For reasons unknown there has been more then a few rumblings on NASCAR’s media outlets complaining about teams and drivers who start and park. These drivers and teams arrive at the track and qualify their car but once the race starts they take it to the garage ending their day.
Some suggest that by these cars being in the field they are taking away spots from other teams that would race that weekend.
I however have sided with the start and park teams. Here’s a few reasons I believe it is ok that start and park teams are in the sport.
The spots they are taking away are from other start and park teams. This weekend at Michigan 44 cars attempted to make the field. That means that only 1 car would go home not in the race. That car happened to be the number 37 car driven by Tony Raines. A few years ago Tony Raines was in commercials with a little girl and a cute elephant but these days he’s also a start and park driver.
So if Dave Blaney, Joe Nemecheck and Mike Skinner run 10-15 laps and then park it so be it. I wouldn’t expect much different out of Raines’ team who hired a road course ringer to start and park last week at Watkins Glen.
Qualifying shouldn’t be easy Just because you have a logo on your hood shouldn’t entitle you to anything in NASCAR. Let’s be honest we all know that the top 35 owners points guarantee you a spot in the race, toss in a champions provisional and you have 35 or 36 cars with logos on their hoods guaranteed to be out there on Sunday. Now there are weekly race teams that fall outside the top 35 in points every week but if you are that far back you haven’t been a factor all season. Plus to take away spots from these cars there would have to be in the neighborhood of 8 start and park cars turning hot laps each week. Lately NASCAR has had 2-4 cars miss the show on any given weekend.
So what if they are making money and cutting costs The biggest reason for the start and park is the amount of money that can be obtained from simply being in a field on Sunday. By making the race you are guaranteed to have a nice sum of money. The start and park cars are simply getting a piece of that money for their operations.
With all the save money and cut costs hoopla out there today can you really blame these guys for taking that money and then not wasting any more money on tires. Let’s face it they are a small team, they don’t have the same resources and they wouldn’t be a factor by the half way point anyway. (Unless you consider getting in the way as being a factor.)
It’s not moraly wrong, it’s not taking from any full fledged NASCAR team and it’s a way to make income.