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Frontstretch Staff · Monday July 29, 2013
Did you miss an event during this busy week in racing? How about a late-night press release, an important sponsorship rumor, or a juicy piece of news? If you did, you’ve come to the right place! Each week, The Frontstretch will break down the racing, series by series, to bring you the biggest stories that you need to watch going forward for the week ahead. Let our experts help you get up to speed, no matter what series you might have missed, all in this edition of Pace Laps!
Sprint Cup: Newman’s New Opportunities? Fans, by and large thought the fastest Brickyard 400 in history, clocked in at 2 hours, 36 minutes was somewhat of a snoozer. But how much you napped has nothing to do with the prestige of a trophy, one that makes waves in the boardroom and breathes drivers back to life by its presence. For Ryan Newman, born a Hoosier Indy was the culmination of a dream, capturing what’s arguably NASCAR’s second-biggest race on the ledger in what’s easily his signature victory with Stewart-Haas Racing to date.
It’ll also probably be his last. Newman won’t be retained for 2014, losing his job officially two weeks ago with the announcement SHR won’t expand when Kevin Harvick comes on board in 2014. So will this victory be enough to keep Newman afloat somewhere else in Sprint Cup? On a weekend where yes, even Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s sponsor issues were brought into question (again) that answer is far from 100 percent. But a victory like this one, keeping him on the fringes of Chase contention can only help when it comes to finding future employment. Newman’s resume now includes both the sport’s crown jewels (he won the Daytona 500 in 2008) along with 50 poles and a handful of Chase appearances. To produce a pole/win weekend like this one, out of the blue showcases the driver still has talent; now, it’s convincing the right sponsor and team he’s the right fit. Putting your best foot forward certainly helps in that department, and on Sunday we saw Mr. Newman do just that. Tom Bowles
Nationwide: Indy Equals Buzzkill Kyle Busch paced the field to win the Nationwide 250 at Indianapolis on Saturday, an occurrence that has been incredibly common in the Nationwide Series in 2013.
But honestly, if it had been anyone else in Busch’s position, the dynamic of the race would not have changed much. It still would have been nothing more than this: a snoozer.
That’s two straight years in two tries at the big track for the Nationwide Series, establishing a newfound trend of straight-up boring races at the Indiana track. The Cup Series? Let’s be real, not much better anytime recently.
This is following a number of years during which the Nationwide Series took up residence at the Indianapolis Raceway Park, which underwent a series of name changes and is now known as Lucas Oil Raceway. The track often put on some of the best shows of the season, owing to a tiny configuration and a frantic short track feel.
After a week when NASCAR (sort of) returned to its roots with a well-received dirt track race for the Trucks, going to a speedway with little intrigue and even less interesting moments was a definite buzzkill. Let’s hope this type of week — a great week followed by a poor weekend of racing — isn’t a recurring theme. Kevin Rutherford
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That crowd for the Nationwide series race was pathetic. And it was massive compared to the road course races run the day before in the Continental Tire Series (true stock cars there) and the Daytona Prototypes.
Harvick for Newman? Bad move, Tony.
Amazing. Two years in a row and I doubt if there were 30,000 paid for the Nationwide race. We had built that race up to 40,000 or more at IRP by the time I left in 2000. And as others have noted, it was a better race.
until the racing improves, why should the fans go to the track or even watch it on TV? I didn’t bother to turn the Nationwide race on since I knew it would be all cup drivers and the Cup race, well, I watched the start, went and did some things, came back, watched a few more laps, went out, came back & watched the end. If NASCAR wants my attention, then they need to have some passing other than lead changes made through pit stops.
I just wish they’d all go over to IRP!
It’s pathetic to see the sheer desperation to save the Brickyard weekend despite the writing on the wall clearly saying otherwise.
Indy is historic, yes, but NASCAR has as much to do with it as Indycar does with Daytona. Give it up and go to IRP, a track that puts on the kind of racing STOCK CAR fans love instead of the strung out high speed aero parade of Indy.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief
If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.
Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.