Friday, April 22, 2011

NASCAR. Forget the rules. Let em race.

What used to be the most exciting races in NASCAR are no fun anymore. Sure, they run short and medium length tracks, where they tear up a lot of sheet metal and tires, but not that long ago superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega got everybody, from the drivers and crews, to the fans, juiced. Not any more.

The drivers look for the fastest way around the track and they figured out it was in 2-car tandems. To me, the way they pair up and bump each other looks like some sort of mating season. Put another way, if one car can't find a willing partner, it will be frustrated, while watching everybody else do their thing. This is not my idea of racing. How to make it better?

First, NASCAR should have listened to the drivers. Those guys know more than anybody else what's going on. They didn't like restrictor plates at the superspeedways, which slow them down, and bunch them up, in the first place. They said it took the "racing" out of it, and was a recipe for disaster. They were right. Ever since restrictor plates came about, supposedly to make things safer, there's always a couple of massive pile-ups during the course of these races. Everybody knows the "big one" is going to happen.

Faster speeds? Actually, the drivers preferred it. The teams that had the superior cars could get away from the also-rans, instead of being stuck amongst them. If a team couldn't build a car fast enough to compete, and have a good enough driver to pilot it -- that's their problem. Maybe they should look for another line of work, instead of getting in the way.

And they should stop with so many nit-picky rules. Do the "suits" in NASCAR really think the average fan cares about a quarter inch here or there on the construction of the cars, how many cubic inches the motor is, what kind of gas mileage it gets, or whether a shock absorber passes inspection?  We don't. The "SC" in NASCAR stands for "stock car", which is a joke. There's nothing on those cars anymore that is "stock". So let them build whatever they want to. Between the owners, the crews, and the drivers, they'll figure out what works best. Let them run with it.

They wonder why their attendance has taken such a nose dive? The economy has something to do with it, of course, because a lot of people don't have the "recreational" bucks they used to, but when the powers that be try to create parity and micro-manage everything to the point of sterilization, they're shooting themselves in the foot.

Let these guys go back to REAL racing, no holds barred, where it gets interesting again, and those empty seats will have bodies in them. It all depends on what they want. Slowing everything down and supposedly making things safer might be a good thing, but it's also become boring.

If they want to put excitement back into it, turn them loose and let's see what happens. Somebody might get killed, you say?  This isn't a quilting bee. When cars are in close quarters at high speeds, and something goes wrong, or somebody makes a mistake -- things happen.  Nobody makes these guys do what they do. High risk and high reward goes with the territory. If they want to do this, then let them do it their way.

In the end, shouldn't the NASCAR drivers be the ones making such decisions? They say they want to race.

I say -- let them.


  1. Right on. Look what happened when Tony George tried to dumb down Indy racing. Nobody cares anymore. I hope Nascar wakes up and smells the horsepower.

  2. I couldn't care less about the yahoos and their roundy-rounds. If they want me to pay attention, put a couple figure-8 tracks on the schedule. Now that would be interesting.

  3. Pro drivers, pro crews, and they have a speed limit on pit road? Is it a race or a school zone? What's next, crossing guards? Boooooring.

  4. Wow. Tony George, figure 8's, and speed limits. Wish I'd have thought of that. Thanks for reading and commenting. JL