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Thread: One for Todd Gack: Where Have The Southern Drivers Gone?

  1. #1
    Insider Jakester's Avatar
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    One for Todd Gack: Where Have The Southern Drivers Gone?

    http://nascar.speedtv.com/article/cu...-drivers-gone/

    There hasn’t been a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion from the traditional South since 1999, when Hickory, NC’s Dale Jarrett hoisted the big trophy.

    Since the Chase for the Sprint Cup format debuted in 2004, a mere 17.5 percent of the top-10 drivers have hailed from the South.

    Twenty years ago, it was 70 percent.


    OTOH, maybe the opening of NASCAR to them 'dam yankees' was a signficant factor in fewer Americans going from USAC to Indy?

    Geoffrey Bodine, of Chemung, NY, remembers feeling like an outsider even as he was having success early in his NASCAR career in the 1980s.

    "I feel like I helped open the doors for anyone to get in the sport and make it - from Juan (Pablo) Montoya to the Busch brothers," Bodine said. "And I’m not hearing, ‘Yankee, go home’ anymore. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. People are making noise and most of it is cheers.’’
    “I think there for a while, the Northerners were so busy doing their own thing and didn’t think they had a shot (in NASCAR) until guys like Ken Schrader started working their way in,’’ said Newman. “You had guys that were race cars drivers like A.J. Foyt that were just race car drivers. Now drivers have come from other types of racing, USAC or World of Outlaws.
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    Its Dutch
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    NASCAR is now a national sport and not a regional one, like it used to be. They draw the best talent from ALL parts of the country and all walks of racing.

    There hasn't been a new USAC grad in Cup in a while now. So you can't blame those "yankees" from the north.

    At least NASCAR still has American drivers.
    Prime Minister of Gackland

  3. #3
    Insider Jakester's Avatar
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    There hasn't been a new USAC grad in Cup in a while now.
    I'd include Nationwide in there as it's quite often the stepping stone to Sprint Cup
    Ricky Stenhouse
    Cole Whitt
    Brad Sweet
    Some time back but Aaron Fike was headed up until he crashed his career. Ditto Shane Hmiel

    Where do USAC drivers go? You've bemoaned they don't get chances in the IndyCar ranks or its feed series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakester View Post
    I'd include Nationwide in there as it's quite often the stepping stone to Sprint Cup
    Ricky Stenhouse
    Cole Whitt
    Brad Sweet
    Some time back but Aaron Fike was headed up until he crashed his career. Ditto Shane Hmiel

    Where do USAC drivers go? You've bemoaned they don't get chances in the IndyCar ranks or its feed series.
    Aaron Fike has been gone for years. Shane Hmeil only went to USAC, once he got in trouble down south and then banned him down there. He wasn't a USAC guy.

    The top shelf USAC kids will go where they have gone for 25 years....to NASCAR. NASCAR actually hires talent and looks for the next young guy. But that doesn't mean they will get to Cup. There hasn't been a new USAC kid get into Cup full-time in a while now. Stenhouse will be the next, once THE TEAM gets the funding to run him.

    IC will be left (maybe) with the Mike Larrison's, Brandon Wagner's and Shannon Macintosh's of the AOW oval world, who are bottom-feeder talents.

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    this is kinda like all the imca/ csra guys that didnt get to usac,,,,,,,
    I love the sport more than I hate the past,

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Gack View Post
    NASCAR actually hires talent and looks for the next young guy.
    Really? Truck and Nationwide teams hire on a rookie's ability to bring a check these days. Don't be naive.
    The Ayn Rand of Indycar

    No one had to badge the Offy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Really? Truck and Nationwide teams hire on a rookie's ability to bring a check these days. Don't be naive.
    You forgot to include the Cup series teams in that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Really? Truck and Nationwide teams hire on a rookie's ability to bring a check these days. Don't be naive.
    Most feeder series are like that, to some extent. You gotta fill the field someway.

    Those developmental kids though, aren't bringing a dime. Including Kyle Larson in that group. Just a hell of a lot of talent and a nice fanbase to follow them as the progress up the ladder and then to the major leagues in Cup.

