Press "Enter" to skip to content

SAXTON: Truex Jr. going part-time

Martin Truex Jr. felt it was time to regain control over his own life and his own schedule. Martin has been a favorite of mine going back to his days as a local talent at Wall Stadium in the Garden State.

“I’m obviously here to let y’all know that I won’t be back full-time next year,” Truex said Friday in a press conference with team owner Joe Gibbs, confirming the widely reported news that he will exit the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at season’s end.

“It’s been incredible. It’s been a hell of a ride. I’m excited about the future, and I’m not really sure what that looks like yet,” Truex added.

There are several issues, however, that are already settled. The 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion will continue with JGR in what is vaguely defined as an “ambassadorial capacity.” He likely will compete in an occasional NASCAR Xfinity Series race for the organization.

And Truex will fulfill a stated purpose of reclaiming his time as his own.

“It’s the right time for me. I’ve thought about it a lot for the last few seasons — just waited for that feeling in my mind to be positive, like ‘This is OK, I’m good, and I want to do something else,’” Truex said.

“In the 21 years that I’ve done this, I’ve never missed a race. I’ve never missed a practice. I’ve never been late for anything. I’ve never missed an appearance. You live your life by a schedule that somebody makes for you, and it’s just time for me to make my own schedule.”

IndyCar joins Fox Sports

IndyCar and FOX Sports have been announced as the new exclusive home of the NTT IndyCar Series and the iconic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, beginning in 2025.

The new media rights deal provides a massive and unprecedented increase in exposure for North America’s premier open-wheel racing series, with every 2025 race airing on FOX and available on the FOX Sports app. FOX Deportes will carry exclusive Spanish-language television coverage with a schedule to be announced at a later date.

FOX will also provide coverage of Indy 500 qualifications on both Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total number of broadcast network windows to 19, a new record for the NTT IndyCar Series. IndyCar will become the only premier motorsport in the United States with exclusive major broadcast network coverage for all of its races.

The 2025 NTT IndyCar Series season will kick off with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 2 and concludes with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, August 31. The 109th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge takes place on Sunday, May 25. The full schedule was released today and can be viewed here.

Indy 500 Race Day coverage will be extensive for fans across the country, with a five-hour window on FOX set aside for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The Indy 500 is annually the world’s largest single-day spectator sporting event, attracting a crowd of more than 300,000 people to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The immersive collaboration will see all practice and qualifying sessions for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES telecast on cable on FS1 and FS2. The majority of INDY NXT by Firestone races will also air on FS1, with FS2 providing supplemental coverage of additional races.

In my opinion, the secret to success for this venture will be who they put in the broadcast booth.

France family could buy NASCAR charters

According to Sports Business Journal, the France family would be able to buy NASCAR charters starting in 2025 under terms of the latest charter offer to teams, despite initial questions over whether the provision would ultimately be included.

The family has owned and controlled NASCAR Holdings since the inception of the racing series in 1948 by Bill France Sr. The current version of the charter agreement, which was implemented in 2015 and expires after 2024, bars any member of the France family who has an active role in NASCAR event management from owning a stake in a charter.

NASCAR’s offer this time is for seven years guaranteed with an option for another seven years after that, sources say.

NASCAR has also included plans for a team cost cap in the latest charter offer, as well as rules that spell out the terms under which NASCAR would allow private equity firms to buy into a charter, the sources said.

Teams have said they were sticking together in their negotiations over the last year, but it couldn’t be ruled out whether some of the 15 chartered teams are preparing to sign NASCAR’s offer. It was unclear when NASCAR wants to have the process completed.

Shapiro sponsoring Pocono NASCAR event

The Shapiro Administration is breaking new ground in the motorsports industry, serving as the race entitlement sponsor for the annual NASCAR Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway set for Sunday.

The 160-lap, 400-mile race will be titled “The Great American Getaway 400 presented by VISITPA” and provide national and international exposure to the state and its new tourism brand through NASCAR’s wide audience and global broadcast platforms.

According to MarketCast data, NASCAR ranks first among all major U.S. sports in fan loyalty to sponsors, including those who consider trying, consciously support and recommend sponsors.

The Great American Getaway 400 presented by VISITPA will be televised live on the USA Network, along with live radio broadcasts on SiriusXM and MRN, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race also will be broadcast in more than 29 languages across 195 countries through NASCAR’s international television partners.

The NASCAR Cup Series race weekend also is an economic engine for the state with an annual impact of $75M-$100M.

