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!
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.
Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday April 9, 2008
Michael McDowell's terrifying near-head on collision with the SAFER barrier and subsequent barrel-rolling down the track at Texas Motor Speedway Friday was the most serious real-life test yet of NASCAR's new car, known during its developmental period as the Car of Tomorrow (CoT). But the five-year project by NASCAR's Research And Development division had been preparing for just such a moment; after all, their work was primarily prompted by as series of accidents that had kept drivers such as Jerry Nadeau unable to continue their careers while leaving the sport’s biggest star, Dale Earnhardt, dead. NASCAR knew that something had to be done to better protect drivers at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour; and with the advent of some major structural changes, they hoped the car would live up to the challenge the next time an accident occurred.
With McDowell able to immediately extricate himself from his Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 Toyota and wave to the crowd after such a horrendous accident, NASCAR has, although still to an unknown level, claimed initial success in improving driver safety for this vehicle. However, though safety was touted as the overriding reason for the investment in both time and money to build a new and revolutionary race car, it was not the only reasoning behind the biggest adjustment to stock cars since 1981. The newly designed CoT was also meant to reduce team costs and create closer competition amongst teams, making an even and exciting playing field for all. And though I do not question that NASCAR was concerned with the safety of its competitors and desired to better protect them from harm, the other two goals the for-profit organization hoped to accomplish proved much more important to their very reason for existence â€¦ making money. After all, that’s what it’s about; the fact every other goal for the car was achieved has merely proved to be icing on the cake.
But NASCAR making a profit has never been a problem for me. Money is how a business measures its health and viability, and from all I've seen, NASCAR is plenty healthy; in fact, it’s the most viable motorsports enterprise in the United States. And to stay ahead, you must think ahead. In order to keep their product successful, the sport knew that they needed to develop a car which would bring parity to all manufacturers, all the while attracting other car builders to come on board in order to further diversify their competition. All they needed to accomplish that is give them an equal footing in which to hawk their brand names; for it had become increasingly difficult to govern all the brand-specific modifications to provide a semblance of equality, and the differences and legislation were on the verge of spiraling out of control.
That is why I was CoT before CoT was cool! But I was in the minority. It seemed that during the months leading up to the introduction of the new platform, it became fashionable for many NASCAR pundits to knock the sanctioning body at every turn after the car made its debut at Bristol just over a year ago. What these naysayers refused to acknowledge, however, is that regardless of how smart they believed themselves to be, these people were not matching wits with just Brian France, but a whole committee of pretty smart individuals that could collectively exceed their perceived genius. Plus, my father taught me that only a fool argued with success; and NASCAR certainly has proven that they know how to be successful!
So, I simply trusted that the combined "brain trust" of NASCAR was capable of building a better mousetrap than a sportswriter could conceive of. And they did. After seven races of the 2008 season, it appears every change for the CoT has borne fruit; all four manufacturers have been given an opportunity to proclaim themselves No. 1 from Victory Lane, and the battle for the championship is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years. As long as Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota are able to be a part of that, they will be satisfied and continue to contribute to NASCAR's coffers.
But from the beginning of the project, I was cognizant that critics of the new concept would be plentiful, consisting largely of groups that, in my estimation, just love to hate NASCAR. I listened to their complaints with open arms; but, quite honestly, I never found substance in their refusal to accept the new car.
The most popular battlecry of the anti-CoT legions from Day One has simply been that, “These people are turning NASCAR into IROC." But why is that a bad thing? Heck, in theory I had always liked IROC; they just needed more equally prepared cars and about 30 mph more speed. The idea of drivers battling one another in relatively equal equipment always seemed like a good idea, and a sure bet to create some close, side-by-side racing.
Others have griped they don't like the cars because they’re too generic in appearance. Well, that ship had already sailed. The backend of a Camry or Impala when driving down Interstate 10 is very difficult to differentiate between in real life, anyways. In fact, the auto manufacturers are to blame for the commonality of appearance of their vehicles nowadays… not NASCAR. I, too, miss the diversity in body styles of yesteryear; but those days are gone, and we’ll survive without them just fine.
In the meantime, what the common template is doing, and will increasingly do, is allow for the gap between the wealthy and semi-wealthy teams to narrow. And, of course, that is why NASCAR has been so aggressive with fines and penalties when anyone monkeys around in areas that they have made clear are off limits to tweaking. It’s because they do not want teams going back to finding aerodynamic advantages on today's cars; the whole purpose of the CoT is to eliminate that advantage, and level off the challenges for everyone involved. It’s been an exceptionally onerous and costly proposition; teams flush with cash had derived great competitive advantages by spending extravagantly on body massages in recent years, and small budget teams simply could not keep up. It was to the point where only three team owners had those kinds of resources to outdo everyone else aerodynamicallyâ€¦ and they were taking the fun out of the sport in the process.
Instead, the excitement has returned, while the money has scurried back into the pockets of plenty of car owners. Frankly, I could never understand how anyone could not see the considerable cost savings those men would eventually realize from the car. How can having one car for short tracks, superspeedways, intermediate tracks, and road courses not be more cost efficient than a fleet of specific-purpose built race cars for each of the venues? Certainly, during the phase-in period of last season, there were considerable extra expenses; but in the end, the savings to owners over the next several years as they campaign this one body and chassis design will result in extraordinary savings to teams.
The concept was hard for some to accept; but as time goes on, resistance has subsided as the car continues to prove itself race after race. Fewer and fewer are put off by its boxy appearance, and are able to accept it for what it isâ€¦ a very fast and much safer Sprint Cup race car.
Yet, in spite of evidence to the contrary, I am almost amused at those that will not give up the ghost and admit that they have misjudged NASCAR's ability to build a better race car. They will not say, "I give;" but instead, in a last gasp effort to not admit they have simply been wrong, they’re pointing out that the cars are more difficult to drive. Who cares? They clearly are drivable, fast and safe. If they were easy to drive, we wouldn't need skilled race car drivers on Sundays. Carl Edwards recently said so himself after winning for the third time this season at Texas Motor Speedway:
“I've heard people say that the races are boring, and people always want something to complain about - if it's too hard to drive, you don't get enough side-by-side racing,” he said. “The fact is, these are the 43 best drivers in the world. The cars have 900 horsepower and go 200 miles an hour, and the track is slippery and the tires are slippery, and that's a spectacle - and that's what it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be easy; it's not supposed to be driving down the interstate.”
“I'm tired of hearing people complain, the media make up stories about how terrible it is and stuff - this is auto racing. There are going to be people that are faster. We're going to have days when we can't keep up because the car is too hard to drive. Somebody's going to win. That's racing.”
And so it should be. Besides, the next time a driver makes a statement about cars being a “handful to drive,” I would like a further explanation as to just what that means, exactly. Is it hard to handle in the sense that a World of Outlaws Sprint Car is a “handful,” or is it a "handful" in comparison to the car it replaced? Yeah, I already know what the answer is; but when you say it, my reply is simply, “Boo Hoo!”
So, as far as I'm concerned, McDowell’s successful emergence from his wreck proved the final stamp on a positive verdict for the new car. It’s so far, so good in every aspect; and common sense dictates that things will only get better as time passes. But even if this car had never saved team owners a nickel, and even if the competition between the haves and the have nots remained as far apart as it has beenâ€¦ when Michael McDowell climbed from his crumpled car and waved to the crowd, I knew that NASCAR had scored big!
Andâ€¦that's my view from Turn 5.
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I’m all for SAFETY but don’t tell me this is racing. Basically these are kit cars. Same shocks, same gears, same tires leaves it a same game all the way around. Watch some classic racing from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s and you will see racing. The races have become boring and there is always a problem whether it is the tires or the gears or the trannies or even the track weeping water. Many of the drivers are children, the mid-aged are cry babies and the old guys are just collecting pay checks. The races don’t even start until the last couple of rounds of pit stops if we are lucky and then there are so many yellows it is too difficult to endure. The COT needs to be faster and handle better and not be a razor blade when it comes to tweaking the suspensions.
Tommy , you are the man . Why any of us would dare to question the cot , when you had the real insight all the time . Sorry for ever thinking the cot wasn’t the god send for stock car racing .
I agree with the above statement about the whole total package deal because at the end of the day it’s all about safety first , competition second and entertainment last. Too bad it took lost lives to get the priorities recognized.Great job reporting Tommy!
Doug, these cars are here to stay. The races before the COT were just as bad. I believe its time to change the tracks to progressive banking if you want side by side racing, and no matter what changes NASCAR would make to the car or changes a track would do, your still not going to get racing during the middle of the race. Only giving out points for every lap would change that.
Back in the day when Nascar switched from racing real stockcars to the modern era cars ,we all said the same thing that everyone is saying about the COT.At least the cars in those days had the basic body shapes of the ones we drove on the street. As with the old car we will begin to get used to the COT and the racing will get better as these teams learn more about tuning the suspensions. We all have to live with it. If you love NASCAR racing, this is what we got, so grin and bear it. OR?? STOP WATCHING THE RACES!!!!
Since the “stock” has completely been taken out of Nascar Racing with the COT and new spec engines I have stopped watching the races. I hang out in the shop getting things done with the “show” on the tv in the background. The lure to me was seeing the same technology on the track as is on the street, even though there seemed to be less and less each year it was still there. The SBII was pretty much the same package as the 350 small block on my engine stand.
Nascar should have made it their goal to get more stock back in the cars instead of going to the kit cars. One other thing they could have done is get the races started at 12:05 pm like they are meant to be. Nothing like turning on the tube at noon, seeing Ned and Benny on the roof of the announcing booth to set the tone, then starting the engines at 12:05.
You said “That is why I was CoT before CoT was cool! But I was in the minority.” You are still in the minority. Have you noticed all of the empty seats at the “sold out” races. Try as they may, the TV cameras can’t hide them all. What flavor does NA$CAR make their Cool Aid?
I quit watching IROC races before they were stopped and I will probably quit watching NA$ROC races before long. I can watch cars driving nose to tail at my local interstate.
Anyone who doesn’t realize what glory days these times are for NASCAR is a friggin moron. Hey, I liked the “Good ‘ole days” with Petty, Pearson and Cale too, but odds were back then that only 3-4 cars were on the lead lap. And the “Stock” cars were gone by the late 60’s. Maybe you Johnny-come-lately’s should do some research before you spout off. Newbies think that the late 90’s were when we had ‘real” racecars. Yeah, there were lots of front-wheel drive, 4 cylinder Taurus’s out there. The C.O.T. will bring better competition, save money in the long run, and save lives. The whining out there is pretty pathetic…