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 April 13, 2011
Did You Notice?… This week’s 2010 Chase driver on life support happens to be Jeff Burton? While Denny Hamlin remains in crisis, Talladega returns the focus to the driver of the No. 31, whose fiery wreck last fall with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has precipitated the current slump that’s perhaps his most serious since first signing with RCR in 2004. The veteran remains without a top-10 finish in his last 11 races while sitting 25th in points, 57 out of a postseason spot and lacking the type of victory cache someone like Hamlin can use to earn a wild card position. That leaves his team with their proverbial backs against the wall, no room for error while reflecting on what’s put them in this spot.
“The way we ended last year, you know, we started pushing too hard,” he said on a Tuesday teleconference with reporters. “We started trying to make stuff happen and got behind in the Chase.”
“So, we took that action and said, OK, to make it happen, we have got to really, really start pushing hard and that didn’t work out for us. And then to come into this year, the kind of start we have had this year, it’s really frustrating. It’s hard to put into words. I can tell you this, though: I’m extremely confident that we can dig ourselves out of the hole and get ourselves in the position we need to be in.”
Certainly, Burton’s had some bad luck, an engine problem with a top-5 car at Daytona causing a hangover that hasn’t yet worn off. Last year, he led 539 laps while this season the number sits at five through seven events. What’s confusing is that new teammate Paul Menard has had few issues, contending for a Chase spot while Clint Bowyer sits tied for 12th and Kevin Harvick has just won two out of the last three Cup events.
Could RCR, expanding to four cars for just the second time be struggling to keep each one of them ahead of the curve? It looks like the veteran’s fourth out of four on the depth chart right now; that’s why for Burton, Talladega is critical as it’s a rare opportunity for him to earn a chunk of points back in one race. With an average of six top-5 finishes the last three seasons, this veteran’s made the Chase with consistency, not victories… and already, he’s in a position where those numbers might not prove to be enough. Gaining three points per race on his competitors from this point on would still leave the No. 31 on the outside looking in come Homestead, so 14th place after 14th place won’t do much for him. If there’s a guy in need of his ECR engine to last 499 miles – a question mark considering the motor woes that encapsulated the program back at Daytona – it’s him.
If Burton fails to make the Chase, it’s a more important failure than people might think. Turning 44 in June, he’s working on an extension with RCR with an expiring contract this November. But the team’s sponsorship situation is uncertain (keep reading for more on that) and with Austin Dillon coming up through the ranks, Childress will eventually need someplace for him to land if companies want to pay the money they won’t for a fortysomething. It’s hard to imagine this duo ever parting ways, considering the strong leadership role Burton’s played behind the scenes. But no one ever thought Roush and Burton would separate, or Roush and Mark Martin for that matter. It’s something to watch going forward, especially if poor performance forces Childress’ hand and leads to a shorter-term contract offer than his driver would like.
Did You Notice?… How this current plate package at Talladega could affect the Chase? The thought occurred to me when thinking back to last fall, where Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 lost the draft and nearly fell a lap down before half a green-flag pit cycle was complete.
And suddenly, the light bulb went off: if, say, Jimmie Johnson has a 30-point lead heading into the October weekend why wouldn’t people leave him out of the two-car draft the second the green flag falls? Without a partner, someone willing to work with him the No. 48 would fall a lap down in a hurry, and with a 43-car field there’s always going to be at least one odd man out.
Freezing the point leader would be the ultimate strategy ploy, the perfect way to automatically ensure yourself a points gain as long as you don’t get thrown into the Big One. Could it happen in this era of teammates, especially during the final few laps when it’s every man for himself? Absolutely, adding a highly debatable element to a championship that could be decided, in part because other people don’t want to be your “friend.”
Did You Notice?… How Ford’s fantastic season hasn’t translated to Front Row Motorsports? In thirteen starts with their two primary cars, the No. 34 and No. 38 the team has crashed out four times. That 30.8% accident rate is easily the highest amongst the full-timers and doesn’t include other, smaller wrecks for both David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil where they limped home to the finish after extended stints on pit road for repairs.
