TUDOR USC ‘hurtling toward the cliff’

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Veteran motor sport journalist and Motor Sport Magazine US corespondent, Gordon Kirby, has posted a story on his bog in which Chip Ganassi’s sports car team manager Tim Keene and Extreme Speed’s director of operations Rob Hill share their opinion on the newly-merged TUDOR United Sportscar Championship or TUSC. Be sure to read Gordon’s post…It’s scathing!  Check it out here.

The debacle that was the Rolex 24 was the topic of our conversation here but this article goes beyond the yellow flag and late-race penalty, it gets tot eh very core of what these two gentlemen feel is a patented lack of direction or understanding of real sportscar racing. Perhaps the most heated comment was:

“I don’t think the series has a longterm plan,” Hill said. “I can honestly see sometime next year we’ll be running some kind of restrictor plate and they’re just going to continue messing with the cars trying to equalize everyone. I think that’s going to be their MO for trying to bring a fan base to this series.

“A DP is nothing more than a late seventies Trans-Am car with more bodywork. They’re an antique, tube-frame car and the mentality of the people we have to deal with is equally antique. They don’t want change, they don’t want technology. They’re not interested in selling technology and I think it’s going to kill them in the long run. They’re just hurtling toward the cliff and they don’t seem to realize it.”

Ouch! As Gordon himself laments:

“But the fact of the matter is NASCAR has won the battle for control of American motor racing and if people want to race in the TUSC they’re going to have to accept NASCAR’s constant rule tweaking and ‘performance balancing’. The traditional form of racing as we knew it with some type of interesting, forward-looking formula and a clear rulebook set in stone for a few years and has passed into history. “

Is it too early to cast aspersions? Well, possibly. Sure there will be teething issues but that from our vantage point on the outside but if teams have been giving the NASCAR boys a head’s up for several months, one has to ask why they didn’t listen and will they listen going forward? Could Hill be a singular voice in the paddock? Obviously not as Keene also offered equally indicting commentary on Gordon’t blog post.

It has to be said that the concept of the TUSC is brilliant but NASCAR’s heavy hand isn’t. They may know stock car racing better than anyone, and they do, but road racing sports cars is something different and so is their fan base. As I argued in the race review post I offered, NASCAR would do well to hire professionals and get out of the way. Savor their investment but stop trying to micromanage it and play politics with the series. At this point it feels incredibly self-serving and France family centric.

They should stick to NASCAR and be the investors and benefactors of the TUSC and leave the running and regulations to professionals in the road racing world. Unfortunately, judging by Hill’s comments, their egos may prevent that from happening. I feel bad for the teams and drivers because this should be a great series to rival WEC.

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