The Frontstretch: Did You Notice? ... Gordon Going Softie, Fans Faking Martinsville Love And Innocent Victims by Thomas Bowles -- Wednesday October 27, 2010

Go to site navigation Go to article

Did You Notice? … How much Jeff Gordon gets pushed around by Jimmie Johnson? Sunday was the latest chapter in a book of on-track incidents, Johnson clearly cutting off the No. 24 car on several occasions to the point Gordon radioed in to ask if J.J. “had a spotter.” Yet once again, even though it’s the No. 48 initiating contact, Gordon decides to complain instead of taking matters into his own hands and fighting back. How much longer is the prodigy going to run roughshod over the master? Four more years? Five? Six?

As Jeff Gordon’s season continues to spiral backwards, teammate Jimmie Johnson keeps chugging along in the point lead – again – in a move that has to anger the original four-time champ from Hendrick Motorsports.

In watching Gordon the last few seasons, this constant deference to a team he co-owns is nothing new, an open wound that continues to affect the way he drives with everyone. Since Johnson beat the man at his own game in 2007, what’s followed has been three seasons with only one win and a sudden loss of composure in key situations to close the deal. It seems like whenever Gordon needs to stand up for himself, he doesn’t, and when he does get too aggressive it’s at the wrong times and provides the worst of circumstances.

Just think back to Martinsville in March, his longtime rival Matt Kenseth issuing a bump that angered the No. 24 driver and rooted him out of the lead. Had Gordon kept his composure, the chance for the victory was still readily within his grasp, but a knee-jerk response was to slam into the No. 17, wrecking the chances for both cars while Denny Hamlin slipped by for the win. Three months later, he turned a track he once dominated at Infineon into his personal Demolition Derby, angering everyone from Martin Truex, Jr. to Elliott Sadler while bulldozing his way to perhaps the most embarrassing fifth-place finish of his career.

Compare that to Sunday’s incident with Kurt Busch, a driver who our Nick Bromberg smartly pointed out has had a borderline personal vendetta with Hendrick Motorsports. Considering the circumstances, where the Miller Lite Dodge treated the DuPont Chevy like a pinball after a rather innocuous move, Gordon had every right to run down the No. 2 car and ruin his day.

He didn’t.

Such confusing decisions on when to speak up trickle down to the crew chief as well. Yes, Rick Hendrick has a policy of being politically correct under virtually every circumstance, internal strife handled long after the cameras and media types like me go away. But several times this season, Gordon’s losses can be attributed directly to a bad call with Steve Letarte or the actions of his pit crew, who on Sunday left him caught in traffic with a poor stop that left the No. 24 a sitting duck. In some ways, it’s admirable the Rainbow Warrior hasn’t come out and criticized his crew the way Kevin Harvick, Busch, and others provide R-rated verbal abuse on a weekly basis. But there’s also an interesting counterpoint to the silence as well, summed up perfectly by Brad Keselowski in my SI Diary with him last month:

“Everyone wants to talk about the consequences of being too vocal,” he said. “Swearing, being angry — but what they don’t think about is the consequences of not being vocal enough. And when you’re not, people begin to think you don’t care. When you’re not angry from having a poor run or having a mistake or whatever, it’s very easily interpreted as you don’t care.”

Could the same be happening for Gordon? If you put out an attitude where you’re comfortable making these types of mistakes and moving on, then the crew gets it subconsciously in their heads that they’re going to be playing second fiddle to the No. 48 – and others. I think there’s an interesting dynamic at play here, one that will likely end with Gordon leading the most laps since Harry Gant in 1981 without scoring a Cup victory.

And at this point I’m more uncertain than ever as to when that car is going to find its way to Victory Lane again. Perhaps that lone win in the last three years was one of the reasons why it took so long for a 2011 sponsor to be signed, after several companies spurned Hendrick until a “Drive 4 Hunger” campaign sponsored through the AARP Foundation came through to fill the gap left by some reduced funding from DuPont.

Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s officiating silence is haunting them again? Ever since the story broke that the No. 48 had to replace a driveshaft cover on Sunday, I’ve heard so many stories and fantasies that Milli Vanilli and Bernie Madoff combined couldn’t compete. One of the more popular versions, reported by several outlets, is that there was a crack in the cover and NASCAR merely asked for the team to replace it for safety reasons. But others surround the thickness of the cover itself, saying its design bothered officials enough they ordered its removal.

