Where's the Developmental League in NASCAR?

Mark Eckhart Jr.Correspondent INovember 8, 2008

Most of the major sports in the United States have some sort of minor leagues for their athletes who aren't ready for the big time.

The idea behind these leagues are that the players who are underdeveloped, can work on certain aspects of their game, and hopefully one day be ready for the professional level.

Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?

Well NASCAR used to have a development league known as the Busch Series. It was a showcase for their young talent, that had hopes of one day making it up to the Cup level, and becoming competitive there.

I say it was a showcase because now I can't tell the difference from the so called "Nationwide" races, and the Sprint Cup ones.

I don't even know of any talent currently in the Nationwide Series because all the talk is about the Cup guys. We know they're good because they're Cup guys, we don't need to continue to see them on Saturdays.

How can we ever find young talent, if we never see it because it's stuck running mid-pack so the Cup guys can come down and steal the show?

This season, the Cup Regulars have accounted for 28 of the 34 victories, and Cup drivers have swept the top five 11 times.

When you're in a development league, you should be competing against guys who need as much work as you do on certain aspects, whether it be your driving, patience, feedback from within the car, or just running towards the front.

The Cup guys come down and take all of that away, except the patience because they demand respect from these young drivers.

The reason that they're in the Nationwide Series is to work on being more patient. They don't need guys like Tony Stewart coming down and demanding guys just pull over and let him go because his name is Tony Stewart.

I don't know if Tony realizes this, but it's a race, and they really don't owe him anything. The Cup guys are coming down into their series and taking all the attention, and taking away the chance for young drivers to get better.

If they were coming up to the Cup level, it would be way different, but they need to stay in the big time where you belong.

There are times during the companion events, where the field is half and half, and it seems like more because you know none of the Cup guys are going to run near the back.

Not to mention they take away spots from the Nationwide guys trying to make a living and make these races to be guaranteed a starting spot.

It's hard enough to be fast enough to make one of these races, but when you don't even remotely have the equipment to compete, it's essentially impossible.

NASCAR isn't like football, where any team can outplay any team on any given day. So much goes into these cars, and their preparation that if you don't have the resources, you won't be competitive.

There is no level playing field, because it all lies in the equipment and the teams each driver has. There's no doubt that the Cup guys have that advantage, and it's a little sad that they have to come down to the "Nationwide" Series to feel good about themselves and steal wins.

NASCAR needs to police this situation a whole lot better, by either seriously limiting the number of Cup guys allowed to race every week, or barring them altogether. They already have their own series, which attracts enough attention on its own.

A possible solution is to only let the top two or three championship contenders from the previous season that run full-time on the Cup level race, and select two random drivers from a pool that want to race in the series.

NASCAR can give them plenty of time to prepare for the race by drawing several weeks in advance.

I'm all for racing against better competition here and there to see how your team stacks up, and where you need to improve. When 75 percent of the competition or more is convincingly outrunning you, you don't learn anything about your program except that you're so far behind, it will take years to catch up.

NASCAR is a sport built all around momentum, and with only a few Cup guys running in the Nationwide Series, it would add just enough of a competitive edge to the series, to make the full-time Nationwide teams really go after it and try and beat those Cup guys, and then really assess their progress.

When you have five guys to beat, it becomes manageable, when its 25 you can basically forget about it. Things need to change and they need to change soon, and for the better.

That might even be the reason for some of the quick jumps to Cup recently. Team owners basically are running against the Cup guys already, so why not send them into the Lion's Den full time, and try and compete while running 30th.

That just doesn't work, and NASCAR is usually good about policy change, but I'm surprised they let this carry on for so long.

All I see in NASCAR almost every weekend are two Sprint Cup races, and I'm losing interest, and losing it quickly.