OK, first blog here and its about my favorite sport, NASCAR.
About 2 years ago I stumbled across a blog dedicated to the TV coverage of NASCAR. The Daily Planet by John Daily, no not the golfer, (http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com) has since become my favorite NASCAR blog. John has a love for the sport that I don't see that often. His blog focuses on the TV coverage of the sport and how well the sport is treated by the people bringing it into our homes. Every Sunday John is gracious enough to Tweet during the race his POV & thoughts on the race and its contents as its broadcast. John has been gracious enough to respond to my tweets to him through the thousands upon thousands he receives and we have often had a good dialouge.
Earlier tonight John and I had a quick exchange about Start and Parks in NASCAR. Basically these teams show up at the race, qualify and run about a 10th of the race before parking w/ a 'problem' or two and call it a day. For the effort, most payouts for a 43rd place finish is $100,000+. The problem with these teams is that they have no intention of running the full distance and are there to collect a paycheck. NASCAR this week has "confiscated" via a random drawing the #66 car, which has become a S&P team. The car will not be returned to the team until after qualifying Saturday. This poses a problem, the 66 only has one race ready car and NASCAR took it.
So apparently NASCAR is sending an indirect message to these teams, if you don't have the means to run the whole distance, don't bother showing up. This is a double edged sword, not only is this a sport these drivers love, but also a business. You can't race if you don't have money and you don't have money if you don't race. Punishing those without money is detrimental to the sport (example Carl Long 2009) while punishing an RCR or Roush team $100,000 and a crew chief suspension & 100 points means nothing.
If the TV booth won't call these teams out what should NASCAR do? Should NASCAR require all teams that show up to sign a form stating they will run the full race? Would this cut back on S&Ps? How about limiting the number of pit stops and tires each team can consume each weekend? Cut Happy Hour back to 30 min and that's it, plus qualifying? If NASCAR wants to save teams money, lets these guys race. The gap between the haves and have nots in this sport is as big as ever and it shows no signs of slowing down.
NASCAR needs to do more then have consistent start times and less policing. They need to either allow these S&Ps to show up and race however long they can or have policies in place to eliminate them all together and have less then 43 cars in the race. It seems NASCAR wants as many teams to show up as possible and is OK with these S&Ps as long as they don't do too well, like leading the race for more then a lap under caution.