The Frontstretch: Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Burning To The Ground, And Why The Truck Series Stays Sound by Thomas Bowles -- Wednesday November 4, 2009

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Did You Notice?… The out-and-out rebellion going on in every aspect of NASCAR right now? It started from the drop of the green on Sunday, when the drivers’ single-file Talladega parade for most of the race was the closest thing to a driver protest I’ve seen in 20 years of following this sport. Then, in the past 48 hours, virtually every television show, newspaper commentary, internet article, and fan email and comment (to me and others) have tilted overwhelmingly negative towards a race that smelt and looked like a farce. Let’s put it this way: If NASCAR were a piñata, we’d be at the point where just one more hit makes it break into a million pieces; and frankly, if it wasn’t for a handful of SPEED shows trying to stem the tide (in what some say is a forced preaching of the NASCAR company line) that fatal whack could have already happened.

Just like every other major racing writer out there, I’ve gotten my share of fan emails, complaints, comments about Sunday in which so many have sworn off the sport for good. It’s something that should have me all up in arms, ready to carry the torch for a majority of those who feel that change is needed.

Perhaps, that time will come. But right now, you want to know how I feel?

Sad. Just really, really sad.

So much has been written about the atrocity that was Talladega this weekend, so I don’t want to rehash the same views from the same columnists all over again. You witnessed it firsthand, you’ve sifted through the aftermath (if you still care), and by now you’ve clearly taken a side. But no matter who you believe, what you think went wrong, or how you want things fixed, there’s one undeniable point we can all agree on: NASCAR is officially in decline.

And it sucks.

I know every sport has its peaks and valleys, but that statement is especially hard to take for so many that watched it rise. I know for me, there was a point from 1993 through about 2005 that Sundays were unquestioned, dedicated NASCAR time. If it was absolutely impossible to be in front of the television, the race would be taped and I’d watch it the second I got home. Nothing to me was more exciting then the last ten laps at Bristol with Dale Earnhardt battling Terry Labonte, Ernie Irvan’s flat tire giving Jeff Gordon his dramatic first win at the Brickyard, or even Jeremy Mayfield knocking the Intimidator out of the way to win Pocono in 2000 (yes, believe it or not even the Triangle had great races then, too). I would root for my favorite driver, but even if he got knocked out early I’d be riveted to the television until long after the checkered flag had fallen. As so many of you know, NASCAR wasn’t just a sport – it was a way of life.

Martin Truex, Jr. wasn’t the only person to walk away from the smoldering wreckage of Talladega without looking back on Sunday. And he’s one of the few that’ll actually be coming back.

That’s not to say we haven’t had some agonizing lows during that time, too. Still just a fan, I remember mourning with so many millions of others when a driver I hated (but still respected) died on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001. For the next few days, it was like I lost a family member as my family itself wondered in amazement how someone could become so attached to what, in theory, is just cars driving around in circles. But if anything, I was more loyal to NASCAR than ever before, crying tears of pain at Rockingham the following weekend, then of joy in seeing Steve Park in Victory Lane and then Kevin Harvick, Earnhardt’s replacement, at Atlanta two weeks later in just his third career Cup start. Looking back, that Sunday was one of the best races we’ve had all decade, if not the best. As it always had, the sport hit a major pothole … only to bounce back better than ever.

And once the growth seemed like it would never stop, my love for it grew to where NASCAR became like a drug. Those who have it bad know exactly what I mean; no matter what was going on in your life, races could be a three-hour respite where you were guaranteed to enjoy yourself no matter what. Sure, I followed the stick ‘n’ ball sports, but it was almost like those that followed the NFL, NBA, and MLB were missing a type of unquestioned loyalty our fan base had more than any other. We didn’t just follow our driver — we would take a bullet for him. Sponsors weren’t just glorified; associating one like Tide with a driver like Ricky Rudd would automatically generate millions in revenue. People wouldn’t care whether they liked a sponsor or not; if their driver partnered up, the house would need to have that product. No ifs, ands, or buts about it …

It was an experience unlike any other, and I when I started working for SI and doing television at the track in 2006 it was like a dream come true. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, and I remember for the first six months I was like a kid in a candy store. Was that really Bill Elliott I just interviewed? Did Richard Petty just walk by me in the garage area? With so many people either out of work or hating their jobs, I felt so blessed to have a career path I not only wanted for years, but one that seemed set for a lifetime.

