Sunday, May 04, 2008

What if the Stewart shoe were on the other foot?

I know there are bigger fish to fry in light of the end of Saturday night's race at Richmond, and I'll be addressing the Kyle Busch-Dale Earnhardt Jr. fracas in a column or blog (depending on what my newspaper wants) later today.

But Toyota's Lee White said something this weekend to David Newton of ESPN.com that I hadn't thought about – but should have.

Here’s the quote from Newton’s notebook:

"We're not a company that gets in the middle between owners and drivers," Lee White, the general manager of Toyota Racing Development, said before Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway. "If there is a manufacturer out there that is spearheading or brokering or promoting an activity like this, I can promise you it will not be Toyota. We don't consider that to be our role in the garage."

White is a crafty, well-spoken man. He knows how to use the language. Let me put what that quote means into plain-speak for you.

"When we came into NASCAR, a lot of people started talking about Toyota was going to come in and throw money around and 'buy' our way to Victory Lane.

"Now, one of the best drivers in sport is on a team we have a contract with. That driver, Tony Stewart, has a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing that doesn't expire until after 2009. But here we are talking about Stewart possibly going somewhere as soon as after this season, and it's widely accepted that a major impetus for that is Chevrolet's avowed interest in having Tony come back to Chevy. Where's the criticism of that?"

One thing I always try to do when examining a situation is to take it and turn it around.

Suppose Stewart had a contract with a Chevrolet team and Toyota officials were saying, "Yes, we're trying to get Tony Stewart to come to one of our teams, and we're willing to do whatever we can to make that happen. If he wants ownership of a team, we'll do that. Whatever it takes."

How loud would the anti-Toyota crowd be howling?

I think it's perfectly justified to wonder about the "sanctity" of NASCAR contracts.

Is it fair to their current teams for drivers and teams to be talking about what's going to happen 18 to 20 months away? Or is that merely a product of the complicated nature of deals these days?

But let's at least try not to have a complete double standard, shall we?

14 comments:

Amy said...

I think your point would be more well made if Tony had been driving for Toyota. Wouldn't any manufacturer want a former two-time champion back? Furthermore I don't think any is surprised that Tony is wanting back into Chevy. He was never bashful about his allegience to GM.

Diane said...

David - Your point is well taken. What I find ironic is that Joey Logano,the next JGR phenom, is driving a Chevy today in the ARCA race.

m said...

Diane - "David - Your point is well taken. What I find ironic is that Joey Logano,the next JGR phenom, is driving a Chevy today in the ARCA race."

No irony to be had there, Gibbs supplied the driver and pt crew nothing more.

The #25 was a Chevy because that's what Venturini Motorsports has run for a long time.

On another note, if a race takes place at Rockingham... will anyone know it?

Put another way, all the so-called "fans" of the place need to man-up and confess.

All the bitching and whining over The Rock losing out on race dates was nothing but a sham and hot air expelled just to hear themselves bitch as evidenced by the all the fans that were dressed as empty seats Sunday afternoon.

Diane said...

m - I know Venturini Motorsports were involved and that Billy V. was the CC. It just looked weird to see "JOE GIBBS" in large letters on the side of a Chevy.

Anonymous said...

Hey David: I had heard months ago by GM employees that Chevy wanted Tony back and were working on that! So it does not surprise me that they are possibly behind the scenes on these contract negotiations at all - I was actually expecting it. I also saw your column about the Jr/Busch tangle and I was at the Richmond Race and unfortunately sitting in row 2 below the start/finish line and the Jr/Busch have their racing deal - looked like Jr's fault as much as Busch's but Jr fans started their full beer can throwing right over our heads and I am glad to be alive and not brain-damaged - very scary. Get over it JR fans your going to hurt someone. Carolyn

Amy said...

m said~ "All the bitching and whining over The Rock losing out on race dates was nothing but a sham and hot air expelled just to hear themselves bitch as evidenced by the all the fans that were dressed as empty seats Sunday afternoon."

Well "M" it was an ARCA race. Nationwide races don't sell out either so I don't think that has much to do with the track.

Let me guess, you live on the west coast somewhere and think Las Vegas has the best racing, right?

DJ said...

Agree Amy........

