When NASCAR packs up and leaves the Daytona International Speedway to begin another season, with the Daytona 500 in the history books, it is reminiscence of living in a small town after the carnival leaves. There’s noting left where the midway and rides were on Saturday night, and you are left with an empty spot on the street, and in your heart, wondering where they went.
Starting with the ARCA race last Saturday, it has been a constant din of testing, practice and qualifying, and now that it is all over with, and the haulers are heading for Phoenix, I think we are left with more questions than answers about what the Gen 6 has brought to the race fans for the 2013 Season.
With the thought in mind that we still need to see these cars run at the D-Ovals and short track, I certainly have questions about the plate portion of the schedule for the newcomer. The Daytona 500 did not impress me with respect to bringing us, the race fans, more excitement. It appeared that drivers have gotten into a habit at the super speedways of making laps until they have 20 laps to go, and then it’s go time.
While this is good for sponsors, car owners, and drivers, it leaves fans with three hours of watching single file racing, and commercials to get to 15 minutes of racing that is exciting. The new car seems to have some problems when it comes to passing another car. It’s nothing new, competition at DIS has always depended on people working together to take advantage of the draft. That has always been the way it is done. I’m just not sure that it is the car that is the problem here, rather the point system, and the Chase.
Drivers are not willing to put a top ten finish on the line to get a win at one race track. If you watched the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday night, or The Drive4COPD 300 Saturday afternoon, you didn’t see what we saw in the Great American Race. I used to think it was the fact that the drivers were better, and had more patience, but there are a lot of Cup drivers who run multiple races at Daytona, and they don’t race that way in the other series.
The truck race Friday night was without a doubt, the best race during speedweeks. The Nationwide race was action packed as well, and had a very scary ending with Kyle Larson going into the catch fence. The reason those races were exciting is that drivers in those series have the same point system as the Winston Cup guys had for years, including in the nineties when the racing was so good. It’s always go time, and everybody is racing instead of running single file on the outside wall.
I think the Gen 6 car will solve some of the problems with the Sprint Cup excitement, but on Sunday afternoon, I realized that it will not solve everything. I am stuck with the sinking feeling the Sprint Cup racing will not improve when we get to Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Bristol. After all, we do have a new car, but the same old people are running the show, and I’m not convinced they know what the problem is, or how to fix it.
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