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.
The Voice of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Wednesday October 21, 2009
My uncle owns and operates an industrial lighting company, and has an interesting way of motivating people. Whenever they express the futility of the task at hand, he comes back and says, “You should probably just give up and quit, man. It’s too hard.”
Somehow, I think the rest of the media does not have that reverse psychology or that air of thinly veiled sarcasm in mind when they repeatedly state that the championship Chase has all but been decided, and that the final five races – half of the playoffs – are all but a formality for the No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. While I was trudging away on the elliptical machine at the gym Tuesday, the TV ad for the Martinsville race, when viewed with the sound off, painted a pretty stark picture — unless you were a fan of the No. 48, of course. Looking more like the highlight reel they roll at the awards banquet before presenting the new champion with his trophy, it was a video montage celebrating Lowe’s team while and ignoring their other 11 rivals – and 31 additional competitors.
Witness the scene in the media center this past weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The post-race press conferences of Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth, as well as Johnson and Knaus, were almost mirror images of each other. Broadcast on ESPN2’s late edition of NASCAR Now, virtually the only questions to either of these competitors that did not center on the championship all but being over were posed by our own Bryan Davis Keith and Mike Neff. The other questions were more like editorials, leading questions that all had the same common theme: “Johnson is going to win his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title … what do you think?”
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but “beep beep.”
This continued phenomenon is anything but puzzling. One of the biggest issues NASCAR has been fighting the last couple of years has been dwindling ratings and the failure of its newfangled “playoff” system to gain much traction when going head-to-head with regular season NFL games or, God forbid, the World Series. So would it not serve everyone well to go Daughtry and bellow out “it’s not oooovverrrr…” a few weeks into this Chase? But no … everyone refuses to do so. Instead, from what I have been hearing and reading, everyone has been going Colonel Trautman, emphatically stating, “It’s over, Johnny!”
Well, to quote John J. Rambo: “NOTHING IS OVER! NOTHING! YOU JUST DON’T TURN IT OFF!”
What the NASCAR Banking 500 provided was proof positive that anything can happen at any moment, and the Chase drivers are nearly as vulnerable as anybody within three car lengths of David Gilliland. Witness Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42 Chevrolet as an example, sandwiched in the middle of a restart accordion that squished closed faster than a squeezebox on Pulaski Days. The incident turned Juan Mon’s right rear quarter into a rudder that culminated in a spin in Turn 4, followed by the depositing of patch panels on the backstretch.
Need example number two? Mark Martin entered the night second in points, only 12 behind Johnson. But the run-in with Montoya on the restart punched a hole in the nose of the No. 5 Impala, sending it spiraling back through the field. After the team put a patch panel on the nose, it turned a 20th-place car into a 17th-place one.
And those were just the lucky ones who got a chance to finish the race. Carl Edwards called his engine failure a “mercy killing,” while Denny Hamlin’s FedEx Toyota was taken out for a ride in the country on lap 192 — both ended up with DNFs. Remember, an engine failure can reach out and bite anyone, particularly if the rubber band is wound a bit too tight. And we barely have to mention Brian Vickers’ disaster of a Chase continuing with a 34th-place finish, just ahead of Montoya.
So after seeing how the No. 48 would suddenly rocket forward halfway down the backstretch as if grabbing another gear, who’s to say a mechanical failure won’t happen in one of the upcoming races?
Yet while Jimmie Johnson is in position to make history by winning his fourth consecutive championship (I know, I know – different points systems…), the general public interest and support is all but non-existent. This is not to criticize Johnson, whose only weakness apparently is being boring (which in Great Britain is a capital offense) but highlights how this malaise not seen since the Carter Administration has seemingly washed over and infected NASCAR to its very core. Not even a playoff system that resets the points and gives 12 guys a shot at the title — when in reality it would be a three-way fight between Tony Stewart, Johnson, and Jeff Gordon — can do the trick to turn fans back on to the action.
Yet NASCAR remains the only sport where domination and excellence is reviled. This trait is not because of any defect in those who follow auto racing, it is because the passion and loyalty of racing fans, and NASCAR fans in particular, is unmatched in any arena, save for Scottish soccer hooligans. It is also because, unlike stick ‘n’ ball sports, the entire league plays the same game at once, every weekend.
Because of that, anybody can lose – and lose big – at any moment. So why is everyone so determined to fire up the Dremel and etch Johnson’s name into the trophy plaque with only half of the playoffs complete? As much as I am resistant to throw in the towel so quickly, previous performance and the past month unfortunately does give some credence to their argument. Three wins in the last four races, and a worst finish of ninth; those are some stats that even Richard Petty in his prime would be hard pressed to match.
