10 Little-Known Facts About NASCAR’s New TV Deal

Little-known details of NASCAR’s new television deal

– For the betterment of the sport, the 16 races that will be carried on regular network TV each year are the ones that Jimmie Johnson has promised not to win.

– If you create a stack of $8.2 billion in $1 bills, they will reach all the way to Brad Daugherty’s eyebrows.

– ESPN’s decision not to renew their TV contract with NASCAR was influenced by falling ratings, an aging audience, and the sport’s glaring lack of LeBrons and Tebows.

– To commemorate the new TV deal, Brian France’s vanity license plate now reads “FS1 NBCSN $”.

– TNT has not formally announced that they will no longer be broadcasting NASCAR races. Instead, they plan on airing 4 straight hours of commercials and just hoping no one really notices.

– The 2013 Nationwide season enticed NBC to sign on for the final 19 races of the year, primarily so the network can do research for the upcoming “Law & Order: Missing Hauler Unit.”

– The Nationwide races that do air on NBC will feature Kyle Busch gradually determining which NNS regular will be his apprentice.

– The current TV deal concludes in 2024, in hopes that it will coincide with Mark Martin’s ACTUAL retirement.

– In lieu of a wire-suspended camera, FOX plans on placing a jet pack and a helmet with a GoPro attached to it on Jeff Hammond.

– NASCAR’s portion of the $8.2 billion will fund the research, development and implementation of an even more technologically advanced track-drying system that no one plans on using.


Eldora Photo Diary

To reach Eldora Speedway, one must first navigate 
miles of sprawling metropolitan development.

The track itself is a combination of rugged intensity, and bucolic

charm. Also, a metric sh-t-ton of dirt. 


Just how dusty is it in the Eldora Speedway infield? This picture of
Clay Greenfield’s #68 1-800-Pavement truck was taken with no filter.


What happens in Rossburg, Ohio, STAYS in Rossburg Ohio. Right, Eddie Gossage?


The #34 Turner Scott Motorsports entry of Ryan Newman inhales a cloud of dust on way out for practice.
Considering he made out with a dirty yard of bricks days later, this probably wasn’t a big deal.

 Track panorama. Once the dust settled, it was a gorgeous day out there.


Track president Roger Slack & Co. did a masterful job with the event, which included trucking in this temporary media center complete with TVs, working wi-fi, etc.
to accommodate the many credentialed media and/or Twitter losers (That’d be me).


The qualifying heat races were intense and riveting. And as we found out from the
deluge of angry Twitter traffic, NOT broadcast live on Speed.

Roger Slack and track owner Tony Stewart were gracious and humble
in the drivers’ meeting, despite probably knowing that the event would reach a
level of awesomeness that would have NASCAR fans calling for an
immediate air-drop of dirt onto every racing surface in the nation.

Following the heat races, the right rear panels of most trucks, like the #30 of Kyle Larson pictured here, resembled
crude 3rd-grade papier-mâché projects that would have received no better than a D-.

Eventual co-star of the show Clay Greenfield stopped by the official tweet-up, answering questions, signing
autographs, and discussing his deep-rooted friendship with Norm Benning.

During the heat races, Matt Crafton’s line was somewhere between
“huggy pole” and “cutting directly through the infield.”

Last time I saw the stands completely packed was at Kentucky Speedway three years ago.
The difference at Eldora was that they were all able to eventually leave.

. Eldora11
The legendary four-wide salute was three more than the salute Norm Benning
gave to Clay Greenfield after the last-chance qualifier.

Pre-race fireworks. Or Scott Bloomquist detonating trees with his mind.
Word is he’s capable of such sorcery.

Eventual winner Austin Dillon sadly did not perform his legendary victory belly-flop, which
on a slick track, could have probably made it all the way around to turn three at least.

Follow @nascarcasm

NASCAR Cup Series Uncategorized

WANTED MAN: Newman’s Win Elevates Stock

INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Newman joined an elite fraternity on Sunday, becoming only the seventh driver in NASCAR history to win two of stock car racing’s crown jewels: the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

From this day forward, Newman will be part of a rather elite group that has Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, the late Dale Earnhardt, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick and Bill Elliott as its members.

