Well…the rumors were true.
The “NEW” Chase is set.
Twitter, Facebook, and forums alike exploded with disgust as soon as Brian France started announcing the new Chase format and frankly, fans aren’t happy. Drivers seem to be for it for the most part as well as teams and crew chiefs.
Have you made your decision on the new Chase? Here is how it breaks down. (From NASCAR.com)
VICTORY: A victory in the first 26 races likely will guarantee a driver a position in the 10-race Chase with the final race being Richmond.
MORE DRIVERS: The Chase field will expand to include 16 drivers instead of 12…or 13 if you are Jeff Gordon! It will be known as the Chase Grid. A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Chase race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Chase round
ELIMINATION: Every three races, the championship field will decrease.
HOMESTEAD: Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a chance for the Cup, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.
ELIGIBILITY: The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the Chase Grid. The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more different winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points.
BONUS POINTS: Prior to the start of the Chase, all Chase Grid drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races.
There you have it. The new Chase format. What are your thoughts? Comment below and let us know!
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Paul Menard will be the longest running driver at Richard Childress Racing.
RCR also has a Rookie driver with big shoes to fill and a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
The organization also traded (basically) drivers with Stewart-Haas Racing with Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick.
Richard Childress Racing will definitely be making headlines in 2014.
With Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman under one roof, RCR will be a very strong team this season. Menard brings consistency to the organization. Although he rarely contends for race wins, Menard brings sponsorship dollars and and a familiar name to RCR.
Leaving SHR and taking over the No.31 Cat Chevrolet, Ryan Newman will be the new face of the organization and their lead driver. His experience and talent will be a the forefront of RCR and will be a great asset to Rookie Austin Dillon. Newman, who will be paired with Crew Chief Luke Lambert, will be the leading man at the organization for the first time in his career.
“Ryan brings a huge resume and tons of experience to our group as a driver. On top of that, he’s truly one of the most talented drivers in the sport today. Even if you ignore all the amazing things he’s accomplished, when he gets in that race car, he’s got an incredible feel, he’s got a lot of speed,” Lambert said. “His feel and his speed are what’s going to allow us to be successful in the future. He has the understanding and knowledge of what we need to do and we need to do focus on … [and] provide prospective of what he’s feeling in the race car.”
Along with Menard and Newman, Rookie Austin Dillon also joins his grandfathers Sprint Cup organization. All eyes will be on Dillon this season as he brings back the famed No.3 that Dale Earnhardt made famous in the 1990s. With a lot riding on his shoulders piloting the No.3, which hasn’t seen the track in the Cup Series since Earnhardt’s tragic death in 2001, Dillon will have a lot to prove.
With two championships under his belt from the Truck and Nationwide Series and a handful of Cup races already in the books, Dillon isn’t going in to the 2014 season completely green. With Newman as a teammate, Dillon could prove to be a factor this season.
Will Richard Childress Racing get back to its winning ways? With Newman and Dillon, that could very well happen. 2014 will be a crucial year for the organization to see just where these drivers will take it in the long run.
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Each season, a new Rookie class emerges with yellow strips and little experience racing with the big boys. This year, eight new faces will appear in the Sprint Cup Series ready to learn. Let’s take a look at the 2014 Rookie Class.
Austin Dillon: Collecting championships in both the Camping World Truck Series (2011) and the Nationwide Series (2013), Austin Dillon is used to making headlines. The grandson of racing icon Richard Childress, Dillon has had to work his way up through the NASCAR ranks and will be one of the big-name Rookies in 2014. He kicked off his 2014 campaign by announcing that he would be bringing back the famed No.3 to the Sprint Cup Series, something that hasn’t happened since Dale Earnhardt’s death at the 2001 Daytona 500. He proved to be fast in the No.3 by topping the charts during preseason thunder at Daytona in early January. Can he follow that up with a fast car during Speedweeks? We will have to see but one thing is for certain, Dillon will be on Rookie making headlines multiple times this season.
