Talent vs. the mighty dollar

We all want to see the first prevail, but the latter always seems to come out on top in the end.

Money is what makes racing run, well, figuratively speaking.....money is also what can destroy motorsport, infecting it in ways no one ever planned. What I'm alluding to is when a driver with financial backing but no talent gets the nod over a driver who does have the ability, but not the cash. 

Danica debate

No, I am not jumping onto the Danica hate train. I'm actually going to defend her to a point because she's definitely fast, we see it in qualifying. When it comes to the race itself is where she encounters issues. She's not a great driver, but she's capable enough for me to not be annoyed by her.

However, the incontrovertible fact is she wouldn't be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing and at the Cup level if she didn't have Go Daddy. That funding has helped her blow past other drivers who've enjoyed more success in other divisions, but aren't carrying bags of money with them. That's what irks me, not the fact that she is here, but the fact that those drivers whose names we'll never know won't be.

Here's a scary thought for you...Dale Earnhardt would have never made it to NASCAR if he tried in today's world. The next Earnhardt is probably already out there, but we'll never know their name.

GP2 title + $14 million dollars = No ride?

Fabio Leimer, the defending GP2 champion threw $14 million at Sauber and they didn't bite. Yeah, that's right. That is another example of how money has actually hurt racing. Formula One has become so ludicrously expensive, even a talented driver with $14 million dollars will be denied a seat. There's something seriously wrong with that.

It's happening everywhere

NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte got thrown out of his ride mid-season for a no-name with sponsorship back in 2009, Kamui Kobayashi is getting kicked around at Caterham because he doesn't bring the money his slower teammate does, incapable pay drivers nearly got people killed at Spa earlier this year, and most of the Indy Lights field has become drivers who simply brought loads of money with them (but then you have Gabby Chaves, who actually fought his way to the series and ended up victorious, what does that tell you?)

Just this past week

We just learned that Conor Daly has been axed by his GP2 team because he doesn't have the funding others are fortunate enough to enjoy. That news inspired this article.  Just this past week, Turner Scott was forced to shut down one of their three truck teams. The two trucks filled by young kids with backing will continue, the one driven by four-time series champion Ron Hornaday, who was fourth in the championship standings will not. It's pretty depressing. Kyle Larson is one of the few racers today who made it to the top simply on talent, a dream and nothing more.

Let's not get confused here

There are plenty of gentlemen drivers out there that I have no problem with and there's a few reasons for that. One, they aren't a danger to their fellow competitors, two, some of them actually give back to the sport by creating teams and more jobs. Finally, they actually have the ability to compete. It's when we get to drivers like Pastor Maldonado that it's an issue for me. Daniil Kvyat is an example of a driver who made it to F1 on the mighty dollar but also deserves to be there based off of his talent as well.

How to stop it

I suppose this is the point of the article where I tell you my master plan to fix this pressing issue.


Sorry to disappoint, but I don't have one. We'll continue to see talented drivers fall by the wayside as guys with money who just want to go fast get handed seats they didn't earn, nor deserve.

There is no panacea to rectify this. It's got roots very deep within motorsports and if you try to snuff it out, guess what's going to happen? You're going to kill the entire tree.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General , Endurance , Formula 1 , IndyCar , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Scott Turner , Pastor Maldonado , Kamui Kobayashi , Fabio Leimer , Conor Daly , Daniil Kvyat , Danica Patrick , Kyle Larson , Gabby Chaves
Teams Sauber , Stewart-Haas Racing
Article type Commentary