Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 "Sold" Off
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 23, 2014
After a week of uncertainty, Swan Racing’s two teams will show up at Richmond Friday night after a combination of mergers and acquisitions have kept the two teams up and running. The moves, announced in a press release Wednesday will keep rookie Cole Whitt behind the wheel of the No. 26 while J.J. Yeley moves into the No. 30, replacing Parker Kligerman effective immediately.
The solution for Whitt was rather simple: Swan co-owner Anthony Marlowe merged his portion of ownership into a deal with BK Racing. That team will now expand to three cars, with Whitt running full-time (for now) alongside fellow rookies Alex Bowman (No. 23) and Ryan Truex (No. 83). The move will also keep former Swan employees working full-time, rehired by BK as enough money was gathered up to keep the No. 26 up and running. Whitt, who has a best run of 18th this season (Fontana) will remain competing with his crew essentially intact.
“I respect Brandon Davis and everything he has done for the Swan Racing Company,” said Marlowe in the release. “Looking forward, my mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season. My friend Ron Devine and the BK Ownership group really stepped up to enable me to keep the No. 26 on the track. Cole and Randy [Cox, crew chief] are off to an auspicious start in 2014 for a new Cup Team and we are gearing up for Richmond. In addition to the No. 26 team’s performance so far this year, the new ‘win and you’re in’ system and qualifying rules were motivating and positive factors in my continued investment in NASCAR.”
As for Swan’s No. 30, the equipment has been sold to Johnathan Cohen and his Xxxtreme Motorsports operation. That team, which has yet to make a race this season with J.J. Yeley will now run that No. 30 with their own Chevys before switching to the new Swan equipment (plus their old number, 44) beginning at Talladega. It’s an opportunity for them to gain speed and perhaps run a full race. Xxxtreme, with patchwork funding has yet to run more than 66 laps in any Cup event, start-and-parking in every race it’s made since making a go at NASCAR’s top level in mid-2012.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity in our organization,” Cohen tweeted after the purchase. “But today, made a big step in the right direction.”
Co-owner Brandon Davis, who had been MIA before Tuesday’s public announcement praised both Marlowe and Cohen in helping keep the equipment, former employees, and one of his two drivers afloat while Swan searches for funding to keep racing.
“Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts,” he said in a statement, later reiterating those points on SIRIUS XM Radio. “It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. I am very relieved to know that the Nos. 26 and 30 teams will be in good hands and will continue to compete the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me.”
So what happens to Swan’s other rookie, Parker Kligerman? Davis has retained Kligerman’s contract, and while the team has officially suspended operations he’s actively searching for funding to get the No. 30 back on track. Should it happen, it’ll be a one-car program with Kligerman at the wheel despite an ugly start that left the first-year driver 38th in series points.
“We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties,” Davis said of Kligerman. “Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us [18th at Texas], and we are certain of his success in the future.”
The driver, in his response left the door open to run for other programs. Swan, which has partnered with celebrities like the NFL’s Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent may be able to parlay those connections into funding that gets Kligerman into another car in the meantime.
“Although it’s unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I’m confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team,” said Kligerman. “I value the relationship that I’ve had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be.”
Connect with Tom!
Daniel Suarez to Make Nationwide Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday April 22, 2014
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday morning that NASCAR Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez will make his Nationwide Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship will be provided by Silent Circle, a global service that allows for the sending of encrypted communications and Telcel, a Mexican telecommunications company.
Suarez is thrilled to have the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to make my NASCAR Nationwide Series debut,” Suarez said in a press release. “I want to thank Telcel and Silent Circle for believing in me and making this a reality. I can’t wait for Friday night in Richmond.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs is very excited to have an up and coming talent such as Suarez in the fold.
“Daniel is certainly someone that has proven to have a lot of talent and we are thrilled this was able to come together and allow him to make his debut at Richmond,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s exciting when you look at the young talent our sport has right now and we certainly feel that Daniel is going to be part of the future for NASCAR.”
For Suarez, the 2014 season has been very successful so far. He started tke K&N Pro Series East season with two wins in three days in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL (as part of the UNOH Battle at the Beach). Despite a crash at Bristol, Suarez still ranks second in points behind Ben Rhodes. In the Toyota Series, Suarez came from behind to win the season opening Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway in front of all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Another win in Chiapas and a second-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s oval gives him a nine point lead over Antonio Perez.
