The Frontstretch: The NASCAR Stimulus Package: What Can Be Done To Jump Start Racing In America? by Vito Pugliese -- Tuesday February 10, 2009

Go to site navigation Go to article

The economic downturn in America is affecting every sector of the country. You can’t turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, or log on the Internet without being constantly reminded that we’re all doomed as doomed can be. I mean, granted, there aren’t dustbowls in the Great Plains, and a small European country isn’t engaged in a war bent on world domination — but things are pretty depressing, to say the least. Naturally, these grave conditions have also negatively impacted our favorite sport – one that thrives on the application of other people’s money.

There are a myriad of changes on the horizon for NASCAR as the 2009 season kicks off in grand fashion this week. All (or most) of them are aimed at cutting spiraling costs of competing at any of the three levels of America’s premier racing series. Considering this, I got to thinking… what would I put forth if I were president (or owner) of NASCAR for a day? What would be my racing stimulus package? Below are a list of my demands, decrees and edicts, all aimed at injecting a little bit more life into a sport that once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as “America’s Hottest Sport.”

Schedule Revision — Why does it seem NASCAR has put together its season schedule the same way that Archie and Jughead used to plan vacations? While they sure don’t act like it, somebody there has to have access to an atlas… I’m sure of it. What needs to be done here is two-fold: Get some variety built into the schedule, then arrange races that don’t require repeated trips around the country that would have frustrated even Moses.

Currently, the season starts off in Daytona – as it should – and then immediately travels across the country to California. After that, virtually every team drives back across North America while a separate team is en route to Las Vegas. Doesn’t this all seem a bit silly?

Note that there is no off week after Daytona as there once was. Why not start in Daytona, then head to Homestead the following week? Most everybody is in Daytona as it is. Or give the teams a week off after Daytona and then go to California — but hit another track in the Southeast the following week. I know NASCAR is hell bent on achieving success in a Los Angeles market that doesn’t even want an NFL team; but barring an earthquake, California isn’t going anywhere, and unless God unleashes his wrath upon Sin City, those dates can be adjusted accordingly.

Track Attack — Having said that, are there some tracks that need to be visited more than once a year? I know we get into this constantly, but there are three tracks that come to mind as not needing second dates: California, Loudon, and Pocono. Some complain that the road courses are a waste, because they only race on them a total of two times a year. Well, why not run on them some more? If NASCAR wants to be the international success it can be, it needs a couple of more road courses mixed in among the other tracks that all look alike.

Racing at Infineon is fun, but who wouldn’t a configuration with more passing zones?

As for the ones we already have, something should be done for them as well. The Watkins Glen Grand Prix course would add a new twist to it, as would a return to the traditional carousel configuration at Infineon Raceway – you know, the one that had three passing zones within one half of a mile?

Right about now, I know someone is going to bring up North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. North Wilkesboro is a weed farm (but can be fixed), while Rockingham has already been freshened up a bit — though that is one race that desperately needs to be staged in April or May. And while we’re at it, let’s give the Southern 500 back its right place on Labor Day Weekend. Darlington never disappoints.

Qualifying — This needs to change in a bad way. If there is any evidence that this is a procedure that has long outlived its usefulness, this year’s Daytona 500 is a prime example. On Thursday, there are essentially two transfer positions that teams will be fighting for. If that’s how it’s going to be, why bother even having the race? Blame this goofy top 35 rule — a rule that guarantees points finishers from the previous season are automatically guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races.

Considering this is “The Great American Race,” there is nothing capitalistic or free market about it. It is protectionism at its core, and does nothing to inspire competition or new teams to attempt to make the race. There should be no less than 60 cars coming down to Daytona qualifying every year, and there should be some notable team sent packing — just like it used to be. I understand rewarding teams that run a full season, but why not reward those who actually run well and don’t just show up each week to pull a check just because they happen to have a sponsor?

