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.
Thomas Bowles · Wednesday October 14, 2009
Did You Notice? … Hidden amongst the stories this week was ISC claiming Kansas will still get a second date in 2011 as long as their casino gets approved? Whether the racing has been good enough to deserve it is open to debate (though I’d argue it’s been ten times better than at its sister track, Chicagoland). With 100,000 fans at the track for last Sunday’s race, the fan support is there for a second date, and it’s not like the Midwest has a ton of tracks to choose from (Iowa, and Chic … no, that doesn’t count).
So why does this move makes the headlines now? Because it’s widely assumed, even reported that expansion would finally cost California its much-maligned second date – especially with attendance numbers generously estimated at 70,000 this Sunday.
Eh-eh-eh…. not so fast, people. A quick look at the attendance numbers shows that it’s Martinsville at the bottom of the list for ISC, with just 63,000 fans attending in a small market this Spring compared to California’s “70,000.” The last few dates have been tough at the facility, with the Spring race failing to sell out and the Truck Series rain-delayed show bringing a crowd somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 that Monday (official attendance was listed at 2,500).
There’s also the rating for California’s Chase date on television, which proved a moral victory on a weekend sorely in need of one. It pulled a 3.0, likely the result of some boring NFL games and Jimmie Johnson briefly opening the door for the competition more than anything else. But the fact remains, pending the final ratings bump, that it’s the most-watched playoff event held so far this season.
Look, I love Martinsville as much as the next guy, but I fear the writing is on the wall on this one. L.A. is a major market, that’s where NASCAR wants to be, and they’ll do anything in their power to stay there. Martinsville, like it or not, isn’t going to be a big-name city anytime soon and has pretty much reached the limits of expansion in and around that facility. The mood in and around that place reminds me of how it was at Darlington just before they lost the Southern 500, with fans lulled to sleep thinking both races will always be there — so they’re hesitant to stretch their pocketbook in a tough economy to show their support.
You’d like to think with consistent start times, NASCAR is back to choosing tradition over profit margin. Trust me, if that were the case you’d have a Southern 500 back on Labor Day. Instead, with profits down 89 percent, they’re going to take a look at their pocketbook more than ever, and L.A. provides the potential for growth that Martinsville does not – even if they have to suck it up one day and rebuild the track after all.
With the Virginia oval giving us some of the best racing year in, year out, I hope that little half-mile is with us for many years to come. But the second that casino gets approved, the journalist in me thinks it’s not rocket science to see the paper-clip drop down from two Cup dates to one after next season.
Did You Notice? … Rick Hendrick’s 25th anniversary celebration got me thinking about something: NASCAR’s best-performing owner is growing old. But a quick check around the ownership ranks shows he’s not the only one. Let’s take a look at the age range of the sport’s top eight (Note: Stewart-Haas and Yates were not included as they get engines and chassis from other organizations):
Richard Childress – 64
A little surprising, isn’t it? Waltrip, a spry 46, is one of just two owners with any type of power in this sport under 60. So what happens when some of these guys want to retire or pass on their investment to someone else? For a guy like Joe Gibbs, it’s easy, as son J.D. already handles much of the day-to-day duties and is a shoe-in to assume the reins when he decides to retire. But for others – Penske, Hendrick, even Roush – the path to succession may not be so simple. Once they’re gone … there’s no idea if the team they leave behind will be nearly as effective without them.
People wonder if NASCAR needs some homegrown talent behind the wheel. More than ever, though, it looks like the real need for some new blood could be in the front office.
Did You Notice? … How many debris cautions this year were blamed on water bottles? Not only do I think it’s being a tad overprotective, but if we’re getting that anal what’s to stop fans from throwing a beer can over the fence to cause a caution?
Think about it. You’re sitting in the stands, listening to your driver on the scanner and he’s about to get lapped by Jeff Gordon. You know NASCAR’s so paranoid about safety these days, they’ll throw the yellow for almost anything. You’ve also had a few, you’re sitting on the frontstretch, and that guy with the No. 24 hat is really starting to piss you off. What’s stopping you from throwing the beer can onto the track, seeing where it lands, and watching the sport throw a yellow to save your driver?
You’d think common sense would prevail in that situation … but honestly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already. And if the standards are getting that low … something needs to be done.
