“I want my team to be taken care of,” Harvick said Tuesday night on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show. “That’s really the main thing that kind of falls into line here is something of a share in revenue comes down the pipe and even if it is a 1 percent share of revenue, I don’t want it all to go to the league. I think it should be shared with the teams.’’
Harvick said on his show “Happy Hours” that any revenue would be good for teams and help make them — and their charters — more valuable.
“I want to see a business model that works for the current owners and takes these charters from being what they are today to being what something of an NBA franchise or an NFL franchise (is),’’ said Harvick, who closed his racing team after the 2011 season. “I’m not saying from a dollar standpoint but just from (the point that) somebody that can afford to come in and own a race team to say ‘I want to do that because it’s really not going to cost me that much money and down the road it might be worth ‘X’ as we go further down the line.’
“That’s the point we have to get to if you want to make it a real league and make it so that the charters are worth what they need to be. This would be another example of getting that revenue stream a little bit better than what it is today.’’
Harvick, who has won a series-high five races this year, said NASCAR shouldn’t be left out.
“If we could do something like that, that would be great for everybody,’’ he said.
Harvick also wants to see other changes to the revenue stream for teams. He noted the TV money that comes into the sport. Currently, tracks collect 65 percent, teams receive 25 percent and NASCAR takes 10 percent of the TV money.
International Speedway Corp., citing leading industry sources, stated in its 2017 annual report that the sport’s TV package is valued $8.2 billion over 10 years. The deal goes through the 2024 season.
ISC stated in its 2017 annual report that it received approximately $337.4 million in fiscal year 2017 from TV broadcast and ancillary rights fees.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. stated in its 2017 annual report that it expects its broadcasting revenue to be about $217 million for 2018.
“I think that there should be a bigger piece of the pie that comes out of the TV money that goes to the teams because that’s really the root of Cup racing,” Harvick said. “If you don’t have the teams, and you don’t have those owners that are in there in the garage wanting to be there, then we all don’t have anything to race.’’
Michael Waltrip Racing folded after the 2015 season. Roush Fenway Racing downsized from four to three teams in 2013 and then cut back to two teams in 2017. Richard Childress Racing went from three to two teams for this season. Furniture Row Racing went from two teams to one for this year. BK Racing filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and recently listed total liabilities as $37.7 million.
Team Penske grew from two to three Cup teams this year. StarCom Racing debuted with two races last year and is running the full season this year, leasing a charter from Richard Childress Racing.
After the snow-delayed STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a moment to congratulate the “rookie” Alex Bowman on a successful debut at the treacherous short track. He was right about one thing: Bowman finished seventh in the race.
But he overlooked one little fact: this was not Bowman’s first Martinsville race.
As it turned out, confusing Bowman’s first attempt for his fifth was not Earnhardt’s only mistake at Martinsville. He made plenty of them in his inaugural trip to the bullring.
In his first Martinsville race, Earnhardt hit everything that moved and at least one thing that didn’t, he recalled on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
“I hit everything,” Earnhardt said. “I ran into a truck – a truck – behind pit wall in my first race. And then I proceeded to wreck again on the race track.”
Junior’s exploits did not go unnoticed. Dale Earnhardt Sr. kept a close eye on his son during the race and had a few choice words for him afterward.
“I remember I was starting a lap down on the inside back when the lapped cars would line up on the inside,” Earnhardt said. “A hundred laps into the race, I was a lap down already. The green flag comes out and I jump out to a straightaway lead over the leaders. That was the best thing that happened to me all day. Then I wrecked about three or four times.
“Finally, we get in the helicopter to go home and Dad and Michael Waltrip are in the helicopter,” Earnhardt continued. “And Dad is really PO’d because he finally come over the radio after the last wreck and said ‘Will you just tell him to park it?’ and they said ‘I think he’s done for the day because the steering wheel’s bent.’ So, Dad was chewing my butt for like 15 minutes. I said, ‘Did you see me straightaway the leaders?’ ‘Cause that was really cool, I thought. He didn’t care about that.”
