NASCAR: Reddit users provide snapshot of fan reaction to this year’s Chase

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It’s always interesting to gauge fan reaction, and while one Reddit survey won’t tell the whole story on how fans liked or disliked this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, it makes for a nice snapshot.

Earlier today, NASCAR Illustrated writer/editor Kris Johnson tweeted a link to such a post-season exit survey that drew more than 400 responses. The full data can be found here.

Among the highlights…

  • From my perspective, I can’t argue with either one of these. The surveyed fans found that the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – which included the final battle for this year’s Sprint Cup title between Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano – was the most exciting race of the Chase. On the other end of the spectrum, the Challenger Round event/demolition derby at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was dubbed the least exciting.
  • Kevin Harvick, who won three times in the Chase and finished off a run to his first Cup title with back-to-back wins at Phoenix and Homestead, was considered the most impressive Chaser with 33 percent of the votes.
  • As for which Chaser benefited the most from the new format, winless Ryan Newman took that distinction in a runaway with a total of 53 percent of the votes. Jeff Gordon, who was eliminated with one race to go by a single point, was considered the Chaser that benefited the least with an even bigger total: 66 percent.
  • And here’s the two bits that jumped out to this writer. At the beginning of the year, the opinions of those surveyed on the new Chase format ran relatively neutral to negative – 27 percent neutral, 22 percent less than favorable, 27 percent not favorable at all. Favorable (10 percent) and somewhat favorable (14 percent) opinions were not in plentiful supply. But now that the season’s over, the favorable (20 percent) and somewhat favorable (28 percent) opinions on the new Chase have jumped noticeably while the neutral to negative ones have all fallen: 13 percent neutral, 18 percent less than favorable, and 20 percent not favorable at all.

There are plenty of other categories that the surveyed covered, including some non-Chase ones like trust in the NASCAR higher-ups and race officials, and the prospect of weeknight races. The data’s quite intriguing, so check out the link above and draw your own conclusions – and maybe post them in the comments section below (keep it clean, of course).

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.