There are many fans of other forms of racing who may criticize NASCAR or downplay the importance of that racing body to their particular favorites. Plummeting television ratings and empty pockets within the grandstands surrounding many tracks provide those who claim to dislike that form of racing with opportunities to point out failures. And certainly, this most recent news of NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France’s arrest for a DUI and possession of oxycodone has offered up yet another chance to point fingers at the top form of stock car racing.
However, the simple truth is that all of racing, particularly here in the United States, needs a healthy NASCAR at the top of the motorsports heap.
When people are watching and enjoying one form of racing, they are more likely to seek out other forms to take in as well. There is only one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race per week and for those not in the area of the country where that event happens to be taking place, attending is not likely to be an option. But with many asphalt and dirt short tracks operating all over the country, there are numerous opportunities for fans to get their racing fixes closer to home.
The more people following NASCAR, the more who are likely to be exposed to other types of motorsports.
Further, when NASCAR is successful it draws those who would want to invest in the sport as sponsors to other forms of racing. Not very many companies can afford to pay the amount it takes to back a major NASCAR effort, but through interest sparked by the more visible form of racing, those organizations may seek to offer support at some other level of the sport such as team, series, or event sponsors for short track racing.
But in this writer’s view, the most important aspect of having a successful NASCAR for other forms of racing is the significant direct investment into the other forms of the sport that success brings. Current and former NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kyle Busch, Kenny Wallace, Ken Scrader, David Stremme, Ron Hornaday and others spread the wealth from NASCAR to short track racing as track owners, team owners, racers, car builders and mentors in both the dirt and asphalt short track ranks.
While it’s okay to place a “Dirt is for racing, Asphalt is for getting there” sticker on your car, the reality is that rising tides lift all boats and sinking ships tend to pull others down with them. NASCAR may not be your thing, and that is also okay, but it is good for racing in general when that form of the sport is rising rather than sinking.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
Respond to this piece on Twitter –> @RichardAllenIDR