Like it or not, Chad Knaus’ past history should make it mandatory for NASCAR officials to explain any type of incident in pre-race inspection – even something as simple as a driveshaft cover.

Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to tell you the real answer here because once again, the sanctioning body has clammed up on the issue faster than Christine O’Donnell when you mention the word “witch.” And in pleading the 5th, the sport is again doing itself a disservice, considering even a whiff of a cheating scandal surrounding the reigning four-time champion is enough to give the fan base torches and a reason to march towards those luxurious ISC offices down in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s a minor issue or not distracts us from the major point, an open-door, honest policy to keep people informed when these types of incidents occur so it can be properly explained why one Chaser got a 150-point, Category 5 hurricane penalty while the No. 48 received the equivalent of “please” and “thank you.”

How many more times is it going to have to happen before NASCAR wakes up and realizes how ending conspiracy theories is as easy as opening your mouth and telling the truth? Then again, truth is a very hard thing to come by down in those offices these days …

Did You Notice? … As the Richard Petty Motorsports saga unfolds, the two innocent victims whose careers hang in the balance? In one corner is A.J. Allmendinger, who turned a part-time opportunity into a two-year, full-time ride courtesy of a third-place finish in last February’s Daytona 500. Recently the owner of a new contract extension, he’s embodied the heart and soul of a building organization that was looking forward to going to battle with him in 2011.

Now? One of the sport’s rapidly improving drivers could be sitting on the sidelines next year with no stock car opportunities and only a handful of open-wheel offers enough to possibly lure him away for good. What a terrible turn of events that would be: One of the sport’s more outspoken, honest personalities driven right back into the hands of a rival in the IndyCar Series that’s building more steam to challenge stock car’s reign of racing dominance than we might think.

But nothing would be more devastating to NASCAR than to lose Marcos Ambrose to … Australia? That’s where he’ll be going if the No. 9 ride doesn’t pan out, closing up shop and leaving Ford no choice but to follow through on a financial commitment to return the likable driver to V8 Supercars. With JTG-Daugherty Racing moving forward with 2000 Cup champ Bobby Labonte, Ambrose rolled snake eyes on a gamble where he felt the No. 47 was no longer the perfect fit despite a contract that ran through the end of the 2011 season. Now, despite public moments of regret, private hurt feelings have left him unable to close the gap and compromise to the point JTG-Daugherty would even consider rolling out a two-car team for next year.

And let’s not forget the hundreds of employees in the shop, too, all 240 being threatened with a pink slip if investors can’t get this ugly fight between a handful of rich men turned around by Monday morning. What opportunities lie ahead for them in a sport that’s rapidly contracting, no longer able to provide for the multitude of talented people within it just trying to make a living? That’s where the idea of start and park teams lie, ugly in practice but understandable when comprised of a handful of hard-working men who loved this industry and find it inconceivable to let go.

Just two-and-a-half months after this press conference with Foster Gillett (left) and Richard Petty to announce a contract extension, A.J. Allmendinger’s stock car future hangs in the balance as his organization faces a potential shutdown on Monday morning.

It’s a sob story that goes much further than a living legend and the lies he was sucked into, a deep cut that should make all of NASCAR’s remaining owners take notice. For even with Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, and others, the pool of funding is not unlimited.

Some sort of drastic action needs to be taken to stop the skyrocketing costs; otherwise, there’ll be just two rich men left, stroking egos on a playground with no one even bothering to come see them fight.

Did You Notice? … Fans really need to start practicing what they preach? Martinsville’s race was easily the best of the season, if not the top 3 behind March’s phenomenal green-white-checkered finish at the paperclip and February’s Daytona 500. It’s the type of event fans email me all the time saying they want to see, claiming it’s the “last straw” if a date ever gets taken away from the half-mile oval.

But it’s one thing to tell us what you want … it’s another when you don’t give NASCAR what it needs to justify two dates. Now, I know Martinsville unemployment is absolutely outrageous, a number hovering around 20 percent that exudes nothing but sympathy and support on this end. In many ways, 56,000 is a respectable attendance figure for a track with a capacity of nearly 70,000.