For more about Earnhardt’s first race to Martinsville, watch the video above.
Ryan: The many reasons why Clint Bowyer’s ninth win felt like the first
The setting on the Martinsville frontstretch as dusk approached was normally what is seen with an inaugural winner, never mind a 13-year veteran whose first victory came in the 2007 playoffs opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This doesn’t discount the emotional significance of Bowyer’s victory. This is the best feel-good story since the Daytona 500.
The poignant images of his dash to scoop up 3-year-old Cash and share the joy of his first victory in more than five years will be what lingers and resonates from the sixth race of a season that could use more such special moments.
But the collective merriment felt as much about relief as celebration (though undoubtedly there were those who offered congratulations contingent on the hopes of securing an invite to Bowyer’s all-night rager).
Bowyer said as much in admitting he spent some time worrying while leading 215 of the final 216 laps on the 0.526-mile oval.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Bowyer said when asked about averting a pit stop under green that could have left him at a disadvantage because of fuel mileage. “I was wondering how we was going to lose this race, and that’s going to be how we’re going to lose it.
“But man, I don’t know why it just felt right. Today was going to be our day.”
“All you guys was hard on us last year,” Bowyer said to the postrace news media. “We learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself.”
So much that the guy who never lost a party went so far as to embrace the power of positive thinking, hanging victory lane photos and championship plaques from days gone by on the wall of his office.
Whatever it took to spark the turnaround.
Bowyer, 38, might be in a good place, but the Cup Series hasn’t taken kindly lately to middle-aged veterans on 190-race breaks between wins. Even those who still win regularly (hello, Matt Kenseth) are getting squeezed out by a numbers game that favors the cheaper and less experienced option.
It’s fair to wonder how much longer the leash would be for Bowyer if he hadn’t won Monday, particularly if the team stumbled and gave away another win.
Now all that weight has vanished and been replaced by the security of being locked into the playoffs six months early.
Nearly two hours after the race, the festivities were just getting started.
“Hell no,” he cracked when asked if he had gotten the carousing out of his system. “It ain’t even dark yet.
Seems fairly bright, actually. Like the dawn of a new beginning.
The luxury of showcasing Bowyer’s effervescent personality was the saving grace of a 500-lap race that simply was uneventful for Martinsville. History shows that, but so did the Camping World Truck Series race that immediately preceded the main event. It wasn’t as if the track was less than primed for being conducive to action.
But the cerebral Team Penske driver seems to have been ahead of the curve on a growing trend that would have seemed unthinkable prior to the advent of double-file restarts: The outside seems to be the preferred lane at Martinsville.
Aside from the start (when pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. held first from the inside) and Lap 143 (when Ryan Blaney started on the inside and lost the lead to Denny Hamlin), the leader took the outside and retained first on every restart Monday.
The decision to postpone Sunday’s race at 7 a.m. wasn’t received well – understandable because it meant thousands of fans likely wouldn’t be able to return Monday (and also wouldn’t be getting ticket refunds from the track). The reasoning for the postponement – that the conditions around track property precluded a safe ingress and egress – also was sound.
The head-scratching part of the virtual no-win decision was found on social media.
If you were a fan deciding on travel to the track and gauging off Saturday late night’s dispatches, there wasn’t much evidence to the contrary that it seemed right to leave early Sunday morning.
Seeing Martinsville blanketed in snow was delightfully fun to witness. But the next time there’s such a threat of inclement weather, it might be wise to temper that enthusiasm with at least some warning the green flag might be in doubt (instead of inadvertently suggesting the opposite).
The only flicker of a potential feud was snuffed quickly when Denny Hamlin quickly put the ruination of his winning bid behind him.
Scuffles have been ignited by far less than the game of brake-check chicken that Hamlin and Kevin Harvick played, resulting in major damage to the No. 11 Toyota that led 111 laps.
