The top two Motorsports series in the U.S. are heading in different directions this 2018 season. The smaller independent series IndyCar has boasted two competitive races thus far this year starring Robert Wickens, a new driver who scored a second-place finish in Phoenix on Saturday, April 7.
NASCAR has hosted seven races thus far this season. However, according to the NY Daily News, the series may be taking a turn for the worse.
During a race on Sunday, April 8, NASCAR official reportedly made an officiating error that benefited the driver Kevin Harvick. After a no-call, a NASCAR series official was also seen fist-bumping a Harvick crew member.
To add insult to injury, Harvick later called the NASCAR-issued pit guns pathetic and embarrassing.
“The pathetic part about the whole thing is the pit guns,” said Harvick. “It’s embarrassing for the sport.”
When asked by NBC Sports whether Harvick planned to take up the pit gun problems with NASCAR, Harvick said, “They know they have problems. They just don’t want to talk about them.”
After the opening stage, several problematic pit stops hindered Harvick including a jammed lug nut and a loose wheel. Harvick would later finish in second to driver Kyle Busch.
After the race, NASCAR President Brent Dewar published several posts on Twitter. In one post, Dewar invited one critical fan to visit race control.
“[It’s] easy to criticize from your lazy boy,” Dewar tweeted.
NASCAR’s downswing has many asking why IndyCar and NASCAR never seem to be on the same page. Roger Penske, the founder and chairman of Penske Corporation, didn’t have an immediate answer either when asked this same question during IndyCar’s season opener in March.
The global spending on motorsports sanctioning bodies came to a total of $5.58 billion in 2016. That’s a 2.8% increased fro spending in 2015. However, while IndyCar is moving toward resurgence, NASCAR appears to be struggling.
One issue plaguing NASCAR, Penske says, is cost-containment. For the same amount of money needed to run one NASCAR Cup Series, Penske said he could run his entire three-car IndyCar operation.
Another issue is the equipment. Well-maintained and chosen equipment is necessary in every industry. For instance, manufacturing companies report that 70% of their unplanned equipment shutdowns during the past three years have been caused by incorrect lubricant selection.
NASCAR recently made a minor change issue pit guns to reduce spending. However, the minor change has had major complaints from teams complaining the guns don’t work.
“The program has had a few more hitches in it than, obviously,we wished it would,” said NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller. “Everything in motorsports is a development process and this is no different.”