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.
The Voice Of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Tuesday May 27, 2008
The biggest racing weekend of the year has come and gone; thankfully, most of us had a day off to digest it all. From Monaco to Mansfield, The Queen City to the Brickyard, after absorbing over 1,500 miles of racing, more than a few opinions have been formulated over the last 24 hours about the state of the sport.
Although this may call into question my fendered sensibilities, for the first time in a long time the open-wheeled programs, both on this side of the pond and abroad, were a better show than the stock car bunch could muster on Memorial Day weekend. There was more focus and excitement surrounding the Indianapolis 500 this year than in recent memory, and not all of it was Danica-related. With the Indy Car Series and Champ Car organizations reuniting and becoming one again, NASCAR suddenly has some competition to challenge it as the premier racing series in North America. And while NASCAR is undeniably still the 400 lb gorilla when it comes to racing in the United States, it has had its pedestal shaken a bit over the last year and a half.
The reasons for that are numerous, but the two reoccurring themes that continue to perpetuate themselves — leading to poor racing on NASCAR’s bread and butter tracks — are a dumb car and tire failures.
It’s a good thing that the CoT is safe, since the rash of right front tire failures and loose wheels experienced this season will ensure that plenty of crash test data is compiled in the months to come. Take a look at all of the leaders who were enjoying comfortable margins, but were by no means driving over their heads Sunday: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and the most cruel cut of all, Tony Stewart’s right front tire with two laps to go. While the tire issues were not exactly of the IED quality experienced back in October of 2005, it was nonetheless a disturbing trend… tire failures experienced at a high-speed tri-oval with little to no warning. I could only imagine what Tony Stewart’s post-race Goodyear comments were going to be, but apparently, someone thought better of rolling Smoke out in front of the cameras and jamming a microphone in his face. At this point you’d be hard pressed to question whatever he or teammate Denny Hamlin had to say, for Hamlin also suffered a blown right front tire in the waning moments of the Coca-Cola 600. And let’s not forget, a flat tire cost him a win at Richmond three weeks earlier.
After watching the other two major races from this past weekend, the Grand Prix of Monaco and the Indianapolis 500, I was amazed at the lack of tire issues compared to NASCAR standards. The Formula One race was ran in a mixture of wet, dry, and drizzly conditions, while the Indy 500 was largely tire issue free. In that one, the leader seemingly inoculated from worries of whether or not the right front tire would survive while entering a corner at 230 mph.
In this day and age of technology, following decades of racing research and development data, is it too much to ask for a tire that doesn’t arbitrarily deflate?
While NASCAR remains the only major series that seems to accept tire failures (when a car is leading no less) as part of the business of racing, they have instead turned their attention to the rear ends of the cars. It has been intimated that NASCAR has instructed the teams to reign in the toed-out rear ends that have become en vogue in recent weeks before things get too out of hand. While NASCAR has probably done the right thing in preventing half the field from driving sideways in a straight line, there have not been any other concessions made in an effort to improve handling and, therefore, there has been no improvement in what we see on the track. It has been more or less proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that on tracks larger than one mile, these cars are garbage. Early on in the CoT process, we were told that the car would bring about a return to “old school racing” and that “the real drivers would rise to the top”. This all sounded well and good in theory; but in practice, the results have been undeniable.
The COT is a sled. So much so that to make it turn, you have to make it drive sideways while going straight.
Short of Michael McDowell’s Texas tumble (which, according to Ryan Newman, may have been in part due to the high center of gravity of the new car), the positives of this new piece are few and far between — and also hard to articulate. There are two culprits here conspiring to make racing painful, both for the fan and for the drivers, as their cars impact the wall: a machine that is ill-designed for competition in its current state, and a tire that does not make up for the near 50% reduction in downforce from the previous car. The tires have been a concern for some time now; this probably helps explain why the cars are fitted with 18 gallon fuel cells now rather than the 22 gallon unit used since the dawn of time. After all, the less fuel you have the less laps on your tires — and the less chance there is for catastrophic failure. That’s important, for presupposing failure is probably not a comforting thought at the speeds being run today.
But while teams are breathing a sigh of relief, fans are simply breathing down NASCAR’s neck due to the lack of competition. But as bad as things have been this season on intermediate tracks, just wait for two of the next three races: Pocono and Michigan. Pocono may just prove this car’s undoing. Entering a flat turn at over 200 mph is a dicey situation, even more so in a car that has half of the down force as before, especially when the tires you are on have recently shown a propensity to have the wind taken out of it more often than a Hillary Clinton campaign manager.
