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.
Voice of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Tuesday September 23, 2008
The popular saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” applies to many things in life — especially in racing. As we’ve seen the last few years, sometimes NASCAR tends to tinker with things that don’t need to be messed with, while ignoring problems that badly need to be solved. So, on the heels of a solid race at Dover, I got to thinking of those things that are still definitely in need of attention — while recognizing that a couple of others are doing all right by themselves after all…
Broken: Kyle Busch’s Car
But fast-forward to Chase time, and it’s a completely different story. Last week at Loudon, Busch was felled by a failed sway bar mount, which caused his car to wallow and lean through the corners more than a Chevy Citation with soggy struts. The nightmare wouldn’t end until he finally spun out and was rammed by Jamie McMurray — all while doing his best Stevie Wonder impersonation in the process.
Then, at Dover this Sunday, the normally bulletproof engines from Joe Gibbs Racing were riddled with shrapnel by way of a derailed valve train in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota. And just like that, the top seed in the Chase and the pick of many to win it all now is mired in 12th place in the standings, sliding from 30 points ahead to some 210 points in arrears in the matter of eight days. For a team that had defined the excellence of execution for the first two-thirds of the season, they inexplicably resemble what Walter Sobchak would have deemed, “a bunch of (expletive) amateurs.”
Not Broken: Kyle Busch’s Chances
You could sense that frustration at Dover, when Busch walked away from reporters and into the team transporter following his exit on lap 172 — a DNF which relegated him to a 43rd-place finish. After finally emerging to face the media, he then deemed his chances all but done after just two weeks into the 10-race title fight, referring to his failed ’06 playoff campaign in which a similar poor start (40th, 38th) left him on course to finish dead last.
But all Busch needs to do is take a look back in time to 1992 — perhaps the greatest title Chase in the history of NASCAR — to realize he still has a chance. Following the Fall Dover race of that season, Alan Kulwicki was 278 points back from leader Bill Elliott with just six races left. But just as he appeared to be doomed, Kulwicki staged a miraculous comeback, closing the year with four Top 5s and six Top 12s to close the gap over Elliott, Davey Allison, and others. When the checkered flag flew at Atlanta, he wound up winning the Winston Cup by 10 points over Elliott, the closest finish in the history of NASCAR’s pre-Chase modern points system.
Consider that Kulwicki had two less races than Busch to work with — he also didn’t have the crapshoot that is Talladega — and you understand the moral of this story: a title is still a distinct possibility. But the No. 18 team has to get back on their game, and the driver needs to get his mind right, too. However, there is another similarity here — note that Alan Kulwicki also conceded defeat following his Dover debacle in September of 1992. So in that regard, Kyle remains in some pretty good company … for now.
Their slump is even more surprising when you consider how the ’08 season started off — with Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch posting a 1-2 finish at the Daytona 500. That win, however, was a bit deceiving, as it was largely the result of a late-race restart which caused Newman to get plowed from behind at 185 mph by his teammate.
Since then, Kasey Kahne posted a couple of wins in late Spring — at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Pocono — to seemingly become a lock to make it into the Chase. As he has in years past, though, that suc-cess turned into suck-ing, as Kahne and his No. 9 team floundered down the stretch. Going winless for the last three months, they officially took themselves out of the running with consecutive 40th-place finishes in August, capped off by a 19th-place run at Richmond that left him 69 points short.
But he’s not the only disappointment in this camp. Preseason title favorite Kurt Busch has been downright dismal, never contending for the playoffs while simply struggling to finish in the Top 10. Somehow, he was able to secure a win at New Hampshire in June, but that was only because Pat Tryson can read a weather map. Yes, a win is a win, and there are no asterisks in the record books (wherever those are kept…), but the fact it was such a serious upset points out a glaring issue: Dodge has fallen behind the curve big time. The Penske cars are on TV usually only because of an accident, the Gillett Evernham cars are average at best, and if Chip Ganassi Racing folded up shop tomorrow, would anyone notice?
For a manufacturer that returned to NASCAR with such fanfare in 2001 and had so much success in the first half of this decade, Dodge has fallen from grace faster than a scandal involving a Senator and an intern. So fast, in fact, even Robby Gordon looks as if he is dissociating himself with the manufacturer after the season; and if that happens, you know you’re in trouble.
Not Broken: Ford
More than anything else, Greg Biffle’s recent resurgence is proof positive that the Blue Oval is not the fading nameplate that it appeared to be not that long ago. Biffle has been one of Ford’s most reliable and productive drivers, bringing home the hardware in the form of championships in both the Truck and the Nationwide Series. If the Biff is able to continue this momentum and bring home a Sprint Cup title, he will become the only driver to have won titles in all three major NASCAR divisions – doing so while driving a Ford each time.
