Sunday, March 23, 2008
Claim Jumper's, Busch Whacker's, what ever you call them, why do cup driver's and cup team's run in the Nationwide series, and should they be allowed to? The "to get information for the cup race" theory doesn't cut it anymore with the COT and the tapered restrictor plate. The cars are no longer even remotely close to each other. Do they do it for the prize money? Clint Bower received $54,695 for winning at the Bristol Nationwide race. While that's a lot of money to you and me, it isn't for these guy's.
I would think that it would cost much more than that just to show up. Especially at a stand alone Nationwide race. Do they do it in order to run for the championship? If so, only a two or three out of the ten to twelve cup driver's are doing it. Are they doing it because they are racer's and just love to race. I'm sure for some that's a big part of it.
As far as whether the cup driver's should run the Nationwide races, there are numerous reason's why they shouldn't out there. It is a fact that two or three full time, single car Nationwide teams will go home as a result of the big money cup teams out qualifying them. Some will say that those Nationwide teams should step up their game to compete with the cup driver's. I don't see where thats possible from a financial standpoint.
Some will say that the only thing keeping the Nationwide series alive is the presence of the cup driver's. I'm not sure I buy that. Being somewhat old school, I remember the Busch Series from the 1980' and 1990's, when the series and it's driver's had it's own fans. Guy's like Randy LaJoie, Jack Ingram, Tommy Ellis, and Jimmy Hensley. There has always been a history of cup driver's in the Nationwide/Busch series, but not to the point it is now. Not going for the championship.
The full time Nationwide driver's seem to have different opinions on this. The newer driver's seem to say that it's a good test to race with the cup guy's. That they learn a lot. The Nationwide driver's that have been around for a while don't seem to think it's such a good idea. That it takes spots and prize money from the full time driver's and team's. I tend to agree with that.
In my opinion, the lower series has lost it's identity due to the influx of cup driver's. Especially those running for the championship. It's almost like watching a mini cup race. Good and talented drivers like Brad Coleman, Bryan Clausen, Bobby Hamilton Jr and many more, seem to get lost in the shuffle as far as coverage goes. Brad Kowalewski gets some coverage but thats probably due to his driving for Junior.
The money. At Daytona, Cup drivers won 43% of the prize money. Think about that, 43%. How long can a full time Nationwide, single car team adsorb that? In the first six Nationwide races this season, cup drivers have dominated the top ten. The least being four out of ten at Nashville and the most being 9 out of ten at Daytona. That can't be good for the full time Nationwide teams.
What to do?
Don't allow full time cup drivers to earn points in Nationwide races. No points, no championship runs.
This would open up the championship to the full time Nationwide teams.
Limit how many races they can run in a season.
This would open up the prize money to the full time teams who very well may need it to survive.
Don't allow cup drivers to run the series at all.
Probably not the best solution. The Nationwide Series could still use some of the interest that cup drivers generate until some of it's own stars emerge.
Do Nothing. Don't change a thing.
Not a good option in my opinion. This series is quickly becoming Sprint Cup Light. There are to many talented drivers and teams to have them ignored and have them wither on the vine.
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