The whole concept is simple, really: faster straight-line speed with less grip in the corners means using more brakes. Using more brakes means more heat. More heat means more tire failures, as the intense heat generated from the front brakes will literally melt the beads of the tires. Melting tires is a bad thing, be it an ill-conceived burnout contest or hustling down the Long Pond Straight with nearly 900 horsepower on tap. At MIS, the speeds are just as high, and with as many lanes to run as you’d ever need, the field can get a bit strung out making for an afternoon that is nearly as long as the lines of traffic funneled through the tiny burg of downtown Brooklyn, Michigan. Not many people had to endure California earlier this year since it was ran on a Monday; mercifully, the race at its sister track in the Irish Hills is 100 miles shorter, so if things do get spread out, it’ll be over faster.
As the season progresses and more races are run on the big high-banked ovals that are the calling card of NASCAR, I can only hope that something is done to improve not only the quality of racing, but also the quality of equipment the teams are allowed to run. Be it a rules change that allows some adjustability or leeway in the cars in an effort to gain some much needed grip and aerodynamic balance, or tires that account for the lack thereof, that teams have been suffering through for over a year now.
The fact of the matter is that the most compelling race this weekend was not in Charlotte, North Carolina; and during the last 12 years, that wasn’t always the case. With a reunified and rejuvenated Indy Car Series promoting personalities and a product on the track that is at least the equal to, if not better than, what the stock car ranks have to offer, NASCAR needs to make a move to return to the series that offered the best racing and competition on such a grand scale; otherwise, it runs the risk of degenerating into the series known for blown tires and smashed racecars. And if that ever happens, it won’t take long for NASCAR to take a backseat to the Indy Car Series on weekends other than just Memorial Day.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Good article. I have felt for the last few years that that the Indycar series had the best wheel to wheel racing. Even F1 has improved competition recently as evidenced by the Sunday race. The tire issue is very worth noting. It is rare in any other series for there to be tire failures. It happens, but not like NASCAR. Could it be the lack of competition among tire manufacturers? I expect so. The COT is a bust. It’s ugly, the drivers don’t like it, and it obviously hasn’t helped the racing. They still can’t pass because of “aero” issues. The can’t race side by side because of “aero” issues. That’s not racing.
When is the NA$CAR fan base going to turn the heat up on NA$CAR to “MAKE” GOODYEAR, supply an actual RACING TIRE!!
One that survives and lasts for the entire race?
Why are so many NA$CAR ‘races”, err, “events” is more like it! Decided on whose tires blow out and when?
Me for one have been very vocal about Goodyear’s, have written to NA$CAR many times about this situation, and ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO BUY GOODYEARS FOR ANY OF MY VEHICLES!
Lets get on the ball people, write NA$CAR, because sooner or later your own favorite driver will experience the failure of these very poor quality tires! If he has not done so yet!!
It is only a matter of time!
You can blame the tire all you want but it’s really the COT. That’s what changed. Sure, eventually Goodyear will figure out how to make the tire better but NASCAR has drastically changed the car and threw the problem of making it work to Goodyear. That’s not very sporting of them.
I don’t think you can blame the car or the tire for Tony Stewart (and denny hamlin) trying to run the last 90 miles without changing tires. They were gambling on the tires holding up, and their gamble failed. Same for Vicker’s loose wheel…surely you don’t blame the Car for that? There were a couple of punctures as well…which were practically guaranteed to happen to folks rim-riding (88,2) after Robby and Vickers left scraps of sheetmetal all over the top of the track. There’s just no way to get all that stuff off. I could be totally mistaken, but I don’t recall any tire failures that were as a result of bead failure in this race…
As far as compelling, that was not a good Indy race at all…actually one of the least interesting in recent memory. I found the Coke 600 to be far more interesting.
The nationwide race wasn’t good, and the only compelling moment was when Hamlin decided to ruin the 88’s night under caution and for some reason was not sent to the rear.
The truck race was, as they always are: interesting from beginning to end.
Formula One is so much more interesting in the rain, where the drivers can really have an impact on the outcome.
Lime Rock was a pretty good race too.
I’d put the Coke 600 2nd on the “interesting” list, for me, this weekend…behind only the Truck race.
