The Frontstretch: The Problem With the Buschwackers Is…There Needs To Be More Of Them! by Tommy Thompson -- Thursday July 26, 2007

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The Problem With the Buschwackers Is…There Needs To Be More Of Them!

Busch Series Commentary · Tommy Thompson · Thursday July 26, 2007


Of course it isn't breaking news that there is a large disparity in talent and equipment between Busch Series teams owned by Cup team owners such as Childress, Ganassi, Gibbs, Hendrick and the other big time Cup players in comparison to the series' non-Cup-owned teams. Obviously, the Cup participants have both the monetary and engineering resources to put on track equipment that is far superior to teams that compete solely in NASCAR's second-tier series. Plus, they quite often put their more experienced and sometimes more talented Cup drivers in the Busch cars, creating an insurmountable advantage over Busch Series mainstays. This situation has had a fair number of NASCAR fans crying FOUL for quite some time.

These pirates are generally referred to as "Buschwackers." And some believe they should be limited or barred from competing in the series. Since that is not practical, I believe for the best interest of race fans, and certainly NASCAR, the goal should be to increase the Cup influence in Busch to provide the very best racing that it can this side of the Nextel Cup series. Fans need to take a step back and understand what they are arguing for and against when they get on their high horses about the participation of the Cup invaders. Simply put, those critics of the Buschwackers seem to want them eliminated because they are just too much better than the weaker series regulars.

So what? Do those fans want to watch races with lesser equipment than they could be seeing, piloted by drivers that are not really all that good? Shoot…not me! I want to see the best of the best race as much as I can. I would much rather watch Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick race twice in a weekend than Kyle Krisiloff, Marcos Ambrose, Steven Leicht or Brent Sherman. And the fact is, so do most race fans…based on attendance and TV ratings when the series has a big field of Cup regulars.

There is the fairness argument that the opponents of "buschwacking" like to use to justify their dislike of the situation. The argument is that it isn't fair to the smaller under-funded Busch regulars that cannot hope to compete with the Cup bunch. And it's true…with the exception of a rare miracle win like David Guililand pulled off last year, the little guys have little chance against the big guys. But racing isn't an exercise in socialism…it is a competition wherein the most able conquer. My answer to those teams is get better…and get more money!

Part of the problem as I see it, is that there is an assumption that the NASCAR Busch Series HAS to be solely a stepping-stone for teams and drivers hoping to one day compete in NASCAR's premier division. At one time that was pretty much the case…but not today. Busch racing has changed. The local "hot shoe" no longer can pop into the series and make a buck. The price tag to race in the series has escalated to somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million a year per competitive team. Though still a bargain in comparison to Cup competition, nonetheless…only the wealthy and talented need now apply.

So where are the stars of tomorrow going to develop? The same place most of them are learning to race now… In other sanctioning organizations: Craftsman Trucks, USAC, ARCA and the numerous late model series' such as the ASA and Hooter's Cup. Truth is, in the last few years not many of the "young guns" have stopped in the Busch Series for long anyways.

NASCAR knows the score. Although lagging well behind its senior league in prestige and number of ravenous fans, the series is still a small "gold mine" for the sanctioning body. It is the second most viewed auto racing series in the country, and presumably the second most lucrative series in the country, kicking tail on both of the open-wheel series-whatever their names are this year.
And it didn't get there on the backs of the Busch regulars! Stock car enthusiasts can't get enough of their stars and the series provides just one more avenue to give the fans what they really want. No matter how much they complain about it.

To keep the sponsors necessary to fund a competitive Busch team, sponsors more and more, like fans, want to see the marquee drivers in the equipment that they are paying for. This point was demonstrated by the controversy in Milwaukee last month when driver Aric Almirola was jerked out of his Joe Gibbs Racing Busch ride in mid-race and replaced by Cup sensation Denny Hamlin. And why? Because JGR wanted to deliver on their sponsors desire to have Hamlin race in the sponsors hometown. And JGR had five million or so good reasons to put the "buschwacker" in the car.

The worst thing that could happen to the Busch Series is if Cup drivers and teams pulled out of the competition. The best approach for NASCAR is to look at ways to require them to stay and even augment their participation in that series' events. Perhaps requiring drivers to spend two full seasons in the AAA series before moving up would encourage Cup owners to keep a strong presence in the series. Such a rule might require more "ride-sharing" arrangements between an owner's developmental driver and the owners' popular Cup veteran, thus, guaranteeing more appearances by the stock car superstars.

Rather than argue against allowing the best to compete…the debate should be how to get more of the best to compete…and more often!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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07/27/2007 05:54 AM

Just how DUMB is that???

“More Buschwackers”???

Not on your friggin life!

You want to see the ‘best of the best”??

Then watch the Cup Series, thats what it is all about!

Buschwackers are money grabbing jerks that keep the up & comers from earning not only a living but the op to maybe break into cup Racing!

It’s like say The New York Yankees going down and playing a AA Team!


If the buschwackers were outlawed, then the busch series would seek it’s very own level! A playing field that would allow different drivers and teams to get real “speedway” experience!

07/27/2007 05:55 AM

Man, you are so full of yourself! I just can’t even respond to such a empty of fact argument!

M. B. Voelker
07/27/2007 06:42 AM

You’ve gone a good deal further with the argument than I would, but you make a lot of excellent points.

The second biggest racing series in the US is not a training ground for inexperienced nobodies — its a competitive series in its own right. Hopefully soon to be defined and identified, like the truck series, by its equipment rather than as some sort of mythical stepping-stone to Cup.

I want to know how many of the people who gripe about Buschwhackers regularly watch ARCA and Hooters ProCup races? How many of them devotedly follow Nascar’s East and West series (or whatever names they’re using this year)?

