Should NASCAR further limit an organization’s car count?
Last year, I wrote a column about what my vision for NASCAR would be in 10 years’ time.
One of what I feel were one of the more interesting things I wrote about at the time was the idea of NASCAR going to more of a rigid Formula 1-style system for team ownership, namely that the Cup Series would be made up of 20 organizations that would all field two cars apiece.
It’s never been clearer at this point that NASCAR has the interest to implement that rule right now, though it would have to give existing teams time to splinter off.
There are 12 Cup organizations now that either field two cars full time or own more than one charter: Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports (which co-owns the No. 51 charter), Rick Ware Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske, Front Row Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
It’s fair to say that Trackhouse Racing Team has a desire to run a second car eventually, especially with how successful the team has been with finding sponsorship. 23XI Racing very obviously will expand at some point.
Kaulig Racing has the resources to run two Cup cars, which Matt Kaulig did not rule out last month when announcing the team was moving up. And then there is JR Motorsports, which makes this listing 16 organizations if it were to choose to move up.
🗨: "We’re motivated to learn whether this is the time to do it or not. I think it’s probably now or never." pic.twitter.com/4uDO9yqnhk
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) May 8, 2021
On top of that, if NASCAR were to announce a two-car limit, say, come 2025, all four major teams with more than two cars can break away pretty easily. SHR and JGR could simply sell charters to new perspective team owners not necessarily being thrown around for team ownership (hey, Floyd Mayweather), Penske would probably just transfer a car to the Wood Brothers and Hendrick would split with JRM, in which Rick Hendrick could retain a minority stake.
That would bring us to 19 organizations, with 17 of them already being in the sport and one, The Money Team, that is around in some form. Pretending nobody else would be interested in a NASCAR team, 18 teams would mean the same amount of charters that are already in the series.
So even right now, the situation of NASCAR not having what it defines as a full Cup field would not come up under this fashion. It would be an ugly start for the top teams, but a two-car team cap would pay off big in the long run as far as bringing more competitive cars to the racetrack.
Where will NASCAR go next?
Sports Business Daily reported last week that NASCAR is considering street races in Mexico City and Denver in addition to its Chicago project, while Ben Kennedy told the publication that the sanctioning body was eyeing a race in the Northwest.
.@BenKennedy33 says NASCAR has started putting together preliminary drafts of the 2022 schedule.
➖ He eventually wants to expand its schedule presence to the Pacific Northwest and broader North America. https://t.co/IY8mEitom8
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) May 7, 2021
Mexico City and Denver are among the possible locations for future NASCAR street races, on top of the current primary target in Chicago, per sources. pic.twitter.com/zC2L9eyTIa
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) May 7, 2021
A Mexico City return is interesting. Does the series have a race on a new street configuration or using the public roads used by Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez? The problem with Mexico City wasn’t race quality, it was with travel costs incurred by the teams with getting there. But the rights fees generated by a single Cup race would make things make sense from a financial perspective. And races in Denver and the Northwest would be markets for NASCAR untapped on a Cup level.
Street courses do not draw as many fans as ovals do, but that really doesn’t matter now with major sports. It’s all about what makes for the best and most interesting TV product.
I subscribe to the Matt Weaver idea that NASCAR should just turn the Clash and the All-Star Race into the 37th and 38th races, respectively.
NASCAR has a lot of options, but at the same time it has to work within a somewhat strict framework when it comes to who controls the race dates. It must have two dates with Dover Motorsports, which owns Dover International Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway. But a big positive it has going for it now in this respect is that Marcus Smith doesn’t seem nearly as stubborn and combative as his father was.
Bruton Smith would never hold a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, potentially move on from Kentucky Speedway just a decade after buying it, openly muse about doing something at North Wilkesboro Speedway or take a race from Texas Motor Speedway to promote at another track in Texas he doesn’t actually own. Marcus did all of that, on top of his first big move, the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
It would not surprise me in a few years’ time that, even if NASCAR does pull the trigger on the Clash and the All-Star Race, not many tracks have two dates on the calendar. The only ones that seem pretty safe would be Daytona International Speedway, Charlotte, Darlington Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (due to the money SMI gets from the city), Bristol and probably Auto Club Speedway after it completes its transition to a short track. Of all of the interesting things going on with the schedule right now, the most interesting will be what NASCAR does with that track after next year’s race.
Who can master the Monster Mile?
Dover is the only true oval on the NASCAR circuit today, and it also has the oldest surface in the sport. Unlike other tracks with old surfaces, Dover really isn’t a big tire-wear track due to it being concrete.
It’s still surprising to me that there are just three fully concrete tracks in NASCAR. They may not produce the most consistent racing, but those surfaces can last such a long time. Dover is probably years away from getting any sort of repave.
Martin Truex Jr. seems to have found a groove with second year teammate James Small. Truex considers Dover his home track, and with him starting on the pole, it would be tough for him not to be on your fantasy team.
According to the CDC, do fully vaccinated people need to wear masks now?
No, and that feels good to write.