A Familiar Look

They say Formula One is still the most popular motorsports series in the world.

While NASCAR has claimed in the past to have 75 million fans, the F-1 set is truly a global affair and boasts an audience at least twice that size.

So maybe that's why the Sprint Cup circuit is slowly morphing into a stock car version of F-1.

Those not familiar with F-1 need to know that the series is basically comprised of eleven teams that field two cars a piece.

There are no independents, no single car efforts, and no underfunded organizations.

All F-1 operations are pretty much "super teams," backed by some of the wealthiest and most powerful owners, manufacturers and sponsors in the world.

Ferrari, Frank Williams, Toyota, Honda, McLaren and Red Bull are just a snapshot of the list.

In the last two or three seasons, it's exactly the same blueprint the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is following.

The sport is now dominated by one group of powerhouse teams (Gibbs, Roush, Hendrick, RCR) and a handful of mid-level operations (GEM, Penske, Ganassi). And at the bottom of the ladder are those teams trying to keep up (DEI, MWR, BDR, Petty, Team Red Bull).

Last and certainly becoming least are the tiny and independent teams, some of which have been around since the start of NASCAR like the Wood Brothers, who are literally hanging on by their fingernails.

As more mergers take place and outside funding from companies and investment groups continues, Sprint Cup racing is heading for a day when there will be ten teams all fielding four cars, the NASCAR max beginning in 2010.

Each week will feature a 40-car field with qualifying only to determine the race starting positions.

No more small underdog teams or independent operations. No more "Go or Go Home" qualifying.

The day of building a car and taking it to the track to see if you could compete with the best stock car drivers in the world is already pretty much over. The current direction of the sport will shortly send that dream to extinction.

NASCAR is really the same as other professional sports, whose teams are controlled and dictated by money and powerful ownership groups.

It has just taken a little more than 60 years for NASCAR to catch up.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2008

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