Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thompson in Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Tuesday May 29, 2007
In the ten months that this column has been in existence as part of the Frontstretch's Wednesday lineup, I have come to realize that life as a motorsports writer can be filled with legions of agreeable readers that eagerly await your next commentary. There’s no tried and true formula to make this column what it is every week…but in my line of work, there’s one particular easy way out I know I will never follow. Truly, all a writer needs to do is write endlessly, only varying slightly on the theme that anything that NASCAR does is bad, unfair, or just really stupid. Though this formula, in my estimation, is intellectually dishonest, popularity as a race commentator is almost a certainty when you do it that way. Unfortunately, it is a rule of thumb that more than one writer has adoptedâ€¦with success.
It is also a methodology that I know I will never be able to master. The world has just never been that black and white to me; as much as I admire and respect the participants in the sport of big league stock car racing, I always see them as nothing more than human beings with the same failings as you would find in any other group of athletes or businessmen. I have never felt compelled to use my stature as either a vehicle to covertly promote any one driver or team over another or to wage any hidden agenda against the sanctioning organization. The fact is, whether a reader agrees or disagrees with my opinion on any topic, it is my hope that people understand that the belief was based on my understanding of the facts surrounding the issue at hand, and without prejudice.
It is easy for me to understand why “NASCAR bashing” is so widely accepted and enjoyed by some. They are the dominant player in American stock car racing, and as such, responsible for most of the perceived ills of the sport. And they make a lot of money to boot! It is always fun to kick a giant in the knees, and often times they deserve a good kicking. But are they always wrong? No. To say yes would defy the laws of probability.
Yet, there are writers that never, ever give a call to the France family-owned organization. I can only believe that those writers believe that NASCAR has become the premier auto racing series in the nation as well as the envy of most major professional sports through an unbelievable amount of luck. I do not share that assessment of NASCAR's impressive growth. I believe that they have been extremely intuitive business people who have more often than not correctly gauged what their customers, namely fans, want to seeâ€¦good racing.
When the Daytona Beach managers of the sport implement controversial policy changes or decisions, I consider it nothing more than a business decision on their part. It is my belief that all changes in policy are ultimately based on a premise that it will increase the number of followers of the sport. Their only real motivation is to continue to grow the sport and as a result, make more money for themselves. And I have absolutely no problem with the organization making lots of money by giving the sports spectators a good show. As a commentator of the sport, however, I then only need to come to a conclusion as to the fairness and benefit to the sport of the issue that is being debated.
And that is the mindset that I intend to continue to employ in analyzing the sanctioning body in this weekly column. I have no preconceived notion that NASCAR is automatically wrong, or that they are part of a mythical "evil empire." I respect their business acumen and have observed for more than forty years their steady and truly amazing growth. They have been very adept at shifting their policies to maintain that momentum and accommodate new participants in the sport in the form of fans, drivers, corporate associates and even the press. And of course, they have not always in my estimation made the right calls, and I do not hesitate to take them to task on those blunders. It’s because mistakes are made always with respect to what I know are honest efforts to provide the very best competition in stock car racing. Because that is the key to NASCAR's continued prosperity, and I am convinced that they know it.
I have supported NASCAR on a number of policy changes over the years, including more recent issues such as the highly divisive issue of instituting a ten race Chase to the Nextel Cup Championship. I felt that the change in the point's structure was a good shot in the arm for the sport. Yet, I have been critical of the recent decision to augment the number of championship eligible teams from ten to twelve. And to date I have seen no evidence that the Chase format has been detrimental to the sport. What improvement in late season interest among fans that it has created is certainly open to argument and difficult to estimate, but it is my best guess that television broadcast numbers that have slipped the last two seasons would have dipped even more if not for the Chase to the Championship.
From day one, I have remained open to the much-criticized Car of Tomorrow project, as I understand the need to improve safety and believe that NASCAR teams cannot depend on the support of auto manufacturers in the future. The jury on the CoT is still out, yet more early critics of the project seem to be reluctantly agreeing with my initial assessment of the race car as it gains track time. Yet this column was well ahead of the pack of both competitors and other columnists in criticizing NASCAR's initial schedule that would have teams trying to compete with two very different racecars in 2008, as well. The schedule, as I saw it was particularly unfair to the smaller and less funded teams. It was a plan that was officially scrapped last week in favor of running the CoT for the entire Nextel Cup series next year.
