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
Tuesday March 4, 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.
As always this time of year, the Chase is gobbling up most of the press, submersing some controversial subplots for 2007 into the background while predictions for the championship and the constant twists and turns of each week distract us from the big picture of the sport. I'm just as guilty as anyone else in the media in this regardâ€¦so I promised myself I won't get caught up in the Chase furor this week. Other topics need to be addressedâ€¦and Martinsville cleared my mind enough to bring one to light. Leave it to a bunch of yellow stripes to catch my attention.
That's right; time to talk about rookies. Not this year's crowd; despite some roller coaster experiences, the six remaining drivers competing for Rookie of the Year will survive until their sophomore season in their current rides, a testament to the improvement or potential each of them has showcased throughout the season. In fact, this year is history in the making for first-years, as Denny Hamlin not only made the Chase, but could become the first rookie in history to place a Nextel Cup trophy on his mantle before the year is out.
No, the 2006 rookie class is fine with me. What I'm looking towards is the rookie class for 2007â€¦and I don't like the sneak peak the NASCAR community's been getting.
That preview was on full display at Martinsville on Sunday. Mark Martin's replacement in the No. 6 car for Roush, David Ragan, started only his second career Nextel Cup raceâ€¦sadly, that's far less than the amount of crashes he caused. The No. 06 machine Ragan piloted and Roush provided acted more like a pinball than a race carâ€¦the only way it seemed its driver could keep off the walls was by bumping into other cars.
Needless to say, the cars - and drivers - Ragan hit were not too happy. Ken Schrader's Top 10 run was ended when Ragan simply "overdrove" it into the turn, spinning the No. 21 Ford hard into the wall while collecting Dale Jarrett in the process. Schrader was so livid following the incident he took a piece of the bumper bar and was looking to throw it at Ragan; luckily, he came to his senses just in time.
Honestly, I'm sure other drivers wish he did. A Ragan spin with a handful of laps left sent Kyle Busch into the outside wall trying to avoid his stopped car; the wreck easily ruined the Chaser's day on what could have been an opportunity for him to climb back into the championship race. Ragan also found time to cut Tony Raines' tire, all while spinning around on his own in separate incidents; man, this guy was so busy it was hard to tell when he actually found time to race!
Tony Stewart couldn't agree more.
"We had a rookie out there that was kind of a dart with no feathers," said the Home Depot Chevrolet driver. "The best thing would have been to black flag the 06 and park him for the rest of the day and save half the cautions."
Ouch. The best part was, Stewart wasn't even INVOLVED with an incident with the 06 all day, and he could tell how bad Ragan was. That's impressive.
Running close with Ragan most of the day was David Gilliland; technically not eligible to be a rookie in 2007, he might as well be one, since he'll end up with only a dozen Cup starts before the year is out. One thing's for sure; he's a rookie now, and it showed. The difference was that Gilliland didn't feel like being involved in his own spinout, really; he just took pride in threatening the good days of other people, like his bump-to-spin maneuvers executed on both Casey Mears and Ward Burton.
Now, there's no doubt both Ragan and Gilliland have the talent to succeed in the Cup seriesâ€¦eventually. Whether they can right now is a different storyâ€¦and it doesn't really matter, anyway. Sponsors are paying millions for them to represent their productsâ€¦they're not really concerned with the quality of racing on the track or how many veteran careers they ruin while they get on their feet. They just want TV time.
While the public display of these driver's current Cup abilities make them easy targets, they're not the only rookies for next year that raise some question marks. Jon Wood will be running his first Cup races in the No. 21 carâ€¦despite not winning a Busch Series race in two years of competition. Ditto for Regan Smith, currently putting up just as unimpressive Busch Series stats. Bill Lester, who failed to even qualify for a Truck Series race this season, is a sponsorship away from a full-time ride in Cup. David Reutimann has yet to win a Truck or Busch Series Championship, with only one win in 100 starts in both seriesâ€¦combined. Of course, the conversation hasn't reached the open wheelers yet. With Juan Pablo Montoya signed for the No. 42 car and Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger headed for Team Red Bull, you've got drivers with exceptional talent - but no stock car experience and limited seat time in lower series before moving to Nextel Cup.
You see where I'm going with all of this. In a year where NASCAR will be implementing major rules changes - introducing an entirely new car, no less - the sport is being shelled with perhaps the least experienced group of rookies to ever dot the landscape of Nextel Cup at one time. Only Paul Menard seems competent enough to make the jump to Cup now with few questions asked. It’s a scenario that could lead to a lot of torn up race cars – with a lot of veterans as innocent victims.
Knowing there’s not much they can do, those veterans seemed resigned to the fact they'll be around - but that doesn't mean they have to be happy about it.
"(Ragan) had a bad day," said Raines upon exiting his car. "He ran into a lot of peopleâ€¦you just need to iron that stuff out before you get into this series."
