NASCAR America: A strategy-aided win should be as valuable as any victory

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Last Sunday, Clint Bowyer gambled on two tires and track position at the end of the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Raceway. In a brief run at the end of the race, he held off his teammate Kevin Harvick to win his second race of the season.

Not everyone was not happy about it.

“If you win a rain-shortened race, or you win a fuel mileage race, take your trophy and move on,” Brad Daugherty, one of the owners of JTG-Daugherty Racing, said Tuesday night on Sirius / XM radio. “I don’t want to hear anything else about it. I don’t want to hear on radio, TV; I don’t want to see somebody write something about it a year from later, talking about ‘oh yeah, Clint Bowyer had a great run at Michigan; they won the race.’ No!”

Daugherty suggests that strategy-aided wins should not be valued the same as races that go the full distance.

“I’m not looking at these guys who win these races – rain-delayed races – the same as I am as a guy who goes out, lays the coal to it, figures out how to get to that checkered flag at the end of the full period.”

Daugherty’s opinions were not echoed by NASCAR America analysts Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett.

“You look at what Clint Bowyer and his group did on Sunday; they made a great pit strategy call and Clint Bowyer drove his butt off to keep the fastest racecar driver and the fastest car behind him, until it came the rain,” Burton said. “You want to tell me he didn’t deserve that? That’s wrong.”

“There are some exceptions where somebody runs terrible and just by chance – pit strategies and he’s a 20th-place car and he wins – I get that,” Burton continued. “But the majority of times, the by far, majority of times in a rain-shortened race, a really good car wins that race.”

Notably, one of JTG-Daugherty’s current drivers Chris Buescher won a rain- and fog-shortened race at Pocono in August 2016 while driving for Front Row Motorsports. He took the win by employing that strategy after running well back in the pack before weather intervened.

‘Brad Daugherty’s a friend of mine, but Brad, I 100% disagree with you here,” Dale Jarrett said.

‘If you win a race by fuel mileage because you’ve done things and gone about things differently – you weren’t the fastest car – that doesn’t make any difference. I’m sorry, you’ve won the race on a different strategy.”

For more, watch the video above.

Team owner Brad Daugherty joins SiriusXM NASCAR Radio lineup

Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images
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Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty, will co-host “The Late Shift” on Monday nights, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced Friday. Daugherty will begin Feb. 19, the day after the Daytona 500.

Daugherty will join co-host Brad Gillie.

Larry McReynolds will co-host the show on Tuesday nights. Former co-host Kenny Wallace will remain as a part-time host.

During an appearance Friday morning on “The Morning Drive,” Daugherty discussed his new opportunity and more, including a spending cap and escalating costs in the sport.

On costs and a spending cap in the sport, Daugherty said:

“The biggest challenge for me would be if that happened, the first thing that would have to happen would be a collective bargaining process, which could happen, but then there would have to be a tremendous revenue sharing in all the resources that are available to NASCAR and to the sport because then you’re cutting out equal chunks of the pie like baseball, like basketball and like football,” he said. “Now these race teams, which we have our charters, they could become true commodities. I don’t think you can do it in racing simply because the are so many moving pieces and parts. The other sports are pretty much straight forward and simple.

“When you have so many vendors that participate on a weekly basis in this sport like they do now, it makes it almost impossible to control those costs unless you have just one supplier for everything throughout the sport and then that doesn’t make sense because then you don’t know if you’re getting the best equipment available throughout the sport.

“When you are talking about mechanical things, pieces and parts and vendors, it’s almost impossible to put that all under thumb and to create some kind of cap. It would be unfair. I think if you have your revenue stream and you’re able to take your revenue stream to produce opportunities for your company, based upon the rulebook and based upon the rules that are legislated through the sport, I think that’s as fair as it gets. Now, one guy can outspend another. I just think that is the way it is. It has always been that way. I really don’t have a problem with that.

“The spending, though, we need to find better ways to control costs … just the weekly stuff. Goodyear does a great job with trying to control costs for us. Our brake packages and stuff like that are creeping up on price. Probably 12 years ago, a brake package at Daytona probably costs us about $4,500. Last year, we ran the same speed 12-13 years ago, that brake package was $45,000. Those types of costs within the sport need to be monitored a little bit better, I do believe that will help us.

“Even with that, the guy who can put his dollars in the right position and run his race team, these businesses are not like any other businesses on the face of the planet. They’re not like other sports business, the compression chart when you look at how these things are put together with executives and individuals and aeronautical engineers and crew people. It’s not the same. It’s just a unique sport that I don’t think you can actually get a tremendous grasp on fiscally just because of all the moving pieces and parts available. I like having all the pieces and parts available to my race team. It’s up to me or (co-owner) Tad (Geschickter) or Jodi (Geschickter) to go out and find the money to implement them.”