Saturday, January 23, 2010
When I heard about all the changes NASCAR was making to better the sport for it’s fans and drivers, all I could think about was how this giant in the business world must have hit rock bottom, or at least the depths close to the bottom that NASCAR has never seen.
The announcements made by the NASCAR suits in Charlotte this past week were highlighted by NASCAR saying they would be “more relaxed” and encourage drivers to show more emotions. They also said changes would be made to increase the hole in the restrictor plates and go back to the spoiler instead of the rear wing.
Many companies in the current economic climate have had to regroup, change strategies and come up with new game plans to be able to realistically forecast growth, but seldom do they admit their faults to the public or financial analysts.
NASCAR’s new plan is to basically go back to the old plan, which is admitting their faults in past changes. It is commendable that they can admit their past failures in decision making, but it would have appeared more earnest if no so desperate.
Once some of the others came along with advertising campaigns just as big, like “Papa John’s“, and revenues were way down making their year over year charts look like the “diver down” flag, they shared all their recipe changes in a last ditch effort to get their slice of the business pie. In doing so, they shared comments from customers about how bad the pizza used to be, “It tasted like cardboard” and “the sauce is like ketchup”.
So now this big business pizza joint, who I thought was just fine but still never ordered much from, is admitting to me how bad the pizza used to be. They’re taking a 50-50 shot that they’ll maybe get some old clientele back, but they’re also alienating those who liked the old stuff. It’s business suicide, but it was a measure they were willing to take before the nose dive went off the charts.
In NASCAR’s case, we don’t have a Papa John’s circuit to run to for alternative stock car racing. It’s the only game in town, but why couldn’t they have come clean with their faults, which everyone had cried aloud about, when everything was rolling well with NASCAR’s bank account and future?
Last season saw television ratings increase slightly in only seven of the 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup events compared to 2008. The economy was bad, but most folks had TV sets before things went sour. The writing was on the wall and they needed some momentum for the next big TV contract in 2014, plain and simple.
The double-file restarts -- in the middle of the down 2009 season -- was a sign that NASCAR would be willing to do just about anything to garner more recognition and impress the sponsors and networks
How do you tell the likes of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to go ahead and be that colorful personality with a style that the fans love and hate equally at the same time when it was NASCAR who made them stay after school writing “I will not misbehave again or else” a thousand times on the chalk board.
In a way, it’s refreshing to see a sport react so swiftly and make the subtle changes. On the other hand, NASCAR is also showing that it’s business is being run like a Korean liquor store where the prices fluctuate on a daily basis with never an ounce of consistency.
Can you picture the NASCAR fan that took a 10-year hiatus from the sport and he’s being told about all the “new” things going on in stock car racing. The first response might be, “why the hell did they make a change to a rule that was already there.”
And I don’t even want to attempt explaining all the add-on changes throughout the Chase for the Championship format, along with why Labor Day weekend doesn‘t have a race at Darlington anymore.
Again, it’s the only game in town.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
JGR announced it has signed driver Kyle Busch to a "multi-year" contract that will keep Busch with the team for the next several seasons. "It's something we've been working on for a while," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We probably could've announced this earlier. We were just getting some of the details ironed out and finalized. Watching him grow off the track as well as on the track has been exciting for us. We look forward to many years together racing up front."
Kyle Busch said there "wasn't much convincing needed" to come back to the team after the 2010 season, when his first contract was set to expire. The team wouldn't say how many years the contract is, though Gibbs said they could announce that in the future.
Penske Racing has picked up the option on Kurt Busch's contract for 2011, team owner Roger Penske said on Monday night. The contract allows Busch to talk to other teams next season, but Penske said he has the right to match any offer. Penske added that it is his intention to keep the 2004 Sprint Cup champion with the organization long term. Busch said he likes having the option to explore, but it is his goal to work out a long-term deal with Penske. "Absolutely," Busch said during the final stop on the first day of the 2010 Media Tour. "I like where I am. I like where things are going."
