Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New winner, lots of controversy at Bowman-Gray Stadium

   Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., is no stranger to racing controversy and it recently experienced another bizarre round last Saturday night that has led to a slew of severe penalties and a new winner in the track's 25-lap modified race.

   In a statement released from track officials on Monday, the track's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officials described the actions taken:

   "After a thorough review and consultation among many officials, NASCAR Officials at the Stadium have determined that Lee Jeffreys of Winston-Salem was indeed involved in the collision with Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, N.C., and Tim Brown of Tobaccoville, N.C. Jeffreys was at first said to have only slowed to avoid the wreckage instead of being caught in it, so he was placed back in the race lead and received the win when the race never returned to green flag racing due to rain. Danny Bohn of Huntersville, N.C. is now declared the race leader at the time and is awarded the victory."

   Officials announced that drivers Myers and Brown were moved to the rear of the field in the finish order, both drivers were placed on probation and each was docked 100 points in the modified series standings.

   “Both the decision regarding Lee Jeffreys as well as Burt Myers and Tim Brown are not decisions we take lightly. We talked with many other NASCAR Officials,” said John Horton, NASCAR’s chief steward at Bowman Gray Stadium. “We believe that these penalties will send a message that this is something we can not tolerate.”

   You can watch a video of the incident above. Read a story from the night of the incident here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

NASCAR Chairman Brian France: Race Team Alliance "not necessary"

   NASCAR Chairman Brian France was a guest Monday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with  hosts Dave Moody and Angie Skinner. Among the topics was France's take on the newly formed Race Team Alliance.

   Here is what he said:
    France: We didn't think it was necessary and we thought the benefits they would arrive at with this association would be much smaller than they do. They're smart guys and they may figure out some things that we're not aware of. But on balance I would say two things - one, the idea that they don't know how many employees they have or what their costs are and this is a way to tackle that, that's terrific. We certainly want them to get those kinds of answers for sure. The one thing that is central to NASCAR though, is when you deal with one voice, that would probably be the worst thing we could ever do - and that's to listen to one voice, even it was a consensus voice. Every decision that we've ever made that was important, the more input, the more people we heard from, the better the result. So, that will never change in the business model of NASCAR. Good ideas come from all over the place and that's the strength that we have. Our communication has never been better. We just have to keep building on that.

   Q: There's a lot of speculation about the RTA's goals. Do you have any insight?
   France: They're smart guys. They are entitled to approach the business in certain ways. We're going to respect that but, you know, we're going to go down the road dealing with all of the team owners - not most of them, not the big ones, but all of them. That's the best outcome we can get. Whenever we do something and we're working on all kinds of things now, these are never simple things. Drivers, crew chiefs, engineers - we always pick their brains on things because it's not always black or white if we go one way or that way on whether it actually lowers costs or it actually improves racing. The last thing we would want to do is not talk to everybody so where we can find where the truth lies.

   Q: With attorneys now involved, do you still fill comfortable talking to owners who are part of the RTA?
   France: Sure, it's business as usual. We're embarking on some big things.    

   Q: It's clear you are making distinction from individual car owners and the RTA. What is the point of communicating with the RTA via attorneys and vice versa?
   France: I don't want to get too technical with legal mumbo jumbo. That doesn't serve anybody. The reality is we need to deal with the owners directly; that's how we've historically done it. If they think there are some benefits, we may not agree, but we'll certainly respect it.

   Q: Is ultimately the goal of the RTA to negotiate new percentages of the TV deal? Are those percentages set?
   France: They're set. It's the right allocation. Everyone would like to have more - that's natural. We're business as usual. The tracks continue to make big investments in their facilities and they need to rely on the fact it's business as usual in NASCAR. We're focused on building better relationships with team owners all the time.

Who was the most-mentioned NASCAR driver of the first half of the season?

Most Mentioned 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers 

Driver                Interviews
                Interview Time  
Harvick, K.
Johnson, J.
Gordon, J.
Keselowski, B.
Earnhardt, Jr., D.
Logano, J.
Kenseth, M.
Busch, Ky.
Hamlin, D.
Edwards, C.

Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through the July Daytona race (Race #18).

For more than 25 years, Joyce Julius & Associates has been measuring and evaluating corporate sponsorships from our headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tony Stewart wins in his first sprint car race since accident

Tony Stewart is certainly no worse for wear when it comes to racing sprint cars despite an accident almost a year ago that left him with two broken bones in his right leg.

Stewart won the feature at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, Mich., on Friday night - earning a victory in his first sprint car race since his Aug. 5 accident last season that forced him to miss the final 15 NASCAR Cup series races of 2013.

Early Saturday morning, Stewart posted the following message to his Twitter account:

"If you haven't heard already, I ran my sprint car tonight and won! Felt great to run it again. Was a 2nd place car but had a little luck :)"

In May, Stewart tested in a sprint car at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Austin Dillon hopes to double down on his NASCAR dirt experience

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Austin Dillon returns to Eldora Speedway next week as the defending champion of the Mudsummer Classic Truck series race. In 2013, Dillon became the first driver in 43 years to win a NASCAR national series race on dirt. Richard Petty was the last to accomplish the feat in September 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. 

In the inaugural event at Eldora, Dillon led a race-high 64 laps, posting a 127.3 driver rating on his way to Victory Lane. He returns to the track with limited seat time in the Truck series, but that has not stopped him in the past. After winning the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck series championship, Dillon has made six series starts, posting five top-10 finishes. In three starts this season, he has yet to finish outside the top-10. 

Cup rookies Kyle Larson and Michael Annett have also entered next week's race at Eldora. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jeff Gordon: RTA will be 'good for the sport'

   Four-time Cup series champion Jeff Gordon took part in a national teleconference on Monday and was asked his opinion on the nine owners who formed the Race Team Alliance last week.

   Here was his response:

   "Well, you know, I don't really see where things have changed a whole lot other than it's more official. They've been meeting for years to get together and communicate about where the sport is at, things that they can do to strengthen their teams, be more efficient. I think it's really just more of an official way to create that alliance, and I think it's a positive because our sport, in order for it to be strong, the teams need to be strong. They need to be profitable. They need to be able to do business," he said.

   "It's turned into a big business, and it's constantly growing, and so I'm in support of it because if the teams are strong and more successful, then that's good for us that are part of the team and it's good for the sport, it's good for the fans, and so I think that this is definitely going to be something that we're all going to learn from and grow from, but I think it's something that definitely is only going to be good for the sport in general."

    Gordon also said he believed the RTA was more of a team alliance than an alliance of individual owners.

    "To me it's what's going to make the teams more efficient, stronger, more profitable, and to me that includes the drivers. That includes all the employees on each of those teams," he said. "I think that it's in a lot of ways covering us, as well.  We're aligned with the teams. I have a contract with a team and I want that team to be strong because I know if that team is strong, then that secures my position as a driver. It secures our sponsors and only helps us with our partners and our fans."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

If the RTA doesn't seek confrontation, why does it crave attention?

The nine founding team members of the Race Team Alliance announced the formation of their business alliance last Monday through a mass email distribution through the media. In the days since, the RTA's spokesman, Michael Waltrip Racing team co-owner Rob Kauffman, has conducted more than a dozen interviews with various media outlets to talk about an organization which has yet - at least officially - to conduct any business.

Kauffman insists a large part of the reason for the organization’s creation is to help reduce team costs through work on such issues as workman’s compensation and hotel room costs. Assuming that’s true, teams could have done that years ago, and if they did, there would be no reason to announce that effort through a news release, whether successful or not.

The creation of the new organization was announced very publicly and to attract attention. If the goal was simply to accomplish results, that could easily be done behind the scenes. So, whose attention is the RTA attempting to get? Perhaps fans, but whatever cost savings the teams gain do not necessarily transfer to fans. That leaves the media and NASCAR, or more correctly, NASCAR through the filter of the media. Why is that even necessary for a group that claims it does not seek confrontation?