Leave it to Poole and "m" to bring out the negatives instead of the positives of what Hillenberg has done.After reading "m" and Pooles' comments I felt a "hot air" moment.Funny thing is no one is better at expelling such airness and obviously loves to listen to himself more than "M".........

While I understand Poole's observation on the attendence,he as well as "M" failed to understand that this was not a CUP event in May.It was ARCA.Do you see alot of fans watching an ARCA race?It is a fact that the dates that the track had were almost always cold and affected attendence.Nascar didn't want to give The ROCK a decent climate date as the pressure mounted to give a race to Cali or Texas I believe.Granted the market wasn't a booming metropolitain area and that as well as the weather affected things.And Cali is a really exciting race right?And the fans really show up for that one?The "hot air" was made by me as well as others not within reasonable driving distance for an ARCA race having these same "hot air" things to say based on points like this and the fact that most of the drivers spoke highly of the place. If it was a CUP date in a better clmate the people would have come.....

I was there for 3 days and yes I was disappointed with the attendence.But there was plenty of areas that had fans there.Plenty of RV's and the fans there were excited to be there and be a part of the show.And a good show was put on by Hillenberg and his crew.There was plenty of good racing,even with the "rented mules" as Poole continues to win fans.The 25 was in a zone all by himself and his talent along with Gibbs and Venturini deal worked for him.You just had to be able to look all around the track to find some good racing.Hillenberg said he was pleased and made enough to pay the bills.His effort to bring back racing was what this was about.He suceeded and that is where Poole should have left it...

nh_nascarfan said...

Sorry folks, surprise surprise, I agree with David & M about the attendance at the Rock. I am as glad as anyone that racing returned, but if fans cant/wont show up for its grand reopening, when there is NO cup race that day and the weather is perfect, how can anyone assume they will show up for a Cup race if it were ever to return? Yeah, its ARCA, and those races don't sell out, but if the Rock is so wonderful, why didn't people go? Maybe a sellout might have been too much to expect, but better attendance than what we saw wasn't. Nationwide races, BTW, usually do get great attendance when they are stand alone events.

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

Amy said...

nh_nascarfan said~ if the Rock is so wonderful, why didn't people go?

Well, here in Illinois we didn't know the race was happening until Saturday afternoon. I suppose ARCA races are geographically marketed. Here's the million dollar question since you agree Rockingham should have stayed out of business, what tracks sell out for an ARCA race? Maybe "The Rock" could market themselves after these places.

nh_nascarfan said...

Amy,

I never said the Rock should have closed/stayed closed. Nor do ARCA races usually sell out... I am suggesting though that if locals - not people from Illinois or New Hampshire such as us - are so upset over losing it, they should have shown a bit more support and welcomed it back. If you live in that area and bemoan its losing its cup races and closing, you should celebrate its grand re-opening and attended the race. If they want to get Nationwide, truck or cup races back, they should have done a better job attending the race (an when I say 'they', I mean the local fans, not the track as by all accounts Hillenberg has done a great job since buying the joint - local fans should acknowledge that by buying tickets).

Just my opinion...

http://jetdryer.blogspot.com/

DJ said...

I am one of the "locals" NH and you don't know that the locals didn't support the effort as your all knowing self likes to think. I did attend as I said.I know people that supervised the suites and I know people close to Andy that know around 20,000 tickets were sold total.That doesn't mean all went.How do you know the locals didn't support the track?You and your buds seem to think that just because you didn't SEE them on TV they were'nt there.Plenty of local business supported the effort by buying tickets for there employees and whatnot.Do you know the actual population of the area?Did you noticed all the local sponsorship signs along pit wall?He said he needed around 9,000 sold tix to pay the bills.He did.That's it.A good show and it was a sucess whether you think the locals didn't support it or not.....

jacko said...

Maybe if they had run the race when the cup cars were out west somewhere instead of three hundred miles away in Richmond the night before, the crowd more than likely would have been larger. If I lived fairly close to both tacks, I'm pretty sure I'd have chosen Richmond on Saturday night.

Monkeesfan said...

I was as astonished as anyone at how few people showed up for Rockingham's official reopening; it left me wondering whether that demographic is really that much of a racing demographic after all.

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