Which leaves one with a very significant question to ponder: How can a guy who now owns two of the most prized trophies in the sport not be wanted by his current race team?

Sure, we all heard two weeks ago that Newman’s departure from Stewart-Haas Racing at season’s end was nothing personal, but rather the byproduct of the overused “it’s just business” excuse.

I understand Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing were between a rock and a hard place with Newman. Kevin Harvick will be joining the organization next season and is bringing a boatload of Budweiser’s millions with him. Danica Patrick, obviously, isn’t going anywhere with her GoDaddy bucks.

And Newman, who almost didn’t have a ride this season until a consortium of sponsors led by Quicken Loans stepped forward to subsidize his No. 39 Chevy, just didn’t attract enough sponsorship for 2014.

Ergo, business decision. Ergo, out of a ride. Ergo, no job.

But with Sunday’s huge win, Newman’s stock should rise appreciably. He’s now arguably the most coveted free agent available for next season – and will be even more so if he manages to make the Chase this year. With his win in the 400, Newman moved up three spots to 16th in the standings, but is still behind Martin Truex Jr. and team owner Tony Stewart for the two wild card spots to qualify for the Chase.

At the very least, Newman has to win one or maybe two more races in the six events remaining prior to the Chase.

In a way, Newman’s plight is kind of similar to that of Darian Grubb. Remember how Grubb was told prior to the 2011 Chase that he’d be out of a job at season’s end? And then what happened? Grubb and Stewart combined to win five of the 10 races in the Chase and ultimately the Sprint Cup championship.

Stewart got the trophy and million dollar check after the win that November afternoon in Homestead. Grubb, meanwhile, was looking for work the next day.

In another way, Newman’s plight can also be compared – admittedly, it’s a bit of a stretch – to Brad Keselowski winning the Sprint Cup championship last season. Few gave Keselowski any chance of finishing the season in the top-five, let alone taking home the biggest prize of all. Yet he did so (although his chances of defending that title this year aren’t looking all that great right now).

Why can’t Newman rise above like Grubb and Keselowski? I mean, it’s not like Sunday’s win was the second Cup triumph of his career. No, it was the 17th – and he’s good for a whole lot more still in his career.

As of now, based on speculation and rumors by fans and media alike, there are several potential drivers that could be available at the end of this season. In addition to Newman, other names have been bandied about in the rumor mill include Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton.

And, if the ebb and flow of rumors that have existed since he went to Furniture Row Racing last October swing back upward, Kurt Busch may once again reportedly be on Richard Childress’ radar for 2014.

So if you’re a Sprint Cup team owner who is looking to make some changes within your organization, why wouldn’t you want a guy like Newman? He would easily fit in to a number of teams, including Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, maybe Roush Fenway Racing, and potentially a return to Penske Racing if it were to expand to a three-team Cup operation.

Or what if some of the biggest companies in Indiana, say Indianapolis-based WellPoint (No. 45 on the Fortune 500) or Eli Lilly (No. 119), Columbus-based Cummins (No. 150), Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics (No. 323), Merrillville-based NiSource (No. 409) or Indy-based BrightPoint (No. 463), decided to spend big bucks to back a home-state boy from South Bend that has made good?

And if Newman were to bring along crew chief Matt Borland, with whom he was reunited with this season after a six-year separation, that would further increase Newman’s worth as a driver and the duo’s collective worth to an organization, much like the success Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have had together.

Newman and Borland have combined for 13 of Newman’s 17 Cup wins, not to mention 57 of Newman’s 90 career top-five finishes. And let’s not forget the incredible proficiency the two had when it came to qualifying: Of Newman’s 50 career Cup poles, 38 were with Borland atop the pit box.

Whenever the elder Busch brother’s name has been brought up since last year about the potential of moving to a team like RCR – even though he seems to have really found a home at Furniture Row Racing – one question almost invariably surfaces:

Who wouldn’t want a guy who’s a former Cup champion?

