A few inquiries for NASCAR faithful FONTANA - Just thinking. And thinking some more. While sitting in the media workroom at California Speedway, looking at wide-open spaces in the grandstands, pondering NASCAR questions.
1. If NASCAR "has 75 million fans," as it states without attribution (or shame) in its media guide, why did only 17.5 million people watch the sport's biggest event, the Daytona 500, last Sunday?
Did the other 57.5 million "fans" suffer power outages in their double-wides?
2. If Daytona viewership was off nearly 2 million from 2006 because this year's race didn't have the Winter Olympics lead-in NBC gave it last year ... how to explain the night-before Busch race's 26percent ratings decline when it went head-to-head against that Winter juggernaut last year?
3. If NASCAR is keen on engaging "Hollywood" during its two visits to Fontana each year, why did it schedule today's Auto Club 500 on the same day as the Oscars?
4. If the Labor Day race at California Speedway was the second-most watched event on the 2006 Nextel Cup schedule, why does it still have no title sponsor for the 2007 race?
5. If you and a few wealthy friends scraped up $100,000, could you get the Labor Day Weekend race named after your dog?
6. If USC's football team can sell 91,126 tickets for a home game with Arizona State, why can't California Speedway sell 90,000 for either of its two Nextel Cup races in Fontana?
7. If Lesa France "Daugher of The Boss" Kennedy gave up her job running International Speedway Corporation, would Gillian Zucker's tenure as California Speedway president be measured in hours? Or minutes?
8. Could a Nextel Cup car without advertiser decals complete a lap without disintegrating?
9. Which driver do other drivers loathe most? We're fairly sure of one thing; his surname is Busch. Whether it's Kurt or Kyle ... depends on the day of the week, and which guy has just done something more provocative. With Michael Waltrip a close third to K&KB.
10. If the Busch series is meant to prepare drivers for the big leagues of the Nextel Cup, why does NASCAR allow Nextel Cup drivers to poach on Busch races? Eight of the top 10 "Busch" drivers last season were Nextel moonlighters, led by Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
11. Is it true Nextel Cup drivers do the Busch races for the quick $20,000 or so mainly to keep up the payments on their personal jets?
12. Which genius at Toyota Motor Sales USA thought the most nativist and xenophobic of all American sports would embrace a Japanese automaker on the Nextel Cup tour? And has that guy found another job yet?
13. Speaking of Toyota, which of its eight fully funded teams will shut down first? Will it be Red Bull's No. 84 Camry? Driver A.J.Allmendinger is 0-for-2 just getting into races.
14. What year will the greater New York area build a track for NASCAR? Is "when hell freezes over" a specific enough answer?
15. After seeing a half-dozen new tracks go up between 1995 and 2001, from Fontana to Florida, will NASCAR see a new circuit in our lifetimes?
16. Can NASCAR add new fans faster than it alienates its old ones?
17. Is Brian Z. France to Bill France and NASCAR what Commodus was to Marcus Aurelius and the Roman Empire?
18. If Sunoco is the official fuel provider for the Nextel Cup, how come Daytona winner Kevin Harvick was a walking, talking Shell decal?
19. What do Jeremy Mayfield and A.J. Allmendinger have in common? Both drive a Toyota and neither has made a race in 2007.
20. If Ward Burton speaks English ... what language are the rest of us speaking?
21. Who says gangs can't be eradicated? NASCAR's Alabama Gang (Bobby Allison, Davey Allison, Neil Bonnett, et al) officially ceased to exist when Hut Strickland stopped driving.
23. If Nextel Cup is about good ol' boys, why do only 16 of today's 43 starters claim hometowns from the 11 states of the Confederacy? Damn Yankees.
24. If California Speedway is trying to get more people to the track, why does it allow the Kevin Costner Band to perform before today's race?
25. If you and, oh, 10,000 of your best friends get an urge to see a Nextel Cup race today, drop on by Fontana today. Plenty of tickets still available. But come after 10a.m. if you want to miss the Kevin Costner Band. DailyBulletin
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