If they truly long for the Busch series to be a small-time series without major stars they can watch those series because they already are what the complainers are wanting the Busch series to be.

I wouldn’t go so far as to encourage more Buschwhacking, but I want to see 43 quality cars with competent drivers in them. And I strongly believe that anyone who can field a legal car and put a Nascar-licensed driver in it should be allowed to attempt to make the field without goofy restrictions based on what else that driver is doing that weekend.

Larry Owens
07/27/2007 08:23 AM

You are so very WRONG in your approach. The Busch series was designed to the a stepping stone to Cup..remember it was the A ( Arca ) B ( Busch ) C (Cup )ladder. The Busch series, aka Sportsmen Division in the early days, was never designed to be a Cup-Lite series. It was designed to be a proving ground for up and comers to learn the skills to become pilots of the monster fast Cup cars. The reference to AA and AAA ball divisions is a perfect scenario. Bushwackers are killing the Busch series original reason for existence. Rather than allow cup drivers practice time in the Busch cars they do need to limit points and purses for the cup participants or just abolish the whole series like IROC did. I know change is inevitable even in racing but the Buschwacker thing has gotten out of hand. I know, I was there and it saddens me to see this happening. I tried Busch, couldn’t keep up with technology and dollars so I never made cup and had to get out and go back to the local bullrings. No, I never thought I’d be the next RP, DE, BA or DW but, I had hopes of making a decent living and having some glory moments, but, my dream was taken away by the big buck owners who infiltrated the series. For that I blame the big money machine we call NASCAR who has thrown away 99% of all NASCAR tradition. Sad.

07/27/2007 11:37 AM

I agree your nuts. Its getting to the point that Busch only teams cannot survive. And further more its getting to the point the Cup only teams can’t survive alone anymore, thats why their all merging. If things keep going the way they are I see 5 nascar owners in 2 series. I say two series because the Trucks will fold. I think you should have to pick at the begining of the year weather your a busch or cup driver. And if your a cup driver your only eligable for 7 busch races that year and vice versa. And you think their was a driver crisis this era, you aint seen nothing yet. Wait till kids have to go from Dodge Weekly to Cup, because their is no more busch just minicup.

J Loder
07/27/2007 11:56 AM

You think anti-buschwhackers think quality equipment should be disallowed? I’ve yet to meet anyone of that opinion. The problem is with the drivers and crew chiefs.

You suggest the Busch series isn’t a stepping stone so it shouldn’t be considered one. I submit you have it backward. If you’re going to step into a sea of Cup drivers at either the Busch level – where no one cares if they wreck you out and you’re easy to dismiss as a “Busch” driver – or at the Cup level where there’s a certain level of weight put behind each appearance, what would YOU chose. There’s no merit to trying to get experience in Busch anymore.

You claim the Cup racing is the best racing and they’re bringing that level of “quality” to Busch. Well, I again respectfully disagree – I think not only is the racing in each individual event poorer than it had been a few years back, but the points system is beginning to look like the Cup series’ back before they changed the points rules. And let’s not forget… I’m not sure drivers in the top ten regularly losing their seats is a sign of a healthy sport based on competition (though that’s stopped of late, since there’s so few real Busch drivers IN the top 10). Shouldn’t competition REWARD results instead of connections? Just a thought, though one supported by your own assertion later in the piece that putting the Cup guys in is as much about sponsorship dollars – or, heck, MORE about that – than about competition.

Which I guess is the crux. You have a good point buried in this article – it’s that NASCAR can make more money and fans can get more driver face time if we flood the Busch series with Cup drivers. With THAT you’ll get no argument.

07/27/2007 03:35 PM

The Busch Series was supposed to be the training grounds to prepare drivers, owners, and crew chiefs for the move up to the Cup Series. Now it’s become a test session for the Cup teams to get ready for the Cup race the next day.

If you spend some time with a Busch team in their shop, you’ll find they put just as much time and effort into their cars as do the Cup teams. These aren’t pieces of junk or lesser machines. They just don’t have the big bucks to use all the technology that the Cup teams have access to or the high dollar sponsors so they can’t compete on what is supposed to be their turf.

Go ahead, fill the Busch Series up with Cup drivers. Just be sure to name it what it will be. The Cup Lite Series.

John Wyckoff
07/29/2007 02:56 PM

You have been eating paint chips again haven’t you? You obviously haven’t given all that much thought about what you wrote. The number of cup drivers in the Busch series is excatly the reason why the the driver pool is so thin. You forget the drivers like Gordon, Stewart,Biffle, and even Jr raced in the Busch series before getting their cup rides. The real reason for the buschwackers is that the car owners can 2 races from one driver instead of the other way around.

07/30/2007 09:38 AM

Not one word of that article is true. True NASCAR fans are interested in real racing, not big stars. I’d sooner watch Kertus Davis or Stephen Leicht instead of Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Why? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T SPOILED PRINCESSES LIKE EDWARDS AND BUSCH!!!! “Fans” like you are ruining the sport.

Robert Eastman
08/01/2007 03:55 PM

NASCAR has to do whatever they can, to promote the (Busch?) Series and make it more popular.
The more people that watch it, both live and on TV, the healthier the sport. Obviously, more people watch when the Superstar “Buschwackers” show up.
NASCAR needs to continue looking for ways to contain costs, so that teams can field a car for 25% to 33% of what it costs to run in CUP. Of course limiting the number of tires is one way they’ve already done it, but they need to find more cost cutting measures.
With lower costs, more sponsors will be able to get a better bang for their bucks while still getting the national exposure they all crave! Cost containment rules will do more for the health of the sport than keeping the CUP teams out, which will actually hurt the series.
When sponsors can easily justify their investments by seeing a real return on their investments, more teams will be able to compete, allowing more “up and coming” drivers their chance at the big time!

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