Yesterday was a good day for our sport.  Danica Patrick gained a new sponsor for the 2016 and beyond.  This will insure that a female driver will be competing in the sport for sometime to come, that’s a good thing.  Today, is a cloudy day for our sport as Michael Waltrip Racing announces they are scaling back operations for the 2016 season, freeing up drivers and team members to seek other options for next season.

Some of my fellow writers may disagree, but to me this is a sign of things to come and it’s not a good sign.  Some may say the fall out at MWR began with the cheating scandal in 2013, and they might be right, but no one can predict the future.  MWR has a financial investor in Rob Kauffman and rumors are swirling that Kauffman may be jumping ship to invest in another team.  Why would Kauffman do this only he knows the answer.  It is believed that the business model for success at MWR depended on two teams making the Chase this season. It appears at this point that’s not going to happen.  So was Kauffman tired of investing money into what seemed to be just an average team at best?

It takes money to be successful in top tier auto racing, talent will only carry a person so far, quality equipment and financial backing are a must for success.  Racing is expensive in general and to compete at the NASCAR level is very expensive. Technology and simulation are driving up the cost of the sport, if you don’t have good simulation programs and access to the best technology your odds of competing for wins decrease tremendously. I’m a huge fan of NASCAR’s efforts to make rule changes throughout the season in an attempt to make racing more competitive and more entertaining for the fans. However, if you ask me NASCAR is failing its drivers and teams. It seems like just a few years ago drivers have one or two primary sponsors but now it takes multiple sponsors sometimes even on the same car to pay the bills.  How much more expensive can we expect teams to pay to remain competitive?

The rules of the sport need to change and change in a big way or NASCAR needs to begin finding ways to cut cost even further. We can only ignore it for so long, Rick Hendrick,  Jack Roush, and Richard Childress aren’t getting any younger and I certainly don’t see any next generation owners waiting in the wings to take over. Who has the desire or financial backing to step up do so?  To be competitive now it takes partnerships or financial backings to win with a few exceptions.  Joe Gibbs racing doesn’t have a partnership and to my knowledge Gibbs doesn’t have any large financial investments. Gibbs, does however receive the majority of the support from manufacture Toyota.  Rick Hendrick does have other business ventures in his portfolio for financial backing if need be.

NASCAR, teams, drivers, tracks and anyone associated with the sport must step up and work together.  The announcement from MWR may be what kicked the boulder at the top of the hill.  Nobody wants to see that boulder come down the hill and impact others.