Five Reasons Racing Cars is More Important Than Ever

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Five Reasons Racing Cars is More Important Than Ever

December 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

If you’re anything like me, you’re sick of people asking you why you watch NASCAR or Formula 1 or whatever satiates your need for speed the most. It’s not like I ask my friends why they like watching a bunch of guys standing around on a baseball field for three hours. To each his own, right?

Anyway, I decided I’d had enough of the constant harassment and figured I’d put together a list of five solid reasons as to why racing cars is more important than ever:

1. Trickle-Down Technology

The goal of racing, for the drivers and their teams at least, is to win a race. To do this, engineers and designers are constantly trying to devise cars that are faster, have more torque and even have better lights. Car manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche are constantly trying to build better machines. For example, Audi debuted a racecar that had LED lighting way back in 2011. Fast forward to this year, and the R18 E-tron features laser lights, something drivers say significantly enhances visibility. These benefits ultimately get passed down to the cars regular guys like you and I drive.

2. Enhanced Safety Measures

In today’s nanny state that is America, it’d be hard to have a sport keep existing if racecar drivers were perishing every few weeks on the track. Sure, accidents happen from time to time, but it’s pretty amazing when you stop to think about how few deaths there actually are on the racetrack. That’s because car manufacturers work to make their cars safe as can be. And like the technology that trickles down, so too do the safety features.

3. It’s Thrilling

Of course, if you’ve never been to a track to see a race, there’s a good chance you won’t understand it. But being there on the track — and hearing the cars whizz and whirr for hours on end — is something entirely different. Those sounds will never be adequately captured on television. So if you’ve never seen it, you can’t knock it. Simple as that.

4. It’s an Escape for Fans

Back to baseball: Pretty sweet sport you guys got there, right? Bunch of overweight dudes running slower than leaky faucets, “adjusting” themselves and slapping buttocks? Of course, baseball is the American pastime. I don’t knock on it. I watch racing because it’s even more entertaining. Just like any other form of entertainment, it helps me escape. What’s wrong with that?

5. Lots and Lots of Money

OK, at the very least, you can always talk about the economy. Believe it or not, NASCAR alone generated $3.1 billion in 2013. That’s a lot of money, and it pays a lot of people — not to mention while helping our government collect a whole lot of tax revenue. When you really stop to think about it, racing fan or otherwise, the country really relies on the industry, like it or not.

Hopefully you can keep some of these tips in mind so that, the next time one of your buddies invariably gives you a hard time, you’ll have the ammunition to put him in his place. Good luck!

Article submitted by Scott Huntington

Johnson Claims Fourth Win of the Season at AAA Texas 500

November 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

Jimmie Johnson was on a roll on Sunday, holding the lead in 119 laps of the 334 lap AAA Texas 500 and taking the checkered flag. Johnson missed making the list of eight drivers competing in the Eliminator Round of this year’s NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, but his win was his third consecutive victory in the AAA Texas 500 and his fourth in total as he had previously won the event in 2007, 2012 and 2013, each time for Hendrick Motorsports. It was also his fourth win of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, his other three being the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, the Fedex 400 at Dover Speedway on June 1, and the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Johnson’s victory on Sunday also means that none of the eight Eliminator Round contenders – Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth – were able to clinch a sure spot in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, a situation which is likely to keep the competitive spirit at fever pitch.

Matt Kenseth set off in the lead in the AAA Texas 500, but Johnson dominated the race. He was challenged by teammate Jeff Gordon who took the lead for a time, but Johnson surged ahead after the caution flag on Lap 245. With the caution in Lap 260 Brad Keselowski made his way to the front, holding Gordon back for several laps. More caution flags resulted in Kewselowski dropping back and Johnson took the lead after struggling to get past Kurt Busch. In Lap 313 Kasey Kahne spun out, raising another caution, with Johnson reclaiming the lead only to lose it to Jeff Gordon. When Clint Bowyer hit the wall and the 12th caution of the race came out, Johnson took the lead, battling with Keselowski who was passed by Kevin Harvick as the race drew to a close.

