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.
Open-Wheel Wednesday · Toni Montgomery · Wednesday June 6, 2012
Editor’s Note: This column is the first in a new weekly commentary series focused on IndyCar. Let us know what you think of our new “open-wheel” Wednesday coverage in the comments section below!
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Frontstretch has expanded its reach into the open-wheel world with new coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Formula 1. Scary territory, right? After all, those series are so different from NASCAR, Frontstretch’s main area of focus. How could the readers of a NASCAR site possibly hope to relate to those odd, pointy cars?
But what if I told you that NASCAR has far more in common with the IZOD IndyCar Series than you might realize? What if I told you IndyCar fans are looking at some of the exact same issues and discussing the exact same things as NASCAR fans? It’s true, and I can prove it. Using just the last two weeks in the IZOD IndyCar Series, I bet I can make a case so strong you won’t be able to tell the two series apart, except that one has pointy cars.
Two years ago, during the 2010 Daytona 500, the asphalt on the track started to fall apart, opening a pothole and bringing out a lengthy red flag. NASCAR and track workers scrambled to patch the surface enough to continue the race and after delays totaling 2 hours and 24 minutes, the show went on. It was actually a good race, but most people probably don’t remember much besides the pothole. It was poor timing for stock car racing; the series was in a ratings slump, and hopes were high for the crown jewel event at Daytona to save the day. It was critically important to have a good race, one that even casual fans remembered — but was that momentum lost due to a problem that really wasn’t NASCAR’s fault (or even ISC’s, for that matter)? The pothole, after a lengthy investigation was the result of a sinkhole under the track surface.
Two weeks ago, the IZOD IndyCar Series had high hopes for their crown jewel event, the Indy 500. New cars, new engines and a competitive field gave reason to hope to regain some of the importance the event once held in the public eye on Memorial Day weekend, years after finishing well behind NASCAR’s evening race. Indy ended up being everything they hoped for, and although they still finished behind NASCAR in the television ratings, the IZOD IndyCar Series closed the gap considerably.
Then they went to Detroit and it all fell apart. Literally.
Just as in Daytona two years ago, the track surface disintegrated and brought a stop to the race for about two hours while track crews made repairs. Like NASCAR and ISC, it wasn’t the fault of IndyCar or track promoters. Belle Isle is a temporary street course, and polymer patches used to fill in cracks from the normal weathering of paved roads were being sucked out by the downforce of the cars. Like Daytona, however, that major problem could also prove to be a huge momentum killer at a critical time. It’s hard to hold more than the most devoted of audiences with two hours of nothing, and at least the broadcast from Daytona offered some continuity, even if it was just air filler. In contrast, the IndyCar broadcast ended on ABC at 6 and picked up on ESPNews, an entirely different channel, after 6:30.
There is also the question of the track itself. Think of Belle Isle as the IndyCar version of the dreaded NASCAR “cookie cutter.” It’s been a stock car debate for years whether or not going to a 1.5-mile or 2-mile oval, directly after Daytona kills any momentum the big event musters. Fans just don’t care for those tracks. In the world of IndyCar, most fans, and particularly the casual ones, prefer ovals. They like Indy, but are less enamored with road and especially street courses. Belle Isle, in particular has never been high on their list, so it’s the equivalent of NASCAR’s “cookie cutter.” There are three ovals coming up in a row on the schedule now, but did Detroit, by its nature combined with the red flag issues, already drive all those new eyes away before we can even get to Texas and beyond?
But wait… there’s more.
There are also the cars. Once upon a time, one of the great things about the marquee event of the season was that all sorts of teams would show up with all sorts of entries. There were rules, of course, to keep things within reason, but they were broad and there was room for new ideas and innovation. Some really creative things showed up at the track in those days. Now, there is a very specific rulebook. Engines, chassis, it’s all closely mandated and essentially, even though the cars bear different manufacturer brands and the engines have some subtle differences, everyone pretty much has the same thing. The fans aren’t fooled, either. So am I talking about Daytona or Indy? It could be either or both. That’s the point. Fans of both series have been talking about the tight rules package and the lack of innovation being allowed. Fans of both series miss the days when manufacturers decided what kind of cars to make within a broad and general rulebook that allowed them to do some of the thinking.
Then, there are the race winners. If you look back at our race recaps from Indy and Detroit, there are comments about the racing action but there are also posts about the winners. Dario Franchitti won at Indy and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon won at Belle Isle. I have to carry this one back a bit further than the last two weeks to make mention that Team Penske drivers won the four races prior to that. As great as the action was at Indy it was noted that, in the end, it was just another Ganassi or Penske car in Victory Lane at the end of the day. If you take out Ganassi and Penske and fill in Hendrick and Roush, you could put the same comment on most NASCAR recaps. The fact is, the teams with the most sponsorship have the most money, the most resources and, at the end of the day, the most trophies. In NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 or any other series you can think of, that’s the nature of the beast.
Hopefully, you aren’t a disgruntled NASCAR fan and I’ve now managed to give you a poor view of the IZOD IndyCar Series as well because it has all the same issues. The point here was to help race fans see that the pointy car types really aren’t all that different from the door ones.
