Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fix the Nationwide Series! Remember Junior vs Kenseth?

Kyle Busch looks like a definite lock for the championship this season--and even if he does somehow fail in a blaze of glory, it'll just be Cousin Carl picking up the trophy again anyway.

Remember the old Busch series? Remember it in the 90s? That was good times. Randy LaJoie, back when winning two championships in a row was an impressive feat, for BACE Motorsports. He was the man to beat, when you were moving up through the ranks. Mike McLaughlin, Joe Jemecheck, Tim Fedewa, grizzled veterans that were the measuring stick, rather than running around being lapped by Cup teams in disguise.

Remember Dale Jr. and Matt Kenseth? People often forget they fought for their Cup seats the hard way--they raced hard against each other for two seasons in the Busch series, to prove themselves. They each had a bunch of wins in both 98 and 99, and finished very closely in the championship. It's what the series was supposed to be about.

Now it's a shadow of its former self. Thankfully, they haven't adopted The Car of Sorrow themselves yet, although they now have a design in the works. Cup regulars dominate just about everything, and the few Nationwide regulars who manage to win races either do so because they're road course experts (Ambrose last year), or because they're driving for a Cup team in disguise anyway (Keselowski.) Not that I'm taking anything away from them, a win is a win.

The Busch Series used to race on maybe half the tracks Cup raced on. Now they race on virtually all of them, so the uniqueness is gone from the series. Remember Myrtle Beach? Nazareth? Those were the days. At least they race Montreal though, and still get the odd standalone race at Milwaukee and St Louis. That's cool.

To fix the series?

1) Either boot the Cup drivers out completely, or force the Cup drivers to race their own private entry cars, with no outside funding or support from their Cup teams. Hard to police, but it's really the only way they could make that work. I like seeing the young guns "prove themselves" against Cup drivers too, but I'd rather see it in somewhere CLOSE to equal machinery.

2) Keep the cars the way they are, but maybe introduce new bodies, like Challengers/Camaros/Mustangs. It looks like it's sort of headed that way with Ford showing off the new Mustang body... But really it just looks like another COT on a standard chassis. Is NASCAR afraid that if they race production-style Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros, that NWS would become more popular than Cup?

3) Go back to cool tracks. Nazareth, Mansfield, Myrtl Beach, Salem... How about a Canadian oval? Delaware or Cayuga would work just fine.

4) Increase the damn purses. Ever compare a NWS purse to a Cup purse? It's a joke. Give these guys something to race for. It makes it even worse when the Cup guys come in and steal what little money the NWS regulars *could* make.

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