But an open rulesbook led to rising costs, which in turn scared away many drivers (i.e. many American drivers),
Would you mind expanding that argument? I would imagine that drivers don't really mind rising costs (at least not in F1 since... like, well: ever - maybe until 2007/8, when they'd rather drive for 5 million than not at all). Imagine Schumacher's income: only due to the rising costs through the 1990s did his tens of millions look tiny in comparison to the rest of the money spent by the team. The higher the costs to run in a series are, the more a driver can ask for pay without it seeming suspicious in the team's budget diagrams. Well, unless the sponsors run away. But that's different than scaring drivers
, isn't it? Usually, if costs skyrocket, there's always some breadcrumbs falling off for those who pilot the cars as well. I'd rather drive in the unsustainable mid-1990s than now in any series!
What helped grow NASCAR vastly in the past decade? Television! Those billion dollar deals they signed with FOX and NBC in 2000 blew the sport into the atmosphere.
Aren't you confounding cause and effect? Yes, TV billions boost any sport that gets such a deal. But why did FOX and NBC pour money into NASCAR in the first place? And here is the point where I stop finding motorsport-immanent explanations unsatisfactory: those TV giants probably give a sh** about winglets or silhouettes or engines or spec rear wings and gearboxes and all that. And probably they don't care whether the fans care. You cannot explain that development just by looking at NASCAR (or comparing it to Indy), but you have to see it just like any other investment by (media) giants. And probably it was a time in the US, where money was cheaply available and just had
to be invested somewhere. And we know that productive industry wasn't the game to play during that time, and hollow real estate stuff not yet. So money had to be pumped into some kind of service, and then NASCAR is as good as anything that promises a good return on your investment. And then the split as such completely suffices to so why the money didn't went to IndyCar.