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 · Monday April 30, 2007
The NASCAR topic of choice lately, pointed out most recently by Tony Stewart, has been the rash of debris-related “Phantom Cautions” that have become as synonymous with the sport as “Restrictor Plate” or “Lucky Dog.” While a caution flag for debris is a legitimate reason to throw the yellow flag, it is cause for concern when the multitude of cameras that FOX, TNT, and ESPN bring to the track each week can't seem to locate where the debris actually is. The trucks that go out and pick up that debris are usually bright red or whiteâ€¦so it shouldn't be THAT hard to spot where they're headed. While the questionable caution and its use has certainly been an issue as of late, I got to thinking; why is this just now becoming such a big deal?
NASCAR’s tendency to wave the yellow flag has become so well known, other racing series jokingly refer to caution flags thrown for the sake of keeping the fans awake as "NASCAR Cautions". These timely yellow flags have always served a purpose, however; they bunch up the field, allowing teams to both regroup and make significant changes to their cars during pit stops to help make for a more entertaining finish. It has been going on since the inception of the sport to a lesser degree, but only recently has it begun to become an issue. Some of that has come from the drivers themselves; a few years ago, many of the older veterans on the circuit began to bemoan the absence of green flag racing as a result of these debris yellows. A typical green flag run in the old days might last 45-60 laps, forcing drivers to make green flag pit stops; now, the trend appears to be headed in the other direction, with a green flag run lasting all of 25 laps. That never plays into the hands or the setups of drivers who were accustomed to actually racing, not riding around behind the pace car at 65 MPH. Many of the "old school" drivers did not and still can’t appreciate this policy, as people like Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin couldn't understand why running more than half a fuel run was suddenly a thing of the past. Martin remembered a time when seeing a starter or another piece of a race car lying on the track would cause no caution to fly to disturb the race.
The issue has continued to come to a head lately due to the increased popularity and therefore scrutiny of the series. Of course, Tony Stewart was taken to the woodshed this week for accusing NASCAR for manipulating the finishes of races, the latest veteran to state that he didn't think that NASCAR plays fair; in fact, he accused them of failing to call a fair race all year. Jim Hunter issued a rebuke of Stewart as a result of his actions, but interestingly enough, NASCAR did not ever really come out and deny Stewart's accusation about yellow flags. That’s probably because they know in one aspect or another, Stewart is right; with NASCAR making an effort to attract new fans and win over traditional "stick & ball" viewers, the term "sport" has been used less frequently in place of the word “entertainment.” That term brings with it some inherent negative connotations, the most popular being references to WWE wrestling with scripted scenarios and outcomes. It’s hard not to make that comparison in this situation, because with debris cautions, one would think that if there was a caution for something, we'd see where it was or at least what it was. Mike Joy of FOX Sports implores the fact that if they can find the debris, they'll show it; but more often then not, it’s nowhere to be found, leaving everyone scratching their heads and conspiracy theorists with the ammo they need.
Well, let the conspiracy theorists have their 15 minutes of fame; they’re not stumbling upon a new concept. Since this debris caution concept is typically regarded as something that’s happened in NASCAR since the beginning of time, why all the fuss over it now? Is it because of who has been winning most of the races? Does one driver in particular seem to benefit from these cautions? Because let's be honest: when there aren't any cautions and the field gets strung out with a dominant car, it can get ridiculously boring. One of the knocks against NASCAR in the 80's and early 90's was follow-the-leader parade type racing that was common at the bigger tracks. It’s just like the complaining that’s happened at Talladega and Daytona, in my view; NASCAR introduced restrictor plates to bunch of the field on Superspeedways, and fans complain about the pack racing with the drivers having little control over the cars. However, the ratings for these races are always high, and they sell a good number of tickets. Why? Because the action is always close, competitive and you never know how one of these races will end, though it usually involves a massive 20-car pile up at some point. That’s just the consequences that come at the cost of excitement; with debris cautions, you have a similar ideal being put into play.
NASCAR has its tracks on the circuit that usually provide less than exciting races: New Hampshire, Michigan, California, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Some would argue that the road courses have also been rather dry as of late. Since NASCAR is in the business of entertainment and promotion and part of its strategy is to create close finishes, is it really so horrible that they set the stage for a competitive finish now and then, especially at those tracks listed above? That was the idea behind the green-white-checker rule that causes races to go into overtime, and many fans applauded. In truth, no one wants to blow $120 on a ticket to see the race decided 5 laps from the finish by a backmarker's folly. Debris cautions could be considered an extension of that, giving competitors a chance to adjust their cars, get a drink, and wellâ€¦run some commercials. Granted, they do that already all day long, but at least it wouldn't be during competition.
While I do not want to see racing garner a stigma like wrestling, NASCAR has over the last 60 years found a way to provide great entertainment, while positioning itself among the NFL and MLB as America's national pastimes. Part of that has been from time to time erring on the side of "safety" and throwing a caution. Be it for a hot dog wrapper or something out of Robby Gordon's car, it is something they do and have been doing for decades. Before the internet and before cable TV, there was a NASCAR Yellow. There's a reason why Formula 1 racing isn't very popular in this country, and it has to do with the 10-second finishing intervals between drivers. That lack of competition drove Juan Pablo Montoya to drive a Mopar, not a McLaren, so let's be honest with ourselves and stop acting like it's something we've never seen before. Jacques DeBris has been competing in our sport for a LONG time…it’s only now that the media has decided to harp on it and forced things into the public eye.