Three years later, I’m not so sure anymore. Fondness replaced by both fear and fright, I watch so many aspects of a sport I love fall apart both behind the scenes and right in front of my eyes. It’s like looking at a beautiful mountain that was steps outside your house for years, then watching it burn to the ground right in front of you while ashes fall on your head. And there’s nothing, absolutely nothing you can do about it. Yes, journalism, if done correctly, has the power to effect change. But in the end, our power in this genre can only go so far as we’re not political commentators; instead, we write about the entertaining competition of cars racing around in circles. And if those in charge of those cars don’t see the need for change – ignoring the rising calls of everyone from the tire changer in the garage area to the fan who pays $40 for a nosebleed seat in Daytona that’s not walking away for good – there’s nothing anyone can do but watch the fire spread.

Through it all, I yearn for a simpler time, when the sky was the limit instead of falling on our heads. Remember when …

  • The top 5 finishers were from five different teams?
  • You can tell by just looking at the cars which ones were Ford, Chevy, and Dodge?
  • When a team fell two laps down, they had to earn it back the hard way – by passing the leader – instead of using a Lucky Dog or a wave around rule to get back in contention as if nothing ever went wrong?
  • Cars could pass each other on the track, not just on pit road?
  • A team could go all 36 races with just one sponsor, instead of using seven to make it through just half that schedule?
  • Double-file restarts and fake debris weren’t needed to manufacture excitement to a product that already had it?

One of the quotes that stuck in my head beyond the Talladega mayhem Sunday was Ryan Newman’s honest longing for the good old days.

“We’re supposed to be racing,” he said. “I think we lost a little bit of that luster.”

He’s not the only one who believes that.

Did You Notice? … While the Cup and Nationwide Series brace for massive layoffs at the end of 2009 (again), the Truck Series is quietly rebuilding itself? Richard Childress Racing is now expected to field not one but two trucks in 2010, joining Turner Motorsports and fully-sponsored DGM Racing fielding competitive entries in the coming season. With just one full-time team expected to go away (Roush Fenway Racing), odds look good they’ll begin to fight back against a litany of start-and-parkers that, at times, have taken up to 12 spots on the 36-truck grid.
Add in a record rating for Talladega (1.34, 999,000 households) and it’s clear NASCAR’s “third-tier” division is actually the only one that keeps growing. What makes the Trucks so appealing to fans where Cup and Nationwide are starting to fail?

You’d never know it listening to NASCAR’s bigwigs, but one of their series is somehow keeping the viewers tuning in.

The answers, as we’ve discussed here before, are simple:

  • A rules package where the competition can actually pass each other on the race track, not in the pits.
  • A smaller, compact schedule with more short tracks included.
  • Drivers of all ages battling against each other competitively. Old stalwarts Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday are going up against “young guns” Colin Braun and Brian Scott each week, with a few “in betweeners” like Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton mixed in.
  • Not enough full-time Cup drivers infiltrating the series to knock the veterans out of the top 5 every week … but just enough to both pique fans’ interest and give them something to hate (i.e. – Kyle Busch).
  • Despite Ron Hornaday’s dominance this year, no one team is looked at as having a definitive technical advantage over anyone else. Looking at the Talladega field, no more than two trucks from any one car owner were entered, and just one (Colin Braun) was from the Cup Series powerhouse quintet of Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, and Roger Penske. That leaves the gap between rich and poor small enough that on any given day, any truck planning to run the distance can finish in the top 10 if they play their cards right.

There’s a lot the sport can learn from watching the Camping World Truck Series continue to grow.

Did You Notice?… Some quick hits before we go …

  • What a great move to put Brad Keselowski in the No. 12 Dodge before the season is up. It’s not like Penske was going anywhere with David Stremme, so why finish out the year when their 2010 full-timer is already available? If I were that team, I’d also bring a full-time crew chief candidate on board before Sunday and pull a three-race trial to see if they’d be a good fit for 2010.
  • Lance McGrew as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s crew chief next year? Seriously? Look, like I’ve said plenty of times before, Lance is a great guy and everything … but this partnership isn’t working now. If I were a Junior fan heading into 2010, I’d be trying to talk myself off a ledge. This team needs to have its head wrench on a short leash, with a replacement in mind should Junior struggle in the first 3-4 races. Whether it’s his fault or not, if you’re keeping the driver you can’t just let confidence erode to the levels it has at the end of this season. And I don’t think this move is one that’s going to wind up giving the No. 88 a solid start.
  • We’ve rehashed purses in this space plenty of times, but this one absolutely takes the cake. Bobby Labonte got underfunded TRG Motorsports’ first top 10 finish on Sunday at ‘Dega, while Paul Menard crashed hard in the first 15 laps and wound up 42nd. But check out the cash each driver got for their trouble:

Labonte: $90,300
Menard: $103,031

Menard’s 42nd-place payday was actually 19th-best out of the 43 cars that competed. I don’t care how you explain it, it’s one of those things that doesn’t make sense and has to be corrected. What incentive does a small-time team have to go the distance when they don’t get rewarded when they do finish well?

