NASCAR Off-Season Week One: Win, Lose or Draw

Texas-Wreck

 

No races. No wrecks. No problem. The 2013 Sprint Cup off-season is just one week old , and there have been plenty of stories which could impact what fans see in 2014. Here’s a breakdown of the first week off…Bert Convy style.

Win: NASCAR

Lost in the shuffle of what driver is going to what team and what crew members will be find new homes  was this report outlining what NASCAR wants for sponsorship of the Nationwide Series, which won’t be the Nationwide Series for much longer. Some quick highlights:

  • At least $12 million a year in naming rights, which is up from $10 million now.
  • A contract that runs 10 years.

Ratings issues for racing are well-documented. Some reports suggest ESPN didn’t even bid on renewing its NASCAR package. Issues aside, 425,602 cable channels mean NASCAR can generate new revenue, new exposure and more new revenue. The fact this information leaked is great news for a sport in need of  great economic news.

Lose: Sam Hornish Jr. 

Sam Hornish Jr. doesn’t have a ride for 2014. This is the same Sam Hornish Jr. who was 3 points away from winning the Nationwide Series that NASCAR wants $12 million a year for title sponsorship. One weird caution may have kept him from the title. So instead of getting a Cup chance or chance to redeem himself with a title contending team, Hornish Jr. is deflecting rumors of an IRL jump.

The Nationwide Series can’t be taken seriously if a driver like Sam Hornish Jr. can’t find a ride in the series. He has shown the skill to earn a chance back in the Sprint Cup, not be out of a gig. This makes no sense.

Draw: Steve Addington

Steve Addington at least has a job, working with Phoenix Racing for the 2014 Sprint Cup season. His previous drivers were Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch; so, chances are the stress level will be a bit lower.

But how does someone like Addington go from working for the defending Sprint Cup champion to leader of an upstart James Finch brigade in two years? What happened at Stewart Haas Racing?  Addington even admits scratching his head.

Racing is a fickle beast, even when there aren’t any races taking place. Just ask Sam Hornish Jr., Steve Addington and the people who will eventually cut a check to sponsor the Nationwide Series. So much for an off-season.