And while we’re on that subject, we pointy car types will be here every Wednesday from now on to bring you a variety of topics for Open Wheel Wednesday. The things we’ll be talking about will be topics you already understand. For example, next week Matt Stallknecht will address pack racing, something we’ll be seeing at Texas Motor Speedway this week. We also plan to have interviews and roundtable discussions in addition to commentary. If you have reader questions, feel free to send them and we’ll do Q&As too. We hope IndyCar fans that have enjoyed our race coverage will join us and we hope that NASCAR fans will give us a read and see what the IZOD IndyCar Series is really all about!
Connect with Toni!
©2000 - 2008 Toni Montgomery and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
And let’s not forget that Ganassi also won that Daytona 500 with Jamie McMurray when the pothole opened up in turn two, so this is not the first time that Ganassi won a race affected by a pothole.
I was a disgruntled CART/IRL fan long before I got disgruntled by NASCAR…
For what it’s worth, NASCAR may have Delayed the Daytona 500 by hours, but at least they noticed the problem and dealt with it without destroying two potential top 10 drivers’ cars. The corner workers in Detroit were incompetent.
I want, so bad, to like Indycar. I was a HUGE follower of CART in the mid-late 90s/early 00s, and the IRL’s current schedule is a half-decent mix, just like CART used to be. I don’t want it all on ovals, especially not Super Speedways.
But the Penske/Ganassi Juggernaut has absolutely turned me off Indycar. It’s so, SO boring to know that those three drivers are basically going to share every win on the season, other than a very rare win by the OTHER Penske drivers, Briscoe and Castroneves.
Yes, I realize every now and then a surprise pops up (Andretti or Kanaan, occasionally someone like Justin Wilson), but in general, it’s absolute domination, on the same sort of level that Ferrari had in F1 8-10 years ago.
It’s mind-numbingly boring, knowing you have so much great talent and interesting drivers in the midfield, and you can pretty much guarantee you’ll never see them win a race. Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Rhey, Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Joseph Newgarten, Ed Carpenter… So many interesting stories, which the commentators do their best to flush out, but in the end they always have to come back to Penske/Ganassi. People complain open wheel racing has no interesting AMERICAN drivers—bull! They’re right there, they’re just buried by a Scotsman and two Australians!
I’m not asking/hoping for NASCAR-esque parity, where you have like 15 winners in a season… But why not a baker’s dozen or something? Can no one do anything about their domination?
You say Hendrick and Roush win everything in NASCAR? They certainly win a lot of championships, but there are a LOT of individual race winners from the other teams. It’s not a fair comparison at ALL.
And Franchitti, god… I used to be a fan of his back in the Kool-Green days, but ever since he started winning EVERYTHING he’s turned into such a self-important whiner and a dirty driver. I’m not talking about barely giving Sato any room at Indy, I mean any number of other incidents in the past five-six years where he’s whined about someone else driving perfectly well, or done something TOTALLY deserving of a penalty that the race stewards have just COMPLETELY ignored. In terms of bad driving, Franchitti has a magic horseshoe you-know-where. And I’m tire of hearing from his has-been wife EVERY week too.
If he’s the best and the guy who’s representing Indycar, that might explain why a lot of Americans just aren’t interested. If someone like my boy Hinch or Graham Rahal or Hunter-Rhey were to start contending CONSISTENTLY for race wins, I suspect the ratings would improve.
And since I’m on my soap box… Get rid of the Super Speedway races and replace them with PROPER Indycar ovals. People are dying, and the racing is contrived, just like Restrictor Plate racing. It has nothing to do with skill, everything to do with balls and luck. It’s terrifying and it’s not real racing.
Keep Indy of course (you have to TURN at Indy), and otherwise go to tracks where these belong, like Nazareth, Pocono, Pikes Peak, Gateway, Richmond, Loudon, Milwaukee, and Iowa. Places where Indycar racing is even BETTER than NASCAR.
And street racing is good, if the TRACK is good. St. Pete and Long Beach are great, and so is Toronto. But what happened to the truly great road courses? Go back to Road Atlanta, Road America, VIR… Montreal, Mosport! The race at Edmonton is always good, how about going back to the lakefront at Cleveland!
I don’t have a problem with the cars. next year will bring different aero kits and another engine manufacturer.
I don’t have a problem with the same teams winning. YET. I’m seeing a lot of racing back in the pack, something that rarely appears on NASCAR broadcasts.
But Detroit was a bad follow-up for Indy. Even if the track hadn’t come apart, it wasn’t going to maintain the excitement for new fans who became curious after the 500. And old fans aren’t thrilled either. They needed to have another oval, like Michigan. Or a REAL roadcourse, like Road America or Laguna Seca. Street tracks are slow and difficult to follow.
I also have a problem with TV coverage. ABC isn’t perfect but they’re better than Fox in every way. But most of the races are NBC-Sports and I’m not going to go up a level in cable packages to get it. They really need more network coverage. Not their fault, or Randy Bernard’s, but it needs to happen. CNBC is on many basic cable packages and spots are open on Sundays.
Keep up the good work Toni! I’ll be following you and looking for sports bars that will show Texas.
Andy90: “Yet”? It’s only been like 6-7 straight years of it… :/
I do agree that they do a MUCH better job of covering races in the back of the pack, which is why I bother to watch at all. The results are still the same though.