With the latest changes to the Shootout and trying to figure out why the changes are being made, all you have to do is follow the money trail. Any decision Faux King Brian makes is related to money. The “Have at it Boys”? An attempt to get more fans to show up at the track and to raise ratings, which means more money from ticket sales and increased ratings will raise or at least maintain what NA$CAR gets when the TV contracts come up for renewal. The Chase for the Chumps? An attempt to beat the NFL and make money off of tickets and merchandise sales. The Car of Timidity? That put’s a cool quarter million dollars in NA$CAR’s pocket every time a team buys one. So there is little to nothing that happens that doesn’t put money into Faux King Brian’s piggy bank.
As to the Shootout itself, let’s look at the money factor. Why would His Highness want Joey The Giraffe in the Shootout? He hasn’t won a Cup championship or a Shootout. So there’s got to be a reason. Look at his sponsor. There’s the #1 reason right there. Home Depot spends millions on NA$CAR-related advertising. Look at his car manufacturer. That’s reason #2. They paid NA$CAR a cool $93 million to get into the racer-tainment business and for favors to be named later. And look at some of the other drivers who have the same manufacturer who got in based on the new rules. His two teammates, neither of whom have won a Shootout or a championship. And look how much money their sponsors spend on NA$CAR-related advertising? Once again, millions that NA$CAR doesn't have to spend.
Why have Cousin Carl in the Shootout? Because of the millions that AFLAC spends on advertising related to NA$CAR. What about Bow Wow Bowyer? Hamburger Helper runs the Most Popular Driver contest and their parent company spends a lot of money on their at-track presence with their booths set up in the souvenir hauler area. Kasey Kahne hasn’t won a championship or a Shootout but he’s in the same make of car as the Gibbs Boys. Plus he’ll be driving for Slick Rick in 2012, so under these new rules, Slick Rick will have all 4 drivers in the Shootout. And of course, who can forget the Human Shill? His sponsors spend a lot of money on NA$CAR-related advertising plus his manufacturer not to mention how much he helps promote the Gospel According to Brian.
There was a time when the Bud Shootout was a race that meant a little something because it was an exclusive race with the best of the best competing in it. But as time has marched on under the (lack of) leadership of Faux King Brian, the Bud Shootout has become just another marketing gimmick. No longer is it previous champions, pole sitters, and previous winners of the Bud Shootout racing for a nice chunk of change and the honor of winning the Shootout. It’s now a hodgepodge with Chase for the Chumps contenders, previous Cup champions, past ROY’s from 2000-2010, past Bud Shootout winners, and past Daytona points race winners. The way things are looking right now, there could be 30 cars in the Shootout. Heck, if they’re going to do that, why not make it a 43 car field and “invite” the Busch and Truck Series champions and past champions, the Busch and Truck Series ROY’s for the last 10 years, and if that’s not enough to make a 43 car field, then why not invite the reigning champions from IndyCar, ARCA, USAR, Rolex Series, ALMS, F-1, and ASA? Instead of being the crème de la crème of the Cup Series, it’s now watered down to racers, drivers, has been’s, and wanna-be’s.
Faux King Brian keeps changing the rules to ensure that certain drivers are included in the Shootout in the false hopes that their names will pull in fans to the track to watch the Shootout and boost the TV ratings for those watching at home. Instead, it’s backfired. Fewer and fewer fans and curiosity seekers show up to see it live and more folks who would watch at home are finding other things to do with their time because they‘re dissatisfied with the constant rules changes, favoritism, race manipulation, and commercialism that has turned what was once a great form of racing into little more than a 3-4 hour info-mercial.
So what does all of this mean? All the recent changes boil down to making the rules for the Shootout little more than the Top 35 Rule to protect certain advertisers, sponsors, teams, and car manufacturers.