So, last weekend, the NDRL released their full schedule for the 2014 season. It can be seen here.
It’s a rather modest schedule. Lots of good paying races and some great paying races. There isn’t a whole lot of travel involved. So far, the list of drivers intending to run the full schedule is pretty damn impressive. The point fund is also impressive (and can be seen here).
Yet, it has it’s vocal critics on various forums and other outlets.
So what’s the problem you ask?
The schedule doesn’t conflict with the Lucas Oil Late Model Series schedule at all. A team could conceivably run both full schedules if they so desired. So far, John Blankenship has announced intentions to do so. I’m sure others will try. If a guy would win both points titles he’d go home with a cool 140k. That’s a lot of money. A guy could start the season on both tours, and if one ends up going badly, they could concentrate on the other.
But the schedule does conflict with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule. Thirteen times, in fact, including conflicts with the WoO’s two biggest races, the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville and the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake. The WoO has already lost one driver, Tim Fuller, to the NDRL, and as the season nears we might see more. Considering the NDRL points don’t start until after Speedweeks, we could see a WoO runner who had an especially poor Georgia and Florida decide to jump ship.
Last year, when the NDRL came to fruition, it was stated their goal was to not schedule over either of the existing national tour. But they also only had five races last year. This year, there are 30+. Conflicts were bound to happen, but the only conflicts that came up were against the WoO.
Some people seem to think that happened because there is beef between the NDRL and WRG over Jimmy Owens’ tire test last year. If you remember, Jimmy’s tires tested hot after he won an NDRL race last year that was co-sanctioned with UMP. The NDRL suspended and fined him, UMP did not. The NDRL released a press release stating it would no longer co-sanction races with UMP. Then the WoO didn’t allow all of it’s teams to compete at a ULMS show at a track run by the NDRL on an open night in between WoO races.
I don’t know that it makes much sense financial sense for either party to be long term angry with each other. I think the folks who run the NDRL, and the folks who run WRG are smart enough to know that. They can co-exist happily, running in different parts of the country on the same night, and both make money. I mean, I’m sure the car and fan counts will be fine in all of those conflicts. Those nights, the two sanctions are running hundreds of miles from one another. It’s not unlike the way Lucas and WoO have co-existed for years. There are more than enough cars and fans to go around and money to be made.
But still, fanboyism on forums and social media has people screaming bloody murder about it. They’re screaming about how Kennedy is trying to kill off WRG (even though UMP and the WoO sprint tour are as strong as ever and they’ve regained a lot of support for DIRTcar in the northeast). They’re screaming about how it’s terrible that they’re splitting “big time drivers” and everybody loses, blah blah blah.
I don’t get it. Has the fan base become so selfish that they don’t want the sport to prosper so they can see their favorite driver once or twice a year? Do they want less drivers to make money this coming season? Do they want to see less late model races?
The hate is childish. More drivers will be making more money, more fans will be seeing more racing, and more tracks will make more money. There is literally no way that is a bad thing for the sport.