A much more equitable arrangement would be slotting the Top 25 with guaranteed starting spots and having a provisional for the most recent champion. No offense to Terry Labonte, but it isn’t saying much about the legitimacy of the Past Champion’s Provisional when the past champion’s car lapped the track slower than a Z06 Corvette pace car last Saturday. Let’s be honest, the PCP was only instituted to help Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip make the field in their closing years — nothing more. So, the front row should be decided on qualifying day as it always has, Thursday should determine positions 3-30, while 31-42 are determined by speed, and if need be, the 43rd position for the most recent champion.

Hey, you should get something besides a big trophy for being the best of the best, right?

For the other tracks, why not have two rounds of qualifying like we used to see? The networks are already on hand to jam each and every lap down our throats all weekend long, so they might as well make it meaningful. Friday qualifying should determine positions 1-32, while 10 spots will be up for grabs for the fastest second day qualifier on Saturday (with a provisional allotted for the most recent past champion not otherwise qualified). The up-for-grabs cars will get to run in the relatively same conditions as one another, meaning everybody has a fair shot at making the race — allowing speed to be rewarded with a starting spot, as opposed to a pat on the back and the opportunity to beat traffic out on a Friday night. And if it rains on Friday, you have ample time to qualify on Saturday morning.

Format Facelift — The buzzword in the auto industry as of late is Hybrid. Well, why not arrange a hybrid weekend of sorts? Instead of running Trucks, Nationwide, and Cup on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday format, why not run, say, the IndyCar Series on Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series on Sunday? Seems to me that it would work well, as they race — or have raced — at a few of the same tracks.

The Camping World Truck Series seriously needs some exposure, and Friday nights on a small cable outlet is not getting it done for what is far and away the best show on four wheels for your racing dollar. I always thought that since the Cup races didn’t start until 3:00 PM half of the time anyway (and the first hour on the air are those insipid pre-race shows that nobody really seems to want anything to do with) why not run the Truck races on Sunday morning as a true preliminary event? Most of them are short enough, and it would keep the Cup guys from stepping on the toes of the Truck Series competitors who are trying to make a name and a living for themselves.

The Nationwide Series, which has developed a bit of an identity crisis, will be switching to Pony cars and their own version of the CoT next year — running the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro. This will give it a look all its own, and could help set the stage for a realignment of sorts as to just how much of a “junior” series it is to Sprint Cup. The new Nationwide formula may prove so popular that it won’t need the infiltration of Cup regulars to sustain its popularity that it has seen in recent years. It worked in the late ‘60s and early ’70s, when the SCCA Trans Am Series was every bit as popular as NASCAR because the cars were the stars. There wasn’t even a true driver’s championship – only a manufacturer’s crown.

I’m sure many of you have your own ideas as to how to fix the economy, and more still have an idea of what NASCAR needs to do to right the ship. Baseball and football continue to produce players who admit to steroid use or shooting up strip clubs, while NASCAR always succeeded on access to the drivers and the strength of the character (or characters) that make up the sport. The basic ingredients have always been there, and the recipe for success was down to a science up until a couple of years ago — before the advent of the ugliest car in racing (next the AMC Matador).

What changes would you make in order to help revive the sport to the rabid level of interest it generated just a decade ago? I’d like to hear them.

You never know who may be listening.

Contact Vito Pugliese

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

02/11/2009 01:41 AM

For Daytona: How about doing away with anyone being locked in (or at least restricting the lock-ins to last year’s Chase drivers). Then, let the rest race their way in free-for-all style. This business of buying team points through mergers, very minority ownwership, etc. is ridiculous.

For the rest of the races, no points lock-in, no provisionals—either be fast enough in qualifying or go home. If some big names don’t make it, let them lick their wounds, re-group, and go at it again the next week.

Also, to level the playing field, restrict owners, alliances, etc. to two (yes, TWO) teams.

Some of those little guys might really surprise us all if they didn’t have to fight the giants like Roush & Hendrick who seemingly want to lock up all the teams for themselves.

