Friday, November 07, 2008

Economy may require more than a debris caution

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Things are getting so tough in the economy these days that even people in stock car racing are beginning to notice it.

“I learned a very valuable lesson,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. “I think that when things are going really, really well ... you want to hire this guy because he’s a buddy of yours and you want to bring this guy in because you’re related to him and this guy in because you heard he’s great. You’ve got to be careful.

“ ... You need to just take what you can afford and when it comes to assets, people, parts, pieces, everything. We were all on the upswing for so long I think a lot of people kept it under control and some people got a little ahead of themselves a little bit.”

That may not sound like piercing business analysis, but the Sprint Cup garage can be an insulated place. The real world doesn’t always get through the gate.

This situation, though, is different. When General Motors announced Friday that it lost $2.5 billion in the third quarter and could run out of money by next year without government help, people had to notice.

“We certainly worry about it," Jimmie Johnson said. "I think everyone in the world is worried about their financial future."

A GM official told scenedaily.com that the company would be able to honor its contractural obligations to NASCAR teams in 2009. But GM has already made cuts in its marketing plans and teams clearly can’t expect the manufacturer to add a lot of things to what it is absolutely committed to provide.

GM has called off any talks of merging with Chrysler and its racing officials have nixed any NASCAR mergers that would involve associations with teams running another manufacturer’s product.

The effect of that for NASCAR is that some teams have fewer options as they try to stay alive and competitive than they would otherwise have had.

There’s talk of layoffs – hundreds of them – once the current NASCAR season ends. Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt Jr.’s team, JR Motorsports, have already cut staff. Depending on how you count it, as many as 15 current full-time Cup teams face questions about their sponsorship for 2009. You can multiply that number by two or three if you include the Nationwide and Truck series.

Earnhardt Jr. was probably right Friday when he said GM is too big for the government to allow to fail outright. But if you think NASCAR is going to come through the next 18 months or so with things just like they are right now, you’re nuts.

Everybody seems to understand this. Everybody, perhaps, but NASCAR itself.

Actually, to be fair, NASCAR seems to be aware that things aren’t lovely. Plans to allow Cup teams to test 24 days next year seem to be on hold.

What NASCAR needs to do is make that number zero. Some teams will still go to tracks not on the circuit to test, but if NASCAR allows 12 days of testing on tracks where Cup cars race then every team that wants to be competitive will have to test 12 days.

NASCAR also is right not to make rules changes to the new car. New rules make teams spend more money, and that’s not smart right now. The racing might be better if cars were allowed to raise the splitter and travel more as they go into the turns, but now it not the time to introduce those variables to the sport.

What NASCAR isn’t doing, though, is providing enough of the kind of leadership this sport needs. I know NASCAR wants to treat teams like independent contractors because that makes their business lives a lot less complicated. But I don’t know if that model works anymore.

Can NASCAR just sit around and afford to let six, eight or 10 race teams just go away, figuring someone else will come eventually to replace them?

I guess it can, but I don’t think it should.

44 comments:

Monkeesfan said...

When government meddles in the market, nothing good ever comes of it, and the increasingly all-purpose excuse being used is used by Junior here - "too big to fail." GM saying it needs government help ignores that it and the other two companies are already getting $25 billion in government bailout money. The point here is not that GM shouldn't get help, it is that it needs to start taking real action on its own part - beginning with permanently severing all business with the UAW, which inflated salaries beyond any and all sustainable reason and which is shut out of business with Honda et al - and the time has long passed for "too big to fail" to be stricken as a policy argument - Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae should be allowed to fail because they were corrupt government loan sharks, some of these other entities getting govenment bailouts (listed in the link) should be allowed to fail because the solution ultimately is to let the market work.

David, banning testing can not work, at all. It is part of the problem in discussing this issue. By citing the economy (whch despite everything is still stronger than most people give it credit for) we're passing the buck away from the real problem, which is what KMart's chief noted in 2002 about why his company would not continue its NASCAR sponsorships - NASCAR is a bottomless pit of spending. It is a point Roman Boruta of Purolator - and how many of you pinkhat racing "fans" remember them? - made forcefully in July 1993; it is a point others have made over the years.