But that isn’t just hyperbole, either; if you take The King’s most dominant modern era championship season of 1975, his final 10 races produced four wins, a second, a third, and finishes of 16th, 22nd, 28th, and 35th. So couldn’t the same thing wind up happening to Johnson? According to much of the stories surrounding the NASCAR Banking 500 … apparently not. They all started out the same: “Jimmie Johnson will one day be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame …” Yes, he likely will. After tying Buck Baker for 13th on the all-time wins list with 46 victories Saturday night, the question that remains is will it be as a four-time consecutive champion or a three-time consecutive champion?
So can we all stop with the adulation for a second? In reality, it is a bit premature to consider the 2009 title a lock. There are two big potential landmines coming up – both tracks where Johnson has won before (including six of the last seven at Martinsville), but also tracks that really don’t care who you are or what you have done in the past. The close confines of Martinsville Speedway produce tight-quarters racing and brake abuse that borders on the inhumane.
When Talladega is taken into consideration, “The Big One” is still a threat, though it has been diminished slightly with the durability and heartiness of the CoT. Even with some bashed in fenders, the car can still go fast – if not faster, since it will create a smaller hole in the air. That does not mean that the danger has been eliminated, though. Quite the contrary; if anything, it has provided drivers a false sense of security, with bumpdrafting taking precedence over patience, restraint, and prudent driving.
Remember Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle’s dustup last year at Talladega? That should illustrate the possibility – and probability – that something ugly could happen at the Alabama track that has recycled more metal than an Alcoa plant.
The other three tracks that remain after The Paperclip and The Graveyard aren’t exactly walks in the park, either. Texas Motor Speedway may look like Charlotte, but it’s more like Atlanta in the way it can punish engines with sustained wound-out RPMs for 500 miles. Phoenix is essentially a big short track, and with only 312 laps to run; if you have trouble early, good luck digging out of that hole before the race is over. More than one championship over the years changed hands at Phoenix, so it should not be a track to ignore or belittle.
That would leave the final event of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway — and if there is one track that could haunt the No. 48 team, it just may be this one. Kurt Busch narrowly beat Johnson here for the title by a mere eight points in 2004; the inaugural Nextel Cup went down to the very last lap, with six drivers entering the race with a shot at winning it all. In 2005, a blown rear tire and trying to do too much with too little ended Johnson’s title hopes with a crash in the closing laps. While that was four years, many wins, and three championships ago, it underscores how fickle racing luck can be; literally anything can happen at any time.
So while you may be reading articles from other racing sites, your local hack sports editor stuck with writing a racing column, or watching a television program that panders to the flavor of the week, all but convinced that it is over, think again. The Chase if halfway through… but by no means finished. Accidents, punctured tires, untimely cautions, fuel follies, mechanical maladies, or any number of problems can befall anybody at any time. For those in the media to be waving the white flag in more ways than one is fatalistic, cowardly, and — as far as I am concerned — downright irresponsible.
My uncle’s needlings aside, I am also reminded of a couple of quotes from General George S. Patton regarding moving forward in the face of adversity: “You are never beaten until you admit it,” he said, along with “If a man gives his all, what else is there?”
Perhaps some of those that have chosen to cover auto racing and NASCAR in particular should take this saying to heart. Nobody should be giving up at this point in the game, whether those competing on the track or crushing Krispy Kremes in the press room on race weekend.
To echo one more line from one of our greatest wartime generals, “If everyone is thinking alike… someone isn’t thinking.”
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It’s over! Accept it! Jimmie Johnson cannot be beat in any way! He will have the Championship wrapped up by Phoenix! There is nobody, repeat nobody, who can beat him, not even his own teammates Mark, Jeff, and Tony are a match for him and Chad! And why not? Jimmie is the greatest driver in NASCAR with the best Crew Chief ever and the greatest car owner ever, so he deserves it! Put his name on the trophy!
Put your money where your mouth is. I’ll take Johnson you take the rest of the field. How much you want to bet?