Well, who wouldn’t want a guy who’s both a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 winner? Newman may not have a Cup championship like Busch, but then again, Kurt is still looking for his first win at both Daytona and Indianapolis.


Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Did You Know?

Photo Credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo Credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Euphoric and breathtaking are two of the many words that can be used to describe “The Brickyard” – Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is one of the premium racetracks for drivers and fans to descend upon because of its rich history. It has hosted several different racing series and continues to be a treasured, well-respected venue.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began racing at this track in 1994 followed two years later by the Indy Car Series. Additionally, this is the second year of competition for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Here are some informative and fun track facts:

  • Founded in 1909 by four investors – Carl Fisher, James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler
  • Has been named the largest spectator sporting facility with a seating capacity of 25,000 and the entire compound spread across 1,025 acres of land
  • “Kissing The Bricks” was a tradition started by former Cup champion Dale Jarrett and his crew chief Todd Parrott after their 1996 “Brickyard” victory
  • Top three NASCAR Sprint Cup winners are Jeff Gordon (4), Jimmie Johnson (4) and Tony Stewart (2)
  • The youngest race winner is Jeff Gordon (1994), 23 years old
  • The oldest race winner is Bill Elliott (2002), 46 years old
  • The youngest pole winner is Reed Sorenson (2007), 21 years old
  • The oldest pole winner is Mark Martin (2009), 50 years old
  • The most successful NASCAR manufacturer is Chevrolet (14 wins) & Indy Car is Honda (8 wins)
  • Longest running series at IMS was USAC Champ Car/Gold Crown (1956-1995), 40 races
  • The Indy 500 “drinking milk” tradition began in 1936 when race winner Louis Meyer was photographed drinking buttermilk in victory lane

The excitement level at this facility is always high, from the drop of the green until the checkered flag waves, because the question to be answered is – “Who will kiss the bricks?” or “Who will drink the milk?”

For more historical information about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, click here.

Development Journalists

IMS takes Social Media to New Heights

Many of my friends and family know that I have an addiction to my smart phone. I am prone to bouts of the shakes if my phone and I are separated for long periods of time. My addiction may seem strange to the outside world but in the NASCAR community, that I have grown accustomed to, it’s the norm. Drivers, crew members and reporters always seem to have their faces obscured by various mobile devices as they interact with fans, scrolling through their own smart devices, miles away from the on track action.

Today, I could not break what has become second-nature as I arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I had my nose buried in my phone as I dodged the many cars buzzing past me in the garage area. Some bystanders would think that I was missing some of the best action in the NASCAR world. In my opinion, I was not only enjoying the best moments but also showing those moments to the fans not present at the track.

IMS granted me this responsibility when they made me one of their Social Media Garage VIPs. I, along with four other VIPs, am in charge of bringing the “Super Weekend” festivities to those race fans around the world. It might seem like a lot of work but IMS has become a forefront of the social media world and they have made our responsibility so much easier.

Various social media “stamps” have been placed around the speedway. It did not take me very long until I found the first one right in front of the hallowed pagoda. A simple Instagram Spot sign stood next to the “Yard of Bricks” with many fans waiting for their photo opportunity. With this one simple sign and the rest scattered throughout the track, IMS is able to get fans interacting with them while they’re at the track enjoying the iconic parts of the speedway.

Instagram Spots are not the only way IMS has brought social media to the yard of bricks. They have also created a Social Media Garage. This area has become one of my favorite parts of the speedway, not only because I am a VIP, but because of all of the fun I have there just as a fan. I can charge my phone, update my Twitter account and take a spin on a race simulator all under the comfort of air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

The Social Media Garage has also taken the Tweetup to a whole new level. Tweetups are no longer just reserved for race day, they are an everyday occurrence. During this particular “Super Weekend,” there are seven scheduled Tweetups, with some surprise ones always a possibility. Drivers are scheduled to speak and the fans are given a chance to interact with them as well as fellow social media addicts, face-to-face rather than screen-to-screen. It’s a great opportunity and lifetime memories are almost always created.