That, as you note at the end, NASCAR is not listening is obvious enough. But saying "new rules make teams spen more money" is foolish, because new rules don't do that; the teams do it of their own volition; moreover, the manifest failure of the COT requires major changes to it, because this thing doesn't work and nothing short of conversion back to the "old" bodystyle will make it work.

Where NASCAR needs to take action is a mandatory team spending cap of $30 million for a three-car team - put in all entry blanks that all teams must open their books to NASCAR and verify that they do not spend more than $30 million a season on three cars. Non-compliance = disallowance of the entry blank. It will of course require disbanding of some cars from a multicar team - The #5 of Hendrick, #16 and #26 of Roush, for instance - but this has been needed for years.

You're right to note that the "independent contractor" charade doesn't work anymore. The bottom line is thus that NASCAR can'tplay that game anymore and it has to stop the biggest teams in the sport from paying the bankrupter game anymore. Cap team spending at $30 million for three cars.

3KillerBs said...

"Too big to fail" is nonsense. Companies that can't stay afloat based on sound business practices and good management deserve to fail. In fact, they HAVE to fail -- because only then can a company of bad practices be replaced by one that does a better job of serving their customers.

The "Big 3" auto manufacturers failed to keep in touch with their customers, they let greedy unions bully them into paying outrageous wages far in excess of the true, market-value of the work, and they failed to modernize their factories for efficient production.

Let them fall. Yes, there will be unpleasant consequences in many areas, but that's the fault of the Ford, GM, and Chrysler management who messed up, not of taxpayers like us who put our foot down about throwing money at dying businesses.

Somewhere in the US there is someone who has an idea for building a car that meets peoples' needs right now, who has an idea for producing cars in a more efficient way, who knows how to run a company on a shoestring instead of a 12-lane freeway. The fat cats fall and the lean, mean, alley cats rise.

As for Nascar, some of the owners already know the lesson Dale Jr. just got hit with -- hire people you NEED and stop. Those who manage their teams well will succeed regardless of the economy and with or without factory support. Those who don't will fail.

And somewhere out there there are guys with cars in their garages and dirt under their fingernails will rise up and try to fill the empty spaces (aren't "old-school" fans continually whining about the need for more "independent" teams anyway?).

Of those, the ones who run their businesses well and do more with less will establish themselves as the next generation of top teams.

The economy runs in cycles. After a dip comes a rise. Bad management fails, good management prevails. Same in Nascar as in the rest of the free market. Its not broken and it doesn't need fixing.

Anonymous said...

The FIRST person that they need to DRUG TEST is Brian France.
He is living in a rich boy's fantasy world.

waltandbrenda said...

Don't you just love NASCAR? They play both sides of the equation soooo well. When they want to fine someone or confiscate a car or require someone to give access to the media they want to have total control of things but when the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly those same people and teams become "independent contractors" and they disassociate themselves from involvement or responsibilty. NASCAR needs to get it's head out of the sand and acknowlege that there are real financial problems looming for the sport.It needs to treat the teams that ARE it's product a lot bettter in these troubled financial times. The goverment has had to step in & financially support banks & businesses that are in danger of collapse for the good of the economy. NASCAR needs to do the same....re-invest some of all that money they've made through the years to insure some of these lesser, but loyal, teams don't fall by the wayside. Instead, they remind me of Kevin Bacon standing in the middle of the chaos at the end of Animal House, hands raised, yelling "All is Well!"

midasmicah said...

It's kind of sad. As na$car has pushed the COT forward, it seemed they were making the auto manufacturers no longer relevant. I think in their ignorance, they thought they were untouchable. Now even with the auto makers on a downward spiral, na$car still acts like Nero fiddling while Rome is burning. With an enemic economy and widespread apathy because of the present day racing (or lack thereof) fans are making a mass exodus. Even when the economy strenthens a lot of longtime core fans will not return unless na$car starts listening to them. I hope they listen and forget this IROC concept of racing and bring back competitive events. But I'm not holding my breath. Thanks for listening.

GregGore said...