Tom Bowles is now on Twitter! Click HERE to become a follower… even though he’s still learning how to use it (be patient on that one!)

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z'hills fan
11/04/2009 06:32 AM
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I’m with you, I still don’t understand how the prize money is distributed. It’s the same after every race, I check to see the payouts and they are all over the place. There is no rhyme or reason for making more money for finishing towards the bottom than towards the top.

Bill B
11/04/2009 08:12 AM
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Excellent article Tom. I think you’ve covered the state of the sport pretty well. On the “What do you think has led to NASCAR’s decline” poll should “Bad Management Decisions” be changed to “Brian France”? (or were you trying not to get personal).

Ghost of Curtis Turner
11/04/2009 08:14 AM
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Well Writen Tom, but I think the time has come to stick a fork in it. NASCAR is done for me. I’ll be over at the local short track ( if it’s still there next year) watching some real racing.
So Long and Thank’s for the Fish.

Curt
11/04/2009 08:46 AM
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I too am sad. Next year I won’t be going nuts for the newest gear and diecast. I won’t set my schedule around making sure I can catch the races either. In fact, aside from bristol, I don’t know that I want to watch any of the races even on TV. I’m sad too, I used to love this sport. Now it just doesn’t matter to me. nascar has their prized “cheating champion” and they can keep him. I’m pretty much done.

Gordon82Wins
11/04/2009 08:47 AM
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I, like you, was an absolute addict in 2003. If you told me then that NASCAR would look like it does today in just 4-5 years, I would have said no way could a sport so absolutely self-destruct. No way could a sport take something so good and turn it into something so bad. And it has. Very well written.

NASCAR can indeed be great again, but the leadership has to get its nose out of it once and for all, and I don’t see it happening.

Ghost of Curtis Turner
11/04/2009 08:50 AM
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One more rant before I disappear for ever:

God how I miss Earnhardt, if he was still with us he would have bitch slapped Brain France in to submission and none of this crap would be going on.
God how I miss when it was about racing and not a “Show”.
Trust me NA$CAR, let them race and the “Show” will take care of it’s self. They are a bunch of eff’n idiots in Ivory Towers more worried about counting their money and watching Broadway Show’s then Racing. Hey here’s a hint Pea Brains, when the fans are all gone so will all your money…..

In the recent words of an other Famous Member of the France Family…Bill France, “Do you know who I am. I’m Bill France We own this Town!.”
Well to the whole France Family “you don’t own dick any more.”
Tata, Good Buy, Remember to Shut off the light when you leave.
GoCT

The Turnip!
11/04/2009 08:58 AM
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A very nice summation of the current state of STOCK CAR RACING”!

And a sad state of affairs it is!

For a couple of years now, I, among many others, have been railing against the way NA$CRAP is being run, and the road it is headed down.

Many, oh my, I mean MANY, take me/us to task for my/our negativity toward the way NA$CRAP is currently being run, and the decisions made!

EACH AND EVERY RACE!

Why was the INDY TIRE FIASCO, among many other things, not a total wake up call to each and every fan?

I am hearbroken that the American Public just blindly accepts what these organizations, i.e. NA$CRAP, tell us, or more appropriately, lie to us about! All the while scamming us out of our money!

Why do the fans need to take the “bullet between the eyes” to finally realize the gun was loaded?

Guess we all have to learn the hard way!

Even though we have been told time and time again, something is BAD! VERY BAD!

Such as the ENTIRE NA$CRAP ORGANIZATION, from King Brain Farce all the way down!

Thus, presented on a silver platter to us, was the ultimate in NON-RACING!

TALLADEGA!

Courtesy King Brain and his loyal idiots! King Brain must pay his disciples one he** of a lot of money for each of them to continue working for NA$CRAP! And continuing, week in, week out, to spout the company line! Knowing full well it is just so much CRAP! Guess none of the “followers” have the guts to either try to change the direction of NA$CRAP, or simply walk away in disgust not wanting to be part of this charade called “racing”! How sad a statement for grown adults! For example, does ANYONE have ANY respect for say, a MIKE HELTON? Who week in, week out, could not come up with either a consistent application of the rules, or have a single, solitary, CORRECT DECISION OR STATEMENT! One he ACTUALLY BELIEVES?

We are WAY BEYOND, at this point, trying to single out the main cause of our collective displeasures, such as:

Is it THE CHASE?

Is it THE POS?

Is it THE RULES?