Justin Allgaier: It one of NASCAR famed “Worst Kept Secrets,” it was announced just recently that Justin Allgaier would be moving up to the Sprint Cup Series with Phoenix Racing, driving the No.51 Brandt Chevrolet. Allgaier spent five seasons in the Nationwide Series and collected three wins. His best finish in the standings was third in 2011. Moving to the Sprint Cup Series with a reliable team like Phoenix Racing was a good move on Allgaier’s part and with a little more experience, he could take this team far.
Kyle Larson: With just one season in NASCAR’s lower series, 20-year old Kyle Larson will take the wheel of the No.42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. Although he has just a little experience racing in NASCAR’s highest levels, Larson could do very well in the Sprint Cup Series. Being young and willing to learn, Larson has proved that he can drive just about anything you put him in. The one big question lingering over him are those wondering if he moved up too soon. 2014 will be a learning experience for this young driver but give him a few years and he may just be the next generations Jimmie Johnson.
Alex Bowman: Another 20-year old with a Sprint Cup Series ride in 2014 is Alex Bowman. Finishing eleventh in his first full season in the Nationwide Series, Bowman has yet to make a Cup start. Getting behind the wheel of the re-numbered No.23 for BK Racing with sponsorship from Dr. Pepper, Bowman could use this opportunity to build his racing resume and gain some insightful knowledge of NASCAR’s highest series. Although I think he could have benefited from one more season in the Nationwide Series, this offer was too good to pass up.
Ryan Truex: BK Racing is going for the fresh faces by adding Ryan Truex to their driver line-up along with Bowman for 2014. Younger brother to Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Truex has never completed a full season in one of NASCAR’s major touring series. With two K&N Pro Series East Championships under his belt in 2009 and 2010, this 21-year old has a lot of talent but talent only goes so far. With little experience with these machines, Truex could struggle greatly in 2014 but building that oh-so-important notebook will be the ultimate payoff for this young driver.
Cole Whitt: After losing his full-time Nationwide ride at JRM at the end of 2012; Cole Whitt is back and moving up. 2014 will see the 22-year old behind the wheel of the No. 26 Swan Racing machine in the Sprint Cup Series. Making seven Cup starts last season, Whitt got a taste of the new Gen-6 car and some of the circuits toughest tracks. With his best finish of 25th at Phoenix in 2011, Whitt has a lot of room for improvement but at only 22 years old, time is on his side. Whitt finished seventh in Nationwide Series standings in 2012 and although he hasn’t collected a win in one of NASCAR’s major touring series, his talent behind the wheel speaks for itself.
Parker Kligerman: Another young driver in the Sprint Cup Series, 22-year old Parker Kligerman is getting his chance at a full-time Sprint Cup Series ride. Piloting the No.30 for Swan Racing, Kligerman showed promise in his two starts for the team in 2013 with a. 18th place finish at Texas and 25th place finish at Homestead. Finishing ninth in Nationwide Series standings for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Kligerman had three top-5 and thirteen top-10 finishes in 2013. Having Kligerman and Whitt piloting both Swan Racing vehicles in 2014 could prove to be a great success in the future for this small team.
Michael Annett: Tommy Baldwin and Michael Annett reunite as Annett signs on to pilot the No.7 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet in 2014. Replacing Dave Blaney, 27-year old Annett spent five full seasons in the Nationwide Series with his best finish of 5th in the standings (2012). Missing a handful of races in 2013 due to injury, Annett bounced back to end the season with eleven straight top-20 finishes. Although he has yet to make a start in the Sprint Cup Series, Annett can be a real asset to this small team in the middle of the big dogs.
The 2014 Rookie of the Year class will be the biggest NASCAR has seen since 1994 and with that amount of new talent in the field, it could lead to some great headlines throughout the season. Austin Dillon may be the favorite as the ROTY winner going into the season but any one of the eight drivers could be holding up that trophy at the end of the season. The next generation of drivers is coming up through the ranks and we could be seeing one of these young drivers holding up a Championship trophy in just a few short years.
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“If we’re fighting, I’m kicking you in the leg.”
Kevin Harvick has thrown down the gauntlet.
