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!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thomas Bowles · Wednesday March 21, 2012
Did You Notice?… The quirkiness of the 2012 Sprint Cup schedule? This weekend marks the third time in the first five weeks of the season that NASCAR is within the Las Vegas – Phoenix – Los Angeles area. Just 321 miles separates Auto Club Speedway from Phoenix, a five-hour drive and a little over six hours from L.A. Las Vegas, which just held a Cup race in mid-March is even closer to ACS: 239 miles and four hours. Considering the proximity of those events, if you were living in that triangle why would you spend the money to go to all three, within a month of each other? Yes, the absolute diehards might consider it, but even most normal NASCAR fans would limit their attendance, especially in this economy. Add in that Auto Club Speedway has the worst racing of the three, by a landslide, and that puts their attendance figures in unnecessary peril for the coming weekend.
Some people think that with the weather in most of the Eastern United States, there’s no choice but to head West this early in the schedule. I disagree. We could even fix things without adding back Rockingham into the mix… here’s my proposal:
2013 Sprint Cup Schedule
And so on…
A couple of quick fixes would happen here. Number one, the Daytona rain debacle of 2012, where teams were strapped for time to make it to Phoenix would never happen again. Your next race is still within reasonable range, down in Homestead-Miami, so there’s no 3,000-mile expedition if you crash three cars in the 500. Plus, Miami is the one time you can get away with two races happening in the same state within a week of each other. The Daytona 500 is such a specialty event – people travel from all over the country to see NASCAR’s Super Bowl – a large portion of your attendance won’t actually be from Florida. Plus, for those who do come locally you could offer special discounts and tie the two races together. “Floridians, like what you saw down at Daytona? Well buy a ticket to the 500 and get one the next week at Homestead-Miami for half price!” That track has struggled to put butts in the seats for its one date, the season finale, unless there’s a white-knuckle battle for the championship like last year. So give Homestead a chance to survive long-term, and get those nasty weather and travel problems out of the way.
Number two, this schedule would make the West Coast trips bearable for small and large teams alike. No longer are there back-to-back races, 3,000 miles away from the Charlotte shops. You’d have a full week off before preparing for Phoenix, and an extra day before trucking off to California at the end of April. Just as important, it would give fans options instead of squeezing three race dates all into slightly over one month’s time.
Number three, you put the season finale where it belongs: Las Vegas. NASCAR already has the banquet there anyway, so why not make the whole finale a two-week spectacle in the one place that knows how to pump up entertainment: Sin City. You’re not radically changing anything within the Chase (1.5-mile track versus 1.5-mile track) and you’re adding one of the more fan-friendly tracks (traffic aside). If you hold the banquet right after the race, say the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you’re all done with your season and out of the news cycle you never slot back into anyway when your wrap-up occurs during NFL primetime in early December.
Number four, check out the intrigue with a few of these rearranged Spring dates. Homestead offers you a better chance than Phoenix to hold momentum the week after the 500; its multiple grooves have often led to better racing. Then, you make Talladega a month earlier, putting one of your best events before the off week towards the end of March to leave fans scintillating over an almost guaranteed fantastic finish. It leaves them wanting more; and then, after the Easter Break, you give it to them with a reconfigured 2013 Bristol. That starts a three-week short track swing, with Martinsville and Richmond back-to-back during an opening where NASCAR can capitalize in the midst of post-Opening Day Baseball hysteria and before the NHL and NBA playoffs. If you’re trying to win your audience back, you’ve got to hit them at the right times and these fixes would do just that.
It’s not NASCAR’s job to listen to journalists; my idea should carry the same weight as yours. But I hope they listen to someone, somewhere because this silly West Coast swing is going to bite them unnecessarily in the next few years – especially at Fontana. Why try even harder to kill that poor racetrack off? The competition is ugly enough there as it is.
Did You Notice? … Some famous drivers seriously struggling just four races into the season? Each of the following superstars is sitting outside the top 20 in points, which means they wouldn’t qualify for the Chase as of now no matter how many wins they’ve racked up. Yes, it’s still early but in this age of parity let’s take a look and see if anyone should be concerned:
Did You Notice?… Some “C”-level (in the wake of the Johnson appeal… so should we call them “C-Post?”) quick hits before we take off:
- How must Elliott Sadler be feeling? Yeah, he’s won two of four Nationwide Series races to start the season. But on Sunday, he had to sit and watch Brian Vickers run fifth in a No. 55 Sprint Cup ride that should have been his. Remember, Vickers doesn’t have that chance at all unless Sadler was told by someone to run full-time in the Nationwide Series, period, which negated his deal with Waltrip a day after it was announced at Phoenix.
