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 February 1, 2012
Did You Notice?… For everyone involved in this sport, the word “February” serves as an automatic wakeup call of sorts. Speedweeks, the sport’s Super Bowl at Daytona and the start of a daunting, 36-race regular season are now a few short weeks away, vacation over as the calendar turns towards 2012. Typically, the start of those early practices is enough time for everyone to get caught up on an offseason’s worth of news; after all, stability with the sport’s top organizations combined with an uncertain sponsorship climate have made the list of changes each season short enough to fit on those awkward, airplane napkins you get with your free drink.
But not this year. A flurry of sudden, surprising changes left the month of January a time to study up, as there were plenty of notable items to take from both Daytona testing and the sport’s Sprint Cup Media Tour. So if you’ve been laying back, focusing on football and enjoying your stock car hibernation you’re missing out; here’s six important factoids you may have missed which have transformed the upcoming season before it even begins…
NASCAR Is Getting Rid Of Those Two-Car Tandems; Consequences, Be Damned.
Over January testing, a kitchen’s sink worth of changes to force pack drafting sent teams a clear message, one reiterated by Robin Pemberton during the “State of the Sport” session that closed the Media Tour. It doesn’t matter whether it takes superglue, sticking all 43 cars together or the threat of now-public fines for pulling any type of two-by-two shenanigans: NASCAR’s version of “speed dating” is to be stopped at all costs.
“We know that the fans want to see more of the traditional style of pack drafting,” said NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton, a statement backed up with plenty of fan polls across the country. “So do we. We won’t be able to totally eliminate the two-car push. It will be a valuable tool that the teams will be able to use from time to time. However, we do believe that we’ve come up with a rules package that will help it be the exception rather than the norm.”
To Pemberton’s credit, the sport has bent over backwards with possible solutions; as of now, teams will head to Daytona with a larger restrictor plate (29/32”), a radiator inlet moved to the center of the bumper area (making it easier to overheat), a smaller spoiler, and a pressure relief valve that starts at 25 pounds among other tweaks. But perhaps the most important one is eliminating driver-to-driver radio communication, making it impossible for “partners” to talk through lining up their cars perfectly down the stretch.
But even with all that work, I still see more questions than answers. Pushing another car, one-on-one has remained the fastest way to go around the track and as Pemberton noted, “we won’t be able to completely eliminate it.” So when “speed dating” does happen, likely in late-race situations the rule changes have made it a dangerous game, where no driver talking combined with engines blowing could make for a 20-car mess. And we know the risks that pop up then… it’s been 11 years since Dale Earnhardt died, and the last thing anyone wants is to start the New Year with a catastrophe. To do that, NASCAR needs to keep close tabs on these adjustments and make sure, through the Shootout and the Duels these rules in the name of keeping fans happy won’t put drivers unnecessarily at risk if they’re still able to do what they’re trained to do: find the fastest way possible around the racetrack.
New Faces, New Places…
For a Silly Season that, through November had produced all the excitement of a corporate conference call – indeed, the only alarming news worth reporting was the number of Fortune 500 companies reducing their funding in the sport – 2012 was looking to be a year of the “same old, same old.” And then, like a lightning strike Kurt Busch threw a temper tantrum on Jerry Punch, the whole incident got caught on camera and an earthquake rumbled through the NASCAR garage. When it was over, Roger Penske pulled a Donald Trump, we had two major drivers change rides, including a Chaser and the sport has an added bunch of storylines to follow.
How unique was this offseason? For the first time since 1996, four of the drivers inside the top 20 in points changed the organizations they drive for this year. The chart below illustrates just how rare that number – 20 percent – has been in an era of stability:
Number of Drivers Inside The Top 20 In Points Who Changed Organizations Following The Season
2000-04: A grand total of 3
Who are they? Well, Clint Bowyer just didn’t change car numbers and crews at Richard Childress; he bolted for a new gig at Michael Waltrip Racing. Kasey Kahne’s Red Bull team got sold at auction, while he’ll man the vaunted No. 5 at Hendrick Motorsports. And of course, in perhaps the most public switch of all A.J. Allmendinger goes from Richard Petty Motorsports to Penske’s No. 22, replacing the cantankerous Busch. The 2004 champ has now shifted to the No. 51, single-car outfit manned by James Finch but whose equipment has “Hendrick” on the side.
Who made out the best through that whole mess? Clearly Allmendinger, who has a chance to win immediately in top-tier equipment; already, he’s started the year with momentum, pulling off a Rolex 24 victory in Grand Am.
“It has been an amazing ride to get to this point. I’ve worked hard for five years and went through a lot of ups and downs to get to this point,” he said in late January. “Right now, this is my time to have a chance at it.”
Compare that to Busch, who is pulling a Newt Gingrich-like “lowering of expectations” at the moment with the equipment he has available.
