Dodge-Ing The Bullet
The "Big Three" are in trouble. The time has come for some of America's richest and oldest companies to dodge the bullet. Or bite it.
However, the time to dodge may have already passed. Which leaves one option, bite and bite hard.
Ususally, Americans give but a passing glance to the Stock Markets. Until now. NASCAR fans should maybe give it a deeper look though. NASCAR, however is not in trouble, yet. However, drastic changes may be coming in the very near future that will change the face of NASCAR forever.
The "F-Word" maybe something we all have to face very soon. Franchising. It's the case for all other major sprots Football, Basketball and Baseball. Certain teams contracted to compete under certain rules in a certain system. NASCAR took a step in that direction not long ago with the "top-35" rule.
Since its conception in 1948 NASCAR has always considered every race team to be an "independant contractor." No pensions, no retirement plans or health insurance from the sanctioning body, they are there only to govern.
Look deep, the last time NASCAR went though anything similar to this was the late 1970s and the wound was not this deep. Franchising may be the best bet, but it's not time to implement this step yet.
The biggest worry has to be with Dodge. I honestly would recommend they exit the sport again because they really haven't had a strong showing since reappearing for the 2001 season. The competition of NASCAR is health, and ultimately that will drive the sport.
In 2008 Chevrolet and Ford each had 11 wins and Toyota was only one behind. Compare that to Dodge's dismal four and it shows. Next season the odds seem even more unfavorable. It looks as though Dodge will be down to seven full time cars, at best.
The average fan can add to the sport in several ways, the biggest would be to attend a race. It doesn't have to be a Cup event, just go to the track and keep the attendance numbers high.
Another way would be to let the sponsors know their role in the sport makes a difference, if your driver is Tony Stewart, shop where his sponsors are. I'd also like to point out one of the strangest things I've seen change since I've been a race fan (1998 or so) is the fading of Brand Loyalty.
It honestly bothers me that I see a "3" sticker on the back window of a Toyota Prius or Honda Civic—even a Ford Ranger decked out in Jeff Gordon colors and gear churn my stomach. My drivers drive Chevrolets on the weekend and I drive a bowtie during the week. My intentions are not for you to go sell your car or to not support your driver, just remember—money that stays in America helps America.
NASCAR is fine, and although it may have a change of face if the economy doesn't right itself within a year or two, America's best form of motorsport will be here to stay for many more years. The top-35 rule, as much as I hate it, was a necessary evil. That rule provides stability and assurance for sponsors. I know as long as there are cars on our roads, someone will be racing.
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