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 October 30, 2013
Did You Notice?… The blessing and the curse surrounding Darrell Wallace, Jr.’s Truck Series triumph? In case you’ve been living under a rock, Wallace became the second African-American since 1963 with a race win in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions. Wendell Scott, who won in the Cup Series at Jacksonville is the only other such driver to make a breakthrough.
For those who think this victory meant nothing, insignificant in this world where we’re 50 years removed from the Civil Rights Movement think again. Wallace’s win was decades in the making, men from Willy T. Ribbs, to Bill Lester, to young Marc Davis and his late father blazing a trail in a world that was once a perilous place for African-Americans. We’re talking about a France family that, as late as 1976 was pushing the late segregationist George Wallace for President, twelve years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We’re talking about a sport that, as late as 2008 was making an out-of-court settlement with African-American female official Mauricia Grant over threats that included the Ku Klux Klan coming to kidnap her. It’s a dark past, one that makes the argument of “should we be having this type of excitement surrounding racial achievement, in America in 2013?” virtually irrelevant. Of course you have that type of celebration when you’re talking about an environment that, as little as five years ago was stained with the perception of past prejudice. It may be the actions of a few, but all it takes is one bad news story, one rough first impression in this Twitter/Facebook age to make the rounds.
That’s why Wallace’s victory has brought attention, from a new group of potential fans along with hope. It’s the type of achievement that brings positive national crossover; think about Tiger Woods and golf, for example. Sometimes, you don’t believe you can do something unless you have someone you can directly relate to that’s succeeding at it. Woods made five-year-old African-American kids, across the country believe that they, too could one day be number one at golf. Right now, there’s a whole lot of African-Americans, an up-and-coming generation looking at Wallace and saying, “Wow. That’s pretty cool. I want to be like him.” It’s a connection that might not be made, in the same way with a Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski or even Kyle Larson. That’s not reverse racism… just reality. One of the most identifiable physical features we have, as humans is the color of our skin and we respond to people we feel are most like us.
So yes, whether it should be the truth or not the blessing of this win, and Wallace’s potential rise to stardom is it will create more interest from a minority group that has not been proportionally represented in this sport. In an era where new faces are sorely needed, it’s a victory that carries more impact, over the long-term than even this year’s championship Chase. It’s the same way with Danica Patrick, in which potential success from a woman in the sport has created a whole new legion of eyes that pay attention. Whether the Drive 4 Diversity program should be around – where Wallace came from – is a topic for another day. But there’s no arguing that the introduction of diversity in general, within a world that’s increasingly multicultural delivers results.
Now, here’s the curse. The celebration of this type of victory, to me based on skin color in 2013 also stings of NASCAR being woefully behind. There’s an aspect here of “Look at us! We’re not racist anymore!” connected to its crossover appeal that doesn’t seem all warm and fuzzy. I do think people are right in the sense this shouldn’t be a story, that 2013 should put us so much further ahead so the color of one’s skin doesn’t matter. But NASCAR doesn’t have that history. The sport hasn’t had that breakthrough… until maybe now.
Shame on them for that. But there’s a chance this victory is the first step to making it all a non-issue, where eventually the level of diversity will reach a point we won’t even need to talk about it. I can’t tell you when that will be. But I can say two wins, by an African-American driver in 50 years of a sport is a big story. It just is, whether you believe in the process of Affirmative Action or not. There’s too much history, both positive and negative to ignore that fact in this arena.
Did You Notice?… NASCAR’s Silly Season has started to settle down? With the year wrapping up, let’s get a quick recap of where we stand for 2014. As you can see, there’s only a handful of open seats remaining…
2014 Full-Time Teams
2014 Part-Time Teams
Seems like we’re all set for next year, right? Not quite. There’s still at least a dozen seats in play, although most aren’t the “juicy” top-tier opportunities people are looking for. Here’s a look at those open seats…
Furniture Row Racing (1): Easily the highest-profile ride still available. Right now, it’s a standoff between owner Barney Visser and company against potential driver Martin Truex, Jr. The team wants a long-term commitment; Truex, coming from the Michael Waltrip Racing mess wants a one-year deal. But a highly-placed source told us, this week, “this contract will work out. Both sides aren’t talking to anyone else… it will get done.”
Phoenix Racing (1): What Harry Scott, Jr. will do with his newly-purchased team is still a mystery. Common sense would tell you he’d promote from within at Turner Scott Motorsports; driver Justin Allgaier has been promising in a handful of Cup starts. My bet is on Allgaier getting the ride, full-time next season.
BK Racing (2): A mid-tier ride where there’s a possible opening with Travis Kvapil facing domestic violence charges. A guilty verdict likely leads to his release, though a series of DNFs might make that happen anyway. David Reutimann is on a one-year deal and seems vulnerable, too; he hasn’t run top 20 since February’s Daytona 500. Bobby Labonte is a viable option if the team wants to bring in another veteran. Remember, too there were payment issues with former driver Landon Cassill; all indications are they’ll be back but we always seem to see one of the programs in this category dissolve every offseason.
Tommy Baldwin Racing (2): Plans for the two-car team will be announced in early November. Jeff Burton, among others has been rumored here; it’s the best remaining fit of the rides available. If so, who’s out? It’s been a disappointing season overall for longtime driver Dave Blaney and new, full-time teammate J.J. Yeley. Blaney’s average finish (28.5) is his best with the team but he hasn’t run top 20 since Talladega in April. Yeley has been largely a non-factor since a 10th in this year’s Daytona 500.
