Should Cup Drivers Be Allowed To Run The Nationwide Series?
Every sport in America has development leagues. In baseball a player will start at single A and work there way up to the MLB. In football every team has their own practice squad, basketball has the D-League and hockey has the AHL. NASCAR like these other sports has thier own development league also the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series. The only difference between NASCAR and the other major sports is athletes in the top tier series Sprint Cup may race in the lower series while a player in the top tier series in any of the other sports may not participate in multiple levels of competition at the same time.
When looking at the Nationwide Series today the top drivers are the professionals the guys who race the Sprint Cup cars. Kyle Busch, Keven Harvick, Brad Keslowski and Carl Edwards are the dominant racers in this series. All of them are successful Cup drivers so why do they feel the need to race in the second division. Many NASCAR writers believe the drivers like the track time and like to race on both days in order to be more ready for the Cup race but if this was true then every Cup driver would try to get inside a Nationwide car. I personally believe that these guys are great competitors and want to win in any type of competition no matter what they are driving.
The issue though is should these Cup drivers be allowed to run in the second division of NASCAR. I do not believe that they should be allowed to run all the races but if you take them out of the car completely the series will begin to lose money. This is true because many people do not know full time Nationwide drivers but they come to the race track to see the Cup guys that they know very well. This is why NASCAR had several commercials featuring the Nationwide full time drivers and showing how they are appreciated by fans. The Nationwide series promotes the development of young talent but if the professional Cup drivers are winning every weekend then the confidence of the younger guys will never grow. Of course some argue if a younger guy in the Nationwide Series beats a guy like Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards thats all the confidence one needs but the likelhood of a guy that only gets to race in the Nationwide Series will beat a seasoned veteran is unlikely.
Although its unlikely that NASCAR will mandate who drives the cars in the series team owners should be more conscience of who is in the cars. Many NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers are getting older and owners are going to need to find young talented drivers to fill the shoes of the older drivers and if the owners plan to look at the Nationwide Series for this talent it will be hard to find. The Nationwide Series is about young talent the racing should be pretty sloppy but fun to watch and I hope that these Cup guys DO NOT run full Nationwide scheduales this season.