I think everybody is failing to notice the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The situation we are currently facing in the financials is quite unlike anything we have experienced since the 1930's. Lot's of folks will confidently explain to you we are not going to see another depression such as the one triggered in 1929 when credit suddenly became unavailable but is that really true? Our elected officials and the insiders are not telling you the truth about the size of this financial crises. A major problem with the bailout scheme is that it misrepresents the ongoing credit crunch as a problem of illiquidity, or lack of cash. In reality, however, it is a lack of trust that has been created by the widespread insolvency in the financial market. In such an environment of widespread insolvency and lack of trust, owners of cash rush to safety: buying treasury bills, investing abroad, or hoarding their cash, thereby creating something akin to a black hole for cash—or a "liquidity trap," as John Maynard Keynes called it.

The "lack-of-cash" premise has been successfully promoted to justify extraction of more than a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money in the vain hope that it will free the "troubled assets" and create liquidity in the financial markets, thereby triggering a much-needed wave of lending, borrowing and expansion.

There is strong evidence, however, that the amount of junk assets is simply too big to be rescued by the bailout giveaway. Wall Street banks and other financial gamblers are, of course, aware of this. And that is why they have lost faith in credit markets and in the business of lending, including lending to each other.
We don't really yet know how serious the problem is because of the massive toxicity bearing credit default swaps in the hedge funds but it is probably on the order of hundreds of trillions of dollars. The $700 billion figure reported in the recently passed government TARP rescue (govt bailout) plan is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the actual sheer magnitude of the problem and not significant enough to do much if anything at all. We have a real crises on our hands and it's not going away anytime soon with any of the fixes currently being proposed.

Anonymous said...

"Where NASCAR needs to take action is a mandatory team spending cap of $30 million for a three-car team - put in all entry blanks that all teams must open their books to NASCAR and verify that they do not spend more than $30 million a season on three cars."

This has to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard. There's no way to enforce it regardless of what you think. We just had someone skate by for awhile for acid dipping sheetmetal. You think they'll be genuine on the costs.

And disallowing entry blanks. LMAO. Yeah, Tony George and Don Panoz would be more than willing to have more entrants in their series. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be racing at Richmond not in a Chevy folks, but in a Dallara, after Hendrick Motorsports was disallowed from NASCAR competition. NASCAR would subjugate itself to being a minor-league series where the highlight attraction is Clint Bowyer if you have your way.

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #7, dumb is denying the long-standing economic reality that the sport requires a spending cap. "There's no way to enforce it." Oh yes there is - the teams don't control the entry blank. You want to race, you have to open your books and cut your spending, otherwise your entry blank is denied. NASCAR has already denied entry blanks, doing so to a fifth DEI car at Watkins Glen. The way is there; economic reality requires the will. NASCAR would not become a "minor league attraction" at all. Far from it. There is no such thing as a sport becoming "minor league" because it forces teams to cut their spending.

3killerbs, the last 20 years have made nonsense of the "cycles" argument. The "someone else will rise up and take their place" situation is not happening anymore.

greggore - "we have a real crisis on our hands." So what are we supposed to do about it? It isn't anything the market can't solve; it is government meddling that always delays solving.

Anonymous said...

"...dumb is denying the long-standing economic reality that the sport requires a spending cap."

And how do you enforce it?

If Hendrick says his engine sitting in his car costs $15000 or something, how do you verify that it costs 15k and not 20k or 25k or 30k? You'd also pretty much be stating that a mechanic on a team is only allowed to make so much money, so you would be setting people's pay based on how much you think he is worth, which is communist political theory.

Salary caps by their very nature are little more than communist devices whereby a private entity is limited from trying to improve itself on the principle of "everyone is equal" and "we are not going to let you try to win at the best of your abilities". You say on one hand "the government meddles in the market, nothing good ever comes of it", and now you want "the government of NASCAR" to impose spending limits?

There already is something imposing spending limits, it's called economic reality. If Hendrick doesn't have as much money from his sponsors, he's not going to spend as much money. You say it's wrong for the government to meddle with the markets and then want NASCAR to meddle with the teams racing in their series. That's one heckuva whirlwind in logic. Come back when you can be ideologically consistent.

Anonymous said...

