By admin | December 12, 2011
By Richard Allen
One quick glance around the NASCAR landscape reveals that the amount of competition is lessening as the economy worsens. Supposed powerhouse teams such as Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing have been forced to reduce their numbers while other organizations have folded all together. At the same time, race winning drivers the likes of Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, David Reutimann and David Ragan have had to move to what may be perceived as lesser teams or have no ride at all.
The inability to find adequate sponsorship is having a debilitating impact on all racing in general and NASCAR in particular.
As a history teacher I often point out to my students that during the poor economic times of the 1880s and the 1930s the common person was severely hurt while many of the nation’s wealthiest were able to use their considerable resources to actually expand their holdings. One team in NASCAR, along with its satellite partner, is actually experiencing the same type of gains as the competition withers.
Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing are not-so-quietly amassing the greatest collection of money generating talent the sport has ever seen within one organization.
If asked to name the drivers in NASCAR who are capable of generating the most revenue for their teams in terms of sponsor appeal, souvenir sales and media recognition the typical follower of the sport would likely come up with the HMS/SHR driver roster.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have been bringing home the metaphorical bacon for these organizations for a while. And now, the additions of Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick will only serve to strengthen the strongest in terms of revenue production.
In other words, money will never be in short supply at HMS/SHR as long as they keep drivers such as these. This increased capital is accomplishing much more than lining the pockets of Rick Hendrick.
As the old saying goes, “Money buys speed.” All the money rolling into the HMS and SHR from sponsors and licensing rights is allowing these organizations to hire the best people in the sport. Those people do everything from work on the cars to run the business offices.
Money also allows teams to buy the latest and greatest equipment, conduct more research and development, and test. This is all being done while their closest competitors are cutting back in all facets. Considering that HMS/SHR have accounted for the last six Sprint Cup titles, this is a case of the rich getting richer. Or perhaps better said, the fast getting faster.
If things keep up at the current pace, the winners of NASCAR races and championships may soon boil down to the fastest among the Hendrick Motorsports cars with everyone else just following along. It isn’t far from that now.
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