NASCAR has a bigger problem on its hands than what happened in Richmond. If it truly wants to grow as a sport, officials need to do what seems unthinkable, step up and help the team in stomped out of the Chase.
That’s right, NASCAR needs to bail out Michael Waltrip Racing. Here’s why:
MLW Bucks Trends:
Many people hate MWR. Some are justified. Others might be piling on because it’s the fun thing to do in this social age. But Michael Waltrip Racing did something unthinkable in the modern racing landscape. It started from scratch with a brand new manufacturer that never was in the sport and became a viable entity in less than ten years. Granted, things got quite lean for Michael Waltrip, and chances are David Reutimann won’t find a spot in the MLW Hall of Fame any time soon. But how many Ginn Racing’s were out there that didn’t make it? How many teams merged to survive?
Michael Waltrip Racing bucked a trend, and NASCAR screwed it up with one swift slap in the face.
NASCAR Didn’t Think
This is the question I would love for someone to ask Brian France.
“If you knew one, and maybe two, massive sponsors would bail on Michael Waltrip Racing because of how you handled the Richmond fiasco, would you still have levied the penalties? “
France would give some stock PR answer, but if someone gave him truth serum, what would he really say?
NASCAR should have seen the potential for sponsors to bail. And what if those sponsors choose to allocate their dollars to well-funded teams? Wouldn’t NAPA or 5-Hour Energy love to be on the #88?
NASCAR Needs To Think Big
This penalty skews the competitive landscape in favor of larger teams. Coupled with a boring Chase down to three drivers for all intensive purposes and it’s easy to see the potential for eyes to dwindle away from television sets during the Chase, especially as ESPN loses NASCAR in 2015 and subsequently will massively reduce coverage.
Major League Baseball added to the playoffs and increased interest. Football will soon do the same. Hockey and basketball playoffs are better than the regular season.
More teams competing for a title yields a better sporting experience. NASCAR is already hurting in this area. Michael Waltrip Racing deserves punishment for their mistakes; it doesn’t deserve the death penalty. NASCAR Must find a way to support a team in need as it works through these challenges. Otherwise, it’s another consolidation for a sport contracting too much in the first place.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Waltrip Racing