originally posted 2/21/08 on FOXSports.com
SPONSORS FORCE CHANGES IN NASCAR QUALIFYING
NEW FORMAT FAVORS FASTEST
Charlotte, NC- In what is widely regarded as a major coup for corporate America, NASCAR Chairman Brian France announced sweeping changes in the qualifying procedure for its Sprint Cup races. The changes come after team sponsors threatened to boycott NASCAR until changes were made. The announcement came during a press conference held at NASCAR’s Research and Development facility in Charlotte.
“Race cars run on money,” France said, “and the majority of that money comes from individual team sponsors. Without them, we don’t have much of a race.”
Sponsors objected to NASCAR’s “Top 35” rule that guaranteed spots in the race to those teams that were in the top 35 in owner’s points. The rule sent many teams- and their sponsors- back to Charlotte with nothing to show. Some of those sponsors that have gone home are household names among American corporations. Burger King, Little Debbie, and UPS are just three of those sponsors who missed races last season.
The new format- which will be in place for this Sunday’s race at California Speedway- requires the driver to name all of his sponsors in 20 seconds or less. Drivers with the fastest time and fewest mistakes will race on Sunday. Already the effects of this change are being heard throughout the garage area. Replacing the familiar sounds of air tools and engines are the sounds of drivers reciting such phrases as “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” “She sells sea shells down by the seashore,” and “rubber baby buggy bumpers.”
NASCAR insiders expect that with the changes in qualifying, Michael Waltrip will be on the pole for most of this season’s remaining races.