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.
I have tried in recent years to humor some NASCAR fans’ fantasy-based loyalty to one automobile manufacturer or another, much like I did with my children when they were young and checking under the pillow in the morning to see if that tooth had been replaced with some kind of monetary compensation. My philosophy back then was simple: “What the heck.” It never hurts anyone, you see, to have a little fun.
But unlike my young children, who understandably believed my little deceit “Hook, Line and Sinker,” I am becoming increasingly concerned that some otherwise sane adults have become delusional as to what Chevy, Dodge and Ford are in relation to NASCAR. Apparently, there are a fairly significant number of people that have pledged allegiance to these inanimate objects and put loyalty to them ahead of real, live team owners and race car drivers, especially in the face of an incoming invader otherwise known as the Toyota Camry.
Running the risk of becoming that smart-alecky kid in third grade that takes it upon himself to educate his fellow classmates that there is no you-know-whoâ€¦let me be the one to inform you that there are no Chevys, Fords, or Dodges racing in any of NASCAR's upper three divisions. There…I've said it, and it's the truth. If you need to take a moment and compose yourself, go aheadâ€¦I'll wait. After all, I remember how it felt when that know-it-all Johnny Scarola burst my fantasy, during third grade recess just before Christmas break.
Sure, NASCAR stock cars are often referred to by names of actual car models that you can buy at a dealership, but don’t be fooled; they aren't 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd generations of those vehicles. These race-ready vehicles have absolutely nothing in common with anything we, as car purchasers, might or might not like about a particular model or make of transportation. No matter how badly you might think so, you simply cannot buy the NASCAR accessorized version of a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Dodge Charger, or Ford Fusion. They won't let them out the door with NASCAR template friendly body designs, window nets, roof flaps, or 800 horsepower engines under the hood.
Not only do the racecars of NASCAR not resemble their supposed namesakes, the racing organization is about to take even another step away from any similarity to what might be found in a dealer's showroom. Next year starting at Bristol, the sanctioning body will roll out the Car of Tomorrow (CoT). This next generation racecar is the most generic one ever used by the sport, designed principally by NASCAR with racing in mind, not manufacturer distinction. The car removes any remaining readily identifiable semblance of a manufacturer's individuality…not to say that there was much left to begin with, anyways.
This writer has no complaint with NASCAR moving toward a more common template. As far as I can see, steps in that direction to date have increasingly made for better on-track competition, as any inherit advantages one race team might possess over another gets eliminated with a generic car. It’s been good for auto manufacturers, too, who spend millions to sponsor these teams; they will all now likely see their brand name in Victory Lane with reasonable frequency. Of course, the more their car strolls into that special Winner’s Circle, the more money will be plunked down in front of NASCAR officials and their TV partners for advertising and exposure.
Advertising. That is all that it is. When the driver jumps out of the racecar after a hard fought victory and enthusiastically looks into the camera, it’s not just to thank his crew. It’s to exclaim, "the John Smith Racing/Widget/Hyundai Elantra was fast todayâ€¦" The driver is simply assuring that his boss and biggest sponsors get their payback for all the support that they have contributed. That's what those companies are in it forâ€¦exposure. The driver is not saying that he is driving a Hyundai or an Elantra, and certainly not a widget.
But sometimes this illusion of what a manufacturer really is to the world of NASCAR crosses the line of innocent advertising deception and into something entirely different. And like my young children's gullibility, there are fans that have allowed a particular manufacturer of their liking to skew reality. These fans have become blinded by slick advertising hook, line, and sinker and bought into the commercial illusion that manufactured cars and NASCAR stock cars are the same. As a result, fans once loyal and supportive of a race team or particular driver will suddenly disavow them for changing manufacturer affiliations. They will label them as being ingrates, traitors, and undoubtedly question their integrity.
Consider this hypothetical situation. Hostess Cup Cakes offers Wood Brothers Racing sponsorship dollars that far exceed what their current snack cake sponsor Little Debbie is willing to pony up. Would the Wood Brothers compromise their integrity or in some manner become lesser human beings if they accepted the more lucrative offer? At least with the gooey chocolate snack cake industry, we probably agree that business is business. If Little Debbie wants to continue to have her adorable little face emblazoning the hood of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing/Little Debbie/Ford Fusion, she'll simply have to dig further down into her little purse; otherwise, it’s not going to happen. The scenario is no different if we were to replace snack food companies with say, soft drink, motor oil, overnight delivery, insurance, financial, tool, cell phone, pharmaceutical, home improvement warehouse, and yesâ€¦auto companies.
However, comments made last week by the head of Ford Motor Company's racing program, Dan Davis, have made me realize just how far at least one manufacturer will go to promote the mythical automobile manufacturer loyalty sham. It was reported that Mark Martin, longtime Roush Racing/Ford driver who announced he will drive Chevrolets on a part-time basis next year, asked Mr. Davis if it would be permissible to compete in Roush's Ford sponsored trucks during 2007 in the Craftsman Truck Series. Mr. Davis is quoted as saying, "No decision has been made from Ford's end so far. I didn't give him (Martin) an answer yet and we haven't actually decided what to do yet," Davis continued, "Maybe we need to get over the initial hurt of this whole thing and try to look at it in hard, cold business terms and that's what I would really like to do and be unemotional about it."
