LOUDON, N.H. (WWLP) - While in New Hampshire Motor Speedway victory lane last month Doug Coby commented, "Hopefully we can get some more televised races and get some more outside interest in this series."
Those remarks came before the announcement that NASCAR and NBC had signed a broadcast rights agreement. The deal gives NBC the rights to the 2nd half of the season for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, as well as rights for the Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Series. Modified tour teams have wanted their races televised for years, and each season a handful of races are broadcast. While the exact details of what NBC plans to do with the Whelen mods and K&N series have not been revealed, the interest in having the mod squad on television has not decreased.
One of the beliefs has always been that televised races would help teams attract, acquire, and retain sponsors. There was a time when Todd Szegedy had Wisk and Snuggle for sponsors on his #2 Ford. He told 22News, "If we could get a guarantee that we're going to have televised coverage, we can approach more sponsors. Most sponsors that we approach that could fund us for the whole year want to see these cars on TV. None of us really have these big sponsors because there's no TV coverage."
Defending Whelen Modified Champion Doug Coby warned that television coverage may not be a quick fix for obtaining sponsorship. "You've got to be on TV consistently. People have to be watching, and it has to be a good spot for the sponsor. It's all got to work together. In the long run it would help, but in the short term not really.", he explained.
Richie Pallai doesn't think it necessarily comes down to how many races are televised. He told 22News, "I think it has to do more with which races are on TV. We're such a grassroots series, such a local series that tours nationally, that a lot of us seek sponsorship that's in our region. So if we can get the tracks in our region, the tracks that we go to a couple of times a year, and we can get those races on TV, and have those companies that are in the backyard of those tracks actually come to the races, I think that's key."
Coby sees a link between television coverage and the tour's future. According to Coby, "We have to be on TV if we want to grow. The tour can stay the way it is with no television, but I think it just helps. It gets new fans involved and that's how you grow a sport."
There are drivers and teams that say time will tell if NBC sees value in televising the mod tour and K&N series. Coby told 22News, "I don't necessarily know that everybody's getting excited over it. Somebody's got the TV rights to us now and we're not really on television that much. So it doesn't mean it's going to be any different. So that's the only thing we can hope for."
Ted Christopher perhaps summed it up best when he told 22News, "Maybe they (NBC) can include the modified tour in their program. That would be wonderful for us."