Geoff’s Journal: Limiting drivers isn’t a good move
By Geoff Bodine
August 5, 2017
Earlier this week, NASCAR announced their changes for 2018 on Cup Series drivers being allowed to run fewer races in the two lower series.
Back when I was racing in NASCAR, drivers like Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Harry Gant and myself ran in those series.
When I was running in the Busch Grand National Series, which is now the XFINITY Series, I had to race against those guys, which was good.
If you never race against the best, you never get better. I really enjoyed the challenge.
Beating the best in a Grand National Series car at Darlington in 1982 gave me my opportunity to drive in the Cup Series with an offer from Cliff Stewart two days after the victory.
Unlike today, when us Cup guys ran the second-tier series, we all ran our own car or put a little team together for it.
There weren’t as many alliances with big Cup teams. That series was pretty much separate from the Cup garage. There wasn’t a lot of money and sponsorship.
We really didn’t have engineers. My bottom side was my engineer like everybody else. Teams didn’t have a lot of the technology you see today like pull-down rigs and shock dynos to make the cars faster.
We had a lot of fun doing it ourselves. The competition was about even, and a rookie like me could go and compete with the Allison’s, Earnhardt’s and Gant’s.
Today, the fast XFINITY teams are all connected to Cup teams.
Owners put in the young drivers in those cars to gain experience to try and eventually move them up.
They have an expertise of engineers and research to work with. Some of the faster teams also build their own engines, but when we raced, we would often bring our own.
I liked that challenge because it made us all better drivers at the end of the day.
There’s other problems besides the Cup guys running in the lower series.
WHAT MAY BE AFFECTED MOST
This move could really hurt viewership and attendance. We’re already short of fans.
This move will have the chance to produce more XFINITY Series winners next season, but do the Cup guys racing put more fans in the seats?
I believe they do, and I think they get more people to watch at home.
We need all the viewers we can get and as many fans in the stands as possible.
Part of the problem too is the product on the racetrack. Once in awhile, it’s a great show, but it’s not consistent.
NASCAR is going to have to look elsewhere at what the larger issues are. It’s not all NASCAR’s fault but there’s no question fans aren’t filling the seats like they used to.
We need an old-timer’s series.
NASCAR should have it where the cars can’t go over 20 miles per hour, because a lot of us who are retired do not want to go too fast or hit walls anymore.
Then again, it wouldn’t be very exciting, so it may not work.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts Dante Ricci/The Racing Experts