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 September 22, 2010
Did You Notice? … The disastrous drop in TV ratings at Loudon? I literally gasped out loud when I read the somber verdict from Nielsen and Co.: a 28 percent drop from 3.2 to 2.3, paired with a loss in viewership of 1.36 million people. In a world where we’ve endured a rainstorm of precipitous decline, those numbers were a vicious tornado of destruction, one that shattered any remaining fake glass windows of invincibility down in Daytona Beach. Over the past decade, that’s the largest drop in year-to-year viewership of any race that wasn’t affected by weather and postponed.
It’s a bittersweet moment, the realization off the heels of a sparkling Chase debut that the racing doesn’t matter if fans decide to tune out the playoffs altogether. Sadly, I had planned to initially start out this column by making a pact over the next nine weeks to you that I’d stop criticizing the Chase, not because I like it (I don’t) but because there’s no use whining about something that can’t be changed until the offseason. Based on Sunday’s product, I do believe that this year’s playoffs, while unwanted, will probably wind up being one of the most entertaining we’ve had during its seven-year run.
And if the on-track action’s going to be awesome, even if you don’t believe in the title format, the race is worth watching if only to be rewarded after a boring, uninspiring end to the regular season. It’s my job to cover the action from week to week, not become a two-month, continuous public advocate for change when there’s some quality competition that just went on three days earlier. I’ve made my feeling known about the Chase, as has the majority of the fan base. They can’t cancel the thing in the middle of September, I reckon, so let’s cross our fingers, hope for the best and see what happens.
Of course, in my life I’m forever bound to the sport, not only by passion but also a career choice – a major difference that came to light this week. Turns out too many are already deeming this marriage over, sending a subpoena with their remotes that after six years of a playoff format they don’t believe in, the divorce is moving forward and they’ll see NASCAR in the Court of I Don’t Care. Sunday was a watershed moment where 1.3 million dedicated fans – just think about that number for a second – bonded together to prove that point.
The sport has claimed in recent years to be open-minded in listening to teams and fans, between the NASCAR Fan Council and private town hall meetings to gauge how best to fix the sport. Well, there’s no more important time for the leaders to come together and fully understand the message the fan base just sent. For those blaming this mass exodus to be based on a transition from network to cable, consider this nugget: New Hampshire’s fall 2003 race, the last one before the Chase where Matt Kenseth was pulling away in the title race averaged a 3.0. Aired on TNT – a cable channel just like ESPN – that’s 23 percent higher than the rating NASCAR registered seven years into their “genius idea” Sunday afternoon.
Others may blame the economy. Well, I’ll tell you what a lot of unemployed people like to do when they’re sitting at home: watch television. Even if I believe every single word you say about how it’s affecting ticket sales, those numbers shouldn’t translate to a 28 percent drop on TV. And while the declines for other races were fairly significant, not one came close to the type of shift we saw between the end of the regular season and the start of the Chase. Never mind that every other sport in America, once they enter the postseason sees a significant spike in their viewership instead of fans running for the hills.
To me, the answer is alarmingly, frighteningly clear: fans hate the Chase to the point they’re just not going to bother being a part of it. Finally, they’re voting with their wallets, their voices, and their remotes – to the point where if that doesn’t cause the Chase to go bye-bye, doggone it, for the first time ever I fear the whole NASCAR ship might sink.
Here’s the best-case scenario going forward for NASCAR PR: 1) The Chase continues to provide us with high-quality racing at every track, creating buzz from now all the way until the final race at Homestead where someone other than Jimmie Johnson wins the title. 2) In December, the sport announces that despite a successful ending this season, the Chase system was futile and they’re either reverting to the old format or creating a new system that will develop a higher sense of urgency for all 36 races. 3) They announce an accelerated program to get the new Nationwide car into the Cup Series in order to produce brand differentiation between the manufacturers. So it’ll cost the top teams money – what do you have to lose at this point? There’s nothing but rich owners left.
Even with those three key developments, I still don’t know if that’s going to be enough without some radical change at the top. Could famous racing sons Tony George and Brian France be ousted less than two years apart? I still don’t think it’s likely, but considering this country is already revved up to be in an anti-incumbent mood, the chances are significantly rising.
