A couple of months ago I highlighted a new book, “Silent Speedways of the Carolinas,” by Perry Allen Wood. I’m currently reading it while on sundry vacation trips. What has caught my attention — and that was early on in the book — was how much the many, many people involved in the early “strictly stock” racing were so committed to the sport for the sport’s sake.
Now when I pick up a newspaper or open NASCAR.com, I’m immediately inundated with news of “the BUSINESS of NASCAR”.
Consider the recent Busch mergers of Hendrick and JR Motorsports and Childress and Harvick. On one of the NASCAR-themed TV shows this past Monday, a discussion was held on the possible sponsorship of Jr. by Pepsico — to the tune of a possible $30 million deal.
We also are reading about Yates teaming with the open-wheel organization of Newman/Haas/Lanigan. And don’t overlook the DEI/Ginn deal, preceded by Jack-in-the-Hat and Fenway. There’s also talk of Evernham getting together with someone with $$$.
I’m beginning to believe that NASCAR may be making the same mistake as F1, becoming the “champagne racing league” instead of remembering its “down-home” roots. My colleague Mike has lamented on several occasions that NASCAR may become a league of five-six multiple teams, despite NASCAR’s limiting to four the number of teams held by an owner.
If you’re interested, look up who has won races the past three years — I think there’s just one winner from a one-car team (I’m writing this while at the beach so I don’t have the statistics in front of me — I’ll publish them another time). So the BUSINESS of NASCAR is alive (and well?).
What do you think — too much BUSINESS and not enough racing?
Is that a good thing?