Here’s the problem, though: when looking at the bottom line numbers, it’s still by far the lowest attendance we’ve seen anywhere on the NASCAR circuit this year, with the exception of one other event: Martinsville’s rain-delayed show in March. That brought the track down to an average attendance of 48,000, a disturbing number that places it even 20,000 behind tracks like Chicagoland and Fontana, both of whom are struggling to attract fans despite a higher capacity.

“So what?” you say. “Fans were watching this race on TV.” Well, not exactly. The 2.4 rating leaves the track just fourth among the six Chase venues, trailing Charlotte, Fontana, and Dover with a viewership level that’s in line with similar declines around the postseason. There wasn’t the type of bump typically seen at places like Talladega, the restrictor plate addiction that makes it so difficult for NASCAR to do the right thing.

You’re also making it more difficult for them here. Especially in this era where profitability will become exceptionally important, with attendance dwindling and tracks on the precipice of closing down, men in suits aren’t going to care about tradition when they look at those numbers. So feel free to complain all you want when a date gets taken off the schedule, screaming “final straw” and “how dare you, NASCAR!”

But, just like poor attendance doomed Rockingham, you guys are just as much at fault for taking this type of classic competition for granted.

Did You Notice? …. Some quick hits before taking off: – Now that the cat is out of the bag with Scott Speed, the way Red Bull is treating his possible demise is more confusing than ever. Keep in mind Speed has been Dietrich Mateschitz’s right-hand man ever since the first search to land the American in a Formula 1 car in 2003. For nearly eight years he’s been given virtually unlimited opportunity by the Red Bull company, thrown in everything from open-wheel to stock cars without a hint of criticism from the powers that be back in Austria. To go from that to a third-rate insurance policy for the company, employed only in case Brian Vickers gets ill in the offseason, is the type of dirty, unfair ending we usually don’t see in this type of scenario.

Sure, Speed has failed to meet a performance clause in his contract, one that dictates a top-16 points finish for him to stay on board in stock cars. But would Mateschitz drop him after a season where there was small but gradual improvement? After all the years of investment in the California driver, it’s notable to have silence on his end after GM Jay Frye needed a yearly, three-week trip to Austria to seal his driver’s fate in the past. Notice that didn’t have to happen this time …

So what’s going on? The right answer in place of speculation is: I don’t know. But I’ve got a hunch there is something that just isn’t right here, a part of this story we don’t know about that will come out eventually.

- Speaking of something we don’t know, on the gossip front: Scott Speed and his wife Amanda and Kyle Busch and his iancée, Sam Sarcinella, are no longer friends on Twitter and Facebook, part of many signs that point to a once best-buddy duo hitting the skids. Considering the amount of press given surrounding their unlikely friendship, its demise is more than a bit surprising.

- Michael Waltrip returns to Talladega this week for PRISM Motorsports, worth mentioning since he had a car that could have won the race in the spring. He and Bill Elliott – driver of the No. 26 Ford this weekend – join Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski as wild cards on a weekend where anything can and will happen.

Connect with Tom!

Contact Tom Bowles

Wednesday on the Frontstretch:
How Quickly We Forget: Martinsville Manages to Fog and Jog Some Memories
Mirror Driving: Who’s Got The Chase Edge? Is Hornaday A Hall of Famer? And R-P-M
Beyond The Cockpit: Shelby Howard On 2011 Plans, CoT Development, More
Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville-2
Top Ten Christmas Gift Exchanges Amongst NASCAR Personalities for 2010
Carey and Coffey: It’s a Bizarre NASCAR World… Especially When Dale Jr.‘s Involved
The Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Martinsville, October 2010

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

10/27/2010 06:20 AM

I have to wonder if the lack of full stands at Martinsville has more to do with fans ‘voting’ on the chase scenario and the ‘new and improved’ Nascar than anything else. Not spending money on attending a race is the only way fans have to get the attention of the suits in Daytona. It may be the same reason that ratings are down. The race Sunday proved how good the action is on a short track, and it was certainly entertaining. But, if you don’t give a hoot about the convoluted points, why go? It’s a fans only chance to let Brian the Brain know how they feel.

10/27/2010 07:49 AM

I watched the Martinsville race on TV. There were plenty of cheap tickets for sale on craigslist ($20 bucks), but I saw no reason to go fight the traffic. I won’t spend my hard earned money on a broken product. NASCAR is broken. Until Brian France is fired, demoted, or decides to hunt palm trees for a living, I’m not going to waste my money, or my Sunday’s, on NASCAR.

