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.***

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