Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fundraising Idea, F-1, Cotton Owens, Ambushers, & Stuff

Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Since there’s been no clues yet on the stolen Ramo Stott memorabilia, I have the perfect solution for when it is recovered. They sell tickets and have a pay-per-view of the public butt whooping of the dirt bags who stole the memorabilia with the funds raised from the ticket sales and pay-per-view going to help out Sam Ard. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The memorabilia is returned, justice is served, and Sam Ard gets some sorely needed assistance.
Rupert Murdoch To Buy F-1?
Apparently billionaire and media mogul Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy F-1 along with some possible help from Ferrari. Now why would he want to do that? For one thing, look at where F-1 races. China and the Arab world. Places where the money is. It would allow him far better access into those markets for his global presence and increasing company revenues. For another thing, it would allow Murdoch to move the current F-1 coverage from Speed TV to Focks Sports. A real competitor to NA$CAR that could be broadcast after their NA$CAR season goes off the air. F-1 is also a global product versus NA$CAR which is North American. Plus we’ve got the potential for a possible conflict of interest between Focks broadcasting F-1 AND NA$CAR should Murdoch buy F-1. But conflicts of interests are nothing new to the France family as most race fans know.
Nashville Disproves NA$CAR Theory
For years, we’ve heard the same old, worn out line that Cup drivers put butts in the seats. For a weekend in which there was no Cup race and the Buschwackers continuing to invade the Busch Series, we saw plenty of empty seats at Nashville. Sure, the economy may have played a small part in it but ever since Faux King Brian started bundling up the race weekend instead of letting the Busch Series run on their own and saying that Cup drivers fill the grandstands the grandstands have become emptier and emptier.
And it doesn’t help that the Buschwackers have won all 8 races so far this season. What sort of message is this sending out to not just the Busch regular teams but also to their sponsors and also potential sponsors? Working with some of these underdogs on the sponsorship programs I can tell you based on my own experience that the number of sponsorship proposals sent out versus the number of sponsors landed is ridiculous. 38 proposals sent out and not a single sponsor interested. Why? Because they’re not owned by Roush, JGR, RCR, or HMS, the only teams who get any sort of TV coverage during the BSPN broadcasts. You don’t see Jay Robinson Racing getting any coverage. Herman was lucky to get a post-race interview at Nashville. You’re lucky to see Robert Richardson get an interview. Or any of the Means Motorsports drivers. If the Cup drivers are supposed to be “helping so much”, then why aren’t the Busch regulars benefiting from their presence? They’re not. The only “benefit” the Busch regulars are getting is less purse money at the end of the day and more wear and tear on their equipment. They’re not even breaking even in most cases.
So since this “pick a series” thing isn’t working, I have another solution which will fall on drunken eyes. Why give the Buschwackers anything at all? No money, no manufacturer points, no ownership points, no contingency award points, and no air time on TV. Let the Busch regulars get the lion’s share of everything since there’s not that much to get to begin with. If there’s nothing in it for the Buschwackers, they won’t stick around. No sponsor is going to want to be on a car that doesn’t get any air time, which is what the Busch regulars suffer from right now. The Cup team owner’s aren’t going to stick around if they’re not making any money off of the Busch series operation. No Buschwacker is going to want to race if there’s not even so much as a trophy in it for them. Money is what makes most of today’s Cup drivers show up at the track. So if there’s no financial incentives of any sort, they won’t show up and the Busch Series can go back to being what it originally was. A “AAA”  racing series.
Richmond Scare Tactics Alive And Well
Once again, Richmond is using their scare tactics in an attempt to sell tickets. Only this time they’re throwing in the possibility of lost jobs into the mix through their political mouthpieces or politicians who are too gullible to see the truth. NA$CAR/I$C/the France family won’t cut a race from Richmond. It’s almost like saying they’re going to cut a race from Daytona. They’ve invested too much hype and marketing into Richmond and it’s place regarding the Chase for the Chumps. They’ve held Richmond up as being the model for the next generation of tracks that they’re not going to build. They keep saying the racing there is so exciting. If they really wanted to get more fans to attend the races there, they might first start by providing better security for the fans themselves both on the track property and the surrounding areas. The track isn’t located in the best of neighborhoods and it’s not unusual for fans to have their camp sites looted or robbed. So provide some better security first. Then maybe, when fans feel secure, they might start showing up. Of course, you might need to get rid of the generic car first. Like Bristol, the generic car has done little for the racing at Richmond.
Smokey’s “Best Damned Garage In Town” is Gone

A fire burned down what was left of Smokey’s garage. The place really should’ve been a historical landmark or a national treasure. I’m not saying that because I’m a race fan but because Smokey’s innovations didn’t just apply to the race track. Smokey pioneered several things we use in our cars today. The extended tip spark plug, which if you never saw an old spark plug you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. Not to mention variable ratio power steering, another thing most folks take for granted today. Most race fans are more familiar with Smokey’s racing innovations like the oversized fuel hoses, the chrome-plated aluminum bumpers, or his 7/8 scale Chevy Malibu. Smokey did say he didn’t want any monument or shrine but I think automotive history would’ve been better served had the garage been preserved.
Cotton Owens: A Good Case For The HOF

