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 November 17, 2009
The 2009 Sprint Cup season is nearly over, with Jimmie Johnson simply responsible for his engine turning over next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the mercy killing of the 2009 season and Chase for The championship. Stat dorks have their calculators running overtime right now, trying to conjure up how and when Jimmie Johnson will actually clinch the title – assuming he does not pull a 2005 Homestead stunt and take himself out of the running, which would afford Mark Martin and the No. 5 team a shot at winning their first Sprint Cup in an improbable comeback.
Still, while the action on the track the last two weeks has caused the points battle to rubber band back and forth from a mere 73 points back to 108 markers between Johnson and Martin, what also has gotten the fans attention as of late has been the communication of the chaos that has transpired on the track.
Namely, the television coverage – or lack thereof.
Now, I am not going to pile on with criticism of the ESPN crew – though by prefacing my comments with that statement, I’ve just about opened the floor to any number of beratings and belittlings – but something has been lacking this year with the coverage. Not to fault anybody, but considering there is a championship at stake, there seems to be something missing.
Even NASCAR took the network to task a couple of weeks back, taking issue with the broadcast team deeming AMP Energy 500 at Talladega as “boring”; while at the same time, drivers including Tony Stewart were heard to be radioing into their crews, requesting something – anything – to keep them awake through the insufferable dross of a single-file cue of cars 30 deep, motoring around in a circle for half an hour. Ramsey Poston of NASCAR insisted that there was intense racing throughout the field during this stretch of the race – though these claims remain unsubstantiated and have as yet not been vetted.
Perhaps intense racing means different things to different people; but I digress.
That being said, with the final race upon us, history stands to be made with Jimmie Johnson poised to win his fourth consecutive tile next weekend. Spare the hate mail; I’m just reporting the facts. Even though the facts bear out that under the traditional points system, Johnson would have a mere 13-point lead over Tony Stewart, and be up 56 points on Jeff Gordon.
During the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 this Sunday at Phoenix, every effort was made to create excitement where there was little to be had, to help keep those at home from nodding off to the dulcet decelaration of tones entering the first turn. A puff of smoke here, a jackman getting taped up there, or something as innocuous as the track having shade on it (as if it would adversely affect only the one car in the process of lapping the field), was cause for alarm – though nothing actually happened.
While keeping things the way they were and worked for nearly 30 years could have potentially led to some intense racing , the scenario as it stands has Jimmie Johnson winning his fourth, or Martin breaking through to win an improbable first championship under the current circumstance. That being said, I started thinking about who would I want calling these final laps (besides me) to decide the 2009 Sprint Cup season finale. Like any great meal, it all boils down to presentation. After all, you don’t serve Fillet Mignon in a yellow paper wrapper, or lobster tails in a Styrofoam container with tartar sauce packets, right?
So to set the backdrop for a championship finish that needs a world-class crew to call it down to the wire, and to add some spark to what has become a bit predictable, I have assembled the following all-star broadcast crew below.
Ken Squier: To many who first started watching NASCAR about the same time Cale was mashing in Bobby’s fist with his face, this was the man who was recognized as the voice of what he deemed “big-time stockcar racing.” At 74 years of age, Squier still occasionally narrates NASCAR specials, and makes an appearance during Speedweeks in Daytona for SPEED for the Daytona 500 – the event he deemed “The Great American Race”. He gave legitimacy to a sport by convincing CBS to carry the 1979 Daytona 500, from green flag to checkered, and helped develop the in-car camera three years later. Sure in his later years of broadcasting he may have missed a name or two, (for some reason he would call Jimmy Spencer, “Jimmy Smith”) but he has had a decade to get rested and ready, and call the record setting fourth consecutive championship for Jimmie Johnson – or Mark Martin’s improbable title, coming out of self-imposed part-time exile, at 50 years of age.
Allen Bestwick: If there is a good reason that Alan Bestwick is being allowed to languish in the ESPN studios and not call the action during the race, I am all ears and would love to hear it. He was about as close as you can get to some fans long standing practice of muting the television and listening to MRN. He was one of the brightest additions to the “new” NASCAR network television package that debuted back in 2001, with NBC Sports. While many fans wring their hands over necks they’d like to do the same with, the same would never be said about Bestwick, as his race broadcasts were always insightful, informative, unbiased and remain the benchmark that all others today should be judged.
