Nascar Weekly News and Notes
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
To go or not to go? That, my friends, is the question. What I’m talking about is the fourth annual Mexico City Nationwide race. To those in the series, Mexico City has become more of a pain in the butt than fun. Logistically, making the trip is miserable. Even if we eradicate the idea of economics altogether when it comes to taking the trip, we still have to account for the time, the stress, and the effort that it takes to get the entire crew and all of the equipment down there.
But hold on just a second. We can’t eliminate economics from the equation. Money rules the world. Anybody understands that much. So let’s take into account the money. Think about the fuel money alone that it costs to get down there! These days, that’s a ridiculous amount of money to be spent just on fuel. Think about the money it costs for the teams to transport everything and everyone down there. Think about the cost of food, the cost of accommodations, and even the cost of things like passports and getting through customs. It is an exorbitant amount of money being spent. Some even argue that the cost of getting there and getting back is enough to ruin the deal. Few people actually make any money out of this endeavor. Many are lucky not to lose it.
Speaking of losing money, take into consideration the fact that this is the NATIONWIDE series, NOT the Cup series. These drivers are running on a much more limited financial status than someone like Tony Stewart. There are drivers racing in the series that are lucky to qualify here in America. Going to Mexico City is out of the question for some teams.
Additionally, I think it’s important to bring up how Juan Pablo Montoya, the defending champion of this race, has decided to forego his appearance this year in Mexico. Don’t you find that a little bit disturbing? It’s not only the fact that he’s the defending champion, but it’s his heritage!!! If Juan Pablo does not think it’s important, then who else will?
I guess you could argue that this is a great race for this particular series to stand on its on two feet without the Cup series taking the spotlight this weekend since there isn’t a race here in America. By the numbers, NASCAR.com reported that the attendance in Mexico City last year was near 73,000 while the attendance at the Atlanta race was a mere 25,000. I do not think this is an accurate depiction of devotion to the sport, though. Last year, there was so much hype surrounding Juan Pablo and this particular race that of course everyone wanted to see it. Plus it’s a road course, and road courses are a nice change of pace. BUT, has NASCAR truly gone global? I think not. While there may be fan support in Mexico for Nationwide racing, there is not enough to justify maintaining this on the schedule unless they plan to expand the series to more locales outside of Mexico City. As it stands, there are too many losses to outweigh to benefits.
All in all, Mexico City is a fun race to watch, but I do not think that it is fair to the drivers and the teams who have to make that trek every year. It’s come to a point where its popularity has peaked. Unless expansion occurs or there are plans in the works, I think it would be best to mark Mexico City off the calendar. I know this will get a lot of flack, but what’s so wrong with NASCAR being an American sport? Are we so pressured by the other major league sports to become global that we feel the need to justify one race a year to compete? I do not think it’s necessary. NASCAR’s popularity has stood on its own for this long and I think it will remain so.