“Things change and happen for a reason,” he said. “At the end of the day, is it money you put in your pocket or the fun you have doing it?”
That laid-back attitude would appear to be short-lived; after all, if Busch was unhappy with Dodge’s top cars how is he going to feel driving a bunch of C-level Hendrick Chevys? Yes, you better believe there’s going to be a significant upgrade in equipment received but still… Finch is based in South Carolina. There’s a certain level of disconnect that won’t be overcome.
Meanwhile, a lot of the Media Tour was the “same old, same old” for many superstars; the Jeff Gordons, Greg Biffles, and Brad Keselowskis emerging from their winter cocoons trying to sell us on the fact 2012 will be their championship year. For them, worries about sponsorship, crew chiefs and personnel are on the backburner as multi-year deals have left their future secure. But at least, for the first time since the Earnhardt-Kyle Busch swap there’s some major moves to buzz elsewhere.
For the powers that be, 2012 Is The Year Of The “Status Quo.”
In the meantime, that Jeff Gordon-like consistency is exactly what NASCAR is gunning for in 2012. After a razor-thin championship battle led to a TV Ratings and popularity boost, this sport believes, rightly or wrongly, that’s enough to leave things virtually untouched. There will be no changes to the Chase, no moves to help entice new ownership and no major adjustments to the rules, sans the introduction of automatic fuel injection and the kamikaze effort to change the four plate races. The only minor tweaks are the public announcement of any fine – a removal of secrecy that’s long overdue – along with a long, hard look at the “Boys, Have At It” policy in the wake of Kyle Busch’s suspension. But by and large, officials were happy with 2011 and feel November’s momentum is enough to offset any potential problems.
“While we all know that the economic climate around the country is still difficult, still presents challenges for everyone in the industry, we’re pleased with some of the positive signs that we began to see improve last year,” explained NASCAR CEO Brian France. “We’re encouraged by ratings increases across all of our national series. We were very happy to see some gains in attendance at a number of venues, including here in Charlotte, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami and Phoenix. And we’re very happy to hear the announcement last month by the CEO of Sprint Dan Hesse in December, announcing that they will be part of our series entitlement sponsor for a long, long time [through 2016]. We were also happy to renew our XM relationship on satellite radio.”
“A lot of important work was done in 2011 to position us for the future.”
Much of that effort is going into the new car, set to debut in 2013 (see Part II tomorrow for more). But it’s clear through France’s rhetoric that despite continuing concerns, most notably sponsorship erosion and the inability for cars to pass on intermediate tracks they’re looking to make it through the season with what they have. It’s almost like clearing inventory before the next batch of fresh goods comes in; you survive on what you got, hope you make one last profit and then start over again.
To a large extent, I understand that stance in the wake of the closest championship battle in history. But alarming signs in the Cup garage still exist. Less than 50 cars are on track to attempt the Daytona 500, and backup cars will likely roll off start-and-park trucks in order to get to 43 the following week. Powerhouses like Roush and Childress have scaled back their programs, in some cases laying off workers yet refusing to lower the cost of sponsoring their other cars. The result? 10, 11, 12 companies will combine in some cases just to make the $25 million it’s taking to get those cars on the racetrack. And some of those ovals, Nashville being the latest are shuttering operations or facing insurmountable financial deficits.
Certainly, NASCAR the business model is a different animal than the quality of on-track competition. France is hesitant to interfere, beyond the four-team cap as the sport has always treated owners as private contractors. But with another round of major sponsorships up this season, combined with an improving economy another round of team cutbacks may force his hand – regardless of how much NASCAR wants to spend this season meddling as little as possible.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Lets face it, the only reason for the need for pack drafting is the highlight reels that it creates. You can make a poll say what you want, if the polls even exist. I just hope they don’t hurt anyone with the foolishness.
I watched an old race this past Sunday, the 2003 EA Sports 500 from Talladega. It was an awesome race, restrictor plate-wise.
Maybe we’ll see this type of racing again at Daytona in a few weeks?
Don’t like tandem rac…err whatever you call that….Didn’t like the big pack either (but better than this) & not intrested in watching it…1 Vote lost tandem ra…whatever it is…P.S. no one I know likes it so I guess theres more votes
I’m a fan of the tandem racing. One of the reasons is that with tandem racing, the carnage from wrecks hasn’t seemed as bad as the pack racing wrecks. Plus, it is just a product of circumstances, where the tracks have so much grip. As the tracks age, the cars won’t be able to do the tandem. Nascar should leave this one alone.
Number 7. The more NASCAR changes things the more they stay the same.
well there’s one good thing about danica…
Now people, don’t worry your pretty little heads… there’s NO WAY nascar is going to let wonder woman fail.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost
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