When NASCAR announced back a couple of
weeks ago, that it was cutting the number of drivers and owners
participating in the season ending points fund, it certainly caused some
drivers and owners to be quite upset.
In the past, NASCAR used to reward the
top 20 drivers in points with season ending money, which most teams will
tell you kept them coming back the following year but now with the news that
NASCAR is only paying out the top 15 in points, it will be interested in
seeing if the number of teams that follow any of NASCAR’s touring series
remain the same.
One driver told me, “They send out a
notice that because of the economy they weren’t going to cut our purses but
in the next paragraph, that they are cutting the number of teams in the
payout by 25%.”
Last year, a total of 17 drivers on the
modified tour went to each and every race and if that number follows through
this year, two drivers who supported the tour will be on the outside looking
One of those driver affected would have
been Wade Cole, one of the most loyal and likeable drivers on the modified
tour and a driver you can count on in good times and in bad. Pulling up to
the gates of a modified tour race in his open air hauler and parking next to
the many Cup style trailers dotting the pit area.
So, as per the ‘new’ Danko this year, I
called NASCAR to get their thinking behind this controversial cost cutting
I contacted Jason Christley of the
NASCAR public relations department and a former auto writer for the New
London, CT Day newspaper.
“The money provided by the manufactures
and series sponsors are down, thus the money payouts are down” Jason said
adding, “the points fund is intended to reward teams who run the whole
Christley also said that this decision
is across the board on all of NASCAR’s touring series including the NASCAR
Southern modified tour, the K&N East and West series as well as the Canadian
NASCAR did inform the teams running on
the Sprint Cup series, the Nationwide series and the Truck series that their
purses are being cut by 10% for the year.
When I asked why not keep the 20 points
in the standing and reduce the payout accordingly, Christley said it wasn’t
“We talked about it but it was never an
option. This is the decision that we made and it was to get the top with the
Christley did say that this was being
done because of the economy and that it would be revisited at the end of the
season and before the start of the following season.
Now various reports of actually how
much less is being paid out by the sponsors and one must wonder if NASCAR is
reducing the contributions of each of their member tracks holding a touring
NASCAR, even though it is a
multimillion dollar business is being affected by this down economy but so
are the teams who compete on each of their series and while racing is an
expensive sport, regardless of the economy, everyone must make concessions
but this seems to extreme, even for NASCAR.
NASCAR ANNOUNCES 2010 TV SCHEDULE
NASCAR as promised, has delivered on
giving the modified tour more television exposure and as to date, the NASCAR
Whelen modified tour will have a total of 7 events on the Speed Channel and
to date more than 9 dates are expected to be announced for the modified tour
and the Southern modified tour on Versus.
Three of the modified tour events will
be shown as same day televised events.
“Our NASCAR Developmental series all
have a strong and passionate fan base, and we saw the results in the
viewership of last year’s events.” George Silbermann, NASCAR managing
director of racing operations said. “Our fans spoke, and we listened. We are
thrilled to be able to work with our television partners to provide
extensive coverage of the talented drivers and tracks that help form the
foundation of the sport.”
Speed, in conjunction with NASCAR Media
Group, will air each tape delayed race as a one-hour show. Speed will once
again provide same-day coverage of the combination event between the NASCAR
Whelen modified tour and the Whelen Southern tour at the Bristol Motor
Speedway on Wednesday, August 18th as well as the NASCAR Whelen
modified tour race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday,
The airing dates for the Southern
modified tour is as follows, Thursday, April 29th at 6 p.m. from
the South Boston Speedway as well as the combination race at Bristol on
The NASCAR Whelen modified tour will
have air dates of the June 6th Martinsville Speedway race, and
the June 26th running at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. These
races dates are to be determined.
Air dates confirmed on Speedway are
Thursday, July 22nd for the Lime Rock, CT race, Wednesday, August
18th for the Bristol Motor Speedway race, Thursday, August 26th
for a re-airing of the Bristol race and Saturday, September 18th
for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway race and then October 14th
for a re-airing of the same event.
BOBBY SANTOS IN MYSTIC MISSILE
When Donny Lia suddenly departed from
the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile #4 and elected not to defend his title and
run the Truck series, it left Garbarino in a tough position of having to
select a new driver or contemplate retiring as a car owner of more than 50
Thankfully, for the modified tour,
Garbarino is back and he is putting in the highly competitive driver of
Bobby Santos in the championship car.
The list of drivers that reportedly
Garbarino was interested in according to various reports was Doug Coby and
Rowan Pennink with Santos, a veteran of the open wheel midgets and sprint
cars getting the ride.
Car owners on other national touring
series have all missed the boat before on Santos and he will be a contender
for the title although he has only run less than 30 Whelen modified tour
While Santos is a great choice, Doug
Coby is always the driver on the outside looking in. Coby has won on the
modified tour and is always a top contender for a ride, especially when a
mid-season change is made.
Like many drivers with loads of talent,
unfortunately, talent doesn’t pay the bills as most car owners are looking
for sponsorship for a ride in their cars but if someone wants to win take a
gamble on Coby, he is a proven winner.