The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: Win On Sunday…Sell Out On Monday? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday June 25, 2009

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Voices From the Heartland: Win On Sunday…Sell Out On Monday?

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday June 25, 2009

 

For years, the Voices that author this column have been stating the obvious and perhaps now, people will begin to finally see the light!

For those that have missed the obvious in the past, I will state it again…very slowly. Read my lips—the old adage of ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ is as dead as two of the ‘Big 3’ themselves. Granted, GM and Chrysler are not technically dead, but they have been placed on life support and sent to Barackenstein’s lab in hopes of one day being reborn as something new. Chrysler of course has already been given a new life at the hands of Fiat, an Italian company, of all things, but GM still lies in stasis, waiting for a new brain since the removal of the old one at the insistence of the lab keeper himself.

Despite the current situation of the American auto industry, there is always someone who insists that winning a Cup race in a Chevrolet on Sunday still translates into a boon of selling Chevrolets on Monday! That simply is not true. If it were, if there really was the ‘hugely beneficial’ marketing connection between a win and sales, why are the Big 3 in the state they are today?

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always this way. Back in the 80’s, when actual chrome bumpers were still attached to Cup cars, the adage did have some merit. I mean you could actually see the difference of the cars. You could tell a Chevy from a Dodge or a Ford from a Pontiac. I dare you to do that today. Manufacturer identity is DEAD! Get over it already!

During the last couple of years, we have seen several Cup level teams switch ‘virtually overnight’ from one manufacturer to another, each adding validity to my argument that ‘manufacturer identity’ in NASCAR is worth about as much as a Brian France autograph. The latest rumors however—you know, the one that has Richard Petty Motorsports running BOTH Dodge and Toyota ‘cars’ within a month or so—have taken it to a new level!

Recently, Richard ‘The King’ Petty, a man that is notoriously linked to Dodge, had this to say when asked about running two manufacturers out of one shop. “You know, I’ve asked the same question. Really, I have. I said, ‘What if?’ And I think that’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to say, ‘What if?’ and then see if it’s done and what would it be to be able to do something like that. The problem I see with running two different kinds of cars out of the same shop is basically the engine shop. The cars have got the same wheels, same brakes, same chassis, same basic body so all that stuff would be easy. The big deal was how could you do the motor situation? That would be the big question mark. I don’t know if it’s ever been done but if it could be done we could probably do it.”

Everything is the same except the engines! Gee, I hadn’t noticed! I thought I could go into my Dodge dealer tomorrow and buy the very same car Kasey Kahne won with last Sunday. What do you mean you it doesn’t come with a 358 cubic inch engine!? And why don’t the rear end and windows look the same? I can’t get it with the front splitter and rear wing package? Guess I’ll have to visit a Honda dealer! Which brings us to another interesting situation.

Brian France recently announced that there have been talks with other ‘foreign’ manufacturers about testing the NASCAR waters. This of course has ignited a whole new firestorm of hate from the so called ‘purists’…you know, the ones that are so vehemently against Toyota, but yet forget that for the last few years Dodge was a German company and is now in the hands of yet another WWII rival. Yeah, they hate Honda, too! Never mind that a Honda in NASCAR will look EXACTLY like a Chevy.

This is a Toyota. But it could be a Chevy. Or a Ford. Or a Dodge. Really, it just depends on what stickers you put on it!

But hey, it all comes down to engines doesn’t it? Not that the engines themselves are all that different, just that they are made with different parts from different companies. Not that you or I could get those parts for our Chevy or Toyota. No, those are special parts made for one specific reason – NASCAR. But don’t feel left out! Heck, the whole rumor about RPM running Toyota and Dodge got started because it is said that they have only enough parts for one more new ‘Dodge’ engine! Easy fix thankfully for Kasey Kahne and team though, simply get some Toyota parts, build a 358 cid engine, much like the 358 cid ‘Dodge’ engine that was in the car, slap some new stickers on it and BINGO, we just made a Charger into a Camry!

Folks, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating a push here for so called ‘foreign’ manufacturers in NASCAR. What I am advocating is that we call a spade a spade and get on with the racing! They are all kit cars that bear no resemblance to anything on the showroom floor today.

The time has come for what has been suggested for the Nationwide and Truck Series…switch to a ‘crate’ engine—engines that are built by a consortium of engineers for various manufacturers, which by the way, I had said before! If a team wants to be associated with a specific ‘brand’, let the highest bidder buy and place their stickers on the car! It would certainly be a more reliable way to get money from a manufacturer than worrying if the company is going to pull support altogether.

Honestly, I would love to see an actual Ford Fusion race a Chevy Impala and a Toyota Camry, but hey, that is NOT going to happen. Ironically when you look on the street, the only cars that today’s Cup cars resemble are the tricked out ‘tuners’. You know…Hondas, Nissans…yeah, those ‘foreign ones!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Douglas
06/25/2009 07:40 AM
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An absolutely BRILLIANT summation of the cars of “STOCK CAR RACING”, that big SHAM being foistered on the fans of today!

The BIGGEST problem however, is NOT! The cars/brands themselves, it IS THE FAN THAT BUYS THAT KIND OF CRAP!

Are we really that stupid? To think we are watching “STOCK CAR RACING”?