One other thing to keep in mind before we leave this topic: ESPN’s continuous Chase self-promotion. They had drivers on Sportscenter this week, took the time to put out a Kyle Busch reality show and made a dedicated effort across the board to market the product – more than we’ve seen since 2007. The fact that hasn’t worked in their favor speaks volumes about the state of the sport going forward, and also brings greater focus to a faltering eight-year television deal for all three networks heading into the offseason.
Lots to keep an eye on here, folks. What NASCAR does in the next six months could affect their very ability to survive.
Did You Notice? … A sense of urgency coming from Kyle Busch in the Truck Series? Between his reality show and on-track incidents, he’s doing all the right things to keep himself on the radar screen and attract sponsorship for an organization that will shut down in 2011 without proper funding.
You can also argue that Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are performing the same service in different ways. Notice how often Gordon’s said he’s not retiring, that he’d like to drive four or five years over the past few months? Well, with DuPont possibly scaling back, that allows the team to sell his brand to a company that’s not willing to make a three, four, or five-year commitment without some sort of verbal assurance from Jeff.
And check out Stewart, the perfect example of humbleness and maturity moments after running out of gas on Sunday night. Some of that is definitely due to the once-moody driver growing up; but don’t discount what an angry, frustrating tirade would do to marketers already desperate to replace the races Old Spice is leaving behind in 2011. Considering Stewart’s 39, sponsors aren’t going to bite on a photographer punch, but on a guy who’s going after wins and developing into a NASCAR role model for younger drivers. That’s the only way for cagey veterans to make a living in a world where the almighty dollar rules the day.
Getting back to Kyle’s sense of urgency for a bit, his Truck Series escapades – while debatable – are the type of stuff we used to see in the sport’s top three divisions every single week. While marketing gurus, officials, and fans all come together in ways to define the sport, that to me is the key to bringing people back, capturing that sense of urgency and getting drivers to feel that from the moment they step in their car to the second they take the checkered flag. Then, and only then, will the product automatically improve in a sport where mental strategy can play a major role in how the quality of racing unfolds.
Did You Notice? … Speaking of searching for more manufacturer brand identity up above, wasn’t this year the one where Toyota was to come out and dominate the Sprint Cup landscape? After all, it took just three for Todd Bodine to win the Truck Series title in a Tundra, the same time it took for Kyle Busch to make the Nationwide Series his own personal playground with a Joe Gibbs Racing Camry.
For proof, let’s take a look at some Bowtie stats in Cup:
Not surprisingly, leading the series in all those categories the actual manufacturers’ title has turned into a bit of a joke. They have a 32-point lead on Toyota with nine races remaining, virtually assuring them of an eighth straight Sprint Cup crown.
The manufacturer tried their best to poach as many people as they could, with money and philosophy attracting a handful of gems the past few years: Brian Vickers, crew chief Pat Tryson, and GM Jay Frye among them. But in an example to show how much the Big Four are entrenched at the top (the fourth has rotated between Penske and Childress in recent years), the manufacturer could not gain any traction until they turned to Gibbs in a partnership that’s done wonders to save face. Keep in mind the team builds their own motors, apart from TRD in a mode all its own, a power that in a sense is greater than the manufacturer itself. If not for JGR, they would own just one win (David Reutimann) and have zero cars competing in the Chase.
I wonder if that’s why people don’t pay a lot of attention to manufacturers anymore. In a sense, the owners have become so powerful in their own right, the cars so non-definitive that getting a Hendrick chassis or Roush engine is more powerful than a Toyota motor. Boy, what the drivers from the first Daytona race in 1959 would say if they could see the sport now…
Did You Notice? … Instead of quick hits this week, we’re going to note some weird coincidences at the May race in Dover, as pivotal a race in the regular season as it was for the Chase. Consider on that day…
And look where we are now.
Connect with Tom!
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
If people wanted to watch IROC racing,IROC wouldn’t have gone away !
Everyone knows the chase is sinking the ship but the one person that can fix it thinks it’s more important not to admit he made a mistake.
Brain Farce is a mistake!!
Didn’t watch or record the race. I am a fan from the late 60’s watching snippets of coverage on The Wide World of Sports- I am 49 years old. I long ago stopped watching nationwide races due to how they screwed up that series. I have stopped attending Sprint Cup races several years ago-because the racing was too boring. Where Sprint Cup races were “must see TV” for me-I would plan my weekend around the races-I started taping them to watch at a later time and so I can fast forward through the ridiculous amounts of commercials. Then I found myself recording the races and, as often as not, not even bothering to watch them. Now I am just done. I was out of town at a funereal this weekend-didn’t bother to record the race, didn’t check on the race via the internet, nothing. Brian France, through his stupidity, and dumb decisions has ruined the sport. NASCAR, France family-I am done. No more NASCAR for me.