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
NSCS=NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
NNS=NASCAR Nationwide Series
NCWTS=NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
ARCA=ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards
Thursday, February 4TH
Noon - 4:50 PM ARCA PRACTICE
5:00 PM 5:45 PM NSCS BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT PRACTICE
6:00 PM ARCA GARAGE CLOSES
6:30 PM 7:30 PM NSCS FINAL BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT PRACTICE
8:00 PM DRAWING FOR BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT LOCATED OUTSIDE TURN FOUR ON THE SPEED STAGE
Friday, February 5TH
11:00 AM ARCA QUALIFYING (TWO LAPS, ALL POSITIONS)
2:10 PM 3:30 PM NSCS PRACTICE
4:00 PM 5:30 PM NSCS PRACTICE
5:40 PM 6:30 PM ARCA FINAL PRACTICE
Saturday, February 6th
10:00 AM ARCA GARAGE OPENS
1:05 PM DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING PRESENTED BY KROGER (TWO LAPS, TWO POSITIONS)
2:30 PM ARCA DRIVERS MEETING
4:00 PM ARCA DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
4:30 PM LUCAS OIL SLICK MIST 200 ARCA RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY RE/MAX AND MENARDS RACE (80 LAPS, 200 MILES)
7:50 PM NSCS BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
8:10 PM NSCS BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT (75 LAPS, 187.5 MILES)
Wednesday, February 10TH
12:00 PM 1:30 PM NSCS PRACTICE
2:00 PM 2:50 PM NSCS PRACTICE (FINAL PRACTICE BEFORE GATORADE DUEL AT DAYTONA)
3:00 PM 5:00 PM NNS PRACTICE
6:00 PM 7:30 PM NCWTS PRACTICE
Thursday, February 11TH
9:00 AM 11:00 AM NCWTS FINAL PRACTICE
11:30 AM 1:00 PM NNS FINAL PRACTICE
1:40 PM NSCS DRIVERS INTRODUCTIONS
2:00 PM NSCS GATORADE 150 MILE QUALIFYING RACES (60 LAPS-150 MILES, EACH
6:10 PM NCWTS QUALIFYING (TWO LAPS, ALL POSITIONS)
Friday, February 12TH
1:10 PM NSCS “HOT PASS” IN EFFECT
1:40 PM 2:40 PM NSCS PRACTICE
3:10 PM NNS QUALIFYING (TWO LAPS, ALL POSITIONS)
7:30 PM N CWTS DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
8:00 PM NCWTS NEXTERA ENERGY RESOURCES 250 RACE (100 LAPS, 250 MILES)
Saturday, February 13TH
10:00 AM NSCS “HOT PASS” IN EFFECT
ALL TIMES EASTERN & TENTATIVE, SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Friday, January 15, 2010
It would be nice if the season could end with a more volatile type of race to close out the season to add a little more drama to the Chase.
The perfect way to do it is add another restrictor plate race into the mix, preferably Daytona. Starting and ending the season at Daytona makes perfect sense—almost too much sense.
If we’re going to go nostalgic about the July Daytona race and its history, that argument shouldn’t stand in the way. Moving Darlington’s Southern 500 after being NASCAR’s ultimate historical race means that anything can be done.
Somehow, Miami to close out the year just doesn’t get the NASCAR juices flowing. Maybe it’s all that NASCAR history they have there or maybe it’s just all the Cuban sandwiches, not sure.
But I do know that it doesn’t feel like NASCAR and it definitely shouldn’t be the closer.
We start the NASCAR season with such pageantry and hoopla surrounding the sport's biggest race as opposed to how most sports have their grand finale to close out the year. Nothing will be bigger than the Daytona 500, but a night race with all the marbles on the line and so many variables to decide the outcome of the season could make the season finale truly go out with a bang.
The current network deal has six years remaining and with the way ratings have declined the last year, it’s likely NASCAR may be up to any kind of positive change in the sport as evident by some of the recent knee-jerk reaction in making sudden changes such as the double-file restarts.
Ratings are what it’s all about to the networks and when money talks, NASCAR listens. As far as the fans are concerned, it’s not known how well they would receive a change like moving Daytona to close out the year, but there are plenty of moans and groans about how the Chase has ended the last few years.
The July Daytona race always gets fans pumped up and the ratings are always high. It’s not about what stage it is in the season, it’s simply because it’s Daytona and all fans take notice and mark off the calendars.
The 2010 season is set, but it would be nice to hear some kind of discussion being made. NASCAR/ISC would have to weigh out all their pie-charts and forecasts to see if the move would be a positive financially for both their facilities—Homestead-Miami and Daytona. I think it’s safe to say that it would be a win-win for both tracks and NASCAR in the long run.
Even if Miami showed a small loss, it still would be a winner by the gains of their sister track in Daytona, not to mention the overall increase in ratings which would make NASCAR happy, especially when year 2015 comes inching closer for a new TV deal.
The Miami race doesn’t get hardly a blip of attention despite it being the finale because it’s going against the NFL on Sunday and Saturday has pivotal College Football conference games.
Daytona alone would change that and alter some of the viewer destinations for that weekend, both from their living rooms and for others, a possible vacation.
The Gator, Bulldog, and Game Cock fans would definitely have something to mull over for that weekend and Daytona likely wins the decision because simply, it's Daytona.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
ESPN executive vice president John Skipper says the decision is based on the cable network’s higher ratings.
ESPN has aired six races a year the past three seasons, while ABC has had 11 each year.
ESPN’s portion of the NASCAR schedule will begin with the July 25 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC will air Saturday night races at Bristol, Richmond and Charlotte.