(This is part two of a three part series)
In part one of our NASCAR International series we took a look at NASCAR’s past in foreign countries, if you missed that article CLICK HERE to check it out! In part two we will look at where NASCAR is today with its international racing and where it may be going in the near future along with what NASCAR can do to help develop its international presence and get the home crowd involved with it.
NASCAR currently has three international series’.
The Canadian Tire Series
(Photo Credit: wikipedia.org)
Since 2007 NASCAR has had the Canadian Tire Series(formally CASCAR). The series usually fields a full field of around 40 cars at each event but the talent range varies from serious championship contenders to part-time weekend warriors. The series races on a mix of ovals and road courses. Along with one street course. Its a nice mix of international road courses and good old fashion NASCAR short track racing.
NASCAR Toyota Series
(Photo Credit: wikipedia.org)
Formally the NASCAR Corona Series, this is NASCAR’s Mexico series. The series races on a similar track mixture as the Canadian series but with a few more road course and a shorter schedule.
NASCAR Euro Race Car Series
(Photo Credit: wikipedia.org)
Racecar Series was created in 2008. In 2011 it became an official FIA international series. In early 2012 the series made a deal to make NASCAR the official sanctioning body. The series features a unique event weekend schedule that actually features 4 races and two divisions, the Elite Championship and the Open Championship. Letting professionals and amateurs alike take part in the fun.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)
The Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s weekly regional racing series. On the international front the regions include Alberta and Ontario.
As I mentioned in part one the announcement last week that former Nationwide Series director Joe Balash would become the new NASCAR International Competition Liaison NASCAR has made it clear that they will continue to market and race their cars and trucks outside of the United States. In fact 2013 is already set to be the biggest year ever. In my opinion the one biggest road block to the success of the international series’ is to get the home fans on board. NASCAR fans are supportive to the end of the things they love. From drivers to car makes to what brand of washing powder they use. So NASCAR needs to get its fans on board and following their international efforts. But how do they do it? They already have some things in place that will help get the word out this year. Starting off in Daytona in fact. The series champions from the three international series’ will be invited to the UNOH Battle At The Beach which is an all star race for the lower level divisions of NASCAR. Beyond that the Toyota Series(NASCAR Mexico) will introduce a Chase format similar to the one that the Sprint Cup Series uses. There will also be several companion races this year. The Toyota Series will start the year off racing on the same weekend as the Cup Series in Phoenix. The Canadian Tire Series will race a companion event at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Hopefully a few drivers in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will use these events to get some extra seat time at the tracks.
Next Year And Beyond
I personally have no idea how far NASCAR plans to go with their international expansion but I do have a few basic idea’s that would help grow the sport on international levels.
More Companion Events
The Phoenix and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park companion races are great, but we need more. Get the Nationwide Series back to Mexico and run a companion race there. Mend fences with Montreal and get a Nationwide series race and Canadian Tire companion event there. How about taking the trucks to one of the short tracks in Canada or Mexico? Give the fans there a taste of our style race cars or trucks and give our fans a taste of their style tracks.
I’ve searched for hours on the internet to find enough info to write this three part series. There has to be more coverage ESPECIALLY on the internet. NASCAR needs to work with their major internet news providers to start putting out some news on these races. Also TV coverage is a must, even if its not live lets get it up on SPEED on a tape delay. I know TSN covers the Canadian Series but how many people get that or even watch it if they do? As many weekly live NASCAR shows as there are today they could at least squeeze in ten minutes a week of coverage when there was an international race the weekend before.
Schedule allowing NASCAR needs to get some of its Cup stars over racing in a few of these races a year. I haven’t compared schedules to see how many races there are on cup off weekends or if there are races when the Cup series is close by say in Michigan or Texas but imagine the story and the draw power if you could get a Dale Jr. to go run a short track race in Canada. Or even a couple of middle of the road guys. The publicity would be worth whatever the ride cost.
Those are just a few of my ideas, I’m sure NASCAR and Joe Balash have many more in store for the international scene. I guess we will just have to wait and see what they have in store for us!
With testing getting under way this weekend in Daytona I’m going to take next week off of this three part series to cover some of the highlights of the Pre-Season Test. But I will be back with part three in two weeks in which I will lay out a “fantasy” scenario for an International NASCAR series.
“Restrictor Plates Are Off” is simply a weekly opinion column shared each week with the viewers of JDSMotorsports.com, a word press blog. We are not a professional media outlet nor do we pretend to be one. Just a NASCAR fan who enjoys sharing opinions with our readers. This article is written by Jeff Southard. For questions or comments pleas either respond through the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org