Is it THE TRACKS?

Is it THE TIRES?

Is it THE INCONSITENCY OF THE RULES APPLICATION?

Is it TO WHOM, AND WHOM NOT, THE RULES ARE APPLIED AND ENFORCED?

Is it NA$CRAP HAS THE AUDACITY TO TELL THE DRIVERS TO JUST SHUT UP ALREADY?

Is it THE FACT NA$CRAP HAS FORGOTTEN ALL THE OLD TIME FANS THAT BUILT THIS SPORT?

Is it THE FACT NA$CAR ITSELF HAS FORGOTTEN WHERE IT CAME FROM?

Is it THE TOTAL ARROGANCE ON NA$CRAP?

The list of individual items is endless when trying to describe the current NA$CRAP organization! Where does one start? Where does one end?

Well, the simple answer, the VERY SIMPLE ANSWER, at least to start, is the illustrious
“leader”, well, more “dictator” than leader, KING BRAIN FARCE!

I once again beg EVERYONE, stay away from the tracks (those of you that still go anyway), and don’t watch it on TV!

The ONLY thing Brian France understands is $$$$$!

Apparently he has not been hurt enough as yet, we need to all do our part to keep our money out of his pockets and and the pockets of those that support his sick organization! THE SPONSORS!

Only then will our Sunday afternoons be filled with that glorious sound of racing engines at full song going down the straightaway, actually racing for the win!

WHEN THE DRIVERS ARE DRIVERS, AND THE CARS ARE REAL RACE CARS!

And all these forums are discussing how exciting a pass was, how exciting the competition was, and how exciting a day at the track could really be!

I beg of you!

itsborken
11/04/2009 09:24 AM
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Great article; you hit it exactly on the head as that is my take on it as well. The past two years I’ve struggled with myself to buy tickets at the local track, both times relenting to do my bit to keep racing in Phoenix. Whether or not I re-up the next go around is a big question.

Brian France
11/04/2009 09:33 AM
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how about a 1/2 price discount on track pass for you fellas for next season? would that help ease the pain?

Rick
11/04/2009 09:33 AM
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Excellent piece, Tom. I just love the writers (like you)who ‘tell it like it really is’. Too many sugar coat everything. One would think ‘the emperor’ would be starting to catch on. We know that ISC revenues are in decline & one would think that would carry over to NA$CAR. Maybe the fact that he doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ should confirm to us that he is a bit short on grey matter. As for the Truck Race increasing its TV viewing audience…..I have said for years that the best race at Daytona is the Truck race. I am getting close to giving up my ‘season tix’ for the 500, but I will hang onto my truck tix as long as I am able to go.First up, the Cup cars need to resemble their namesakes on the showroom floor. That was the initial attraction of NA$CAR. The fans could relate to the product that was on the track. On the power side, they need to use smaller, fuel injected engines. The cars become more responsive and you wouldn’t have the whole field running under a blanket. Most fans could care less if the cars were running 175 v/s 195 providing there was real racing.

Carl D.
11/04/2009 09:45 AM
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Brian France… Does that 1/2 price ticket come with an autographed 8×10 glossy photo of Rick Hendrick and Jimmy Johnson? I’ll take two.

Bad Wolf
11/04/2009 09:50 AM
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Good read, Mr. Bowles.

Brian France
11/04/2009 09:54 AM
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Carl,

No, sorry. That picture is $24.99. You can also pre-order the 8 X 10 of myself and Jimmie holding up the 2010 Sprint Cup trophy for an amazing low price of $54.99.

I’ll tell you what though. If you guys quit crying and whining maybe I will throw in a couple of Jimmie Johnson key chains for ya.

MI Mike
11/04/2009 09:59 AM
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Regardless of what the fans do or say nothing is going to change in this sport other than the ratings dropping to the bottom.
Why will nothing change? Just listen to the NASCAR shills, every program Ive watched this week was the same ole same ole. What a great race, the fans dont get it, on and on they go. Like politicans they believe if you tell a lie enough everyone will believe it.
Only these fans arent as dumb as Spencer, K. Wallace, and the rest of the NASCAR controlled media portray them.
I hate it when these pre programed shills treat the fans like they are a bunch of dummies that just doesnt get it!
Ive been watching racing way before most of these hacks have been around and believe me I know when a race is boring.

NASCAR is on its last leggs and sad as it is only they are to blame. But believe me you will you never ever hear any of them fess up to the sad state of affairs.

Brian France
11/04/2009 10:01 AM
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I would like to defend myself a little if the author would allow me.

Can anyone tell me what the average margin of victory was in 1999 as well as in 1989 vs 2009?

