NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday February 18, 2009
When NASCAR resumed racing in southern California in 1997 after previous failed attempts at gaining a foothold for the sport at Riverside and Ontario, the decision seemed at best ill-advised and at worst foolhardy to a large number of longtime and loyal NASCAR fans. However, when in 2004 a second date was awarded the 2-mile race facility at the expense of Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day Weekend tradition, the Southern 500, many felt that the sanctioning body had in effect committed a treasonous act against those that had supported it for years. These events have been a chronic black eye to the Fontana, CA racing facility…and one that has yet to heal nearly four years after NASCAR made its move.
Fans came out of the woodwork to voice their displeasure over the audacity that the sport demonstrated in choosing to abandon their roots and casting their lot with the not-so-stock car-crazy West Coast bunch — just a stone’s throw from Hollyweird. A land a million miles away from the country music-loving, fried chicken-eating, sweat tea drinking fans of the Bible belt – fans that had embraced not only the sport, but considered the Southern 500 almost as sacrosanct to the sport as the Daytona 500.
Of course, NASCAR had their reasons. After all, if you are going to further alienate your fan base on the heels of snatching other beloved race venues from loyalists, it better be for good reason. A move to gain acceptance in a region of the country that contains approximately 21 million potential fans within a 100-mile radius of the track — a number roughly equal to the population of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina combined — was just too tempting to ignore.
Besides, it wasn’t as if the Darlington fans were without access to the sport of their choice. Atlanta, Richmond, and Charlotte were all within easy commuting distance for them, and there would still be one race date at the sport’s first superspeedway. Sure, the loss of a race date would cause a certain amount of angst and anger amongst the diehards, but the risk seemed worth the reward of once and for all establishing big time stock car racing as a viable competitor for sports entertainment dollars in one of the most prosperous areas of the country.
So, how has the plan panned out apart from fan’s incessant anger?
Well… so far, not so good.
This season, California Speedway, now called Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, will no longer have the plum Labor Day Weekend date that they had taken from Darlington not even five years ago. Instead, Atlanta Motor Speedway will benefit from a date change that pushes Auto Club’s second race into late October. The truth is, though Darlington had experienced a steady decline in attendance for the Southern 500, the modern 2-mile Fontana, California track has not lived up to expectations and continues to draw disappointing attendance numbers. As a result, each race there are rows of empty seats that even the most skilled cameraman working the television broadcasts are not able to conceal from the viewing public.
Ironically, Darlington, the track a race date was deemed expendable at, has experienced somewhat of a rebirth and has been embraced by the racing community. Darlington’s one remaining race was moved to Mother’s Day Weekend in 2005 — a date previously considered poison for holding a race event — but has now been sold out four years in a row. That’s a turn of events that should make any further assault on the one remaining race date at the “Lady in Black” unlikely.
It is doubtful that Darlington’s remarkable reversal of fortunes and Auto Club Speedway’s lack of improvement were how NASCAR’s management foresaw things developing in five years. There has really been no appreciable increased interest in the sport, which is in midst of a four-year downturn in ratings and attendance overall. However, Darlington, and its 60-year old unique somewhat egg-shaped, 1.366-mile oval, located in what was thought to be in an over-saturated market in an area that has for years suffered a downturn in its economy is doing quite well… all things considered.
To borrow a line from late night funny-man David Letterman, I wouldn’t give Gillian Zucker’s problems to a monkey on a rock. Zucker, President of Auto Club Speedway, has for more than four years been charged with developing and growing a stock car racing fan base and improving attendance at the southern California motorsports complex. Apparently, the task has been as difficult as selling Michael Vick memorabilia at a PETA convention would be.
But you name it — and Zucker has tried it. The first women in NASCAR to operate a major NASCAR-sanctioned track cannot be accused of being unimaginative. She has done all the obligatory things: fireworks, rap, new wave, rock, and even a little country music to appeal to the greatly diversified citizenry of southern California. Each event, there are always plenty of Hollywood types parading around the infield on race day. Likewise, a steady stream of Hispanic celebrities have been in attendance, as well as participating in race day festivities.
A hands-on approach that allows fans to contact her directly with suggestions, gripes, and compliments has led the New Jersey native — who, prior to her present position served as Daytona International Speedway’s vice president of business operations and development — to even learn Spanish to better converse with the Latino community. It’s a group which Zucker estimates makes up to 48% of the market she is operating in, one she has to cater to in order to fill the stands each year.
In a 2006 interview, the former promotions executive for the Durham Bulls ticked off two major obstacles that she believes has hampered progress in establishing NASCAR in the region. “First off, there is a stereotype that goes along with the sport that has been overcome in the vast majority of the country, but we still battle it a little bit in Los Angeles,” Zucker said. “Secondly, the traffic. It is a major obstacle in their daily lives. Some people plan their entire day to avoid rush-hour traffic.”
Anyone that has ever commuted the maze of freeways, bi-ways, and on and off ramps of the greater Los Angeles area knows that “stop and go” traffic is a daily fact of life for most that live and work there. These are folks that are much more accustomed to snarled traffic jams than, say, those fans that willingly enter into the inevitable traffic snarls that are part of any trip to a NASCAR event – coming and going.