This will be a very busy weekend for Suarez. With the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to South Boston Speedway this year, the K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 will be held immediately after the conclusion of the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250. In addition, the Toyota Series will have their fourth race of the season at the Autodromo de Monterrey in Suarez’s hometown on Sunday.
Gene Haas' Formula One License Application Accepted By FIA
posted by Phil Allaway
Friday April 11, 2014
This morning, the FIA announced that the license application submitted by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas had officially been accepted. As a result, provided that everything comes together financially and technically, Haas’ new Formula One team will have a spot on the grid at the start of the 2015 season.
Upon receiving the news this morning, Haas released the following statement.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas wrote. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.”
“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”
Haas’ team would be the 12th team on the Formula One grid for the 2015 season if all the current teams return. Much like the failed USF1 team that Peter Windsor was involved with, the team would partially be based in North Carolina with an additional European base.
Stewart-Haas Racing is setting up a press conference for Monday to further discuss the move. We’ll have more information here at Frontstretch as soon as it becomes available.
Speeds Approach 220 MPH At Michigan Test
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Goodyear held the second and final day of their tire test at Michigan International Speedway. The overall goal of the test was so teams could come up with a solution that would encourage better racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval, while at the same time allowing for a compound that would not blister.
Much of the headlines from the test seemed to stem from high speeds reported. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted a computer readout that stated he reached 215.2 mph. Clint Bowyer went a little bit faster at 217 mph, which Bowyer later described as “whites-in-your-eyes fast.” Greg Biffle told ESPN’s Shannon Spake on NASCAR Now that he reached 220 mph and a 204 mph average.
Despite the high speeds, the drivers who tested Tuesday and Wednesday believe that there will be better racing this year in the Irish Hills. Michigan winters are a bit harsher than in most locales on the Sprint Cup calendar. As a result, there is more weathering from year to year.
Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be quite happy with the track.
“I enjoy racing here,” the two-time Michigan winner said. “It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”
As is the norm for Goodyear tire tests, no official speeds were announced. However, Earnhardt Jr. stated in the Media Center that while he was going anywhere from 212-215 mph at the end of the frontstretch, he was only dropping down to 180 or so in the turns.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman echoed Earnhardt Jr.’s sentiment when asked about the track surface. They expect the track to support multiple grooves for racing when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return in June.
As for track management, they definitely appear to like the high speeds. Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis spent part of Wednesday retweeting top speed posts. However, Curtis understands that going fast is not the only thing that matters.
“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome,” Curtis said. “The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition…”
Since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season, the number of lead changes at Michigan International Speedway has been relatively flat with the years before the repave. However, the number of cautions are up as well, which can skew the lead change numbers a little. Complaints have come more from a rock hard tire compound, made by Goodyear for safety reasons which has made passing more difficult and actual “wear” (which leads to speed dropoff) hard to come by.
Sherwin-Williams To Sponsor No. 51 Cup Car At Darlington
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, HScott Motorsports announced that Sherwin-Williams will serve as the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The No. 51 will primarily be advertising the automotive finishes division, in addition to the AWX Performance Plus Waterborne Refinish System the company makes.
Allgaier is very happy to have Sherwin-Williams onboard.
“I’m thrilled to have Sherwin-Williams on the car at Darlington,” Allgaier said in the press release. “They are a big supporter of HScott Motorsports and NASCAR. I can’t wait drive the No. 51 with the Sherwin-Williams colors on it at one of my favorite tracks.”
Sherwin-Williams has a fairly extensive history in NASCAR. They currently serve as the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR.” Prior to that, the company served as a primary sponsor for a number of cars in what is now the Nationwide Series.
As for Allgaier, Saturday will more than likely be his first career Sprint Cup start at the historic oval. However, in five Nationwide Series starts, Allgaier already has two top-5 and three top-10 finishes. His average result is an excellent 9.8.
Bass Pro Shops Primary Sponsor For Austin Dillon In Two Cup Races
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
Announced Tuesday in a ceremony and car unveiling at their Concord, NC location, Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing made it official that the national outdoor sports retail giant will be the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS for two races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Talladega (May 4th) and Daytona (July 5th).