I am glad you have pointed out the obvious..anything can happen….right now..it’s all happening to JJ’s competitors! I am not a JJ fan..to me whether it’s 3 or 4 championships..there will always be an asterisk next to his stats in the record book..a “10 race” championship is not the same as a “36 race” championship. But..I digress. I love all forms of racing..but lately I have found just about any other type of racing is more exciting..more interesting then CUP. But..I will continue to watch..at times looking away..as the 48 car laps the field..as it stands now I don’t watch post race coverage if JJ wins..and I have given up watching the prerace show because they spend the entire time kissing the 48’s butt and ignoring the other 42 drivers or touting how “no one can beat him”. Well..I would think with the lagging ratings and attendance the media would want to at least “create” some excitement to lure the fans in..at least “act” like something could happen..instead it’s all about the 48. So..does the media really feel this way? Want it to be this way? Don’t care and just want to get this season over with? All get paid by Hendrick? AND the media spend alot of time wondering why the fans don’t adore the 48..and telling us why we should… WELL the answer is..the 48, CK, and Hendrick did this to themselves…the driver is bland, the crew chief has a “shady” past..and despite the “touchy feely” movie that came out..Hendrick is no choir boy himself. So…it is what it is. I will continue to root for whoever is not the 48..and hope at least there will be someone who can step up and challenge the 48..because they have the better car that day…or they wreck and drop alot of sharp metal in the 48’s path!
I hate to say it but it is Jimmy’s to lose but he won’t. (God I hate to say this too)….but we are witnessing the best driver, crew chief team since Smokey and Fire Ball. For better or worse, like him or hate him Chad Knaus is Smokey Yunick come back to haunt us. He and that Robot masquerading as a Race Car Driver Jimmy Johnson just have it. They are just scary good…..they have this piece of crap car figured out, they had the old car figured out too.
Like I said Chad Knaus is the Ghost of Smokey Yunick come to take us all to Hell in a flaming CoT.
Maybe JJ will win it again, and if he does, then he does. What I’m sick of is hearing about it before the green even dropped at Daytona. Sad. What else is sad is if he wins it this year, I’m gone. After 30 years following the sport, this would be the final nail in the coffin. the 90s were good. The 2000s? Not. A glut of boring tracks, cookie cutter cars, dilution of what used to be the Busch series, and bland personalities have pretty much killed what made NASCAR so much fun to watch. I used to only tune out for Michigan, now I tune out for half the schedule – LV, Kansas, Chicago, Michigan, Homestead, Texas, and California. I miss the times when a driver could tell another he was ‘number one’ and not get a fine. I miss looking out there and knowing just by the profile which was a Ford and what was a Chevy (or Buick\Pontiac\Oldsmobile). I miss ‘creative’ engineering. I miss ‘rattling his cage.’ I miss knowing that if the 3 or the 24 was going to win the the Cup and it was decided early, it was because they dominated the whole season and deserved it. I miss the rivalry between Dale and Rusty, or a rivalry between ANYONE. I miss tuning into Saturday’s race to watch Ard and Miller duke it out without having it be for 10th place because all of the Cup guys. Even more recently, Jr and Kenseth, or the Burton brothers. It is sad when 2 of the strongest personalities currently came from other countries (and I love them for what they bring to the sport). I guess I just miss the days when NASCAR was the best sport on the planet. I’m glad HDT now is showing WRC, I think it is becoming one of the last real racing left on the planet. Even the truck series has lost its luster, and that really sucks because in recent years, it has been the best racing in NASCAR on TV.
…and they did. I hope history repeats itself, else I’ll be needing to find something else to watch come February.
What’s up with the media forcing JJ down our throats? Why is it so important to the media we all love JJ and think he is the second coming? I am not a JJ fan..never have been (even before all his winning ways) and never will be. I really don’t care about his winnings or dominance or anything else. But..the media insists we love him..and why? To keep their jobs..If the fans don’t adore and revel in JJ’s triumphs then viewership is down, tickets go unsold, driver “toy” sales are down, and columns go unread. It’s all about jobs..not about being a “fan”. I have nothing against JJ fans, Junior fans, Gordon fans etc. etc. … I don’t recall this big of you gotta love him “media push” for any other driver in NASCAR history… If the media is worried about the survival of NASCAR…a.k.a…..their own jobs..they should write about other drivers and teams…and when I say write about them..I don’t mean “write an article to compare how badly JJ is beating them”. Just because you have one kid getting straight “A’s” on their report card doesn’t mean you disregard their “floundering” siblings.. Get a grip…write about all the drivers and teams..show all the drivers and teams during a race..it may spur the fans interest and things may turn around alittle.
To add…for years the media has pushed Junior down our throats..even gone so far as to say the ratings of NASCAR are down this year due to the poor performance of Junior. IF that is so..it is the media’s fault. Years were spent writing over and over about Junior..every race we see Junior over and over on the tv screen…with the headlines “the face of NASCAR”. Well how’s that working out for everyone? With all the media hype there are alot of “zombies” for fans..Junior does good..ratings up..Junior does bad..ratings down. If the media had spent as much time on the other 42 drivers in the field maybe there would be more interested… The media..and NASCAR only has themselves to thank..you created “Stepford Wives” for fans..and now that Junior is doing dismal..you are trying to replace him with JJ…So let’s see how this is going to work for you!!!