02/11/2009 08:26 AM

I noticed you stayed away from things like the organization itself, the “rule book”, the application of said rules week in, week out, and the high & mighty attitude of Mr. (if you don’t like it get out) Brian France.

This is what drove me away from the “sport”, and most certainly yes, the infamous Car of Crap was the proverbial last straw!

Yes, I have some problems with what tracks and when, BUT if the racing was decent, I think most tracks on the circuit would give a good show! (I do agree CA. has to go! they don’t support racing, they don’t like it, they don’t deserve it!) Unless a CA. race was held at a new 1 mile track there, less seats, more action, etc.

I have never been in favor of giving aspirin for terminal cancer!

Lets get rid of the cancer and let the sport get back to real racing!

Everything else becomes minor issues!

02/11/2009 09:26 AM

All cars should qualify on time only . The idea of racing your way into the show won’t work in Cup racing . You have far too much money and sponsor exposure riding on the good judgement and driving skills of the other cars around you . Jimmie Johnson takes out the car in front of you , you get caught up in his mess , your sponsor gets to sit out a race.
There should be one , and only one spot left open for what used to be called the promoters option . It was originally used so that the owner of a track could put the local hero into the show against all of the big names , thereby increasing ticket sales . Some variation of that could still be used , maybe let the fans vote in a driver who didn’t make the show on speed .
But the current system of top 35 plus past champions needs to go away .
California ( Riverside ) started and ended the NASCAR season for many years . Didn’t seem to hurt the growth of NASCAR one bit . But Riverside was a great race track that put on races that people WANTED TO SEE .

Kevin in SoCal
02/11/2009 01:11 PM

a Los Angeles market that doesn’t even want an NFL team;

Bull-F’ing-Crap Vito. The Raiders, as bad as they are, are still very well supported by Los Angeles fans. The Raiders left because the city wouldnt spend the money they didnt have to upgrade the stadium they were playing in. The same reason why the Raiders left Oakland the first time. The Rams left because they were a bad team, and St Louis promised the owner a bunch of money and support to come there to replace the Cardinals who left. We football fans who are left are still big supporters and do want a football team in L.A. or O.C. The Chargers are good but they’re in San Diego, about 100 miles South.

I’d switch Martinsville with California at the beginning of the season. Part of CA’s attendance problems is the Las Vegas race right afterwards. We all would rather go to Vegas than Fontana, no arguements there. Separating CA and LV might help. Or even give CA’s Feb date to Iowa. I’d support that 100% as long as CA Speedway keeps one race.

The IRL has said over and over that they will not play second fiddle to NASCAR’s Cup series. When the IRL is in town, they are the premier event. Until you can convince them otherwise, you will never see a Cup/IRL double header. And speaking of double headers, I think NASCAR and CA have it right now that they do the Trucks in the day and the Nationwide at night at Auto Club Speedway. If more tracks did that they might get a bigger crowd for those races.

Vito Pugliese - FS Staff
02/11/2009 02:37 PM


How many batteries have you thrown or opposing fans have you stabbed? Are you one of those guys who dresses up like Darth Vader or Axe and Smash from “Demolition”, only to just as bad as the Detroit Lions?

Just kidding with that of course. I live in Michigan. You can have the Lions.

As far as IRL playing second fiddle to NASCAR, maybe they haven’t looked up in the stands lately, but other than Indy, there’s not a whole lot of people watching the band.

02/11/2009 03:25 PM

Hey Vito, don’t pick on the IRL now! Open wheel racing has never been big in this country. Never!

And I do remember the days of the Michigan State Fairgrounds hosting twin 100’s on the mile dirt, Sunday afternoons. Stock cars, and then the Indy cars. always a good show when both race on the same day.

But things change, and to each his own. But I don’t care what you do, Open Wheel just doesn’t pull the crowds, in spite of Indy!

Go figure!