Both cars have suffered from a disturbing number of tire failures, destroying a fleet of retooled Fords they hoped would make them consistent top-20 performers this season. Instead, Kvapil sits 31 points outside the top 35 and, at this point might be better served leaving to fully concentrate on winning the Truck Series championship. Gilliland, while running better has only escaped the same fate through February’s third-place finish at the Daytona 500. With limited sponsorship and hundreds of thousands in damage to their equipment, you’ve got to wonder what owner Bob Jenkins is thinking about the outfit’s long-term future in Sprint Cup. It’s his seventh year in the sport, but that podium finish at Daytona – about as high as he can get without funding – remains the only top-10 performance for the program he’s spent millions on in 208 career starts.
You may be sitting there thinking, why so much ink on FRM? Because in a field where we’re struggling to bring 43 cars to the track each week, two underfunded cars that actually come to race, improve, and work their way up the ladder are found with increasing rarity these days. To lose FRM, or even see them forced to scale back would be devastating to a grid that’ll be flirting with seven or eight start-and-park efforts once again later this summer.
Did You Notice?… Some quick hits before taking off:
- Richard Childress Racing announced a new partnership involving their marketing and business development staff. Typically, this type of announcement does little more than incite a yawn from the general public, but pay attention to this one. Why? Clint Bowyer let slip on Saturday night that despite a second-place finish (and a multiple-win, Chase appearance in 2010) he’s still in need of primary sponsorship to fill several unsold races later on this season. Add that to Jeff Burton’s need of more money in 2012 – current primary Caterpillar is expected to cut back at the end of their contract, circa DuPont in 2010 – and, well, let’s say the Menard family can’t fund the entire Childress organization. Heck, there’s even seven races for Kevin Harvick where primary sponsorship has yet to be announced.
It’s a disturbing trend, this marketing malaise that shows better ratings aren’t the automatic fix-all to the sponsorship dilemma. Even Trevor Bayne, whose financial roadblocks have been well-documented following the post-Daytona 500 dream had to reach out to the Truck Series primary sponsor, Camping World, just to get a little extra money to race this weekend. The sport has some energy for the first time in years; now, it’s about convincing the business world of the value that still exists. Easier said than done…
- So is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. still the Most Popular Driver or what? For all the attention he’s been getting lately, FOX has assigned Jeff Gordon as that “Pizza Hut Fan Favorite” virtually every week. Sure, the original Four-Time’s no slouch but he’s done nothing really to warrant a changing of the guard, right? It just goes to show you the problem with these “popularity contests;” one group of well-organized fans can monopolize the competition and make their driver a winner… even if he’s far from it in reality.
- From the “wow” department, rookie Andy Lally has led one lap this season (Phoenix) and thus has one more bonus point than Mark Martin, Brian Vickers, and Joey Logano. Kasey Kahne is tied with him in that category, meaning all of Red Bull Racing has been out front just once, for one lap all year.
- In the last four races at Talladega, there are only two cars that have finished in the top 10 three times: Joe Gibbs Racing (No. 20 – Joey Logano) and Phoenix Racing (No. 09 – Brad Keselowski and Mike Bliss). Need any further proof on the whole crapshoot theory?
- Among those who started following me on Twitter this week: The Bail Hotline? Do I look like a guy who’s about to go to prison? Geez. I guess this clapping thing has stirred up the watchful eyes of the police…
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©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The conventional wisdom is Talladega is a crapshoot, but looking at the winners over the past 15 years suggests differently. Other than Keselowski’s win, none of the winning drivers suggests a crapshoot, and even Keselowski is expected to be among the NASCAR elite.
A crapshoot could not be won by the same driver four times in a row, and there wouldn’t be five or six drivers with multiple wins. Additionally, the sports best drivers usually win the race. If crapshoot means having a higher percentage chance of getting caught up in something not of your own doing, I still wonder if that is true. This past weekend Mark Martin was driving along minding his own business when Truex slid up the track in front of him ruining Mark’s (and Martin’s) day.
Perception is often reality, and I concede that perception is Talladega is a crapshoot. But, I look at Talladega as more of a chess game at 199 mph. A well played game will find a driver holding up the “king” in victory lane, whereas an ill timed move can result in being taken out by a “pawn”.
