Eric’s Take: I’m a convert — All Star package may not be the answer

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota, celebrates after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Jared C. Tilton

It might seem odd to some who follow the podcast to read this next sentence — I think we need to consider not using the All Star package in the Cup Series.

Look, I was all in favor of it in the All Star race. It definitely made a race that has been poor the last few years much better. I was excited when the Xfinity cars ran the package at Michigan. And I even looked forward to NASCAR trying the package at Michigan in the Cup Series in August.

But last weekend’s Cup race at Chicagoland may have changed my mind. Continue reading

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Podcast #65 — Iowa Speedway needs a Cup race

Show Notes:

Recap: Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity races at Iowa

  • Good races both days
  • Trucks: Noah Gragson tries the Carl Edwards video game move for the win.
  • Xfinity: Allgaier leads a ton of laps but holds off charges for the win

News Items:

New segment: Do we care?

  • This is a segment we will try to do every week on the podcast. We’ll take something a bunch of people are talking about or something not many people are talking about and discuss whether we care about it and whether the fans should care about it.
  • During this weekend’s races at Iowa, Fox saved money by not having their main broadcasters travel to the event. Instead, they announced the race from a studio in Charlotte. The pit reporters were at the track, but Vince Welch, Adam Alexander, Michael Waltrip, etc., were not there for the race.
    • Do we care?

Preview: Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway

  • Picks
    • James: Kurt Busch
    • Eric: Clint Bowyer

Dark Horse

    • Eric: Daniel Suarez
    • James: Michael McDowell
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Eric’s Take: It’s time to run a Cup race at Iowa

NASCAR Xfinity Series Iowa 250 presented by Enogen

Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Iowa 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway on June 17, 2018 in Newton, Iowa. Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about how to improve the on-track product in NASCAR, especially the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

And we’ve tried a number of experiments. We tried high-drag packages at Indianapolis and Michigan. That didn’t work. We tried low downforce at Kentucky, which ultimately became the package we have today. I think it’s safe to say that hasn’t worked.

And we tried the high-drag and restrictor plate package — some drivers are calling it the “snorkel package,” at the All Star race at Charlotte this year. While that package impressed in short, 20-lap runs, the verdict is still out on how it will react during a full race. We did get a sampling of it in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, however, as the same package was run at Pocono and Michigan the last couple of weeks after a successful debut at Indianapolis last year.

But the package stunk at Pocono, and while it produced close racing at MIS, a look at the finish the year before would tell you that the package there didn’t really need any tinkering. And while Indy was a huge improvement last year, there really wasn’t anything that could have been done to make the racing worse there. So any improvement would have been welcomed.

What I’m saying is the more we tinker with the aero package and restrictor plates and whatever else NASCAR decides to do, it’s just a band-aid. Putting PJ1 down in the turns is a band-aid.

And while I think that NASCAR spends too much time listening to the demands of the fans, I think one thing the fans have been screaming for lately needs to be listened to — we need more short tracks.

I don’t think anyone disagrees that short track racing is some of the best racing we get in NASCAR. But how do we increase that short track offering? North Wilkesboro isn’t coming back — it would probably be cheaper to build a new track than to resurrect that one, unfortunately. I don’t see a lot of tracks being built lately, and most facilities are tearing down stands rather than building them.

The argument that I heard against more short tracks is generally that there just aren’t any short tracks that could handle a Cup race.

But we saw one this weekend, and if you tuned into either the Camping World Truck Series race Saturday or the Xfinity Series race Sunday, you saw a great race — or two if you watched them both. Iowa Speedway was built with the help of a Hall of Fame NASCAR driver in Rusty Wallace. Wallace took one of his favorite tracks, Richmond, and built a bigger version of it — it is a 0.875-mile D-shaped oval with variable banking of 12 degrees to 14 degrees in the turns.

Let’s not ignore the fact that Iowa Speedway’s asphalt has also aged — the best ingredient for great racing — and the cars run all over it looking for grip. But this track has put on great shows since it was built.

Not only that, Iowa Speedway was built after the SAFER barrier revolution. So not only was it the first NASCAR track where the entire outer wall was fitted with “soft walls,” but there’s not even a concrete wall there. Every inch of wall at the track is SAFER barrier.

Sure there aren’t enough seats to hold a Cup race there — the track has half the seats of Richmond at only 30,000. But it wouldn’t take much to add to the seats that are there to increase capacity. How great would it be to see a NASCAR track increasing capacity?

I have not personally been to Iowa Speedway — I hope to make the trip next year — so maybe I’m speaking out of turn in saying the track could host the Cup Series with only a few modifications. But I know the intent when the track was built was to host larger series than the AA and AAA NASCAR “leagues,” and the track has hosted the Verizon IndyCar Series as well, though it doesn’t bring in the fans NASCAR does.

Either way, with NASCAR’s five-year agreement coming to a close soon with its current race tracks, I think the time is right to take a good hard look at adding Iowa Speedway to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, even if it means taking a date away from another track. This place could host some excellent Cup races, and might just be the thing the series needs to get fans back in front of their TV sets, or maybe even out to the race track.

Eric’s Take is a new series on The SuperSpeedway that will be featured each week.