10/27/2010 08:56 AM

I get what you’re saying about Martinsville attendance Tom, but consider the bigger picture.

Suppose a race is taken from Martinsville and given to Vegas, which I am confident will happen in the next couple years. Whatever core NASCAR had left will be gone, whether they attended races there or not.

Once that happens, Martinsville will most certainly lose its other event in short order, to a place like Kentucky if it does well with one event.

If there are two more 1.5-2 mile speedway events in a schedule that already has too many, people tuning in will see the same race every week and wonder why the sport even bothers to go anywhere besides Michigan.

Classic case of killing the goose for the golden egg. NASCAR may make a ton of money going to these big beautiful facilities, but in the long run it will destroy the sport because there is no more foundation of dedicated fans who tire of seeing only three or four key passes in a race. NASCAR does not need any more of a reputation for crapping on its most loyal fans while embracing whatever brings in a big payday.

Of course, they shouldn’t listen to me, since I stopped spending money on anything related to the sport when my driver got rooked out of two titles by an idiotic playoff system.

Carl D.
10/27/2010 08:59 AM

If the “men in suits” decide to take a race (or two) from Martinsville, that will drive yet another nail into Nascar’s coffin. When Nascar is left with mostly intermediate tracks in markets where stock car racing doesn’t have a healthy fan base, then it’s demise will be inevitable.

10/27/2010 09:03 AM

I’m confused, Thom. Exactly what lies were Richard Petty sucked into? I’m serious here. Please elaborate.
Am I in error in believing that Petty Enterprises was a bankrupt organization? Am I wrong to believe that the inability to attract sponsors led to the team being financially in-solvent? Was it a mistake to believe that 24 years of fielding non-competitive cars made any driver with an ounce of talent (except Bobby Labonte) shun this team?
Kyle Petty was pretty vocal about the demise of Petty Enterprises. He seemed to be under the impression that there wouldn’t have been a Petty Enterprises car on the track at all, if “The King” hadn’t sold his name. It was Kyle’s own words that King Richard had sold his name just to keep it in the sport. Kyle seemed to believe it was more tragic to see the Petty name assosciated with Gillett’s broken down garbage, than to have Petty Enterprises close its doors due to financial hardship. I agree with Kyle.

Maybe Rockingham would have sold more tickets if it didn’t require people to camp outside for a weekend and sit on metal bleachers for 3-4 hours in temperatures ranging from the low 30s to low 50s. na$car could have done a lot to help Rockingham survive, they just chose not to do anything.
Martinsville is a great track, but how do you ask fans to support a track, when they have decided that they won’t support the entire sport? Thom, you know that Martinsville could have 250,000 people asking for tickets, but if a track in Fairbanks, Alaska offered brian france enough money, brian would strip Martinsville of its dates and tell the world why it was the right decision.

10/27/2010 09:37 AM

I have to agree with your assessment of Gordon. He has lost his edge. This was a terrible season by his standards, and every time I hear him talk he sounds broken. I don’t think he ever got over losing that Chase in 2007. Just look back at 2006 the last time I remember him getting dumped so obviously, his first reaction after the race was to go after Kenseth (he later got him back at Chicago). This time he just said it was “my fault”. This might sound strong, but he sounds depressed. Sadly, my favorite driver is becoming the next Lebonte, Elliot, etc. a once great driver who is hanging on too long.

If Gordon was more motivated, Letarte probably would be gone. 2008 and 2010 are worse than any of Robbie Loomis’ years. In 2005 they won the 500 and a bunch of races, but they missed the Chase and Loomis got sacked. I hope Jeff retires, it looks like he secretly wants to

10/27/2010 09:45 AM

Went to one Martinsville race and would never go to another one. Racing was fantastic, but the parking, employees and getting out of the place were HORRIBLE. First place I have ever been asked to park my car in a handicapped section that was on the side of a mountain in knee-high grass that was 1/2 mile away from the track.Leaving was a disaster. It took 2 1/2 hours before we even started our car and another 45 minutes before we moved. Sorry, I will watch that race on TV in the comfort of my recliner.

10/27/2010 11:49 AM

In defense of the fans regarding your Martinsville comments, we EXPECT to see crappy racing, so we don’t go and we don’t watch. It was a fluke that the racing was good. So, the pressure is on NASCAR to deliver good racing so that we EXPECT GOOD and will therefore spend time and money to go see it.

