The Frontstretch: Four Burning Questions: Night Racing, Hall of Fame, and Rockingham by Summer Bedgood -- Friday April 13, 2012

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Should the season showcase more night races?

At first glance, this one seems like a no-brainer. Let’s take a look at the pros of a Saturday night event. As we’ve already seen several times this season, Mother Nature can cause some lengthy delays in this sport and move the race into a day and time where a majority of NASCAR’s fan base isn’t able to watch. In the case of a Saturday night event, if rain is an issue during the scheduled time of the race, the event can easily be moved to Sunday, when many fans are still off work. When rain isn’t a factor, having a Sunday off gives travelers time to get back home without missing work, thus putting more butts in the seats. Finally, Saturday night doesn’t create a lot of conflict against other sporting events, as opposed to the Chase races which are normally running up against NFL games. It doesn’t matter how much promoting NASCAR does, those events are always going to trump the races.

Additionally, it’s just plain fun. You can see the sparks flying under a night sky, the cars literally shine under the bright lights around the track, and for whatever reason, the evening races tend to bring out the best (or, in some cases, worst) in even the most even-tempered drivers.

The one downside? Short track racing. A majority of local short tracks—whether dirt or asphalt—typically run their main events on Saturday nights and running up against a Cup Series race would undoubtedly hurt their attendance. With historic racetracks like North Wilkesboro either closing or struggling to survive, the last thing short tracks need is for the very sport their regular drivers are aiming for to affect the money they bring in.

To say the least, it’s a balancing act and something I’m sure NASCAR is actively looking in to.

The Hall of Fame has maintained an intimate feel with each of its classes thus far, and there’s no need to increase the number of inductees writes Summer Dreyer.

Does the NASCAR Hall of Fame nominating committee need to improve its selections?

On Wednesday, the NASCAR Hall of Fame announced its 25 nominees for the 2013 class, with five new additions: Anne Bledsoe France, Ray Fox, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves, and Rusty Wallace. I was pleasantly surprised when the announcements sparked some debate among the NASCAR world, as I half expected the announcement would be of little interest to most.

Nonetheless, everyone had an opinion on the five new nominees and who was left out of the nominations. Among some of the controversy was the fact that some felt Wallace was nominated too early and in place of more deserving members like Bruton Smith. Additionally, some wondered if Anne Bledsoe France deserved to be inducted into the Hall this soon, let alone at all.

I’m sure everyone reading this has their own opinions, but personally I don’t understand this debate over who gets in “before” anyone else. These five were nominated, not inducted, and will likely have to wait for their time anyway. The fact that there are only five inductees every year doesn’t leave NASCAR much room to work with, and they are trying to make up for 60+ years of history. That’s going to take a while.

I don’t agree, though, with inducting more than five in every year. If you induct any more than that, it’s going to lose the significance. It’s not difficult to remember five individuals, but remembering eight? Or 10? Or more? Get them all to stand up on stage in a group and it’s no longer a group – it’s a crowd. Five is a good number for NASCAR to get as many individuals in as possible without overwhelming or downplaying the event. So don’t get frustrated when someone gets left out of the nomination, because eventually the sport will catch up with itself.

Can Rockingham maintain its race date?

Second chances don’t come very often in life, but when they do you need to be ready to chase the opportunity. Rockingham is getting a second chance on the NASCAR schedule and in the hearts of NASCAR fans everywhere—not just for longtime fans who saw the track in its heyday, but for newer fans who were never able to witness (or witnessed very little of) the events run at the track.

While the quality of racing will be a storyline to watch when the race goes green on Sunday afternoon, there is another huge contributing factor that will determine how long Rockingham remains on the schedule: attendance. See, the track hasn’t had a NASCAR race in years, so there isn’t any excuse to not go because “the racing sucks.” We don’t know that yet, and longtime fans, who are typically the biggest critics of the quality of the race, have been crying for historical tracks such as this to be returned to NASCAR in some form for years now. This isn’t the time to sit back and “see how it plays out.” If you want to see Rockingham retain a date, the time to act is now. Call up the track, buy a ticket, and sit your butt down in the seat and enjoy the race. If you can’t go, turn on your TVs and watch it from start to finish.

Seriously, NASCAR and Rockingham did what the fans have been asking for. Now is the time to show your appreciation. If this is really what you want, you need to either show it with your wallets or with your remote.

Second chances may be rare, but third chances are almost non-existent.

Is Trevor Bayne better off staying in the Sprint Cup Series?

I can’t figure this one out. Bayne is marketable, he’s got a significant fan base behind him, and a ton of talent. Those are supposedly all of the things sponsors look for in a driver, and yet he can’t even maintain a majority of his time in one series. Danica Patrick only has two of those qualities (ok, 2 ½) and she has enough sponsorship to run a full Nationwide Series schedule and a good handful of Cup races. Bayne isn’t even entered in the Nationwide Series race this weekend due to a lack of funding, but is running the Sprint Cup race.

As much as I hate to say it, screw driver development. Just get this guy on a track where he can get enough funding to showcase his talents and personality.

Contact Summer Dreyer

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SHOEMAN
04/13/2012 08:42 AM
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With a name like his, you would think Landon Cassil Would have gotten a sponsor differant than BURGER KING. Maybe someone llike WHITE CASLE.

The Mad Man
04/13/2012 09:21 AM
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I can’t understand the logic behind adding Anne France to the list besides the fact that her name is France. If the selection committee really wanted to add a woman to the list, they should’ve added Louise Smith. She was a driver and team owner who not only raced but also spotted some talent and gave them a chance to race. I’d say her contributions were a lot more substantial than Anne France keeping the books for her husband.

And Rusty? The only reason he was added is because of the current directive of “star power” and “name recognition”. He’s on TV just about every week so even the newest of fans know who he is. There are many one time champions who would be more fitting to be inducted but as they aren’t on TV, they won’t even be looked at for generations to come IF they’re lucky.

MJR in Springfield, VA
04/13/2012 12:07 PM
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Regarding Question 1: “To say the least, it’s a balancing act and something I’m sure NASCAR is actively looking in to.” The only balancing act NA$CAR is looking into is the balance in their collective check books! NA$CAR doesn’t give two flying pigs about the financial condition of any tracks other than their own…let alone anything or anybody else. That is painfully obvious! They have manipulated, mislead, under-minded and downright taken advantage of every possible opportunity to make money at expense of some other entity or business. Don’t get me wrong, a business is supposed to be profitable and look after the interest of their stock holders. But when that is done at such detriment of the very customer that “buys” the product one has to think. Said it before – will say it again. The root cause to what is killing NA$CAR is, well, NA$CAR itself. My daddy used to tell me “pigs get fat – hogs get slaughtered.

And everyone knows what NA$CAR stands for:

Now
All we
Seriously
Care
About is
Revenue