Due to sponsor obligations, money, and the youth movement, that type of "ironing out" is no longer possible in the sport. So, veterans like Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson will sit on the sidelines and race Trucks, while youngsters get a chance to tear up equipment at an alarming rate. The bigger question is, how big and how bad will these mistakes be next year when they do happen? Spinning someone out at Martinsville is one thingâ€¦a booboo at Talladega is a different story altogether. People won’t just be mad; they could get hurt, all due to not enough experience to be a part of the series.
You'd dross your fingers and think the kinks in this rookie class will be ironed out by thenâ€¦but more than likely, those restrictor plate tracks will be an opportunity for the mistakes to come out in full force. And that's a scary thought.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
NASCARS Future will not remain what it is right now. Good Ol’ Brian attempted to make NASCAR into an American Formula 1, and it will backfire. Factory support of all drivers/teams will go away, because they have no input into the cars.
Fan support will go away for several reasons, tickets are too expensive at the track, there are too many commercials and too little racing on a broadcast, and mainly, Brian built it up on the wrong crowd. Most of the so called fans today just follow what is trendy, and will move on to something else soon.To them NASCAR will be a tomagotchie, a talking Elmo, a Beanie Baby, anybody remember what else?
The trouble is, Brian France took racing away from the ones who built it to start with, Darlington and Rockingham, bye bye forever. So, after all these years, it looks like Brian will kill it, and it will die a slow, painful death.
He made sure all these hot shot young drivers, who went to driving school, and haven’t raced competitively got the best rides, and mostly just tear them to pieces during the race. Kyle Busch may win a few races, but look at all the mangled sheet metal. Remember him trying to bumpdraft at Bristol?
You should have remembered Brian, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If this sounds like the rantings of an old NASCAR fan, then so be it. The future will bear me out, I’m sorry to report.
You are exactly right Stock car racing is already a thing of the past. If you don’t beleive it just look at the COT a cookie cutter car that all look the same. Brian wants total equality and it is never going to happen. When big sponsors begin leaving the sport because of cost you know the end is near as we used to know it.
I could not agree more.After the Martinsville race,my thoughts pretty much mirrored yours on the future of Cup racing.I think we are seeing the effects of turning the Busch series into “Cup Lite Series“The talent just is not being developed like it was in the past and you have the owners all looking for a quick young fix.It is all coming full circle with the older drivers being squeezed out and the new , unexpirianced drivers coming in.The Busch series used to be an affordable training ground for NEW ,learning drivers..now it is just all Cup.It’s sad too, as you can see…the lack of talent is showing up, and the product we see is suffering….
Amen! The TV ratings and track attendance show the effects of all the ‘improvements’ in the racing. Has anyone else noticed that the farther we get into the ‘chase’, the lower the ratings and attendance seem to go? It appears that RACE fans can tell the difference from watching a close points battle that happened because of sustained excellence, rather than one that is invented by playing ‘lets pretend’ with the points.
I agree wholeheartedly. I have been attending and watching NASCAR since 1960. This is the worst I have ever seen. We even listen to MRN radio when watching it on TV. NBC has just gone completely crazy. I was told that sponsors pay extra to have more TV exposure and I believe it. Also, the Cup drivers are taking over the Busch race to get more TV exposure and track attendance. The Cup boys are also getting practice for the Cup race driving in the Busch race. TV ratings are down, attendance is down, tickets are higher, parking is higher and camping is higher and racing is just not racing anymore. We have been paying a year in advance for tickets and camping to see our friends rather than to watch a race. Many of our friends just come to visit and not go to the race. THANKS BRIAN!!!!!!!
Growing up around NASCAR, and living within 25 miles of Darlington raceway, I can honestly say one thing. NASCAR has forgotten who made it what it is, and the true fans know it. When a middle income family can’t even afford to go to the races, and when mechanics can’t tell what kind of car is on the track, you know we have serious problems. I hope Brian France is happy to have taken the greatest sport in the world, and turned it in to a Hollywood reality show. Dissapointed, Kevin, South Carolina
The interesting thing about this article and all the follow up comments is that so far everyone agrees. Usually there is controversy and people arguing back and forth, but not this time. I became a NASCAR fan in 1998 and in this short time I can see major changes for the worse. I think a big reason the ratings drop during the chase is that if your driver isnâ€™t one of the chasers you will never see him or hear a word about him. Why spend 4 or 5 hours watching a race when you will never hear about your driver. Of course the races wouldnâ€™t take so long if there werenâ€™t so many bad drivers causing so many cautions.
Nascar is becoming Formula One before our eyes. This is sad. This is a very good reason to go and support your local Saturday night short track racing, where the racing is still pure to some extent. It was great to sit and talk Nascar with my dad on Sundays and watch the races or attend, but costs are to high and the show is all glitz and glamour. We spend our race days at the local tracks on Saturday nights. Nascar lost a very loyal fan.
