Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why did SpeedTV dump WRC in favor of NASCAR?

I don't watch much TV, but there was a time when my roomies and I used to enjoy catching the weekly recap of the World Rally Championship, on SpeedTV (formerly Speedvision). For those of you who are unfamiliar, auto rally racing competitions are THE most hardcore, adrenalized motor sport, for both the participant and the viewer, on the planet. Sport compact cars with unbelievable power-to-weight ratios are dropped into the most grueling road conditions (snow, mud, you name it) and run the stages as fast as possible, with in-car cameras. The competition is on real, treacherous roads (no tracks!)

...And these cars turn left AND right, NASCAR fans.

The cars go so fast that they have a dedicated course note reader so the driver is prepared for the turns. See this video to get an idea of what it's like. The road conditions change rapidly and the team has to decide quickly and finally what tires to use, etc. The cars run one at a time so they don't have to worry about hitting each other- no yellow flags, red flags, no stopping. The only rule is get your car across the finish line as fast as possible, no matter what condition it's in. And believe me, these cars can be in pretty rough shape and keep going. Cars have been known to flip several times, land right side up - and it's game on.

Anyway, while the coverage was admittedly sparse, at least it wasn't non-existent. Over the years, NASCAR coverage continued to further dominate the programming on Speed, and finally in 2005 they dropped WRC all together. In fact, at this time, there is NO way to watch WRC coverage on TV in the US. This is amazing- an actual quote from a NASCAR fan on the VW Vortex forums: "I like NASCAR too, but I can't watch it 24/7."

If Rally racing is even slightly appealing to you... If you feel like you could be one of the millions of Americans missing out on some of the most exciting motor sports out there, I urge you to take 1 minute and Sign this petition to get other events besides NASCAR back on SpeedTV channel.