Did You Notice? … That the Nationwide Series will only have five and not ten drivers at their banquet this year? Much has been made of the change on ESPN, which is constantly highlighting the battle between Justin Allgaier and Steve Wallace for fifth in the standings (in stark contrast to my colleagues in the print and internet media, who really haven’t picked up on the story). But here’s the million-dollar question to me: Why even cut down from ten to five in the first place? Wouldn’t you want to promote a series at the end of the season instead of trying to cut and run?
The move is explained as a cost-saving measure, combining both the Nationwide and Truck Series banquets to save cash. But considering the sorry economic state of both divisions, you wonder if there’s more to the story here. Consider who you have behind the Allgaier-Wallace battle to round out the top 10 in points:
Don’t get me wrong, it’d be great if these guys could celebrate overcoming the odds at the banquet. But there’s just two drivers in there (the loser of the Allgaier-Wallace battle and Gaughan) who actually have the sponsorship and marketing money in place for 2010. As for the rest? Well, let’s just imagine some of these speeches:
McDowell: “I’d like to thank JTG Racing for sticking by me until they ran out of money, although I failed to qualify one time later this year because they kept that team around to start and park! But seriously, folks, I appreciate K Automotive, their passion and dedication is really what this series is all about. But with the economy like it is, I’m here to announce I’ve signed a 2010 deal with them to start-and-park the whole season… because we already do it with two cars and boy, can that be a real moneymaker!”
Bliss: “I’d like to thank Phoenix Racing for kicking me out on the street and no one for believing in me, even though I’ve been a top 10 driver in virtually any car I’ve entered in this series. Thank you, Nationwide, for watching one of your top drivers get booted and not even putting in a recommendation for getting him a ride somewhere else. And did I mention I’m still looking for 2010? Someone, call me …”
On second thought, no wonder they cut down to five. Although with two of those five men guaranteed to be from Sprint Cup, it’s no wonder this series continues to have itself an identity crisis …
Did You Notice? … How easy it’s gotten to use NASCAR’s wave around rule to stay on the lead lap? I’m not blaming the sport, as a new rule is always going to go through its share of minor tweaks.
But after watching scenarios unfold the last few months, I think it’s time to make them. The sport just clarified that a car under penalty is not eligible for a wave around under caution, but what about someone who was penalized earlier in the race? Tony Stewart lost a lap due to an honest speeding mistake, but in the end it didn’t really hurt him because the wave around got him back on the lead lap right afterwards. In the old days, that type of penalty would kill your day, as well it should: mistakes aren’t mistakes unless you actually suffer for them, right?
Instead, Stewart had clear sailing on his way to finishing fifth, while a whole slew of other cars used the wave around to wind up back on the lead lap. Why wouldn’t you? The way the rule is set up now at a place like California, here’s how it works:
The reason this rule is beginning to piss me off is you could see a guy off for 400 miles, put a lap down by the race leader, only to use a free pass to come around and finish in the top 10. It’s yet another reason for cars not to be overaggressive in the first part of the race; after all, why abuse your stuff when it doesn’t really matter? You’ll just use a caution to get back on the lead lap later, and that’s when you’ll really turn it loose and position yourself for a solid finish.
In my view, part of the beauty of this sport is watching someone battle back from their mistakes. If we changed the wave around so you could use it one time only – or limited the number of cars that could do it – I think it would increase the pressure for these guys at the back of the pack to perform for the Lucky Dog. That would lead to better racing, fairer competition, and a whole lot of guys happier with the rule than they are right now.
Did You Notice? … My usual barrage of quick hits before we go:
Richard Petty: Want to know how much he transcended this sport? The U.S. President came down to see his 200th career victory. ‘Nuff said.
Bill France, Sr.: None of us would be here if he didn’t have a dream.
Bill France, Jr.: None of us would be here if he didn’t know how to make that dream a national phenomenon.
Dale Earnhardt: The most aggressive, hard-nosed, intimidating driver in history. There’s a reason his death has turned him into a legend.
David Pearson: During his heyday with the Wood Brothers in the 1970s, he was virtually unbeatable. I wonder if Petty would have seven championships if the No. 21 ever tried to run a full schedule back then.
As for what’ll actually happen? I think you’ll see 4 out of 5 get elected tomorrow … with Red Byron squeaking by David Pearson for that final slot.
See you in Charlotte!
