Tony Lumbis · Wednesday April 17, 2013
Frontstretch Readers – We know that you love our driver diary series, which gives you an inside look at the lives of NASCAR’s stars. Now, we are taking it to a whole new level! Fans love stock car racing for many reasons, one of which is that it is the ultimate team sport. While the driver ultimately hoists the trophy in Victory Lane, it is the blood, sweet and tears of men and women behind the scenes that ultimately drive the success of the team.
New for 2013, Frontstretch is proud to introduce the “55 Team Diary” which will provide insights from different people who contribute to the accomplishments of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota. Kicking off this series is Tony Cardamone, who serves as the jackman and mechanic on the Aaron’s Dream Machine and has become an integral part of the weekend road crew that travels to each event. We hope you enjoy this first installment of the 55 Team Diary, where Cardamone shares his thoughts on work/life balance and the latest headlines in NASCAR today, as told to our Tony Lumbis.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday February 28, 2013
J.J. Yeley has seen it all during his brief Sprint Cup career. In 2006, he was chosen by Joe Gibbs as the successor to the organization’s famed No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet after the team had parted ways with 2000 champion Bobby Labonte. It seemed like Yeley had a bright career ahead of him, yet just three years later, the Arizona native was out of the sport altogether, sidelined with a neck injury suffered in a Sprint Bandits Series race at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas.
The road back has been a long and winding one for the now 36-year-old, who bounced from one team to another trying to find the right fit. If the start of the 2013 season is any indication, though he may have found it with Tommy Baldwin Racing. Yeley’s 10th-place finish in the Great American Race was his first top 10 since the 2008 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in New Hampshire, a consistent run that reconfirmed their status as one of the sport’s top “underdog” organizations. The performance has both driver and team brimming with confidence as they head into the desert this weekend.
Dollars and Sense
Tony Lumbis · Thursday June 28, 2012
With the 2012 season approaching the halfway point, thousands of NASCAR fans have already been able to experience the sport’s newest electronic gadget while at the track. FanVision, a hand-held controller which has been a familiar sight in the stands of Formula One races and NFL games for years, made its NASCAR debut this season, providing fans with live stats, replays, the leader board, lap times, audio of every driver and much more, all within the palm of their hand. No matter how the view is from their seats, fans can know virtually everything that is going on in the event by using FanVision. Such a device has quenched many fan’s desire to know everything about every competitor instantaneously. However, another group, whose job depends on knowing about every pass, lap time and position at any given time, has also greatly benefited from the newest addition to the NASCAR fan experience.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday April 5, 2012
It’s no secret that the financial landscape of NASCAR is quite different than it used to be a decade ago. At that time, the then Winston Cup Series was enjoying record popularity and companies were lining up to become involved in one of the nation’s hottest trends. Nowadays, following the worst economic recession since The Great Depression and with a fan base that is a fraction of what it once was, sponsors aren’t exactly knocking down the doors to spend their money in NASCAR. The result has been that some of the premier teams in the Sprint Cup series such as Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing have consolidated teams. In fact, Jack Roush is occasionally forced to run a car out of his own pocket for select events.
Tony Lumbis · Sunday January 29, 2012
Last week, the racing world lost Dr. Joseph Mattioli, founder, Chairman Of The Board and – until five months ago – CEO of Pocono Raceway. However, “Doc”, as he was known, was much more than those titles would suggest. He was a philanthropist, visionary, businessman and environmentalist. His actions fulfilling those roles have had a positive impact on millions, myself included.
While Doc wore many hats, the one consistency throughout his life is that he lived to help other people. From his service to our country during World War II to tending to the dental health of Philadelphia residents, it was evident early on that Mattioli was intent was on making a difference in the lives of others.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday July 7, 2011
For drivers like Martin Truex, Jr., marketing these Today’s Sprint Cup Series no longer represents your father’s NASCAR. Gone are the days when a driver climbed out of the car after a race and was not seen in the public eye until the next event. Now, more than ever, NASCAR is about the fans and in the age of 24/7 media, drivers need to work hard to keep the fan base engaged and develop their own brand, all while keeping multi-million dollar sponsors satisfied and staying competitive on the track. These demands translate into hundreds of obligations, over all 12 months of the year – a workload which drivers cannot meet alone. That is why many go beyond their public relations assistant, relying on what’s called a business associate: a general title, while not official, seems most appropriate for those who wear so many hats in an effort to support their driver. Don Rohr fits this role for Brian Vickers while Todd Moore fulfills a similar capacity for Martin Truex, Jr.
