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Lament For NASCAR

Hey I figured out how to add pictures to my blog. Good for me!! I watched this wreck live on TV, let me tell you I thought he was dead. If you look close enough you can see DW's arm sticking out of the top of the roll cage. Shortly after this wreck they introduced a kevlar piece to be attached to the inside of the roof portion of the roll cage to prevent such a thing to happen again. I got a chance to see this actual car in Darlington back in 1994 on my trip to Myrtle Beach. Above the car they had a VCR on a loop playing the wreck over and over again. I don't know if that car is still there but they had several other unique cars on display. If you ever get a chance to check it out I would advise it, especially if you are a hard core racing fan, provided they still have the little museum there and it hasn't been moved to Charlotte.

Anyway on with today's rant - Toyota. Is everyone cringing yet? I can honestly tell you I'm really not sure if I like the idea of Toyota entering the Cup series or not. I can see the obvious benefits to NASCAR and the team owners - money. I can see benefits to the drivers - more teams, more full time rides available. But what are the benefits to the racing fan? More NOPI events held on race weekends? Maybe, but I think if the NOPI fans bought race tickets they would all be disappointed that the Toyotas aren't "drifting" in the corners, and what will they do when they find out that the NASCAR event isn't really a "drifting" race but a "drafting" race? Throw their empty NOS cans out onto the track? I guess.

I was looking at the entry list for the Indy 500 and I noticed that all of the cars, except for barely a hand full, were all the same chassis and every single car in the event was powered by a Honda engine. Just looking at these two things alone it looks like the IRL has become the glorified go-cart version of IROC, marketed by Gene Simmons of Kiss fame and his advertising group using an add campaign slightly ripped off from the NHL. This is what I'm afraid will happen to NASCAR once Toyota gets heavily involved in the series. This company, as well as other Japanese automakers, has a history of taking over a series by spending the competition to death (see diecast-dude's blog for more details on this), and with the North American auto makers in heavy financial hardships it would be easy for Toyota to force the Big 3 auto makers out of the series.

If the introduction of Toyota is the beginning of the end for NASCAR I lament for it right now. I lament for the fans, who are the back bone of NASCAR, I lament for the drivers who will be racing in another version of the IROC series, but most of all I lament for the men and women who helped - some even giving their lives - to build NASCAR into what it is today.