There is some shocking and upsetting news on the NASCAR front. It seems that NASCAR is in trouble and I'm not just talking about the fans unhappiness with the Chase and the million other things that are wrong with the Series.
No, it appears that the NASCAR money tree has died.
Alright, so maybe it's not shocking or upsetting to the fans who have been watching the state of the sport over the recent years.
But things have certainly taken a shocking and maybe even frustating turn during the final few months of the NASCAR season. For all three series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series things are rough.
Drivers started to lose their rides because teams had to close shop doors. Organizations started to talk merger with their rivals, all the while NASCAR stood in the background and prepared to celebrate a history-tying year.
It wasn't until things were going bad not only in the sport that we all love but in America that Brian France decided to make an appearance and shake things up. Something he does so well. And of course it was about the NASCAR money tree.
France announced that NASCAR would be banning all testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks beginning in 2009. He said it would help teams save "tens of millions" of dollars. The economy and state of the sport was so bad that instead of punishing themselves, NASCAR punished the teams.
No testing means no learning about the new car, which was another one of NASCAR's brilliant ideas. No testing means no driver development. No testing means nothing for the fans to watch come January. The list goes on and on.
The frustrating part is that this could have been avoided.
If things need to be cut back and money needs to be saved then teams shouldn't be sacrificing their performance and personnel to do it. NASCAR themselves should have stepped up to the plate and cut back.
Every weekend before the races start NASCAR puts on their own dog and pony show. It starts on Friday when they roll in all their tractor trailers. The NASCAR hauler, or principal's office, comes in. Another one for any parts or pieces they may confiscate from the teams during the weekend.
Soon TV trucks, sound trucks and radio trucks are arriving. Then comes the ESPN cut-away car and their TV truck or the FOX trucks and the Hollywood Hotel shows up. There are probably more that none of us even know about.
Before each race the TV viewers are treated to the pre-race show, the countdown to green, which practically repeats itself over and over every weekend. The stories and interviews are the same and most fans don't even tune in until the race actually begins.
For the fans at the track they too get a mini pre-race show. The green flag is flown in from a sky diver and after the starting line is introduced the drivers are driven around the track in either pick-up trucks or Corvettes.
Now, if NASCAR really wanted to cut back they would get rid of everything I just mentioned. Yes, for some of us it is fun to watch but in tough times we all need to ask ourselves in they are really necessary.
NASCAR could kill two birds with one stone. They could actually go back to their roots if they simply made NASCAR well, simple.
Get rid of the half-hour to hour pre-race show. Come on the air to preview the race for five or ten minutes, briefly interview the drivers, sing the National Anthem and then lets go racing.
Get rid of the Hollywood Hotel, Wally's World, cut-away cars, ESPN tech center and so on and so forth. And please forgo the ESPN feature that has the drivers spinning on that circle stage with men working on a car in the background. Once again not needed and believe it or not we NASCAR fans are pretty simple and we probably wouldn't miss it.
We just want cars on the track.
Fire the sky-diver, have the green flag in the flag stand where it belongs. And while we're at it get rid of all the pick-up trucks and Corvettes. We do want to get up close and personal with our favorite drivers but there has to be a cheaper way to do it.
Lastly, we only need one set of officials that can be used for all three Series. There's no reason to have three sets, Trucks, Nationwide and Cup officials and on top of that there is one assigned to each car. That's 36 in Truck and 43 in both Nationwide and Cup Series. Are the same people not qualified to work all weekend?
Simple, simple NASCAR: that's what we need. Brian France and company shouldn't have taken testing away, they should have looked at all the other things that go on in NASCAR and asked themselves if they were necessary.
All the aspects mentioned above are either being paid by France to be at the track or they are paying France to be there. And if that's the case it's no wonder they won't be going anywhere, France would rather see the teams suffer than his own pockets.