From the time the second horseless carriage was finished, we had automobile racing. At the very core of all sports is the objective to be better than the others. In motorsports, there is no exception to this rule. In fact, only in motorsports is it amplified to combine thousands of variables and potentials factors.
To start you have man versus man, machine versus machine, tire versus tire, motor versus motor. Every single piece of that car is competing against its counterpart in another machine. Who is the best? What is the best? This is where I raise my questions, especially for my favorite, NASCAR.
I understand that NASCAR has to make money, they have to show profit, they have to pay people. My problem comes when you sign companies as, “The Official …. Of NASCAR.” you start blocking sponsors out of the sport. You limit the number of companies and people in your sport. You limit your competition.
If competition is the soul of your sport why would you prevent anyone from being involved. The best way I can explain the problem is to give an example and walk through it, at least, in my mind. One of the easiest things, tires.
Good Year is the official tire of NASCAR and thereby is the sole manufacturer of tires in NASCAR touring series. NASCAR gives them special privilege and they get to choose tracks and times for special tests to develop tires. Also, they are the only tire available to competitors and therefore they can charge whatever they want and don’t need to strike deals with any team, no sponsorships, and quite honestly Good Year can control everything.
Years ago we had a small tire war. Hoosier versus Good Year. The tire companies fought for teams and drivers, they fought each other to see who could bring the faster tire. There were times it came down to the endurance and durability of a tire, but they were a factor. Teams had an option.
Today if Hoosier or Bridgestone or Continental wants in, nope, sorry. We are out of competition here. What would happen if NASCAR opened it up to all manufacturers of tires? Teams could make deals and bargains with tire companies. They could get sponsorships. Tire companies could come in with a faster tire at the sake of endurance. Maybe one of the companies comes in with a tire that lasts forever but is slower. Maybe a small team sacrifices speed for durability so they only need 2 or 3 sets for a weekend.
The biggest argument I have ever heard against allowing more tire companies in is that you would probably have more blow outs. I invite you to think back a few years after a Good Year tire failed on Tony Stewart’s car, he was mad! He was so mad he said on national TV that none of his personal cars would ever have Good Year tires again. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if the next week he could have come back with another type of tire on his car? Competition would ensure that companies couldn’t bring a product that failed to the track on any regular basis. A few years back, could we say the same about Good Year?
That is just one example of competition in the sport that we lose out on. Now Monster Energy owns the market, title sponsor, they block out any new energy drink companies from entering any of the touring series in NASCAR. This in and of itself limits all teams from pursuing certain venues for sponsorship. Instead Monster should welcome the competition, they should be loud and proud and scream, “Bring it on!” They don’t. I would understand blocking the other companies from sponsoring pole awards and individual races. Those are NASCAR functions. Teams are not.
Healthy competition brings out the best in sports and motorsports. In the end, that’s what all fans want to see. My car outran your car. I drink Pepsi and my car outran your Coke car. You have beer car feuds. Limiting sponsors limits those fan rivalries which power the crowd.
In my opinion, we need to let more car manufacturers in, more tire manufacturers, and we need to quit limiting sponsors from the sport. In this day and age every company will spend every penny they can if they can gain a tenth of a second, you’ll never stop that. Let teams explore all sponsorship avenues. Try to bring Dodge back. Try to get Honda in. Get the car companies fighting for teams. The cost won’t necessarily go down but manufacturers will be helping to offset that cost.
All of this will help bring fans back to the stands, back to the TVs, back to the sport. If we want a healthy sport, all levels of motorsports must embrace competition on every level. In the office, on the track, in the cars, with the drivers. That’s what keeps our attention.
Again, that’s just my opinion….
I’ll see you in the box.