NASCAR Driver Q & A
Tony Lumbis · Wednesday February 9, 2011
For the past two seasons, Scott Speed has been a participant in our Driver Diary series, providing readers with insight into what was going on in his life both on and off the track. Unfortunately, 2011 will be quite a bit different for the open-wheel convert as he starts the season without a ride. We don’t believe that Scott will be on the sidelines for long, however, and our own Tony Lumbis checked in with the California native to talk about his unceremonious departure from Red Bull Racing and what lies ahead.
Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com: As the 2010 drew to a close, you consistently answered questions about your future in the same manner: “They haven’t told me anything yet.” It seemed a little strange given the fact that your future was being determined for you by rumors on every site. In the end, it turns out, you were being as open as you could be. Can you elaborate on what turned out to be a very odd ending to your tenure at Red Bull Racing?
Scott Speed: We all had a clue that they might do something, I just had no idea what the details were since they made their decisions without having any conversation with me other than “good luck.”
Tony Lumbis · Friday September 24, 2010
When the checkered flag flew ending the Air Guard 400 at Richmond, the 2010 Chase field was set and there was not an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver to be found in the top 12. Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya finished 14th and 16th in the “regular season” standings, respectively. However, the last thing this season can be considered is a failure for Chip Ganassi and his organization. Both his drivers won races, with McMurray taking what many consider to be NASCAR’s two most prestigious events; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400.
The success doesn’t stop there, however. Dario Franchitti, who drives for Ganassi in the IZOD Indy Car Series was victorious in the Indianapolis 500 in May, which helped give his owner the first ever “trifecta” (Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400). As if that weren’t enough, Team Ganassi also took home the 2010 GRAND AM Rolex Sports Car – Daytona Prototype championship with drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas while setting a record with nine victories.
Dollars and Sense
Tony Lumbis · Wednesday August 4, 2010
At the end of the 2009 season, Dusty Whitney, Nationwide Series car owner since 2007, evaluated the landscape of his sport and resulting position within it. He did not have a sponsor or a Sprint Cup car, and his team had made just 70 Nationwide starts with a revolving door of drivers – producing only three top 10s to show for their efforts. So after careful consideration, Whitney did the only thing that made sense to him; he started a Sprint Cup team.
It seems like an absurd idea on the surface, but further evaluation proves otherwise. Whitney realized that the changing scenery due to economic constraints among teams in Sprint Cup translated into opportunities for someone in his shoes.
Tony Lumbis · Wednesday July 14, 2010
Editor’s Note: For Part I of Dollars And Sense, please click here to read.
Yesterday, we talked about how Sprint Cup’s three remaining independent tracks: Pocono, Dover, and Indianapolis are surviving in the face of overwhelming competition from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) and International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Nowadays, those two corporations control 31 of the 36 Sprint Cup dates … but it wasn’t always that way. Smaller corporations like Roger Penske’s owned California and Michigan, while men like Clay Campbell, Bob Bahre, and Paul Sawyer controlled legendary venues at Martinsville, New Hampshire, and Richmond, respectively.
But from the purchase of North Wilkesboro in 1996 through SMI’s buyout of Bahre just two and a half years ago, a wave of consolidation has overwhelmed the racetrack industry. Most fans have watched nervously, worried about their favorite’s future, while asking a simple question: Why?
Dollars and Sense
Tony Lumbis · Tuesday July 13, 2010
As the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule begins to take shape, fans begin to see firsthand how owning a contingent of race tracks can allow one corporation or one man, even, to control how they view the sport they love. Attendance at Atlanta is down? No problem, we’ll replace one of its dates with Kentucky. Not happy with how the local police are treating you in New Hampshire? Well, they’ll do it our way or we’ll give one of its dates to Las Vegas. These are the thoughts that have been most likely going through the mind of Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) over the past few months. While Smith effectively controls the fate of seven tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit and one hopeful (Kentucky), another twelve facilities are also controlled by just one entity, International Speedway Corporation (ISC).
That may certainly make it seem like the entire Sprint Cup schedule is in the hands of just a handful of people.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday June 24, 2010
“We should’ve run a .39, but he got loose. It’s just after the Sprint Cup guys run, there is rubber on the track, and it’s not good for those of us who run after.”
Bill Gerhart, owner and crew chief for Bobby Gerhart Racing (BGR), is debriefing. Just moments earlier, his brother and driver Bobby laid down a qualifying lap at Pocono International Raceway for the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200, but it wasn’t good enough for his liking. The ARCA session complete, his No. 5 car ended up ninth-fastest – nearly a second-and-a-half slower than polesitter Mikey Kile.