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.
Bowles-Eye View · Thomas Bowles · Monday April 18, 2011
If NASCAR tracks were ranked by controversy, Talladega would serve as your election powder keg of political sniping. Everyone, from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to Matt Kenseth to Kevin Harvick’s dog has a pointed opinion about its unique type of restrictor-plate racing, manipulated side-by-side competition evolving in some shape or form since the late 1980s. With record-breaking lead changes and white-knuckle finishes, thrills there propel this sport into the national consciousness as much as ugly, life-threatening wrecks accentuate its tragic risks.
But when it comes to the sport’s bottom line, in the last few years filled with disappointing sales NASCAR can point to the plates as its shining light of “competitive brilliance.” Sunday’s photo finish – bear with me, we’ll get there – was tied for the closest in the Cup Series’ 60-year history since the advent of electronic scoring in the early 1990s. It’s the payoff to what’s sold as 500 miles of parity; since February of 2008 Talladega has now averaged nearly 71 lead changes, nearly double the number of its second-place Cup contestant and fellow plate partner (Daytona, 44). By the way, if you’re looking for third on back… don’t. They’re not even in the same stratosphere. During this three-year span, no other tracks besides the dual 2.5-mile superspeedways have posted more than 37 lead changes in any given race.
That’s why a visit to Talladega was so important for this sport, its stop crucial for national perception going into the Easter holiday. After a “NASCAR is back!” refrain started by none other than that big sister Daytona – 74 lead changes, upset winner (Trevor Bayne), increasing viewership – the early-season momentum trumpeted by all had plateaued since early March. Bristol, one of the sport’s signature tracks, had its worst attendance in nearly two decades. TV ratings have turned flat year-to-year, while sponsorship and financial issues keep cropping up like weeds in your early spring garden. Clint Bowyer was the latest superstar admitting he needed some primary sponsorship this month, while Greg Biffle just signed an extension for a pay cut when the NFL is arguing over how to split $9 billion in revenue.
On the surface, what we saw Sunday was supposed to fix those things, allowing NASCAR to trump, “It’s the economy, stupid!” while addressing the problems behind the scenes. Did it work? Well, the stats are impressive: 26 leaders, 88 lead changes (tying a NASCAR record) and a .002 second margin of victory that’s about the size of your car’s front bumper. There weren’t any major wrecks, either, the “Big One” taking a breather with only four cars failing to finish due to accidents.
But I’ll tell you who else was taking a breather: people you couldn’t see in the crowd. Attendance was down year-to-year, to 115,000 while giant, painted “Talladega Superspeedway” tarps covered large sections in turn 4 and turn 1. In comparison, the number eight years ago for this race was 190,000, marking a 40 percent decrease in the heart of NASCAR’s heartland. Considering Daytona was the best race of the season, young Trevor Bayne’s victory the crowning achievement on the momentum switch, why didn’t more of them show up? The day was picture perfect: sunny, 70s, while tickets could be had at affordable prices on a day where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – the local fan favorite – was a clear threat to reach Victory Lane.
Renewed excitement also surrounded the two-car tandems, the new “dating” drafting technique that turns a 43-car field into 21 two-car packs where you need a partner, not a handling package to survive. Withstanding a steady stream of criticism to produce a magical Daytona 500, the system made it to Talladega but here, we ran into a problem no one realized: the narrow track at Daytona made things look better than they really were. Two-car tandems three-abreast down in Florida? It was a hair-raising moment, every pass so risky – between track size and speed differential – you weren’t sure who was going to wreck. Talladega? Heck, in those 40-car packs they used to go five-wide through the tri-oval, all averaging different speeds and nobody blinked.
That meant every tandem pass Sunday, every lead change through most of the first 400 miles felt like two cars passing another two with plenty of space on your local highway. “Dancing With The Cars” felt like a choreographed road trip with the family, each teammate set politely switching who ran in front of each other every few laps. Those watching at home? They were the kids in the back, busy asking the drivers, “Are we there yet?”
That awesome final destination, of course, was the inevitable 11-lap dash to the finish where the fastest cars stopped playing a game of chicken. Like magic, the real contenders suddenly showed up, including the Hendrick foursome that had started the race 1-2-3-4 but chose to spend the majority of their day half-a-lap-down before mixing it up. Great ending, but that’s different from Daytona, a race that kept you entertained throughout; if fans were smart, they knew they could leave for three hours, get some errands done and tune in when the racing really started.
“It’s really about a 25-lap race,” said Jeff Gordon. “Some guys chose to mix it up during the day, but that plan hasn’t worked out in the past. We chose to just stay out of trouble.”
What a great advertisement for NASCAR, right? “Come to Talladega, fans, and take a nap until 4:00 when the racing really begins!” If it wasn’t for the legendary infield, you wonder how many would have traveled long distances had they gotten that message.
Some of the negative mojo could have been erased if the weekend produced a Bayne-like winner with a spark. For awhile, underdog Dave Blaney looked like a compromise candidate (after all, he’s nearly 50) but his single-car No. 36 was hit the wrong way late, nearly wrecked and wound up 27th. Bayne? He crashed out early, along with fellow “young gun” David Ragan and was never a factor down the stretch.