But the IRL puts on one whale of a show! Frightening at times! Heart pumping action! Sometimes watching an entire race standing up!

With NA$CRAP, you watch the first ten laps, and then start hitting the souvenir trailers for expensive junk to buy!

Ho-Hum, is it the last ten laps yet?

Kevin in SoCal
02/11/2009 03:55 PM

Hell no I’m not a Raider fan. I hate the Raiders and their fans that you describe. I just used them and the Rams to make a point. I root for the Chargers because they’re a good team and they’re sorta local. There are lots of football fans in the L.A. area and we would love another team. But the stadiums we have are old, falling apart, and nobody has any money to fix them. And any attempt to build a new stadium has been shot down by the NIMBY’s so far.

02/11/2009 04:03 PM

Gee, I thought this was a racing forum. Football season is over! Move on; the subject is NASCAR. There’s certainly enough to discuss re. NASCAR & motorsports w/o having to drag football into it.

Yawn. . . .

James Dedmon
02/12/2009 06:56 AM

I agree on scrapping the top 35 rule. In fact you idea in the article is a good one on the number of qualifing spots. Perhaps the rules should be at least reversed, top 35 on speed. The rest is provisionals, with one being reserved for a past champion. With the teams limited to 5 a year and not being able to use then in back to back weeks.

This allows the “stars” to be able to race if there is a bad week in qualifing. But does not make getting in races a right. Also why not give out Cup points for qualifing in the top 35 on speed. This would also make qualifing more important.

thomas dalfonzo
02/12/2009 07:56 PM

What can be done to jump start racing in America? Someone needs to put me in charge of NASCAR. Why? I’m a man of the fans and care what the fans want because I’m just another NASCAR fan myself.

If I were running NASCAR, this would be my stimulus plan:

The name of NASCAR’s top series will be the NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup Series. I selected Coca-Cola as title sponsor because it is from the south. Also, it has a very rich history and Coca-Cola is able to market to all demographics.

The NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup championship structure will be all about winning races. Having a points system and being consistent is absurd stupidity and I will have none of it. The driver will wins the most races in a season will win the Coca-Cola Cup. Any tiebreakers will be decided by top 5 finishes, 6-10 finishes, most poles, laps led, races led, laps complete, least DNF’s, etc. The championship should be about winning races, not being consistent every week.

I will bring new car manufacturers into NASCAR. There have vast appeal, great demographics, and tremendous potential. Most importantly, they are American car manufacturers. This is the Great American sport and should stay that way. The cars and manufacturers in the NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup Series will be the Chevrolet Impala, the Ford Fusion, the Dodge Charger, the Pontiac G6, the Buick Lacrosse, the Cadillac CTS, the Lincoln MKS, the Mercury Sable, the Saturn Aura, and the Chrysler Sebring. That is a total of ten different manufacturers. These car companies will be active in the NASCAR Coca-Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, and the NASCAR Wrangler Road Series. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be in action with the Chevrolet Silverado, the Ford F-150, the Dodge Ram, the Cadillac Escalade EXT, the Lincoln Mark LT, and the GMC Sierra.

I plan on taking certain aspects of today’s current Cup Series teams and making new teams out of them and letting the manufacturers fully own them. The manufacturers have very deep pockets and will be able to produce great teams with unlimited competitive potential. This way, the teams will compete as a whole, not just one or two standout cars. The teams will be known as Team Chevrolet, Team Ford, Team Dodge, Team Pontiac, etc. Each team will not be allowed to field more than four cars. Ten manufacturers times four cars equals a starting field of 40 cars for every NASCAR Coca-Cola cup race. The manufacturers support all of the NASCAR teams, so why not let them own the teams?

All teams will be permitted to purchase the street production versions of the current Cup cars. The production cars are built from scratch, saving a lot of money. All you have to do then is put in a souped-up engine and the mandatory safety requirements and you’re ready to go racing.

