The first week without Power Shift from 8 – 10 PM ET on XM 144 is over and the Earth still turns. In the radio business that is exactly how it happens. Normally the audience will find something new to listen to within a few days. In this case, I have received hundreds of e-mails in support of the show, myself and Thom. It is good to know that the Power Shift audience is a very motivated bunch. In the spirit of the Power Shift show I have already begun several projects that I believe will benefit the sport we are all so passionate about.
This week has been a total bummer on all fronts. There has been so much bad news that anything positive has been completely overshadowed. Next year, there will be no DirecTV Hot Pass. This is a terrible step backwards for the sport of NASCAR. Can you imagine going to a race and not renting a scanner? If you can, it’s because you probably never have before. Once you have it, it’s tough to go without. You know everything that you are missing. The drama of a last second pit call, the eerie silence as the cars come down pit road and those fantastic streams of profanity from our driving heroes all have become part of the experience. To go without them is going to change the viewing experience. I understand we are in a very tough economic time and to be honest, I might not have renewed next year for economic reasons, being unemployed and all, but it’s still a sad step backwards. Things are moving backwards so fast the next move will be a black and white television broadcast.
Petty Enterprises has parted ways from Bobby Labonte in a move that both feel is beneficial to them. Another, sad step backwards. Petty Enterprises have spent the last five years trying to pull themselves out of the ditch and just when they get close, they have to let it all go, just to survive. Richard Petty, an icon of American sport is now forced to scale back in the most dramatic of ways, possibly becoming a fourth team at GEM. If that merger occurs, even when the economy comes back, Petty Enterprises will never be the same.
Revell Models is no longer going to make NASCAR related model cars beginning in 2009. Big deal, who cares? As a child, whose original interest in motor sport was forged building model cars, even though my friends would destroy them, I can’t imagine today’s children not having that option. The reason given was the extreme licensing rights fees of NASCAR. To me, if you are in the car racing industry and they won’t make model kits of your race cars because the rights fees are too expensive, you have probably priced yourself out of the market.
Right now, motor sport needs leadership. The problem is basic, in that, everything is WAY too expensive. Everything, including cars, engines, transportation, human resources, licensing, all the way down to hot dogs and tickets is overpriced. People just don’t and won’t have the same money to spend in 2009 that they have in the past. Those that control American motor sport could wait and see what will happen or take a more proactive approach. The NASCAR testing ban is a great start, but it is just that, a start. Our government and our citizens are all taking major actions in the wake of this financial crisis. Motor sport must step up and cut costs across the board if it wants to survive this downturn. Fans don’t care if it takes $25 million to run a season or $10 million; they just want to be entertained for a couple of hours. I have often heard people in the racing community say we’ve had tough times before. That may be true, but this time, economists are predicting something far worse.
In future blogs I will outline some cost cutting measures I believe make sense.
Congratulations to The Driver of the Year, Tony Schumacher! The motor sports media got this one right, even if it was only by one vote. I wonder what the others were thinking? Great job, Tony, and thanks for coming on Power Shift at least 15 times this year.
It’s Frank Sinatra’s birthday. Happy birthday, Frank!