Saturday , July 4 2015
Home / Holding A Pretty Wheel (page 10)

Holding A Pretty Wheel

Drivers Not Rushing to Judge Allmendinger–And Neither Should We

Drivers Not Rushing to Judge Allmendinger–And Neither Should We

For the first time since AJ Allmendinger was suspended for a positive drug test last week, Sprint Cup drivers sat down with the media to have their say on the situation. And the responses were nearly the same across the board: shock at the news, but unwillingness to pass judgment against Allmendinger—or against NASCAR’s drug testing policy--without more facts about the situation. Everyone should take their cue from them. Read More »

NASCAR Needs Yellow Flag Common Sense, Not Smoke & Mirrors

NASCAR Needs Yellow Flag Common Sense, Not Smoke & Mirrors

There's been a lot of talk this year about the lack of caution periods in Sprint Cup races. By now you’ve heard the theories on what’s causing the long green flag runs and whether anything can be done to break them up. Last weekend, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. owner Bruton Smith got involved in the discussion, saying that the solution is mandatory caution periods during every Cup race. Read More »

The Green Flag Flies on NASCAR Silly Season 2012

The Green Flag Flies on NASCAR Silly Season 2012

All eyes this week have been squarely on Matt Kenseth as it became official that he would leave Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season. Speculation swirled over the reason for his imminent departure and on where Kenseth would go next. While Kenseth has confirmed that he has a deal in place, he would not confirm _where_ his 2013 deal is. The prevailing theory is that Kenseth will land at Joe Gibbs Racing, but reports of a new team, owned by IndyCar owner Michael Andretti have also surfaced. Regardless of where Kenseth lands, his move marks the official beginning of Silly Season 2012…and this one is like sitting on a powder keg…it could get big. Read More »

Boob Tube: How Television Is Bringing NASCAR Down

Boob Tube: How Television Is Bringing NASCAR Down

You see it in the NASCAR headlines almost daily: lack of sponsorship causing teams to sit out races or fold altogether; fans are leaving, TV ratings are faltering. And there are all sorts of reasons offered for the problem. It’s the economy; it’s the boring racing and boring drivers; it’s the cars; it’s the teams’ fault. And it’s likely that all of those factors contribute. But is there another issue contributing to both the lack of sponsorship and the declining viewership? Is the television broadcast of the race each week to blame as well? The answer is yes. And not only are they hurting the race teams, they’re hurting their own bottom line. Read More »

Safe At Any Speed? NASCAR Puts Safety To the Test at Michigan

Safe At Any Speed? NASCAR Puts Safety To the Test at Michigan

At the conclusion of a one-day test at Michigan International Speedway, one thing is crystal clear: the track is blazing fast. Tony Stewart had the fastest lap of the day with an average speed of 201.896 miles per hour. Drivers reported reaching speeds of 218 at the end of the frontstretch. NASCAR, as always, was optimistic about the racing surface following the test. When Tony Stewart completed the fastest lap of the day, he was going 201.896 miles per hour. Read More »

Better Days: The Role of Nostalgia in NASCAR

Better Days: The Role of Nostalgia in NASCAR

For some reason, I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. I’m not sure why, but whatever the reason, I got to thinking about the first races I went to. I’ll admit that I was skeptical about the first one; despite my aspirations to cover major American sports, NASCAR wasn’t really on the radar then. It was my dad and a family friend that changed that, when they had an extra ticket to a Cup race at Loudon and decided that I was the best candidate to go along. I agreed, curious to see what the hype was about-it was nearly impossible to score tickets for a New Hampshire race in the mid 1990’s, and I figured that maybe all those people knew something I didn’t. Read More »

NASCAR’s Young Guns Are As Good As Ever, But Where Will They Go From Here?

NASCAR’s Young Guns Are As Good As Ever, But Where Will They Go From Here?

It’s safe to say that there are plenty of young guns in NASCAR. The Charlotte Motor Speedway media center on Thursday was proof positive as the first several press sessions were dominated by up-and-coming talent: Travis Pastrana; Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.; Austin Dillon; Joey Coulter, Danica Patrick, and Joey Logano were among the steady stream of new faces. This weekend’s Nationwide Series roster reveals even more names that fans will be hearing for a long time coming, as did last week’s Truck Series event. It’s a great time for fans because there are so many new personalities in the sport. Not to mention, the talent level is exciting. So why aren’t we seeing more of these talented newcomers? Read More »

What Makes a Great Race is a Matter of Perspective for NASCAR Fans

What Makes a Great Race is a Matter of Perspective for NASCAR Fans

Friday at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was asked in a press conference if he believed that attendance and ratings would improve if he won a few races. To his credit, Earnhardt answered the question and moved on, saying simply that it’s about more than one driver. As a question, it was awkward, and it put unfair pressure on a driver who already deals with too much pressure with grace. But it was something to think about. Because while it’s a stretch to think that one driver could influence ratings and track attendance to such a degree, it’s also a stretch to deny that drivers do influence these things. Drivers do affect the way fans enjoy the sport. While it’s not as simple as one driver winning races being the sport’s savior, it’s safe to say that how a particular driver is faring at a given point in time does play a factor in many fans’ enjoyment of the sport. I mentioned this briefly in Big Six on Monday, but it warrants more thought. So much about racing comes from perspective. Read More »

Now or Never: Darlington Begins A Critical Stretch for Title Hopefuls

Now or Never: Darlington Begins A Critical Stretch for Title Hopefuls

Officially, there is over a month until summer. Officially, there are 16 races before the Chase field is set. Officially, a lot of teams will tell you that they’re just worried about winning races right now; crunch time will come later. And all that means nothing. Official or not, crunch time starts now. And by the time the summer solstice brings the longest day of the year in June, the Chase field will be all but set. That means the next five points races-Darlington, Charlotte, Dover, Pocono, and Michigan-are critical for those teams whose goal is to make the Chase and contend for the title. While it seems early for Chase talk, with the “regular” season not even at the crossed flags, history has shown that the Chase field will be nearly set by the time the sun sets over Michigan next month. Read More »

A Sport Without Heroes, A Sport Without Identity: Four Subtle Reasons for the Backlash

A Sport Without Heroes, A Sport Without Identity: Four Subtle Reasons for the Backlash

We’re just over a third of the way through NASCAR’s so-called “regular season." If you look around the landscape, it hasn’t been very pretty lately; ratings are down and complaints are up. It’s been said a hundred different ways. Depending on who you ask, there are probably a hundred reasons for the discontent: lack of close racing, NASCAR’s rules, the car and tire packages. But what about some of the more subtle changes that have crept into the sport and caused some of the things that leave fans wondering where the NASCAR they used to love has gone over the last few years? In the end, no problem has one cause or one quick fix. But here’s my take on what’s behind the summer of NASCAR fans’ discontent... Read More »