Thursday, February 05, 2009

For sale or not for sale? Point is it should be one or the other

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Here’s my complaint about all the points swapping that went on with Sprint Cup teams over the past few weeks.
Points should either be for sale or they should not be for sale. I don’t care which way you do it, but pick one or the other.
NASCAR decided to draw the line at allowing Phoenix Racing to “acquire” the points from the No. 41 team to give to Brad Keselowski this year. The plan was to run Keselowski, who’s not even in Cup full-time yet, in No. 09 Chevrolets as a fifth team under the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing banner.
So James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Racing, would have been listed as the owner of a team that was owned last year by Chip Ganassi but would have been run this year by the merged Ganassi-Teresa Earnhardt team.
Keselowski, though, drives in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports and is in the pipeline to be a Cup driver at Hendrick Motorsports down the road. The fact of the matter is that any car Keselowski drives in a Cup race this year is going to be built by Hendrick Motorsports – no matter whose name is on the title.
All of that, apparently, was too much for even NASCAR to let slide.
Now NASCAR is perfectly OK with two other charades.
Bill Davis sold his racing operation to Mike Held and Marty Gaunt, who said they don’t plan to run the No. 22 in 2009. In a separate deal, Davis is now a minority partner in the No. 77 team in a deal called Penske Championship Racing. That means the points from the No. 22 go to Sam Hornish Jr.
So if the No. 77 team gets fined this year, Bill Davis is going to be the owner who’s fined. How much do you want to bet Roger Penske will write that check if that happens?
What’s even more ridiculous is that Clint Bowyer is in the top 35 with a new team because of a partnership between Richard Childress and Bobby Ginn.
Bobby Ginn? If Ginn had to buy into the team at RCR (like that happened), I sure hope Childress didn’t take a check.
It’s a joke. NASCAR tried to spin this as a way for people like Bill Davis to get some value out of what he put into racing. I have no problem with that. But if NASCAR is going to let a car owner treat owner points like an commodity for sale, then say that and let people make outright deals and be done with it.
Pick a side and stay on it. That’s all I ask.
* * *
NASCAR media day had a few interesting moments.
Carl Edwards told us that he went to an auction in central Missouri and wound up buying a 425-acre farm. “Somebody said, ‘Hey, there is this land being auctioned off, and I said, ‘Let’s go check it out.’ We get there, and I ended up buying it,” Edwards said. Edwards said he’ll probably have beans, or corn, planted on some of the land. Some of it he’ll use for hunting with his friends. Edwards said he’s not really much of a hunter, but “I like sitting there and looking.”
Tony Stewart said he’s has invited A.J. Foyt to come to this year’s Daytona 500. Stewart is using Foyt’s traditional number, 14, on the cars he’ll drive and own this year. There is a stipulation, however. “A.J. is not allowed near any laptops,” Stewart said. Foyt once famously destroyed a laptop computer on pit road at Indianapolis.
Jimmie Johnson said he got the stitches – five of them – out of the finger he cut while using a knife to try to put a hole in his fire suit during the Rolex 24. Johnson was trying to make a hole for a cooling hose. “I had the bright idea to flip it (the knife) over and then I should have realized, ‘You know you’re going to cut yourself why are you doing this but I didn’t and still tried to do it and it went through it,’” Johnson said.


Anonymous said...

Gud eye dint hafta du aul dat fan-c ciferin'

Anonymous said...

David the owner point swapping and selling is out of control. Owners are being listed in name only just to move the owner points around. But, until Nascar gets rid of the top 35 rule, this practice will continue. Owners have found ways to circumvent the rule. Seems those that are to live under the rules are smarter then the people writing them

Anonymous said...

Who really cares anymore.

Anonymous said...

Not a good start to 2009 for NASCAR. Fans look at this negatively and see NASCAR as a "dog and pony show" as opposed to a major league sport.
They make up the rules on the fly.
NASCAR can ill afford negative fan reaction in 2009 or they will see more empty seats and lower TV ratings due to thier actions.

Anonymous said...

David, As my email to Sirrus said. Dump the top 35 rule, make it the top 12 for the current year. That will resolve the problem.

stricklinfan82 said...

As I said in the other post on this topic, the point of the top 35 rule was to protect the best-performing teams that run the full schedule. Allowing these BS point purchases defeats the purpose of the rule, and the fact that NASCAR still sticks out its chest and screams "we don't allow teams to buy points" is absurd.

What better example do you need to prove that NASCAR's proclamation is a bold-faced lie than Bill Davis selling his team to the Triad people months ago and then turning around and "selling his team again" to Roger Penske last week? What exactly did he sell Roger since his physical race team is already owned by someone else after a seperate sale? Oh, that's right, JUST THE POINTS.

These point swaps killed the Morgan-McClure team off and it's going to do the same to the Gillett-Petty #44 team this year, in my opinion.

The #4 team finished 2005 36th in owner's points. The Penske #77 team folded, and instead of bumping up Morgan McClure to the top 35 to start '06, NASCAR allowed Michael Waltrip to buy the #77's points for his brand new team. The #4 team missed the Daytona 500 as a result, were never able to recover, and ultimately went away because they were DNQ'ing more often than they were racing and no one wanted to invest in sponsoring a team like that. Had they been locked into the first 5 races of '06 as they should have been, maybe they would have stayed there the rest of the year, carried that into '07, and (tax issues aside) stuck around to this very day.

Fast forward to this year. The #44 team should be locked in the top 35 and guaranteed to start the first 5 races of '09 based on last year's performance and all these other teams folding. When A.J. got in that car for the last few races of '08 he made up hundreds of points on Sam Hornish to pass the #77 in owner's points. Does he get rewarded for that? Nope, Roger Penske wrote a check to buy Hornish a qualifying exemption. Richard Childress's #33 ran a couple races last year, the #44/10 ran the whole schedule. Does A.J.'s team get rewarded for that either? Nope, RC wrote a check and his new team gets an exemption.

A.J.'s team (which only has sponsorship for the first 8 races) will most likely miss the Daytona 500. Not because he's not a capable driver, but because the Dodges will probably be junk in plate qualifying like they were last year. Then with the crapshoot that is the Duels it's more random than anything if he'll finish in the top 2 and race in. And if he's unlucky enough to be in the same Duel as "go-or-go homer" Mr. Past Champion's Provisional (another stupid rule, by the way) Tony Stewart, he can kiss the Daytona 500 goodbye for sure. Mix in a qualifying slip and a second DNQ somewhere in races 2-5 and this team will never see the top 35, never be able to attract a sponsor, and will just go away.

Some job "protecting the dedicated full-time participants in the sport" NASCAR, you should be proud.

Anonymous said...

David: Just when you thought you had all the top 35 talk quelled on The Morning Drive, this sham reactivates it.
NASCAR should be ashamed of the manipulation that teams have been able to do to gain a top 35 slot.
Bobby Ginn?? come on - he sold out and disappeared. I WAS ok with the top 35 rule but now I am on the other side. IT'S A SHAM!

Monkeesfan said...

Petty got screwed on the Top-35 sale-mongering, but I think the #44 will race its way into the Top-35.