When expressing a pro-NASCAR point of view, I have learned to expect considerable disagreement on the part of the readers, some of whom are determined not to give the highly successful organization any credit for anything. And this past week I even received similar haranguing from one of the front men of the anti-NASCAR gang, Frontstretch senior writer Jeff Meyer who, in disagreeing with my point of view that favors NASCAR/Sprint Nextel in its litigation with AT&T, decided to employ the stand-by "low blow" that he no doubt was sure would please his fellow NASCAR anarchists, "Oh please, Tommy! You are starting to sound like a mouthpiece straight from the NASCAR PR offices!”
I simply happen to agree with NASCAR's position on this matter, as I truly believed that their stance is good for the sport and the health of the organization. And that is perhaps where Meyer and I will continue to find disagreement on NASCAR-related issues. For nothing in Jeff Myer's considerable body of work suggests that he is prone to agree with any change or position that NASCAR takes. In fact, I believe Mr. Meyer presently is calling for some kind of revolution or overthrow of the sanctioning body, not a position that, in my opinion, allows for unbiased, open-minded commentary on the subject.
Possibly, Mr. Meyer is correct and NASCAR is chronically wrong and needs to be disbanded. And I know that if I would just adopt that theory, I may very well experience a significant increase in the number of dedicated readers of my column. However, rest assured that if I ever reach the conclusion that NASCAR basically sucks, I will find something else that is of interest to me, and not expend the considerable time and energies required to work writing a weekly article on a subject I do not particularly care for.
When all is said and done, I like NASCAR's version of stock car racing, and hope that the sport continues to thrive. And I will continue to call it as I see it.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Well Done! I am glad there is someone out there not just looking for the negative to write an artcle about! The people who are do that are just killing the goose who lays the golden egg! No, NASCAR is not always right, but often they are! And no matter what, Its one of the best sports out there, so stop complaining and watch the race!
I have to wonder why those gleeful doomsayers bother to watch in the first place.
Tom, once again thru your words you show class and professionalism, you are right on! it’s easy to bash something when it’s wrong but often those decisions are made for a reason sometimes things work out sometimes they don’t.
Did you pull down their collective pants before kissing them (NASCAR) on the as*??
I am a race car fan, I expect a “decent” product, I expect a product un-tainted by “suspect” calls and penalties!
I expect the fastest cars to race, not the slugs based on some phony point system!
I expect a “fair” race, not one decided by phantom debris!
I expect a “level” playing field for ALL competitors!
I expect a fair method of qualifying each week!
I expect NASCAR to stand up to the plate re: GOODYEAR TIRES!!
If I buy something at the store that is not good! I take it back!
With NASCAR, I just choose not to go to anymore races (thus joining a huge number of like minded fans)!!
I HEREBY RESERVE MY RIGHT TO CONTINUALLY CRITICIZE NASCAR FOR THE JOKE OF AN ORGANIZATION THEY HAVE BECOME!
After some 45+ years of watching and supporting, the time has come to call a spade a spade! In this case it becomes-THE JOKER!
“BOBSLED” is the sport you looking for!
Well said, Thomas. It just amazes me how people will go out of their way to let their hatred be known. I hate baseball. I hate the players, the owners, the steroids, the guys that throw batteries, all of it. Yet I have never felt compelled to find a baseball forum somewhere and let people know how much I hate it. Why would I want to do that? How would that help or change anything? When I was young, I felt like I was in the minority for liking NASCAR. now it’s fan base has exploded and I STILL feel like I’m in the minority. I don’t “get it” and I guess I never will.
I’ve been a Nascar fan since the late 1950’s.I did attend races until it became to expensive.Now i’m reduce to watching it on tv.I have seen a change since 1985.It has been onesided ever since.Nascar is only interested in money.They don’t care about the fans.Well i’ve seen all i want and decided to watch Golf.The game hasn’t changed and everyone has a chance to win and the rules don’t change.I’m gone and won’t return.
You must be trying to get a job with FOX? Declining TV ratings and empty seats at the tracks tells anybody in their right mind that NA$CAR is screwing up, once a good thing! “Lucky-Dog” rule, “out of bounds lines”, The Chase, The Chase part 2, too many stupid fines and points penalties, the COT, mid-afternoon start times, TV partners that don’t cover what us fans want covered, TOO MANY CHANGES!!! It is fitting that ESPN is coming back to cover NA$CAR, they both have the same attitude, They can’t do any wrong. LOL —- 2007 NA$CAR does SUCK!!!