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Did you notice… a lot was made about Jimmie Johnson having a new rear tire guy (I didnt hear if he was the carrier or the changer) ? He messed up a couple times on pit road but Johnson managed to win the race anyway. So what was wrong with, and what happened to, the previous rear tire guy?
The point about Stewart reminded me of one of my penalty pet peeves: speeding on pit road. If you speed during green your penalty is a pass through. Just about everywhere this guarantees you go a lap down. Big penalty that usually ruins your day. Stewart needed an incredible amount of good luck to overcome that, even with the new wave around rule. However, if you speed on pit road during a yellow, you just go to the tale end of the longest line on the restart. Not good but not nearly as bad as losing a lap.
You could argue that speeding during yellow is more dangerous because there are usually more people over the wall. As such, shouldn’t speeding under yellow carry a stiffer penalty? That said I don’t know what you do about. I suppose NASCAR could hold a car for a lap on yellow to make that more severe. That seems too harsh though. But I don’t know what you do about green flag speeding other than what they do now; pass through.
Might as well add my five picks
I’m not so sure Kansas City will support a second date. I know a lot of people who aren’t renewing their season tickets for 2010 and quite a few of those same folks were wanting to get rid of this seasons tickets. I turned down several offers for FREE tickets for both the Cup and Nationwide events. Remember, ACS was also a sellout when it only had a single Cup race.
I have had Kansas tickets from the start. I sit at the start finish line, great seats. I have not given them up hoping that the racing would get better, but after the parade they had there a few weeks ago I will not be going back. There is no way Kansas should get a second date untill something is done to make better racing at that track. By the way I live in Kansas.
I think all tracks a mile-and-a-half in length or larger should have one date (exceptions to Daytona and Talladega – the fans love the plate races – & to Lowe’s, since it’s in the driver’s backyards, but I say rotate the All-Star race), with the additional races freed up being rotated yearly.
Kansas emailed me crying that they still had tickets available for the fall race. I went to their website to see if they were open to selling Cup only tickets, but they would only sell the whole package of 4 races. No thanks.
I saw plenty of tickets for sale in the classifieds for this race, telling me people have had enough of that track. I think Kansas more than likely gave away plenty of tickets to make the stands appear full.
Jimmie got a new rear tire changer. His original one got hurt, his back I think and the replacement didn’t work out. I believe the new guy was not with Hendrick prior to this or at least not the 48 team. The pit stop issues were up front so not the new guys fault
With regard to the wave-around rule, keep in mind that a driver still has to have a good car in order to battle back through the field (while the simple act of passing itself seems to be quite difficult these days). Michael Waltrip can take all the wave-arounds he wants (and I picked him because I’ve seen him doing it quite a bit), but if he has a 25th-place car, he’s still going to finish towards the back of the lead lap. For someone who has as good of a car as Stewart had Sunday, I’m all for letting them make up a lap that way. I hate to see one single tiny mistake completely ruin a driver’s day.
Thank you for the info, newracefan.
Bad Wolf, you’re completely right about Kansas. There’s no way they should get another date if they are going to make the public buy tickets to ALL the races just to get the one they want. That will cause the fans to stay away, exactly what they dont want.
If NA$CAR really cared about racing they’d give Iowa a date.
Maybe not in your book, but to folks in the in the middle of the country, Indiana is part of the Midwest; hence, the Brickyard is also in the Midwest. Two races there? No way! But the track is in the Midwest, along with Chicagoland and Kansas.
There are three Midwest tracks, not two.
The wave around rule may help a driver get back on the lead lap; however, it is not always easy to stay there because the drivers cannot pit if they take advantage of the wave around rule. On Sunday, Tony got his lap back by not pitting and getting the wave around. However, per the team radio conversation, Tony was going to have to make a green flag pit stop (and lose a lap)if a caution did not come out within 18 laps after the restart. Furthermore, we saw during the race what a disadvantage older tires were at California. Therefore, the wave around cars may have gotten a lap back; however, they were at a competitive disadvantage. On Sunday, Tony was able to stay on the lead lap after the wave around because Hamlin decided to wreck himself on the restart to bring out a quick caution that allowed Tony to pit. Had there been a long green flag run, and the wave around cars would have had to make green flag stops, then we would probably not be discussing the wave around rule because Tony would have been lucky to salvage a top twenty finish.
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