Bass Pro Shops has been associated with Dillon’s career dating back to 2010, when they sponsored his No. 3 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and also followed Dillon to the Nationwide Series as a sponsor for his No. 3 Chevy Camaro for RCR. The two won a pair of NASCAR championships together, and the retailer has also served as an associate sponsor for Dillon’s car in the NSCS this season.
During the announcement, Bass Pro Shops noted that the retailer has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 1998, when they became an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by legend Dale Earnhardt.
Now, the sponsor is back on the Cup level, paired with the No. 3 once again and hoping to elevate the program to Victory Lane. Already, Dillon has one pole to start the season at Daytona, where he posted a ninth-place finish, his best result to date during this rookie campaign. 21st at Texas last weekend, he’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings.
For the Bojangles’ Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington, Dillon will have Dow Chemical on board as the primary sponsor for the No. 3 car.
Ruud To Sponsor Buescher, No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
RAB Racing announced that Ruud, heating and cooling brand, will be on board the No. 99 Toyota Camry as primary sponsor this weekend at Darlington for the VFW Sport Clips Help-A-Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The brand joins Rheem as a primary sponsor of the car during the 2014 Nationwide Series campaign. Ruud will also sponsor the No. 99 of James Buescher in several other races this season, according to a team statement.
Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is driving full-time for RAB Racing and making the transition from the Truck Series to the NNS this year. The No. 99 team was recently penalized by NASCAR at Bristol for a P3 penalty (illegal weight added to the car improperly, which was lost during the race), which led to crew chief Chris Rice being fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief John Guerra was also placed on probation by the sanctioning body for the incident.
Sitting ninth in points thus far in 2014, Buescher’s best finish this season has been 12th at Phoenix. The 24-year-old, Plano, Texas native has one career win and 14 top-10 finishes in the NNS since his first start in 2008.
Five Sprint Cup Teams Test At MIS For Goodyear
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
After a long winter in Michigan, five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams visited Michigan International Speedway for a Goodyear Tire Test taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prepare for the test, MIS reported having to use the track’s jet dryers to clear and melt snow and ice from the two-mile track.
Due to the snow melt, frost, and rain on Monday night, MIS had to delay the tire test for most of the day because of weepers around the track’s surface. The track crew worked throughout the afternoon to dry up the moisture so that testing could get safely underway. Finally, Greg Biffle took his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion to the asphalt at MIS around 4:00 PM ET as the first driver on track.
In addition to Biffle, Goodyear has scheduled drivers Clint Bowyer; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Newman; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take part in the tire test, which is open to fans from 9 AM to 5 PM today.
Michigan International Speedway is in for a busy summer in the Irish Hills as the track plays host to the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15th, then the Pure Michigan 400 on August 17th.
Logano's Four Tires Triumph Over Jeff Gordon's Two At Texas
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Joey Logano would overcome Mother Nature and a green-white-checkered restart with four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano, with his trip to Victory Lane Monday afternoon also became the seventh different Sprint Cup driver to win in 2014 in as many races.
Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps on the afternoon, appeared to be on his way to a dominating victory until two laps to go. That’s when Kurt Busch blew a left-rear tire on his No. 41 Chevrolet, spraying debris all over the track.
“When you got like 40-something laps after the last pit stop, you got a pretty sizable lead, really all you’re thinking is, ‘Where is the white flag? Where is the white flag?’” Logano said after the race. “Then, you go into turn one, you see the [No.] 41 up against the wall. You’re like, Please no caution, please no caution. Boom, it comes out. You got to be kidding me. You get so mad you can barely control yourself.”
This incident, the third for Busch on the day would set up a decisive yellow-flag pit stop before the final restart. Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team then rolled the dice, jumping from sixth to first with only two tires while Logano and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski would take four. Keselowski, who was second coming in would then get caught speeding while exiting pit road, eliminating him from contention. The Penske Racing driver, after leading 85 laps in his own right dropped to a disappointing 15th on the afternoon.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said, who lost a chance to become the series’ first two-time winner. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road, wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
That left Logano dealing with Gordon and Brian Vickers directly in front on the restart. As the cars accelerated, he wasted no time dispatching Vickers for second and set his sights on the bumper of Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. On the white-flag lap, Logano was able to take advantage of his four fresh tires to get underneath Gordon, clearing him by the exit of Turn 1.