I agree with most of what Doug says! I’ve been around a long time listening and watching Nascar and they do some things good but they do have a lot of problems that need to be addressed. I think Brian France is trying to make NASCAR the NFL or something like it and it cannot be done! He’s trying to go too much Hollywood and that’s not working also! Most of what Tony Steward said was true except he went a little overboard on the wrestling bit but most people agree with what he said. Didn’t take nascar long to nip him in the bud did it! That’s another thing, when has Nascar ever been wrong? When did anyone who has ever appealed a fine or ruling had it reversed or lowered? I sure can’t remember when. Surely you can’t be right all the time! After Daytona they asked I believe Ken Schrader on TV if he thought the caution should have come out-his reply was you had a car upside down sliding down the track-yes he thought the caution should have come out! Another thing, Nascar has a conflict of interest! They own numerous tracks and look out for them with two dates even though better tracks may be available that don’t have any(Kentucky?)! And what about moving the Southern 500 from Darlington. That should have remained there and run under the lights either Sat. or Sunday Night on Labor Day Weekends! Another thing, you better not criticize nascar if you are a driver or announcer. They control everything basically-what you say and can’t say and if you don’t play by their rules you are gone! If something is obviously wrong with a decision or call that nascar makes the drivers and announcers should be able to talk about it and not fear retribution. That’s one way of making improvements-you learn from your mistakes and do better the next time but somebody may have to point this out to you! It think that’s nascar problem a lot of times-they’re wrong and they don’t want to admit it! You can write all the good things about nascar you want but nobody is going to read it because there’s not a lot right now to write. Do we care if Brittany Spears sings the national anthem or Alec Baldwin waves the green flag or gives the command to start your engines? The answer is NO, its the racing we care about! ESPN had a big part in Nascar’s popularity by broadcasting the races starting in the eighties and they need to look at how it was done then instead of all this hollywood glitter they have now. Another thing is the price of a ticket, how can the average working man who was NASCAR’s mainstay for so many years afford to to go to a race and carry his kids and family? They are pricing the fans out of the seats! Notice them empty seats lately and the TV ratings? I could go on and on but I’ll close and let some other people talk about all the good things about Nascar!
Gotta respectfully disagree here.
Are you are a fan of sport or business, Mr. T?
If you are a fan of business that delights in watching an organization squeeze every last dime they can out of its consumers than NASCAR is a smashing success. They are to be appladuded other than a troubling note suddenly there are losing a lot of long time customers.
If you are a fan of sport NASCAR is beyond a joke. If it were a joke people would be laughing. Instead they are hollering. The goal of any company whether they sell soft pretzels, beer, cars or stock car racing is to improve the product to make it more desirable, to make folks want to buy more of it, more frequently, and take greater delight in it. As one of those grayhairs who was around back in the golden era that I say lasted from 85-92 or so the racing today is a watered down, tamer, and less fun version of what made me decide to do this for a living. Of course so are the competitors. Says what you want about thier off track activities but Dale Sr. and Tim Richmond were just a heck of a lot more fun than Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. And I say that as someone who once shot a game of pool against Tim Richmond in a dive bar in the Poconos and had him buy me and my boys a round even though I lost. If you know what NASCAR did to Tim Richmond your rose colored specs might shatter and blind you. That’s when the seeds of cynicism were sown.
How close have you gotten to the sport, Tom? Infield? Garage passes. Inside the trailers. Press Box? I was warned by the first boss I had in this business, oh, I guess about a decade ago “the closer you get to the inside the less you’re going to like this” and Lord, was he prophetic there. Like Jerry used to sing “If I told you all that went down, it would talk off both of your ears, goes to show you don’t ever know, play each card you got and play em slow, then wait until that deal goes down…”
I’ve said it so many times I no longer mind repeating it. Your viewpoint come down to a basic question. Does stock car racing belong to NASCAR because they sheperded it into NASCAR or does stock car racing belong to the fans who supported it for five decades even when stock car racing wasn’t cool, who have made tremendous personal sacrifices for the sport and spent a ton of money on it (and the drivers who in many cases have given thier lives and health for the sport). If that’s the case NASCAR officials (and let’s stop using euphenisms here and just say “the France family”) hold this sport in sacred trust for those who built the house for them?
As for me, I was an insider. I crawled through the fire and those bas**rds (the ISC) still owe me about 12 g. If Brian France tells me that the sun is going to rise tomorrow I’m tucking a flashlight under my pillow just in case. Like you said, he’s probably right but I’ve seen him wrong too often.
Ten months on the mill is nothing to be sneezed at. Email me in five years when you’ve been in the belly of the beast and we’ll compare notes. Meanwhile circle Feb. 18th on your calendar and remember to chant “Bill Simpson killed Dale…NASCAR couldn’t react for the sake of reacting..”