User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: August 2013


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gene Haas showed no class in fast-tracked racing deal

For all intents and purposes, Stewart-Haas Racing, (SHR) has sewn up the  oose ends on the 2014 racing season, long before this season has concluded. If nothing else, the timing of this deal and the publicity surrounding it, does not show much class on the part of team co-owner Gene Haas. 
Did he have to sign Kurt Busch for next year even while Ryan Newman, SHR's only chance for a run at a championship THIS YEAR fights to make the Chase for the Championship? At the moment, Newman is 15th in points, but holds one of the wildcard spots because he won the race at Indianapolis at the end of last month. Newman's points status does not reflect his driving ability. It more closely reflects his bad luck. Saturday night at Bristol, Newman was in great contention for a top-five or better showing until he got caught up in a bizarre wreck toward the end of the night--typical Newman luck.

Apparently Newman has been written off by his owner

Despite company claims that boast "teamwork and family," the Busch deal shows none of that. 

SHR's purpose "to deliver excellence to fans, partners and employees," as well as conducting themselves with "professionalism and integrity," seems to have taken a backseat as well. 

Haas is obviously not a team player, evidenced not only by what was done to Newman, who was told there was no money for a fourth team just weeks before Busch was hired to drive a fourth car, but what was done to Haas' co-owner Tony Stewart. 

According to reports from the press conference to announce the deal, competition director Greg Zipadelli said Stewart was in the hospital and didn't even know the Kurt Busch deal was happening. This entire thing took place after Stewart broke his right leg in a Sprint Car crash Aug. 5 in Iowa. 

It is easy to see that Ryan Newman/Stewart-Haas fans feel not only that SHR failed to deliver to its employees and fans, but that Newman and his fans were betrayed. The forums at SHR are filled with disgruntled, disappointed race fans that vow they will follow Newman wherever he lands in 2014. 

As a Newman fan, I wish him the best of luck to finish out this season with the kind of dignity he continues to display. He deserves better than he's gotten. 

I look forward to a good run at Atlanta and Richmond, and a successful Chase for the Championship. I remain anxious to hear how next season will play out for Newman. 

I wish Tony well in his recovery. A broken leg is a very painful experience with a long healing time. 

As for Haas and Busch, I just hope Gene has lots of money invested for damaged race cars. Busch is certainly a capable driver, albeit a tad wreckless. All this just adds to the drama that is NASCAR.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stewart-Haas Racing really did screw Ryan Newman

I'm shocked.
So the rumors are true. Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) really is wooing Kurt Busch to be the driver for a fourth team in 2014. This was just weeks after Tony Stewart, the "S" in SHR told his friend Ryan Newman they were letting Newman go because they had no interest in starting a fourth team. I didn't believe the rumors. I wouldn't believe that Stewart was capable of screwing his friend that way.

I was so wrong. I've seen the video of Greg Zipadelli, SHR competition director admit that Gene Haas, the "H" in SHR wanted Kurt Busch to drive for him. Apparently Newman was a second choice; Haas wanted Busch last year.

I refused to believe that any business as public as Stewart-Haas Racing, one that is so reliant on the public for support, would screw one of their own in the full light of day. By all appearances, Stewart-Haas Racing, for which I once held in such high esteem, now appears to be nothing more than any other ruthless, heartless company that puts its bottom line high over the people it employs.

This move certainly puts a great big black mark on my view of NASCAR, racing, and SHR.

I know I am nobody in the large scheme of things; but I am just like all the other nobodies out there that claim to be racing fans, but dislike this way of doing business. Putting dollar signs over personnel is just bad business in the long run.

I admit it; I'm a fool for not seeing the handwriting on the wall

When the talk about Kurt Busch being offered a deal with SHR began, I refused to believe it. I figured this was just more of Kurt Busch grandstanding; staging a publicity stunt to make himself more marketable because he knew he was going to be a free agent.

I admit; I'm a fool. The handwriting was on the wall, but I refused to see it.

When Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing to co-own SHR, he left behind his long time friend, Greg Zipadelli. I should have known then that loyalty didn't matter.

When SHR fired Darian Grubb in 2011 even after Tony Stewart earned the Championship trophy Grubb helped him win, I should have known.

When Stewart offered Newman only a one year contract last year, I should have known.

Then earlier this year when talk of Kevin Harvick replacing Newman began; I should have known.

According to the latest information, Busch is also being courted by Furniture Row Racing, where he now works. This one will be interesting to follow.

And where does that leave Ryan Newman?