A driver will receive $1,000 for every lap he can lead in every NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup race. If he can lead the most laps, he will receive a special award called the UPS Laps Leader Award.

The Top 35 in owner points will be completely done away with. The 40 fastest cars will race every Sunday. I think it is blasphemous that cars that put down a great qualifying lap and qualify in the top 10 miss a race to a much slower driver because of a stupid points position. Why should sponsors and owners be guaranteed anything in this sport? If you miss a race because you weren’t fast enough, too bad, try again next week. Actually, there will only be 40 drivers in the NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup Series.

All qualifying sessions in NASCAR will be 50-lap heat races. The 40 Coca-Cola Cup cars will go at it for 50 laps at all tracks. The way they finish will be the way they will start the race on Sunday. The heat races will be known as NASCAR STP Pole Runs.

There will be no aerodynamics whatsoever in my NASCAR. Rear spoilers, air dams, and side skirts will be permanently banned from all NASCAR racing cars. Now, racing will be about pure driver talent and not aero technology. Also, we will go back to bias-ply tires with a very soft tire compound. My main philosophy is real drivers and real racing.

Restrictor plates will be banned from NASCAR at last. All the drivers and millions of fans say that they want the plates gone. Well, your wish is my command. The racing at Daytona and Talladega will be better and safer with the cars not in one big hornet’s nest. Also, what we need to do with the cars is keep them from going airborne, not slowing them down and keeping them from passing. To me, it isn’t the high speeds that are the reason for the restrictor plate elimination. It is the drivers being able to pass each other without the need of drafting help.

Drivers in NASCAR will be allowed to race back to the yellow flag again. There is no danger in that. When the yellow flag waves, the drivers race back to the line and we freeze the lap count. Caution flag laps will not count. In the event of danger to a driver, the red flag will be displayed and the race will stop immediately. I think races should be stopped only if it is absolutely necessary. When the driver and safety vehicles are all off the track, the green flag will wave and the race will resume.

I will lift the pit road speed limit. For safety reasons, cars will only be allowed to pit one at a time. When a car hits pit road, the pits will be closed to all other cars. Also, a pit crew can only service the car after a driver has made a complete stop in his respected pit stall. This will eliminate the possibility of a driver accidentally striking and killing crew members should he lock up his brakes entering his pit stall. This is just for green flag pit stops. Under a caution flag, all the cars can pit, but will maintain caution flag speed down pit road. Why should it take a mandated speed limit to make the drivers slow down in the pits? Driving slow on pit road should be common sense.

The HANS device will be forever mandated. I, personally, am forever grateful that NASCAR introduced this thing. Personally, I only believe in five safety devices: the steel roll cages, the head and neck restraint systems, the ball/fuel cell valve system, the window side netting, and the fire retardant suits/undergarments. I and many other fans cannot think of all the lives that those five innovation have saved and will continue to save for years to come.

The SAFER Barriers are a repulsive eyesore and will be ripped down. There is no need for those things in NASCAR. Drivers have been barreling into concrete walls at 170 MPH and walking away like it was nothing for a very long time, especially with a HANS device on. My main point is that we didn’t need them then, and we definitely don’t need them now.

Every current NASCAR tracks (excluding the road courses) will have just one race. This is the best way to balance the old and the new. This way, there is room for the old tracks of NASCAR history and the big venues.

Staying on the topic of tracks, the finale will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway. I can tell you why in just five words: Save the best for last.

Rockingham and North Wilkesboro will return to the NASCAR slate with a vengeance. Rockingham’s seating capacity will go from 60,000 to 80,000, and the track will receive lights. North Wilkesboro will also go to 80,000 seats as well. These tracks have been great to NASCAR for so long, and NASCAR repays them by getting rid of them. Shame on you, NASCAR sanctioning body.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will be banned for life from NASCAR. Those two are the absolute worst thing to every come into this great sport. It repulses me to see these two be so perfect and run up-front and win every single week. How can any other more deserving drivers go to victory lane and compete for the title with those two hogging it all for themselves?

