24/04/2024

Great Car

Greatness On The Road

NASCAR Cup Round-Up

NASCAR Cup Round-Up

Californian Jimmie Johnson made NASCAR history by becoming only the second driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2007 – 2008). The 33 year old has dominated the second most popular and the second richest motorsport after Formula One, claiming 42 race wins in his career.

Johnson is part of the highly successful Hendrick Motorsports team and he and his trusty Lowe’s Chevrolet Impala had to wait patiently until the tenth race of the season, the Subway Fresh Fit 500, to claim his maiden victory of the year.

It appears he only found his fighting form in the latter part of the year when it really counted. He claimed three of the ten 2008 ‘Chase for the Championship’ events, putting him in an unassailable lead for the NASCAR crown yet again.

Johnson’s 2008 Victories

o 12 April – Subway Fresh Fit 500 – Phoenix International Raceway
o 27 July – Allstate 400 at the Brickyard – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
o 31 August – Pepsi 500 – Auto Club Speedway
o 7 September – Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400 – Richmond International Speedway
o 28 September – Camping World RV 400 – Kansas Speedway
o 19 October – TUMS QuikPak 500 – Martinsville Speedway
o 9 November – Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Phoenix International Raceway

NASCAR under threat

As with most sports, NASCAR has joined the long list of casualties of the recent economic meltdown. Sponsorships have begun to fade away with unenviable speed and some of the single drive teams have even been forced to throw in the towel.

Fortunately some of the bigger teams have been able to form relationships with financial partners who are not under the proverbial money whip but the most recent victim, Chip Ganassi Racing, closed its doors permanently, adding 70 more workers to the long list of unemployed Americans.

Sponsorships fade and fans dwindle

The financial troubles have also had a marked effect on the number of race fans able to support the races live. Dwindling crowds are creating concern for race organisers who are trying everything to seduce their mainly blue collar fan base back to the tracks with all-inclusive ticket packages offering discounts on hotel rooms and even food.

It is going to be interesting to see whether NASCAR survives the horror of the 2008 economic meltdown. If you consider that cars have to be transported around the States, covering vast distances in semi-trailer trucks, it is surely only a matter of time before the high diesel fuel prices bring this hugely popular sport to its knees.

Formula One also on the endangered list

Formula One racing is also under the microscope, with the powers-that-be thinking right out the box in an effort to make it more economical and environmentally friendly. Detractors are determined to close the doors on motor racing in perpetuity in the hope that it will spare the fragile planet, so if you’re a motor sports fan, your weekly race fix may be under serious threat.

Drive an F1 car while you can

The one way to temper the need for speed in South Africa is to flag down your very own F1 racing car and take it round the track a couple of times. There are dedicated racing companies in South Africa that allow you to drive an F1 car….best make for the tracks before the endangered motor racing becomes extinct!