Can anyone tell me what the average number of cars on the lead lap was in 1999 and 1989 vs 2009?

Can anyone tell me what the average attendance number were for 1999 and 1989 vs 2009?

Can anyone tell me what the average television ratings were for 1999 and 1989 vs 2009?

Chew on those questions for a little while and let me know what you find out.

The Turnip!
11/04/2009 10:26 AM
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Hey, Brian France, can you tell me how many total yellow flags were thrown for “debris” in 1998 vs. 2009?

Hey Brian France! Can you tell me how many IROC cars it takes to make a COT?

Hey Brian France! Can you tell me what a go-kart suspension looks like? (just go peer under the POS!)

AND! Your question?? “Can anyone tell me what the average number of cars on the lead lap was in 1999 and 1989 vs 2009?”

Is that “on all four wheels”? or “upside down”? Inquiring minds want to know?

And last but not least, your “Can anyone tell me what the average attendance number were for 1999 and 1989 vs 2009?”

Kinda like asking, what was the attendance in 1952 compared to 2009?

Please look at the backslide, soon to appraoch, or should I say “re-approach”, 1989, or even 1979!

Look at the graphs my friend, look at the trend!

DOWN-DOWN-DOWN!

And can anyone tell me what the TV ratings for the NFL are? (the sport NA$CRAP keeps trying to emulate)!

About a 14 rating for the NFL!

About a 2.2 rating for NA$CRAP!

YEP! We are certainly headed in the right direction my friend! Oh, hey, it’s time for you to snort a little coke with your nephew! Have a good sniff!

Bill B
11/04/2009 10:40 AM
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Well, Brian it’s hard to compare average cars on the lead lap today vs 1989 or 1999..
Since we have Lucky Dogs and wave arounds it’s hard not to stay on the lead lap.

And it’s also hard to compare the average margin of victory since now if the margin starts to get to large you throw a debris caution.

But thanks Brian for acting like you gave a crap. That’s the lip service we fans really respond to. Now go have a drink to celebrate.

MIKEY (aka Don Mei)
11/04/2009 11:03 AM
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What do you mean Bowles?? Talledega was a WONDERFUL event…and those last minute rule changes from Mr. Helton were just for our own good. Nascar ALWAYS does the best thing for everyone!!!

midasmicah
11/04/2009 11:08 AM
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I couldn’t have said it better. I didn’t watch the Talladega for the first time in probably 20 years. I used to plan my Week-ends around nas$car. Now I don’t care. When I read about the drivers’ “protest” I thought great. But it’s a little late. Your poll on what’s wrong with nas$car once again spoke volumes. I could add a lot more things wrong, but the ones you mentioned tell the story. I watched sports highlights and the two wrecks in the last five laps. Ryan Newman was lucky. I cringe when I think of what may have happened with Michael Waltrip. He’s 6’5”. You’re right on regarding the truck series. I just hope they don’t screw it up. It’s the best racing in nas$car. I’m with others regarding nas$car turning into a WWE clone. One last thing. With Toyota exiting F-1, is nas$car next. That would be a hard hit. I think the hour is getting late. Something needs to be done and fast. I’m not holding my breath though. Once again, thanks for letting me vent.

Jonny P
11/04/2009 11:13 AM
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Hey Brian, how about putting another race back at Darlington. I saw the stats about the attendence at both tracks and it said 72,000 at Darlington and 70,000 at California. Oh yeah, that was just such a great idea…NOT!

Brian France
11/04/2009 11:41 AM
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Bill,

More cars were able to get a lap back without the lucky dog. When the caution came out you could have a half dozen cars race back to the line and get their laps back. it was just as easy, if not easier, to get your laps back especially if you were more than 1 lap down.

Shoot me you address and I will be sure to get a couple of Jimmie Johnson posters out to you. And by the way… thanks for all your business. Myself, the networks, and the advertisers really do appreciate it.

Joe
11/04/2009 12:14 PM
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This may be the BEST article EVER on this site.

“….A smaller, compact schedule with more short tracks included. “

BINGO!!!!!!! That’s it right there!!!!

This whole sport. Nascar. Is in desparate need of more short tracks.

SHORT TRACKS!!!!!

For me the cup series has been going down for the last 6 or 7 years. And I too am very sad because of it. I sometimes pull out old VHS tapes and watch “Winston Cup” races. Just to get that great feeling back.

Bill B
11/04/2009 12:15 PM
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No Brian it wasn’t easier to get a lap back. It was up to the leader. Now it’s an entitlement. If you were a threat you didn’t get your lap back. If you were a teammate, maybe. If you were an also ran who cares.
Instead of a poster of JJ could you send me a poster of yourself. The one I have covering my dartboard is just about shot.

