Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sprint Cup Sponsors Beware

Debates surrounding Sprint Cup Drivers invading the ranks of full-time Nationwide Drivers race rampage. I had foolishly thought that the Nationwide Series was supposed to be a proving ground for young “little known” drivers to compete against one another to see who was worthy of making it to the next level. However, you only need to check the statistics to realize that this is a falsehood.

In a recent Nationwide race (Atlanta – September 5) the top-ten qualifiers were Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Kevin Harvick; David Ragan; Reed Sorenson; Kasey Kahne; David Gilliland; Trevor Bayne; Kyle Busch; Paul Menard; and Dave Blaney. Only the talented Trevor Bayne could be considered a Non-Cup Driver.

The top-ten finishing order of that race (the Degree V12 300) did not include a single Non-Cup Driver. (Winner Kevin Harvick; Kyle Busch; Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Brad Keselowski; Jeff Burton; Joey Logano; Carl Edwards; Greg Biffle; David Ragan; and Reed Sorenson.)

Weighing the pros and cons of a Nationwide Series that would be a truly unique series with unique drivers has been covered in the past (Cup stars in the Nationwide Series leave young drivers on the sidelines)

However, NASCAR Race Mom ponders if regularly competing in the Nationwide Series could negatively impact a Cup Driver’s standings in the Sprint Cup Chase. We are all aware that the Nationwide Championship Points leader, Kyle Busch missed the Chase by one position this year. Could his Sprint Cup performance have been hindered by his Nationwide race activities?

The statistics proved very interesting. The top seven drivers in the 2009 Sprint Cup Chase participated in three or less Nationwide races. Of the remaining five Chase qualifiers, only Carl Edwards participated in the Nationwide Series on a full-time basis.


Mark Martin
Tony Stewart
Jimmie Johnson
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Jeff Gordon
Kurt Busch
Brian Vickers
Carl Edwards
Ryan Newman
Juan Montoya
Greg Biffle

Are the numbers a coincidence, or does competing in more than one series become a negative force in a driver’s Sprint Cup on-track performance?

Realistically, this study is too superficial to stake any such claim. However, as the mom of a NASCAR Driver (Moses Smith #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota Camry – Camping World Series West) who would love to move up the NASCAR Ladder, NRM would have to say a resounding “yes!” Sponsors should be aware of the numbers.


NASCAR-ista said...

Great analysis z.! I've often wondered how drivers who pull double (and some weekends triple if you count the truck series) duty can focus on the Cup race.

Stephen said...

Bad karma's knocking on the Cup drivers' door because they need to stay in their series.

Great Post!

Anonymous said...

I have never liked the cup driver's in the lower series. Other professional sports don't allow this. Once you aspire to a certain level you cannot go back and play at the lower level. Pro ball players don't go back to AAA for a game or two or three.

I don't understand bragging rights at winning in a lower series either.

Cup drivers have more resources at their disposal. They may not have to fix a car with their own money like the Nationwide and Camping World driver's do never mind the support they can receive from more experience crew members.