MARTINSVILLE, Virginia — He walked in and because Clint Bowyer does not do anything subtly, he announced his presence with gusto.
“HOW ‘BOUT THAT?!!!!,’’ Bowyer exclaimed Monday evening after ending a 190-race winless streak that stretched back to 2012.
Then sounding like a mix of a train whistle and a hyped concert goer, Bowyer shouted in Martinsville Speedway’s media center: “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Asked to grab the microphone in the media center, Bowyer proclaimed: “I DON’T EVEN NEED A DAMN MIC’’ as he held 3-year-old son Cash in his lap. “I’LL BE DAMNED!!’’
When Bowyer is excited HIS WORDS COME OUT THIS WAY. Sometimes THEY COME OUT THIS WAY even when he’s not excited. Monday, the words from the fun-loving Kansas native WERE EVEN LOUDER than when he cheered his beloved Jayhawks basketball team Sunday as they advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The only time Bowyer spoke quietly Monday was when a reporter noted how long it had been since he won. Bowyer mouthed the words no (dung).
He knows. He’s endured. He’s questioned himself.
“HELL YES,’’ he said. “YES, IT WAS PRETTY DARK FOR A FEW TIMES.’’
It’s been dark for a few years.
He finished second in the points in 2012 but saw his championship hopes all but end when he was wrecked by Jeff Gordon at Phoenix — payback for a series of events that started with Bowyer’s aggressive move at Martinsville that spring that cost Gordon and Jimmie Johnson a chance for the win.
As Bowyer sat in his wrecked car on pit road at Phoenix, he saw his team scuffle with Gordon’s team in the garage on a video screen. Bowyer sprinted to the garage, running to the back of Gordon’s hauler before he was stopped.
Since that season, Bowyer hashad modest success.
He was embroiled in the Michael Waltrip Racing controversy in 2013 at Richmond after his late spin that set in motion of series of events that led to NASCAR penalizing the organization. His ride evaporated after the 2015 season when MWR closed. That left him little option but to drive for HScott Motorsports in 2016 and bide time until replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14 the following season at Stewart-Haas Racing.
Bowyer’s first year at SHR was marked by inconsistency. He finished runner-up three times but placed 30th or worse six times. Some of the struggles came in the team’s switch of manufacturers.
“Last year we were trying to figure out how to put motors in cars to make it to the race track, and that’s not a lie,’’ said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing and the antithesis of Bowyer in how softly he can speak at times. “I mean, it was that bad when we switched over to Ford. It was a lot of things that were a lot harder than we thought they were.
“This year as a group they’ve been able to work together, and they’ve been able to work on a lot of little details, and I think it’s shown in the performance to start the year.’’
Stewart-Haas Racing was less than a mile from winning the Daytona 500 with Aric Almirola, which would have given the team five wins in the first six races. Kevin Harvick won three in a row and then came Bowyer’s victory.
For all the talking Bowyer did Monday, most of it came after the snow-delayed race. His radio conversations were muted. The driver known to interrupt himself mid-sentence and forget what he’s just said, was focused on staying in front during the final 114 laps he led and said little during that time.
“I WAS BUSY DAMMIT,’’ Bowyer said. “THAT’S Kyle Busch IN YOUR MIRROR. … THAT’S A HARD ONE TO KEEP IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR.’’
He did just that.
Bowyer also benefitted from the race having only one caution during the final 114 laps. Often at Martinsville, there’s a caution in the last 60-70 laps that alters race strategy, sending some drivers to pit road. The mix of drivers on fresh tires racing through the field while those on older tires attempt to fend off the challenges leads to action, accidents and anger. There was only one incident late in Monday’s race and Bowyer maintained his lead after the restart.
