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.
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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.
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Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thomas Bowles · Wednesday April 21, 2010
Did You Notice? … What Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said in a moment of frustration after Monday’s race? NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver never fails to tell it like it is, and in a moment of passion jumped into some political incorrectness that vocalized what we’ve all been thinking:
“I was having fun until all those cautions kept coming at the end,” he said. “We run 450 miles to sit there and settle it in a bunch of mess there at the end of the race… and it is kind of stupid.”
It didn’t take long for the man to correct himself, but the words were put out there – and he’s not the only person who thinks that way. These NASCAR races of 2010 have followed a familiar pattern: spread out single-file for the first half, make sure you’re on the lead lap within the final 150 miles, and then drive like a bat out of hell for the final 50. A full race’s worth of side-by-side racing is pushed into the final 20 minutes.
They’re great finishes, don’t get me wrong. But for a sport asking a fan to stick around for four hours, how are you going to keep them entertained for the first three-and-a-half?
That question begs another one, how the races have gotten so unbalanced as of late. Here’s a few reasons I’ve come up with:
1) In-race problems are easier than ever to recover from. With NASCAR’s new double-file restart rule, there was a little addendum called the “wave around” that a lot of people didn’t pay much attention to. Simply put, if a caution comes out and a lapped car decides not to pit while the lead lap ones do, it’s given the “wave around” and allowed to pass the pace car, earning its lap back. It’s designed to make sure there’s no lapped car out front on the restart, clearing up any confusion as to who’s the leader heading to the green flag.
In one sense, the rule’s worked like a charm, making the sport easy to understand for casual fans. But there’s also been an unintended consequence: all of a sudden, getting multiple laps back is easier than calling for mystery debris.
Take the case of Mark Martin. Before Texas’ final caution with 25 to go, he was trapped in 23rd, a lap behind and nowhere close to the free pass. But by staying out and choosing not to pit, he (along with a dozen others) were allowed to pass the pace car, get their lap back, and – voila! – placed right into the fringes of contention. Five laps later, a caution on the restart allowed these “wave arounds” to dive down pit road, grab fresh tires, and suddenly be in a better position than the leaders. No wonder that by the time the checkered flag flew, Martin had worked his way up to sixth.
That’s not the first time the rule’s worked in someone’s favor, and it won’t be the last. During one race over the past year, Ryan Newman made up multiple laps by simply getting waved around by the pace car, turning what should have been a 30th-place finish into a top 10.
This kills the momentum of the race in a bunch of ways. It allows lapped cars to take it easy, knowing the only way they’re going to work back into contention is by gambling on pit strategy, taking the “wave around,” and hoping for the best. As for the leaders, they know setting a torrid pace early, then lapping several contenders doesn’t do much because the “wave around” puts them right back on the tail end of the lead lap anyways.
Certainly, the rule allows for more cars on the lead lap than ever before. But do you really want your driver to finish inside the top 20 because he won a game of roulette? More than ever, drivers who make mistakes aren’t punished for them, making the early segments of the race far less important. I’m all for giving the lapped cars chances to work their way back up through – maybe we have two Lucky Dogs instead of one – but fifteen at once is absolutely out of control.
2) It’s all about the Chase, not winning the race. While NASCAR’s heading in the right direction with their “Boys Have At It” policy, it’s clear drivers are still focused on the playoffs, not pushing the envelope early in the race. I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve done with drivers this year where the main theme remains the same as ever: don’t put yourself in a bad spot early on in the year, because you want to score as many points as possible. Well, you don’t score points for running side-by-side for the lead on Lap 50, only to have someone get loose, both cars spin out, and you fail to finish the race. Sponsors, crew chiefs, heck even your own wife will point that move out as the culprit when you miss the Chase by 10 points — along with the millions in exposure and recognition that go with it.
A recent Time magazine article struck my eye, because it’s the first time Brian France has been open about changing the point system towards putting more focus on winning. It’s a step in the right direction, but eliminating any type of playoff system may be the best way to go. For until fear of missing the playoffs gets removed from drivers’ heads, why would they do anything but run conservative enough to get there?
3) Bring back the bonuses. Remember the old Winston Million program? The old series sponsor set up a $1 million bonus for winning three of the sport’s four “crown jewel” races at the time: the Daytona 500, Winston 500 (Talladega), Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte), and Southern 500 (Darlington). Only two people ever won it: Bill Elliott (1985) and Jeff Gordon (1997), but the national attention brought to the sport during its growth period can’t be understated.
Yeah, a million doesn’t mean as much to the country club organizations of today, but the pride in winning these prestigious races would be enough to get teams and drivers to lay it all on the line. What if Sprint revived that program? There’s also something simple it could do for every race: money for leading at halfway. Or maybe bonuses for the 100, 200, 300, and 400-mile mark. Again, these drivers make a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want more.
There’s plenty more reasons here, but at least we’re off to a solid start. Certainly, fantastic finishes have NASCAR slowing the bleeding down to a trickle; but until they address the whole wound, there’s no way it’s going to completely stop.
Did You Notice? … Along the same lines of what we were talking about, just one of our five winners this season is currently inside the top 8 in points? Let’s check out where each of them stands:
Jimmie Johnson – 3 wins, 1st in points
To be fair, not every driver that wins a race is playoff-caliber: for example, McMurray’s wrecked four times in seven starts since his Daytona triumph. But how has a trip to Victory Lane helped them to be in better position for the playoffs? If you take the 30 points away from winning Martinsville and Texas, for example, Hamlin’s still eleventh in points. He doesn’t even drop a spot.
More than ever, as NASCAR looks to revise the points system they have to give more focus on winning and/or finishing in the top 5. Ryan Newman has two top 5 finishes to Burton’s one, but he’s behind him in points because Burton has seven top 20s to his six. Is that really how we want the playoffs to be decided? Because someone finishes 19th more often? I might be slightly mistaken, but I don’t think race fans come to the track to see their driver run 19th.
Did You Notice? … That all the drug suspensions have revolved around small, underfunded teams? Looking at the tally I have so far this year, this is what I’ve got:
Cup Series No. 38: 1
That’s five suspensions from teams that either struggle to make it to the track each week or are bit players in the weekly NASCAR Scene. Of note is the lone Cup Series suspension, assessed to Jeremy Mayfield’s former brother-in-law (everytime a Mayfield connection gets mentioned, you have to sit there and raise your eyebrows).
Hey, maybe I need to give the big teams credit. Maybe the combination of NASCAR’s stringent testing rules plus policies in place by the major organizations has slowed the drug violations down to a trickle. But just five failures amongst hundreds tested is enough to raise my eyebrows just a little. In comparison, a total of 26 players participating in the NFL draft combine alone (of about 300-400) failed their drug test prior to the draft last year.
I just have my doubts that NASCAR is that much cleaner than other sports. That’s why if I were the sanctioning body head, I’d be worried about this Mayfield case going to trial. For it’s not about whether he’s innocent or guilty anymore; it’s who else – or what else – he’s willing to expose.
Did You Notice? … Some quick hits before I go:
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Point #3: I think ten or so years ago, the leader at halfway got a $10k bonus, maybe from Gatorade. A small amount of money, but I can remember DJ stretching his fuel while leading to try and take that halfway bonus money and the tank running out. Any racer will run harder for good enough bragging rights.
And although I’d love to see the Chase disappear, as long as the individual races were given more importance than simply their championship point potential, I’d be happy. I could tell you plenty about some of the great races I’ve been to, but next to nothing about how those races impacted the championship, and that’s the way it should be: when I go to the bookstore, I don’t want to buy a single chapter and appreciate how it made for a good book, and when I buy a ticket to a race, I want to feel like I watched a whole race and not just a tenth or a twenty-sixth of one.
Racing isn’t just about the last lap finishes. What about the drama of mechanical failure or mistakes from drivers? What about the rivalries that occur 1/2 or 2/3rds of the way through a race? (Like Gordon and Johnson this week) What about adjusting your race car to be fastest in race conditions for those last few laps when you can make a run for the checkers?
This week, Jimmie Johnson didn’t run for points, he ran for the win (again, I thought it was the same thing; winning=points, points=championships). Jeff Gordon wasn’t ticked that he didn’t have a good points day, he was ticked because he didn’t have a chance to win.
Many people on this site, and on these boards claim that the first 9/10ths of races are boring. But, that’s where the real drama occurs. Who avoids trouble? Who’s having a good day? Who’s coming? Who’s going? That’s one of the reasons that the Coke/World/??? 600 is one of my favorite races. Start in the day, end in the cooler night, under the lights, and see who can hang with the big boys for 600 miles to duke it out in the end.
Finally, if you read Dale Jr.‘s quote again, without such a negative approach, you’ll see that he is reffering to “the mess” at the end of the race being that wreck that took out so many good cars. It was a hard days work ended by foul fortune.
But, that’s why they call it “one of those racing deals”
Drug Testing in other sports started the same way. A decade ago MLB busted no name, small time players and guys like Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds somehow skated through.
Now that busts have become more mainstream, and it won’t kill the reputation of the sport entirely. Guys like A-Rod and Andy Petitte are getting busted.
The time will come when a big time driver gets busted.
This is a great article, I have been a fan of Nascar for 35-40 years,too much BS from the announers, this Boogity is red-neck, and crank it up one more time. How about these guys get a job in a comedy club.
I love the wave around ONLY when its MY driver getting it, the rest of the time its sticks.
DansMom aside ( say hi to the others there at NASCAR PR ) the majority of fans DO see the first 90% of the race as being boring . And most drivers do as well . So how about we try an idea thats been mentioned by others . Make each race day a mini championship . The Shootouts at Charlotte sure seem to keep the fans’ interest . So instead of 500 or 600 mile races , split each race day into heats of 50 or 100 miles ( or laps ) each . At the end of the day , total up points for finishing positions in all of the heats . And make the point spread big enough to make the drivers want to ( and need to ) run as hard as possible . Ten or twenty minute break between heats . The race between crews on pit road would be eliminated , but that doesn’t really determine the outcome of a race nearly as much as what a crew actually does to their car during a stop .
