Why Do Winston Cup Racers Run in Busch Events?

Here’s a question for all you big NASCAR fans out there. I have noticed in the occasional race that I watch that although somebody might be a big name in Winston Cup racing (like Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Michael Waltrip), they still occasionally run in the Busch series. In fact, most of the racers who did well in yesterday’s Busch race were Winston Cup racers!

Why do they run in such races? I mean, you don’t see major league baseball players occasionally playing in minor league games just for the hell of it. And it doesn’t seem fair to those who are trying to prove themsevles in racing to have these other guys come in. Plus there is the danger involved, as it seems to me that there is more chance of a lower-level racer making an error (especially a new one) than somebody in Winston Cup. Indeed, yesterday saw Michael Waltrip take a hard trip into the wall because of somebody else’s mistake – a trip that would have been a lot nastier if he had hit just a few feet from where he did.

So I’m just curious as to whether there is a good explanation for this or if the answer is simply, “More money.”

There are several reasons. Money’s one, of course. These guys just love to race. A.J. Foyt, when he was an Indy-car star, would race a sprint car track in midweek for grins. Tony Stewart, until last year’s difficulties, did the same thing. There’s also practice. Busch cars are almost the same as Winston Cup cars*, so a WC driver can get hours of race-conditions practice on Saturday for his big-money race on Sunday.

I agree that it seems like kicking sand in the face of the Busch Series regulars, though.

*Busch cars have smaller carburetors. For more details, ask someone who knows more about it than I know.

A racer wants to compete everywhere they can practically do so - winning in “slow” cars is no less skillful than in “quick” ones if the competition is similarly good.

Most motorsport used to work like this in fact - it’s only with the advent of ‘fat salaried’ drivers (like Formula 1) that it’s died off really.

Current F1 drivers aren’t even allowed to take part in other races by and large - just in case they injure themselves and cost their team a fortune in ‘sick pay’ and lost championships etc. etc.

Other race formulas probably don’t pay enough/demand their drivers are ‘exclusive’ in the same way…

Which is missing the point entirely really - when they stop racing across the board - they cease to be ‘sportsmen’ and become ‘salaried performers’ - but that’s another argument entirely…



Don’t Winston Cup regulars have to carry a weight penalty or something like that when they race in Busch events? I remember hearing something like that once, but I can’t be sure.

If it’s true, that would help even the odds a bit.

I thought the weight penalities were ‘results based’ - in that if you win one race you carry weight in the next.

That’s a common way of keeping racing series ‘close’…



Well, CLEARLY this belongs in Great Debates.