Cutbacks are coming in NASCAR, but that may not be such a bad thing.
Factory support is shrinking, advertising dollars are disappearing and costs keep rising. Even superstar teams such as Hendrick Motorsports are having to find ways to spend more wisely. And if Hendrick is cutting back, imagine what some of the lower-tier teams are doing.
As we've said before, NASCAR, like the economy, has become quite bloated in recent years. A natural reordering of things was bound to happen at some point. What really hurts, though, is that many figured the market correction would come through reduced advertising dollars. And while that has indeed happened, when you add the manufacturer fallout, the two-way hit has really blindsided the sport.
To help offset the reduction in funds, NASCAR and its teams are trying to be smarter, but that may not be enough. It's time to look at things like crate engines and reduced fields. Teams such as Richard Childress Racing may have to lose a team, but even that might have its benefits elsewhere.
Though Sprint Cup racing is hardly in danger of cutting races or closing doors, the same can't be said of the Craftsman Truck Series or the Nationwide Series. However, if teams such as RCR are cutting back on the Cup level, they can use some of the money saved and put into development on the lower levels.
At the very least, a leaner NASCAR will eventually be a stronger NASCAR. The big question is just how far will NASCAR officials and its teams have to go before rock bottom is reached?
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...