"...For when you look at the business of professional sports—in both Europe and the United States—American sports are virtually all socialistic while the European soccer leagues more closely resemble the entrepreneurial capitalism we Americans fetishize."

http://www.slate.com/id/2103170/

AMS fan said...

Spending cap?
1 checkbook?
2 checkbooks?
3 checkbooks?
4 checkbooks?
1 company?
2 company?
3 company?
4 company?

How could anyone find out what a team spends?

Anonymous said...

It appears that the economy is putting the crowning touch on what NASCAR started. They ignored their original fan base and went after the big market cities across the Country. They changed starting times and forced the tracks to put in lights so they could sidestep competition with the NFL. They changed the nature of the tracks and cars to make them all cookie cutter copies. They and the media tell us how much we love restrictor plate races, which are in fact, the most boring races on the schedule. (Unless of course, you relish the opportunity of career ending wrecks) They changed the format of the series to include a World Series that many didn't want, don't like, and does little in it's present format to alleviate the problem of an unexciting championship. There wasn't that big a problem. They allowed a foreign competitor with incredibly deep pockets to come in and further alienate the manufacturers who had all ready lost product recognition. Perhaps the economy will pull the plug an a patient NASCAR had all ready put in the intensive care unit. If they're serious about trying to save the series and also save the teams from economic ruin, their first step is to drastically shorten the schedule. We don't need a sport that occupies an almost full calender, and the teams can't afford it. Ask a driver what he thinks. I know that will make the current "chase" format untenable, but just consider that a fortunate byproduct.

Anonymous said...

"The Bigger THEY are, The Harder THEY Fall....."

NASCAR'S greed, incredulousness and overall disdain for its loyal followers has finally caught up. The economy presents challenges for everyone......even good ol' boys and their lemmings.

Karma is a funny thing, and it will "Bitch Slap" anybody, especially those most deserving.

It might be a good idea not to anoounce that the Chase Champion wins a 14 million dollar - plus bonus at the fabulous Waldorf Astoria banquet........

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #12, here is what is wrong with your epistle -

1 - The cars were "cookie cutter" 20 years ago. The tracks are not what drove fans away.

2 - "They and the media tell us how much we love restrictor plate races which are in fact the most boring races on the schedule." That makes you a liar. 50-plus lead changes is the norm in restrictor plate races; to call that boring is stupidity squared. The plate races are the most competitive in the sport and the races that consistently draw the highest ratings.

3 - The schedule not only does not need to be shortened, it needs to add races. Take away the short tracks and the road courses if the schedule needs fewer races.

4 - You ignore that team spending is the culprit. The answer is thus self-evident - restrict the spending.


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ams fan, NASCAR can find this out by putting it in the entry blanks - you have to open your books to the sanctioning body and show how much you spend on your raceteams, else you don't race; you have to restrict your spending to $30 million for three cars, else you don't race. The problem isn't effort, it's will.


---------------


Anonymous #9, again, you put in the entry blank that teams have to verify ALL their costs on their raceteams and limit their spending on those teams to $30 million on three cars. They know how much goes into how teams prepare their cars; knowing what they spend and thus stopping them is not something beyond NASCAR's ability. It's all about will.

Spending caps are not the same as government meddling in the economy; government meddling is about picking the winners beforehand; Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were government sanctioned because otherwise they were going to lose in the competition of market. Spending caps simply limit spending.

Anonymous #10, Slate is not that credible an analyst of economics.


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To those opposing a spending cap - What alternative is there? No one in the sport should be spending close to what they presently are. Period.

Anonymous said...

The hell with the millionaires club they could use knocking down a notch or two what about the real people of the sport. We the fans are the real ones hurting.

Anonymous said...

1 - The cars were "cookie cutter" 20 years ago. The tracks are not what drove fans away.

A:Under the skin, but they still were identifiable with the Manufacturer. In reality, NASCAR hasn't been NASCAR for some time. Why would Chevy sponsor a car with the same body as a Ford, Or Ford sponsor a car with the same body as a Dodge? Doesn't make sense.

2 - "They and the media tell us how much we love restrictor plate races which are in fact the most boring races on the schedule." That makes you a liar. 50-plus lead changes is the norm in restrictor plate races; to call that boring is stupidity squared. The plate races are the most competitive in the sport and the races that consistently draw the highest ratings.

A: Daytona is the Superbowl of NASCAR, and the first race of the season. Of course it will get decent ratings. That doesn't mean it is well liked. Of the dozens of NASCAR friends I have, none like the restrictor plate races. You can't equate those races as competitive when luck is the determining factor as to who even finishes the race. There is a reason the drivers don't like them. I don't know you, so I don't know if you even watched them before the plates, but there is no comparison.

3 - The schedule not only does not need to be shortened, it needs to add races. Take away the short tracks and the road courses if the schedule needs fewer races.

A: Obviously Daytona is your favorite based on your previous comments. Short tracks have been the life blood of NASCAR and their loss is a shame. Try and get a ticket for Bristol if you doubt it. How exciting is it to see 5 tracks patterned after Charlotte?

4 - You ignore that team spending is the culprit. The answer is thus self-evident - restrict the spending.

It would be nice, if possible to limit spending, but it's not. The ONLY way to save money is to limit the schedule. The end result would be a healthier sport, it needs an off season. You build interest, and aren't competing against all three major sports, as a fringe benefit.

I understand that your position is completely opposite mine, so there is not much room for compromise. I guess we can agree to disagree.

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #16, yes we may not get anywhere in this discussion, but a response is still necessary -

1 - Two decades ago the cars were so much more alike than different that I first started noticing grumbling about "cookie cutter cars" in the varied auto racing papers I read then. But this was inevitable because there are only so many differenes they can put in the cars before they get away from being competitive - the cars looked like raindrops becaus that is the optimum aerodynamic shape.

2 - It is flatly not believable that anyone you or I know don't like the plate races - specially when those races usually outdo the others in TV ratings and attendence - I remember several rain-delayed races in 1986 and Talladega was the only race where literally everyone who came on Sunday returned on Monday, because it was a race that promised far more competition than anything else - and it delivered as the lead canged 56 times among 20 drivers.

It is not luck that determines anything - the moves that happen come because the drivers force the issue. You have that argument backwards, because it is when passing is so difficult that luk becomes the detemining factor - the leader is going to stay there without risk unless luck changes.

Yes, I watched them before the restrictor plaes, and I used to hate themonly because Richard Pettywas struggling in them. Once his team started getting competitive in them my selfishness on that issue went way. "There is a reson why the drivers don't like them." Not a valid one; they have to grow the hell up here if they still dislike them.


3 - "How exciting is it to see five tracks patterned after Charlotte?" So what? That's not the problem - the problem is they're a mile too small.

As for short tracks being the lifeblood of NASCAR, they were the ones dropped from the schedule by Winston, because the sport had outgrown them. The ones that stayed on the schedule did so both because of shared loyalty between the Frances and the Campbells, the Earles, the Staleys, Larry Carrier, and Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway, and bcause they held "major" events - races 250 miles or longer. Of the sport's greatest races, they have all happened on the big ovals.

Citing Bristol ignores that that demographic is a very strong racing demographic. The hype for Bristol is never matched (or even close to matched) by the racing. The bottom line is the Winston Cup level does not need short tracks anymore.


4 - "It's not possible to limit team spending." Absolutely it is possible - you require constant verification through the entry blanks; it is a question not of possibility, but of will.

The sport does not need a shorter schedule because it has never reduced costs and it stifles demand and shortchanges everyone - competitors, fans, promoters, everyone. Yes there is need for rest period, but the sport has one already. "You build interest." When they're out of sight, they're out of mind; there is literally no evidence that a shorter schedule builds inteest. Demand forced a longer schedule; we need to accept that the schedule cannot be seriously cut.

3KillerBs said...

The only way a spending cap could exist is if the teams were no longer individual businesses acting as independent contractors but were turned into divisions of Nascar and treated as employees. No business (Nascar), can legally tell their independent contractors (the teams), how to run their businesses.

This is not Nascar being stupid/stubborn/out-of-touch/etc. This is THE LAW about the difference between employees and independent contractors. (Mr. Poole, maybe a look into this would be a good off-season topic?)

