Friday 27 June 2014

NASCAR Qualifying: The New Era

When I heard about the new NASCAR qualifying system a part of me, a part that seems to be getting bigger the older I get, didn't like it.

I don’t like change. I don’t want the powers that be to keep chopping about at my beloved sport. One lap shoot-outs are hard for a driver. To take it away undermines the achievement of the great drivers that came before.

I feel the same about the new Chase for the Cup rules. I didn't like the chase format before and I like the new one even less.

My issue with the new points format in NASCAR stems from the fact that I have a problem with any suggestion that tries to emphasise the importance of a race win.
This is because it suggests that someone knows a racing driver for whom winning races is NOT important enough. I can say with 99% certainty that there is not a single one of those 43 drivers starting on a Sunday afternoon that doesn't want to win that race. Even the guys that know they have to start and park.

In the last race of a season, you might get one guy who is about to win the championship if he just finishes. He still wants to win but he is not taking any chances. Is that who we are trying to save the sport from? One guy who actually makes the other 42 drivers in that one race try harder and take diabolical liberties when overtaking.

When the powers-that-be make rules like this, they miss an important point: - 
In Formula One, when Bernie Ecclecake has a bad day at the office, his drivers put on a bad show, TV ratings go down and he doesn't make quite as many millions of pounds that week as he feels he should. 

If one of those drivers putting on the show has a bad day, that driver could be in a hospital or dead.
I resent promoters telling drivers they are not trying hard enough to win races. I think it is down-right disrespectful. Besides, telling drivers they are not trying hard enough is the crew chief’s job.

Let’s look at the new NASCAR Chase format. If Jimmy Johnson wins the Daytona 500, he can direct quite a lot of investment getting ready for the chase. And if he does this, he will probably win the championship. If there was no chase and Jimmy Johnson won the Daytona 500, he could direct quite a lot of investment into performing well at his weaker tracks (If he has such a thing) and if he did this, then he would probably win the championship.

One driver or one team has been dominating this sport since the Flock brothers played the game. It doesn't happen all the time but it is bound to happen sometime and likewise, sometimes championships go down to the wire like Kulwiki’s in 1992. There was no chase back then and still a handful of drivers that could win the championship at the final round. It is the nature of motorsport I’m afraid. Let’s not penalise drivers and teams for being good at their job.

Back to NASCAR qualifying though, I regret to inform myself that this particular change is good for the sport. It is good for fans and drivers and teams. It gets all the cars out on track so no-one has an advantage in the form of track condition, weather or time of day. It is more track time for the smaller teams that need the exposure. And for the fans, lots of cars are always better than one car. Everyone wins with the new set up.

Except us old people that don’t like change. But, fortunately, nobody listens to us anyway!

***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners.***

Monday 16 June 2014

The Brands Hatch Incident: You Can't Stop Stupid

Where were the pit-lane marshals? Who was manning the tunnel entrance? How did three idiots in a Volkswagen Polo get on to a live race track?

Does any of that matter?

There is not a wall around Beachy Head. These cliffs on the outskirts of Eastbourne are not held accountable for the many fatalities that happen on the rocks below them. It is excepted knowledge that, if you play around with cliffs, you will probably get hurt or die.

There should be no reason to consider the security of the race track to be a problem because only a completely suicidal idiot would ever consider driving their road car on to a live race track.

I know from experience that pit lane security at Brands is pretty good, however if there is a loony hooning around the paddock in his girlfriends Polo, there is only a limited amount that the boys in orange can do. A human being cannot stop a car if the driver does not wish to be stopped.

More could be done. A physical barrier and check-point to stop cars entering the pit area. But is that really necessary? I wonder what this idiot would have done if he couldn't get a car onto the race track. He might have climbed the catch fencing  and run around the circuit. He might have started doing handbrake turns outside the Kentagon. The point is, the person is the problem, not the track. You cannot plan for people like that.

What bothers me is that I suspect the MSV and the MSA and the Police will do nothing to the guy. And I don't think that is their fault, I am simply unsure of what laws he broke. If there had been a crash and he had killed someone, that would be different. But I really don't know if there is a way he can be held accountable for risking the lives of other people, especially the other occupants of that car. If they had been collected by a Fun Cup car arriving at full song down Brabham Straight we would be looking at a totally different news story.

I think he should go to jail. For a long time. But I suspect he will get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again and next month we can read in the newspaper about how he mowed down a child whilst doing 90 in a 30.

***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners.***