Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Race Team Alliance: The End of the Beginning, or the Beginning of the End? (Part 1)

The End...of The Sport's Mismanagement?

A few days ago, Nascar's nine "mega-teams" announced the formation of the Race Team Alliance, aka The RTA.  This group, led by Rob Kauffman of Michael Waltrip Racing, claims to have been founded to control costs, improve competition, and form a single voice for the sport's teams.
But is it good for Nascar?
After all, it could be the force that helps to bring Nascar back to the heights it reached in the early 00's.  Or, it could be the force that turns it into a pale imitation of itself in a few short years.  Here's a look at what COULD happen down the road…

February 2015: The RTA announces that it has formed agreements with the rest of the sport's lower-level teams, and has finally persuaded Brian France's secretary to let them visit his office.  The meeting is reported to be "positive and productive", though RTA leader Rob Kauffman is said to be surprised at how many pencils are stuck in the ceiling's acoustical tiles.

May 2015: In a press-conference at the Nascar Hall of Fame, Brian France announces the formation of a three-man team to govern and guide the sport, made up of a race-team owner, the previous year's Cup Series champion, and Nascar executive Mike Helton.  Helton then leads the group over to Charlotte Motor Speedway, where they spend the evening pointing and laughing at Bruton Smith.

July 2015: The three-man team is rechristened the Team Owner, Racers & Governors Organization, aka TORGO (nickname: The Masters of the Sport).
Jimmie poses next to his throwback
paint scheme honoring 2017 Nascar
Hall-of-Fame inductee Mike Skinner

November 2015: Fresh off his record-tying seventh Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson organizes a summit between TORGO, executives at Fox and NBC, and Sprint executives.  The results are a groundbreaking number of changes--most of which were long-requested by fans--that see the race schedule lowered to a maximum of 30 points races, all races besides Daytona lowered by a minimum of 50 laps/miles, a hard cap on the amount of commercial time allowed on telecasts, and allowing fans a true open forum to suggest changes.  Fans everywhere are driven to madness as their least-favorite driver makes all their dreams come true.

February 2016: Continuing the trend of bold, popular changes to the sport, RTA leader Chip Ganassi announces a new rule barring Cup drivers from competing in lower series events.  In retaliation, Kyle Busch immediately announces his retirement from Cup racing to focus on winning more Truck and Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series races.

March 2016: After winning an exciting Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon shocks his fans by announcing his retirement, in order to "go out on top".  Broadcaster Darrell Waltrip is soon fired for criticizing Gordon for not "hanging on for 5-7 years running 35th, like all good former champions do".

"Well the new team will keep
me away from Nascar pretty
much all the time, so there
won't be any negative
effect on the sport."
October 2016: It's the end of a banner year for the sport--Carl Edwards becomes the third different driver to win a Cup championship with Joe Gibbs Racing, Chase Elliott (despite missing the first race) wins Rookie of the Year, and Danica Patrick officially retires from racing after achieving her goal of finishing 10th in the season-ending Ford Electric 350.  The only downside comes when Xfinity announces that, due to wanting to refocus on being evil, they will rescind their sponsorship of Nascar's 2nd-level series.  Fans are outraged when Nascar, declining to sign a new sponsor, decide to name the series after it's most successful driver, hating the "lack of tradition" that comes with the new Busch Series.

March 2017: Brian France is awarded the NFL's 33rd franchise, the Los Angeles Condors, and passes control of Nascar to his nephew, Ben Kennedy.  Kennedy is immediately welcomed in by TORGO, upon promising to never use the phrase, "Well, back when *I* was racing…".

September 2017: The opening of a new .75-mile track outside Seattle results in Dover Downs finally losing one of its two Cup dates.  Fans are saddened to learn of this, shocked that it didn't happen 20 years prior.

November 2018: Another first-time champion--Kyle Larson--accepts the T-Mobile Cup trophy at the season-ending awards banquet.  Larson narrowly edged out Jimmie Johnson for the win at the season finale, earning him the championship by a single point.  Media members everywhere praise the Chase format while trying to delete their previous articles about how the Chase Grid sucks.

March 2018: After years of work, TORGO finally solves its biggest issue--finding a way to get rid of the long wait between the first and second races in the Toyota Truck Series.

August 2018: Morgan Shepherd retires.

December 2018: Amid record-breaking ratings and all-time high attendance, Nascar celebrates 70 years in business without a serious work-stoppage.  Mike Helton announces his retirement, to be replaced by longtime Nascar executive Chad Little.  And the RTA is praised for its willingness to work with Nascar, put the good of the sport first, and keep Mark Martin from making another comeback.

NEXT TIME: The Worst Case Scenario