Us older fans probably remember Cotton Owens for his accomplishments as a driver and team owner. He was rated as one of NASCAR’s, not NA$CAR’s, Top 50 drivers. He was also the owner of the then famous #6 Dodge that David Pearson campaigned for several years and which won the 1966 Grand National Championship with Pearson behind the wheel. Cotton’s been inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Cotton also built a car for an Elvis movie, which coincidentally had the #6 on it. He built a Dodge Challenger for Brock Yates to run in the 1972 Cannonball Run, the real thing not the movie. As a driver, Cotton had 9 wins, 52 Top 5, and 84 top 10 finishes. As an owner, Cotton had 38 wins, 177 Top 5, and 241 Top 10 finishes. So Cotton is definitely one to be considered for induction into the 2012 class.
BTW, who finished #2 to Pearson in the 1966 season? None other than 1966 Rookie of the Year James Hylton. Yes, the same James Hylton who’s still racing today in ARCA and was a former crewmember of Rex White’s 1960 Grand National winning team.
Sponsor Ambushers, Another Garage Predator
Unfortunately there’s another kind of ambush predator out there called “sponsor ambushers”. For example, a small team that finally lands a sponsor will have a few guests from that sponsor come to the races. The next thing you know, the ever present “mystery people” from NA$CAR or the Cup owned or affiliated teams, are “accidentally” bumping into these guests on the way to the bathroom or concession stand and their card “accidentally” falls into that person’s pocket. Then, coincidentally, a private jet just happens to land near that sponsor’s headquarters the following week and before you know it that small independent team doesn’t have a sponsor anymore. This happens more often than you think. And this isn’t based on my own experiences with having sponsors stolen or re-assigned by NA$CAR but from one of the underfunded, underdog teams we don’t hear about in the media. I had to leave out some names and one particular incident which would pretty much end that team’s career due to some high-powered folks using their clout to destroy that team, the team owner(s), and their reputation.


  1. Mike
    Good column, hit on a lot of good points. BUT - why do you think Rupert M. would wait until the Nascar off season to televise the F1 races?
    If he does buy it the fox will be in the henhouse.
    Would make Nascars TV contract negotiations REALLY interesting.

  2. Mike
    Good column. Touched on some interesting topics.

    But, what makes you think Rupert would wait until the Nascar off season to telecast the F1 races?

    And, if he does buy it, the fox will be in the hen house. Nascar would be well advised to step up its game.

    Wouldn't it make Nascars next TV contract talks REALLY interesting.

  3. TD90...Isn't that what Big Business is about? Back in the day Jr. Johnson stole a sponsor from Alan Kulwicki..I believe it was a coffee company. How about Ganassi all of a sudden ends up with McDonalds...which Bill Elliott had for years..It is all about the $$$ and Na$crap will continue that way until the rest of the fans stop going to or watching the *show*..BTW...Tonight on Racehub...The Man,The Myth,The Legend Dick Trickle will be Featured in the *Where Are They Now* segment......This will be good T.V....I will be the first to head to Iowa to serve justice on those that stole Ramo Stotts articles..I am not far from Keokuk

  4. Mikie,

    I've always maintained that sponsorship and TV coverage were two elements in a Catch-22: you don't get TV coverage if you don't have a sponsor, and you don't get sponsors if you don't get TV coverage. Therefore, it's been my contention for quite a while that the TV coverage of a race (in any one of the top three series) could actually be a huge factor in ending under-funded (read: start and park) teams. Realistically, during a Cup broadcast the only times you will hear a S&P driver's name is when he hits the wall, is passed and put a lap (or several laps) down, or when he takes his car to the garage. Those ridiculous parade lap conversations between the booth and one of the drivers only involves a few big-name drivers (Edwards, Harvick, etc.), and the in- car cameras available for the broadcast (usually up to 12 of them) won't be in the cars of anybody the network doesn't deem "worthy" (one of the smaller teams). If those parade lap conversations MUST take place, why not have it with Kvapil or Blaney or Nemechek? And how about putting in-car cameras in a couple of these guys' cars? During those shots, you can see a whole lot of sponsor logos strategically placed around the inside of the car. That extra camera time might be enough for a sponsor to want to actually invest with one of these smaller teams, and allow them to run more races, or more of each race they enter. Sorry for being longwinded...

  5. Good article Mike.... Although part of the lack of attendence at Nashville could have been that it was announced before the race days that the Fairgrounds was going to have races again this year. I know we decided to skip the race so that we could afford to go to all the fairground races. It took a lot of work to keep it alive and the least we can do is go to the races.
    I wish we could afford to do both but fact is its become a one or the other type thing.

