Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When it comes to Nationwide Series racing, how many Cup drivers are too many?

Do Sprint Cup Series drivers belong in the Nationwide Series? There seems to be two schools of thought on this topic.

One one side of the fence you have people who feel that Sprint Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide Series is good for the health of the Nationwide Series, as these “big name” drivers bring money, primarily through ticket sales, to the series. Track owners and race promoters contend that fans want to see the stars of the sport, and having big name Sprint Cup Series drivers in the race brings more fans to the racetrack.

These same people also argue that the more popular Sprint Cup drivers bring attention to the Nationwide series. This is true. After all, many Cup drivers probably have some fans who follow the Cup Series and that’s it, but if said driver runs the occasional Nationwide Series race, maybe those fans would follow him to the Nationwide Series and see something they like and stick around.

But at the same time, does this attention take away from the regulars of the series? Yes, it probably does. Whether it does or not, the Cup drivers who were called “Buschwhackers” back when the Nationside Series was the Busch Series, take away prize money and sometimes even sponsorship from the regulars of the series—or at least the regulars who aren’t racing full-time in both series. They’ve even taken over the head table at the series banquet at the end of the season, since more and more Sprint Cup Series drivers have opted to race full-time in the Nationwide Series while also competing on a full-time basis in Sprint Cup. One has to go back to 2005 when Martin Truex Jr. claimed his second-straight title to find a non-Sprint Cup competitor as the Nationwide Series champion.

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