The energy coming off of the four drivers in the Stewart-Haas Racing camp was easily felt as they kicked off the 2014 Media Tour early this afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Smoke, Princess Sparkle Pony, Happy and Outlaw all dressed in black.
Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are ready for 2014.
The most intriguing thing about the new SHR lineup for 2014 are the four big personalities that will be working together under one roof. Drivers that have butted heads and fought on pit lane have teamed up to create what could be the next powerhouse organization in NASCAR; possibly rising up to compete with Hendrick Motorsports.
With many changes happening within the organization between the 2013 and 2014 changes, no one really knows what will come out of the race shop until the cars hit the track at Daytona. With two new drivers and three new crew chiefs, the one question on everyone’s mind is…will this work?
Tony Stewart made it clear this afternoon that he has been cleared to race at Daytona and will be back in the car come speedweeks. With Chad Johnston on top of the pit box for Stewart in 2014, will this Crew Chief change work for Stewart? Coming over from Michael Waltrip Racing, fellow Indiana native Johnston will take over No.14 race duties starting at Daytona.
Replacing Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick will pilot the new No.4 Jimmy Johns/ Budweiser Chevrolet with veteran Crew Chief Rodney Childers on top of the pit box.
A surprising announcement late in the season brought Kurt Busch to Stewart-Haas Racing. Piloting the No.41 Haas-Automation Chevrolet, Busch was beaming with excitement for 2014. Former race engineer on the No.39, Daniel Knost will be on top of the box for Busch with the help from SHR Vice President Matt Borland. With a brand new team and Busch at the lead, this could become a very strong team.
The only team at Stewart-Haas Racing that will remain the same in 2014 will be the No.10 GoDaddy/Aspen Dental team of Danica Patrick. Back on top of the pit box will be veteran Crew Chief Tony Gibson who speaks highly of his celebrity driver. Gibson and Patrick made headlines in 2013 when Patrick became the first woman to sit on the pole for the Daytona 500.
With the most used work being “excited” or some form of it during the duration of their media conference, most being used by Stewart himself, the four individuals that make up this team are ready to get the season started.
Stewart-Haas Racing will be the team to watch in 2014 and bets are already being made as to which driver will cause problems first but one thing is for certain…with four of NASCAR’s biggest personalities under one roof, the amount of pranks and jokes that will go on in that race shop I would pay to see.
Like Harvick said to Stewart…”If we’re fighting, I’m kicking you in the leg.”
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The only thing remaining the same this season in qualifying is going to be for the Daytona 500. For everything else, it will be drastically different. Here is how it breaks down.
AT TRACKS 1.25 MILES AND LONGER:
Breaking down this new qualifying format even further:
What do you think of the new qualifying format for the three major series?
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Yet another one of NASCAR’s “worst kept secrets” of 2013, Justin Allgaier and Phoenix Racing have made their 2014 move official.
Allgaier will pilot the No.51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet with Allgaier’s longtime sponsor Brandt on board.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I intend to make the most of it,” Allgaier said in a team statement. “I am very grateful to [team owner] Harry Scott and Brandt for having faith in me to compete against the best drivers in the world.”
Allgaier drove for the team in a handful of races in 2013 and was rumored to be one of the eight Rookies in the 2014 Sprint Cup Season. Yesterday, they finally signed the deal.
“Justin has worked extremely hard to get to this level and he is ready to take the next step,” Scott said. “Working with competition director and crew chief Steve Addington, I think the No. 51 can turn some heads this year.”
Allgaier joins Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Ryan Truex, Michael Annett, Alex Bowman, Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt in the race for the 2014 Rookie of the Year title.
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BK Racing announced earlier today that they have finally decided on a driver lineup for 2014 and the two chosen are quite the pair.
20-year old Alex Bowman will pilot the No.23 Dr. Pepper Toyota for the race team. Changing from the No.93 to the No.23 to honor the 23 flavors making up Dr. Pepper, Bowman tested for the organization already this year at Daytona. Veteran team engineer Dave Winston will be Bowman’s crew chief for 2013.