Broken: The Nationwide Series
Sponsorship is now even harder to come by in the Nationwide Series compared to Cup, due to decreased exposure and dwindling interest brought about by the lack of actual racing. And when there’s no money to be found, that leads to a dangerous pattern in which teams show up simply to collect a check from the purse. This past weekend at Dover, nine cars barely made less than 30 laps before having to be retired for various reasons — if you’re counting at home, that’s nearly one quarter of the 43-car field. The “start and park” brigade that was a fixture in the Cup Series a few years ago has made its way to the lower divisions now in even larger numbers — and it doesn’t show signs of disappearing anytime soon. Couple this with the advent of a new CoT being introduced in 2010, and the day of “the little guy” being able to compete with the likes of Richard Childress or Jack Roush may be going not only to the wayside, but to its grave.
On the bright side, it does appear as if NASCAR will be running different models of cars in the Nationwide Series soon: the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro will be the stars of the second-tier division in 2010. Perhaps that will help give the Nationwide Series the identity it so desperately needs; but will there be enough teams left to fill the field?
Not Broken: The Craftsman Truck Series
Unfortunately, for the group that NASCAR would like to reach – people who know very little about racing – the trucks are often standalone events run on Friday night or Saturday afternoon on a small cable outlet that you usually need a special sports package to view. It really is a shame, as this is what racing on the Cup side used to be like not too long ago — packed with drivers who were actually in the Cup Series not too long ago.
Couple these racers with a broadcast team that actually seems enthused about what they are covering and don’t deadpan, “Oh, there’s a car in the wall here on the frontstretch…” when a crash ensues, and it makes for an unbeatable experience for the viewer. The networks would be well suited to recruit a few of the Truck Series commentators and pit reporters to their Nationwide and Sprint Cup broadcasts, as it is the next best thing to listening to MRN or PRN call the races on Sundays.
I have to admit, when it first came to be some 15 years ago, I thought the Truck Series would be kind of hokey, a gimmick to cash in on the burgeoning light-truck sales market in this country. But now, it is by far the most compelling series in NASCAR, a refreshing reminder of what made the sport so much fun to watch in the first place.
These are just one man’s opinions of what is good and what is not so good in the sport today. I’m sure you can think of a few things I might have missed – scheduling, the championship format, and NASCAR’s new drug testing policy are among them. But that’s the challenge with the sport today, as the list of things that are broken take up more space than just one column can provide these days.
So, as we work through the playoffs and head towards 2009, let’s hope that’s something the sport will choose to fix.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The downturn in popularity for the Busch series came when it turned into a parallel Cup series . Same cars with different numbers on the doors . Why? Because Bill France saw an opportunity to add to his bank account by giving the manufacturers another series in which to market their new cars . So the identity of the Busch series was swallowed up by marketing concerns . A switch back to completely different but identifiable cars will help the series greatly .
Nice job writing this, but you left out the biggest “what’s broken”!
And that is NA$CAR itself.
As Phil Allaway mentioned; “ Last year, cars outside the Top 35 in owners’ points comprised the top nine qualifiers, causing A.J. Allmendinger to miss the race despite posting the ninth quickest time.” RE: Talledega. In what other “professional” event would a 9Th place qualifier, out of some 50 cars, be sent home?
And the “new” drug testing policy of NA$CAR!
NA$CAR PRESS RELEASE! For immediate release!
Tony Stewart has been tested for illegal drugs and will be suspended for six (6) races for having too much caffeine in his system. Coffee is part of our banned substances!
Also, Dale Jr. was tested and failed his mary jane test, but since this substance is not exactly on our banned list, he will be allowed to race!
Also, we tested Robby Gordon, and he is also suspended because of excess carbon monoxide in his system!
Folks! WANNA BET?
The Nationwide Series is abosolutely broken.
How about altering the format…run some heat races to get in, like at my local short track?
And maybe put the Cup regulars in the rear of the final heat regardless!
I have to agree with you 100% about the Truck series, & also the Busch, oops, I mean the whatever series. One big thing I think is broken, would be NA$CAR itself. They have alienated the core fans, in an ill conceived effort to appeal to the casual fans. This hoeky so-called chase is a prime example. Has anyone noticed that under the old system. A system which precluded a fluke, faux champion ala Kurt Busch. That we would have a riveting battle underway. Lastly the new car. Contrary to what you ink stained wretches would have us believe. 40-50 laps of good racing, on a very good track, after a season of near total boredom. Does NOT make this abortion, of a race car a success!