The final results in the AAA Texas 500 were:

1. Jimmie Johnson – #48 Chevrolet

2. Kevin Harvick – #4 Chevrolet

3. Brad Keselowski – #2 Ford

4. Kyle Busch – #18 Toyota

5. Jamie McMurray – #1 Chevrolet

NASCAR Sprint Cup Heads For Eliminator Round

October 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

By earning first place in the Geico 500 at Talladega on Sunday, 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski secured his place in the Eliminator Round of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Matt Kenseth took second place in the action-packed race, with Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, and Ryan Newman taking third, fourth and fifth places respectively. Drivers who will not be progressing into the next phase of the championship include Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Brian Vickers was in pole position at the start of a race that saw a number of changes in the lead, ending the race in 20th position. Johnson needed a win to avoid elimination, but although he did well in parts of the race, ended in 24th position. As green flag pit stops began at Lap 103, Kyle Busch was caught up in a wreck at the back of the field, sending him into the pits. He made it back to the track, picking up 4 points, but ending in 40th place.

At one point Danica Patrick was in the lead, but when a caution came out with only 13 laps remaining, Ryan Newman took the lead and held it until another caution flag came out with only five laps to go. As the race came to an end, Earnhardt got caught up in a wreck, and Keselowski took the lead in overtime, holding back the rest of the field for the final three laps and winning the Talladega race.

The eight drivers competing in the Eliminator Round – Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth – will have their point totals reset to 4,000, while the abovementioned four will have their point totals reset to 2,000 with points gained in the regular season and the Chase being added. The Eliminator Round starts with Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, followed by the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, and the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9. The final Championship race will be the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16.

AJ Allmendinger Qualifies for Chase

August 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

After proving his talent as a driver in open-wheel racing, AJ Allmendinger is making his mark in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. As the full-time driver of the #47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty, Allmendinger took the checkered flag in the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen on Sunday – his first Sprint Cup victory and a qualifier for the Chase for the Sprint Cup under the current NASCAR rules. Allmendinger was very closely followed by Marcos Ambrose in the #9 Ford, with Kurt Busch (#41 Chevrolet), Kyle Larson (#42 Chevrolet) and Carl Edwards (#99 Ford) in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

After failing a random drug test in July 2012, resulting in a three-month suspension and the terminating of his contract by Penske Racing, Allmendinger’s NASCAR career looked uncertain. Upon completing the Road to Recovery program in line with NASCAR’s requirements, Allmendinger was reinstated in September 2012 and in October he filled in for Regan Smith at Phoenix Racing, with his first race being at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the 2013 he drove the #51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing on a limited schedule and competed in some IndyCar Races. Through the rest of the season he drove alternately for JTG Daugherty Racing and Phoenix Racing. In August it was reported that he would be JTG Daugherty’s full time driver in 2014.

There are only four races remaining until the Chase for the Sprint Cup – Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway; Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway; Oral B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway; and Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

The current top ten in the standings are:

Dale Earnhardt Jr (773 points) Hendrik Motorsports

Jeff Gordon (769 points) Hendrick Motorsports

Matt Kenseth (703 points) Joe Gibbs Racing

Brad Keselowski (696 points) Team Penske

Joey Logano (671 points) Team Penske

Carl Edwards (658 points) Roush Fenway Racing

Jimmie Johnson (650 points) Hendrick Motorsports

Kevin Harvick (645 points) Stewart-Haas Racing

Ryan Newman (645 points) Richard Childress Racing

Kyle Larson (635 points) Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

Mixed Reaction to Newly Formed RTA

July 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

Consisting of Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, the newly formed nonprofit Race Team Alliance (RTA) reportedly aims to investigate ways to cut costs and promote the sport to a wider audience, while presenting a unified voice on issues facing racing teams. RTA chairman, Rob Kauffman of Michael Waltrip Racing, stressed the group’s intention for collaboration with NASCAR and racetracks, with the goal of attracting more spectators. Kauffman also noted that, although teams compete on the weekend, they face common challenges, such as risk, revenue and expenses, and there is a lot of common interest among RTA members.

Reaction to the formation of the RTA has been mixed. Some teams have shown interest in joining the group and, it been reported that they will be eligible to do so if the team has attempted to qualify for 95% of the 72 Sprint Cup races in the past two years. Some have suggested that the RTA aims to push NASCAR for a larger cut of a ten-year $8.2-billion TV sponsorship deal. The RTA insists it is being, and will continue to be, transparent in what it hopes to achieve. The response from NASCAR to the formation of the RTA was an announcement by president Mike Helton in which he stated that NASCAR “will continue to do business the way we’ve done business.”

Officially founded by William France Sr. in February 1948, NASCAR has gone through various changes over the decades and today the family owned and operated business oversees more than 1500 races held at over 100 tracks located in 39 US states and Canada. Series sanctioned by NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) include the Sprint Cup Series, Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series, Whelen All-American Series, Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Local Racing and the NASCAR iRacing.com Series. NASCAR’s current CEO is the grandson of founder William France Sr., Brian France.

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