Plus, Talladega rarely takes anyone out of contention for a championship. Usually, the championship contenders make their way to the front. Last fall, the three championship contenders all finished in the top 10. A wreck at Talladega might be the nail in the coffin for some in the chase, but it hasn’t been the end for a frontrunner.
I probably don’t know what I’m writing about, but I don’t see how a race that is typically won by the best in the business can be called a crapshoot. I know that Michael Waltrip has won there, but DEI was winning a lot at plate tracks at the time, and that somewhat reinforces my premise that its not a crapshoot. Horsepower, aerodynamics, strategy, and tenacity all come into play. Crapshoot implies anything goes. If Travis Kvapil and Trevor Bayne are contending for the win, than I’ll eat my words. but my guess is five of the current top ten will finish in the top ten. Talladega is not a crapshoot at least in my mind.
Yes, the “Pizza Hut Fan Favorite” is F I X E D. We voted Jr the fav, and he was immediately removed from the list of drivers you could vote for. JG has now been the fav for several races only because we can’t vote for Dale Jr. Pizza Hut has and will continue to be off limits to many households because of this.
Nothing against Jeff G.but we had wondered about that poll. In fact,most polls.
i think burton is one of those guys who has gotten too comfortable with racing as a career business, in other words yeah sure he “Wants” to win but i still think he’s lost “the fire” that say a kyle bush or kevin harvick has.
as far as johnson being frozen out of the draft, i’m sure chad has already thought of that and has a plan.
you look at front row and you see a team that wants too badly to run well and it appears the quality of their equipment isn’t up to it forcing drivers into errors or running set ups that are too aggressive for any consistency. (god forbid good year build a tire that can last 100 miles….
that gets me to thinking about NASCAR going “green” with ethanol. Let me get this straight, they’re using a food commodity for fuel but yet produce mountains of spent tires that don’t decompose and call themselves green. huh? pah.. maybe that’s the biggest problem. this monster needs good marketing more than it needs good racing.
All of those fan deals are bogus. I assumed as long as Jr was on the list, he’d always be the fan favorite. I was surprised when his name disappeared, but I can’t say I’m sorry.
Hey, I’m a Gordon fan and I make it a point to vote for him in whatever contest there is. You may think Gordon is washed up, but he has a huge fan base. I’ll be among them until he retires.
You don’t think that the Most Popular Driver award voting has issues too? I certainly do.
the sponsorship woes hitting the teams are a result of several years of bad decision making from the management of NASCAR. There have been a lot of fans, including myself, who have been very vocal regarding their dislike of the “chase”, the ugly car, the cookie cutter tracks AND the way the TV partners broadcast the races on TV. All of that has played a role in the loss of sponsors for the cars. Plus you’ve had NASCAR with their greedy hands in the mix taking whatever sponsors for the “official whatever of NASCAR” instead of those companies sponsoring teams and you have a disaster.
A few good finishes this year won’t immediately make up for the lack of interest from the fans. Let’s face it, NASCAR is no longer a sure thing for corporations. Fans used to buy everything as long as it had their driver’s number on it, but that has become a thing of the past for most fans as well.
The sponsorship issue can be directed at one place – NASCAR itself.
They monopolize sponsorships as, “The official” something of the sport instead of letting teams use their 200 mph billboards as the promotion.
BZF wants more money in his pocket, not a sport that can thrive against others. That is why RCR cannot find sponsors.
Budweiser really screwed up with Harvick, since he is the best chance they have had at a title since DEJ in 03-04.
Burton is going to be done in three years, then Austin Dillon will be taking that spot.
Front Row’s problem is they spend more time DNQ’ing or hitting the wall with tire problems then actually racing. They were slow last year and over their heads, but they would run the distance.
I have always been a fan of Jeff Gordon but when he was moved to the R&D shop next door we knew that would be the end of him having a good ride.
To GinaV24 & Phil, I agree with your posts. Saved me from typing. :)
Maybe it would’ve happened anyway but, have you noticed how far nascar has fallen since brian france has been in charge? I blame his greed for the downfall.
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