Toni Montgomery · Thursday October 13, 2005
Last week I asked readers to send in their thoughts, comments, and opinions about the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series and what they’d like to see covered here. I promised to bring you the results this week so here they are. For the Busch Series, I heard nothing. For the Craftsman Truck Series, I heard…also nothing.
Nada. Zilch. Zip. Not one single reply. That leads me to one of two conclusions. The first and most obvious is that no one read last week’s column. The second is that no one who read it had anything to say about either series that was important enough to them to send a response. Strange as it might sound, I’m hoping it was the first conclusion. As annoying as it might seem to spend time writing a column no one reads, I’m sure there are better writers than myself who have written something no one read. I find it sadder to think that no one cares about these two series.
I know there are bigger things in the world to worry about than the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series and I know racing is an entertainment and a distraction for it’s audience. But people still have opinions about their entertainment. I can’t help but think I would have had a response if this column was about the Cup Series. Right or wrong, people have an idea that NASCAR cares about their opinions and that those opinions are at least taken into consideration when changes are pondered. They may or may not actually consider fan opinion but there have been some decisions made that certainly went in the direction of fan favor leading to the thought that it at least matters sometimes.
If fans have absolutely no opinion on the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series, and if NASCAR knows this is the case, then it gives them the freedom to do whatever they want with either series. I’m going to sound like Mark Martin for a minute maybe, but I do believe that fans should express those opinions if there are issues they feel strongly about. It may actually carry some weight.
The Busch Series is being overrun by Buschwhackers. NASCAR has the idea that they need those Cup drivers in the Busch field in order to sell tickets. There may be some fans who are more likely to buy a Busch Series ticket if there are Cup drivers on the bill but I don’t think the series will play to empty stands if there aren’t. Capacity crowds at several stand alone events brings me to that conclusion. Milwaukee played to a packed house with only Carl Edwards representing the Cup Series. That in itself might be a message about fan opinion for NASCAR, but fans could do more.
Maybe a handful of Cup drivers in a Busch race is a necessary evil, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Most of the time there are too many. NASCAR has started to consider some rule changes with an eye toward a limit, but it doesn’t seem to be a high priority. I’m going to argue that it would be if there were more of an outcry about it. As long as there is no visible effect from the presence of the Buschwhackers, NASCAR can assume their presence is acceptable to the fans and continue in the thought that fans buy tickets for Busch Series races more to see Cup drivers than Busch drivers.
The Craftsman Truck Series is slowly shifting from a short track series to a superspeedway series. It would seem most fans prefer to see trucks race on the short tracks. However, as long an nothing is said about it when changes are made, NASCAR is likely to assume you’d prefer to see trucks racing superspeedways than short tracks. On some occasions I don’t see how they could draw any other conclusion. South Boston Speedway was a fantastic little bull ring to see trucks race, but the last time the trucks appeared there, the stands were only about half full. While the stands at some of the superspeedways may be only half full, we’re talking the difference between stands than hold maybe 10,000 people to ones that hold 100,000 people. What other conclusion should NASCAR make if that’s all they have to base their decision on?
I’ve gotten up on my little soap box and said my piece. I know neither the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series is as popular as the Cup Series. They likely will never be because the reality is that they are second tier support series to Cup, the top series. But I still hope the lack of response doesn’t mean fans don’t care about either series. I’d rather just think that I got lost in the shuffle and no one read last week’s article.
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