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Monday, August 25, 2008

NASCAR shouldn't allow Childress to buy his way into top 35

It used to be that when a new team started up in NASCAR, it had to earn its way into the first few races. This was the case when Tony Stewart’s #20 team first hit the track, when Jimmie Johnson’s #48 team made its debut, and so on. (In fact, I distinctly remember thinking Stewart's team was going to tank and miss the Daytona 500, based on his spotty Busch Series record ... he started second in that race and has won two titles since, so that prediction didn't quite pan out)

But with Richard Childress expanding to four cars next year, there seems to be something afoot that I find concerning. Casey Mears will take over the #07 car of Clint Bowyer, reportedly at the request of the sponsors, and Clint Bowyer will move to the new fourth team and the #33 car.

So by logic, that would mean Bowyer will have to race his way into the first five races, right?

Perhaps not. While he wouldn’t yet comment further, Childress sounded incredibly relaxed about the prospect of Bowyer qualifying for races. This has led to speculation that Childress may be preparing to work around that by buying the owners points of a car in the top 35 … perhaps the #01 DEI car, which will likely cease operation after the season ends due to lack of sponsorship.

This kind of finagling to guarantee a driver makes races is not new. Penske racing swapped owners points between the #77 and #2 cars this year, so Sam Hornish Jr. could take Kurt Busch’s points and Busch could rely on his past champion provisional to start the year.

Also, in 2007 after the merger of Ginn Racing with DEI, the owner points from Sterling Marlin’s newly shut-down #14 car were transferred to the #15 of Paul Menard, guaranteeing him a starting spot in each race.

If this rumored purchase of owner points by RCR ends up happening, it will be unfair to all drivers on the bubble of being in the top 35 points. If the #01 shuts down, they should all move up a spot, and it’s not fair that a brand new Childress team would be allowed to buy its way into the first five races.

That’s not what NASCAR is all about. It’s about competing to make the race, not buying your way in. It would be a bad move for NASCAR to allow something like this, and I hope they don’t.

But sadly, based on their past decisions, they probably will allow this to happen if Childress asks to do it.

Just like in a court of law, the guy with the most money usually wins.

Who’s the good guy?
In the wake of Saturday night’s bump-and-run, many fans are looking at the Carl Edwards vs. Kyle Busch rivalry as a good guy vs. bad guy battle for the title.

Personally, I wouldn’t classify either one of them as a "good guy". It’s just that when you’re comparing somebody to Kyle Busch, that driver will inevitably be considered the good guy.

Pigskin at Bristol?
With football season having arrived, while watching the races this weekend at Bristol I couldn’t help envision how awesome it would be for the Tennessee Volunteers to play a game at the speedway. The game would draw at least 150,000 and would just be an awesome, record-breaking spectacle. A few years ago, track owner Bruton Smith made this offer to Virginia Tech and Tennessee, saying he’d give each school $20 million to play at his track. Sadly, it was not to be, but who knows … maybe they’ll come around.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean "competing to make the race"? what the hell is the top 35 all about? no competing there to make a race. wake up you jerk.

August 25, 2008 at 11:52 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read you "article" on RCR buying his way into the top 35> Maybe you should have made another choice other than Stewart to make your case. Back when Stewart started, there was no "top 35" rule. We had "2nd day" qualifying which pretty much allowed the good teams to make the race. Appealing to the lack of knowledge that some of the newer fans have about history, doesnt make you a better writer.

As far as RCR buying his way in, I am sure he will not have a problem qualifying for races. Its when Mother Nature interferes in those first 5 races that he needs that reassurance. The top 35 rule was put in place becasue fully funded teams were not making a race when some 1 race deal would come along and knock them out. Then that team would run 2 laps at the beginning, park their car and collect a check. I would saay that RCR has paid his dues in NASCAR and General Mills is by far a 1 race deal.

Just one fans opinion.

Go 31

August 25, 2008 at 12:57 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think buying your way into the top 35 is unfair? how about a driver who is most likely going to be in the chase this year being bumped from his ride and made to qualify on time? i think that's a little more unfair.

August 25, 2008 at 4:41 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

I agree the Bowyer/Mears car switch is unfair to Bowyer ... but the blame for that lies with Childress. He seems to be punishing Bowyer for no reason.

But that doesn't change my opinion of what he might do to get Bowyer a secured spot

August 25, 2008 at 4:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with you. But if RCR buys the 01 , NASCAR will for certain allow it , as they have already done so too many times. New team should equal zero points.

August 25, 2008 at 8:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson weren't guaranteed starting spots because there were no guaranteed spots. Stewart's first full season was 1999 and Johnson's, 2002. The "Top 35 Rule" wasn't instituted until 2005. Before that the only cars guaranteed in the race were the top 6 in owner's points (with provisionals remaining) and the most recent champion, so unless there was some way to get Stewart or Johnson in one of those 6 cars, what you are talking about was not possible. NASCAR has brought this upon themselves by creating another inexplicable rule that is not in the spirit of competition, but rather in the interest of corporate greed.

August 26, 2008 at 10:03 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

I recognize the top 35 rule wasn't in place when Stewart and Johnson started. But the fact remains that they had to qualify on time and had no provisionals to fall back on if they screwed up in qualifying or it got rained out. That's a risk all new teams have to take, and I see no reason the #33 Childress team should be able to get around it.

August 26, 2008 at 10:47 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be a limited number of provisionals for the top ten or maybe 15 point finishers from the previous year. Let the rest qualify- that is what the word means isn't it? I do not follow drag racing, but doesn't everyone have to qualify to the final rounds?
Nascar is too much about money and not enough about real racing anymore.

August 26, 2008 at 11:58 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the past, those teams who have switched points have all been in house. DEI bought out Ginn racing, so those were their points to do with as they pleased. Penske Racing did the same thing last year. Childress will not be allowed to buy the points from another team. End of story.

August 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM 

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