NASCAR

Hall of Fame keeps teams from moving

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Steve Byrnes

Steve Byrnes is a host and reporter for NASCAR on FOX. A broadcast veteran, he has covered racing for more than 20 years. Follow him on Twitter.

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When I moved to Charlotte in 1985, the Nextel Cup Series went twice a year to North Wilkesboro, an hour and 15 minutes away. They raced twice a year at Rockingham, an hour and a half away. Darlington was another nearby destination while Martinsville is just 2 1/2 hours up the road.

With NASCAR's schedule realignment, including two races at the California Speedway and the Texas Motor Speedway and new tracks in Las Vegas, Kansas City and Chicago, there have been rumblings about race teams moving to a more centralized location in the United States. After Hurricane Katrina, teams spent over $5,000 on gas to go cross country to Fontana, Calif. It's expensive to get your teams out to tracks in the Midwest and on the West Coast so it made sense for them to be centrally located. As the sport has grown, however, over 90 percent of the race teams have stayed, expanded their shops and built new buildings. They have become more fan-friendly and interactive, and Charlotte has become more of a destination. Getting the Hall of Fame should help keep most teams within a 50-mile radius of Lowe's Motor Speedway. There are thousands of jobs in the Charlotte, Mooresville, Concord area. It's a huge industry.

Speed Mail Steve
NASCAR chairman Brian France was right on Monday when he mentioned at Monday's news conference that NASCAR has been late getting into the Hall of Fame game compared with other major league sports. I haven't heard any details about the initial Hall of Fame class, but it's important that the first class honors the sport's pioneers. The early racers went across the country in station wagons with their families. It was a tough life of eating bologna sandwiches. People like Ned Jarrett and Ralph Earnhardt were among the first drivers to raise their families by racing. The selection committee for that first class should take a hard look at the people who put the sport on the map like Bill France Sr. and some of the less obvious choices like Wendell Scott who paved the way for future drivers.


NASCAR on FOX and SPEED Channel host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years, and he gives kids a close look at a real stock car and its driver with Ryan's Racecar, a 30-minute video/DVD. For more information, go to RyansRacecar.com

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