“I mean, coming in sixth, you’re in that position that you can gamble,” said Gordon, who did earn a consolation prize — becoming the Sprint Cup points leader for the first time since the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 (see below). “You’re not going to win it with four tires, you’re not going to win it with none. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off.”
After clearing Gordon, Logano was able to cruise to his fourth career Sprint Cup Series win, his second with Penske in a little over a season with the team. The driver’s confidence is high, stemming from crew chief Todd Gordon whom the 23-year-old was quick to praise after the race.
“He (Todd Gordon) made a last-minute decision to put fuel in it, gave me better balance for what I needed and the guys made the ‘money stop,’” Logano said of the ending. “I was the first guy out with four tires on.”
Behind Logano and Gordon in the top 5 were Kyle Busch in third, followed by Vickers fourth and rookie sensation Kyle Larson in fifth, the only rookie to run inside the top 20. Greg Biffle was sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, while Clint Bowyer earned his second top-10 result in eighth. Paul Menard earned his fourth top 10 in five races, running ninth while pole sitter Tony Stewart rounded out the top 10.
Monday’s race started in bizarre fashion, under a rare, green-yellow flag condition for ten laps to ensure that the 1.5-mile quad-oval was dry and fit for racing. Jet dryers were still on the track during this period to help the process. Unfortunately, the air from the dryers managed to get inside the wheel wells and affect the hood and roof flaps of several cars. Keselowski’s Ford actually ended up with a damaged hood hinge, resulting in four pit stops during this period for repairs. Many additional cars came down pit road to fix the flaps as well. NASCAR allowed the cars affected to make their stops without penalty, provided that they not add fuel or change tires in the process.
Then, shortly after going green Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s day ended prematurely after just 14 laps when he misjudged his positioning and clipped the grass in Texas’ quad-oval. The miscue resulted in the car digging in, popping a wheelie and shooting the No. 88 Chevrolet straight into a SAFER-less wall, resulting in a fiery crash. Not only did that ruin Earnhardt’s day, but it also impacted the race of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson wound up with windshield damage and a bent left-front corner of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Losing multiple laps for repairs, Johnson ended up 25th on the day while Earnhardt Jr. was scored dead last (43rd).
“You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground,” Earnhardt said of the incident. “Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
Kevin Harvick had another fast race car, one capable of going up and taking the lead away from teammate Stewart on Lap 25. However, Harvick’s run of bad luck continued after blowing an engine just a couple of laps later. Harvick ended up 42nd, sitting just 31 points inside the top 30 needed to make the Chase after his win at Phoenix.
A look at the Duck Commander 500 by the numbers. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers, while seven cautions for 49 laps slowed the pace to 134.191 MPH.
Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to legendary Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The Green flag is scheduled for 6:45 PM ET on Saturday night.
Keselowski - Busch Feud And Other Martinsville Sidebars To Follow
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Monday March 31, 2014
Keselowski, Busch Feud
Two former Penske Racing teammates didn’t play the part Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch starting a feud that almost kept the latter from Victory Lane. It all started during the competition caution, on Lap 43 when the two cars made contact on pit road. Keselowski claims Busch turned into him, breaking the front suspension on the Miller Lite Ford in an accident that also included Kasey Kahne.
“I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him and Kurt (Busch) just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us,” Keselowski said inside the garage. “I tell you what, I’m about tired of his recklessness.”
So Keselowski went back on-track, found Busch’s No. 41 car and promptly slammed into its right side. Trying to flatten tires, it seemed the endeavor ultimately failed but still fired up Busch to the point he started ranting inside the car.
“Welp, guess we’re going to get in a fight afterwards,” Busch said. “I’m going to **** that dude’s ****ing face!”
After that, Busch got focused, starting a drive that would end with him in Victory Lane. Keselowski, meanwhile ran 38th and still remained frustrated after the race.
“Tell him come here. I’m right here,” he said when told Busch was OK with fighting. “He knows where I’m at. Leave Victory Lane and we’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity and he’s probably the most talented race car driver, but he’s also one of the dumbest, so put those three together.”
Busch’s response, initially was to downplay the incident. But when pressed in the media center, post-race he finally broke down a bit. Calling the contact by a damaged Keselowski a “punk-ass move,” Busch said he’d be enacting revenge at a time of his choosing.
At press time, Keselowski had calmed down a bit, claiming he wasn’t trying to wreck Busch on Twitter and that the rivalry would not continue into Texas. No penalties from NASCAR, by the way occurred during the race or are expected for either side.