That left Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as the only hope, the man most “home turf” fans paid to see… and those fans cheered wildly as he headed into the last lap. But in these two-car tandems, Earnhardt spent most of the day as the “pushee” and by the time he could pull out in a last-gasp bid for the lead, the opportunity to capitalize had simply passed him by. Instead, the guy who trapped the No. 88 into that winless streak was the man everyone’s seen five times too many… Jimmie Johnson. That’s right: the same Johnson that’s quietly second in points, five out of the lead and despite all the Carl Edwards, Ford, and Kyle Busch stories written remains the presumptive series champion – again – until someone takes it away. Wait until a casual observer goes beyond the 30-second SportsCenter highlight and gets a sniff of that one. Meanwhile, for all those Junior fans, it was a reminder their man sits permanently behind the No. 48 (at least) within the Hendrick totem pole, a cruel ending at a time they should be excited about his recent resurgence.
Now here’s the insult to momentum injury: replays show Johnson may have gone below the yellow line in his winning pass over teammates Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon. It’s a tougher call than most we’ve seen (personally, I think NASCAR made the right one in this case) but controversial enough Twitter was abuzz with questions of foul officiating. Mix that in with double the racing criticism versus February, drivers unafraid to voice dissatisfaction with this package and it’s fair to say the “honeymoon period” with the two-car drafting band-aid has worn off.
“Ever since I’ve been coming to Talladega or watching Talladega, everytime you interview somebody that has crashed they’re like, ‘Oh, this racing is terrible. Somebody is gonna get hurt,’” said Matt Kenseth of this style he seems to dislike just as much as the old one. “I mean, it’s been the same thing [versus a 40-car pack], but it’s different. Before, at least you can kind of control your own destiny and you can draft a little bit. Here, if you don’t have a car locked on you and shoving you, or vice versa, you’re gonna get lapped in 15-20 laps and it’s really hard.”
Ouch. And now? Our sport heads into an off week, not returning until April 30th at Richmond while the heart of the NHL/NBA playoffs kick into gear. In this era where people are focused on “big events” more than ever (remember how U.S. – Canada Olympic hockey affected the ratings?) the sport needs to hope there’s not some sort of game 7 with LeBron, Kobe, or others on the schedule. It’s the last thing we need.
Here’s the funny thing: after Daytona the NASCAR momentum, not those of other sports was supposed to be inevitably catapulting forward, transforming into an unstoppable force where Talladega would give it an extra boost of speed. Instead, little sister took the doll away, the anti-Daytona where the thrilling finish couldn’t numb the pain of how we got there. Yes, the ending was great; how could you not be on the edge of your seat? But you don’t buy a book based on one chapter… right?
“It was fun while it lasted,” said Blaney after winding up 27th, watching his chance at an upset win slip away.
NASCAR’s hoping they’re not saying the same thing about their 2011 momentum after Easter break.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Oh yeah, lots of lead changes on paper, but how many actually at the line and not caused by the two car tandoms switching positions or during cautions and pit stops?
Why is this style of racing any more dull than racing at California or Texas? Although Jeff Gordon may offer his racing philosophy, there were still plenty of others that seemed to be racing their butts off. The length of the race leads to attrition which sets up the final drama of the last 20 laps. I don’t understand why this is so hard to understand. Good drivers like Busch and Keselowski and Bayne were not there at the end because of attrition. Ragan blew his motor and Vickers was slammed into the wall. Even the eventual winner smacked into each his racing partner putting their eventual late race charge at risk.
I liked the old freight train for the thrill and sound of it, but something about the new style is compelling. Sprint Cup racing is all about the first 80-90% of the race setting up the final 10%. Sure, you can come in with 20 to go and watch something cool. At the same time, I would want to know why isn’t Kyle in the mix? Where’s Vickers? What about Kasey? Jeff may be right that you could do a twenty race sprint, but you wouldn’t get the same result. One of the things I like about NASCAR is the combination of endurance and strategy. Talladega seems to provide both of those elements, so for me, I like the racing @ ‘Dega.
Plate racing is plate racing. NASCAR should be concerned about empty seats at signature tracks, but this is the sport coming back down to earth. In the 1990s and 2000s they over built a lot of these tracks, and unfortunately discarded some that couldn’t keep up. Still most baseball teams would kill to have 100,000+ people show up over the course of a weekend. Watching Yankees games over the weekend there were a lot of empty seats there too for 3 games. That finish should help NASCAR because on Sportscenter after the race they didn’t talk about 3 hours of calm racing. They showed the big wrecks and the fantastic finish. Thats’ the reality of our ESPN highlight sports culture now.
“Considering Daytona was the best race of the season…” Are you NUTS? Were you traveling in a different galaxy during the Martinsville race?
“Instead, the guy who trapped the No. 88 into that winless streak was the man everyone’s seen five times too many… Jimmie Johnson.”
Is that the sound of cheering (maybe from a pressbox) for anyone but Jimmie?
I thought the Cup race was great! The Nationwide race was boring in comparison. I love the 2 X 2 racing and the excitement that it creates.
“CLONE” was the first word that came to mind after JR’s post race interview yesterday. Hendrick butt-kissing at its finest…it’s all about JEFF & JIMMIE.
Here’s an idea. How about someone records the message: “Get Rid of the Restrictor Plates NOW!!!” Then you take it to the NASCAR HQ, and play it on a loop, non-stop, 24/7, until NASCAR caves in and finally ditches the plates.
Another thing, there should be more tracks like Daytona and Talladega on the Cup circuit then tracks like Michigan, Texas, Chicagoland, Kansas, and especially, Fontana.
Susan….indeed it is “pusher”.
Seems you’re being a little pushy picky on Thomas! I guess you don’t make mistakes?
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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.