So, apparently Mark Martin has "hurt" the Ford Motor Company. There is an inference there that Martin has done something wrong. Normally, when you hurt someone or something, you have wronged them. Wellâ€¦the only thing Mark Martin did was shop himself around for the best possible deal and take it. Of course, Mr. Davis says that "hurt" Ford. Does that make Martin a bad person? Of course it doesn't. Mark Martin has no further obligations to any of his sponsors beyond the terms of any legal agreements that he might be obligated to fulfill. Nor do these people sustain an obligation to him. From all apparent information, Martin is under no further obligations to Ford beyond this year, so his move is just business-related…and that is all that it should be. There is no reason to make it personal. And nobody should understand that any better than the Ford Motor Company.
For that matter, when it comes to "hurt", as in hurting, Ford Motor Company representatives should be able to write a book on it. The Company has seen its North American share of the new car market steady decline and has had to make some business decisions themselves of late. Chief among them is the elimination of 25,000-30,000 jobs nationwide. I will not even pretend to be a skilled enough writer to properly describe the tremendous amount of "hurt" that many of those thousands of families and communities dependent on those paychecks are going to suffer. But I assume that, like Mark Martin, Ford has made this decision, as tough as it may be, because it is the right decision for them.
Auto manufacturers can be a little short on loyalty at times. Remember the big Chrysler bailout by us, the American taxpayer. Remember how we not only became enamored with Chrysler President Lee Iacocca, but also were told of the importance to America of not letting the ineptly run manufacturer fall into ruin? Well, Americans responded and gambled $1.5 billion (1980 dollars) on the great American automaker. And for sometime the gamble seemed to payoff, as Chrysler steadily grew its profits and reestablished its solvency. In fact, in 1999 the company posted record net profits of $5.2 billion.
Then, in 2000, Chrysler up and “merged,” with the German company, Daimler-Benz. In reality, Chrysler sold itself to Daimler. Chrysler’s 30 Top executives received $395.8 million in cash and stocks when the merger with Daimler Benz was completed. Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton alone received a payout of $69.9 million, plus the option to cash in his 2.3 million shares of Daimler-Chrysler stock. The same executives negotiated, as a condition of the merger, $96.9 million in severance packages in the event they were fired or otherwise removed. Ohâ€¦and also in the "big sellout of 2000" Chrysler announced massive blue collar and white-collar layoffs in the U.S. totaling 26,000 jobs. Thanks for your loyalty, Americans!
And boy, has Chrysler ever messed up any hopes Ford Motor Company or General Motors, both in serious financial straits, might have had of bamboozling the American taxpayer. No way would we not have learned that auto manufacturers are not to be trusted. Right?
Rumors have been floating around for quite sometime and seem to be gaining momentum that at least one of these aforementioned companies is planning an exit from NASCAR. It’s not real hard to believe. GM has announced that they have "frozen" some employees pension plans, and are busy restructuring others. Ford, as stated earlier, is downsizing, and both companies have been hemorrhaging dollars by the tens-of-millions for several years. General Motors, likewise, has recently announced plans to eliminate 30,000 U.S. jobs and close nine plants.
Still, American manufacturers, for the best part of forty-years have believed that NASCAR is a good place to advertise and sell their product. They spend an estimated $40 million dollars a year each in sponsorships to race teams and associated promotions, and they will continue to as long as it fits their ever-changing business objectives. And when it doesn't, they'll be gone…but it would not be the first time. Remember Pontiac? Remember the late â€˜60's? And maybe many don't remember, but manufacturers pulled out in '57 as well.
The bottom line is simple: some fans may soon find out that manufacturer loyalty is not only illogical, but also unreciprocated. It’s a misguided loyalty, allegiance to an object and not a human that makes the NASCAR fan more of an enigma than ever before.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
WOW! Paragraph 6 has got to be the longest paragraph in FS.com history!!!
While I agree with Tommy’s point, the only thing I would say…and I might be wrong because I just remember it vaguely…is following:
When Toyota first submitted their engine design to NASCAR, wasn’t it rejected because the parts were not available to the consumer for modifications to “stock” engines? I think I remember hearing someone say that the engines had to be built with parts that were available to the general public, or versions of the same which had been modified for the racing setup NASCAR requires?
Otherwise, a great commentary!
good article, informative, intelligent, challenging.
Once again Tom you hit the nail in the head, as far I’m concerned NASCAR can make the Car of Tomorrow their own make and model how about NASCAR DILUSION.
fans like myself love and drive particular makes on the street for a reason and our allegiance has little to do with NASCAR politics