One other aspect is that, yeah the racing was good, so long as you drove a Chevy or Toyota. Ford fans have had it with NASCAR’s complete bias towards Chevy and whichever Chevy driver they deem the chosen one, from Waltrip to Earnhardt to Gordon to Johnson. 28% of all wins since 1983 have come from those guys. Those of us who aren’t fans of those guys or their brethren are just freakin’ tired of the facade. We saw the man behind the curtain and we’re done believing there’s a wizard.

10/27/2010 12:13 PM

Love the writeup on jeff gordon. His teamate has been taken advantage of him for years. Jeff he’s not your friend. Quite telling us how great your crew chief is and how you got the best crew. Your not winning. Wake up!

10/27/2010 12:25 PM

Look, the race at Martinsville probably a great race, but I, like a lot of long time nas$car fans, have become so disenchanted and angry at the state of the the Brian and Mike show that It’s gotten harder and harder to care. Do you hear me faux emperor? It’s gotten to the point where nas$car on tv has become an afterthought even when the racing is good. I find myself watching football and switching to the race once in awhile. I NEVER thought I would be saying this. 30+ years of love for the sport has come to this. Better wake up nas$car. The hour is getting late.

Iowa Guy
10/27/2010 12:47 PM

Yes Jacob – we get it already – you don’t like Richard Petty.

Kevin in SoCal
10/27/2010 12:55 PM

If fans arent watching or going to Martinsville because of the Chase, then why were the ratings and attendance down in the spring race, too?

Why do we complain about losing Rockingham and Darlington, yet Fontana has the highest ratings of the 6 Chase races so far? Somethings strange in NASCAR land.

Doug in Washington (State)
10/27/2010 12:58 PM

The question is how much of the TV rating decline is due to the races being on ESPN.

Kind of hard to watch the race on TV when it’s on a cable channel. I’m not spending $60 a month just to watch NASCAR races. While I’m no fan of the FOX broadcast team, at least I can see them. ABC/ESPN did themselves a disservice moving all the Sunday races to ESPN.

More positive, MRN finally has affiliates in my area. 3 months ago the only way I could hear a race was drive 40 miles North into signal range.

10/27/2010 01:05 PM

Let’s look beyond just the attendance figures themselves. Martinsville reportedly filled 56,000 of 61,000 seats this past weekend (92%). A couple of weeks ago, Fontana filled 70,000 of its 91,000 seats (77%) despite being in an area with a significantly higher population. Chicagoland, near another highly populated area, filled just 67,500 of its 75,000 seats (90%). When you consider that along with the economy and the unemployment rate which has been very high for a long time in this area, I don’t think coming within 5,000 seats of selling out is really all that bad!

10/27/2010 01:20 PM

I was at Martinsville – both races – even though NASCAR moved the spring race to March when it is not going to be warm and will most likely rain. I figured they are trying to kill the track. Why do I go? A. Because I like short track racing best and B. because I want to do what I can to not let NASCAR take a race or both races from the track for lack of attendance. Note: I travel from NJ to go to these races.

Regarding Gordon — I have to agree with your assessment. It has been ticking me off for years that he just rolls over for the 48. I know he’s a HMS company man, but geez, somewhere there’s got to be a line. I thought earlier this season when he was fired up at Johnson’s actions there might be a change coming. I’m guessing that Rick had a hand in all this and said — now, now, Jeff don’t be mad at Jimmie. Yuck. What the heck happened to MY race car driver? I was ticked off for most of the Martinsville race as I watched the 48 muscle past the 24 knowing his teammate had trouble if he was hung out on the outside. Hey, I know, its racing, but considering when the situation was reversed, the 24 LET the 48 in. Inside my head I was howling at Gordon NOT to let him in, but he’s gotten to be way too soft these days. Its fine to be a team player and not throw your team and crew chief under the bus as others have done, but somewhere here there’s got to be a change.

And Yeah he bumped Ears, so what, he didn’t wreck him. Considering that Ears then came back and wrecked the 24, he should have put him into the wall and I was sorry that he didn’t do it later in the race. Sorry folks – I’m biased on this topic.

I’m in agreement with some of the others here, I believe that some of the reason besides the economy that people aren’t showing up at the races is because it is an attempt to get NASCAR’s attention. Of course, as long as Brainless can live off of the current TV money and whatever the tracks bring in, he’ll continue to try and sell the snake oil to the fans that NASCAR cares. They do but only about themselves, not the fans.