I can tell you this, wherever Newman lands next year, this 'nobody' will still be a fan!
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Friday, August 23, 2013

More tweaking needed for Chase field

NASCAR needs to reward winners over points

I read an article recently that just made such perfect sense, that I thought I would share it here. It was written by Bill Fleischman for the Daily News in Philadelphia. I happened to catch it on

Fleischman proposed that the Chase for the Championship include drivers in the 11th through 20th position who have won races. He said they should be automatically included in the Chase. That makes sense, since there are several drivers in the top 10 that have not won a race all year. Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brad Kezelowski, and Kurt Busch have not won races this year. Yet, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman, all outside the Chase as it now stands, have won races. Kahne has won two.

While NASCAR has tried to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup more geared to winning races, it is still conceivable that a champion could have a winless season. That just isn't right.

The way it stands right now, and of course this could change with the running Saturday night at Bristol, and the subsequent races at Atlanta and Richmond, four drivers, not including Tony Stewart who is out for the season, but who has won a race) there are four winning drivers in the top 20 that are not eligible for the Chase, and four winless drivers in the top 10 that are.

Fleischman pointed out the following:

"2010: Jaimie McMurray finished 14th in points, despite collecting three wins. Newman (15th), Juan Pablo Montoya (17th) and David Reutimann (18th) had one victory each."

2011: Clint Bowyer (13th), Kahne (14th), Menard (17th) and Marcos Ambrose (sic) (19th) all had one win.

2012: Kyle Busch (13th), Newman (14th), Logano (17th) and Ambrose (18th) each won once."

Fleischman contends that winners in the top 20 should be Chasers.

I agree, but would like to take it a little further. I would propose that all winning drivers be included in the Chase, since rarely are there drivers outside the top 20 that win a race.

Drivers that finished the season in the top 10 without winning a race all season include:
In 2010, Matt Kenseth, (5th); and Jeff Gordon, (9th).

In 2011, Dale Earnhardt, (7th).

In 2012, Martin Truex, Jr. finished in 11th over several other drivers who won races.

I like the way the points now determine the top drivers, but when the field is reset for the Chase, it should be focused on winning drivers first, and the highest number of points for non-winning drivers second. That is the opposite of the way it is now.

Once the field is reconfigured, the points should be set back to 0 for the Chase.

Winners need to be rewarded. Points for position don't take into consideration a bad break, having tire problems, or getting wrecked and not finishing a race. The positions should be based on driver's ability, not luck or points racing.

There really is no excuse for winning a race and not being in the Chase for the Championship. As Fleischman pointed out, a Chase run is good for sponsors and good for fans.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

SHR to hire Kurt Busch for 2014; I don't believe it

I find the latest rumor--that Stewart-Haas Racing has offered a deal to Kurt Busch for next year.

I know I've read that all over the internet, but it just doesn't make sense. I believe the initial report that originated from Fox Sports was that Busch made an offer to Stewart-Haas Racing, not the other way around.

According to a story this morning by Lee Spencer, "Sources tell that Kurt Busch has been made a formal, multiyear offer to join Stewart-Haas Racing next season. The offer was made before Stewart's sprint-car accident on Aug. 5."

Since there are so many copy-cat stories in cyber space, few of which are fact checked or verified in any way, I want to reserve judgement.

I refuse to speculate any further until this is confirmed by SHR. I doubt it will be.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

C'mon media, give Ryan Newman a break!

Ryan Newman
Ryan Newman 
One week ago, Ryan Newman beat Jimmy Johnson to the checkered flag. The media seemed to roll all over itself with glee at the possibility that Newman could perform such an awesome feat. That just shows how little they know about him. Perhaps if they weren't so busy fawning all over Johnson, Danica, and Junior, they might notice the effort made by some of the other drivers.

I'm here to tell you, that it was not a colossal feat that Newman won the prestigious Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis last week. For those of us that follow his career, we know that it was just a matter of time before he bested the field. We were pleased as punch, though not surprised at all. Newman has far more talent than anyone in the broadcasting booth apparently recognizes.

That said, it was wonderful to finally watch the media not ignore Newman, which is usually the case, or worst yet, accentuate instances like his dust-up with Kyle Busch recently when Busch called Newman an ogre. Often times Newman is involved in a racing incident that is not of his making. The media is quick to assign blame only to clarify it later after the damage has been done.

Their latest harangue is about Newman being congratulated by well-wishers, but receiving no sponsorship offers. Oh please! This is barely August. There is lots of racing to go. Anyone who thinks potential sponsors are going to call Newman on the phone to play 'let's make a deal' in the middle of the racing season is fooling themselves. Any deals will be made among the driver, a potential team, and the sponsor's go-to guy, will take place long before it is ever made public. Give the guy a break for pete's sake. Let him enjoy his win and work on the next one before adding to the pressure of a very pressured situation. Newman is thoroughly engaged in the 2013 racing season. That has to be his priority for now.

Offers will come when the time is right. Ryan Newman will be just fine. He is a talented driver, even when the media doesn't notice.
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