Could Sadler have done as well? Sure, Vickers can drive on his own merit but Michael Waltrip Racing as a whole has been lights out this season. Plus, Sadler’s got great history at Thunder Valley, winning his first career Cup race there in 2001. And if there’s one thing Vickers could even tell you after his Martinsville debacle last Fall, which set deep into the minds of car owners, Sadler needed a Sprint Cup top-5 finish in the worst way. Right now, no matter how many Nationwide races are won, the only Sadler “accomplishment” stuck in important people’s minds is that disastrous wreck of Jimmie Johnson and Danica to start the 2012 Daytona 500.
When will Sadler’s chance for Cup redemption come?
- Owner Bruton Smith asking the fans for feedback, done in the wake of the Bristol mass attendance exodus is a giant step in the right direction. In case you missed it, you can email the speedway at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them why you’re no longer going to the races. It puts the speculation and research right out of the reporter’s hands and directly into yours; once and for all, we might get factual evidence if it’s the economy, hotel prices, the “new” Bristol or a combination of all of the above that’s keeping you sitting at home.
So please, if you’re critical of the speedway be sure to drop them a line. I know it’s on them, in the end to win you back; but if they don’t know what’s wrong, then you’re not giving them a chance to fix it.
Editor’s Note: Wondering about Tom’s reaction to the Jimmie Johnson appeal? Check out his column on Athlon Sports later today.
Connect with Tom!
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Don’t just give negative feedback about Bristol. Give positive feedback too! If only the people who don’t like it complain, they will most certainly change it. There are still 80 000 people going to the race. Let them know why you’re still going too!
Also, I get your point re: 3 races in the California vicinity, however Homestead right after Daytona I don’t think will work for the same reason. Miami already has a hard time selling, and if you had a choice between going to Daytona and Homestead, I know which one I’d go to.
I agree with Kevin’s take on the Daytona – Homestead issue, and also with the scheduling of the Short Track three-week marathon. As exciting as three weeks of short track racing back to back would be, that would just make the extended summer doldrums of boring cookie cutter tracks even longer.
Uhm, Tom? Werent you one of the media who wrote columns in the past few years complaining about the week off so early in the season? And now you’re wanting to put it back in?
The reason J Gordon and M Ambrose for that matter finished so far down is, the S&P’s didn’t park at Bristol.
Out of the three races in the west, I would bet more people came to LV because because there’s more to do. Be prepared for even more tight shots on TV at Fontana since those stands will be empty. With fans not having as much money, I wonder if Gillian will use the “they’re shopping” excuse again.
The first 5 races of the season are important and should be on exciting tracks. Homestead is boring. And there should not be a week off during the first 5 weeks.
Also, the season should end in Vegas, NOT Homestead.
As a side note: Having the 500 on during Primetime was AWESOME!
Your improved schedule is pretty good – I’d have no break until Easter — Kevin trying to run Martinsville that early would be death to the track. It’s up in the mountains and when NASCAR moved it to the end of March it is almost always cold and wet. It used to be the weekend after Easter and the weather was beautiful. Sorry I love the little track and I have believed for a long time that NASCAR was trying to destroy it through attrition.
By the way, the link to BMS doesn’t work
Season should not end at a Dull D Track at all….Always leave em wantin more
Email link should work now… it was a syntax HTML thing. Email address was right all along though :O).
AJ’s car had some kind of internal suspension failure at Bristol. Todd Gordon praised AJ for bringing that car back as well as he did considered the car broke itself.
