by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowAugust 24, 2012 10:13 am UTC No Comments
After the spring race at Bristol, track owner Bruton Smith, claiming that he was responding to complaints about the “New Bristol” racing experience, altered the racing surface by, basically scraping the top two grooves out of the track. Nobody knows for sure how the new pave will affect the racing. We just know that it will. There was a Wednesday modified race and the Camping Word Trucks ran that night too. There will be 2 and a half hours of Cup practice on Friday that might be critical to fantasy pickers. See what the experts think below.
The other big story this week was Brad Keselowski’s comments about what some of the fast teams – namely Hendrick Motorsports and Roush-Fenway – are doing with their suspension setups. He alluded to cheating. Jack Roush and others say they are within the rules. We talked to Tommy Baldwin Racing car chief Patrick Donahue On Pit Row Tuesday. He says it may be both. Called it a “light gray” area. Watch the interview below. Photo credit – Glenn Bure for OnPitRow.com
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowJune 17, 2012 10:13 am UTC No Comments
Waiting out the rain at MIS for the start of the Quicken Loans 400. Amid the talk of fathers, both famous racing type dads and the more mortal kind, there is a lot of Joey Logano talk.
Sliced Bread has been on shakey ground with Joe Gibbs Racing, entering 2012 with just one flukey Sprint Cup win in three years. 2012 is the last year of his rookie contract. Talk has been, that Joey hasn’t done enough to earn another.
But he got his second Cup win at Pocono Raceway last week and has strung four NASCAR Nationwide Series wins together, including yesterday right here at Michigan Speedway. You could make a good argument that Logano is the hottest shoe in NASCAR.
Is it enough for Joe and JD Gibbs, Home Depot and Dollar General? Maybe not.
But who, of the drivers with expiring contracts, would be a better, surer choice?
Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr or Trevor Bayne?
Do you believe the Kurt Busch speculation?
Matt Kenseth is great, but would he really leave Jack Roush?
I say, ride that hot horse and stuff him full of the confidence that winning breeds. When Joey Logano was a teenager coming up, he gushed confidence. He was a cocky kid, but he backed it up. This current run is what JGR buying back then and has been waiting for since.
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.June 21, 2011 2:18 pm UTC No Comments
Twice a year the silence is broken by the noise of race cars and the swelling of a population.
While much activity is present on the race track, the first race of the year at Michigan International Speedway rarely has a lot of silly season activity.
NASCAR’s silly season is highlighted by sponsor, driver and crew chief changes for the next race season; but rarely is the June race at MIS the beginning of that process.
This year however was a different story. News of Red Bull Racing pulling out of the sport came as a shocker to most. While RBR has not exactly set the NASCAR world afire, they have been a respectable race team. Poor cars early on forced RBR to miss races and driver inconsistencies have wreaked havoc with the program.
Now what will be left of RBR will either be sold off or morphed into another race team. What will become of Brian Vickers? Kasey Kahne was a lend-lease driver from Hendrick Motorsports for 2011 so his future is secure and paints a picture that Red Bull had an idea that 2011 was going to be its last year.
It looks as if Home Depot is loosing its patience with coming in second to its big-box home improvement competition and may push for Joey Logano’s removal as the driver. Carl Edwards name has been thrown into the mix as a possible replacement brand spokesman. Edwards could move into a fourth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with Home Depot on the side if another sponsor can be secured for Logano .
JGR also made headlines this week, not only by taking Denny Hamlin to
Victory Lane, but by showing up to tech inspection with illegal oil pans. NASCAR took away the offending units and have fined each crew chief $50,000 and put each on probation, along with their respective car chiefs, until December 31, 2011.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/ON PIT ROW
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowFebruary 19, 2011 12:31 pm UTC 4 Comments
But since Earnhardt won his first Daytona 500 pole on Sunday, the reaction has been enthusiastic. That is not the same thing as unanimous though.
This 500 will be Junior’s 400th career Sprint Cup start. As milestones go, even Earnhardt has put it in the perspective of the sport. Not that big of a deal, ya know?
But after qualifying on the pole, it didn’t take a full minute for the conspiracy theorists to rise to the bait. Though most did it tongue in cheek. I tweeted this as Junior got the checkered flag Sunday…
How long for the first “fixed” tweet or post if Junior’s pole holds up? #NASCAR over/under is right now
RacingWithRich replied within seconds…
@onpitrow If my dad was on twitter you would have already gotten it. LOL
Within the space of about 15 minutes, I had emails and texts heard unsolicited comments, all claiming that the fix was in. But the funny thing was/is, that nobody seemed to be complaining that there might be some tilting of the table in Earnhardt’s direction. It was more like they were cheering the fact. Junior just doesn’t have many haters. And that’s good. He doesn’t deserve haters.
