What’s Up With That?

She said what?

Danica Patrick said during the recent Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour that her only goal for the 2015 Sprint Cup season was “progress.”


For a driver who actually finished one position worse in the standings (28th) in her second full Sprint Cup season than she did in her first, “progress” isn’t exactly a lofty goal.

Perhaps instead of talking in such ambiguous terms, the driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet should step back and actually set some clear objectives for 2015 which, oh by the way, happens to be a contract year for herself and her longtime primary sponsor, GoDaddy.

‘Smoke’ speaks out

Tony Stewart recently took aim at NASCAR, suggesting the sport return to traditional single-car qualifying runs to set the front row for the Daytona 500. This year, for the first time, the front row for the 500 and the starting order for the Budweiser Duel qualifying races will be set based on speeds from multiple “knockout” qualifying rounds featuring multiple cars on track at once.

Although single-car qualifying tends to be lengthy and fairly boring, Stewart should be applauded for standing up for tradition. NASCAR has gotten away from tradition too much in recent years, and Daytona 500 qualifying shouldn’t follow suit.

Show me the money

The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race. So why is it that more backmarker teams with backmarker drivers will try to qualify for this race than any other throughout the course of the entire 2015 season?

Simply put: Money.

Finishing last in the Daytona 500 pays out more than finishing first at some less prominent events.

There’s just one problem: The potential to have an unusually robust number of backmarkers on the starting grid risks the possibility of watering down the competition just a tad, which isn’t good for a race that is NASCAR’s ultimate crown jewel.