I have already had the time of my life in the Social Media Garage and I still have a day left to go. Nothing compares to the adrenaline brought on by the sights and sounds of NASCAR. Interacting with people once a screen away, is always a close second. I don’t know what this weekend is going to bring on the track. I do know that whatever does happen is just a post away. Who knows, that breaking news could come right from the Social Media Garage just a few steps away from the hallowed yard of bricks.

To continue my journey of the IMS Super Weekend, follow me on Twitter @MissChris52_11.

Editorial NASCAR Cup Series

A UNIQUE VIEW: Attitude and Happiness are Keys for Patrick

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is considered to be the “epicenter of racing” because it plays host to a number of different motorsports entities that include the IndyCar, MotoGP, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. The “Indianapolis 500” and “Brickyard 400” are two of the most highly anticipated events of the race season.

After some well-deserved rest and relaxation, the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers are getting ready to strap in, fire the engines and hit the bricks – literally.

Three pondering thoughts that I have going into “The Brickyard 400”:

Can Jeff Gordon make a charge at the Chase?

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has been a challenging one for four-time champion Jeff Gordon. He has been able to capture four top 5s and 7 top 10s but wins have eluded him. It hasn’t helped that Gordon has been involved in four crashes this season and currently sits 12th and 175 points behind leader/teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Heading to a track where he has been successful may prove to be a turning point for Gordon’s team. He has four wins, 11 top 5s and 15 top 10s, fast cars and engine prowess haven’t been much of an issue for this team. Evading trouble on the track and positioning himself up front could produce a long awaited season win.

Will Danica Patrick serve up another “first” this weekend? 

In the Indy Car Series, Danica Patrick made history by becoming the first female driver to lead a lap in the 2005 Indianapolis 500, winning the 2008 Indy Japan 300 and becoming the highest finishing woman in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 – finishing third.

Fast forward – in 2013, she became the first woman to win a Daytona 500 pole and leading a few laps under green. Finishing eighth in this race placed her in the record books (again) as the highest finishing female driver in this historic race.

In an interview with, Patrick expressed how she felt about racing back in Indy. “I feel like I know the surface, the circuit. I enjoy going there and I think sometimes one of the most beneficial things on a weekend is to just be having a good attitude and being happy. I’m always happy there.”

Will that happiness translate into another “first” for this history-making driver? Granted, she only has one top 10 and an average finish of 25th but there is always the possibility that Patrick can find success at a track where she is in her comfort zone.

Can Chevrolet take home their 15th win on Sunday or will their streak be broken?

 Chevrolet has been a dominating force in Indy. Out of the 19 Sprint Cup races run at this track, they have accounted for 14 wins that include the last 10 consecutive races (2003-2012). Some of these winning drivers have included Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. It has definitely been proven that there is some dynamic horsepower under the hood of those racecars.

Ford is the second winning manufacturer at this track, accounting for three wins – two with Dale Jarrett (’96 & ’99) and one with Ricky Rudd (’99). So far, this season, Ford has managed to win three races (Phoenix, Talladega and Michigan) and they have been very competitive on the track.

Will Chevy be able to put another “W” in the record books? Or will Ford pull off an upset and “kiss the bricks?” Only time will tell with these two highly competitive manufacturers.

Despite the outcome, I am sure there will be a dual until the checkered flag waves in Indy.

Editorial Trucks

ELDORA: The Grand Dame of Dirt

By: Ro Cowan, Red Dirt Clay

*Special to POPULAR SPEED*

Eldora is one of the most historical and most beautiful tracks on the circuit. When you walk through her gates, you get the same kind of chills you get when you walk through the gates of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you listen closely, you can hear her history whispered in echoes – welcoming you to her grounds, her track and her family.

Eldora is a high banked, ½-mile clay oval track. Her turns are banked at 24 degrees and her straightaways are banked at eight degrees. Her perfect oval shape makes her very unforgiving and more than one legend has met her third turn wall very unceremoniously. Known as “Big E” she has been auto racing’s showcase since 1954 but her beginnings were very humble. Eldora began as a corn field.