Carefull Vito , your job might be on the line after this column . There is no bigger cheerleader for Johnson than your boss . How many of his columns declaring Johnson and Hendrick as the second coming have we had to endure ?
“Accidents, punctured tires, untimely cautions, fuel follies, mechanical maladies, or any number of problems can befall anybody at any time”.
I’ve been a fan of NASCAR since I saw the high lights of a convertible race at Darlington when Fred Lorenzen and Curtis Turner were banging fenders together! And except for 1997, when I was going through a divorce, I have attended at least one race a year since 1981. This year however, is the last straw! I haven’t watched a race since Daytona in July, and I haven’t attended a race this year at all! If Jimmie does take his fourth-in-a-row, this will be the end of NASCAR for me. The TV is all Jimmie! Jimmie! Jimmie! The races stink! The sport is in a downward spiral decine. I did however watch about two minutes of “Raceday”, but as soon as Kenny Wallace started into his love affair with Jimmie, I turned it off. Yes, after nearly 50 years of being a NASCAR fan, it’s finally over for me! Thank’s a lot, Brian! You can have your poor excuse of a sport! This fan finally is moving on!
I just want to point out to some of these commenters that the reason the media writes only stories about the top 5 or 6 most popular drivers isn’t due to laziness it’s due to dollars and cents. If you write a story about Jr you get 250,000 hits on the website. If you write a story about David Stremme you get 25,000. Then when you go to advertisers to sponsor the site they want to know how many people visit your website daily, weekly, yearly. The bigger the number the more they are willing to pay to advertise. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how you can raise that number… write more stories about Jr, JJ, Gordon, Stewart, etc.
Also keep in mind that whomever is winning or doing well is naturally going to get more stories written about them. If Jimmie Johnson wins on Sunday, there will be a hundred article written about it the following week. As an example, you haven’t seen too many Kyle Busch articles on the internet lately because he hasn’t been winning in Sprint Cup lately.
If Jimmie wins,He wins.Maybe go for 5 next year.Thing is,He’s not won yet!
I quit reading articles from most sites that have anything to do with any driver other than Jr since he is my driver.
I do admit I read all the Frontstretch articles no matter what the topic. It’s a matter of excellent writing even when I might disagree.
Okay Dudes and Dudettes, quit reading the JJ stories, and according to Bill B, there will be fewer of them.
Not so fast, Scott. Before the green at Daytona, the media picked Edwards to win it all, which, in turn, pissed off JJ. You can only imagine Hendrick telling Knaus and JJ that they had more work to do (to get more respect).
I’m gonna root for JJ. Why? To give a bland champion another bland trophy for bland racing at bland racetracks. When its all said and done, it will be rammed up BF’s backside.
We need change badly!
Sorry Vito, but this sorry excuse for a championship is over. The fat lady not only sand, she farted on the rest of the field.
After watching almost every race, every season since 1996 I have only watched about 1/2 of them this year. The drivers are boring, the tracks are boring, the cars are boring. And now, the media “annointed” the Chase winner. It’s simply not the same as having to do good all 36 races like Gordon, Petty, Earnheart, the Labonte’s had to. Now if all I hear about is the pasty boy JJ, Im outa here. In 1996 Terry Labonte won the Cup, and three drivers could have going into the last race of the season at Atlanta. He won by 37 points over Jeff Gordon and 87 points over Dale Jarrett. The possible winner for the Cup changed all race long as positions changed. Edge of the seat racing. It’s all gone now. I’m seriously going to follow ARCA next year if their on tv. The Nationwide series is shot now to, the dumb asses in Daytona are now introducing the COT there. Just going to “dress” them a little different. I’m serious about the ACRA too. Maybe they arn’t so politically correct like the numb nuts at Nascar
maybe if jj wasnt doing everything the media was saying i would agree but the problem is he is doing exactly what they are saying..for the past 6 years he has gotten no respect by the media so guess what they are now pulling their foot out of their mouth and saying what has needed to be said since day one…and for all of you people threating to quit watching nascar….bye dont let the door hit you on your soar loser ass..sorry a guy that none of you like is winning but he is and is about to make history…so like it or leave it jj is by far the best driver and maybe the reason you dont see it is beacause you all admittingly dont watch it…maybe once you should stay tuned in to see how a real driver wins races and championships..if not go watch what ever makes you happy….because it is going to be a while before this guy stops winnning….