HankZ
11/04/2009 12:40 PM
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Well now, thats the way to bounce back from last week’s tragic DYN. Nice work!

I’d have to agree with everything you said in this week’s DYN (especially the Earnhardt factor), with the exception of the dedicated years listed . For me it was 1991 to about 2004. Not a big difference but a difference just the same. Also, like an above comment, I too have changed my diecast habit…none this year after 12 years of faithful service. Whatever!! DuPont, Nicorette and Pepsi will get along fine without me. Maybe I should send all three a letter of my contempt!?!?. Nah, ain’t gonna make any diff anyway.

As of this comment “All of the Above” is at 208 of 305 entries.
That speaks volumes, eh?

Brian France
11/04/2009 12:44 PM
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Bill,

If you think the lucky dog makes it easier to get a lap back so be it. I’m not here to upset my customers. How did you do with my other 2 questions? Television ratings and attendance? Go in 10 year intervals. 89, 99, 09.

Bill B
11/04/2009 12:52 PM
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Well, prior to 89 weren’t all the races on cable if they were televised at all? I don’t have access to those numbers but I would guess 1999>2009>1989.

I would figure attendence to be about the same 1999>2009>1989.

You know, I’m beginning to think your just some average guy like me pretending to be Brian France because if you were the “inept one” you would probably be able to tell me those numbers instead of asking. I am very disappointed. I thought I really was conversing with someone impotent.

Kevin in SoCal
11/04/2009 01:00 PM
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Jonny P said: “I saw the stats about the attendence at both tracks and it said 72,000 at Darlington and 70,000 at California.”

Darlington holds 66,000 seats, so where did the other 6,000 people sit? Under the grandstands at the mechandise trailers?
And Phoenix and Texas got two race dates the same year California did, in 2004. How come those tracks never get mentioned for taking dates from Darlington and Rockingham?

Gordon82Wins
11/04/2009 01:15 PM
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Bill B., he’d also be talking about how “obviously we’re looking at ways to” whatever.

Brian himself shouldn’t be bragging about 2009 ratings compared to 1999…more likely 2009 ratings should be compared to 2004, the year he took over.

Brian France
11/04/2009 01:22 PM
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Bill,

It’s post like your last 1 that show me you haven’t been a die hard fan for as long as you say you have. Even an amateur that has only been watching since the mid 90s knows at the very least the 79 daytona 500 was not broadcast on cable. I can’t tell you how many times over the years that has been documented. The fact that you honestly believe the televsion ratings and attendance were greater in 99 than today is another indicator. Are you really turnip just under the “Bill” moniker? I really can’t debate you at this point. My only suggestion would be to hit Google and do some more homework.

babydufus
11/04/2009 01:23 PM
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I agree, this is one of the best articles written regarding the current state of affairs in NASCAR. I can’t help but notice how hard most major (tv) and minor (sirius radio) people are trying to tell me that nothing is wrong with the current state of privately owned major league stock auto car racing (POMLSCAR) and that my perceptions are just wrong. I am mystified that the organization/corporation doesn’t even seem to be willing to acknowledge that something is very very broken. I guess as long as there’s big money to be made nothing will change. Well, add my name to the list of people from whom the talledega disaster was the last straw. It was the first race i watched live all year as i’d been recording events so i could fast forward through the poor racing, the barrage of repetitive and intelligence insulting commercials and inane commentary to watch maybe 10 or 20 minutes worth of mostly mediocre racing. But now, for real, i’m done. “Cup Racing” will get no more of my attention or support. I still love racing though (as both former driver and fan) so I’ll continue to record the trucks (until that turns to crap) and the local short tracks Thompson and Stafford (yes unfortunately NASCAR sanctioned) will get a little more of my attention and support next year as they still continue to not put on good racing and tend not to insult my intelligence to much.
g’night grace

Bill B
11/04/2009 01:30 PM
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Brian,
Perhaps I was mistaken because your last comment shows the arrogance that only you can exude. For the record I have been watching since 1995. Not only do I know about the 1979 Daytona 500 being televised but I actually have the dvd of the broadcast. However since that was the only race televised in it’s entirity that year I didn’t think it would register when compared to year long ratings after espn started broadcasting all the races. Obviously you are using the same math you use to calculate attendance and ratings. I was at Dover in 1999 and it was packed. The last three races there were barely 60% full no matter what your bogus numbers say.
BTW, I see you want to put the burden of proof on me because as usual you are lazy. YOU go do the homework, provide links to prove your numbers, and maybe I’ll spell impotant correctly.