Circle Sport / Hillman Racing (2): All indications are Landon Cassill, with several promising runs will continue to fill the main seat in 2014. The second one, currently held by Tony Raines is a bit more uncertain as it’s a bare bones effort.
Swan Racing (1): The only thing we know for sure is the seat will go towards a young driver. David Stremme is out and no longer a part of the program post-Richmond. Cole Whitt, Kevin Swindell, and Parker Kligerman have appeared among those on the audition list. The first two have had rollercoaster runs, so Kligerman has a chance to shore up the deal at Texas with his future at Kyle Busch Motorsports (Nationwide Series) uncertain for 2014.
FAS Lane Racing (1): Ken Schrader, along with his sponsorship from Federated Auto Parts trots off into retirement after Homestead. Terry Labonte, who runs no more than the plate races for the team will likely join him. That makes young Timmy Hill, the quiet third member of this year’s Rookie of the Year race a central focus for his sophomore season.
Front Row Motorsports (1): There’s some question as to whether Josh Wise will return to the program, running a third R&D team that occasionally start-and-parks. He’s struggled as of late, but there’s nothing out there to indicate he’s getting released.
NEMCO – JRR (1): With Joe Nemechek an owner/driver, keeping the seat warm for son John Hunter there’s no question he’ll remain in this ride. But expect sponsorship for a 50-year-old, running the oldest equipment on the circuit hard to come by.
Phil Parsons Racing (1): Still expected to be around next season, in some shape or form despite the departure of start-and-park stalwart Michael McDowell. Whatever the selection here, the intentions remain the same: going the distance only when funding allows, unless in extraordinary circumstances like Daytona or Talladega where a win through plate racing is possible.
Did You Notice?… Quick hits before we take off…
- My, how times have changed. Richard Petty was so averse to alcohol sponsorship, his No. 43 used to be ruled ineligible for the old Busch Clash (today’s version of the Bud Shootout) because of his refusal to carry the company’s sticker on his car. But in came investors, in 2010 and suddenly the King was a mere pauper compared to the opinions of his multi-million dollar saviors. First, there was Budweiser, paired with Kasey Kahne as Richard Petty’s operations merged with George Gillett’s cars that already had sponsorship deals in place. That, to me was understandable; nixing an eight-figure partnership, based on personal opinion just wasn’t feasible with NASCAR’s sponsor opportunities drying up like the Sahara Desert.
Tuesday’s announcement, though, involving driver Marcos Ambrose and Twisted Tea is a whole lot harder to understand. This one was pursued, hook line and sinker by a Marketing Department clearly giving the go ahead on putting alcohol on the hood. It’s a small contract by comparison to, say FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing. The brand will only sponsor one race, Dover next September, as the primary while remaining an associate on all remaining events. But then again, we’re talking about a man who wouldn’t allow a sticker the size of my hand, a NASCAR supporter on the side of his race car out of principle. Has Petty, at age 76 mellowed that much over time? Or has the old saying, “money talks” left NASCAR’s top legend with no choice but to “shut up?”
Note: CEO Brett Moffitt, of RPM says Petty continues to refuse alcohol sponsorships on his No. 43 car only based on a personal promise he once made to his parents.
- Yes, Matt Kenseth. I was wrong. I will never doubt you the rest of the season. Outpointing Jimmie Johnson, as I’ve said several times was the race of the Chase for the No. 20 team. Heading to Texas, they’ve stolen momentum away from the No. 48. On paper, I’d say you suddenly have to give the edge back to Joe Gibbs Racing.
So why is the ball still in Jimmie Johnson’s court? Because it’s time to see if Five-Time can respond to getting punched back. The last two seasons, in 2011 and ’12 the once unflappable combination of Johnson and Knaus buckled under the pressure of quality competition. In ’11, it was a combination of factors; in ’12, the one-on-one showdown with Keselowski eventually wore them out. They’re in a similar type of battle again, this time with Kenseth. Have lessons been learned to put them back in position to win? Where is the mental fortitude that caused them to outlast Denny Hamlin, back in ’10? That’s what I’m looking for. That’s what we need to see this weekend for the No. 48 operation to regain the upper hand in this Chase.
Connect with Tom!
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m a radio sports talk junkie. This win by Wallace didn’t even move the needle. I didn’t hear it mentioned at all on any radio station.
That’s not a reflection on Wallace but on Nascar, which is becoming more and more irrelevant.
The once super-exciting truck series is damn near dead. Thanks Nascar.
DarrellWallace Jr.‘s win was a big deal – to NASCAR. No one else paid any attention.
Like JP said, NASCAR is becoming more and more irrelevant.
Making Wallace’s win a big deal b/c he is not white is racism as well. Why do we have to point out that he’s a black driver, isn’t he a driver like everyone else? It’s wrong to point out the color of his skin when insulting him, why is it okay to point it out when complimenting him? Nascars incessant screaming of “we’re not racist rednecks” is probably doing more harm than good.
The powers that be need to have more concern for the die-hard fans of any color who are walking away than they do for bringing in people solely based on ethnicity.
The majority of people don’t give a hoot in regards to his skin color, I sure as hell don’t. But the media still has to report his win as something significant based on his skin color, why? How can we move forward as a society if this type of nonsense in this day and age is still brought up? You are infact insulting him, imo.
Self serving article.
I can’t add much to what the folk above have posted. They’re all spot on. It’s the P.C. media and race-baiters that have won on this issue, not the fans nor the successful drivers.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
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.