    Hell of a concept.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Gack View Post
    Those developmental kids though, aren't bringing a dime. Including Kyle Larson in that group. Just a hell of a lot of talent and a nice fanbase to follow them as the progress up the ladder and then to the major leagues in Cup.
    Again the "bring their fanbase" argument, never mind there isn't a single piece of empirical data to support that. If he ever makes it to Cup, NASCAR fans won't know or care where he came from and his USAC fans would have moved on to supporting other USAC drivers. That's why promoters need Cup stars to sell tickets to NWS and Truck races and networks need the stars to pull any kind of rating.

    Those are the facts, supported by actual evidence. The "bring their fanbase" argument is wishful thinking supported by nothing.

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    Unregistered User pb's Avatar
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    Going back to the original article, I'm sure Bobby Labonte would be surprised to learn that Corpus Christi is in the West.
    No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. - William Faulker

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Again the "bring their fanbase" argument, never mind there isn't a single piece of empirical data to support that. If he ever makes it to Cup, NASCAR fans won't know or care where he came from and his USAC fans would have moved on to supporting other USAC drivers. That's why promoters need Cup stars to sell tickets to NWS and Truck races and networks need the stars to pull any kind of rating.

    Those are the facts, supported by actual evidence. The "bring their fanbase" argument is wishful thinking supported by nothing.
    No, those are your opinions supported by nothing.

    You ever think that some of those fans that Stewart, Gordon, Kahne, Newman, etc...garnered coming up through the ranks are the ones watching on TV on Sunday afternoon? Mebbe that's why Cup ratings are so good and will CONTINUE to be so good? Nah, couldn't be. Those USAC and WoO race fans only watch short-track racing at their local tracks. They'd never watch anything else.

    Want some more "empiracal data"? How about the fact that Indianapolis now is regularly the #2 best market for NASCAR in the country. And the fact that Indianapolis ratings for the IC series have continued to fall off the map. I wonder why that be, in the heart of AOW racing? Wouldn't have anything to do with some of the drivers running in Cup and the lack of those types of drivers in Indy Cars? I think it does.

    Steve Kinser was at Indy in 1997 and there were more folks walking around with Kinser T-shirts and swag on during practice days and quals then probably any other non-DPatrick driver has had in the past 20 years.

    And who do you think had more fans in the stands at the Freedom 100 last year? Clauson or any of the nobodies from nowhere in the rest of the field? That would be Clauson by about 50 miles.

    They got fans, Dave. The good ones do. And they aren't watching Indy Cars. They are watching stock car racing. Just like the rest of America is.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Gack View Post
    No, those are your opinions supported by nothing.
    Wrong.

    You ever think that some of those fans that Stewart, Gordon, Kahne, Newman, etc...garnered coming up through the ranks are the ones watching on TV on Sunday afternoon? Mebbe that's why Cup ratings are so good and will CONTINUE to be so good? Nah, couldn't be. Those USAC and WoO race fans only watch short-track racing at their local tracks. They'd never watch anything else.
    If what you say is true, that the fans follow their drivers as they move up through the ranks, then the ratings for the then BGN series where all of these drivers competed would have been robust, as would ticket sales at stand alone events. Neither was the case nor is it the case now. In order for tickets to be sold to the minor leagues of NASCAR promoters rely on the establish stars as do the networks. This is not opinion, it is fact. There is no evidence at all that NASCAR's rise in ratings had anything do with USAC drivers bringing their fanbase, further the ratings have been in decline for the past few seasons yet all of these drivers are there. And if you really think any rise in ratings was because of those four drivers you are really confusing correlation with causation.

    Want some more "empiracal data"? How about the fact that Indianapolis now is regularly the #2 best market for NASCAR in the country. And the fact that Indianapolis ratings for the IC series have continued to fall off the map. I wonder why that be, in the heart of AOW racing? Wouldn't have anything to do with some of the drivers running in Cup and the lack of those types of drivers in Indy Cars? I think it does.
    You "think" it does? That's opinion.