Crafton Claims Rain-Delayed Kroger 250 Victory
Due to Saturday’s complete washout, the Camping World Truck Series held their second race of the season immediately after the Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500 wrapped up. With a 5:30 PM start time, some feared the race would be called early due to darkness. Ultimately, that was not a concern.
In a quick event, Matt Crafton took the lead from local favorite Timothy Peters on Lap 209. From there, Crafton held off the rest of the pack through two green-white-checkered restarts to claim his first career Martinsville grandfather clock.
In the scrum on the final restart, Darrell Wallace, Jr. rose up to second, while rookie Ben Kennedy was third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth while using the front end of his Toyota Tundra in a manner similar to a battering ram. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5 finishers.
For more on Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race, please check out Kelly Crandall’s Tracking the Trucks race recap at Frontstretch.
Tires Fail To Adhere to Track
Goodyear tire engineers stated Sunday that it takes a track temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for their tires to lay down a proper groove in the turns. On Sunday, the track temperature never reached that point during the race. As a result, tire wear was very high on Sunday. Rubber chunks would shear off, early during green-flag runs and gather just outside the racing groove.
Drivers would ask for new tires every 20 laps or so. If there was a caution, nearly the entire field would come in for fresh rubber. There were examples of
“The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles,” said Kenseth, who recovered to run sixth while Stewart wasn’t so lucky (17th). “They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad.”
If the story sounds familiar to readers, it should. Last Fall, track temperatures struggled to reach 80 degrees through much of the race. However, the tire issues that resulted were not quite as severe.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
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Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Tuesday October 6, 2009
Editor’s Note: Have you heard of our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter, delivering more NASCAR news, commentary, trivia, and more right to your inbox every morning? If not, well, it’s time to sell you on it. Today, we’re showcasing the weekly column that resident fan expert S.D. Grady wrote for our newsletter earlier in the week. If you like what you read, well, it’s time to become a newsletter subscriber by clicking here to sign up! One simple move of the mouse, and you’ll be checking out S.D.‘s work in your email inbox every Tuesday; if not, well, who knows when you’ll see her again!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce your Chasers for 2009. That’s right, just take a look at the top 10 of the race running right now, and you’re sure to see such stars as: Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Brad Keselow….
Hey, wait a minute! Keselowski! What are you doing at the front of the race? That’s not part of the script. We can’t be having a rookie stealing the limelight … somebody tell him to get to the back of the pack.
“Mr. Keselowski, could you please not ride the bumper of the Chaser quite so hard? Mr. France would really appreciate you not screwing up his nice shiny playoff.”
OK, OK… I’m probably exaggerating the behind the scenes chit-chat during Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 Presented by Kraft Foods, but I really do wonder by how much.
At the beginning of the 2008 season, NASCAR stated it wanted to let the drivers show their emotions and allow a little more bumpin’ and bangin’ on the track. In other words, let us fans watch some unscripted, honest battles. Officials proceeded to turn blind eyes to on-track shenanigans, pit road brawls, pushing, shoving, swearing… in fact, over the past two years, just about the only thing that garnered penalties citing the dreaded “actions detrimental to stock car racing” were malformed stock cars and tainted urine.
However, there must have been an unwritten caveat to this turnabout in NASCAR’s “let boys be boys” policy. I imagine it goes something like this: “I don’t care who you are, but if you’re not in the Chase, we don’t want to hear from you.”
What other explanation could there be for NASCAR’s warning to Brad Keselowski to be careful while racing Montoya? What? Juan Pablo is a saint? No, but he is in the Chase. And we can’t be having some rookie ruin the cough, cough mesmerizing competition between twelve chosen stars.
Well, the last time I checked, 43 cars qualify to compete in the weekly premier NASCAR event — not twelve. 43 cars have the opportunity to win, right? Well, there is nothing in the rule book that states a rookie driving a fast car has to give any room to a veteran driving a fast car. It does say you can’t intentionally put another driver in the wall … but there’s nothing against messing up his door.
If anybody had the right to warn Brad off the No. 42, it was Tony Eury, Jr., his crew chief, hoping to bring the No. 25 home in one piece. Although when you’re running a limited schedule, the importance of making a good showing might outweigh the longevity of your car, right?