I have a better idea for 2013. How would THIS work for the 2013 Cup Series schedule:
Daytona Beach Invitational – Streets of Daytona Beach, FL – Feb 9 – 12:00 PM – CBS
Duel 1 – Daytona Intl. Speedway – Feb 14 – 12:00 PM – CBS
Duel 2 – Daytona Intl. Speedway – Feb 14 – 2:00 PM – CBS
1 Daytona 500 – Daytona Intl. Speedway – Feb 17 – 12:00 PM – CBS
2 Interstate Batteries Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway – Feb 23 – 7:00 PM – CBS
3 Bodog 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Mar 2 – 7:00 PM – CBS
4 Armor All 500 – Phoenix Intl. Raceway – Mar 9 – 7:00 PM – CBS
5 California Pizza Kitchen 500 – Toyota Speedway at Irwindale – Mar 16 – 7:00 PM – CBS
6 5-Hour Energy 250 – Infineon Raceway – Mar 23 – 3:00 PM – CBS
7 Dodge 500 – Martinsville Speedway – Mar 31 – 12:00 PM – CBS
8 Bud Light 500 – Bristol Motor Speedway – Apr 6 – 7:00 PM – CBS
9 Lowe’s 500 – The Milwaukee Mile – Apr 14 – 12:00 PM – CBS
10 Parts Plus 500 – Talladega Superspeedway – Apr 21 – 12:00 PM – CBS
11 Miller Genuine Draft 400 – Iowa Speedway – Apr 28 – 7:00 PM – CBS
12 Rita’s 400 – Richmond Intl. Raceway – May 4 – 7:00 PM – CBS
13 World 600 – Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 26 – 5:00 PM – NBC
14 A&W 400 – Gateway International Raceway – Jun 1 – 7:00 PM – NBC
15 Valvoline 400 – Pocono Raceway – Jun 9 – 12:00 PM – NBC
16 Richard Petty 443 – Rockingham Speedway – Jun 16 – 12:00 PM – NBC
17 Toyota 250 – Heartland Park – Jun 23 – 12:00 PM – NBC
18 KFC 400 – Kentucky Speedway – Jun 30 – 7:00 PM – NBC
19 Firecracker 400 – Daytona Intl. Speedway – Jul 6 – 7:00 PM – NBC
20 Cadillac 500 – Pikes Peak Intl. Raceway – Jul 14 – 2:00 PM – NBC
21 Samuel Adams 300 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Jul 21 – 12:00 PM – NBC
22 American Express 500 – Dover Intl. Speedway – Jul 28 – 12:00 PM – NBC
23 Brickyard 400 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Aug 4 – 1:00 PM – NBC
24 Pepsi 400 – Homestead-Miami Speedway – Aug 10 – 7:00 PM – NBC
25 Moe’s Southwest Grill 250 – Road America – Aug 25 – 12:00 PM – ABC
26 Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway – Sep 1 – 5:00 PM – ABC
27 Johnny Rockets 400 – Nashville Superspeedway – Sep 7 – 7:00 PM – ABC
28 Napa 500 – Evergreen Speedway – Sep 15 – 3:00 PM – ABC
29 The Capital Grille 500 – Talladega Superspeedway – Sep 22 – 12:00 PM – ABC
30 Craftsman 500 – Martinsville Speedway – Sep 29 – 12:00 PM – ABC
31 Fuddruckers 250 – Lime Rock Park – Oct 6 – 12:00 PM – ABC
32 Dale Earnhardt 503 – Charlotte Motor Speedway – Oct 13 – 7:00 PM – ABC
33 Kenworth 400 – Iowa Speedway – Oct 20 – 7:00 PM – ABC
34 Cracker Barrel 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway – Oct 27 – 7:00 PM – ABC
35 Buffalo Wild Wings 400 – Richmond Intl. Raceway – Nov 2 – 7:00 PM – ABC
36 UPS Championship 500 – Bristol Motor Speedway – Nov 9 – 7:00 PM – ABC
I would say that right there should be the official 2013 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. How many would agree?
Tom, your schedule has merit, except for the fact that you eliminated one track completely. As much as it is so hated by almost everyone, Michigan should always be on the schedule, and should always have its two dates. Why? If you have ever been to Michigan, you will already know this, but more than 50% of the people in those stands are not from the U.S. They are from (mostly) Ontario. Being one of those Ontario people who has made at least one Michigan race every year for the last 35-years, I always get a kick when I walk through the parking lots and see all those Ontario license plates, and I won’t mention the loudness of the people who join in the singing of our national anthem (something that does not get shown on the TV broadcasts. I always almost feel like I’m back home! Michigan is the only track that is convenient for many of us “Foreigners” to get to. And we all know that there will never be a Cup race in Canada, and if it were ever to happen, it will surely go to the one Province that has been Heck bent on destroying our Country! And let me tell you this, People from Ontario are not welcomed in Quebec! I know so many of you feel that Michigan is a horrible place for the racing, but for the only reason that a majority of Ontario fans go to Michigan, that track has to remain on the schedule.
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