    Steve Kinser was at Indy in 1997 and there were more folks walking around with Kinser T-shirts and swag on during practice days and quals then probably any other non-DPatrick driver has had in the past 20 years.
    Big deal, we're talking NASCAR. Kinser was in NASCAR, y'know. He failed miserably. During the time he was there any fans he may have brought along were an irrelevant spec compared to the number of tickets the stars of the day sold. If he brought fans in any meaningful numbers to NASCAR events you'd never know because stands were just as full after he left and Hut Stricklin took over the car as they were before, and the ratings never dropped.

    And who do you think had more fans in the stands at the Freedom 100 last year? Clauson or any of the nobodies from nowhere in the rest of the field? That would be Clauson by about 50 miles.
    Great, one person for each mile. How many tickets did he sell for the other races?

    They got fans, Dave. The good ones do. And they aren't watching Indy Cars. They are watching stock car racing. Just like the rest of America is.
    I never said they didn't have fans but you greatly over estimate the impact. Josh Wise is a USAC champion. If you think he sells tickets in any significant numbers to Nationwide races you'd be wrong. He doesn't and won't sell any tickets to any Cup races in which he's entered this year. The Cup stars sell the tickets. Ditto for any other USAC grad coming through the ranks. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch sell tickets and put people in front of the TV for NNS races, not Josh Wise or any other USAC grad trying to establish a stock car racing career.

    Finally, only four drivers in the entire Cup field that are USAC grads can be considered "stars" : Gordan, Stewart, Newman, and Kahne. Those four drivers are not the primary movers of the ratings and attendance (particularly Newman and Kahne relative to other drivers) and any affect they do have is because they are stars as stock car drivers, not because of their USAC heritage. NASCAR fans buy tickets and watch TV to watch stars. If you're not a star you have no impact on either attendance or ratings, and that holds true whether you came from USAC or from Late Models. The mid-packers and back markers don't sell tickets or garner ratings, no matter where they came from.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Again the "bring their fanbase" argument, never mind there isn't a single piece of empirical data to support that. If he ever makes it to Cup, NASCAR fans won't know or care where he came from and his USAC fans would have moved on to supporting other USAC drivers. That's why promoters need Cup stars to sell tickets to NWS and Truck races and networks need the stars to pull any kind of rating.

    Those are the facts, supported by actual evidence. The "bring their fanbase" argument is wishful thinking supported by nothing.

    That fanbase materializes out of thin air the moment a successful Cup owner signs them to a development contract.

    The thought that they bring more than a handful with them is as much fantasy as the claim that "nascar drivers are accessible to fans".

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoparsRule View Post
    That fanbase materializes out of thin air the moment a successful Cup owner signs them to a development contract.

    The thought that they bring more than a handful with them is as much fantasy as the claim that "nascar drivers are accessible to fans".
    I don't know about that. I saw Justin Allgaier win in a late model at I-55 Raceway when he was about 16. Tony Stewart was also running late models that evening. You can bet I've kept an eye on him since. Same with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. winning in Silver Crown at Springfield. Same with Carl Edwards when he was hitching rides back from Indy to Columbia when he was trying to break in. Maybe it just means I've been lucky to see some talented drivers at the grassroots level or maybe there is something to the idea that fans like to go up the ladder with drivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pb View Post
    I don't know about that. I saw Justin Allgaier win in a late model at I-55 Raceway when he was about 16. Tony Stewart was also running late models that evening. You can bet I've kept an eye on him since. Same with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. winning in Silver Crown at Springfield. Same with Carl Edwards when he was hitching rides back from Indy to Columbia when he was trying to break in. Maybe it just means I've been lucky to see some talented drivers at the grassroots level or maybe there is something to the idea that fans like to go up the ladder with drivers.
    Shhh....don't want to mess up the fantasy-land that some are in with actual anecdotal facts.

    You are just one of many out there, that see a driver or drivers in their early life and then continue to follow them as they progress up the ladder of racing. Its a hell of a concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post

    1. There is no evidence at all that NASCAR's rise in ratings had anything do with USAC drivers bringing their fanbase, further the ratings have been in decline for the past few seasons yet all of these drivers are there.