I will never, ever forgive NASCAR for getting rid of the Southern 500 and moving the Labor Day weekend race to the California Speedway. I don’t see how you can run something for 50+ years, thus becoming a NASCAR staple, and then you throw it away for no reason. Brian France, you should be ashamed of yourself for that. Your leadership is disgraceful, for reasons such as that.

I don’t understand why NASCAR wants to compete with NFL football. I, along with millions of other people, want NASCAR to go hand-in-hand with the NFL. Besides, the only way NASCAR will ever beat the NFL would be if the NFL collapsed or disbanded, and that will never happen. Stop trying to beat pro football, NASCAR sanctioning body. You never will and this sport is suffering because of your idiocy.

A new fan sweepstakes will be introduced for the Coca-Cup Series. It will be called the Crown Jewel Challenge. It will be held at NASCAR’s five crown jewel events: the Daytona 500, the World 600, the Brickyard 400, the Southern 500, and the UPS Championship 500. The Crown Jewel Challenge works like this: A lucky fan will see if their favorite driver can win the race. If their driver can, s/he will win $1,000,000. If their favorite driver finishes second, the fan wins $750,000. Third place pays out $500,000, it is $250,000 for fourth, and it is $100,000 for fifth. In the event that the chosen driver finishes sixth on back or is unable to finish the race, the fan will still receive $25,000.

I mentioned something called the NASCAR Wrangler Road Series before. The NASCAR Wrangler Road Series is a new NASCAR series exclusively for road courses and road racers. This NASCAR series is built just for accomplished road racers like Boris Said, Robby Gordon, Scott Pruett, and lots of other drivers with a pedigree in road racing. I picked the name Wrangler Road Series because I think Wrangler Jeans is a great sponsor and I just think Wrangler Road Series sounds good.

All the races on the Coca-Cola Cup circuit will be on the major networks. The first 12 events will be on CBS, the next six will go to NBC, FOX gets the next six events, and the final twelve races will be on ABC. There will be two guys in the broadcast booth for every race. For a long time, this was the way sporting events were called. For NASCAR on CBS, it will be Mike Joy and Dale Jarrett. NASCAR on NBC will have Eli Gold and Terry Labonte. Steve Byrnes and Rusty Wallace will call the races for NASCAR on FOX, while NASCAR on ABC will have Bob Jenkins and Dale Earnhardt. The pit road reporters will be at each network’s discretion. Every NASCAR Coca-Cola Cup race will begin with a one-hour pre-race show called NASCAR Racetime. NASCAR Racetime will feature Bill Elliott, Ray Evernham, and your host, Dr. Jerry Punch.

The NASCAR Busch Series will be entirely on TNT, with Allen Bestwick and Mark Martin in the broadcast booth. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be on FX, and every race will be called by Rick Allen and Phil Parsons. The NASCAR Wrangler Road Series will be entirely on ESPN, with John Kernan and Ricky Rudd calling the shots. One important thing I should mention is that I want every single NASCAR race, practice session, and STP Pole Run to be live and in High Definition.

One final thing for NASCAR TV is the formation of the Classic NASCAR Channel. This channel will feature every televised NASCAR race that exists, being shown 24/7/365, non-stop. The classic races will be hosted by high-profile NASCAR people. This will allow NASCAR fans, young and old, to see the races that helped make NASCAR the great sport that is has become.

Seeing so many commercials during NASCAR racing burns me up. During the races, we will do what TNT did with the 2007 Pepsi 400, which was NASCAR Wide Open Coverage. I thought that was a brilliant innovation and that, I think, is the way to go.

There will be no penalties whatsoever for fighting or using profane language, in victory lane or anywhere during a race. If you want family programming, go watch the Disney Channel.