When the checkered flag waved, when Bowyer finally was the first to cross the finish line, he screamed on the radio. Instead of a doing a regular burnout, because this is Bowyer after all, he did perhaps the fastest burnout in the sport’s history. He charged down the backstretch while applying the brakes before throwing the car into a high-speed slide in Turns 3 and 4 and then doing doughnuts.
He then drove to the frontstretch and did more doughnuts. As smoke slowly rose, he exited the car, walked to the fence and the fans, motioned for someone to give him a beer. As he headed back to the car without a drink, he saw Cash running ahead of Bowyer’s wife and young daughter. Cash, his daddy’s son, was in full motion running toward his father. Clint ran toward him. They met and Clint whisked his son up and carried him to the car.
Never had his children seen him win. Until today.
AND IT WAS QUITE A MEMORY FOR ALL.
I appreciate all the comments! They mean more to me than any trophy ever will. I promise I’ll answer them all later. As for now, there’s an ass load of bad decisions fixing to go down. I better put this thing away! 😂
The story of how Chase Briscoe made it to the Xfinity Series doesn’t begin in a one stoplight town in Southern Indiana.
“Actually, we just got a second stop light about two years ago,” Briscoe says.
The town, Mitchell, is 33 miles south of Bloomington in Lawrence County.
Before you ask, there isn’t much to do there.
“I remember in high school one of the fun things and cool things to do is just go walk around Wal-Mart,” Briscoe says.
Luckily for Briscoe, growing up in a county that produced three astronauts provided some benefit to the future Roush Fenway Racing driver.
Dirt racers. “A ton” of them.
One of those was his dad, Kevin Briscoe.
The son of a longtime sprint car owner, Richard Briscoe, Kevin continued in the family business, competing for more than 20 years and winning more than 150 feature events.
But for much of Chase’s childhood, Kevin didn’t want his son involved in racing.
At 7, he raced twice in a quarter midget, winning both a qualifying race and his feature. But that was almost the end for Chase.
“My dad was still racing so much, and we didn’t really have the money to be doing both,” Briscoe says. “He just never really had the desire for me to race. He just didn’t see the point of it. He didn’t think it was the safest thing. He didn’t think I could make a good livelihood doing it.”
His dad’s mind was changed one night at Bloomington Speedway when Chase was about 10.
While at the payout window, the mother of another driver asked Kevin when he was going to let his son race.
When he told her he didn’t want Chase to race, the woman launched into a story.
Her son had once written a school paper about what racing with his family on the weekends meant to him.
The teacher failed the paper. She didn’t think it was right for a kid to be racing.
The next week, the teacher’s son was arrested for drinking and driving underage.
“My dad, it kind of clicked with him,” Briscoe says. “He was always with his dad on the weekends not getting into trouble and was always at the shop working throughout the week and kept him out of a lot of trouble he thought. That was kind of his mentality to let me start racing, was to keep me out of trouble.”
Briscoe wasn’t immediately throwing dirt on the weekends. It wasn’t until 2006 at 11 that he returned to the track in a mini-sprint car.
When he was 13, he made the jump into his dad’s old 410 sprint car, which had an engine built in 1993 (the year before Briscoe was born).
In his first season, he amassed 37 starts but didn’t win until the last race of the year. By doing so, Briscoe broke Jeff Gordon’s record (14 years old) as the youngest person to win a 410 sprint car race.
Even now, Briscoe doesn’t see himself as an exceptional dirt racer.
“It’s something I’ve always been passionate about, but I’m not the best dirt racer by any means,” Briscoe says. “I’m not the best pavement racer by any means either. It was hard to kind of race against guys that were running 140 races a year experience-wise.”
DIRT TO PAVEMENT
When he graduated high school, Briscoe knew he was within a few years of an expiration date for anyone wanting to make it as a pavement racer.
