Articles matching tag: NASCAR
- Column: Dale Jr.'s Retirement A Huge Blow To NASCARMay 4, 2017
The day after one member of the media opined that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was “stuck in neutral” in his comeback from concussions, the NASCAR icon suddenly announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. Last week’s stunning announcement was hardly the kind of news NASCAR needed. Junior will be the fourth top name to retire from the sport in the past three years – Jeff Gordon in 2015, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last year, and now Earnhardt, Jr. The sport can hardly afford to lose such star power at this critical time. NASCAR is suffering from a double barrel of disappointing business news, experiencing declining attendance at the track and diminishing television ratings over the past three years. Losing Junior, a 14-time winner of the most popular driver award and two-time winner of the Daytona 500, has led to predictions of doom and gloom for the sport.
- Column: NASCAR's Big ChangesMarch 2, 2017
NASCAR began its 2017 season on Sunday in the traditional way, with the Daytona 500. But if you ask the sport’s most loyal fans, that’s about all the tradition that remains. One of the most visible changes to the Cup series - stock car racing’s highest level - is a new sponsor, Monster Energy, which is famous for edgy marketing. After an exhibition race the week before the 500, the Monster Girls were seen parading in victory lane wearing skimpy leather outfits, leaving little to the imagination. Offended fans took to social media to accuse them of looking like hookers – or worse. Appropriate or not, sex has long been one of the pillars of NASCAR’s marketing efforts along with booze and patriotism.
- Column: Jimmie Johnson The Best Of All TimeDecember 1, 2016
It’ll Never Happen Again, by Tim Hardin Tim Hardin 1, 1966 Move over, Richard Petty. You too, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Make room for Jimmie Johnson. The Mount Rushmore of NASCAR now includes three names after Johnson won his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. With the win, Johnson joins The King, Petty, and The Intimidator, Earnhardt, Sr. as the only drivers in history to achieve that lofty goal. And Johnson, the youngest of the three to win seven and the only active driver with more than one, may not be done. At 41, Johnson has the time, health, focus and team resources to win more titles.
- Column: NASCAR Adopts Charter ModelFebruary 18, 2016
The 2016 NASCAR season begins with the Daytona 500 on February 21 but every race team has already registered a win. Last week the sanctioning body and the team owners’ group known as the Race Team Alliance (RTA) announced a new charter system modeled after the franchise system that exists in the four Major League team sports. The announcement qualifies as big news in an industry where the folks who own the cars, hire the drivers, solicit the sponsors and take all the risks have never had a semblance of financial security. NASCAR is wholly owned by the France Family, now in its third generation of controlling the sport with an iron fist. They make the race rules, discipline the drivers, award the races and allocate the purses, all without any input from those who are most affected by those decisions.
- Column: Jeff Gordon RetiresNovember 26, 2015
If there was any justice in sports, Jeff Gordon would have been hoisting the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship trophy at the end of the Homestead race on Sunday. Instead, Gordon settled for a sixth place finish which left him third overall in this year’s series. Gordon announced in January that 2015 would be his last season of racing. And despite the lack of a Hollywood ending, he had a career for the ages. He won four overall championships - fourth most in Cup history - in his 23 years of racing in NASCAR’s top series. Gordon finished third on the sport’s all-time wins list – behind only Richard Petty and David Pearson – with 93 victories. He won more than a third of the scheduled Cup races in the 1996-98 seasons, an impressive record of dominance that is unmatched in the modern era of racing.
- Column: Jeff Gordon Announces RetirementFebruary 16, 2015
NASCAR is losing an icon. Jeff Gordon recently announced that 2015 will be his last season racing fulltime in the Sprint Cup Series. Every driver should utter a “Thank you” to the guy who ushered in stock car racing’s current era. Gordon has spent the past 23 seasons wheeling a stock car around tracks that span the country from east to west and north to south. When Gordon burst onto the scene in 1993 NASCAR was still a mostly southern sport – 13 of its 30 races were held in two states, North Carolina or Virginia. Drivers were mostly grizzled “good ‘ole boys,” descendants of moonshiners who ran illegal whiskey during the week and raced each other for bragging rights and odd change on weekends.
- Column: NASCAR Teams Form AllianceJuly 14, 2014
A group of nine team owners representing 25 cars in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup series recently announced the formation of the Race Team Alliance (RTA), signaling a potentially seismic change in the sport of stock car racing. The RTA could be the best thing to ever happen to the sport and the worst nightmare for the France family, owners of NASCAR since it was first organized in 1948. Unlike traditional sports where the governing body is run by team owners who elect a commissioner, when Bill France, Sr. formed NASCAR he anointed himself as the benevolent dictator. Although the third generation of the France family now owns NASCAR, little has changed in how the sport operates. NASCAR sanctions races, negotiates national sponsorship and television contracts, disciplines teams and drivers, and makes up the rules of the sport as it goes along. In addition to NASCAR, the France family controls International Speedway Corporation which owns or operates 13 tracks that host 19 of the 36 races that comprise the Sprint Cup schedule.
- Column: NASCAR's Credibility at StakeSeptember 15, 2013
“I have the authority to do that, and we are going to do that.” NASCAR Chairman Brian France. France is right, he has the authority to make any rules he wants to…and so would you if your father had left you the reins to an entire sport. France’s comments came during a press conference to announce the addition of Jeff Gordon to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s 10-year old answer to other sports’ playoffs. Drivers spend the first 26 races of the season piling up as many points as possible. The top ten in points, plus two wild cards based on a combination of points and race wins, get to compete for the sport’s championship during the final ten races of the season. If you’re counting, that’s a total of twelve drivers who make the Chase while the other 31 drivers continue to compete for points and wins, an anomaly compared to other sports. That’s the equivalent of forcing the Boston Red Sox, holders of the best record in MLB, to play the Houston Astros, the worst team in baseball, in this year’s playoffs.