“Had to think a long time about cutting it out in the first place because we were getting 125 bushels per acre on that land,” recalled Earl Baltes who is the original owner and creator of Eldora. In 1954, Baltes opened the brand new ¼-mile clay track known as Eldora. He would enlarge the track to a 3/8th-mile in 1956 and again to its current ½-mile high banked configuration in 1958.

In 1958, most dirt tracks had either no walls or they had retaining fences made from wood or Armco steel rails. Baltes erected concrete retaining walls to the facility to keep the cars inside the track. Eldora was the first dirt track to use concrete walls, a move that many still question today.

In 1971, Eldora began writing her own storied legend when Baltes announced the World 100 for Late Models. Over 200 cars showed up with only 24 making the show. The purse, in the beginning, was $4000 with $1000 being added every year since that time. Respect for the race is evident when all dirt tracks in neighboring states go dark that weekend. This allows drivers, fans and owners to attend the race that is considered the birthplace of modern dirt late model racing.

Nearly 25 years later Baltes created the second signature event at Eldora: “The Dream.”  To grab the attention of competitors across the country he offered a winner’s purse of $100,000. The pre-registration list showed 234 entries. “The Dream” still runs today and this year will host a different format which has not yet been unveiled.

In 2001, “The Eldora Million” was run for the first time. Its winner was long-time Eldora favorite, Donnie Moran, who won the first million dollar racing purse in the history of the sport.

Eldora has played host to many sanctioning bodies races over the years. ARCA, CRA, UMP, All Star Sprints, World of Outlaws and USAC are just a few.

In 1962, USAC brought its non-wing sprint cars to the track for the first time. They became a quick favorite of Eldora and a staple on her schedule. In 1978 the first annual World of Outlaws Kings Royal was held. It quickly became an annual event and one of the crown jewels for The World of Outlaws Winged Sprint Cars.

In 1981, Eldora began the 4 Crown Nationals. The race consisted of drivers from Midgets, Sprints, Silver Crown and Late Model/Modifieds/World of Outlaws. The first winners were Ken Schrader in Midgets, Steve Kinser in Sprints and Silver Crown and Joe Wallace in Late Model/Modifieds. The 4 Crown Nationals still runs every year. In its 22-year history, many drivers have won two legs and even three legs but only once has anyone won all four crowns. In 1998, Jack Hewitt won all four divisions and set a record that has yet to be matched.

In 2004 Eldora opened a new chapter in her history when Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR champion and multi-race winner at Eldora, purchased the track from Earl Baltes. Stewart made immediate improvements such as adding a video score board, new catch fence (now known as Eldora catch fencing), new caution light system and LED Billboards. Two years ago he added a weather warning system and built “Little E,” which is a “track inside a track” with a 1/20-mile track for Quarter Midgets and a 1/7-mile track for Go Karts.

In 2005, Stewart added his own signature race: “The Prelude to The Dream.” The race ran the night before the legendary Dream for Late Models. It consisted of visiting Sprint Cup drivers who competed for charity in borrowed cars. The Prelude ran from 2005 thru 2012. It has been placed on hold because of the new format making “The Dream” a two-night show. In the fall of 2012, the historical announcement was made that Eldora would complete her sanctioning body list by adding NASCAR.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will run at Eldora in July 2013. It is the series first trip to a dirt track and will host a pure USAC format in what is titled, “The Mudsummer Classic.”

The NCWTS drivers will seek to add their names to the list of winners at Eldora that include drivers like Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Doug Wolfgang, Joey Saldana, Jack Hewitt, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Jac Haudenschild and Kyle Larson – just to name a few.

The “Grand Dame of Dirt” seats 20,000 spectators and features bleacher as well as hillside seating. She is one of the crown jewels of the world of dirt track competition.


Photo Credit: Eldora Speedway

Editorial NASCAR Cup Series

Johnson and Knaus “The Dynamic Duo”

In the world of superhero animation you have a number of dynamic duos, with the most famous of them all being Batman and Robin; otherwise, known as the “Caped Crusaders.”

