Following Saturday’s XFINITY Series race at Kansas Speedway, ninth-place finisher Ryan Sieg had some choice words on Twitter for the NASCAR on NBC post-race coverage, and as it turns out, his tweet resonated with many fans and peers in the NASCAR community.
Calling out @NASCARonNBC for some awful coverage of our team and many others today. Lots of good finishes for small teams and not even a mention. Not good for sponsors. But good thing they interviewed @ColeCuster post race for his gutsy effort with no power steering in 26th ?
— Ryan Sieg Racing (@RyanSiegRacing) October 20, 2018
This raises a question on some sponsorship issues that reside in NASCAR. Sure, the brass in charge say that there are no sponsorship issues. But try saying that to Furniture Row Racing. Try saying that to Roush Fenway’s XFINITY Series efforts. Try saying that to all the backmarkers who fill out the field on a weekly basis.
There was a time not too long ago when a viewer could hear about the MBNA Pontiac driven by Ward Burton, or the Rumple Furniture Pontiac driven by J.D. McDuffie. It wasn’t uncommon for race broadcasts to cover the majority of the field, if not every driver. In turn that would lead to television time for the various sponsors, who in turn would be inclined to spend more money on advertising and sponsorship. It was a simple formula that added solidity to the sport.
But now the broadcasts have shifted focus to Playoff points and storylines. Granted, as Sieg said, it was a good performance by Custer to maneuver his broken Ford around the track. It also helps that Custer is a Playoff driver. But should that give him the added merit? Should he be treated like he won the race when the Top-20 had guys like Sieg, Ty Majeski, Jeremy Clements, and Chad Finchum? These are guys who definitely have to work harder for position than a driver in a Stewart-Haas Ford. Guys who managed to buck their personal trends and managed to have a great day while sporting sponsors who, in some cases, barely have the funds to adorn and support a team.
That said, it’d only make sense to give those guys a nod. Viewers/readers love underdogs, and these guys shouldn’t only warrant coverage if they’re leading. They should get the nod for a good day too, and that shouldn’t have to be solely the responsibility of some of the on-track media. These guys deserve good coverage and so do their sponsors who provide much needed funds into the sport.
Thus, giving equal support to the drivers could lead to more sponsorship. Stop talking solely about the “Big Three.” Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch do not define NASCAR. Neither does Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. NASCAR is defined by every driver and every sponsor in every one of its divisions. Giving them all an equal amount of support could prove beneficial for NASCAR in the long haul.
On that note, there’s another reason to cover the underfunded underdogs. Better racing can sometimes happen in the back among these guys. The drivers bringing up the rear aren’t always just cruising around; there are some good races among their positions mid-pack. A race isn’t just for first-place on the track. Drivers know this, peers know this and fans know this. So when the race is a snooze fest with a driver leading wire-to-wire, there’s no reason not to give some of the underdogs good, positive coverage. The developers at 704 Games made sure to give guys like Spencer Boyd and Finchum as much love as the rest of the guys in NASCAR Heat 3, so once again there’s no reason NBC and FOX shouldn’t do the same.
Especially if they have great days like Saturday at Kansas.