By Patrick Reynolds
The television was full of NASCAR coverage.
The Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks series all had their weekend races televised. Time trials for all three were also broadcast. There was even plenty of practice programs shown to millions of TV screens. Loudon and Iowa had satellite dishes working hard with signals of race machines going around and turning left.
But none of those signals beamed anything containing NASCAR Modifieds.
The Modifieds also had a race on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend. A fantastic one, for that matter. A race that everyone with any respectable knowledge of motorsports knows darn well would be, by far, the best race of the weekend.
Too bad. The executives and decision makers did not make a deal to air it.
SPEED, ESPN, NASCAR, TNT… it doesn’t matter, pick your acronym. The fact that the television broadcast media ignored the Modifieds, is an absolute shame.
I asked around to find out why the fabulous Saturday Modified race was not on. Everyone I knew within the sanctioning body or connected to a media outlet said the decision lied elsewhere.
Terrific. Plenty of people collecting paychecks but nobody had any actual responsibility for what I am trying to research.
The major complaint from fans about so many decisions made about our beloved sport is that the calls do not come from racers. They come from somebody who was hired outside of the sport and is trying to appeal to who? That’s right… racers.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway lends itself to wonderful open-wheel racing. The Mod Squad and the Indycars put on tremendous races, filled with passing. The heavier, fendered stockers put on a follow-the-leader type of event. NHMS is the type of place I would buy a ticket to, watch the Modified Tour race, and then head for home.
Mike Stefanik and Ron Silk traded the lead 17 times within a 48-lap stretch, and the checkered waved at 100 laps with Stefanik edging Silk by three-thousandths of a second. That looks like .003 on the scoring clock.
By contrast, Sunday’s Cup race had 16 total lead changes for 301 laps. Only two of those changes were cars passing at speed.
I have heard the explanation of how much a broadcast costs versus advertising dollars. You will get no argument from me. But doesn’t airing time trials and practices cost money too? And the snooze-inducing single car runs and practice sessions have a bigger profit margin than an actual race? And NASCAR sanctions that actual race? And is staged at a speedway you
are already broadcasting from? And all the equipment and personnel are already in place so it doesn’t cost a dime more to bring in said equipment and personnel?
As a race fan for 36 years, I confidently ask, “What the heck is going on here?”
NASCAR has stated for years that the “on-track product” is the most important item they sell.
After Saturday’s ignoring of the Modifieds once again, the highest quality “on-track product” NASCAR had to offer, I have a hard time believing what they claim to be important.