Sunday, February 22, 2009

Should Sprint and Nationwide be so closely intertwined?

I have been thinking about this for a while. We have been talking about it on Twitter but its really hard to tell you my true thoughts in 140 characters or less. When I was growing up, the BUSCH (sorry i still call it that to this day) series was almost like a JV, a college series of sort. It was a good chance to see some up and coming drivers that would one day race in the Sprint series. There was a sprinkling of "some been there done that" drivers who-while clearly out of the chase-would race a baby carriage if you put him near it.

Fast forward to 2009: 16 of of the 43 drivers were active Sprint Cup chasers in Daytona's Camping World 300. I think this is horrible! In this economy, I feel there may be a need to make some adjustments/provisions to its Nationwide race. I know from a ticket sales point of view this may be a definitive hell to the no..but think of it from a marketing perspective. The bread and butter of any race team is through its sponsorships....especially when they are just starting out. In this economy who would give a sponsor a bigger bang for his buck? Should they put their brand on a Carl Edwards Nationwide Car or a lesser known Justin Allgaier for example?

I just don't think that this is fair to the guys that are trying to make it into the sport. Some would argue that this gives Nationwide drivers a chance to run with the big guys. But, when freaking Kyle Busch and his stupid bow are being spoken about a history making three peat, the warm and fuzzy feeling of "keep your eyes on that guy" is lost. I also feel that with no provisions soon this will take away from the notoriety of a Nationwide Champion. A Nationwide Series Champion should have the pride of being "the one to watch" when they enter the Sprint Series as a true rookie. I predict that in a couple of years, these up and comers will lose the dollars to compete and the entire field will be one Sprint Series paid practice.

Tee Riddle has made an excellent point: What if Brett Favre or Tom Brady announced they were going back to play college football, or Alex Rodriguez said he was going to play high school baseball?? It would be viewed as ridiculous. Except in NASCAR.

Back in the good ole days, Martin Truex Jr with Kevin "Bono" Manion
who won back to back Nationwide championships
in 2004 and 2005
Picture from view images


RaceGirl00007 said...

Couldn't agree with you more! Perfectly summed up exactly how I feel. I love how people say that nobody would watch if it wasn't for the cup drivers...funny how tracks like KY speedway were total sellouts with just busch and truck drivers before the influx of cup drivers.

Also, like you mentioned with the sponsors, of course a company would rather sponsor a Carl than a Justin, because whose going to get talked about? But companies sponsored teams before Cup drivers, and I'm sure they would after.


Chris Bartow said...

I think the Sprint Cup drivers get more people in the seats. You can pay less and still see the "premium" drivers.

That being said, I think they should limit the number of races you can compete in the top 3 series. So, let's say they can race in 50 races a year in the Truck, Busch and Cup series.

This means that the cup regulars can't compete for the title in the other 2 series. You will still see them race like the Rousch Citi car and the Holiday Inn car, but it will give the up and coming a better chance.

z. Smith said...

I have to agree with your view in this matter in its entirety. Should a racer, such as my son Moses Smith (2008 Most Popular Driver NASCAR Camping World Series West) want to move up, it is much more difficult to sell that sponsorship dollar benefit when that same sponsor could place their logo on a Sprint Cup regular’s side panel.

Also, I attended the Truck Series and Nationwide events at Auto Club Speedway yesterday. Kyle Busch’s race was just not that exciting. (see my blog post for details -

I hope the two series divorce quickly.

Anonymous said...

I've complained to my husband about this and he made the points Chris mentioned.
Frankly, I root against cup drivers in the Busch series. I think the new guys should have a shot at some wins. It's all about money (so I'm told).
To have a sponsor on a car, they calculate how much "face time" that advertising will get. So, Cup drivers end up in the Busch series.
BUT having said that, my husband mentioned that the Busch series got very little media coverage or fan appreciation before Cup drivers started filling the ranks.
It's hard to say.
I don't like the way money is playing such a big part in racing these days.

Charlie Turner said...

It's a tough deal. The track promoters need Cup stars to draw fans to attend the races. And drivers want to race, which is why many of these guys will drive in the NWS or CWTS races rather than sit around on a Cup weekend. Cup team owners use the more junior series to introduce new sponsors to racing sponsorship (it's how Jack Roush got AFLAC involved in the 99).

But there are still opportunities for smaller teams to race in these series. Granted, they aren't going to win many races - or any championships. But there is a chance to make a name. Justin Allgaier did just that by performing well in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

It's a tough topic, and great discussion. BTW, I saw this link on Twitter. Thanks for throwing it out for us to kick around again. Nice blog too. Stop by sometime.

Tee Riddle said...

I totally agree. If it were up to me I would make a rule where once a driver moves up to the Sprint Cup level, they can not race in the lower-tiered events without limits. Stock car racing is the only sport that the "athlete" can play whatever level he or she wants.

What if Brett Favre or Tom Brady announced they were going back to play college football, or Alex Rodriguez said he was going to play high school baseball?? It would be viewed as ridiculous.

Except in NASCAR.

Allyson said...

Could agree with you more, Gals.

I'm with you, I still call 'em Buschwackers because it's totally unfair for Sprint drivers to drive in the Nationwide.

If NASCAR persists, then maybe stronger limits.

But what do I know. I just watch 'em race.

Blair said...

I have never read such drivel. You girls are either drink or mentally handicapped.

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