Pocono might be bad, but then again, it has been subpar since the gear rule took away shifting there.
Michigan is usually a sleeper unless rain makes it interesting.
I think I’d like to see the CoT aero rules change to give it just a little more downforce…but not if it makes it as horrendous looking as the old (good riddance) car. I think they need to look at the front ends of the Trucks and figure out how to get the cup cars more like them.
The cot is far from being right but is still a relatively new piece. I think that anyone should agree that a change was needed. the thing needs more downforce and adjustment in the front geometry.I just hope that NASCAR will be more proactive in allowing changes to make the thing better. As to the tire issues any of you guys making comparison to FI and the IRL need to look closer. An F1 car only weighs less than 1400 lbs AND turns both ways! building a tire for those cars is a cakewalk compared to a cot.Also the FIA tries to keep their speeds under 225 so there is not much difference there either. I don’t know about the IRL but they can’t be much different.
I don’t think it’s fair to say the Goodyear tire is junk – it’s just under a different level of stress than that found in other racing series and we don’t have any other tires for comparison.
At over twice the weight of an IndyCar or F1 car, the challenge of building a tire for a heavy stock car is considerably different than what Firestone and Bridgestone face in the IRL and F1, respectively. I say “different” rather than “hell of a lot harder” because there are so many factors included – lateral loads (g-forces), acceleration, traction control (or lack thereof), and downforce to name a few.
We must also consider the setups used and the rules that limit those setups. I personally think the NASCAR suspension rules are way too limiting. Teams are forced to look for ways to make the cars handle, such as coil-bind setups and radical camber that can cause failures.
Until another tire manufacturer comes into NASCAR and builds a tire that doesn’t fail, I think it’s unfair to say the Goodyear is junk.
In other news, I felt the Monaco Grand Prix was absolutely spectacular this year, while the Indy 500 was a little bit dull compared to other years. It’s still great racing, and the unification is awesome. I feel bad for Adrian Sutil in F1 and Sarah Fisher at Indy – of all the people who had troubles this weekend, those were two huge heartbreaks.
Indy cracks me up, I tried to watch, but it still ends up being ‘who won’t have trouble’ with 12 cars running at the end or something. It is about cars having trouble, not good racing. Not very scientific, but Tony’s front right sure seemed to be leaning in more than most other cars the one time coming down pit road – I wonder if setup is an issue with him and Denny on camber.
First, didn’t like your reference to “IED”. Poor taste. With that said, I enjoyed all 5 races. Regarding the tires, agree with the other posters that pointed out the NASCAR guys were staying out on tires for double stints. Also, camber has been an issue in many races with some teams stretching the limits.
The problem and I dont see it mentioned here is that Goodyear is trying to make an all purpose tire.One tire for the trucks,nationwide,and the COT and that will not work.I am not an engineer,but I am smart enough to know that one tire can not handle that and put on good racing.
I was going to read your article, until I saw the picture claiming a tire failure caused the Vickers incident. Get your facts straight and maybe I’ll read the next one.
Clearly that was due to something other than a tire failure (i.e, wheel/lug failure). An editing oversight. We’re getting it taken care of.
The big problem with the new car is that NASCAR is still using some of the rules for it that were in place specifically for the previous car. Rear shocks, and other suspension components are mandated that simply don’t work for the new car. The new car has a much different center of gravity and it’s mass is distributed differently in other ways as well. By attempting to run the car with restrictions imposed on an entirely different car, the new car really isn’t doing so well. The other thing about the new car that isn’t working as planned are the side pods on the wing. They do a great job of keeping the back of the car in line. Too good. In fact, the cars don’t seem to want to rotate properly in the center of the turns, causing the car to want to understeer and occasionally snap into oversteer. The wing really isn’t providing the flow through that was envisioned as the wings are basically sitting right on the rear deck. So they might as well go with a conventional spoiler and get rid of the side pods. It works on the trucks, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on these new cars. The splitter is questionable, but I think it works. Teams just need more leeway to adjust it.As to the tires, Goodyear just isn’t getting it done, for whatever reason. They’ve had plenty of time, and plenty of tests, and they still aren’t providing the right tire compound. Perhaps it’s time for NASCAR to audition tire makers like Hoosier and Firestone.
OK. Things happen. I’ll read it.
Notes RE: GOODYEAR TIRES!