The Real Brian France
11/04/2009 01:38 PM
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I don’t know what you people want. That was a great race and there is nothing wrong with nascar because i know what is good for the sport. Just sit back and wait till you see all of the changes i make next year to make my i mean our sport better.

Jeff Meyer - FS staff
11/04/2009 01:39 PM
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Hey Turnip (and Brian F…wish it WAS the real one…)

You wanted to know about the numbers of cautions that flew ‘then’ compared to now? Check out the piece I wrote over TWO YEARS AGO!!!

http://www.frontstretch.com/jmeyer/10767/

Steve
11/04/2009 01:47 PM
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Iam still a nascar fan just I don’t watch the whole race anymore when I was younger I used to watch the entire race now I fall a sleep and Its not old age not at 25 lol.
The article in my mind is totally right and truck series is the best racing nascar has to offer just can’t beat it I remeber watching Gaughan and two other drivers three wide at darlington (a track that really is only a single file track) a fews years ago beaten and banging for position to me thats racing all three kept going and didn’t end up in a pile. Iam not a Kyle Busch fan but that move with help from Almirola was the best finish this year in my mind at a superspeedway I have to hand it to him that was awsome.

Jonny P
11/04/2009 01:59 PM
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hey Kevin in SoCal, that number includes all the people in the infield as well. look it up on jayskis.com. im just telling you what i looked up.

Jeff Meyer-FS staff
11/04/2009 02:01 PM
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And heres a bit more info for you.
A complete summary of how I got those stat figures can be found by copy/pasting this link into your browser.

http://www.frontstretch.com/board/index.php/topic,1604.0.html

Interestingly enough, at the time I wrote that article in July of 07 there were 17 races left to go. I predicted, using the formulas outlined at the above link, that the total caution flags thrown in 07 would be 303. In reality the total was 344! So you see,even when ‘bashing’ nascar, they still got the benefit of the doubt as my figures were LOW!

midasmicah
11/04/2009 02:19 PM
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I read a column on Fox Sports by Jeff Hammond. He stated that Kaselowski’s aggresive driving will be tempered in time. Is tempered another word for neutered. That’s where Kyle Busch is headed. To the big white trailor to be neutered. Hammond and McReynolds are a symptom of what’s wrong with nas$car. Shills too close to the rotton core to know what they’re talking about. A condescending attitude towards fans that makes me want to hurl

Bill B
11/04/2009 02:31 PM
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Thanks Jeff for the empiracle data. I remember reading that article when it was first posted but I wouldn’t have known where to look now.

So Brian, what’s your spin/excuse for those numbers?

Jeff Meyer-FS staff
11/04/2009 02:36 PM
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My total caution prediction for this decade (‘00 – ’09) was 3027. The actual total now stands, with 3 races to go, at 3070.

The Turnip!
11/04/2009 02:37 PM
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First, yes, Jeff M., I was using that (your) info for backing on my statement, but repeating the actual numbers did not seem too important for today’s topic! After all, the facts simply mean nothing to Brian France!

And, now on to other things! So, King Brain, you think things are just rosy in the stock car business huh?

Well, can you please, please, tell me, just why there are so VERY MANY empty seats these days at your theatrical events? I don’t mean a seat here, and a seat there!

I MEAN GADZILLIONS OF EMPTY SEATS! THE LIKE I HAVE NEVER, EVER, SEEN BEFORE!

And why your beloved money maker (don’t really want to call it a sport now do we, after all, that’s how you view it, a money maker, the fans be damned) is now making all tracks diguise, err, “paint” their seats so they have a harder time being detected on the TV!

And why the camera angles now are dictated, err, once again, sorry for that choice of words, I meant DESIGNED and PLACED so as not too show the stands! (meaning of course, all the totally EMPTY SEATS)!

Is THAT the healthy NA$CRAP yout trying to defend?

The NA$CRAP that makes the rules, and changes the rules, on a drunken whim?

THAT NA$CRAP?

The one that has a race at the fastest track on the circuit, and then dictates single file racing for most of the afternoon?

THAT NA$CRAP?

The organization that tells drivers to shut up or else, and said drivers end up either in the stands, or on their heads at 190+!

THAT NA$CRAP?

And the organization that makes an example out of Jeremy Mayfield, but the scurries to cover it’s ass when it comes to a France family memeber, as in IMMEDIATE FAMILY, who not only flunks the drug test, and the sobriety test, but then tells the cop to fu** off?

THAT NA$CRAP?

Gosh I’m slow, but I am detecting a trend here!

Am I right folks?

Do you see what I see?

