who was losing time. Some races I followed the ticker more than watch the race.
Funny though. Most of us have the biggest screen tvs we’ve ever had and hi-def on top of it. Yet it’s still annoying when they put crap we don’t want on the screen.

Yep, no doubt the television executives are running NASCAR now. They won’t be happy until they turn it into a reality television show.

02/20/2014 08:36 AM

I thought the new “ticker” box took more screen space away then any top of the screen scroll… That box was in my way trying to watch cars that weren’t in the top 3 spots. It really boggles the mind to think of placing a rather big box with no useful data on the screen. Just look at the NFL presentation, they don’t hinder the viewing with all the stats they scroll…. Once the 24 retires I’m done with NASCAR. Plus somebody complained about the Waltrips, I’m right with you, they offer very little except for the ability to talk about themselves.