As a long-time race fan, I was encouraged with what I saw at Daytona. Maybe for the first time in a decade, NASCAR had addressed the quality of racing, and were on the right track to improving the on-track product we see on a week by week basis. After races at Phoenix and Las Vegas, I think we have the same old s—! Officials at NASCAR are still trying to feed us stars and hype with piss-poor racing. I don’t know about you, but it’s not motivating me to tune in at certain tracks.
During an exchange with race fans at FanCred during the Phoenix Race, I was asked why I was watching the Honda Classic Golf tournament instead of the race? It was easy, the golf tournament had more action. You can blame the COT, or six Sprint Cup Championships by Jimmie Johnson for the decline in attendance to these events, but in my opinion, the problem is the lack of excitement on the race track.
I attended the 1998 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway where there were 180,000 fans in the seats. That’s why they added seating to back-stretch at Daytona. Those seats haven’t been used in years. I can remember setting in those stands for the then, Twin 125’s because the front stretch was full on a Thursday afternoon. The sponsors, Television, and NASCAR are putting a ton of glitz on the drivers, and the broadcast, but it won’t make up for the lousy product on the track.
If you want a technical description of what the problems are, be sure to read BTF’s Adam Johnson’s story Have The Gen-6 Tweaks Worked?
So far this season, the racing has been a mixed bag – and it’s hard to tell whether any problems have been because of the Gen-6, or it’s tweaks. At Daytona, we were treated to epic racing, a stark contrast to last year’s single file bore-fest. Drivers and cars had the confidence to dart in and out of the draft, passing other cars at will, and as a result we had an excellent race. Since then though, we’ve had two average races at Phoenix and Las Vegas. And with Vegas being a 1.5 intermediate track, the kind of track NASCAR wanted to improve the racing on, that would imply that the Gen-6 tweaks are failing.
I think that when NASCAR introduced the COT, and decided to make the cars so equal, they ended up with a season of IROC races. When we had manufacturers controlling competition within NASCAR’s guidelines, the races were a lot better. In fact, that’s when the racing was good, and they built all those extra stands on tracks around the circuit.
The good news is, it’s time for NASCAR to move back East, and into the heart and soul of racing. Bristol is next on the list, and after going to my first race at the great little half-mile track last year, I know the tracks will take care of the excitement.
Source: Adam Johnson Beyond The Flag
You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47