2008 Nascar Controversy Will it effect the Sport?


From: The Sporting News Mar 13, 2008 06:42 PM |
In this Winston Cup season we've had four races and a lot of verbiage from Tony Stewart, Jack Roush, and Toyota on several issues, and some are celebrating this outburst of verbiage because it somehow has brought the sport's "personality" back. The sport, according to Brian France, needed to "show more personalities."

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So what has been the net gain for the sport from these eruptions?

Some point to surprising spikes in TV ratings, notably for Vegas and Atlanta, as evidence that these outbursts are galvanizing fans back to the sport. Perhaps Tony Stewart and company screaming in the media has had some effect, but it's impossible to believe that it can sustain any improvement in the sport's popularity, especially given the continuing low quality of the competitive product on the racetrack.

Daytona was an exciting race. Fontana had some good racing in spots but hardly enough of it. Vegas wasn't much to write home about, and Atlanta wasn't any better - enough that it caused comment from H.A. Wheeler about the COT, "If this thing doesn't work, let's fix it and let's do it right now."

MD80891 remains a most perceptive analyst of things NASCAR and he has noted among other things what most people overlooked about the Atlanta weekend - the radical change in weather from day to day and its effect on setup. His comments remain must-reading when discussing the on-going tire controversy, for as critical of Goodyear as I am in a general sense, what it comes back to is the COT and its role in both tire issues and general raceability or lack thereof.

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Just having "personalities" is not going to benefit the sport long-term. This sport would have seen similar spikes in ratings - not to mention stronger crowds than have generally come through track turnstiles - if the races following Daytona had shown the same competitive depth the 500 showed.
STP43FAN

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