Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Better Role for the Camping World Series

Let's face it - no one really cares about the NASCAR Camping World Series. The most (only) attention it gets is when Kyle Busch runs a random race here and there.

But, for such an important developmental series, it needs attention - teams need sponsors, the series needs sponsors, and the drivers need people to watch them.

Unfortunately, the current setup has the series competing directly against local short tracks. How can this be different? By having having the Camping World Series support the Whelen All-American Series tracks, the heart and soul at the root of NASCAR.

What would happen if the Camping World Series ran most of its schedule at weekly tracks that can run as support? The track can run it's weekly show (or abbreviated, like late-models only), then run a 150-lap Camping World Series race.

The Camping World Series would be such a big draw, the stands would be full, and the track might be able to charge a bit extra (but hopefully not too much). And, if SPEED comes... national attention.

Even the local heroes might get involved. If the weekly drivers are able to get themselves a ride, imagine the support they could receive while racing against the regulars in one of the finest regional touring series in America, or the Camping World Series drivers might show up with a late model. (Many local fans think their regulars are better than Jimmie Johnson anyway.)

The local fans would start following the Camping World Series. This is exactly what the series needs - loyal followers. When Jason Bowles won the Camping World West Series championship, he could have had people following him while recalling how he won at their track.

Yes, the Camping World Series already does this to some extent - Greenville Pickens, Tri-County Speedway, and Douglas County Speedway to name a few. However, this schedule should be a rotational schedule, with some schedule slots dedicated to a continuous rotation of Saturday night shows at tracks that won't see a repeat appearance for three years or so.

Also, NASCAR shouldn't use the track's ability to provide prize money as the sole consideration for a date - NASCAR should help out with this. In the event the track can't find a sponsor for the race, and NASCAR's efforts are fruitless, NASCAR should help out with the prize money and let some local charity put their name on the race.

And what's to say the Whelen Modified Series can't join the party as well? How many local tracks have never seen a modified race? That would be a draw as well.

Don't, however, stop racing Cup/Nationwide/Truck companion events. After all, this is a developmental series. Let the drivers race at the same venues as the Sprint Cup drivers on the same weekend so the elites at the top levels of stock car racing can see what these drivers do.

The NASCAR Camping World Series, though it has been around in various forms forever, has yet to truly find a true niche. A move like this can expose it to legions of new fans and give it a new identity of its own.

Other NASCAR Notes

First of all, I love this feud between Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. NASCAR needs a feud, and hasn't had one in a while. The last thing NASCAR should do is quell this - yes, ensure everyone stays safe, but it's time for some drama (and running a few races on TNT over the summer just doesn't cut it).

Now, the racing season is nearing it's end. The NASCAR national touring series are still going, but just about every other form of motorsports is done for the year.

What are we poor race fans to do over the long winter?

Well, keep checking back at the Racing Tool. I hope to compile a list of winter racing on TV - any form of motorsports that just happens to have something on TV over the winter. I'll try to keep a schedule going. Stay tuned.

Finally, the Racing Tool is in need of file photos. If you have any photos that pertain to the day's subject and want it featured on the Racing Tool, e-mail it to me. I'll put the best one up there. For example, this week I'll be looking for anything Camping World Series related.

-David Dubczak

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