  6. Please Don't Eat MeApril 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    I've said this elsewhere, but one way to keep those big bad Cup drivers out of Nationwide is to limited their participation to six races (6 is just an arbitrary number) and to make a rule--and we know Nascar loves making rules--that if you qualify/race in one of the top three touring series on one particular weekend as a Cup driver you're ineligible to race in ANY other race that same weekend.

    The "any" might put a real end to the double-dipping that Cup drivers do--qualify/race in a Truck or Nationwide race and you're out of the Cup race sure would hamper their interest in racing anything other than Cup.

  7. Thanks for the kind words one and all.

    That's an interesting suggestion Please Don't Eat Me and well worth putting out there for other fans to readand consider.

    Good point Sue about the racing at the Fairgrounds. I'd rather see them race there anyways. Lots of history and tradition there. I'd like to see the Fairgrounds really undercut the other track's attendance. It might eventually cause NASCAR to reconsider "their" track.

    No problem with being long winded Mike. If they would put an in-car camera in one of the underdog's cars, like Nemechek, and let him be the in-race reporter, it would definitely be worthwhile. They could actually do that with several of them since they wouldn't be up front and could actually give a much better perspective on what's going on rather than using it as another sales pitch like the big name guys do.

    I watched that segment about Dick Trickle TD 90. thanks for the heads up on that. I wonder how many years it'll take Shrubbery to match Dick Trickle's 1,000 wins? And I like Dick's subtle hint about a possible return. I sure do miss seeing him race. He is quite the character. The shot of the cigarette lighter in the car was funny because that happened when he was driving for Jimmy Spencer, too. The guy who cleaned out the insides of the car after the races got tired of cleaning up Dick's cigarette butts and had one of the guys in the fab shop build an ashtray. It went through NASCAR inspection without a problem and even got some chuckles out of the inspectors.

    You're also right about the sponsor ambushing. It has been going on for a while but nobody really paid attention to it. STP left Petty for greener pastures at JTG-Dougherty. Air Force left the Wood Brothers for Petty. I won't say where AFLAC and BB&T were originally supposed to go as that might jeopardize that team owner(s) career. Lowe's left RCR for Hendrick. UPS left Yates for Motormouth Mikey and then went to Roush. I wrote a piece about it at Laidback Racing a couple of years ago about the ambushing and outright theft of sponsors. Few folks paid attention to it then. But I try to make folks aware of what's going on with that and sponsorship in general.

    David, my thinking about the F-1 broadcasting has to do with the current NASCAR contract. From what I understand of it, Ruperts stuck running them on Speed so it won't compete with the NASCAR races. There are a lot of things in the contract that we fans don't know about and one thing which keeps being denied by both Speed and NASCAR is that both say NASCAR doesn't control what's broadcast. I got it directly from some folks at Speed and a cable network executive that it is in the contract despite the "official" denials. I think Mayfield's recent complaint about the hackjob done on his interview is a good example of NASCAR's control over what Speed broadcast.

    Come time for the TV contract renewals, I think Murdock will make sure he can show F-1 on any channel he wants to even if it does compete with a NASCAR race. I also think Murdock will only offer 20-25% of what he did last time for the NASCAR contract. The return on the investment hasn't been worth it.

  8. Mike,

    Don't know where else to put this, but your truth in he booth picture is the funniest thing I've seen this year. It's hilarious because its so true...stil can't stop laughing.

    As for sponsorship, its amazing watching old races on YouTube and watching the quality of the broadcasts and races. Everyone is basically covered equally, single car organizations had good sponsors and could fight against Roush & Hendrick's early empire. Amazing how fast it changed.

    As for Nationwide, I like Please Don't Eat me's idea, but I'd take it a step further. No cuppers allowed unless they race for their own race team. And it must be a legit team, no satellite team crap. Kyle Busch can only race for KBM. Harvick KHI. If you look back in the 90's Schrader had his own Busch team, Dale Jarrett, Irvin, etc. It wasn't fair when Martin was dominating in the Roush #60 the 90s and its not fair today. Cup owners have no choice but to put Nationwide regulars in their cars or get out. Either way it's a plus becuase more quality rides are available or Cup teams leave the series & Nationwide teams don't have to spend as much to compete.

  9. Glad you got a good laugh out of it Buschseries61.

    I watch some of the races from the early 90's on ESPN Classic and every car got covered, every driver got a mention, they even said a little something about the driver's history or personal life.

    I remember when Jarrett was driving the Band Aid T-Bird. I've got a die-cast of it in a trunk somewhere. Schrader still has his own team although he's racing just about everything under the sun out of that shop.

    I like your idea too. Between yours and Don't Eat Me's idea, we could get back to having a Busch series instead of Cup Light.

    Only 41 cars last night. About 17 cars either had last minute one-shot sponsorship deals, ran their own team name, or didn't have sponsorship. I was actually surprised to see the #40 car being shown for more than just a wreck or being passed by the race leader. It surprised me. But this was the exception rather than the rule. Things aren't going to get any better unless or until some real leadership actually pays attention to what's going on instead of the self-proclaimed marketing genius in Daytona Beach who's messing everything up.