The young Rookie driver spent 2013 in the Nationwide Series after coming up through the K&N Pro and ARCA Series recording multiple wins.
The second driver in the BK Racing camp will be 21-year old Ryan Truex. Younger brother of Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Truex will pilot the No. 83 with Crew Chief Dale Ferguson by his side. Truex has made a handful of Sprint Cup starts with his best being 32nd at Dover in September.
With a young team of drivers, will BK Racing succeed in 2014? It’s hard to tell. Both drivers have shown potential in the lower series but moving them up too soon my prove fatal.
2014 will mark BK Racing’s third season in NASCAR. The organization debuted in 2012 with drivers Travis Kvapil, Landon Cassill and David Reutimann.
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NASCAR and Country Music has had a long and committed relationship with each other that keeps growing and evolving. NASCAR has been featured in the lyrics of some of the biggest country hits and drivers have starred in some of the greatest country music videos of all time. Although I couldn’t feature them all, I have compiled a list of some of the greatest country songs that have featured the great sport we love.
CLEDUS T JUDD: I LOVE NASCAR
A play on Toby Keith’s hit “I Love This Bar,” ” I Love NASCAR” is just that, reasons to love NASCAR. From calling Tony Stewart a “whiner” and listing all of the major sponsors in a relatively fast succession, Cledus T Judd shows us just why we love NASCAR with a comedic twist.
BRAD PAISLEY: OLD ALABAMA
Although NASCAR never appears in the lyrics of this song, NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip are featured drivers in this music video. Paisley is even wearing a Hendrick Motorsports shirt and playing a custom Daytona 500 guitar.
MIRANDA LAMBERT: FASTEST GIRL IN TOWN
This country music songstress is the one who started to turn Rock and Roll lover Danica Patrick into a country fan when she invited her to star in her music video. Appropriately called “Fastest Girl In Town,” Patrick and Lambert steal a man’s car and take off with Patrick behind the wheel.
SARA EVANS: SLOW ME DOWN
Although the song itself has no relation to NASCAR, there is a NASCAR twist. Driver of the No.99 Ford Carl Edwards stars alongside Evans as her love interest gone bad in her newest music video.
JULIE ROBERTS: NASCAR PARTY
Filmed at a racetrack and featuring many of your favorite stars, Roberts song and video for “NASCAR Party” is the definition of a NASCAR race weekend.
JUSTIN MORE: BAIT A HOOK
Talking about his former girlfriend dumping him for a fancy guy who can’t even “bait a hook,” Moore sits out on a lake fishing while NASCAR driver Carl Edwards plays the “fancy guy.” Not your typical Edwards wardrobe in a suit and tie but he pulls it off quite nicely.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD: WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE
This song screams NASCAR…almost literally. Lynyrd Skynyrd talks about waiting all week for Sunday but that is what we all do anyway, right? The lyrics of “White Knuckle Ride” takes you through a musical journey behind the wheel so sit back, relax and enjoy.
ALABAMA: SUNDAY DRIVE
“Well this ain’t no Sunday drive. Got the tach red-lined, throttle opened wide.” The opening lines of Alabama’s “Sunday Drive” describe the start of a NASCAR race to a T. If you want a song to get you in the mood for racing, “Sunday Drive” will do the trick.
ALAN JACKSON: WHO’S CHEATIN’ WHO
A handful of NASCAR drivers appear in this music video from 1997 called “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” by country legend Alan Jackson. Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Bill Elliot, Ernie Irvan, Rusty Wallace, John Andretti, Jeremy Mayfield and Kenny Irwin Jr. all appeared in the video. While it made for a clever video, it is hard to understand how exactly NASCAR fits into a song about a cheating woman.
