18 June 2004
Press Snoop: Ratings, penalties, substitutes.
Fans are showing their displeasure or boredom with NASCAR, by not watching. Overall TV ratings are down 1.7 per cent from last year, and last week's Pocono 500 was no exception, drawing a 5.2 national rating, and 14 Nielsen share, which was down 1.9 per cent on last year's 5.8 Fox rating with a 14 Nielsen.
Fans have also taken up a new sport - throwing projectiles onto the race track, trying to hit the flagman, and booing loudly when the race finishes under caution.
NASCAR dropped the other shoe Wednesday. Citing 'Actions detrimental to NASCAR: Involved in an altercation with another competitor during a caution period', fines of $25,000 were levied against Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth, in addition to putting them both on probation through to 11 August 2004. This was in response to the bumping incidents between the two Sunday at the NASCAR Nextel Cup Pocono 400 race.
That night NASCAR put Harvick and Kenseth back ten positions each, to positions 21 and 20 respectively. That cost them each about 30 points. Both are still in the top and within 400 points of the leader, so eligible for the Shootout at the end of the season. But down the line when the points chase tightens up, those 30 points could
NASCAR also penalised three Busch Series crew chiefs on Wednesday - for seat belt infractions at last weekend's Nashville race. Michael Byrd, Johnny Davis and Tony Tutor were all fined $250. The drivers weren't listed, nor are the crew chiefs on any list NASCAR provides.
Richard Childress has said he will run Dave Blaney 'for a while' in the #30 AOL Chevrolet, and definitely through to Indy. Blaney suffered a broken swaybar in Sunday's Pocono 400, finishing where he started - twenty-ninth. Childress said broken sway bars are not a common occurrence - he couldn't remember the last one.
It's all about showbiz. Kasey Kahne is the token race car driver on People magazine's 'Fifth Annual Fifty Hottest Bachelors' list, which appears in an issue coming out on Friday.
This weekend again finds the three NASCAR top tier series racing in different states. On Saturday, the Busch Series travels to Kentucky Speedway for the Meijer 300, and the Craftsman Truck Series runs the O'Reilly 200 at Memphis on Saturday. Nextel Cup celebrates Father's Day at Michigan International Speedway with the DHL 400.
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