In any case, why people who continually whine that Nascar and Brian France are evil would want to put Nascar in charge of all the teams that way escapes me completely.

nh_nascarfan said...

The government needs to get out of the business of trying to regulate capitalism as it has no place doing so. It ends up being a waste of time and more importantly, MY money. As a capitalistic society, the system will self correct provided it is allowed to do so.
To deny that the economy is hurting is crazy, however the numbers clearly show that it is not as bad as the media outlets have been writing about over the past year or so. The problem is perception; many who are in very secure jobs with secure incomes are still tightening their belts and waiting for the media to proclaim everything is all better (which I am guessing will be mid 2010… enough time for the new administration to take credit for the fix, despite the self correction that the economy will make regardless of what policies Washington decides to enact). People are holding off on purchasing new vehicles, new computers, new appliances, remodeling their homes, taking trips, and more. The perception of a depression is only worsening the current situation.
On a related note, bailing out any corporation that was mismanaged to begin with only enables more of the same bad practice. To say that one party ‘rewarded companies for going overseas with tax credits’ is a bold faced lie and misrepresents the true facts of the economy. Companies will go where their costs are cheapest, and with union compensation packages as overinflated as they are, it’s no wonder American corporations have moved overseas. Recall the story of the Goose & the Golden Egg. Well, the Goose is on life support, and sadly, may never recover. Companies can only pander so long to strong unions who feel entitled to every penny they can squeeze out of a corporation without feeling it, and eventually the corporation must move to where expenses are less or face dying. The airline industry has been effectively killed because of unions, and the auto industry is right behind it. We criticize foreign manufacturers, however their economic model more reflects true capitalism and as such, has been successful. Only when unions interfere in that model does the corporation begin to struggle, ongoing interference in the natural laws of capitalism is a death sentence to the company.
Sadly, spending caps, or salary caps as they are called in other sports, are a necessary evil. They have financially stabilized the NFL and NBA after years of out of control spending, and hopefully will do so with the NHL as it’s too early to tell. How do you enforce that cap is another issue all together, however the reasons for not having one should never be ‘because NASCAR can’t regulate it’. That’s like saying you will ignore technical violations because NASCAR can’t possibly pick up on all of them. The reality is that the punishment for a spending cap violation – or a technical violation for that matter – needs to be so severe that it’s not worth the risk of getting caught. Cheat on the track? How about instead of a 1 race suspension (which they don’t even have the balls to do), how about 1 3 or even a 6 race suspension FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM? Violate your spending cap? Same deal. With the limited number of sponsors available, it’s a buyer’s market. I’m sure, for example, if UPS were forced to sit out for a few races because their team cheated, they could easily find another team to accept their money that was willing to play within the rules. The NFL has shown that the salary cap works, and punishments for violations START at losing first round draft picks… major sanctions for sure. First offenses for teams need to include being parked for several races, and additional violations after that should be more severe.
Shortening the schedule is ludicrous; the reality is that these race dates are not losing money, so why cut them? They are profitable endeavors, so they must stay; the fact that 36 races may be viewed as too many from a competition standpoint has little to do with the economic model that NASCAR currently has. The very fact that there are ‘start & park’ teams on the Nationwide & Craftsman Truck series illustrates that fact; if teams were going to LOSE money every week fielding a team they wouldn’t even show up at the track.
I’m not sure how restrictor plate tracks and short tracks figured into this discussion, as each form of racing has its own diehards. But, never one to hold in an opinion, I will offer one up. I love restrictor plate races; and I make it a point to watch all 4 every season. I love short track racing as well. Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond are all circled on the schedule for me as well. Of course, add NH and Dover, and those 14 are on my ‘must watch’ every year. The other 22? Maybe. If its raining? Sure. If the weather is nice, not so much… it seems as though the 1.5 – 2 mile track tries to combine the speed of a restrictor plate race with the bumping and banging of a short track, but instead of getting both, they got neither and instead ended up with a boring as all heck race where the leader takes off in clean air and only gives up the lead on pit road – and that was true well before the new car made its debut.

nh_nascarfan said...

3killerbs...