Switching gears to the world of NASCAR, the Cup series has definitely had its share of winning dynamic duos to include championship pairings such as: Richard Petty/Dale Inman, Dale Earnhardt/Kirk Shelmerdine and Jeff Gordon/Ray Everham – just to name a few.

Over a consecutive five-year span, from 2006  to 2010, there was one team who performed in a dominating, historic fashion. They battled hard and repeatedly took home the coveted trophy, after the checkered flag waved, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

I am sure that without me saying another word you know exactly which driver and crew chief combination I’ve been alluding to because they are one of the most talked about teams in and out of the garage area. Without a doubt, they are both famous and infamous for a number of reasons – historic and controversial.

Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Crew Chief Chad Knaus have their share of folks who are diehard fans and loyal supporters. Of course, on the flip side of the coin, there are those who would rather see the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team performing in subpar fashion every week.

Despite all of that, there is no denying that this driver and crew chief combination has proven to be a force to be reckoned with on the track. Granted, the team was dethroned for the past two years with three-time champion Tony Stewart and last year’s champion Brad Keselowski taking home the prized trophy.

However, in 2013, it seems as if the Johnson/Knaus combination have ignited a seemingly low burning flame. Simply put – these guys are on fire!

With approximately 13 years of Cup competition under his belt, Jimmie Johnson has grown to become a phenomenal talent. Statistics that include 64 wins in 41

Have they had some challenges and questionable moments? Yes. Have they always had a perfect race? No.8 races, 174 top 5s, 261 top 10s, 30 poles along with 14,876 laps led and five championships – need I say more? Crew Chief Chad Knaus has been the man to call audibles from the pit box for him over the past 12 years.

One thing that remains certain about this combo is the fact that they are fighters and possess that “eye of the tiger.” It has been proven by their multiple consecutive championships, record-breaking moments and sustaining partnership over the years.

In 2013, it looks like this has been shaping up to be another championship year. Will they make it a six-peat? The absolute possibilities are there for that to become reality. Fast, dominating cars – check. Wins, four – check. Will this Hendrick Motorsports powerhouse capture their sixth championship? Only time will tell because there is still a lot of racing left to do this season.

As always, the determining factors will come down to the how things go in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. One thing that can’t be denied or argued is that Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are a formidable match and most definitely can be deemed the present “Dynamic Duo.”


Editorial XFINITY

NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Competing in the Nationwide Series – Is it fair?

One of the hottest topics that have ensued in the NASCAR community is the continual debate about Sprint Cup drivers competing in the Nationwide Series.

Is it fair?

There are many different views on this and I wanted to share my thoughts about it. Even though I am not totally against Cup drivers racing in the series, I believe that there should be a very limited amount of these races in which they are allowed to compete.


In my opinion, if this series is meant to be a platform to propel up-and-coming drivers to the top-tier of NASCAR racing (Sprint Cup), contingent upon their desire to advance to the next level in the future, then this is who should be competing a majority of the time.

It was interesting to see that over the span of three years (2011-2013) a majority of the NASCAR Nationwide wins were by Cup regulars competing in those events. In 2011, full-time Cup drivers won 28 of the 34 races with Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards accounting for eight wins each that year. In 2012, these drivers won 17 of the 33 races with Joey Logano leading the charge with nine wins.

Although the Nationwide Series has only run 18 races in the 2013 season, a Cup driver has won 13 of those races with Kyle Busch leading the way with seven wins thus far.

What should be done to change these stats so that they reflect the names of more Nationwide regulars?

The main suggestion, as I alluded to earlier, is that there is a limited amount of races allowed for competition featuring the Cup drivers. They should only run five or six Nationwide Series races with it being a mix of the different types of tracks – i.e. no sole racing on just 1.5-mile tracks.

If there is a strict limitation placed on the Cup drivers then it would give the series regulars a fighting chance to grab the checkered flag on a more consistent basis. They would be competing with others on the same level playing field.

Right now, it’s like Joe Frazier getting in the ring with Yogi Bear – get the picture? It wouldn’t be a fair fight at all.