1. GOODYEARS HAVE ALWAYS FAILED, OLD CAR/NEW CAR! does not matter!
2. GOODYEAR gets paid to supply a true “racing tire”! Who cares that an IRL car only weighs 1400#. The real issue is GOODYEAR has contracted to make racing tires for 3400# stock cars! PERIOD!
3. GOODYEAR advertises to the general public using racing as an example of GOODYEARS “expertise”!! How sick is that one?
4. “CAMBER”?? All the teams are doing what it takes to make the CoT work! GOODYEAR is responsible, per contract that they signed, to make racing tires for NA$CAR! If they can’t make a tire that works on the CoT! THEN PLEASE TELL US!!
i’m still trying to figure out the mess with hass/cnc racing. i would think teams that have to make the show every week on qualifying would not mess with the equipment (brackets). bootie says he’s been using the same brackets all season long.
Some of the old timers might remember that switching to a new style car back in the 80’s also produced a lot of the same outcry until they mastered the new chassis back then, too. Last year and this year are going to be transition years, as will (probably) next year. Teams need to build up data for the car on each track, and NASCAR needs to sit down after this year and decide what tweaks to the chassis and rules need to happen to improve racing. Not that I thought it was that bad – stats show 900 more green flag passes than last year, and if you look past the leaders (according to what I heard on PRN/Sirius as I drove home Sunday) there was a lot of interesting things happening (unfortunately TV is still learning not to home in too much on just the front runners).
Vito, good story.Technically these cars are VBEIDs with the poor tire (waaa Diane). Thye need to open it up for competion; bring in Hoosier, Firestone, Bridgestone, Dunlop. Hell, the ONLY reason Goodyear is the Offishal Tyre is that they provide them at a cut rate price. I’ll bet you JGR would pay more than twice what they now pay to have the win in the 600. Can’t figure something out? Just follow the money and you’ll usually find the truth.
One question in regards to the DOG of a race car the COT has become, could it have passed the ZO6 pace car at Daytona if it had not exited the track at the start. 505 Hp in an aerodynamic 3050 pounds I really doubt it…maybe they need the Aztec back to make the field look fast. TOG
This is hilarious. The racing has been just as good or better withthe new car overall. How quickly people foget. HAHA. Fools….
T Grim –
The stated top speed of the Z06 is 198mph; and that is out of the draft all by its lonesome.
I’ve often said that it’s pretty sad when the pace car, be it the Z06 or the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, have more horsepower than the competition does.
Your probably right, but if they have multiple ZO6’s as on the ceremonial pace lap….they could cause a mulitple car breakaway
Douglas, it’s noble to want to rally the troops, but haven’t you figured out that NA$CAR doesn’t care? To them we are FAN$$$. Like any other sporting franchise, as long as the owners are making money, they feel free to provide a sub par product. Ranting against the wall won’t do a thing. NO BUTTS IN THE SEAT WILL. REDUCED TELEVISION RATINGS WILL. NO SALES OF DRIVER MERCHANDISE WILL. Mess with their money and see whose voice gets heard.
T Grim, Vito:
505 Horsepower unrestricted doesn’t compare to the apporox. 750 that the cup engines put out, so I guess the answer to your question is that the Corvette or the KR wouldn’t come close to keeping up with an unrestricted “dog” Cup car.
I have stopped going to races, used to go to maybe three (3) a year on the average, plus the hats, shirts, etc purchased for family members. All at a standstill!
Have taken as many as six (6) people to various tracks to watch “stock car racing”, but that does not exist anymore! Thank you Brian!
So, I attend more and more IRL events.
Someday, just someday, I will find a true “stock car series” to watch, but alas, even ARCA is changing!
So, I implore everyone to stay away from NA$CAR, including the souvenir stands!
And I think that is already happening as overall NA$CAR connected revenue is down!
As far as the INDY 500 goes!!! It, no matter what, is the only true “GREATEST SPECTACLE IN RACING”!
Everyone knew going into this years race that many of the crossover teams would not be truly competitive yet! Sure, the race had some lags! But overall, driving INDY and going 500 miles at INDY is spectacular!
Gee, come to think of it, I did not see a single blown tire during the race, thank goodness GOODYEAR is not involved!
Enrique – We were going for the plate tracks where they could outrun them. It was more of a tongue in cheek remark. Although I’m really poor at math, I do know that 850hp > 505hp. That’s how smart I am.