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NASCAR Slashing Developmental Division Season-Ending Payouts For 2010
With economy woes continuing to hit motorsports hard, in January it was learned that NASCAR would be cutting purses in 2010 by about 10 percent for its three national divisions, the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. And NASCAR's developmental touring divisions, which include the locally run Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro Series East, won't be immune to the measures, though cuts will come in a different form.

NASCAR has decided to cut by 25 percent the amount of teams that will get paid in each division's end of the season points fund, which is the money paid out to teams based on their standings finish.

Teams on the Whelen Modified Tour received notification last week that the top-15 teams in 2010 will receive points fund money, down from the top-20 in 2009.

"I wanted to let everyone know that the purses at the National series events have been reduced in an effort to help both track promoters and fans," Whelen Modified Tour director Chad Little wrote in an e-mail sent to teams last week. "Alternatively, the purses for the touring series' including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, will remain the same in 2010. The NASCAR point fund for the touring series' will pay positions 1-15. Positions 1-20 were paid in 2009. And there will be one midseason payout. This information will be included in the 2010 driver agreement."

NASCAR spokesman Jason Christley confirmed the points fund changes on Monday. NASCAR officials could not immediately provide the money paid to 16th through 20th place teams in 2009 on the Whelen Modified Tour, the amount paid to the championship winning team of car owner Bob Garbarino or the total amount of the points fund last year.

Payouts for the top-15 teams this season in the divisions affected are expected to remain the same as last year.

"I understand what has to be done and all that nonsense, however if you're trying to promote a touring series you should never mess around with or lessen the incentive program," Whelen Modified Tour veteran Ed Flemke Jr. of Southington said. "The reason people stick it out and spend what they spend is for the big apple at the end of the year. When you take away the goal or lessen the goal or cheapen the goal they're going to say maybe it isn't worthwhile and maybe we just won't run every event."

Little was not available for comment on Monday.

Seventeen drivers competed in all 13 events on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2009. Twenty-four drivers participated in 10 or more events.

"Why do the competitors always have to lose?" Flemke said. "Why do the competitors always take it on the chin? I understand the burden on the racetracks, but we've got to get creative and find a way to reduce our costs for doing what we like to do to have fun or find better ways to make revenue here. I'm going to ask the question, and I know I'm going to get in trouble, hey Chad, did your pay go down this year? Our pay went down, why can't I ask if your pay went down? I'm not mad, it's just making less and less sense to do this.

"And yes the timing [a little more than a month before the start of the season], that's business as usual with NASCAR. If they wait until the last minute we can't get together and fight them on it. Surprise is the best way, catch us off guard. They constantly keep us in the dark." Backstretch

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