The Greatest Show on Asphalt
Bill France was referred to as the P.T. Barnum of Motorsports. Like the famous circus-master, France was a shrewd businessman and showman. He knew how to get things done and maximize his investment. Take for instance, logistics.
I was driving west on I-40 towards Oklahoma City early Tuesday morning when, one by one, team transporters* flew by on the eastbound side headed back to their respective shops, mostly in the Charlotte, NC. area. I began to ponder the logistics of moving the show out west for the recent races in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
P.T. Barnum pioneered moving a big production from city-to-city, setting it up and tearing it back down again. The circus magnate moved his show by train. It's not quite that simple in the NASCAR world. The competitors are all independent of the sanctioning body and have to get themselves to the show. But if you look at it as a conglomerate, startling numbers begin to reveal.
All three series, Camping World Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup, had events out west. Although the trucks only competed in Phoenix, they still had to get trucks, tools, parts, and crews from Charlotte out west for the show.
I made some assumptions and attempted to estimate the coordination and costs of moving the show out west and back.
Camping World Series - 36 teams
Nationwide Series - 40 teams
Sprint Cup Series - 42 teams
Plus NASCAR - 4 Transporters
Plus Goodyear tires - 4 Transporters
Plus Media - 4 Transporters
Just call it an educated guess of around 130 transporters. A round trip from Charlotte to Vegas and back is roughly 4,200 miles. (Not to mention the side trip to Phoenix, which for the sake of this evaluation, I am going to ignore.)
130 transporters x 4,200 miles = 546,000 miles
At 8 miles per gallon of diesel = 68,250 gallons
At $3.80 per gallon = $259,350 Fuel bill (That's a lot of lug nuts)
Oh wait — I forgot the Motor Homes and the Jets. You see NASCAR drivers usually fly to their weekend jobs. Go to the closest airport on race weekend and you'll find dozens of corporate jets belonging to teams and sponsors. Without making a big production of calculating air miles and jet fuel costs for a weekend jaunt to Vegas, consider many small towns in America won't spend that much on garbage collection each year.Continued on the next page