By Toby Christie (Article originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
The Sprint Cup Series has recently been dominated by three drivers: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson. See chart Below.
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This eye popping statistic has led many to believe that the super teams (Hendrick, Gibbs, Roush) have an advantage over the lesser funded teams, and that the only way NASCAR can survive is through franchising.
Franchising according to theorists would help pull in sponsors, because there would only be 43 Franchised teams. This would mean nobody would go home at the end of qualifying on Fridays, and would also guarantee a full 43 car starting field. Then if a salary cap is applied on expenses (like in the NFL or NBA), the power at the top of the heap would be more evenly spread.
I could not disagree more. Franchising is not the answer for NASCAR. It’s as simple as that. The only reason these three drivers have taken over half of the hardware home from races since 2008 is the COT (Car of Tomorrow). I know what you’re thinking… “That’s all we have heard” and “the COT is always the scapegoat”. Well to prove my theory let me take you back to 1979.
In 1979 Richard Petty won five races and took home his seventh Winston Cup title. Then in 1980 a young man named Dale Earnhardt won five races and took home his first Winston Cup title. What does this have to do with the COT?
In 1981 NASCAR changed the chassis of the “Winston Cup” cars. They made the cars taller and extended the length of the wheelbase. These cars handled terribly and the drivers hated them… hmm sounds like 2008.
The “New Car” lasted until the end of the 1983 season, and the Series returned to a much smoother, more sleek car in 1984.
Let me give you something to chew on– From 1981 to 1983 Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison combined to win 49 of the 91 races ran. That is an average of eight wins per season for the both of them (Johnson, Busch, and Edwards also averaged eight wins between them in 2008).
Richard Petty (The 1979 champion) only totaled six wins in the three year stretch, while Earnhardt (The 1980 Champion) only nabbed three victories during the three year stint.
How can NASCAR competition survive? The same way it handled the exact same situation in the 1980’s. They must trim this new car back down.