Sadly, Zucker probably is correct in her observations that there are a good number of elitists in southern California; but surely, 100,000 fair-minded race fans in a state rich in auto racing history can be found. Besides, the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California has been California-nized as much as possible to erase any hint of the southern states. A Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a Hollywood-themed campground, sushi, and this year even a 3:00 PM start time have been used to lure fans out from L.A.
But those aren’t the problems that are preventing the speedway to gain traction and become a must-see event for residents of the area. The races are, by and large, unexciting — and too many are just downright boring. A generic, all-purpose 2-miler that has multiple racing grooves allows competitors to pass one another without a battle for position – or, as it is known in some circles… RACING!
So, the reason for the resurgence of Darlington Raceway and the stagnation at Fontana is…exciting racing. On the one hand, you have the “Track Too Tough to Tame,” and on the other, the track that is “tough to stay awake at.” Darlington management, once awakened by the loss of a race date, went to work to put the fans back in the stands. And without the advantage of a prosperous local fan base, or a dense population to draw from, they promoted the most important attraction any race venue can have… exciting racing.
Like past races at Fontana, the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway will not be sold out. The racing will be fast, unexciting passes will be made; and at the end of the day, southern California spectators will once again leave unimpressed and uncommitted to the track or the sport.
And…That’s my view from Turn 5.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
As someone that lives about 30 miles from the Fontana track (ACS), I used to never miss a race, now I have no intentions of going any more… for an assortment of reasons.
The racing itself. The first couple years the racing was great with cars going 4 wide at times. Since the track has become “weathered in” it just turned into a boring track.
But besides the racing, it is still cool to actually be at any track and watch a race in person. But ACS has continually made it a worse and worse fan experience every time I show up to the track. The traffic is a problem, but it’s not the terrible LA/Riverside traffic that is the problem. It is the poor design of the parking lot and the roads leading to it. And every race they switch the routes around so you end up back tracking 5-10 miles to finally get in line to park. I’m really not joking about this.
Then they have put serious restrictions on what you are allowed to carry into the track. I used to bring a normal, school sized, backpack. Which held my scanner, headphones, camera, suntan lotion, and binoculars. Now you are limited to a 6×6×12” soft sided bag/cooler, and a clear plastic bag 18×18×4” (which really can only hold the program guide that you have to buy to get that bag to begin with). You are allowed to hang your scanner, binoculars, etc. all over your body, but that is a pain. Women are still allowed to bring purses in, and very large ones too. I asked if I could bring a purse in too and the security guy’s response was only if I was a woman. He was pretty rude about it, and also, that isn’t quite fair is it?
Then there is the handicapped seating, which my father qualifies for. What’s nice about it is that it is the very top row. Best non-suite seats going. On Cup days, only people with handicap or suite tickets can use the elevators. While I personally don’t really need to use them, it is nice to be able to avoid a long climb up to the top row at least a couple of times out of the day, especially if it is my 3rd day in a row there. But every time I try, they are very rude to me about it since I am not in a wheelchair. (And anyone that is always gets priority onto the elevator, by me and every other person I have ever seen use them.) But I always end up having to argue with them and have to demand them to call their manager over so they can explain to me why the pass that says I can use the elevators doesn’t allow me to use them. They usually give in at that point… but it is something that shouldn’t even be an issue to begin with.
Starting last year, they started enclosing the sales trailers located in the parking lot too. So you can’t show up on Friday and pick up some of your favorite drivers swag without purchasing a ticket. I’m not sure if this is typical at most tracks, but for 11 years it wasn’t a problem, and now it is.
Then the final straw for me was the fact that I am a smoker, but I am courteous about it. They have now completely banned smoking in the stands, and also beneath the stands (concession level). And for those of you that have never been there, the stands start about 4 stories above the main parking lot/infield level. So it is quite a hike in order to go have a smoke. They did have a year when there were smoking sections beneath the stands, but I guess they were too packed for someone’s liking (and they were packed).
And if I sound like I am whining here, I really haven’t even touched half the things they have “killed” over the years… pit passes, concession prices, quality of the concession stands, etc., etc., etc.
Hell, the “drag strip” they have there is just K rails set up in the parking lot. Plus it is angled uphill 3 degrees.
So as you can tell, this NASCAR fan is no fan of ACS. I would like to see the track closed and another date added to Las Vegas (it’s only an extra 3 hour drive.)
Fred: Don’t ever go to Kentucky… they won’t allow you to carry in anything; nada… zilch.
The more that racetracks make these moves prohibitting us to bring our survival stuff, the more I tend to use my recliner on raceday.
Bobb is right!, That is the reason I gave up my 2 season tickets I had since the track opened…….every year they get worse…..and don’t even get me talking about parking and consessions etc.
Even I voted that CA doesnt need two dates at the track. It was doing just fine with one date, and we didnt have any problems. This all started with NASCAR’s stupid decision to take the date away from Darlington on Labor Day and give it to CA. The track sold out or almost sold out with one date. This two date thing has obviously failed and its time to give the second date to another worthy track. I vote Iowa, as we sure could use another short track on the schedule. Hopefully the Nationwide and Truck races they added in Iowa this year are a success, and Iowa gets a Cup date next year. I’d gladly give up CA’s Feb date to Iowa, as it would eliminate the CA-LV races being so close to each other, and eliminate the teams having to travel across the country right after Daytona.