_Have you seen the all new Frontstretch newsletter yet? If you haven’t, well, you’re missing out … today, Sonya Grady told us how NASCAR censorship is ruining the sport we know and love, and trivia held the answer to the only drivers who’ve started every race on Richmond’s current 3/4 mile configuration. Tired of being left on the sidelines? Well, click here to sign up today!
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Then NASCAR should admit what it is doing, thumb their noses at the fans who like real racing and consistent enforcement of the rules, and call the cautions “competition cautions.” Just do away with green flag pit stops altogether. That way they don’t have to waste money and time on training pit crews. Ordinary wrench turners can change tires and dump gas in the car like the trucks once did. It would be more honest, weed out those of us who don’t care for it, and identify it for what it really is…just a show and not worth the hard earned money spent.
Not at all. My point was that from time to time, these cautions have come out, and it’s been a part of the sport for a LONG time. As of late it has gotten out of hand, throwing caution flags for hot dog wrappers, Gatorade cups, and rollbar padding at every opportunity. NASCAR should be a little more discriminatory when issuing these yellows.
Not every race needs to be the lead story on Sportscenter. There is nothing wrong with a few strung out finishes or gas mileage races.
I also find it funny how the topic dejour lately has been “restoring the integrity of the sport”. I have back issues of one of the older racing publications “Southern MotoRacing”. Many of them date to the late 70’s, and the “Professional Wrestling” tag was being used way back then too.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
My problem with it is it is happening way, way too much now. I know they’ve always done it (there always seemed to be one when Earnhardt Sr. was about to go a lap down) but now it seems like there are 3 or 4 per race. It just seems like another way they are trying to artificially create excitement (arguably, since watching cars run single file at 60mph under yellow half the race is hardly excitement), which is a trend that has really turned me off to NASCAR recently.
Fix the frickin’ racing on the track and stop trying to use gimmicks to keep my interest instead.
Well, if Na$car feels the tracks or cars canâ€™t be â€œfixedâ€ to allow a more competitive race, and the cautions need to be thrown to add â€œDramaâ€ then they should just schedule the damn things, divide the race into quarters, and throw a caution at lap 75,150,275 and with 25 to go much like the 2 minute time out.
This would benefit Na$car
The other benefit would be, this would be the only yellows in which a lap down car could get a lucky dog. That way Na$car would feel it necessary to throw the caution to let some favored driver back on the lead lap.
I think it would really add some excitement and legitimacy to this series that it seams to be lacking right now. Feel free to expand on this if you wish in an upcoming article.
“That lack of competition drove Juan Pablo Montoya to drive a Mopar, not a McLaren”.
No Vito, getting fired from the McLaren team after causing an eight car crash on the opening lap of the US Grand Prix (I know, I was there and it happened right in front of me) is why Montoya is in NASCAR, and not F1. Also, the fact that no F1 team would hire him for the 2007 season is the reason he’s in NASCAR.
Take off the rose colored glasses and look at the world without them once in a while.
I agree. From a racing driver’s perspective, racing a Cup car must be like driving a Mac truck when compared to a Formula One car. I know which one I’d rather race, all things being equal.
Personally I think Montoyo only went to NASCAR because;
* He wasn’t going to get another quality F1 seat
* Closer to home
* Far less pressure and day to day crap to deal with
* The IRL and Champ Car couldn’t pay him as well as NASCAR could in their current, depleted state
Also, Americans don’t watch F1 because most don’t care for road racing. Most of us grew up watching oval races on the tube or at the local short track. We need to acquire a taste for road racing to enjoy and accept it and most don’t try to do that. They just expect it to be like an oval race, which it will rarely be. Expecting close side by side racing all race in a road race is silly and only expected by those with no understanding of it. Conversely, close side by side action is what we grew up watching on the ovals and we expect it without a lot of bogus manipulation.
Just a quick point, and I’m not sure if this is part of what has brought us to the point of having so many questionable cautions thrown now. Compared to the old NASCAR circuit isn’t the current circuit crammed full of the same cookie-cutter tracks that for the most part do not provide for good racing? We’ve lost a good number of smaller tracks over the years in favor of the 1.5 milers, could this play into it at all? The caution numbers have grown in the last few years..while questionable cautions have always been around I think we all can agree that they have increased in the last few years by a good percentage.
I’m not so sure there is less pressure and stuff to deal with on a day to day basis in Cup. The schedule is more than twice as long, he’s learning a new car, new drivers, and a new style of racing. Granted, he still runs into people, but at least now his car can keep going.
As for rose colored glasses, I prefer the blacked out Dirty Harry/Layne Staley I-Beams. Still the coolest sunglasses ever.
That was one of the points I was trying to make too, with the cookie cutter tracks that for the first 10 years produce single file racing, sometimes drastic measures need to be taken to generate some sort of interest. Check out the stands at California over Labor Day….assuming they pan out that far to show you the debacle that is West Coast attendance.
I’m not saying it’s great that they have been issuing questionable cautions, I’m just saying it’s been going on for a number of years; let’s not kid ourselves and pretend like it just started in 2007. I also think it makes a difference WHEN they happen. Throwing a yellow on lap 150 is a lot different than throwing one with 10 to go, just to set up a close finish.
I think if you ask any former F1 driver or anyone who has been involved in F1 and racing here in North America, I think they would confirm the worst pressure here is 1/100th what it is in F1.