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NASCAR: Fewer cautions could be reason for drop in television ratings.

There were three cautions last Sunday at the Kansas Speedway – two for debris. A week earlier at the Texas Motor Speedway there were two cautions – both for debris.

Race teams love the idea of not tearing up cars, but fans don’t seem too keen on the lack of beating and banging.

Television ratings dropped significantly at Kansas, going from a 4.6 rating a year ago to 3.7. That equates to a loss of nearly 1.8 million fans, according to Nielsen Media Research.

A year ago there were 51 cautions in the first eight races. This year there’s been 28.

At the same time, ratings for seven of the first eight races are down compared to last year.

“With this car, I’m surprised there’s not more wrecks,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “I see a lot of guys really out of shape, and this car is a little bit more-friendly compared to the car way back when. Once you get into the yaw, it holds a little bit more down force and you can slide the car around a little bit more. So, there might be something in that. I don’t know why.

“I see guys out of control. I see mistakes being made, but we’re able to catch it for whatever reason.”

Mark Martin said one caution usually leads to another since the field is bunched up for the restart. Since there are fewer cautions, there are fewer chances to have multiple cautions.

“First of all, cautions breed cautions,” he said. “If you have a caution, you’re probably going to have another one and another one. If you have a long green flag spell, unless there are debris cautions you may not have a lot of cautions for a while. If you ever got started having cautions, you might have one right after another. That’s been one part of it.

“You have to realize racing -- everything goes in cycles in racing. You might have two or three of the most exciting races you’ve ever seen and two or three that are not.”

Martin knows there are wrecks coming.

“I think we’re going to see plenty of cautions, I just don’t know when,” he said.

Pattie Petty forced out at Victory Junction Gang Camp

Pattie Petty, who co-founded Victory Junction Gang Camp, as a tribute to her son, no longer will have any day-to-day duties with the camp dedicated to children with chronic diseases.

According to her son Austin Petty, the board of directors decided to strip her of chief executive officer duties and change her status to a ceremonial spokesperson.

“They don’t want anything to do with me,” Pattie Petty told the Kansas City Star.

Pattie Petty and her husband Kyle started the camp after Adam Petty was killed in a 2000 racing accident at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The first camp was opened at Randleman, N.C. in 2004. A second camp is in the planning stage for the Kansas City area.

Pattie Petty no longer will have any official dealings with the new camp.

“I can confirm my mom accepted a goodwill ambassador position as a chairwoman emeritus from our board, but that’s all I can confirm,” Austin Petty said.

Kyle Petty said he remains committed to success of the camps, with or without his wife.

“Pattie was the driving force behind the North Carolina camp and has been the heart and soul behind the camp in Kansas,” Kyle Petty said Saturday. “No matter where she ends up in the organization, you can’t rewrite history. She’s always going to be Adam’s mother, and she’s always going to be the founder of the camp.”

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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