“I knew I was in that age category where if you’re over 23 years old, you’re probably not going to get a chance if you’re just starting out,” Briscoe says. “I just figured, ‘What the heck? The worst they’re going to tell me is no.’ If it doesn’t work out in three or four years, I can always move back and race sprint cars and go get a full-time job or go to school or what not. I kind of just went for it, and I honestly expected it to never work out. But I figured it was something I could do, and if I was 60 years old sitting on a porch, I wouldn’t have any regret about it.”
The first step in that goal was being invited to the Michael Waltrip PEAK Antifreeze Stock Car Dream Challenge in July 2013 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Briscoe competed in the three-day event against eight other hopefuls for a chance to win a ride with Bill McAnally Racing. He made the final round before losing to Patrick Staropoli.
Both drivers made a handful of K&N Pro Series starts for Bill McAnally Racing, with Briscoe making three in the West Series. To date, Staropoli has made one Camping World Truck Series start, in 2016.
Within a year, Briscoe furthered his commitment to making it on pavement. He moved to North Carolina in January 2014 at the age of 19.
That’s where the Keselowski family came in.
In the 2017 video game, “NASCAR Heat 2,” the career mode begins with a video of Brad Keselowski talking to the player as if they’re an aspiring NASCAR driver.
Keselowski says he’ll make a few calls to see about getting you a ride with a Truck Series team.
You’re basically playing as Chase Briscoe.
Unlike the game, Briscoe got to race for Keselowski.
The call from the 2012 Cup champion came after Briscoe, driving for Cunningham Motorsports, captured the 2016 ARCA Racing Series championship. He earned six wins – including four in row – during the campaign.
But Briscoe’s history with the Keselowskis didn’t begin there.
It started when he made the move to North Carolina and began sleeping on couches and volunteering at race shops.
The first shop he lent his services to belonged to Keselowski’s father and brother, Bob and Brian.
“I’m sure they would say I didn’t help out much because I didn’t really know what I was doing,” says Briscoe, who served as a spotter for Brian when he raced while Bob served as crew chief.
Briscoe got to pay tribute to Bob Keselowski’s own Truck Series career last September when he drove one of his old paint schemes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
After his tenure at the Keselowski shop, Briscoe wound up at Cunningham Motorsports, where he volunteered until he was awarded a test at Nashville Speedway. That test resulted in two ARCA races in 2015 and his championship campaign.
The plan was for Briscoe to compete in the Truck Series two years and move to the Xfinity Series.
Due to not being near his phone, Briscoe didn’t find out until about an hour before the announcement was made.
“I had like two or three missed calls from Brad and I was like, ‘This is weird,’ ” says Briscoe. “I called him and he pretty much just told me, ‘Hey, I wanted to let you know I went to the shop today and told everybody I’m actually shutting the team down. You’re going to run the rest of the year, and I’m going to keep you in the best stuff I can.'”
The news came with nine races left in the season. With BKR the only Ford-backed team in Trucks at the time, Briscoe’s NASCAR future was put in limbo.
“It was very eye-opening to be there in the first place … I never would have expected to even make it in the Xfinity Series,” Briscoe says. “To be able to drive for Jack Roush in your first start in the winningest number in Xfinity Series history (94 wins) is certainly very humbling. It was just such an honor.”
Briscoe will make 11 more starts in the N0. 60 this season, the next coming on April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. But Briscoe will make at least one other Xfinity start.
He is scheduled to compete April 28 race at Talladega Superspeedway for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste Racing.
The race is significant for a driver who grew up in the dirt racing hotbed of Indiana.
“Being a sprint car guy, my hero is Tony Stewart,” Briscoe said of the native of Columbus, Indiana. “For me just getting to drive one race at Stewart-Haas is a dream come true. Just awesome and so humbling to be able to say I’m going to drive for my hero.”
The 23 year old Briscoe — at the age he once saw as a make-or-break year for his racing dreams — has a buffet of options before him.
In addition to racing for his home-state hero, he’ll compete in seven IMSA races, three Trans-Am races and roughly 25 sprint car races this year.
There’s not much a 60-year-old Briscoe would regret about the moment.