Before I even get to the point of my writing, I just wanted to note that I know that there will be a ton of backlash to this article, especially from fans of Danica Patrick. I’m willing to face it, because I truly believe in my opinion on this controversial decision made by NASCAR earlier this week.
Earlier this week NASCAR changed one of the rules for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Showdown. Originally, the driver who won the Sprint Fan Vote had to finish the Showdown on the lead lap. Now, suddenly NASCAR claims that the fan vote winner must have a car that is “race-able.”
I and many other NASCAR fans and media personnel call this the “Danica Patrick” rule. Why? Because she’s slow, not competitive, and would not be eligible to claim her fan vote victory to race in the big show on Saturday night.
Sorry! It’s time to face reality if you’re a Danica Patrick fan. She isn’t fast, she has no speed, and is always finding herself a lap down in most cases within the first 40-50 laps of a race (with very FEW exceptions)
NASCAR can deny it, but they saw this coming and knew it’d be “bad” if she wasn’t in the all-star race in her first full season in NASCAR.
Last year drivers were eligible to advanced to the all-star race if they won the fan vote and finished on the lead lap. This year, the rule was changed to include the factor of finishing on the lead lap so that a competitive driver would advance. Now, all of a sudden NASCAR claims it was a “simple oversight” and it wasn’t meant to benefit any driver.
I’m calling BS on that because it simply is exactly that…BS!
NASCAR knows the odds of Danica finishing the Showdown race a lap down were greater than her chances of winning. She’s finished on the lead lap in just two of the eleven races so far this season. Not to ignore that question that if it was a “simple” oversight, how do you leave it ignored for so long?
Matt Myftiu at Yahoo! Sports puts the entire situation in the absolute best way I’ve seen it put and agree with:
“It’s just common sense. She is, despite her struggles in her rookie season, arguably the biggest name on track other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. Having her in the All-Star Race will be huge for the ratings. And if you look at her finishes this year, she rarely finishes on the lead lap. Mostly, she is laps down.”
This is truly a story to good to be true almost. I find myself laughing at NASCAR and their petty attempts to cover this entire situation up as one big mishap in the rules.
David Ragan, who won just a few weeks ago at Talladega, agrees with the majority opinion too.
“I don’t need to say any names,” Ragan said “We can all assume and make pretty good guesses. But there’s usually good reasons for making any rule change.
You need to be competitive. It’s a contradicting rule. So you can’t be torn up and get in, but if you’re slow and not on the lead lap, why should you be in the All-Star race? In my opinion, that’s not a good rule for the intent of the All-Star race. The All-Star race is supposed to be about the best of the best.”
NASCAR deserves every bit of criticism it faces over this and their reputation deserves to be hurt after this. Let the rules be the rules, and don’t change it for the sake of ratings. NASCAR made it this far without Danica, leaving her out of one race isn’t going to kill the sport.
So let the hate for my opinion begin! Did NASCAR change the rules for Danica? Why or Why Not? Let me know in the comments!
Yes, I get it, you think 40 laps isn’t enough, but NASCAR didn’t want to risk the worst happening from keeping the biggest name in racing out of their biggest race.