I have plans for new tracks for NASCAR. They will be located in the New York Metropolitan Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and upstate New York. They will be called the New Jersey Speed Plant, the Bay Area Motorplex, and the New York State Raceway. The New Jersey Speed Plant will be a 2.5 mile superspeedway with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and 250,000 seats. I want this track to be somewhere in northern New Jersey. At last, NASCAR will have a race track in the country’s biggest media market.

The Bay Area Motorplex will be a renovation of the Altamont Raceway Park in northern California with 32 degrees of banking and 150,000 seats. This will give NASCAR the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose statistical area.

Another task I will undertake is transforming local short tracks into big-time NASCAR tracks. There are four that I want to renovate: the Evergreen Speedway, the Wall Township Speedway, and the Thompson Speedway. The main renovation for all of these tracks will be building thousands of seats. For the Evergreen Speedway, 30 degrees of banking, an asphalt racing surface, and 100,000 seats will be constructed at this .646 mile short track. This will bring the NASCAR circuit to the Seattle area and fill NASCAR’s void in the Pacific Northwest.

The Texas World Speedway will be coming back to NASCAR. The Texas World Speedway is a 2-mile oval track in College Station, TX, with 22-degree banking in the turns. Without aerodynamics and radial tires, cars can run lightning-fast, five-wide, and flat-out all race long here. This track hosted NASCAR eight Winston Cup Grand National races from 1969 to 1981, even serving as the season finale for the 1971 and 1972 Winston Cup Grand National Series. The only thing that will change is that the 23,000 seating capacity will be jacked up to 100,000.

The quarter-mile Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul, will receive fresh asphalt, 25 degrees of banking in the turns and 90,000 seats. It will also be increased to a half-mile and be renamed the Minnesota Speedway as well. The current Raceway Park already has high banking, so I will build on that. The Minnesota Speedway will attract the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area, one of the largest in the country and establish NASCAR in the Northern United States.

The Thompson International Speedway will go from 13,000 seats to 113,000 seats, and that will be it. The track has 26 degrees of banking and is .625 miles in length, so I don’t want to tamper with that.

The New York State Raceway will be a renovation of the New York State Fairgrounds in Weedsport, NY. This track will be a mile in length, have 20 degrees of banking, have 80,000 seats, and will attract the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse crowd. This will also be a true oval track.

One final thing about tracks is that I want to renovate and reopen the Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado. Pikes Peak is a great track which always produced excellent Busch Series races. A new asphalt surface, 28 degrees of banking, and 85,000 seats will make this into a fantastic stop on the NASCAR tilt. Most importantly, this place puts NASCAR in the Denver market. Now that is what I call rocky mountain high.

One key thing about the renovation of all the tracks I’ve mentioned is that I want to use corporate funding to pay for the entire construction and furnishing processes. I hope to enlist dozens of corporate sponsors and ask for their services. I will name Turner Construction as the company to spearhead these speedway developments. I absolutely do not want, under any circumstances, to go into public funding. The people get really mad when you take their tax dollars from them, as well as causing taxes in that area to skyrocket. So corporate funding is the way to go when building a new track or anything in this country.

There will be a universal price for all race tickets at all tracks for all races in all NASCAR series: $10. That’s right, $10. That is a great, affordable price for a race ticket. This $10 price will apply to all seats in all locations on the tracks. All luxury suites will be a price of $100 for a two-day weekend. That is about the same price as a two-night stay at any hotel room. I think that this is the way to go in terms of selling tickets. Lets get something straight: race fans are not made of money. Most race fans punch a clock, pay bills, budget, sacrifice, and do what they can to make ends meet. Attending NASCAR races should never be a financial burden.

I have an entirely new format for Daytona Speedweeks. The Budweiser Shootout will be 80 laps in length. Eighty laps equals 200 miles. The Budweiser Shootout will be worth a million dollars to the lucky winner, while other positions pay out $100,000. Leading a lap in the Budweiser Shootout is worth $10,000.