I dont watch nascar anymore because of one word…commercials….who the hell wants to watch a program where it seems like more time is spent on commercials than the actual program!!!!!If they would just go to split screen and show both,I would bet my house that viewership would go up….
I made this point once but it is worth pointing out: NFL ratings have not dropped and in some cases are up. So any excuse given involving external factors has to be thrown out the window.
Personally I think drop in NASCAR ratings is due to a a double hit. NASCAR picked up a lot of “me too” viewers in the late 90s and early 00s. Brian made a lot of changes to appease and keep these cool and trendy viewers. However the next big thing came along so they came; they saw; they left. At the same time, the changes turned off the old fans. So they left as well.
So here we are wondering what the heck happened.
I think that the Chase is part of the reason for the loss of viewers, but if you compare the TV coverage now with some coverage even 8-10 years ago, you’ll start noticing that the newer directors seem to come from a crop of ADD sufferers. I would like to see fewer commercials, but I would also like to see more racing. Watching one car in frame doesn’t constitute watching racing. Watching only 2 cars in frame doesn’t constitute racing! If you can see actual racing going on – which means seeing cars IN CONTEXT against other cars! I would like to see more wide angle action that actually stays on the action until you can see your favorite driver’s position and how the action is proceeding around him. You know, kind of like actually being AT the race? What a concept!
Nice try Goldman; do you spin for politicians at your day job? The ship is sinking and the captain and officers are on the bridge oblivious to the icebergs.
I hear Randy Goldman sucks at Fantasy football.
BORING!! The commentators are trying to make it sound like its really a close race when it really is just follow the leader until about the last twenty laps. Hardly ever watch anymore and have not gone to a race in two yrs.
Did anybody notice that once again a small team (whitney) was fined a large amount of money and had a large amount of driver and team points taken away. Funny how it’s the small teams that get hit with these penalties. And yes, the chase was a big mistake from the beginning. nas$car is not a stick and ball sport and in it’s idiotic actions set itself on the road to self distruction. ‘nuff said!!
For the first time since I was a boy when I “ saw it on the radio “ with Petty and others I decided to tune out the race last Sunday. There will be no Chase watching in my house.If there was a Ford Focus and some Nissan Sentra racing for 500 miles without cloned drivers I would tune in. Nascar needs to die before it can get better or be reset back to 1969.
Tom, you hit all the points that fans have been making over and over, but no one listens. Personally I think the fan council thing is a joke — I just saw the Fall newsletter from them and according to their survey — all the fans love the chase, think the sport is going in the right direction and all is right in Baby France’s world. Funny thing – that’s not how I’ve responded when asked about those things in the survey.
Based on the ratings, I’m guessing that I’m not alone. I’m not going to sit around wasting a beautiful weekend day to watch the product that is currently being put out there as a NASCAR race – sounds like I’m not alone.
Can’t Emperor Brian be suspended for “actions detriMENTAL to the sport?”
Minnesota Twins clinched their division with 11 games to go. Major League Baseball has to do something about that.
July 2, 1963
I come right here to get my Nascar news. I don’t watch it on television, listen on the radio, or read nascar.com. I watch football on the weekend and may take a peek at the race during halftime if there isn’t another game on at the same time. The nascar telecasts are pathetic, full of commercials, and the commentators are awful. I haven’t been able to give up the sport completely, which is why I do come here to get the race recap and commentary but the day is fast approaching when I won’t care. I’m one of the long-time fans who pines for the old championship format, the old-style cars, and team ingenuity. When the sponsors starting running the sport, the fans starting running in the opposite direction. Enjoy your money today, France family, because it won’t be around for long.
How do they count TV audience? I switched between baseball, football and Nascar and enjoyed all 3.
Race fans don’t have to stop enjoying racing. There is a local track nearby that would love to have you in the stands and at a reasonable price. Being a race fan isn’t limited to being a NASCAR fan. Try it, you might like it.
Is it any wonder that IBPN’s coverage had a 28% drop in viewership? Among all the other things NA$CAR’s gotten wrong, IBPN’s coverage is disjointed, confusing and obviously geared towards the ADD set. The coverage is hard to watch, there is no flow or continuity with the way the coverage jumps around. Perhaps NA$$$$CAR needs to not be so greedy and instead of auctioning off TV rights to the highest bidder and just pick one for a more reasonable sum of money we wouldn’t have 3 1/2 hour long commercial fests with race updates. Getting sick of it.