COLT FORD: DRIVIN’ AROUND SONG
Staring NASCAR’s super-couple Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., “Drivin’ Around Song” shows Partick and Ford waiting at a shop for their truck to be repaired by Stenhouse. Patrick steals the keys to a Coleman 4X4 and her and Ford take off for an impromptu concert, returning before the truck is fixed, leaving Stenhouse suspicious. This is Patrick’s second appearance in a country music video and also her second time stealing a vehicle…hmm…
TIM WILSON: THE NASCAR SONG
Although this guy is a comedian and not really a country artist, his song has a country swag that is hard to resist. Talking about his life as a childhood racecar driver, Wilson tells of how his mom named him Dale Darrell Waltrip Richard Petty Rusty Awesome Bill Irvin Gordon Earnhardt Smith…Johnson, Jr. Yup. Try saying that 5X fast. Wilson also created a song called “Jeff Gordon’s Gay” but we will just leave that one out.
TRACE ADKINS: ROUGH AND READY
Dale Earnhardt Jr sure has been in his fair share of music videos, he makes an appearance in this one by Trace Adkins both in the music video, and in the lyrics.
ALABAMA: 5′OCLOCK 500
Comparing the drive home from work after a long day to a 500 mile race, Alabama even mentions some iconic drivers like Darrel Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon.
TIM DUGGER: YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE
With a mention of a “NASCAR race” in the lyrics, Dugger is a big NASCAR fan. Good friends with Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Danica Patrick and other drivers, Dugger often plays concerts on race weekends and can often be found at the racetrack.
KYLE PETTY: THE DANICA PATRICK SONG
Okay, so Petty may not be a country artist, but he can play guitar and write with the best of them. He debuted this song on SPEED’s Trackside in 2013 making his love’hate relationship with NASCAR’s female star even more questionable. It’s clever yet just a tad awkward when he talks about her hair blowing in the wind in her GoDaddy commercials.
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I was listening to SIRIUSXM NASCAR this afternoon on my way to work and the topic they were discussing grabbed my attention.
The question asked was: Are Green White Checkered finishes a good thing? Do they need to be changed? Eliminated?
I have mixed views on this topic but here are my thoughts.
I love the idea of racing it out until the end. Having a caution flag on the last lap when the racing is so close at the front just leaves fans, drivers and teams frustrated and feeling like the race didn’t get to play out. Implementing the GWC finish was a great idea by NASCAR, but I think it could use a few tweaks.
Currently, the GWC finish can be run up to three times at the end of a race if the drivers fail to make it to the finish under green. Upon the third attempt, the final flag signals the end of the race whether it is the checkered or the caution flag.
Listening to SIRIUSXM NASCAR, the analysts and callers had some good opinions that got me thinking: why not have unlimited GWC finishes?
How many times has a race ended under caution since the GWC rule has been put in place? Quite a few.
Seeing a race finish under caution leaves everyone wanting more. We want to see the drivers race it out…not coast across the finish line. Keeping the GWC rule but allowing NASCAR to do it an unlimited amount of times would give the fans the finish they want.
Now, this plan definitely has its flaws. Take Daytona and Talladega for example. With the “big ones” happening frequently during the closing laps of these races, having an unlimited amount of GWC finishes could leave us with just a handful of cars left on the track before they finally race it out to the checkers. That would be too much carnage.
But think of the excitement that having an unlimited amount of GWC finishes would bring! Pit stops would be that much more important. Having enough fuel, calculating how much fuel a driver might need, would be mind-boggling.
Do you think NASCAR should change the GWC rule? Comment below and let us know!
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Last season, NASCAR announced that they were considering changes to the points system and the Championship run known as the Chase. Earlier today, some of those possible changes were leaked and here is how it breaks down.
The Charlotte Observer that NASCAR is thinking of making changes to the 10-race Chase that would create a four-driver, winner-take-all season finale and that NASCAR would expand the 12-driver playoff field to 16meaning that a win in the first 26 races would practically guarantee a playoff berth.
NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes declined to comment on the rumors but did say that NASCAR has “begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format.”
He continued by saying that “This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights. NASCAR has no plans to comment further until the stakeholder discussions are complete. We hope to announce any potential changes for the 2014 season to our media and fans very soon.”
The last change to the Chase came in 2011 when NASCAR added the two driver wild-card positions.
What do you think of the possible changes? Comment below!
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