Great column Vito but, as mentioned above, what is broken is NASCAR and unless and until NASCAR fixes itself, we’ll still have the problems you mentioned. CTS racing is definitely as good as it gets and even the announcers are stellar and keep the excitement dial cranked up – now NASCAR has to fix what is wrong: the COT, the continual snore snoozefest that is Jerry Punch on ESPN, the cheerleading of Brad Daugherty and Chris Myers, and the Chase format – NASCAR should be concerned with the empty seats, the lack of interest of long term fans, and the continual problem of cookie cutter tracks – if NASCAR really cares, they’ll fix these problems and soon – let NASCAR go back to good racing – we haven’t seen much of that this season so far! Thanks Vito!
The people are speaking.
Dodge being backmarkers makes me sad.
I think it may have been a little too much to expect GEM to return to 2006 form after falling off the edge of the earth in 2007. They’ve made progress, but they’re not back yet.
I can’t take Ganassi or Petty seriously, even with the top-notch drivers they have.
I hope the new engine helps. I hope that they’re “caught up” in 2009. Dover was a total disaster, let’s not do that again!
Has anyone noticed that under the old system. A system which precluded a fluke, faux champion ala Kurt Busch. That we would have a riveting battle underway.
Uhm… under the old system, we would have three drivers within 100 points, and 4th place would be Dale Jr 272 points behind. With the Chase system, we have 12 drivers within 210 points, and 4th place is Jeff Burton, only 82 points behind. Please explain how that makes the old system more exciting? I dont get your logic. And, Kurt Busch is just as much a champion as Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, or Rusty Wallace. Kurt excelled at the right time and earned enough points, same as all the previous champions did.
I like this one, Vito! I’m unwilling to call the 18 out of it quite yet, but you nailed the issue-Kyle’s attitude. If he take sthe attitude that he’s done, then he is. Jimmie Johnson was 156 markers back after Dega in 06-and the word “done” never entered his head-and after Homestead, Johnson was holding the trophy. Never underestimate attitude.
As for three guys within 100 vs. 12 within 210-the reason that would be better is those three guys would all actually deserve the championship if they won it, instead of being handed a whole boatload of points they did not earn. The guy with the best SEASON should be a champion, not a guy who got lucky in a few races. See Busch, Kurt.
NEWS FLASH: RE: NA$CARS new drug policy!
It is now being strongly rumored that NA$CAR was forced to delete their list of banned substances due to pressure from the Pfizer Group, the makers of VIAGRA!
It seems VIAGRA was on the original list of banned substances due to the fact it is a “PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG”! (please refer to the NFL for more info)!
The problem was twofold, 1) VIAGRA sponsored Mark Martin in the CUP series for several years!
2) NA$CAR did not want any driver to “DRIVE HARD”! (or harder than normal anyway)!
Stay tuned for more developments!
(of course this would be an easy check to determine if any driver took VIAGRA before a race, volunteers anyone?)
I can see it now on ESPN! And folks, here we have a close up of Jimmie Johnson, do you see his big Johnson?
(sorry, couldn’t resist)!
Who is deserving of a championship is completely different than the battle for said championship being exciting. Twelve drivers with a shot to win is more excitement than three drivers, in my opinion.
Using the “classic” points system, the top three (3) drivers would have amassed 18 WINS between them!
Using the new “sick” CHASE points system, the top three drivers have ONLY 12 wins between them!
Six, count’em, SIX wins difference and I think that is HUGE!
So at this point in the NEW way of counting, SIX WINS gets tossed as unimportant!
And we are going to crown a new chumpion?
Maybe NA$CAR needs to pay each driver a million $$$ for each point they swipe at the start of the “CHASE”!
So? Just who is “deserving” of the “Chumpionship”?
Actual multiple race winners, or the occasional race winner?
Gets back to that “winning thing”, vs. “manufactured excitetment”, ala “The Chase”!
Quote: “40-50 laps of good racing, on a very good track, after a season of near total boredom. Does NOT make this abortion, of a race car a success!”
KUDOS! Well stated and summed up!
Douglas, it seems to me you want to wipe out the entire points structure, have 36 races, and whoever wins the most events wins the championship.
Hey Kevin in SoCal, actually that would work a heck of a lot better than anything NA$CAR came up with!
Can you imagine where in ALL 36 races, we actually saw “racing for the win”??
How friggin awesome would that be?
Stands would be packed each and every race! Winner take all!
Man, my adrenalin is pumping big time now in anticipation!
Then some 41 or 42 drivers would have to take the “cruise control” out of their cars!
But just remember, NA$CAR themselves thought the original points system was broken, so they introduced yet another flawed system, I am just offering my expert help to NA$CAR to get a system that works! You know, one that crowns a champion thats wins a lot!
Of course maybe I need to suggest to NA$CAR that they adopt the PBA style of scoring, you know, give every driver a handicap! Heck? Isn’t that exactly what the chase does? Takes from the good, gives to the bad?