Nascar can indeed regulate that spending, as not only are the independent contractors, they are also members of the NASCAR organization, which comes with stipulations. Just as any other professional sports teams must meet the rules and bylaws of the league they are in, NASCAR teams would be required to do the same or they would not be 'members'.

It wouldn’t be easy, but it certainly is possible.

Anonymous said...

Undeveloped COT
1.5 mile race tracks
phantom debris cautions
from MGH

goodyear tires
terrible track surfaces (Indy,Atlanta)
late race time starts
three networks during the season
too long of a season
many races are too long

these are just some of the problems with cup series and have nothing to do with the economy.

nh_nascarfan said...

Actually, it all has to do with the economy…. Because everything will always boil down to the almighty buck. And you know what? It does with me too. I want to get maximum pay for my work, pay minimal taxes, get maximum return on investments. Here’s the deal…

Undeveloped COT - placed into service in an effort to level the economic playing field (as well as safety) – whether that has happened is a different topic, but it was listed as one of the top two reasons for its creation.

1.5 mile race tracks – allow for NASCAR to spread its product across the country… again, attempting to duplicate the success of superspeedways but on a less expensive scale/cost.

phantom debris cautions – not sure if these really exist, however if they do, it would be to bunch up the cars for a re-start which would artificially create a more competitive race; thus an economic undertone. I will say though that the networks have been VERY consistent with showing debris on the track.

goodyear tires – perhaps someone may or may not do better, that is up for debate, but they didn’t become the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR without some form of economic consideration, such as lowest bid.

terrible track surfaces (Indy,Atlanta) – related to tires perhaps? Or more importantly, the tracks unwillingness to address the situation? My theory again boils down to economics… its millions of dollars to repave a track.

late race time starts – economics of television, which translates into economics of TV sponsors

three networks during the season – economics of either (a) maximizing revenue by having 3 as opposed to one, or (b) one network not willing to commit to such a long season. My guess is B

too long of a season – NASCAR would only drop a race if it was LOSING money, but it would be replaced by a new one that would make money.

many races are too long – economics of the TV package. Cut 100 miles from a race, you cut an hour of broadcast time. May be good for competition and for the viewer, but networks cant show all of their ads, meaning either (a) decreased revenue, or (b) more commercial to time and less free racing on TV.

I don’t disagree with you about what you write, but I write them to illustrate the fact that NASCARS economic model is based only on money (as are all businesses and sports); those that aren’t are doomed to fail.

One could certainly make the argument though that the attention to money has had a twofold effect… (1) very financially stable governing body, and (2) alienating its core fan base in exchange for that financial stability.

By the way, did everyone enjoy Americas Home Videos last night? You would have had to if you didn’t have ESPN2. Can anyone imagine any network cutting the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter of an NFL playoff game in favor of ANYTHING, let alone that crap? When they said they ‘had no choice’, what they really meant was that the sponsors of that show were more important than the NASCAR core. Granted, most of us have ESPN2, and it was easy to accommodate the change, but I for one was offended and felt disrespected. NASCAR needs to step up and let ABC know that is not acceptable, and the fans need to do the same.

Monkeesfan said...

3killerbs - this is a sport, not a business (contrary to the myth the sport has been living under for decades), and the governing body damned well can tell their teams how to do their business. It's not about law or ability, it's about will - the will of the sanctioning body to do what is right. Yes, we should have no confidence in Brian France, but we also have to realize that imposing a spending cap on raceteams isn't a choice anymore - it stopped being one many years ago.

Mentioned in this discussion is economics of television with regard to start times - they don't justify the absurd starting times of races - TV can afford 1 PM Eastern Time starts just as it can afford daytime baseball games and other conveniences for the fanbase that do the sport more long term good than whatever short term extra TV thinks it is squeezing out in advertising revenue.

On the "undeveloped COT" - the premise here is that if it had gone through more testing and development it would fulfill promises made of it. The problem here is the fundamental design manifestly won't allow any promise made of it; it is impossible to cure aeropush with a top-heavy roofline, short nose, gapped airdam, and wing.

Monkeesfan said...

Darn it, I need to proofread my posts better - on post #16 the year listed should be 2006, not 1986.

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