The Racing Is Broken Not The Points System


Shortly after Nascar introduced the Race For The Chase, which was designed to keep fan interest in October and November , The PGA decided to unveil it’s playoff system. The FedEx Cup. This system is a mirror image of The Nascar points system, where a golfer wins a set amount of points for winning a tournament, and less points the further he finishes down the list. They have a playoff, where those with the most points have a higher seed, and the field is pared down each week until they crown a winner. Sounds like the Race For The Chase to me.

Jul 7, 2012; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart (14) leads the field through turn one during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

The PGA has had to tweak the system a little since it’s inception, but for the past few years, has  been both, exciting, and compelling. So why does Golf’s playoff work, and Nascar’s doesn’t?

Have you ever seen the movie “Field of Dreams”?  The voice keeps telling Kevin Costner, “if you build it, they will come”. The reason the FedEx Cup is exciting is because the golf is exciting. My problem with Nascar, is the racing is not exciting. Too many races are won or lost on fuel mileage, late race cautions for debris on the track, and tire strategy, not door to door bumping and banging.

I don’t know about you, but I can watch The Dallas Cowboys play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon, and keep track of the race on my IPhone either via Twitter, or various other apps that report Nascar’s leaderboard. When the race gets down to 15-20 laps to go, switch to the race. That’s when you will see the good racing. Why do we have to wait until then to see good racing?

For years, we have complained about the BCS in College Football. There were the Bowl supporters, the Playoff advocates, everyone has their opinion about how we crown our National Champion. The one thing we always do, no matter how much we don’t like the system, is watch the games. Why do we watch the games? The games are door to door, bumper to bumper exciting, so we put up with the process.

In 1999, we had The Old Winston Cup format, we had Ford Thunderbirds, we had crew chiefs doing a little cheating, and we had good stock car racing. To go along with the good racing, the grandstands were full, you couldn’t get a seat at Daytona unless you knew someone, or didn’t mind sitting on the back stretch. The first night race at Daytona in 1998 was ran in October due to the wildfires in July, and 180,000 people showed up. It was a madhouse, I was there. I haven’t seen the back stretch at Daytona open in a few years now. The Bristol night race was impossible to score a ticket for, now they have trouble giving them away.

Now we have cars with no identity, rules that only automotive engineers understand, and the racing usually comes down to fuel mileage or tire management. Now instead of races at exciting venues like Rockingham, we get more 1.5 mile D Oval cookie cutter tracks that have three racing grooves and progressive banking. We continue to loose races at great old tracks like Darlington where there is one groove, and every driver wants it.

"You can’t give 43 of the best drivers in the world three grooves on a race track and expect anything different than you’re getting. They will just go around and around until they have to start racing, which is usually with 10 or less laps to go."

Everytime one Nascar’s characters ie..Busch brothers do something that irritates the sponsors, or Kevin Harvick gets in a dust up with Brad Keselowski or Carl Edwards, they get a trip to the Nascar hauler, reprimanded and put on a probation that never ends. We can’t just let them be themselves, we have to curtail the drama that draws fans to the sport. The sponsors and networks set the rules, and they have gotten what they have paid for: No Drama, No Fun, and No Excitement.

You can blame Nascar’s attendance problems on the economy, but take a look around at other sports. A one day ticket at The Masters will set you back around $1000 bucks, and they are always sold out. Look for empty seats at the next Florida LSU Matchup. You can’t get a ticket for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Why can’t you get a ticket for the Oklahoma City Thunder? They are EXCITING TO WATCH.

I’m holding out hope that maybe the introduction of the new car in 2013 will help the racing. In my opinion, if Nascar can solve the racing problem, the fans will accept what ever point system you toss at them. Then talking about it will be a good thing even if they don’t like it.

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