In this movie, the happy ending comes only for a driver with championship dreams. I know the suits in the office suite were just clapping their hands in glee when nine out of ten of the top 10 were Chasers. This is their dream! The cream of the Cup drivers racing all out for the championship… cool. But hey! What about the other 31 cars?
Well, according to the NASCAR Chase Manual, they are not to be heard of. Please don’t put the camera on them (unless it’s Dale Jr.) and tell the booth not to talk about them. The regular season is over, so anything that happens in the lower echelons just isn’t important.
In closing, let’s revisit that 2008 PR release. Maybe it should’ve read something like this:
“We want to let the drivers race hard that we deem to be of interest to the viewing public, the sponsors, and those that compile ratings. Otherwise, we will continue to ensure that no other driver causes any kind of unexpected drama on the track… or off it.”
The bottom line is if NASCAR really wants to ensure a great Chase, with surprising finishes, unexpected twists, and driver’s emotions coming through loud and clear, they need to KEEP QUIET and let those teams do what we want them to do…
Race their hearts out. All 43 of them.
©2000 - 2008 S.D. Grady and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
NASCAR always does it’s best job when it can just keep it’s mouth shut!
They never told Swervin Irvan to be careful at Atlanta back in ’93, did they.
It’s easy to call NASCAR out for asking Keselowski to show restraint when racing the chasers. However, I bet most of us would be saying the same thing NASCAR did had Keselowski wrecked the 42 while racing hard.
From what I saw, the 42 moved up and darned near wrecked Keselowski.
I think Brad was more surprised then anyone when Montoya got into the 25’s door! I guess Hamlin must have gone to NASCAR and complained about BK holding his line and turning him in the CupLite Series..I mean you can’t have a Lite Series regular outrunning a Cup guy can you?..so NASCAR made sure BK got his hands slapped while running with the big boys. If the Cup guys can’t run with BK they should pull over..and the SUITS should keep their mouths shut..I was kind of hoping to see Montoya spin..he has gotten out of control these last few races..fun to watch..but no free passes just cause you are running the Chase..you get what you give….I think earning respect goes both ways…
If Nascar wonders why many fans have not bought into their contrived not-a-playoff format, Kansas was the perfect example of why. For starters, forcing fans to watch no one BUT the ‘top 12’ is insulting. Do Nascar and the media not understand that a fan wants to watch their favorite driver, whether they are in the ‘chase’ or not? They appear to think that, once the ‘chase’ starts, every fans will now change their loyalty to one of 12 drivers. Not going to happen. Then, Nascar pretends that all 43 cars are ‘equal’ on the track….then they tell drivers to stay out of the way of the chasers? It’s a farce. and having many members of the media telling fans they are stupid to dislike the format doesn’t help. Just because we are stuck with a ridiculous format doesn’t mean we can’t make up our own minds about whether we like it or not. Kansas simply brought to the forefront why many fans consider the final 10 races of the year and the new format a bore. And TV ratings would seem to indicate that fans are voting with their remotes.
If the “other” 31 cars cannot “race”, THEN WHY ALLOW THESE 31 CARS ON THE TRACK AT ALL?
If the “other” 31 cars just “happen” to get caught up in some ACTUAL RACING (gee, imagine that, racing) and then tell them not to?
JUST WHAT IS THE FAN PAYING FOR?
Are 43 cars racing? Or are 12 cars racing?
brings back the old notion that maybe the 12 cars need to run 100 laps by themselves, then the other 31 put on the REAL race of some 200 laps (or whatever)
How stupid of NA$CRAP!
BUT! STUPID! & NA$CRAP in the same sentence is really a common thing isn’t it?
NASCAR’S attitude is a good way to “chase” more sponsors away. It’s no wonder they are loosing the real fans.
I was watching Race Day on Speed a couple of weeks ago, and they went out of their way to let us know that drivers who don’t make the Chase are NOT second class citizens.
Guess we can dispel that myth now.
How much more plainly can NASCAR say now that it’s not about the racing but instead about Brian France’s marketing efforts?
It needs to be said once again. WWE.
Keselowski is a talented but incredibly aggressive driver who gets into more than his share of wrecks in everything he drives. He’s like Steve Wallace out there. NASCAR was right to just let him know that they didn’t want his aggressiveness ruining somebody else’s day. They didn’t tell him to go to the back of the field, they just said they had their eye on him.