So, fixed or fair, I hope that NASCAR gets its storybook finish this Sunday. Would be fun to talk and write about.
Photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR
by Charlie Turner
Shaun White wants to drive. Right now, it seems he’s considering giving rallying a go. And rally style racing seems a fit for White. All auto racing is extreme, but rallying and rally-cross have a place already in The X Games. And Shaun White has made more out of X Game fame than anyone.
According to Bloomberg Business Week’s Power 100, Shaun White is the 2nd most powerful figure in sports. Really.
And if Shaun White is going racing, NASCAR should try to get him. For the Nationwide Series.
NASCAR gets plenty of negative pub concerning the state of their game. There has been a dip in enthusiasm for the big show – The Sprint Cup Series. That is not the subject here though.
The bright and shining star of the France Family portfolio going forward could be the Nationwide Series. NASCAR has consistently claimed that the NNWS is a development series. They’ve even made a significant rule change to encourage driver development by forcing drivers to choose just one series to compete for a championship.
Fan Development More Important than Driver Development
NASCAR will never need a series to develop driver talent. Sprint Cup is North America’s number one auto racing series. Nothing is close. Everything else in racing feeds it. It’s where the money is and driver talent will always follow the money.
Fans are another story. The perception has been that fans only come out – in big numbers – to see the stars of Sprint Cup. There have been plenty of ideas floated for fixing the NNWS. The complaints that so-called Busch-wackers from the Sprint Cup ranks robbed NNWS of any shot at an identity led to the new single championship rule. For the first time since Martin Truex Jr won his Busch Series crown, a non-Cup driver will be NNWS Champ in 2011. But who?
And will anyone really care?
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Red Bull have the Right Idea
A few years ago, Earnhardt Jr started providing one of his JR Motorsports late models for motocross super star Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is known as GOAT. GOAT as in Greatest Of All Time, in motocross. The GOAT has had limited success in NASCAR, but he brought new fans with him.
Then in 2009 Junior made big news by signing IndyCar star Danica Patrick to his NNWS team. Again, new fans and big pub show up whenever Danica races in her NNWS car.
Late in 2010, Red Bull Racing – a big sponsor in Extreme Sports - announced the signing of Extreme racer and daredevil Travis Pastrana to a NNWS contract for 2010. Pastrana has a huge fan base and brings a vibe to the NNWS that it needs in order to carve a niche.
So if Shaun White wants to drive, NASCAR should find a way to get him if they can. New blood. New fans. Growth.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.January 25, 2011 12:33 pm UTC 1 Comment
NASCAR is looking to simplify their points system in all three national touring series.
The thinking on NASCAR’s part is the fans have a hard time understanding the current system. There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with the current system. After all; it has served the sport well for decades. Revisions to the current system however could improve it and give the fans what they want–more emphasis on wins.
The powers that be at NASCAR are in and have been in a “change is good” mode for several years. Good, bad or indifferent–Brian France and his charges have seen change as the cure for the sport. Lets look at a new points system for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series and see what makes sense.
Speculation for a new system revolves around what is being referred to as the “43 system” where the winning car receives forty-three points and every place under that receives one few than the spot above down to the forty-third place finisher who receives one point.
This system; in its strictest form does nothing to give the fans more emphasis on winning. If anything it reduces that aspect of the current system. So how can NASCAR simplify the system and reward winners?
Lets take the basic 43 system and make a couple of simple changes. First lets look at the bottom of the finishing order; the area inhabited by the start and park teams. The merits of these SaP teams has been debated before and that’s for another time. But they are here to stay so in my points system places 41, 42 and 43 each earn two points. Places 36 through 40 each earn five points, in an effort to keep badly damaged cars from returning to the track.
Keeping damaged cars from returning to the track will reduce yellow flags and debris cautions. This one is for the drivers and crews, as many have listed the returning lame car as one of their biggest pet peeves.
We move back to the top of the leader board, where the winner will receive 43 points, the second place car 42 and so on down the line. But because we like to see racing throughout the event, one bonus point should continue to be given to the car that leads the most laps and FIVE bonus points are to be given to the winner for a green flag victory.
This puts the emphasis on the drivers to race for wins and yet would reduce the possibility of the kamikaze finish on a third Green-White-Checker attempt. Rain shortened events would receive the “kissing your sister” recognition they deserve.
Photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/On Pit Row