Overshadowed by the news that NASCAR is on the verge of moving its year-end banquet from New York City to Las Vegas, the governing body also announced that it would be hosting a single, year-end banquet for its satellite serieses in North Carolina (instead of holding individual banquets for each). That's not the only piece of information that escaped people's attention.
Apparently, NASCAR will withhold prize money from teams that don't attend said celebration. As surprising as that bit of info was, some racers were even more surprised to find that they had signed paperwork agreeing to this policy -- and, indeed, the language requiring attendance is in the race entry drivers signed before the season-opener.
Still and all, it's a bitter pill to swallow. In a tough economy, NASCAR is not only requiring already-cash strapped teams to spend more of their limited resources to travel to NC for the banquet, it will further penalize teams that don't make the trip. To its small credit, the sanctioning body has stated it will likely consider extenuating circumstances before withholding prize money.
Nevertheless, it makes you wonder -- isn't an economy in free-fall enough of an extenuating circumstance to excuse any and all teams from shelling out the money to attend the banquet? Doesn't it seem NASCAR would be doing everything in its power right about now to help any and all race teams do whatever is necessary to see to it that they continue to race?