I use to go to both Michigan races each year.NOT ANYMORE! Ticket prices make it impossible to go to both. In times past, I never missed a Busch or Cup race whether it was watching on tv or listening on the radio. NOT ANYMORE! The racing is gone. It use to be fun to watch the Busch series and follow the upcoming stars. I gave up this year when the Cup regulars completely took over. The day is coming when the TV people will have to figure out which angles will not show the empty back stretch grandstands at many of the tracks while King Brian keeps talking about how great another cookie cutter track in New York is.
i have followed na$car for over 40 years in pennsylvania when in the 1960’s and 1970’s it was almost unheard of up here. i was a huge fan but that has all changed. this sport has become so ‘GQ’ it hurts. drivers with frosted hair and fake tans. what the hell happened to na$car. veteran drivers can’t get a ride. brian france has turned this into some slick hollywood gimmick. i don’t watch any truck series races because of nothing but toyota dominance. the fox announcers – waltrip, mcreynolds and hammond rarely are heard saying ‘ford’ and think ‘dodge’ means avoiding the military draft. this sport revolves around chevy and soon toyota. it is based on several select ‘golden boy bow-tie drivers’ that rules do not apply to. this sport has gone beyond sad. brian france has managed to insult the loyal fans. taking a race from darlington is the biggest insult to na$car fans ever. he will cater to the trendy here today, gone today fans. nascar in 5 years will be honda, toyota and chevy. the results will be just like open wheel. i hope to god bruton smith does start a rival league, maybe stock car racing will be stock car racing again.
They brought back the Martinsville dog after we screamed loud enough. Let’s keep telling them how we feel and see if they come around. Get out you torches and pitch forks!
NASCAR is a publicly traded corporation. It is all about profits. Brian France, think Enron, think WorldCom and KMart. When it falls Brian, Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebers have an extra bunk in their room.
Where did you get your info on Bill Lester. How do you figure he didn’t qualify for any Truck races this year when he’s been in them all?
I wouldn’t bet against or prematurely judge Montoya. He will fill the excitement void left by Edwards now that Carl has seemed to settle in to a typical fat and happy veteran role. Then again, Mr. Boles may not know the first thing about Montoya as with Lester.
This is Lester’s fifth full season in the Truck Series, but he started off the year poorly, placed his team outside the Top 30 in car owner points and then failed to qualify at Charlotte. So, he’s missed one race this season…that’s what the article implies.
Missing a race in your fifth full season in Trucks does not imply the driver being ready for Nextel Cup by any means…but that’s just my opinion. Nor do I think any open wheel driver is ready to just jump into a Nextel Cup car with limited experience in stock cars…
Thanks for reading, as always! Appreciate the many comments received on here and SI.com.
Mark, You are so right, when you said that NA$CAR lets its “annointed” golden boys wearing the bow-tie brand get by with anything. I also agree with you on hoping that Bruton Smith starts a rival league. Then the racing could resemble the racing we grew to love, before King Brian started taking away good races to give to other tracks that are mostly attended by the white-collar-trend-setters that you see in California, Las Vegas Texas, and soon to be New York and Seattle. Please Bruton Please start a rival league.
If NASCAR racing is going to be restored to the high quality of stock car racing it once was, the following changes need to be implimented IMMEDIATELY.
Here are some rules I would like to see implemented in Nascar.
I do have to AGREE, NASCAR is becoming the F1 in USA. I don’t want TOYOTA in Nascar — if I want to watch a Toyota race I’d watch F1 – not NASCAR. Look at some drivers — Dale Jarrett (who I was a fan of until he is going to that JapCrap) and his employer – Michael Waltrip (hey, Michael worry about winning races – not building a team!) – are drivers past their prime. It seems the TV announcers are fans of Tony Stewart, Jr., or any drivers of the ‘Bowtie’ (Chevy). It seems every time Ford or Dodge win a race, they are DISAPPOINTED. Also, North Wilks and Darlington are gone – and replaced by tracks in ‘TRADITIONAL’ Areas like New York City and the Northwest. The tradition of having the ‘State RIGHTS flag’ (the CONFEDERATE FLAG) is being phased out, because it is NOT PC anymore. Look at the ratings for TV…it is falling. A message to the France family — WAKE UP!!!
Tom, Tom, Tom,... as good as you usually are,.. I didn’t figure you would buy into all the smoke and mirrors this weekend…
Everyone keeps harping on what Ragan did wrong,.. From what I saw,.. yeah, he punted Schrader and spun him out (too bad he hit the wall). I saw a LOT of guys hit guys and spin then out. Thats common at Martinsville. Lets do a review.
OK,.. these are ALL the spins in the race where one drive SPUN another,... GEE I only see Ragans name at fault once,... Don’t seem like he was any more hazard than anyone else. Maybe if he was so bad,.. they should of parked all these other guys too??
NOW,.. Ragan DID spin once all by himself… here’s a list of OTHER DRIVERS who ALSO spun all by themselves… Earnhardt, Wallace, Bowyer, Waltrip, Stremme.
David Ragan was about as interesting as Jeff Burtons hood pins
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