The Chrome Horn - Pavement Notes by Walt Stubbs

   4/27/2009

PAVEMENT NOTES:
STAFFORD SPRING SIZZLER
by Walt Stubbs

   Temperatures were sizzling this past weekend up in New England where the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headed for the traditional Spring Sizzler. And while the temperatures were above normal outside for the end of April, tempers were even hotter for a lot of people who support NASCARís oldest division. That included not only the drivers and crew members but some fans as well. And while some fans in this region like to refer to a certain New York baseball team as the Evil Empire, who by the way was playing up the road around an hour and a half way against the home town Red Sox, many can now refer to the Evil Empire to the Tourís sanctioning body whose home headquarters are in Daytona Beach Florida.
   Yes, NASCAR has done it once again and it all centers around an event that is supposed to honor the Whelen Modified Champion as well as those teams that finished in the Top Twenty in points. NASCAR recently announced that it was moving the banquet from the Mohegan Sun, where it has been held the last few years, down to Charlotte, North Carolina, where it would be held in conjunction with all the other Whelen Series in honoring their champions. The question everyone is asking is why? From the outside, it appears to be a cost saving measure on NASCARísí behalf, moving the venue to one place with all the Series taking part rather than having a bunch of different banquets at different parts in the country. And while it may be cheaper long term to have one banquet, does it really make smart business sense? Think about it. NASCAR has long said it wants to help its teams with expenses and the like. How does moving a banquet, which was virtually in everyoneís backyard to a place that most will have to drive ten to thirteen hours to get to or pay the expense of a flight helping teams and there expenses? And just to add insult to injury, NASCAR then announced that itís moving its ultimate prize, the Cup Banquet, from New York City to Las Vegas. How is that saving any of those teams money? Why not move that banquet to where most of its teams are based out of, which would be Charlotte, and let the regional series have their banquets in an area that is geographical to where they race? While the Mohegan Sun was a first class venue, if expenses do matter, then why not move it somewhere else in New England then? NASCAR managed to move the Nationwide and Truck Series Banquets to the same weekend, right after its season ending races at Homestead to save money for those teams. Those teams, who by the way, have a lot more money and sponsors than those on the modified tour. Youíd think NASCAR would have learned from its past blunders, especially concerning the banquet. I can still remember back when the banquet was held in Worcester Massachusetts honoring Jerry Marquis and NASCAR only serving finger foods and the memory of the late John Blewett III walking out of the banquet and flagging down a hot dog vendor and ordering a dog for his walk back to the hotel. What NASCAR has to remember is something it has preached to the modified teams over the years in explaining its reasoning of not venturing to race tracks outside the northeast; itís a regional series. Take that same reasoning and apply it to the banquet. The one thing NASCAR has to understand is that many in the modified series do it for the love of it because the purses certainly donít pay most of the bills. With that, there is camaraderie among its members, much like a family. Thus, the banquet becomes a place to get together and honor not only its champion, but most of those drivers and teams that compete on the Tour. Also, Iím sure a few car owners, in thanking some of their team members for the hard work theyíve done throughout the season, pick up the tab. Now youíre asking for everyone to pack your bags, fill the gas tank or get out of the credit card to pay for the flight to Carolina. You wonder if the driver who finished 20th in points will actually lose money in traveling down to Charlotte to pick up his point money. I guess what is really bothersome is how NASCAR has handled all of this. Many were not aware that NASCAR was thinking of moving the banquet. If NASCAR is as caring as it likes to say it is when it concerns its teams, then why not talk to the teams themselves and get their thoughts on the idea? Give and take can get you a lot further than just making an announcement and leaving it at that. It leaves open a can of worms, and in todayís society, thatĎs the message boards. And sure enough, the banter has been hot and heavy with even some former NASCAR employees and current NASCAR employees getting into the act. Is this any way to go about business with names going back and forth (The Torch and Pitchfork Mob)? Iíd like to think thereís got to be a better way but what do I know? Iím just a guy whoís seen mostly everything on the Tour for the last 23 years. And while this decision will not lead to a revolt or a big meeting of the minds like back in 1991, it is something that NASCAR should re-exam carefully to make sure it keeps its oldest division from staying as its oldest division.
   There was a race to be run at Stafford on Sunday, and from the looks of things in the first two races, itís starting to look like Ted Christopher will once again be the man to beat for the championship. Christopher struggled in the early part of the race, but once he pitted, Christopher made it look easy, picking off car by car in winning back to back races on the tour. (Christopher also picked up the pole Saturday afternoon). Since most of the Tour races are run at Thompson and Stafford on the 09 slate, Christopher will definitely have the advantage over the rest of the teams based on his past success at those two particular tracks. Well, thatíll do it for this week. The Tour now takes its mini vacation until returning to Stafford the Friday of Memorial Day. All views and news can reach me at 2 Constitution Court Unit 501, Hoboken, N.J. 07030 where we are wondering whatever happened to John Giacobbe?
 

Source: Walt Stubbs / Pavement Notes
Posted: April 27, 2009

Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points

©2009 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.