Economy threatens to put damper on Daytona

  • Follow Nascar

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. --- According to NASCAR, there could be as many as 55 entries for next month's Daytona 500. For many, the race will be a desperate attempt to craft a miracle against impossible odds.

Of that group, only half have full-time sponsorship deals in place for the 2009 season. A handful of other teams have partial funding, but at least 15 are headed to Daytona without any financial backing.

Daytona offers a pot of gold like no other race. Teams in the starting lineup are guaranteed at least $250,000. For a team with no sponsorship, that's enough to keep the doors open for another month.

While NASCAR continues to steer attention to the action on the track, it admits it's impossible to ignore the economic problems that tower over the sport.

NASCAR said it's working with everyone in the sport to construct better business models. That's led to industry wide layoffs, mergers and liquidation. More than 700 shop employees are unemployed, six teams have joined forces to become three teams and Bill Davis Racing, which won the 2002 Daytona 500 with driver Ward Burton, has closed its doors. "This is a work in progress," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "It starts with listening. It starts with listening to tracks. It starts with listening to teams."

"We offer up what we know to teams to help them make decisions, but the independent businesses that make up NASCAR, the team owners, the track owners, they make their own business decisions at the end of the day. What we do, though, is we learn from listening to them what we might be able to do ... to help them along the way."

The problems facing the sport apparently are going to get worse before they get better. On Monday, four major players in NASCAR -- title sponsor Sprint Nextel, Caterpillar, General Motors and The Home Depot -- all announced crippling quarterly losses, and all said thousands of workers will be laid off.

Track owners have set midseason as a target for the economy to show signs of recovery. If ticket sales continue to lag and car counts drop by the July 4 race at Daytona International Speedway, that could be a sign the sport faces more than a healing process.

Several tracks have shifted into survival mode, offering discounted tickets and other perks.

"You know that when you read the stories like I do and know what's going on, people are worried about their jobs, they're nervous," NASCAR Chairman Brian France said. "People have lost their jobs. And I think that's what you're seeing, the tracks trying to be sensitive to that. The NFL cut their playoff tickets, the pricing for those, trying to do everything we can. The tracks are leading that charge, and they're just trying to be sensitive to their best customers."

Reach Don Coble at don.coble@morris.com.

Comments (7) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
wildman
1075
Points
wildman 01/29/09 - 05:12 am
0
0
Some where in the process

Some where in the process they need to listen to the fans as well. I have been a long time fan but over the last two to three years I've lost interest in NASCAR because of the leadership. I think they got to big for their britches.

southern2
6033
Points
southern2 01/29/09 - 08:08 am
0
0
It seems they did everything

It seems they did everything they could to alienate "their best customers" when the economy was thriving, so why should they be supported now. They paid Jesse, hired Magic, and condemned the Confederate battle flag that used to fly so freely at the tracks. I have enjoyed NASCAR all my life, but my loyalty has faded away like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.

emt_36_i
0
Points
emt_36_i 01/29/09 - 09:28 am
0
0
yeah they ned to throw one of

yeah they ned to throw one of them thar unnecssary cautions ... not to let gordon stewrat of junior to catch back up but let the damn fans catch back up the south made racing the fans of the south that is now their catering to the way out west crowd [filtered word]? yeah im bout done with it and im a season tickett holder to bristol yeah spring and fall

simva
4
Points
simva 01/29/09 - 03:17 pm
0
0
I got my Sundays back 6 years

I got my Sundays back 6 years ago when it got really whiney and boring.....

notaclue
0
Points
notaclue 01/29/09 - 05:49 pm
0
0
At the risk of sounding like

At the risk of sounding like a socialist, the truth of the matter is that when the teams make money, Nascar makes money. IMHO, if the big dogs who run Nascar wanted to preserve what already has been achieved in the sport growth wise, it would take a much smaller piece of the action. Money has to be plowed into the teams that need help temporarily, till they get back on its feet.Also, show us some old school action, and use this as an opportunity to get away from big corporation influence. Case in point, the Rolex 24 from this past weekend. Not alot of bells& whistles, but a hell of a race. This is what people want to see, and a few years down the road, the money end will take care of it self.

i.b.e.w..electric
0
Points
i.b.e.w..electric 01/30/09 - 08:37 am
0
0
nascar started as a southern

nascar started as a southern born sport,great,then we shared it with the rest of the nation ,cool,then they started ruling it to death,we had to accept that,but i always said when the damn japanese got involved with nascar i will be through with it ,WELL IM THROUGH WITH IT.wonder when nissan and mazda and honda will start fielding cars with japanese drivers, for we all know the japanese will ruin anything trully american for thier own gain.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 02/02/09 - 09:26 am
0
0
I'm glad to see ticket prices

I'm glad to see ticket prices comming down. It costs too much to go to a major sporting event nowadays.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs