10.03.2007

If NASCAR says it enough, it must be true

A total of 4 times, including twice in his opening remarks on Wednesday to introduce Nationwide Insurance as the new title sponsor of what is now the Busch Series, NASCAR head Brian France referred to the series as the No. 2 motorsports brand in the country.


That's 4 more times France tried to convince everybody that NASCAR is so wonderful that even its minor league is more popular than any other form of racing out there. Only problem is, it's not even close to true.


Take away all those Cup drivers -- the Busch Whackers, as they've been dubbed in recent years -- participating in Saturday's glorfied 2-plus hour practice session known as a Busch race, and what are you left with? A bunch of guys nobody's ever heard of competing in a series without an identity of its own.


It was comical when France directly referred to the Series' identity, recalling fondly the day that David Gilliland "beat the best that night in Kentucky" to jump into the national spotlight. Only problem was, Brian, Gilliland didn't "beat the best that night." In fact, as is usually the case with those few Busch standalone races, he beat a less than stellar field -- one dotted with a few Cup drivers instead of littered with a dozen or more of them.


What, is France auditioning for a job with MRN? Don't get the facts get in the way of a good sales pitch, eh, boss?


Heck, NASCAR's own Craftsman Truck Series is a better division than the Busch Series -- with better racing, a clear-cut indentity and its own distinct following from the fans and media. The Busch Series can't say that.


If Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick and a bunch of the sport's other marquee stars ceased racing on Saturdays, would the fans still fill the grandstands or tune in so intently to the television for these races? It's unlikely.


One begins to think that if those drivers took Saturdays off once the red flag flew on final practice, the Busch Series would fall well below the Indy Racing League or even the World of Outlaws in terms of fan interest.


I don't know about you, but I don't have a whole lot of interest in watching the Kyle Krisiloffs of the world battle Stephen Leicht and Brent Sherman in for 200-mile wins. I just don't.


But strip away what makes the No. 1 form of motorsports in America -- Cup racing and its star power behind the wheels -- and that's exactly what you've got in the Busch Series.


And now it's going Nationwide with no more of an identity than it had 2 years ago.

6 comments:

KFarrar said...

BINGO on the Trucks! My wife would rather watch/attend a truck race than Busch or Cup. She is a casual fan, but the trucks have thier own IDENTITY and they "mix it up" as she says. I like that the current cuppers arent over running it week in and week out.

I have heard about the possibility of the Busch series going to "sports car" body types...Mustangs, Camaros, etc. I like the idea. That series has NO identity.

Eric - The Maine PC Doc said...

Who exactly did you think PASS learned from in the marketing department???? Didn't you just recently point out how they have the BIGGEST race each and every month? Marketing people are just lawyers in disguise - the TRUTH is not important!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I GUESS YOU NEVER GO TO THE LOCAL TRACK THEN IF YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE BIG NAMED DRIVERS. A REAL RACE FAN WILL GO WERE EVER THERE IS A RACE.
NO MATER WHO OR WHAT IS RUNNING

fish said...

I'm curious, Travis, with the fan draw of the Busch Series as compared to the CTS, or any other series for that matter, what would you call the No. 2 motorsports brand in the country?

Anonymous said...

Check the attendance figures for a weekend. I am sure you will find it to be the number two and rapidly gaining on the number one spot. It is called NHRA. I think it would qualify as a motorsport.

Monkeesfan said...

The upshot is the Trucks have plumetted in competitiveness and popularity the last four or so years with a near-monopoly by Toyota and no noticable improvement in purses or the points fund. It has also become the "retirement home" of former Winston Cup washouts like Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Todd Bodine, and Johnny Benson.

It's not comical when Chuck Sullivan France makes any reference to anything - when Chuck Sullivan France speaks, the intelligence of the listener is insulted. France knows nothing about racing and doesn't care that he doesn't know anything.