10/27/2010 02:16 PM

Kevin SoCal – not disagreeing with you, but the Fontana race was on a Saturday night, and I don’t believe there were any NFL games on at the time. When up against the NFL, NASCAR gets clobbered.

10/27/2010 02:26 PM

Thank you for the honesty about how Jeff is driving and how it seems to be a different set of rules for the 48 car. When I’m watching a race and see how everyone is staying away from the 48 car, even Kyle Busch this weekend at Martinsville, it’s real hard to get interested in watching the next race.

10/27/2010 02:42 PM

Anyone who thinks that Dale Jr does not affect the the ticket sales is way off base. We are Dale Jr fans and we no longer go go to 3 to 4 races a year now we don’t even attend 1 a year. My husband and I have luckily not fallen into the financial troubles so many have but we became tried of spending 3,000 to 4,000 a year to go to races. The inflated flights, the rental car, the inflated hotels, and then the cost of the race tickets. We have it figured out we have spent at least 30,000 to go to the races. Of all the races we have been to Jr only won once. So now we have purchased a camper permanently parked on a lake and bought a pontoon for less than the cost of attending Nascar races and we have something to show for our money. We sometimes watch the races and sometimes not. We are still Jr fans and that won’t change. We don’t jump on the bandwagon of whatever driver is doing good. We no longer live our lives around Nascar. We are only 2 of Jr’s fans so I am sure there are MANY more like us.

Then you throw in the awful racing the COT car provides it is a waste of our time. Since that car has came about most races could be cut into a 1/4 of the laps. Very little side by side racing and whoever is in front in the clean air drives off and leaves the field. Nascar has to throw bogus cautions to try to add excitement to the race on the restarts but then it doesn’t take long before it is just a high speed parade which does nothing for us. I actually fell asleep at a race (Michigan) thats how bored it got and I do not drink I’m always the DD.

We are sad that our quest to attend all the tracks on the circuit (and also our closest tracks) has came to an end but we have opened a new chapter that is much more satisfying.

10/27/2010 03:06 PM

@ Iowa Guy:
I don’t dislike Richard Petty, or any Petty for that matter.
I just don’t see the point of watching his cars run around the back of the pack simply because he owns them, or sold the naming rights to them.
Maybe I’m bitter, but a QUARTER CENTURY of watching them be irrelevant has soured any hopes that “maybe next year…” will ever happen.
Do you think less of Junior Johnson because he doesn’t own cars anymore? Bud Moore? Junie Donleavy? Is David Pearson’s legacy lessened because he never fielded a car? Are Cale Yarborough’s contributions to NASCAR dimished because his team went bankrupt? How about Bobby Allison’s?

The FACT is, Iowa Guy, that people’s obsessive need to see a back marker #43 on track is no less foolish than Jr. nation’ obsession with him.

10/27/2010 03:27 PM

I think the chase is the best thigh that happened to to Nascar.Next to the double restarts.It just has one thing wrong.It is not fair for the 13Th position and so on.In all fairness bunch the hole field up together by 5 point separation.Give bones points for winning a race and bones points for the winning the poll.Then let them loose to decide the champion.In respect to Petty Enterprise.I to lost a child.He was 5 years of age with a lot of promise.His hole life in front of him.Being run over in the crosswalk in front of my home.In front of me was devastating to me.Watching his eyes roll in the back of his head.Then he was gone.I will never forget nor will I be the same.Petty Enterprise has never bean the same after their lose of Adam.That alone took the spirit out of Petty Enterprise.My prayers are with the Petty’s.They will and are Blessed for fulfilling Adam’s dreams in victory junction camp. As far as ratings.I believe the tickets are all to much money.I can’t afford to bring my children to the cup races.Because ticket prices are to much $.Camping out off the question way to expensive.Nascar needs to be more family friendly on the expanse at the track.Nascar need to change tickets prices for children under 5 should be free and under 16 should be $10.00 and adult ticket need to be cut in 1/4 or more.They all so need to have open practice.All day for all the teams.On Thursday or Friday before the race.These cars are not eligible to race in the cup race that weekend.Tickets prices for open practice need to be free for children under 16 and $5.00 to $10.00 for adults. Better yet out side the tracks needs to be a large portion of free camping.This will bring more Family’s to the track and fill all the seat’s.By doing these thing nobody can be upset at Nascar for doing this last change that needs to happen to fill all seats.I remember way back when. The NFL use to black out the football games.In the areas where the game’s where being played at.Until the game’s were sold out. Then the black out was lifted for local viewing.If Nascar black out all cup race’s in the area the race is being raced at Intel they are sold out.People that really wont to see the race will by a ticket.People that can’t afford ticket today could afford to come.I know this will let every body that want to see the race will.The seats will be filed and concession revenue will be ski high because people could afford to spend a little more on food and BEER. Sounds like a WIN WIN to me.

