Troiano Tells Us What He Thinks of NASCAR's Realignment
NASCAR's reputation with Short Trackers is taking a beating once again. That statement seems bold, but if you look at what's been said in the mainstream (website, newspapers & such) about the sanctioning body lately, it is true.
Of course we read and heard all about the Daytona 500 becoming the Daytona 272-and-a-half, but now there is even more rumbling about NASCAR's short track realignment.
Just over a month ago, the Daytona Beach offices announced a restructuring of sorts for all of NASCAR's touring divisions. In short (Editor's Note: we think the pun is intended), this is what happened:
The Busch North Series and Winston West Series now make up the Grand National Division, while the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest (formerly Re/Max Challenge) and the Southeast (formerly All Pro) make up the Elite Division. Left out in the cold are the Featherlite Modified and Goody's Dash Series.
It's already common knowledge that NASCAR's writing the eulogy of the Goody's Dash Series as we speak (Editor's Note: although we do hear that they are trying to help find a new home for them), but what about the Modifieds, the division that started it all?
The only "non stock car" series left to be sanctioned by NASCAR seems to have lost its place with Daytona Beach, although it hasn't lost its popularity (Editor's Note: Although NASCAR informs us that the series is as strong with them as ever and they hope to improve on it in the future). The Modifieds may be the most exciting and most popular NASCAR Touring Series outside of the "big three," but you would never know unless you reside up in the Northeastern states. The Modifieds will survive, thanks to such a major following, but not because of NASCAR's future vision.
While many are applauding NASCAR's newest vision, those same people are questioning NASCAR's execution.
NASCAR's thought is for the Grand National Division to be the stepping stone to the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. If that is the reason and the logic, the question remains, 'Why would anyone even go race in the Elite Division without it just being a hobby?
Face it, the fact remains that it costs a lot of money to race in any touring series, from the Goody's Dash Series to the Winston Cup Series. But the line of cost is blurred when it comes to the differences of NASCAR's new Elite divisions and Grand National divisions.
We are already seeing many of the young gun drivers jump up in class without having any prior experience in lesser divisions. That philosophy, and NASCAR's new realignment, could eventually spell the end for the Elite Division.
The monetary differences between running a Midwest Series car and a Busch North car are different, but how much different? It's not enough to force someone to stay with the Elite Division instead of skipping over to race with the Grand National guys. Why spend all the money to buy new equipment twice when you could just spend a little more initially and get to that final stepping stone to the big time?
There are a few positives with the new realignment, the biggest being NASCAR's hope to crown a true Elite Division and Grand National Division Champion. How fun will it be to see the best of the best of the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest and the Southeast Series compete in a Hooters Pro Cup Series type playoff to see who the best actually is?
David Reutimann is taking the Touring Series path to Busch through All Pro (now Southeast Series.)
The Midwest Series (former RE/MAX Series) has been renamed and reshuffled in NASCAR's new touring series realignment.
NASCAR could do something to keep the Elite Division alive and well by making the realignment even more understandable. They could drop the age limit for drivers in the Elite Division from 18 to 16. That would give those drivers who have already been racing for 10+ years the opportunity to race somewhere in a legitimate touring series before moving to the more pronounced Grand National Division.
This new alignment will take some years to work itself into the direction that NASCAR wants. Using the professional baseball analogy, the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series will be like college baseball, while the Elite Division will represent "A" ball, the Grand National Division is "AA" ball and finally, the Craftsman Trucks and Busch Series is Winston Cup's "AAA" counterpart.
Who knows, this thought process might also take some years to work itself into non-existence.
The Busch North Series may get many more cars in the coming years if NASCAR has their way with it.