Thanks for explaining the “wave around” rule – Now I hate it more than ever. I think it is completely unfair that all of the lapped drivers get special treatment at the expense of everybody else. I agree that they need to go back to the “lucky dog” rule with maybe two drivers getting their laps back like you said.
RamblinWreck, I was at that race where DJ stayed out for the halfway money. It was at Indy and if I remember correctly he went 3 laps down, and he barely made it coasting down pit lane to his stall. I bet if that happened to one of the big stars now Nascar would find any excuse to wave the yellow
I guess I’m one of those strange fans who want to see the best car of the day win the race. All these new rules are made to create excitement but at the expense of the best car winning. I watch every lap of a race and it’s still exciting to me to watch the best car build a 10 or 20 second lead, that team has earned that lead! Any rules that undermine the “fastest car wins” principle are bad in my opinion.
Drivers need to have some way of getting a lap back. I don’t think it’s fair for a driver to have a dominant car and then have some minor problem keep them trapped a lap down for the rest of the day. Let’s not forget that, in the days when drivers used to race back to the caution flag, the leader frequently slowed down to give several drivers their laps back. I like the lucky dog rule for that reason, plus it sort of creates an extra “race within the race.”
Most forms of racing have actually used a wave-around rule for a long time, and it does fix the problem where the leader would sometimes restart midpack. However, I think it would be better with a couple of changes. First, don’t let the wave-around cars line up right at the back of the field. Have them restart in the middle of the backstretch instead, so they’re basically getting half of a lap back. Second, don’t allow it late in the race – basically however long a fuel run is. (If cars can go 60 laps, don’t allow it within the last 60 laps.) Wave-around cars need to be taking some type of gamble. Throughout most of the race, that gamble is that, if another caution doesn’t come out soon, you’ll have to pit under green. I think that’s fair. But cars that get waved-around late in the race who can already make it to the finish don’t have to worry about that risk, which makes it no gamble for them at all.
P.S. I very much loved Dale Jr’s post-race quote!
Love the wave around (gamble) Love the lucky dog//love the 3 trys GWC//love the spoiler//no quick knee jerk reactions please
Count me as another fan of the wave-around rule. Do you really think it was so much better in previous years with only 5 cars on the lead lap? I prefer it now with 20+ cars all on the lead lap and with a chance to win. Yes it sucks for guys to lose the race because of a yellow with <10 laps to go, but hey, that’s racing.
Kevin in SoCal , if more cars on the lead lap is what we need , then why not just put every car one or more laps down back on the lead lap on each caution ? That would be just as fair and make just as much sense as what NASCAR does now . “ Sorry you got lapped , you just weren’t going fast enough . Now here is a free pass to get back on the lead lap . Try to go faster this time , but if you get lapped again don’t worry , we’ll wave you around again “ .
As you know, the “lucky dog” was NASCAR’s way of compensating for removing the “racing back to the caution”. While I can understand the theory, I don’t agree with the implementation. If a lapped car is half a lap behind the leader, he had no chance of getting a lap back under the old rules. Why should that change? Now that the “wave around” is in effect, I think a lapped car should only get a lap back if he/she is the first car behind the leader. If several lead lap cars are next in line, so be it-no one gets a lap back unless the “wave around” is used. As an earlier poster wrote, if NASCAR wants everyone on the lead lap, just give everyone a lap on each caution. It would make as much sense as what they do now.
OK Here’s your new POINTS SYTEM.
This system is designed to reward consistency yet give teams who have a realistic shot at winning during a race more incentive to push hard for a win. It does that by awarding points for the only positions that really matter in NASCAR; TOP TENS. It also stops giving points for top fives & tens after a maximum number is reached. This will push teams with top ten cars into taking more risks to go for the win. It also allows for a team to dominate a weekend and make up a ton of ground. The numbers may need some tweeking, but the systems structure is sound. Here it is:
Wins = 25 points
Positions 2-5 – 10 points up to 12 finishes, after that 0. Maximum 120 points
Poles = 3 points
1. Number of finishes 11-15
This also dumps The Chase and goes back to treating each race with equal importance.
There was a time when every single thing that happened in a race meant something. It was a story telling and unfolding with each lap. Now a lot happens during a race, but it generaly means and tells nothing. I feel cheated to watch a race today. As Tony Stewart told little Busch a few years ago,“you do not race until after the last pit stop.” It has become that way because Nascar in a bad decision has tried to reinvent racing for what has proven to be the short term fan. Worst of all often a car that would have won the race because of there work, preparation, and ability now loses at the very end because of the mickey mouse rules that now prevail for the weak minded fan that is only able to understand, remember and recall the finish. I feel sorry for this fan as they will never know or see a race unfold like a good book tells a story because of the gutting of true racing.
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