Rocky
11/04/2009 04:33 PM
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So, Thomas, have we just outgrown Daytona and Talladega? They said the cars were too fast so they gave us restrictor plates. They said the cars were leaving the track so they gave us roof and cowl flaps. They said cars running in big packs gave us the “Big One”, so they gave us smaller fuel cells to break up the big packs. They said the cars weren’t safe enough so they gave the COT.
Now we have large packs runnig together at 195 mph and cars flipping and sliding upside down with angry drivers exiting ready to rip Sir Brians head off and deposit something down his neck and everything in the ivory tower at Daytona Beach is LOVELY!!!
As much as I hate to say it, Daytona and Talladega are no more than parade tracks. The best restrictor plate race I can remember was the year they ran the wicker strip on the roof and the spoiler. The cars had throttle response and could pass. Didn’t we have something like 75 lead changes in that race?
So what do we do? I’m all out of ideas.

Walt B
11/04/2009 05:12 PM
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Great column! I can’t believe I am going through this again with another race series. Like Bad Wolf I went from USAC to Cart to IRL which is a shadow of what open wheel racing used to be. NASCAR may survive but unless there are some drastic changes it’s best days have come and gone!

ConfederateWolf
11/04/2009 06:33 PM
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I follow Frontstretch articles pretty regularly, and often feel the urge to comment…I have jumped in a couple times, but usually, someone else says what I was thinking better than I could…but I have to say, this column hits home in so many ways…I can relate exactly to the excitement of a decade and a half ago turning to the indifference I feel today…so I won’t re-hash everything written, since it captured the situation perfectly, in my opinion…but I will add this…something that burns me to no end is when I see the inference that negative articles and views are the reason for the decline in attendance/ratings/interest, etc…as if we who watch are so blind and stupid as to not being able to form our own opinion on whether things are good or bad…sorry to inform you, but I’m pretty capable of making up my own mind, and am neither influenced by the negative (or conversely, fooled by the party line positives)…and I’m not the only one…as the author said, where I live, Nascar used to be a religion…driver numbers plastered on every car, Nascar pools, post race discussions which got so heated that physical violence was a possibility, etc, etc…and now it’s rare that anyone even watches, much less becomes passionate about it…and this sure as heck wasn’t a result of some internet articles pointing out the obvious…what has been sown is now being reaped

Richard in N.C.
11/04/2009 06:51 PM
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I’m certain your announcement that “NASCAR is officially in decline” will be greeted with joy and “I told you so’s” in the media center. When are you guys closing up?

john
11/04/2009 07:48 PM
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Very true about the Truck series… as usual, it’s gonna be the best racing again all season. And thankfully, it looks like SPEED is set to cover it for years to come.

Bad Wolf
11/04/2009 08:50 PM
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Nice try, Slim Shady-CANUCME. We can tell from your writing style, or lack thereof that you are now Brian France. Your arguments are just as tired and old as Brian France as under your old moniker.

tom dalfonzo
11/04/2009 09:25 PM
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Can someone tell me how I can assume command of NASCAR? I’m serious. I am ready to take over and run NASCAR right now. My mind is bursting at the seams with ideas on how to save the sport and bring the fans back.

Let it be known. RACE FANS. I AM YOUR WHITE KNIGHT.

I can’t wait to see the look on Brian France’s face when I kick him out of NASCAR.

mkrcr
11/04/2009 09:25 PM
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“And the band played on”. Research that one BF.

Old Timer
11/04/2009 09:39 PM
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The name of the sanctioning body has the word STOCK in its name. The cars they race don’t exist in two door versions. And two don’t exist as rear wheel drive (don’t know what Dodge is pretending to be).They don’t offer V8 engines. They ain’t stock in any way. The trucks look somewhat like stock trucks. You can get a rear wheel V8 version that looks kinda like what is on the track. In other words the cars don’t race what brought them to the show and the further away they get the more the interest drops.

djones
11/04/2009 11:31 PM
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Bravo Tom. Take a bow. Great column.

The Turnip!
11/05/2009 10:16 AM
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Hey “tom dalfonzo”, there is only one thing you will need to know when you assume command of the mother ship we call NA$CRAP!

Where the light switches are to make sure everything is OFF!

Brother Bear
11/09/2009 11:06 AM
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Living in South Africa, I am at a local short track 3 weekends a month. I also try and watch/follow Nascar – the Talladega race was one of the most anticipated and anti-climatic races of the year. Seeing that the best strategy was hanging back rather than racing was just as much a downer as seeing the cars strung out in single-file during the middle of the race.

I will not pretend to have all the answers, but my guess is that things started to change once fans are being seen only as customers.

BTW, keep up the great writing!

 

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