David Hobbs: For those of you like me who actually look forward to getting up at 7 AM to watch a live Formula One race, one of the things that you welcome is the deadpan British humor of David Hobbs. He, too, started his broadcasting career calling NASCAR races in the early 1980s, and appears as himself in perhaps the greatest racing recreation in the history of cinema, 1983’s “Stroker Ace”. I can only imagine the banter going back and forth between David Hobbs and Darrell Waltrip late in the race the next time Sam Hornish Jr. loops it around.
Kyle Petty: Think of all of the former drivers in recent years that have retired or pulled back to a part-time schedule that you would want to listen to call a race. Dale Jarrett does an admirable job, following in his father’s footsteps in more ways than one, and Darrell Waltrip has become as synonymous with NASCAR races as mysterious debris cautions, even when nobody has wrecked for the previous 45 minutes. While he was often chastised during his career because he had other interests and pursuits beyond just driving a racecar, television is clearly his calling. You’d be hard pressed to find somebody who has a bad word to say about Kyle Petty, and he serves as the prefect link to NASCAR’s past, present and future.
Kyle would probably quip that makes him the “missing link,” and do so in a way that didn’t sound cheesy, corny, or self-aggrandizing as some might.
Dave Despain: Some may recognize Dave Despain as the baritone bald guy with his own call-in show on SPEED capping off their bevy of racing shows Sunday nights, but others may not know that he used to be one of the chief pit reporters for CBS Sports along with Mike Joy during the 1980s. Despain has no issue making his opinion known, and does so in a way that helps educate many fans who are just starting to watch NASCAR – as well as those who have thrown up their hands and have just about had it. It’s probably no surprise that he reminds me a little bit of the late George Carlin; though I don’t think we’d have to worry about him blurting out one of the seven forbidden words during race telecasts. Besides, what winning driver wouldn’t want to be presented with a Despain bobble head in Victory Lane?
Jeanne Zelasko: Hah! Just kidding. Wanted to see if you were still paying attention. I know I got Steve Park’s attention. Those of you who remember the Sonoma race from 2001 will know what I’m talking about…
Bill Weber: Bill Weber has always gotten a lot of grief from race fans, which I never could quite understand. Back when he was doing pit work for ESPN during their heyday of NASCAR coverage (i.e., not today), he was one of the best in the business at explaining to fans the nuts and bolts about nuts and bolts. His time in the booth this year with TNT was shortened after he got into it with a fan in a hotel, but he was the first guy to say “hello” to me in the press room at Michigan International Speedway last season while I was fumbling around for the days bulletins like the noob that I was. While his future status is unknown in the booth, he needs to be ground level, in the thick of the action again, and put that hurricane-proof hair to the test once again.
Matt Yocum: The guy knows the name of every catch can man on even the most obscure start and park team, and can set up a post-race question to Tony Stewart that will not illicit a terse response, even if he blew an engine while leading on the last lap of the Brickyard 400. With the championship to be decided among two drivers, there are sure to be some powerful emotions brewing, and the last thing that would be needed is a dumb question that pours salt into the wound.
Robin Meade: Host of CNN Headline News morning show, Morning Express with Robin Meade, her credentials will be well known to anybody who watches her in the morning for more than three seconds. Does she know anything about racing? She took a lap with Wally Dallenbach for TNT a few years ago, helped to promote a NASCAR ride along give away on her show, and made an appearance at Chicagoland in 2008.
That’s good enough for me. Sorry Rusty and Brad; Game Over.
With the final weekend upon us, hopefully the Ford 400 at Homestead affords a memorable call for a finish that will be either historical or hysterical. Whether it’s Bill Elliott racing towards a million dollars at Darlington or Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd spinning at North Wilkesboro, the crew calling the action is forever ingrained as part of that event. Some of that seems to have been lost in recent years; I think my team could bring it back.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
(maybe she is the token female)?
And I think your choice of Kyle Petty is suspect.
And I hope your talking about the “young” Dave Despain, cause he sure is a NA$CRAP shill these days. But overall, just not much to work with, EXCEPT of course, Ken Squier!
Speaks volumes about the quality, or lack thereof, of NA$CRAP broadcasters.
Nice try, but that’s as close as it gets.