Carl D.
10/27/2010 04:41 PM

“Population near the track does not affect ticket sales.”

Au contraire… the majority of race tickets are sold to people who live within a few hours of the track. The poor state of the economy drives the percentage even higher, as less people can afford to travel. In densely populated places like L.A. and Chicago, the effect is not as significant as it is for Martinsville.

Kevin in SoCal
10/27/2010 04:54 PM

Gordon82Wins: Seriously? Fontana was on a Saturday? The Fontana race was run on Sunday, 10-10-10. The CHARLOTTE race was run on Saturday 10-16-10. I think you got them mixed up.

10/27/2010 05:12 PM

Jacob, Next year may very well come; sometime. I can only hold out hope. At least he, and that number, have a tradition that go way back. It’s no different really from when the Wood Brother’s show up at the track from time to time. Do I expect they’ll put the car in Victory Lane? Nope, but I pull for them anyway.
Yes, Kyle said a lot of thing but much of it was out of anger I think. Remember, when the sale was made he was left out of it. No ride, no part in the organization. It would be nice to see at some point him taking up with Richard again; not as a driver of course, but as a partner to Richard’s interests and the Petty name. But I don’t know if his wounds have healed or if they ever really will.

As for Jr. Nation, well that’s just something I’ll never understand.

Dave Odom
10/27/2010 09:50 PM

Hey, Gordon can’t complain when he can’t compete with the Big Johnson. Get up front , stay up front and win a few. Dont’ whine. Marcos Ambrose deserves a ride more than Junior ever did. At least Ambrose won several championships before coming to “Cup” where Junior got shoe-horned into a Busch ride when he hadn’t even competed in more than a handful of late model races. It used to be you had to EARN your way into “Cup” and not ride a family name in without any credentials like Junior, Brett Bodine, Kenny Wallace and Steve Wallace. The there’s the “who?” drivers that fill the last few spots on the grid. Why do those lame ducks and burned-out has-been drivers like Cope get in when talented drivers sit outside looking in? NASCAR is burning down and it sucks.

10/27/2010 10:29 PM

I don’t know Dave. Would a up and coming driver (Busch series) want to make his break into Cup with a start-n-park, or would that brand him as someone not to be bothered with? Off of the top of my head I can’t think of any that have moved from that status to a ride that at least runs the whole race.

Wayne in Spartanburg, SC
10/27/2010 11:14 PM

I was at Martinsville on Sunday and thought the racing was great. I attend the two races in Richmond and Bristol plus the race in Darlington. Short track racing is the aero push or clean air mentioned at all. I will only buy tickets to Charlotte the Monday before the race once I know the weather is ok for the weekend. I am sick and tired of cookie cutter tracks. If given a choice, I would drive 5 1/2 hours to Richmond before attending a race in Charlotte. I realize Bristol has a much larger seating capacity than Martinsville, but there were a lot of empty seats at the spring race…that is never mentioned though. My father and I attended a USAR race at North Wlikesboro in October. I miss that track. The front grandstands were completely full. Nascar is to the point that the almighty dollar trumps the racing action on the track. I could care less if a casino is being built behind the third turn grandstands. If I wanted to gamble, I would go to Vegas. I am also mystified in them pulling an Atlanta race and giving it to Kentucky to be run in July. Run the Kentucky race on the same date as the spring Atlanta race and see how many people show up. Atlanta and Rockingham always had questionable weather dates. The Monday before the last race in Rockingham, there was 10 inches of snow on the ground. Nascar is alienating their grassroot fans while catering to a fairweather fan base that will move along to something else in a few years. Did I say I was tired of cokie cutter mile and 1/2 tracks????


Contact Tom Bowles

Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
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