Monday, July 12, 2010

Forget fixing the Chase, lets focus on the actual racing

With rumors swirling that there will be changes made to the Chase in 2011, I realized how apathetic I am towards the situation. While it would be an exciting concept to have elimination races, (the rumors that I have been hearing) I feel it would sizzle out after a year or two, just like the Chase. Any which way NASCAR determines the champion, it is now permanently damaged. We aren’t going back to the old system, and even if we did, it wouldn’t bring back the loyal fans we have lost. From now on, more and more changes to the points will just flush out more fans.

I give NASCAR credit for trying to right their wrongs. They got rid of the spoiler and have now realized the Chase isn’t working. But they need to go after the biggest issue – the racing itself. Personally, I have no problems with how the races are now. I enjoy every single race and nothing irritates me more than hearing a fellow NASCAR "fan" say a race is boring (it is cars going around in circles, after all). However, I believe if NASCAR made two changes to the way races are run, fans would stop complaining about the racing.

I’ll get the minor and simple change out of the way first. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Get rid of the wave-around rule. Seriously, nothing good comes from this. It only makes the drivers run at their own rate the first 80 percent of the race. Go a lap down? No problem, take the wave around after a competition caution. The leader loses motivation to lap, and the 25th place guy doesn’t care if he gets lapped. But the other problem with the wave around that bothers me the most is going from 10 cars on the lead lap to 30 in the blink of an eye. This destroys any late race pit strategy the leaders may have due to the importance of track position. NASCAR, you need to admit this rule was a mistake (on that note, I think we are stuck with this rule for a while. NASCAR seems to like it, and so do the announcers).

My next proposal for more drama filled racing will probably get some of you wound up. NASCAR needs to eliminate qualifying and determine the starting order by inverting the finishing order of the previous race. Just think about that for a second. Obviously, we don’t want start and parks taking the green up front every week, so the rule would only apply to the top 35 in points. Which means Kevin Conway would likely be on the pole for most races. And look at this past weekend’s race. You would have guys like Gordon, Stewart, and Hamlin starting in the back. Even Jimmie Johnson, who had a mediocre finish, would still be starting mid pack. My biggest concern with this idea is whether the first few laps would be a crash fest or not. These are supposed to be the 43 best drivers in the world, so they should be able to handle it. If not, we need some new drivers.

All you need to do is look at is this past weekend’s race when Jimmie Johnson led almost the first hundred laps after starting on the front row. Had it not been for a rare (yet more common this year it seems) driver error from the 48 who knows how much of the race he would have led. By inverting the field, you are going to see many different drivers lead instead of the same 7 or 8 each week. Some may call it a gimmick, but I like to think of it as giving more guys a chance.

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