The Sunday qualifying session for the Daytona 500 will be a 50-lap qualifying heat race for the Gatorade 125 Qualifying Races on Thursday. The order they finish on Sunday will be how they will start on Thursday. Drivers in odd number positions will be in the first Gatorade 125 race, and even number position drivers will race in the second qualifying race. The winners in each Gatorade 125 qualifying event will be the front row for the Daytona 500. The finishing orders for each Gatorade 125 race will be the starting order for the Daytona 500.

The All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will become The Coca-Cola All-Star Race. The Coca-Cola All-Star Race will feature all of the winners from the previous Cup Series seasons, the current Cup season’s race plus the winner of the Coca-Cola Open race, and a popular fan-vote driver. The starting order will be a random draw, just like in the Budweiser Shootout. The Coca-Cola Open will be a 50-lap dash for a ticket to the big show. The Coca-Cola All-Star Race will be a 75-lap race for all the marbles. With races of just 50 and 75 laps, drivers would be up on the wheel for every single one. Unlike in the championship races, the Coca-Cola All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola Open will pay out $10,000 for every lap a driver can lead. The winner of the Coca-Cola All-Star Race receives $10,000,000. All other positions pay out $100,000, in addition to any laps led money.

The NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge will be held where it has always been, and that is in the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, NC. The Pit Crew Challenge will fall on the Sunday after the All-Star Race. The 40 Coca-Cola Cup teams will compete in the standard Pit Crew Challenge format. The sixteen fastest teams will advance to the next round. The sixteen finalists will be cut to eight, then four, then two for the Big Showdown. The fastest team through every round will win $1,000,000, plus a brand-new car for each crew member. All other teams will receive $50,000.

The city of Charlotte does not deserve the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The NASCAR Hall of Fame will be located in Daytona Beach, FL. The sport of NASCAR was founded in Daytona Beach, FL, and that’s where and why the Hall of Fame should go there. The Hall of Fame will be somewhere in between the Streamline Hotel and the Daytona Speedway. In my eyes, the Streamline Hotel should be a national monument. In fact, the main award for a person being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be a gold bust of William Henry Getty France.

There will be no more awards banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. These drivers and crew members have worked almost non-stop for ten straight months. I think the NASCAR off-season should be a period of well-earned rest. Also, The awards banquet is the most pathetic excuse for entertainment, period.

There will be a new special event for the very best racers in America called the NASCAR Coors Race of Champions. The NASCAR Coors Race of Champions will be a 200-lap shootout at the Daytona International Speedway on the first Saturday night in January. The race will feature three past and/or current champions of the NASCAR Coca-Cola-Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the ARCA RE-MAX Series, the World of Outlaws Series, the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, the ASA Late Model Series, the ASA Northwest Tour Series, the Northwest Sprint Car Racing Series, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the NASCAR Camping World East Series, the NASCAR Camping World West Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The NASCAR Coors Race of Champions will pay out $10,000 for every lap lead, which means a lap leader pot of $2,000,000. Every position will pay out $100,000, while the race winner receives $10,000,000. The main rule of eligibility for this race is that a driver must win a national championship in their respected form of auto racing. The drivers with more than one national title will receive special consideration.

One final thing, and that is that no Cup drivers will be allowed to compete in Busch, Truck, or Road events. Those series are for full-time series drivers only. If you want to compete in those racing series, you must commit yourself to those series full-time.


My main conquest with my taking over NASCAR is not selling out tracks or new safety implentations or sponsor exclusivity. It is about the feeling of going to a race track and watching a bunch of drivers put on the greatest show on Earth. I want fans who come to each NASCAR race to leave there saying that that was the greatest day of their entire lives. NASCAR Racing shouldn’t be about lawsuits or schedule realignment or safety innovations. It should be about fans and racing and competition and cheering your driver and just being a proud fan of this great sport.

02/12/2009 11:09 PM

Hey Thomas, you like to hear yourself talk, or just don’t know when to shut up?

Contact Vito Pugliese