Waiver system needs fixing

According to respected motorsports journalist Kelly Crandall, the introduction of a waiver policy in 2014 was well-intentioned. However, the version the sport is operating under a decade later has flaws that need fixing. And I certainly agree.

NASCAR put the system in place when the playoff format was implemented. It was labeled a medical waiver or exception – a policy to keep drivers from racing while hurt because they needed the points. The language in the rule book stated that a driver must attempt to qualify for each race.

It didn’t take long for the “except in rare instances” (EIRI) clause to kick in, and NASCAR backed into a broad wall. NASCAR has since granted waivers for injuries, illness, mental health, suspensions, age, or returning the sport after over a year away to drive for a team that needed a driver.

Matt Kenseth stands with his wife, Katie, and team members after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP file photo/Bob Brodbeck)
Matt Kenseth stands with his wife, Katie, and team members after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP file photo/Bob Brodbeck)

Matt Kenseth was the latter. Kenseth had not driven a Cup Series car since 2018 when Chip Ganassi hired him in the spring of 2020 to drive the No. 42 car after Kyle Larson’s suspension.

Age waivers have been in the Craftsman Truck Series for drivers who missed the start of the season because they weren’t old enough to compete full-time. Josh Williams and Chase Elliott are the most recent drivers who have been given waivers for suspensions.

In 2014, Tony Stewart missed three races after the death of Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race. It was the choice of Stewart – who was dealing with the grief from the incident – to not compete in three Cup Series races.

The injury waivers have been for drivers affected in NASCAR-sanctioned races and those outside of stock car racing. COVID-19 was considered an illness.

Larson was the latest driver looking for a waiver. Hendrick Motorsports made the request and it was granted because Larson did not compete in the Coca-Cola 600. Instead, he was in Indianapolis and missed the start of the Cup Series race.

Per section 12.3.2.1.A of the NASCAR Rule Book, the language reads, “Unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must start all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Playoffs. If a starting position was not earned, then the driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must have attempted to Qualify, at the discretion of the Series Managing Director, for the Race.”

I am glad to see NASCAR granted the waiver for Larson. It would have been bad publicity for NASCAR not to grant one. Not only because of the precedent but also because of all the publicity the sport received. NASCAR and the NTT IndyCar Series had a ton of eyeballs on their sport because of the hype around Larson’s double attempt.

One can only hope this is because NASCAR understands the waiver system needs improvement. It’s not hyperbole to say there is a common refrain around the industry: NASCAR has never met a waiver it didn’t like. Even when it should.

Certainly, there is a need for a policy to keep an injured driver from trying to get behind the wheel or hiding the fact that they aren’t in 100% health. If the language in the rule book is going to remain as it is about a driver needing to start every race, then reverting the policy to be solely for medical exceptions makes sense.

An injured or ill driver should remain playoff-eligible if they cannot compete. No one should want them trying to do so when they are clearly hindered.

All conversations stop there, though. If it’s not medical, it’s not a waiver conversation. There is no need for the system under its current evolution.

More often than not, waivers granted by NASCAR over the years weren’t even needed because the driver would be in the playoffs from performance. In this case, Larson was perfectly capable of making the playoffs without a waiver by sitting inside the top five in points after missing one race.

Simplicity is the answer. A championship-eligible driver should be one who competes full-time in a series. They will qualify for the postseason by winning a race or being in the top 16 in points.

90’s Night at Grandview

Put this one on the schedule: Grandview Speedway offers Back To The 90’s Night on July 9 with adult tickets priced at just $10. NASCAR T.P.Trailer Modifieds and T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman will be featured. Start time is 7:30 PM. That is half price.

***

And on June 23rd, 2 p.m. Evergreen Raceway in Butler Township, PA is offering Tour Type Modifieds, Street Stocks, Four Cylinders and a unique division of racing titled JuiceBox Division.

***

Another one to put on your calendar is the $25,000 prize to win the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial presented by Goofy’s Eatery & Spirits and Commonwealth Trailer Parts at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, PA, The 410 Sprints will be the main attraction plus Extreme Stocks will be included with a 7 p.m. starting time. It happens on June 29.

Ernie Saxton is an auto racing contributor for MediaNews Group. He co-founded the Eastern Motorsports Press Association, served as public relations director for Grandview Speedway for 47 years, and is in multiple halls of fame for his promotion and journalism related to the sport. He has announced races at more than 100 tracks, and he is the only person to have announced a race at Madison Square Garden. Email him at ESaxton144@aol.com.


Source: Berkshire mont

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply