Woody: Is NASCAR In Need Of A Trust Buster?
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Let’s see if I’ve got this straight:
Evernham Motorsports merged with Gillett Motorsports, which merged with Petty Enterprises which merged with Yates Racing.
Previously Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which merged with Ganassi Racing which had absorbed Sabatas Racing.
Used to be you couldn’t tell the drivers without a program. Today you can’t tell the teams without an acquisitions analyst.
Any day now I expect Hendrick Motorspors to merge with Roush Fenway, Richard Childress Racing and Gibbs Racing to produce HMRFRCRGR Racing.
Once that merger is complete, HMRFRCRGR can then merge with the new Gillette/Evernham/Petty/Yates conglomerate.
Eventually that outfit can merge with Stewart Hass Racing (a merger of Stewart and Hass using Hendrick motors). Then it can merge with Penske Racing.
The way things are going, NASCAR will eventually consist of two teams: Merger Motorsports and Robby Gordon.
I’m not sure such a concentration of power is healthy, whether it’s in the federal government or stock car racing.
In NASCAR it’s become a cold, hard fact: if a driver doesn’t race for one of the current handful of mega-teams, he doesn’t have a chance of winning.
And yes, I realize that has always been true to an extent – witness Petty Enterprises, the Wood Brothers, Junior Johnson and a few other dominant operations of yesteryear.
But something has changed. Maybe it’s the too-cozy on-track relationship of the proliferation of teammates – intentionally allowing each other free passes in order to collect bonus points being a prime example.
The more mergers, the more teammates and the more teammates the more “working together” goes on.
When every driver is driving for Merger Motorsports, I assume they’ll continue to give each other free passes – at which time they will no longer be actually “racing.”
They mega-teams need mega-bucks to operate, which means they are increasingly sucking all the oxygen (i.e., sponsors) out of the sport. Small-time teams are doomed.
It’s hard to imagine this happening in any other pro sport. What if Jerry Jones, for example, owned not just the Dallas Cowboys but three other NFL teams as well, and they “competed” against each other every Sunday? The NFL would never permit it. But in NASCAR its routine.
It’s a vicious circle. The bigger the super teams get, the more money they need to operate. And the more money they bring in, the bigger they grow. And if they aren’t growing fast enough by themselves, they merge their efforts.
One consequence of the Merger Madness will be an end to fan bickering. How can anyone argue when everybody’s favorite driver is racing for the same team?
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments