I left NASCAR when they went to stages and when a guy who sat out half the year with a broken leg won the championship.
But here is the reality. Real Racing Died a long time ago. There really is no real pure racing in these top series anymore. Why? Costs.
The old days of one team dominating for years are over as companies all want their drivers to win but they want to do it on a budget. Ratings are down also on racing as is attendance so they all are looking for ways to even up the competition and to keep cost down.
Like the new car in NASCAR. It is here at the request of the team owners to cut the cost of racing. This is also why the penalties are so high to un approved mods. These teams were building cars weekly and had teams of engineers and equipment to make them all identical as they could or to add advantages. This drove up cost at a time sponsorship money was going down.
Even F1 cost need to be contained as a number of the teams no longer have unlimited budgets. Also they know the entertainment value of a number of teams being competitive is good for ratings. If Hamilton wins every race after a while people stop watching.
Local racing is more fun and competitive at times but everyone that is competitive generally cheats some place. We did.
Same with BOP in WEC and IMSA. They are trying to control cost and make for a good show.
Racing is a sport and entertainment not pure competition anymore and that is what money does.
F1 has the attention of a new wave of younger fans due to related media getting them watching the actual races. I'm not one of them, know some of these new fans and am a bit surprised by it all. Too much in-team shenanigans impacting race outcome that are obvious in F1 for me.
Nascar overcomplicates itself. Run a "stock" body that is 10% or less variance from a vehicle you have sold in USA more than 5000 examples of. The engine must have been in at least 500 of those. Whatever aero/tech is allowed is generic for all teams with clear limits. Ford sells a new Thunderbird that has an aero advantage --good on them. If a 4-door Camry is the best platform --good for Toyota. If Chevy wants to bring back the Lumina and sell 500 of them with a 572 with dual turbos and a supercharge it --fun.
Or... concede that it isn't about stock cars at all and get free of false brand rivalries that do not matter to many people under 40. Run the spec car/chassis and engine. Everyone gets the same go-cart and push the driver talent as the show, but let them drive.
See, I'd go nuttier and make them "draw" what body they have to run for the season, scaled onto the generic chassis. 51 Hudson vs. 70 Daytona vs. 91 Lumina --even better make it a draft so the top performers of the previous season get to select their body last. I bet the "body draft lottery" show would get good ratings... Manufacturers could sponsor in a new body but only allow 1 example (so Toyota wants 5 cars they have to be 5 different things)
Folks it is all cost and money driven.
it is about making money, keeping things affordable and keeping the racing close.
Technology has killed most racing as you can win if you spend more. The trouble is when many spend more than they can make to keep a team alive and a sponsor happy.
Even in soap box derby they have gone to kit cars to retain cost and make them easier to police. It also helps keep races closer. It is hard to get people to race if they don’t stand a chance.
NASCAR has a kit car as they were asked by teams to control costs. Teams used to get one big sponsor for a year now they need 3-6 small sponsors to pay the bills.
How many times have we seen IMSA struggle to keep teams, sponsors and mfgs involved.
Pure racing is over even in WOO as they used to pretty much let them do what they wanted on weight. Today exotic materials are limited due to cost.
Even in NASCAR the the engines are no longer close to production. The Toyota is pure race as it was never production. They have considered going to a set engine and only stopped because the mfgs are not willing to do that. ARCA is using an Illmore V8 now.
Hybrids are coming and at some point Electric is going to be seen as that is what the mfgs want to promote.
It is just what is going on and why.
When names went on the cars the pure left racing for good.
The Lemons series is about as close to pure racing left.
Actually much of how much someone spends comes from how much money they can draw in from sponsorship. Also some teams bring in drivers based not on skill but how much money they bring in to the team.
Top teams like Benz and Ferrari can ask top dollar for their teams vs Haas that is new and is living mostly on Carl Haas personal financing.
Even big name have struggles like McLaren. They no longer have the deep pockets of Marlboro. Lotus was a top team but vanished due to money. Others have sold out due to money or lack there of.
The days of unlimited budgets have damaged F1 and the new F1 owners want to grow the brand globally so they want to keep the tech and strategy but they want more on track action.
The days where one team dominates and lesser teams are non competitive are limited. They are working to equal the teams and bring the cost down.
Is it heresy to be a case-hardened, lifelong autoholic but not care in the least about any racing?
Bump drafting in stock car racing may be a fine skill, even art form. But watching it for 2 1/2 hours? A mutual friend suggested we give an otherwise interesting pal a dog dish and some colored ball bearings or BBs he might twirl reducing his utility bill.
The technology of various race cars fascinating, and it's engrossing to walk through the pits at a vintage race, examine a '30s Alfa, etc. But watching them go round and round whether oval or undulating course? No thanks.
Driving an old sports, GT, or "road car," to use a term forgotten today, the latter describing a stock passenger car that was a good distance speed car, giving it its head on an open road--if you can still find one with over a third of a billion people in the US -- now you're talking.
Nothing against racing. We understand the attraction. Some folks like to watch others have sex. Just wondering if there are other gearheads who could care less?
Please don't justify your passion with "racing improves the breed." That's like citing war as spur to technological development. Just before War II we had the cyclotron (1939), electron microscope (1940), live television broadcast '36 Berlin Olympics, 1939-40 NY World's Fair, fully electronic color TV John Baird, Scotland, August, 1944.
It's human nature to develop, improve, fine-tune. You want to marvel at ground effects machines piloted by paragons of eye/hand coordination, or those with ability to throw a baseball 90+ mph with surgical precision, or hit same, have at it.
Only wondering if we're allowed to be indifferent but retain our car guy cred.
Racing used to be based on ingenuity and driver skill. That lasted till the 60’s and that is when money via Sponsors and MFGs took over.
At this time technology started to take off as more exotic materials and better understanding of mechanicals and aero came about.
That took things to the next level where in many series the engineers took over from the drivers.
The 917 killed Can Am. Chevy and Ford killed Trans Am.
Several teams killed F1 with unlimited spending.
Indy went from run what you brung to almost everyone with the same Eagle and Cosworth. The 962 and the elimination of Camel killed IMSA.
Yes these series come and go but they never were the same.
Now it is economics. Teams and mfgs demand controls on cost. Networks want entertainment and sponsors are not spending as much.
What I miss is the innovation that has been lost and yes the cheating. The cheating in NASCAR was legendary. Today they will remove the crew chiefs hands for a loose lug nut.
My hope is with the test of the Camaro at Le Mans and intro of the similar car in the Australia Touring Series is a hint of a global racing series in cars while advanced will require the drivers to really drive.
Imagine the cars and drivers running at Bathurst, Indy, Daytona, LeMans and Spa? It could prove to be interesting.
Look pure racing is over outside the local tracks but even there cost are a struggle. We need to find a new way that is cost effective that answers the main issues but still puts on a great show.
Racing is a business and Entertainment today and there is no getting around it.
One of the best series now is the NASCAR truck series. No restrictors and old time drafting. Short tracks rule and many Hungary low buck teams that are competitive. Cost are fairly low and the races are good on a number of tracks. Mid Ohio should be a real event this year.
The one series in for a major change is F1. The race always was secondary to the strategy and the technology. As the tech becomes limited it will be interesting to see how the long time F1 fans react. They will see more drama on the track vs in the garage. Will they accept this. That formula never connected to the Americans as much as they wanted their drama on track. But with Earnhardt that is where it happened.