And many of the folks who are upset about this would be furious if some non-Chaser wrecked Mark Martin with 10 laps to go battling for 7th and dropped him to the back of the field.
I used to think Frontstretch was full of insightful commentary and discussion, but now it’s become the place for disgruntled “old-time” fans to congregate and complain about how bad everything is. Which is your right, of course, but I don’t see the point in non-haters coming here to hear the same old point of view.
Coming here and reading the columns and responses just might teach you something……..Us old timers as you call us have been around the block once or twice!!
Johnboy60, you said it. As for Dave, you must not have watched Brad race a lot. The fact is he has been wrecked by Biffle, Lagano, Kenseth, Mr. Clean’s Mark Martin, and Denny Hamlin. He never retaliated or said anything about them on air. Now after Dimmy opened his mouth to “school” Brad on how to race, Dimmy is taking the backflack.
Nascar acted like Dimmy, and now they are taking the flack.
HA HA HA! What a joke! Na$crap messing with the outcome of a race? No way!?!
How are we supposed to take this seriously anymore?
I agree with z’hills fan. But not only is nas$car chasing more sponsors away, even more fans are following suit, including me. For the first time in a long time I cut from the race about mid way through and never switched back. I didn’t know who won the race till later in the evening. The sad thing is, I don’t much care anymore. If you’re not a chase driver, get out of the way and let the pretty boys hold sway. At one point I believe 10 out the first 12 drivers were chase drivers. If your driver is not in the chase, he’s told to not face competivily with the chasers. After being a nas$car fan for 30+ years, I’ve lost interest. Thanks mr france (no capitals here) for ruining the sport I used to love.
The rumor that the World Wrestling Federation is negotiating to buy Nascar is NOT true.
Hey “Dave in NJ”!!
NA$CRAP “allows” 43 total cars in any given race, BUT! ONLY 12 of them are “eligible” to actually “RACE”?
Only in Brain Farces NA$CRAP would that happen!
If that IDIOT Brain Farce does not want ALL 43 cars to “race”, then why allow them on the track?
Or maybe NA$CRAP should paint ALL 12 chase cars the same SAFETY ORANGE! And MANDATE all non-chase cars stay 20 car lengths away!
Dave, if a non-Chaser wrecked Mark Martin, I personally would wonder out loud why the hell non-Chase drivers are even in Chase races. That is part of what makes the Chase idiotic. If there is no reason for them to be out there, why are they?
I’m not an “old time” fan. Just thought NASCAR was best in 2003, before they started this moronic pseudo-playoff.
NASCAR.com is taking a “fan opinion” poll. 93% think NASCAR was wrong in telling BK to “not race hard.” That means that more than 9 out of 10 fans are unhappy with the way NASCAR’s Chase is being run/manipulated. If 9 out of 10 fans decide to stop buying tickets and/or turn off the “race” (hardly a race when the “race drivers” are told “NOT to race”)then eventially NASCAR will cease to exist!
How soon are the NASCAR stake-holders going to realize that BF and his “management team” need to be “kicked to the curb!”
Dave in NJ, Do you really think this is the only website that us “Old Time Fans” are disgruntled on?
Have you ever wondered why NA$CAR.com doesn’t have a comments section? I’m sure they don’t want to burn out their servers.
The only reason why Steven Wallace has a ride is because of Daddy and even he can’t hide his frustration on broadcast. When was SW’s last move to Cup? BK’s just like any rookie with talent, he’ll make his mistakes and he should be able to race regardless of the Chump Chase.
At least someone “outside the Holy 12” got some attention.
Upon further review, I do see a comments section on some articles. As long as you’re an “Official Member of NA$CAR’s Website” and don’t mind commenting on non controversial articles. They have great staff commentators.
The races have lost their thrill. I was a saturday night racer for 20 plus years and the politics I saw at every track goes all the way to the top of the heap at the Cup level. There is a need to manipulate by the organizers deep in their heart. You can not stop it you can only stop watching it. Every once in a while I turn on a race but damn they are boring except for an occasional last 10 laps. Really there is no reason to have a race last longer than 50 laps to see a good race. All the rest of it is boring and now even the last 50 are usually boring.
I would like to see Kaz wreck someone just to hear the complaints. How dare he race them like that. Hey racing used to be all about wreckers or checkers.