This Week in Nascar

Nascar Weekly News and Notes for the Week of 2/28/08
by Virginia Vroom of

I was perusing the website and came across a very interesting
article. Now, while I hate to piggyback others ideas on what to write,
this topic really needs some light shed on it. What I am talking about
is Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series. Now
some may think, “Hey what’s the big deal?”, while others are sitting on
their couches wondering why in the world NASCAR officials allow drivers
to race across different series.

The idea behind the Nationwide series and the Cup series is essentially
to allow drivers to move up from the former to the latter when they have
come to a point that they are ready to compete against the big dogs like
Stewart, Gordon, and Johnson. Well, at least that was the original
intent. It seems nowadays that drivers use the Nationwide series as
warm-up for Sunday’s big race. This happens because, for the most part,
the Cup and Nationwide series tracks coincide every week. Cup drivers
see this as an opportunity to get a feel for the track and where the
tricks are to win the race. BUT (and that’s a big BUT) times have
changed this year. While opponents of double-dipping claim that the
drivers shouldn’t be doing so, Cup drivers now say that racing in the
Nationwide series has very little effect om their ability to drive
better in Sunday’s race because of the changeover to the COTs. This is
because Nationwide is still running the older car. Because of this, the
configuration change of the cars makes it too difficult to apply
anything from Saturday’s race to Sunday’s race.

That is the driver’s viewpoint. But there is another issue at hand
here. The Craftsman Truck Series is a good example of opponents’ views
on the issue of points. The claim here is that the Cup drivers are
taking away valuable championship points from those who race full-time
in the Truck series. Between both the truck series and the Nationwide
series, opponents claim that drivers need to run either full-time or not
at all. Those running part-time schedules should not be awarded points,
claim opponents of the double-dippers. The drivers claim that they have
every right to run as they see fit in any series. As long as they are
able to qualify, they should be able to run. They follow the same rules
as any other driver, so why not?


I see both sides of the story. The opponents are comprised mainly of
those teams who are bumped out of the race every week because Cup
regulars like Kyle Busch have no problem getting in. The thing that I
have a problem with is that those teams are complaining when they should
be working harder to get into the series. Busch, Johnson, Mark Martin,
and Tony Stewart were not handed golden spoons and just granted entrance
into the Cup series. They worked their way up from the bottom as well.
While they may be taking away from the championship points that they
are not competing for, all I can say is that those who ARE running a
full-time schedule need to run harder. I understand that money is a big
factor for who can and can not race, but Robby Gordon has proven that
virtually anyone with the amount of talent that the Cup drivers have can
somehow someway get into the race if they really want to.

What it comes
down to is this: There are always going to be circumstances surrounding
why someone does not make a race or why someone loses a championship.
The real story needs to be who can surpass those Cup regulars who stick
their noses where they may not belong. These are the real drivers who
are the future of Cup racing. I may catch a beating for saying this,
but, while I am a big fan of the Craftsman Truck Series and the
Nationwide series, who would know they existed without the faces of the
Cup drivers ever once in a while?