Many around the Whelen Modified Tour have long considered themselves the red-headed stepchild in the big business world that is NASCAR.
Some arguments that are made are valid, but all too often most of the complaints that emanate from around the series directed toward the sanctioning body can be chalked up to the fact that in racing complaining about the way things are run is just a way of life in the sport.
Though too often NASCAR makes it way too easy for fans and teams to call out the sanctioning body out for seemingly regularly giving the series the shaft.
And that was the case once again Friday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Friday in Loudon Ryan Newman won the inaugural Whelen Modified Tour Whelen All-Star Shootout, and in the process the fans the helped populate the grandstands to the support the event lost.
Since NASCAR announced plans for the Whelen All-Star Shootout exhibition event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway it was made clear that the there would be a time limit for the event.
It was an understandable mandate for the series considering how packed the schedule was at the track Friday for the first full day of action for Loudon’s Camping World RV Sales 301 weekend.
Though the way NASCAR officials handled enforcing the 30-minute time limit that was set left plenty to be desired.
Yes, the event was giving Whelen Modified Tour teams the chance to run a special event, but ultimately in racing the sanctioning body has to think about the show they’re giving the fans in the grandstands. The ticket buyers are the reason why teams have the opportunity to do what they do. It’s not a show if there’s nobody watching.
Imagine going to a professional basketball game, watching a player hit a three-pointer to give his team a one-point lead with 50 seconds remaining, and then having the referees simply declare the game over with time left on the clock with no explanation.
That’s essentially what fans got from NASCAR officials Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. While Newman was taking a cool down lap as the winner Friday, a lot of folks around the track were wondering what happened to the final three laps.
The race had a scheduled distance of 40 laps, though as Newman came out of turn four on lap 37, the checkered flag was waving. There would be no battle to lap 40 between Newman and second place finisher Justin Bonsignore. There would be banzai run to the lead for third place runner Mike Stefanik. The race was over.
NASCAR had decided the 30-minute time limit had been met. And that’s fine, the time-limit was set well before the race.
The problem was, the fact that limit was met was information NASCAR shared with teams competing, but information they didn’t share with too many others at the track.
Most media at the track weren’t told the race was about to end and track announcers did not convey to fans in the grandstands that they were watching the final lap.
And that’s just not a fair way to treat those watching a sporting event. The fact is, you can’t expect fans to support the growth of a new special event if they feel got cheated by the organizers event the first time it was run.
In their haste and hurry to stay on schedule NASCAR dropped the ball in a big way and nobody can blame fans or teams for feeling once again that they’re a continued target for getting snubbed by NASCAR.