The economic downturn can be felt in all forms of auto racing, from Formula One to NASCAR. Due to the troubled economy, NASCAR officials have already banned all testing, Dodge has pulled factory support from the truck series, and many of the teams have begun extensive layoffs, merged with each other, and even closed the shop altogether. So you ask, “How can this be good for NASCAR?”
Simple, it evens the playing field. With testing gone, and even big teams like Roush-Fenway Racing laying off employees, this could be the chance for smaller, underfunded teams to make their move.
For example, Michael Waltrip Racing has struggled the first few years of its existence. Its not that they are a bad team, it’s just that the “power-house” teams, like Hendrick and Joe Gibbs Racing, are over shadowing them. If a team like MWR came along say in the mid-'90s, they would have been dominant!
But now NASCAR is driven by money, and if you don’t have it, you don’t win. Now with the economy problems, this may help MWR, and all the “smaller” teams, become more competitive.
Now what will happen if manufactures pull support from higher up the ranks like in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series? I don’t think much will happen.
First of all, I don’t think the economy will get much worse, so there may be no need for the manufactures to pull support.
Second of all, the teams can make due. Although one Dodge team in the truck series, Bobby Hamilton Racing, has closed shop, many of the Dodge teams are still going to run Dodges, even without the support. Many Sprint Cup teams can afford to run without factory support, and I don’t see that being a big deal.
Overall, other than a large number of layoffs, the average fan shouldn’t see a negative impact of the NASCAR world due to a slow economy. The only difference that I see forthcoming is more competitive racing. And in the end, isn’t that what we all want?