    2. Kinser was in NASCAR, y'know. He failed miserably.

    3. Great, one person for each mile. How many tickets did he sell for the other races?

    4. Finally, only four drivers in the entire Cup field that are USAC grads can be considered "stars" : Gordan, Stewart, Newman, and Kahne. Those four drivers are not the primary movers of the ratings and attendance (particularly Newman and Kahne relative to other drivers)

    1. There is no evidence that they didn't either. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart had a SIGNIFICANT fanbase before they ever set foot in a stock car. That we do know. How many of them do you think watch them on Sunday's today? You think its more that followed James Jakes or Mike Conway? And you might want to check your stats on the ratings "decline". Most races in Cup last year were up in ratings over 2010.

    2. He is also a Indiana native, AOW legend and the winningiest sprint car driver of all time. And he has a HUGE fanbase. Many of which, showed up in 1997 at Indy. Saw them with my own two eyes. I could give a rats how he fared in NASCAR. He's a sprint car driver.

    3. 500 more then any of the other nobodies did. Nobody watches Lights races outside of the Freedom 100. They have no fans, no matter who is racing. He did have a merchandise trailer at Lights races last year (not sure why, but he did). You don't have one of those, unless you have a fanbase in some form of racing that will, you know, buy stuff from that trailer. Maybe Gus Yacamen can sell some of his stylish racing goggles this year, from his trailer. I know the country is just crawling with Gus Yacamen maniacs, who are dying to see him climb into a Indy Car.

    4. I don't know who the "movers and shakers" of ratings in Cup are. There are a lot of popular and sellable drivers in that series and the public seems to like the product they are getting. Seems like Gordon and Stewart would be pretty high up the totem pole though. Kahne is also very popular with a demographic that the ICS has very few of (females). I wouldn't rate him as low as you do.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Gack View Post
    1. There is no evidence that they didn't either. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart had a SIGNIFICANT fanbase before they ever set foot in a stock car. That we do know. How many of them do you think watch them on Sunday's today?
    Tony Stewart's "significant" fan base didn't do diddly-pooh when he competing in the IRL (and don't tell me about Indiana, there's 49 other states) and there was no noticible increase in ratings or attendence when he went to BGN.

    2. He is also a Indiana native, AOW legend and the winningiest sprint car driver of all time. And he has a HUGE fanbase. Many of which, showed up in 1997 at Indy. Saw them with my own two eyes. I could give a rats how he fared in NASCAR. He's a sprint car driver.
    There's a great big world outside of Indiana. That "huge" fanbase had no impact on NASCAR ratings or attendence. If what you assert it is true, there would have have been an increase in both when he was in Cup and a decrease when he left. Neither was the case. You're claiming one thing and trying to prove another.

    3. 500 more then any of the other nobodies did. Nobody watches Lights races outside of the Freedom 100. They have no fans, no matter who is racing.
    No fans? But wouldn't Bryan Clausen's legion of fans across America buy tickets to see him? Once again, having fans in Indiana does not mean anyone in another part of the country knows or cares who he is. Selling a couple hundred tickets in Indiana does not translate to national following, or even a regional following large enough to have any significant impact on ticket sales or ratings.

    4. I don't know who the "movers and shakers" of ratings in Cup are. There are a lot of popular and sellable drivers in that series and the public seems to like the product they are getting. Seems like Gordon and Stewart would be pretty high up the totem pole though.
    Gordon and Stewart are high on the totem pole because they are championship drivers, not because they came from USAC. If they put up Travis Kvapil-like results no one would care about either of them.

    Kahne is also very popular with a demographic that the ICS has very few of (females). I wouldn't rate him as low as you do.
    See the above. Kahne wins races now and then, or can at least run in the top ten. That's why he has fans, not his USAC heritage.

    I'll make the point a final time: You grossly overestimate the impact of a driver's roots as it pertains to attracting fans, and you are confounding correlation and causation.

    Simply put, if these drivers bring their fanbase as they move up through the minors the promoters wouldn't rely so much on establish stars to sell tickets and garner ratings. The collective fanbases of the drivers in the field should be enough. But they aren't. Not even close.

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