The chase for the championship has become boring. Extremely boring. I find it funny Matt Kenseth is the reason we have the current format because he was the last to win under the season long system. NASCAR changed it to a playoff format and even it has become boring. NASCAR has made numerous mistakes over the years and they have not kept up with modern times, they have played too much into the corporate sponsors hands, and they lack the ability to view the future. Does that mean they need new leadership, can’t actually say that but they need a new vision.
During the decade of the 1990s this was the fastest growing sport. Part of the growth was attributed to a working man’s driver Dale Earnhardt. People could relate to Dale, he was a down to earth human being, but the intimidator on the track. Kind of reminds me of someone locally that owns a couple of racetracks. Anyway with his passing the sport became safer, but it also became too corporate, too politically correct, and has not kept up with what the race fan wants and desires (hint take a look at Daytona and Talladega racing).
I find it interesting Daytona International Speedway is improving the front stretch seats while taking down the backstretch seats. The backstretch seats which are newer seats are becoming the “new” seats on the front straight thus reducing the capacity of the track and improving the “sold out” look for television. Their marketing campaign of improvements at the track allow them to continue to charge full price for their racing product. Again the leaders of our sport are missing the point for the almighty dollar. I will write more on this in future blogs.
Back to the chase – The past two years have been exciting but thanks to Jeff Gordon we race fans were robbed of a great battle last year. Had he not taken out Clint Bowyer at Phoenix it would have been very interesting to see the battle at Homestead between Bowyer and Keselowski after Johnson had his issue. This year it appears we have been robbed of great finish due to miscommunication by the crew chief for Matt Kenseth.
Which brings me to NASCAR and their major mistake this year. The infamous Richmond fix – what should have happened is let it ride. Ever since this became a team sport teams have always looked out for each other. What rule was broken? The truth is this boiled down to a Rusty Wallace versus Clint Bowyer argument. Wallace formerly had five hour energy as a sponsor and they left his team for Bowyer, talked about spilled milk and crybaby attitude. Wallace’s comments stirred this into an issue that should have been left alone at the least or left for the media to discuss, instead it became a large negative issue for our sport. Then the powers to be tried saving face, installing Gordon as a 13th entry, etc. Stand by your rules and fix them during the off season, something I was taught by Clyde Ellis.
Do I have all the answers no, but NASCAR needs to start listening, start looking at what works, maybe adopt more of local track formula with heats races, last chance races, and features with a mandatory two pit stops. NASCAR also needs to work with touring series, sanction series, and local tracks to develop the minor leagues which lead to the big leagues. Currently they have three big leagues which are too expensive for a feeder system. Which brings costs back into the picture, what we are missing is the day of a local race team being able to load the family and friends and attempt to qualify for the big league races, those days have gone by because of another NASCAR mistake, the franchise mistake, making the rich richer.