Thursday, January 22, 2009

But, really, what did you expect them to say?

I could make some of this blog's loyal NASCAR haters happy this evening and rip Brian France and his top lieutenants for their presentation Thursday afternoon on the final stop of this year's NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway.

You know what I mean. I could write something like this:

CONCORD, N.C. - To the great surprise of several hundred of people who've lost their racing-related jobs in the past three months, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France said Thursday that everything is just peachy in the sport right now.

That's not what France said. But NASCAR officials declined to dwell on the economic issues facing the sport at Thursday's stop. Video screens at the NASCAR reasearch and development center greeted reporters with the words "NASCAR: Strong Through The Turns" and France and the other officials who spoke tried to keep things upbeat without sounding naive.

I guess some people who think Brian France is an idiot or Satan or whatever would have preferred seeing the chairman wearing sackcloth and ashes or weeping and rending his clothing in some sort of public display of dismay over how things have been going and how they're going to go in the future.

Sorry, didn't happen.

"It has been an interesting and challenging offseason for everyone," France said. "The Daytona 500 is just around the corner, and fans will once again start debating the on track topics rather than the off track topics."

If you hate France, that's called trying to bury your head in the sand. But if you're realistic about it, you have to ask what else there is that he could have really said?

It would do nobody any good for NASCAR officials to sit down with 200 reporters and talk about how bad things are. How would that help anybody?

"Despite the fact that there are no major changes," France said, "the NASCAR management team has been extremely busy this winter working with teams and tracks to face the challenges of the economy and keep our sport moving in the right direction."

That's as close as we got to an outright statement that things have been pretty bleak for a while, but as I wrote before the media tour began the thing NASCAR needs to do right now is begin turning attention away from all that and back to the track.

Good racing and good stories might not help NASCAR's economy turn around, but it sure won't hurt, either.

I am not giving France and the NASCAR brass a pass on their performance. One thing France said particularly didn't sit right with me.

"You know, you're seeing the economy has spotlighted teams that were struggling mostly in performance on the track, and now that sponsorship is even more difficult to come by," he said. "It will spotlight those teams that in the last few years for one reason or another, maybe no fault of their own, circumstances, bad luck or whatever, just simply haven't performed at the level that they need to, and that economic model is under a lot of pressure with sponsorship that is contracting."

Here's that, in English: Some teams haven't been winning might not be worth saving. That's a little Darwinian for me.


Anonymous said...

You can take the attention from Brian all you want David, but the answer still begs a question. How has Nascar grown in the 6 years he has been in charge. What has Brian France done that has been a positive for this sport? Name me 3 things I dare you. Would you like me to go back to the Phoenix press conferences from November and show you how unintellgent this man is? Nascar isnt doing a damn thing to help teams through this crisis. They are still scooping sponsers for "Offical xxxxx of Nascar", they still charge teams outrageous fees for having personel on track, and they still try to scoop up as much money from everyone else as they possibly can.

He is Satan? No. Is he the 2nd coming of the apolcolypse? No. Is he very very bad at his job? Yes!

Anonymous said...

Why should NASCAR save any team? You may not like it but the bottom line is winning teams and organizations don't go out of business.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, despite the economy, "Pinks" or morning traffic on 485 has closer racing than recent NASCAR events. World Rally Racing, though seriously affected by Subaru's exit, is much more entertaining than the bland corporate NASCAR TV fare.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Poole, What probing questions did the press ask the NASCAR officials that they did not answer?

Anonymous said...

The reason NASCAR is getting dull is the loss of short tracks not Mr France

3KillerBs said...

"That's a little Darwinian for me"?


Sports about PERFORMANCE. Those who perform succeed and continue on. Those who fail to perform are replaced by someone who can perform.

Business is like that too. If a business is well-run so that its management makes good decisions and isn't afraid to change along with the circumstances then that business succeeds. If a business is not well-run so that its management clings to outdated ways of doing it and/or fails to adapt to changing circumstances that business fails.

Racing is both a sport and a business. How else COULD it be except that those who perform, on track and in the office, survive and prosper while those who fail to perform, on the track and in the office, end up being replaced by someone who CAN do better?

Communism NEVER works. Even small groups of highly dedicated religious believers such as the early Christians in Jerusalem, people who had seen Christ personally, and the Pilgrims, who were sufficiently committed to leave their homes behind them and risk death for their beliefs, failed to make socialism productive.

When you reward success you get more of it.

Should you be so anti-"Darwinian" as to reward failure you'd get more of that too.

Anonymous said...

People your reading a liberals writings.Poole is paid by Nascar and will always take up for France.

Anonymous said...

There is one thing to root for the underdog, but to demand that the stronger help the underdog is not what competative sports is all about.

Those who want the halves to give to the have nots, are asking that NASCAR become like the WWE.

I tire of hearing that NASCAR is not helping the struggeling teams. Just what does that mean? Did DEI, Petty, and others go to NASCAR and ask them how to pursue a better business model?

NASCAR does not scoop sponsors. Members of Fortune 500 bunisiness are not fools. That's not how they got there. They have a business model too. They look for forms of advertising that benefits THEM!!!

That's why Bud bailed on DEI. Jr did not want them, and they were no way going to stay at DEI. The saw DEI, and it was a looser.

That's why General Mills left Petty. They saw that year after year PE was a loser and I'm sure GM said, enough is enough.

NASCAR has not "helped" Tony Stewart, and yet Tony has now double the dollars in sponsorship that Hass had last season. Tony does not have a NASCAR business reputation, but when business see his model, they love it.

Maybe if we could see the balance sheets on some of these teams and see how they spend their money, we would have a clue as to why they have failed.

Some of the losing teams also never have untangibles like "team spirit". Look at PE. That place was like a revolving door. The turnover was ridiculous. Labonte had 6 crew cheifs in 3 seasons. Then you look at Gibbs or Hendrick where employees stay for years and years.

As a matter of fact Rick Hendrick commented about how hard it was to keep JJ's team together because someone is always trying to recruit from their company. When's the last time someone went to Petty's to "steal" one of their employees?

As far as the fees are concerned, who says they are outrageous? The car owners get 25% of the tv revenues. How are they spending their share of the $600 milion that's earned yearly?

I root for Tony and know that's why Hass wanted him as a partner. They saw what he had done at Eldora, and knew he was talented as well as a great driver. I'm sure that's why Newman went that way too. Plus they are in Chevys.

Anonymous said...

If you thought the stands were sparsley populated last year, wait until you see them this year! You will be able to throw hand grenades and not hurt anyone.

Anonymous said...

The stand were not sparsely populated. They had empty seats, but not hardly sparse. The track owners still made money. Besides, like in all pro sports, the big money is in tv revenues, and NASCAR will make $600 million per year until 2014.

Monkeesfan said...

"Why should NASCAR save any team?" Because it's in NASCAR's best interests to do so; they need competitive depth to remain a viable sanctioning body.

Anonymous said...

At least 15 people think that there's hope in NASCAR, plus a change to make money. It is reported that 15 NEW TEAMS have applied to NASCAR. Boy oh boy, sure looks like Tommy Baldwin started an avalanche.

Greg Bibble said that that's one good thing about the COT, he was able to change a car in about 4 hours (no longer with Ford).

Like Tommy said, there is so much equipment for sale, so many really good emplyees looking for work, that if you have good plans, no debt, and some money, this is a great time to start a team.

I'm glad that these 15 new guys would not pay any attentions to some of the naysayers on this blog.

By the way, they are not getting any "help" from NASCAR. They are doing it the American way--hard work. I'm sure most won't make it, but some might.

Anonymous said...

It is not in the interest for any organization to keep products that are no good.

NASCAR should not bale out teams that have blown their chances to be good by bad business practice, inability to spend wisely, inability to recognize talent, not keeping up with technology, spenind beyond their needs.

Anonymous said...

Yea, that's what politicians say: It's in the interest of the country to bale out all of Wall Street. No one looks at how they spend their money. (Until it is too late)

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan said: they need competitive depth to remain a viable sanctioning

Keeping bad teams in business does not spell into competitive depth. If you know NASCAR history, you should know that owners have come on gone in NASCAR year in and year out and it continues to be viewed by businesses to be a money maker.

When owners like Bobby Allison, Buddy baker/Schiff, AJ Foyt, Cale Y, Junior Johnson, James Hylton, Bill Hagen, and dozens more left, NASCAR has continued to grow and grow and make more fans.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, It is not the owners that make NASCAR popular. Fans don't go to watch Roush, Hendrick, Petty or whomever. They go to watch drivers like Dale Jr, Jeff, Tony, and many others. They might like certain drivers, but don't care if they race or don't race. Those are Jeff Green, Jeremy Mayfield, Tony Raines, Ken Schrader, JJ Yeley, and others out of a ride.

The teams that are failing do not have drivers that millions of fans are following. All the popular drivers are in good teams.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the drivers can have a "RED FLAG" during races and all leap out of their cars and do a line dance in "glittered pumas" and tear-away firesuits.


OK .....more boring, single file racing and corporate double speak.

I'll watch on TV for free, but won't spend a dime on the perpetuation of FRANCE FAILURES.

P.S. For the love of all that is holy....NO MORE BILL WEBER !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Every single one of the 15 NEW teams are start-and-park rides people. You can find them each week at the end of the running order. WAKE UP.

Anonymous said...

So what if some of the 15 are start and park? They are playing by the rules, they are earning an honest living, they are staying in the sport they love, and THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR A HANDOUT.

Maybe NASCAR will change the rules if all 15 are going to the track without a team, but until then, I say go guys.

At least NASCAR does not bar anyone from participating, or requiers a vote and nearly a billion dollars to follow your dreams (new Cub owners )

I think this will keep the dream alive to future generations of NASCAR woners. I remember how it took millions to own a new corporation and then came the new generation who started with an idea in their garage or dorm room and are now BILLIONAIRES.

Those that think outside the box are the future, not the ones stuck on "the old way" of doing things.

Anonymous said...

They certainly are playing by the rules but NASCAR or fans shouldn't pretend their existence means some big influx of new viable owners. It simply means they are cashing in.

Anonymous said...

I think there are two points here:

1. Brian France does not present himself well. He appears a dumb ass who has made some really bad calls. If his name wasn't France he'd have been out the door some time back.
2. NASCAR should not bail out team owners. Racing is a competitive business and owners stand or fall on their ability to win races and bring in sponsors. Sad as it was to lose Petty they simply weren't winning. Same with DEI.

Beyond that I think we have an interesting season ahead. I prefer watching the guys race who do it for the love not the money. I'll be cheering for the little guys making the show not the corporate types who have made NASCAR what it is today.

majorshouse said...

It is really obvious to this long time fan that Bryan France will never be the man or leader that his father or grandfather were and in my opinion he has no zeal for the sport and his sister needs to be the one running the show. That comment about the teams that are under performing was really uncalled for, but not unusual for him too.

Anonymous said...

Brian France's existence in this sport is uncalled for.