For most of it’s history , the car manufacturers were every bit as important as the drivers names . Ford vs Chevy vs Mopar was what brought fans to the races . NASCAR made a determined effort starting in the ninetys to focus on pretty boy drivers and push the make of car into the background . And that lead us to the COT and the Nationwide COT with different grills .
@DonnieAjax: Now that’s funny right there!
Some new fans might think short track is a smaller line of coke.
Tom said: “If not for JGR, they would own just one win (David Reutimann) and have zero cars competing in the Chase.“
I hope you’re talking about this year, and not overall, because Reutimann has two wins, and Brian Vickers has a win for Toyota in cars other than from JGR.
Randy Goldman said: “Do I have to have a Neilsen box?“
In a word, yes. If you dont have a Neilsen box, then whatever you’re watching is NOT being counted for ratings purposes. A few random thousand people have ratings boxes in their home, and whatever they are watching is recorded as a ratings point. Then they extrapolate that data over the rest of the country. For example, of 50 out of 3000 people are watching a certain show, then 5,000,000 out of 300,000,000 people in the United States are probably watching the same show.
racing is terrible at the “cookie cutter tracks” and equally as bad at Loudon, Chicago, etc…the only entertaining races are at Daytona, Talladega, Matinsville and Bristol…AND I WORK IN SPORTS MARKETING!
I, too, used to tape the races. even if I was watching the race, I taped it for all time. My family knew that if there was a race on, I wasn’t going anywhere! Much of my week would then be spent re-taping the past weekend’s races to edit out the commercials. Every week my 4 1/2 hours of racing becam 2 hours and 20 minutes of racing. AND THAT WAS WHEN I DIDN’T THINK THE COMMERCIAL COVERAGE WAS TOO MUCH!!! Since, the TV consolidation deals, increased commercial interruption, and Brian France’s complete ineptitude, I rarely ever turn the race on anymore. I leave the leaderboard at NA$CAR.com running on my computer so that I can check it once in a while, but I find other things to occupy my time.(NO!!! I will not pay for NA$CAR’s racecast services, I just leave their free leaderboard running) NA$CAR is a dinosaur, Brian France is the asteroid, and the fans have sought shelter from the impending disaster. On the bright side, I have many races from the past 25 years to watch when I get nostalgic for real men racing fast cars.
The commercials are bad enough but we have all the paid product mentions during the broadcast. Sunoco gasoline and Goodyear tires. In the NFL they just call it a football. In MLB baseball it’s simply a glove. NASCAR isn’t real TV – it’s an infomercial.
One word explains it all GREED
Did Brian France gasp?
Richard , the constant on air commercials for the fuel company was started by Mike Joy a number of years ago . He , and the other announcers apparently get paid by the fuel company to mention the name as often as possible during the broadcasts . In fact , it’s been suggested that they get paid per mention . I often wonder if the camera crew and director are getting paid as well . We sure seem to have a fuel company’s sign or logo convienently in the background of race shots and interviews . As has been said many times about this issue , there is very little integrity in the broadcast booth . Although i’ve noticed that the current booth , Andy and Dale at least hardly ever mention products by name . Not all of them are greedy i guess .
I think the fad of NASCAR is gone with many casual sports fans. It’s hard for a NASCAR race to compete head on with big 1pm NFL games. I think the sport drew a lot of causal fans after the death of Dale Sr., and they have gone. This exposes the alienation of traditional fans. NASCAR needs to get back even more to basics. Junk the Chase, and give Southern fans a peace offering (Nationwide or Truck at Rockingham or 2nd Cup date at Darlington).
NA$CAR.com is reporting that Bowyer has had 150 points docked and his crew chief suspended for 6 weeks for failing post race inspection at Loudon.
Last year when MM & JJ had illegal cars in the chase, neither of them were fined 150 points or cc’s taken away…?
Na$crap wants to institute “elimination rounds” in the 2011 chase. Apparently they started in early, Clint Bowyer is OUT!
So if Nascar went to an elimination, would that mean Jimmie Johnson would be out this week?
Nascar would probably just penalize everyone ahead of him to ensure that he stays in it.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief
If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.
Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.