Nascar Weekly News and Notes – 12/20/07

Nascar Weekly News and Notes
by Virginia Vroom of

I’m a little angry this week. This is along the same lines that I wrote
about a couple weeks ago when I was talking about how inconsistent
NASCAR is, especially when it comes to qualifying. The more I see about
the open-wheel drivers and all of this diversity blah, blah, blah, that
NASCAR keeps smoldering us with, the more perturbed I get.

It’s not that I do not think that open-wheel drivers, women, minorities,
or ANYONE for that matter should not have the right to race. It’s the
fact that so many are not earning their right to race. The idea of
merit is long gone in NASCAR, and it’s getting really old.

I want to use an example that I used in that article I wrote a couple
weeks ago. I talked about Sam Hornish Jr. getting Kurt Busch’s points
transferred to his team so that he would be guaranteed a spot in the
first five races of next year. But seriously, I do not think that Sam
Hornish Jr. has proven his ability to compete in the Cup series yet.
Don’t get me wrong. The man is an amazing driver. His career as an
open-wheel driver is one to envy, but his record in the three series in
NASCAR is less than impressive.

Why should someone who has not earned the right to race be guaranteed a
spot? The answer to that question is simply because of NASCAR’s
obligation to big businesses and corporations. The new era of NASCAR
that came with Nextel is one where the most important part is evidently
the business. It is so imperative to have a sponsor’s name on the track
for a race weekend that we are now willing to compromise the loyalty of
NASCAR’s fan base.

Yes, I said it.

I truly believe that NASCAR fans are tired of seeing these rules change
for the sake of making an extra dollar. I think we all know that the
world revolves around money, but how much common sense does it take to
understand that a car that is 8th fastest in qualifying should start in
8th place? NASCAR is the only sport that this 8th fastest car will
start 42nd or 43rd because of the top 35 rule. Additionally, we have
the Champion’s provisionals. No offense. I think that these are
rightly earned, but for goodness sake, if Dale Jarret has to use all of
his provisionals to make a race and then can’t qualify when he runs out,
that’s just the way it is.

I really think that we are losing the foundation of racing. We are
straying from the action on the track to benefit the ones behind the
scenes. What ever happened to seeing the fastest cars race every
Sunday? We are constantly plagued by rule changes from NASCAR to see
bigger sponsors and more money.

When it comes down to it, if Sam Hornish Jr. can not qualify on his own
merit, then why the heck should he knock someone like Michael Waltrip
out of an opportunity if Waltrip has the faster car? It’s not even like
Hornish earned those points allowing him to race. That’s just insane to
me. Those points belong to Busch and his team who raced to receive
them. If the team for Hornish is unable to prepare a car for him to
race, and if he is unable to drive it well enough to qualify, then so be it!

NASCAR needs to return to the days of just racing, nothing more. I know
this is a stretch because we are now in a corporate world, but it’s not
like other sports. NASCAR fans are getting tired of watching NASCAR
appease the big businesses instead of the fans who spend hundreds and
even thousands of dollars a year going to races and all of the expenses
that come with it. Don’t get me wrong. We need to have the big
sponsors in the sport. But who is it going to hurt more to see Hornish
Jr. sit out because he hasn’t earned his spot, the Fortune 500 companies
or the fans who spend hours driving to the track and spend their hard
earned money on merchandise, tickets, hotel rooms, and everything else
that comes with such a great sport? In the long run, I think NASCAR
needs to spend some time assessing the fan base and concentrate a little
more on what we would want. It would be hard to make any money without
any fans…

Oh yea, 58 days until Daytona!!