Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage voiced his concern about the future of the ‘Busch/Nationwide Series’ and the use of Cup regulars.
Gossage states: "If the (Busch) Series wants to run in front of big crowds, on national television and for big purses, you have to have names people recognize and want to see.” In the words of Oklahoma State Head Football coach Mike Gundy, “THAT AIN’T TRUE!!!!”
The reason why that statement is not true is because one only has to look at the Truck Series to see that without the ‘big names’ the crowds are very respectable, even without Network TeVee the purses are still competitive. Yes, the Truck Series is broadcast on the Speed Channel, but for many, Speed is not offered at the Basic price of a cable or satellite package.
Gossage goes on to say: "If they want it to be major league, they have to have names that will cause people to buy tickets and television networks to televise the races……Or they can go back to being a minor-league series and run at 6,000 to 8,000 seat speedways for $100,000."
The problem with his statements is that with declining TeVee ratings and attendance at the Cup level, why would Nascar even want to have another competing ‘major league’ race series? Nascar is having enough trouble spreading out the fan’s weekend race dollar without adding to the expense of another ‘major league’ event.
The Busch Series survived ‘on its own’ for decades before the Busch Wackers made their mark and Gossage can look at his own track to see that not having a majority of the field filled with Cup regulars effected the Saturday’s race attendance. When Jeff Green won the Busch Title in 2000 was Gossage seriously saying that the Busch races were held in venues over 70% empty and only 8000 or so race fans? Back to Gundy, “THAT’S FICTION!!!”
I have been a season ticket holder at TMS since the ’98 season, but I cannot tell you the last time I attended a Busch race there (or any other venue for that matter) and the reason for not going is clear. If I want to see the ‘big boys’ race, I want to see them do it in a CUP car. The same theory applies to going to a Texas Rangers game, or driving an extra couple of miles and going to a AA Minor League game in Frisco, TX. They each have their place but I would have no desire to a mostly filled ‘Ranger line-up’ playing Round Rock in Frisco and watch them dominate the Minor Leaguers.
Gossage has been known to say that his beloved Texas Motor Speedway does not want to be a 800 pound gorilla and for the most part he has done what ever it takes to prevent that. However, it maybe a complete race series that is the 800 pound gorilla, not the venue itself.