Phoenix Reconfiguration to Cost SCCA Races
As a part of the reconfiguration of Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), the infield road course is being taken out to make room for more campers and motor homes. Obviously ISC hasn’t been paying attention to the empty grandstands and half-filled campgrounds at their other tracks. But they feel they don’t need the SCCA races. Why? Who knows what goes on in the empty melons of the Ivory Towers of Daytona Beach. Based on interviews done by Terry, our man in the stands out West, a number of fans won’t be going back to PIR because of the reconfiguration of the track. They liked it the way it was because it was a unique design and challenging to the drivers. So if ISC can’t take the hint by the empty stands at Bristol caused by the reconfiguration, what’s it going to take to get their attention about reconfiguring tracks? Totally empty grandstands?
Darlington Ratings Down
Hard to believe that one of the most exciting tracks on the schedule had its’ ratings drop. But then again, it is believable. According to the “standard start times” that were touted by NA$CAR, the night races were supposed to start at 7:00 PM. Darlington didn’t start til almost 45 minutes later. Not to mention the Ms Terry DeBris caution to bunch the field back up. No wonder folks tuned out and went to bed about 11:00 PM. Maybe if they started at the standard start time, they might have had some better ratings. So which excuse will be used this week? The economy? The price of gasoline? Or the NBA play-offs which were up 32% over last year? Take your pick.
North Wilkesboro Closed Again
After Save The Speedway put in 6 years helping to get North Wilkesboro re-opened, the track, under management of Speedway Associates Inc., has closed after 14 months of racing. SAI claims it’s due to the high front end cost of putting on the races there. I can’t say for sure since I haven’t seen the books. I know that a lot of money went into getting the scoring tower working again, walls being painted, and some of the suites being repaired. It’s a sad thing to see. It’s also strange that it happened after Save The Speedway decided to go look at some other tracks to save. Could it be that Save The Speedway was really the driving force behind getting the track re-opened and kept it going? Maybe, since several members were involved in providing support to the track and their operations. But this leads to the bigger question. Now that it’s closed again, what will Bruton do? Will he finally come down off of his $12 million asking price and sell it to somebody who will once again bring racing back to the track? Or will he let it return to rotting away like he did before? Hard to say. Only Bruton knows what Bruton will do.
AJ Foyt to Drive the Indy 500 Pace Car
It appears that animal rights activist got up in arms about The Donald driving the pace car citing something about a rare albino skunk that lives on his head and him endangering it’s life. IndyCar decided to go with the #2 best driver in 20th century racing history AJ Foyt instead. As AJ doesn’t have any endangered species living on his body, it’s a good choice and the animal activists seem satisfied with it.
James Hylton Sets Record
By starting in the Busch Series race at Darlington, 76 years young James Hylton established a record as being the oldest driver to start in NASCAR’s Top 3 Series. Of course, with BSPN’s coverage, you’d never know that James was on the track or about the record he set. However, this is not the absolute record for a NA$CAR event. 84 years young Herschel McGriff holds the all-time record by running in the K&N Pro Series West at Miller Motorsports Park on April 30, 2011. Maybe this will give the Silver Fox an incentive to return to Cup racing? Speaking of the Silver Fox…
Pearson Not Happy With Current Rules
In a recent interview with Dale Jarrett, David Pearson said that NA$CAR needs to get rid of all their rules. Pearson has been one of the few former champs to be critical of what’s happened to NA$CAR in recent years and he’s not too far from wrong. There need to be safety rules but as observed by a lot of folks, the teams are in a box when it comes to innovation or getting the cars dialed in. This is due to the generic car they’re racing and the multitude of mandated parts which have made the series a high-priced version of IROC.
Fined & Penalty Issued
Rather than cite the on track actions and threats issued over the radio, NA$CAR cited the post-race pit road incident between Mr Happy and Shrubbery as the reason for a 4 week probation and $25,000 fine. Big deal. I guess it’s going to take somebody being hospitalized or killed before a serious penalty is issued. Can’t upset the car maker that owns NA$CAR or the teams’ sponsors. That means using Iron Head’s formula for payback, it’ll happen at Kansas.
Here’s what the NA$CAR VP for Racing Operations said regarding the penalty:
Not punishing fans, we would have issued 100k and pts penalties in past, this was mild-issued because of pit road.
Uh huh. And what about the folks who were scrambling on pit road because of Mr Happy‘s rolling car caused by Shrubbery pushing it into the pit wall after it was parked? Mild-mannered? Pull-ease!
Rolling Thunder Modifieds Saving Teams Money
Unlike NA$CAR, who every time they’re saving teams money it ends up actually costing them money, the Rolling Thunder Modifieds have a money saving solution for their competitors. They’re letting teams use the F-35 Hoosiers they got from any source to be used providing they’re scanned into the system and are deemed safe for use. Now, when was the last time NA$CAR actually saved the teams money? Way to help out the small guys Rolling Thunder. Two thumbs up.
Focks Bias Towards One Carmaker
Back when it was announce that the carmaker with it’s international headquarters in Japan was joining NA$CAR, one of the things that was done to secure their place in NA$CAR was the automaker ponying up big bucks to not only NA$CAR but also the networks. This is from a 2007 NY Post article but it gives you an idea of the money being spent on just the commercials:
Toyota paid at least $2 million for the TV time - the equivalent of a Super Bowl ad buy - for "Chasing Sunday: The Race to Cup," according to industry sources. Fox is part of News Corp., which also owns The Post.
While the documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at the sport, Toyota wasn't allowed to use the Nascar name or logo in the title because of Ford's sponsorship.
The TV special comes on top of the ads Toyota bought during the race - advertisers pay as much as $500,000 for a 30-second spot - and throughout the season to promote the Tundra.
The auto maker has earmarked a reported $100 million dollars to tout the 2007 Tundra, which the company has called the "most important launch in Toyota's history in the U.S." That's on top of an estimated $200 million it will spend on its Nascar effort.
The Japanese automaker's journey deep into the heartland and a beloved American sport infuriated some fans. As foreign competition forces U.S. automakers to curb ad spending, the Japanese Toyota has money to burn.
The sponsor-friendly Nascar commissioned a study to gauge fan opinion and claims 93 percent were "favorable or neutral" about Toyota entering Nextel Cup racing. "For Nascar it's about the racing product," said spokesman Andrew Giangola. "Having another manufacturer in the sport helps raise the level of competition."
I think they must’ve sampled the wrong market because of the number of complaints I’ve received over the last 4 years since the entry of Toyota into NA$CAR. I’ve probably received 93% against and 7% for or neutral.
But getting back to why Focks is biased towards the Japanese carmakers. Just look at the amount of money being spent on their TV ads. Look at who they own in the announcing booth. Is it any real wonder why the Focks broadcasts are so biased towards JGR, MWR, and other Toyota teams throughout the 3 top NA$CAR series?
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/item_Wjrumh7xx0KU4Saay3crPJ#ixzz1LxWeKOAv