Posted on: November 16, 2008 12:21 pm

RaceDay: Homestead

After ten long months the 2008 NASCAR season comes to a close Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jimmie Johnson's quest to make history with his third straight championship and Carl Edwards' outside shot at stealing the crown is supposed to be the main story of the weekend. But it's not. While the sun is shining brightly over Homestead, there is an ominous black cloud hanging in the air. Nearly everyone I've spoken to who is at the track this weekend tells me the weekend is playing more like a funeral than a celebration. That's because as soon as the checkered flag waves in Sunday's Ford 400, the chopping block is expected to take maybe as many as 1,500 jobs away from team members, crew people, engine builders, shop and office employees, PR reps and even media members on what is being called "Black Monday" in NASCAR-land. The economic woes that have the country and the world in a head lock are about to take its toll on NASCAR. DEI laid off more than 100 employees this week in the wake of its merger with Ganassi Racing and other teams are expected to follow suit, some quite possibly closing their doors completely. The news is even worse on the truck and Nationwide side. NASCAR's decision to ban testing is a wise move that will save teams as much as $5 million a season. But with testing personnel no longer needed - everyone from engine tuners to truck drivers who were solely responsible for running a organization's testing program - will be out of work. NASCAR will go on and while the fields for next year's races could be thin at times, the sport is not in danger of folding its tent and packing it in. But just like every other business effected by this financial firestorm, the sanctioning body and it surrounding enterprises will feel the pain. It will come back, it always has whenever these economic downturns take place and effect the sport. But that doesn't make the situation any less painful. It will only be 75 days from the end of Homestead's race until we gather back up in Daytona for "Speedweeks." But there will be a lot of faces missing when we return to Florida next season.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Homestead
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