Podcast Episode 29 — Take the Win Away

Recap of the Southern 500 at Darlington

  • Hamlin Wins – Almost gives it away!
    • We now know the win was encumbered
      • What does this mean?
      • Loss of 25 Driver/Owner Points
      • Mike Wheeler is gone for 2 races, including the start of the Playoffs
  • Truex another strong showing without a win
    • James theory about not closing races keeps him from wanting to take Truex for Homestead
  • An abrasive track surface makes for tire wear and more passing. Who would have thought?
  • Richard Petty gets the black flag

Random discussion:

  • Suarez loses Subway after NBC segment with Dunkin Donuts
    • Our thoughts
  • Austin Cindric vs Kaz Grala finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
    • Was Austin in the right or the wrong?

Silly Season Discussion

Playoff Picture heading into Richmond

  • It’s cut and dry. Guys just have to win.
  • Will the race be crazy? What do we think
  • Who has the best chance to win?
    • Bowyer – 91
    • Jones – 123
    • Logano – 129
    • Dale Jr. -303

Preview the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond

  • Perhaps our preview will go with the Playoff discussion???
  • Picks:
    • James: Kevin Harvick. Dark Horse: Trevor Bayne
    • Eric: Denny Hamlin. Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray

Fun announcements for the Playoffs

  • We will be doing a fantasy draft!
    • Eric and James will each pick 8 playoff drivers.
    • The total points earned by a driver will contribute to the team’s total.
    • Most points earned wins.

Bracket Challenge

  • Eric and James will fill out a bracket for all 10 races.
  • Each correct pick is worth 10 points per round for the first three rounds.
  • Each correct Homestead Pick is worth 15 points.
  • Pick the Champion and you get 20 points.
  • Most points win.

Our listeners can join the fun!

– Make your picks and play along with us.

– Share your picks on our Facebook page

It’s time to start taking wins away

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 3, 2017 in Darlington, South Carolina. — Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

The time has come for NASCAR to begin taking wins away when the winning team breaks the rules to get that win.

This issue has again come to light this week after NASCAR determined that Denny Hamlin’s wins in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity series were encumbered after the team broke a rule.

In both instances, NASCAR assessed an L1 penalty, which basically means the crew chief is suspended for two races and receives a fine, and the driver and team loses 25 points.

But Hamlin keeps the win. His name is still in the record books. He keeps the trophy. And that simply should not be the case.

NASCAR is a descendant of local racing. I work at a local race track, Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, MI. When a driver wins a race and does not pass post-race inspection, they are disqualified. Period. They don’t receive points, and they don’t receive the win.

Everything about NASCAR’s penalty is essentially taking the win away. The driver/team loses money, they lose points, and the win doesn’t count toward the playoffs. So why should they get credit for the win at all?

NASCAR’s argument has long been that they don’t want the fans to see a driver win only to find out after they left the track that another driver won the race.

That argument may have worked in the 60s and 70s, when races weren’t always televised and there was no internet. But now, as soon as the race is over there’s a post-race show. There is a television show on every single night during the week recapping the news of the day in NASCAR racing. There are countless websites, including this one and NASCAR’s own, which constantly churn out content and make people aware of things that are going on. There is even a 24/7 radio channel on satellite radio devoted to NASCAR.

It used to be if NASCAR took a win away, you might not find out until the following week. But that just isn’t the case anymore. Allowing the driver to keep the win as NASCAR does now only cheapens the sport, makes it seem like cheating is acceptable, because in the end, it’s the win that really matters. $50,000 isn’t a big deal for the team. With the current system the points don’t mean as much either, unless you’re Joey Logano, who depending on the outcome at Richmond Saturday night could have suffered the biggest penalty of all this season.

And this isn’t just a Cup issue. It’s even worse in the Xfinity series. Jeff Gluck said today in his post on this topic that not only are the Cup drivers going down to the lower series and whooping on the series regulars, but they’re doing it in cheated up cars. That makes this even worse, because the penalty really means nothing to the Cup drivers in the lower series. They get the win, they do the burnouts, they get the photo in victory lane, and taking some team points away and a crew chief they won’t be working with next week anyway is not a punishment.

I’m a big supporter of Cup drivers being allowed to run in the lower series, but they need to be held to an even higher standard when they run there. And if NASCAR isn’t going to take the win away in Cup when they cheat, they certainly should do it when a Cup driver does it in a lower series.

This issue continues to be discussed every time it happens, and I think the more it happens the more NASCAR will look at it. I think NASCAR will eventually do the right thing, as they did with the overtime line, and start taking wins away. But until they do, we need to tell them that that’s what we expect.

Overtime line, 3 p.m. start time lose, Kahne and IMS win at Brickyard 400

2017-July23-kaseyKahne-hero.jpgKasey Kahne leads Brad Keselowski late in the Brickyard 400 on the way his first win after a 102-race winless streak.
Nascar.com/Courtesy

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Kasey Kahne won his first race since August 2014 Sunday when he took the checkered flag in the 2017 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After lackluster racing over pretty much the entire course of the race’s history, Sunday’s race was not only certainly the most exciting Brickyard 400 ever, but also one of the best races so far this season. On the eve of NASCAR likely changing the rules package for Indy next season based on the success of the Xfinity Series package just a day prior, it appears as if maybe it doesn’t need it.

Continue reading