Well, from the dwindling fan base, maybe not! there is hope yet!

Ryan
06/25/2009 07:58 AM
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Comparing the days when winning on Sunday meant selling on Monday is like comparing the days when writers weren’t bloggers . Going all the way back to the 80s to illustrate your point pretty much gives you the title of blogger , not writer .
The marketing worth of Nascar , where the car manufacturers were concerned , was in the constant competition between perceived speed and handling of Fords vs Chevys vs Pontiacs vs Buicks vs Mopars . That had all but ceased by the 80s , there was still brand loyalty of course , but the cars raced in Nascar in the 80s weren’t the cars that screamed high performance . The pony cars were the high performance choice , but those cars didn’t race in Nascar .
For anyone who understands what stock car racing was organized for , the idea of a crate motor would be the dumbest possible direction the sport could go . After completly losing the identity of the cars with the COT , you now think it would be wise to obliterate the very last shread of brand awareness these cars have left . By the way , the parts for the current engines are very much available to anyone who wants them , as long as you go through correct channels and have a very thick wallet .
Stock car racing was built on the idea of racers taking their favorite brand of car/engine combination and improving it so they were faster than the next guy with the same combination , or a guy driving Brand X . Lets not kill off the sport anymore than Brian already has .

Ken
06/25/2009 11:21 AM
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If they go to a crate engine, just look how easy it would be. NA$CAR could supply the cars like goodyear supplies tires. The teams can pick up the finished cars, install the decals of their chosen brand and then do their adjustments.

Denis
06/25/2009 11:30 AM
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“There’s nothing stock about a stock car!”
Sorry, had to chime in with this. Seemed like the right time.

Glenn
06/25/2009 12:09 PM
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you totally over-simplified the mfg backing. If there was no correlation, then why do they continue to pump BILLIONS into the sport? Your right, NASCAR has ruined a lot of the identity with the IROC inspired COT, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, the engines are at least different along with some facial and c pillar pieces. If the MFGs don’t like it they can take it up with Sir Brian, he is the issue. Oh and “crate” engines, that would put them on par with Indycar and look how great that is working. Face it Americans need something they can at least remotely identify with, they need to address the stock car mentality instead of just throwing it away.

Douglas
06/25/2009 04:23 PM
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Hey Ken your “ NA$CAR could supply the cars like Goodyear supplies tires.”

NO! NO! NO!

Do you realize what your saying?

EXPLODING TIRES AND ENGINES?

A NA$CRAP supplied engine that lasts ten (10) laps? If your lucky!

Sorry, VERY BAD choice of examples!

Carl D.
06/25/2009 04:55 PM
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Here’s a radical idea…. Head out to a dirt track near you. No factory backing to loose, no multi-groove mega-tracks, no restricter plates, no DW, no Digger, and no Brian France.

Richard in N.C.
06/25/2009 06:25 PM
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I haven’t seen an F1 car on the street recently either, but the most successful car makers in the world (BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, and Ferrari) still spend well over $100 million each every year in F1 racing.

Ken
06/25/2009 06:44 PM
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Ok, I’ve read the comments, and agree with pretty much all that was said. So, Carl has one radical idea, I have another. And all it would take (I think) is to get one big-name team owner and someone other than Brainless-Brian to try it. This goes along the line of the European and Australian touring car series’. Run the cars, Fusion, Impala, Charger, Camry, and just for the heck of it, the Altima, Accord, and any other similar cars, add the required safety equipment, and soup them up using only performance parts that can be bought either over the counter at your friendly local Ford, Chev, Toyota, or Chrysler/Fiat dealer, or maybe at the local performance dealers, and run them on a combination of road courses (infinion, Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta, Elkart Lake, Road America, Mosport, Etc.) and speedways (any non-ISC tracks), and have real stock car races! The races could be 500 Kilometres instead of 500 miles, and run a road course, then speedway, then road course, etc. That way, the cars are the same Fusions etc. that I would buy, and the parts are also available to me. There would only be one real rule: Brian france, GET LOST!! Then the manufactures could claim “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”, and it just might mean something again!

Anybody got Bruton’s or Jack Roush’s phone numbers?

RamblinWreck
06/25/2009 07:35 PM
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You’d need a lot more than just Bruton and an owner or two if you’d hope to compete with NASCAR.

Otherwise we’d have been watching the TRAC series these last few years.

Lunar Tunes
06/25/2009 08:06 PM
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Richard in NC,

The name is Formula 1! Not ‘Stock 1’!

NASCAR was built on a simple premise. Racing souped up, mostly stock cars! That is why it appealed to the manufacturers and they got involved! They saw a great marketing opp. and ran with it.
The car in nascar today is about as far away from stock, and a specialized kit car as you can get!
Let’s be honest! The ‘s’ in nascar means ‘spec’!
The current name of the series, and what they race are as far apart as the north and south poles!

Douglas
06/25/2009 08:28 PM
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Hey Carl D. did just that, 3/8mile dirt, in the boonies, a full show plus non-wing sprints, a TERRIFIC show!

All on dirt!

EVERYONE actually racing!

How neat is that?

Marshall (a different one)
06/25/2009 10:58 PM
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Why does every writer say that returning to a truly “stock” series is not going to happen? Why could it not happen.. and would should it not happen?

 

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