My sentimental favorite, of course, it’s David Hobbs!
Ken Squire maybe , Bestwick maybe . Hobbs without a doubt .
my choice in the booth would be bestwick, kp, and ray evernham with robin meade hosting the pre race show in a bikini and clear heels.
I’m with you on Allen Bestwick and Kyle Petty. Ken Squire too, but the man deserves his well-earned retirement.
As for Robin Meade, no way am I letting her out of the house to take a second job.
Yocum, Bestwich, and Kyle Petty, yes. Weber NO!
Get Dr. Dick Bergren — the pits are incomplete without him.
Instead of including a random female for the sake of having a woman, get Wemdy Venturini with her extensive knowledge of racing’s ins and out, her excellent relations with the drivers, and her ability to ask the questions that no one else can get an answer too.
One time a few years ago on Race Day the day dawned cool and misty. Wendy was talking to about engine tuners and how they’d have to adjust to the conditions. I’d have bet money that Jeanie Zelaski, who would be a pit reporter that day, didn’t know what an engine tuner did and certainly wouldn’t have been capable of explaining the effect of the weather change on the engines to fans.
And I am so sorry I have to add this comment, (but I will gladly & willingly)!
They need to DITCH any female from race reporting at the track!
Your listening to the broadcast, mens voices, with kind of a “deep” tone, then your switched to this SHRILL HIGH PITCHED WHINY type voice of yep, the “female” pit reporter!
I’d add Wendy Venturini. She’s the only person on Speed’s RaceDay worth watching. What a waste of good talent. Get her away from that Bozo show and she’d be great.
Can all the tv guys and just let MRN fill the void. There’s your allstar team.
Ahhh! I left out Wendy. I feel like such a heal. She’s Italian too, and we all have to stick together. It’s mandatory. There are only a handful of us; Pugliese, Taliaferro, Massaro, Venturini….
Man you lost me at Bill Weber.
Watch an old ESPN race…he was a great pit reporter.
Actually…watch an old ESPN race to see Jerry Punch and John Kernan in the pits. There was a team. The racing back then wasn’t half-bad either. Actually, the races from 2004-2005 that SPEED has been showing during the week are a throwback of the way things were just a few years back.
I’d put Chris Economackie in their somewhere. Yes, he’s more of an openwheel guy, but he calls the action and would not be a tool. He and Ken Squire have more first hand racing knowlege in their heads than any others out there.
I remember Despian in the day and he was good. Same with Dr Punch on pit road. I’ll never forget a story I heard Punch tell on the Bob and Tom show on raceday at Indy. He said he was not to be on the air for a while, but was miked up and went to use the faclities. While he was letting it all hang out they threw it to him and asked for an update. Without missing a beat he gave them the info, then when he was once again off air the guy next to him said “Man, you are really good.”
I think Mike Joy is as good a play-by-play guy as any. And I agree that Kyle would be the best former competitor in the booth.
And no B*3 from DW Vito?
i like wendy venturini also. she’s a little thick but she has some extreme curves…. just the way i like em.
plus she probably makes killer meatballs!
No mention of Bob Jenkins or Barney Hall? Eli Gold on TNN in the 90s was another guy with a great voice and knowledge of the racing.
Glad to see someone mention John Kernan, though. And of course, Kyle Petty is the best of today’s crew in the booth.
Any of those guys could narrate the drive out of the parking lot after the race and have everyone love it.
Dave Despain is best at what he does now , opinions and long interviews . He has the best racing talk show on the air .
How could you make a list like that and leave off Bob Jenkins?? And Allen Bestwick is horrid.
I would however by plenty happy if Brad Daughterey was banned from all race tracks forever.
Hey RamblinWreck, great choices, Barney Hall & Eli Gold!
Class! Simply Class!
Those guys could make you feel like your right at the track, and they ALWAYS talked about EVERY DRIVER on the track. Equal treatment!
Yeah I don’t know how you leave Bob Jenkins off the list. How about putting the team of Jenkins, Jarrett, and Parson’s back together. Dale and Phil that is! Would love that
MMMM, on a second thought, is there a capable announcer from the WWE?
Now they can make things sound exciting!
After all, phony wrestling, phony racing!
I get as tired of listening to Squire’s drippy voice as I do hearing Punch’s “Well Folks”.