Starting in 2015, the Nationwide Series will be no more. The insurance company is taking its money to the Cup Series, leaving an opening for the “second tier” series formerly known as the Busch Series, which has its roots in the old NASCAR Sportsman Division.
Regardless of how one may feel about the viability of the current series, NASCAR will get a new title sponsor. It’s just a matter of custom fitting the right package for the right price. On a bigger scale, this also provides a golden opportunity for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing to re-brand the series.
As it stands now, most fans see the series as “Cup Lite.” It’s hard to argue. NASCAR has tried selling the series as a “developmental” series for young drivers, but is that really what the series is? you and I both know that answer. 22 of the 26 races run in the NNS this year have been won by Cup regulars. Five of the top ten finishers at the Nationwide race at Chicagoland were cup regulars. On a rare occasion, you get a weekend like the one coming up where the Cup Series will be in New Hampshire and the Nationwide Series races in Kentucky. It’s too bad it’s not likely feasible to cause this occurrence more often by put the two series in two very different places.
To really make this more interesting, though, how about putting more Iowas, and other “outside the box” venues on the schedule? Let it be a test ground possible future venues. If fans want racing Rockingham, how about in the NNS? If fans want racing at the Daytona or Atlanta road courses, how about here? Let’s throw in a dirt track.
How about using the series as a kind of testing ground from a format standpoint? How might heat racing work? Names could be drawn from hats for setting the field, or do it in reverse order? Some of these ideas might be crazy, but why not?
Think of it this way: had it not been for the Edsel, we might not have the Ford Mustang. While NASCAR’s “second series” goes through a name change, it seems like an opportune time to really shake things up in a meaningful way, a way that generates genuine interest.
What can it hurt? You can’t tell me the Nationwide Series as we know it now is working for anyone.