Vermont Motorsports Magazine

Anthony Sweet Designs


Posted By Tj Ingerson On October 31, 2013

Categories: Jackstands

The Airborne Sportsman Modifieds will be the NASCAR Division-I during the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, aligning them with nearby Devil's Bowl Speedway. (Leif Tillotson photo)PHOTO: The Airborne Sportsman Modifieds will be the NASCAR Division-I during the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, aligning them with nearby Devil's Bowl Speedway. (Leif Tillotson photo)

--by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

I’m just going to put it on the table right here, right now, so we’re all on the same page.

Being a NASCAR-sanctioned track isn’t going to fix a track’s problems. It never has and it never will. But that doesn’t mean being NASCAR-sanctioned is a bad thing.

In fact, I think Airborne Park Speedway joining the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series fold in 2014 is a good thing for racers.

However, tracks need to remember that NASCAR isn’t going to solely promote their track and that’s where I think the NASCAR-sanctioning gets a bad rap. Tracks think signing on to be a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track is going to magically fix all their problems; that they’ll be able to tap into the multi-million dollar industry that NASCAR creates.

But how many tracks, in this area alone, have we seen sign on with NASCAR only to fall under. How many other tracks that are NASCAR-sanctioned just go along with the flow and continue to run a mediocre racing card that not many people care about?

NASCAR sanctioning isn’t a cure; it’s more of a building block. It’s a piece of the pie. Well, it’s more like the piece that your Aunt who is on this new fancy diet who wants to eat the apple pie but doesn’t want to hurt her diet, so she takes the 1/16th of a slice of pie and calls it good.

I know some don’t want to hear this, but the word “NASCAR” resonates with the general public. And because of that, there is a big potential benefit to both the promoter and the teams.

And now we tie back into Airborne. It allows the teams, drivers, and track to use the NASCAR name. It allows them the opportunity to use it to their advantage. But, they have to use it. NASCAR isn’t going to put anything on a silver platter for any track; NASCAR gives them the opportunity, the tools, and the tracks have to be the ones to utilize them.

Do I think Airborne is doing it wrong? No. Do I think they’re in the middle of a rut? Yes. Can the NASCAR-sanction help? Sure, but they have to be the ones to make the initiative to take full advantage of it.

I think Airborne’s decision to make the Sportsman Modifieds the NASCAR Division-I is also a great move, yet unsuspecting one. I didn’t see it coming, yet when I heard it, I liked it. It allows two tracks that are close to run similar rules on different nights. It allows a driver like Todd Stone, if he so chooses to run the Sportsman Modifieds at Airborne in 2014, an opportunity to chase after a National championship.

Look how much attention Keith Rocco, Ryan Preece, and Ted Christopher get from running three nights a week at race tracks that are close in proximity. All three of them are known on a national short track level. Lee Pulliam is known on a national short track level. It allows one of our own to compete against the best of the best in the NASCAR short track world.

So is NASCAR going to fix Airborne overnight like a magic wand? Nope. But, it may bring a load of attention to this region if one driver can make it happen in 2014. It allows drivers to use the NASCAR moniker to their advantage to seek sponsorship. It allows the track to use the NASCAR impact to attract new fans.

But again, the NASCAR name is just that, a name. The tracks are the ones who have to make it happen.

* * *

I probably would have laughed at you if you told me the Red Sox were going to win the World Series back in April.

And I sit here, almost 24 hours later, and I’m still in disbelief.

I said back in March that they would be fighting for fourth place with the Yankees. I didn’t think Jon Lester could become the ace we all thought he was supposed to be. I didn’t think John Lackey would have the stellar turn around that he had. I didn’t think the acquisitions that Ben Cherington made in the offseason would make this team almost 30 wins better.

I had hope when the Sox tabbed John Farrell to be the next manager. But not this soon. Not this year.

My feelings for the Sox ownership haven’t changed one bit from my feelings at the end of 2012. I hated watching John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino on that stage last night. I felt like they were stealing the spotlight from the true Red Sox -- Cherington, Farrell, and the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

Boy, does that sound good.