Saturday, October 1, 2011

Toby Kruse named GM of Knoxville Raceway

On Wednesday, Knoxville Raceway announced that Toby Kruse had been selected by the Marion County Fair Board as general manager and promoter of the raceway.  Kruse will take over from retiring Ralph "Cappy" Capitani at the end of the year.

Kruse has extensive experience in motorsports, ranging from announcing, flagging, occasionally driving, and managing both Marshalltown Speedway and Beatrice Speedway.

As someone who has attended many races at Marshalltown and Knoxville, I am excited that Toby will be taking the helm and I anticipate good things!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Death of an Icon: National Speed Sport News Stops Publishing

National Speed Sport News announced this week that the March 23, 2011 print edition was the last.  While the company will continue with an online presence, it was no longer financially feasible to continue publishing.

NSSN has been a motorsports staple since 1934.  Published weekly, it provided photos, news stories, commentary and advertising for all of the big motorsports events.

Personally, I loved getting each issue and reading it from cover to cover.  NSSN contained information on all the main forms of racing: Formula One, Nascar, sprint cars, NHRA, and a few local events as well.  It was a great way to get "one stop" shopping done for my racing news.

Hopefully, the online resource continues to flourish.  Farewell, NSSN print edition, it was great welcoming you into my home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nascar Swings at 'wide Whacking; Kills Series Instead

Complaints about Bush-whacking or 'wide Whacking as it is now known (at least in my lexicon) have been legion for years.

According to the complaints, every year, Sprint Cup racers win the series championships in the Nationwide series.  Sprint Cup racers cherry pick the biggest purses in the Nationwide series and win them, starving the smaller teams.  Cup racers take driving jobs from other drivers in the lower series.

While some of the complaints are legitimate, Nascar has benefited greatly from the practice of Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide and truck series.  But Nascar has determined to change this starting immediately.  This year, drivers must select which series they accrue points in:  in other words, if a driver runs both Cup and Nationwide, point will only be awarded in one series.

{It remains to be seen how this affects the rookie rule - which says a driver cannot have more than 6 starts in the Cup series to remain eligible for rookie status the next year.  If you don't get points in Cup, it shouldn't matter if you run 20 Cup races, right?}

The new rule has problems, as far as I can tell.  First, while it doesn't remove the monetary incentive to Cup drivers, it does remove some of it.  Money collected from points fund payouts in lower series do subsidize driver's, owner's and team's coffers.  The extra money for wins still will apply, so that will lure a few Cup drivers in.

Second, the rule will have severe implications in sponsorship deals.  If Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, or Brad Keselowski do not have the option to win a championship, will they run?  If they don't run, will their sponsors leave the sport?  Sponsors select drivers and teams to get the most bang for their buck.  Kyle Busch can practically guarantee that he will get TV coverage - regardless whether he wins or finishes last.  Can Shelby Howard, Jennifer Cobb or Kelly Bires deliver that?  There are sponsors who are willing to sponsor Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin or Kevin Harvick who will not sponsors a driver named Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse, Danny O'Quinn or Brett Moffitt.

If Dale Earnhardt Jr, the most popular driver in Nascar, has sponsorship woes with his teams, what hope do the rest of the teams have??

Third, the tracks will suffer.  If the Cup drivers aren't at the track, will the fans show up?  While this may not matter at tracks where the race is paired with a Cup race, it will impact tracks like Iowa Speedway, Nashville, Montreal, Road America, Memphis, etc.  Will drivers make the cross-country trip to the Nationwide race from a Cup race?  Why bother if a championship isn't on the line?

More importantly, if the fans think Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are not coming, will the fans bother going to the race?

I suspect the rule has a bit more sinister purpose: kill the tracks without a Cup race.  A look at those tracks reveals that those tracks are largely owned by Non-ISC corporations.  Remember that ISC is owned by the France family.  If the Non-ISC owned tracks have to close (a la Gateway or Memphis), then those races can go to other tracks, say ones ISC owns.

The simple math is: France family money from Nascar + France family money from ISC = $$$$$$

The problem is that this rule will affect more than tracks, as it will likely drive out sponsors, teams and fans in addition to the Cup drivers.