A Very Silly Spring in NASCAR, Indeed

silly-season
Jayski, the Silly Season Guy!

Last week I went on a rant about the new rule changes in the Cup series. Dave Moody of MRN and Sirius Radio had an interesting take on the changes regarding the changes on his show after the announcement.

As he said, and rightly so, the boat has sailed on this issue so we all better get on board because that is the way it is going to be.

And while this is true, it doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy the boat ride.

He also said that he is going to withhold judgment on the new point system until the season is over and then, and only then, can he say with any certainty if this was a good idea or not. People using a bunch of hypothetical situations are looking for the worst and those things may not happen.

Again, he has a point and that may be the way that this has to go down. Unfortunately, the changes are so dramatic and so aimed at creating more “Game 7” moments (Brian France’s own stated desire) that many long-time fans may just tune out. NASCAR can’t afford that since the newer fans aren’t staying in droves to replace the fans that have been with the sport for many years. Even if the final race is the “best ever”, I wonder how many fans will be gone by then. Let’s hope not.

As I wrote before, I have less of an issue with the elimination rounds since they may only officially eliminate those that are usually going to eliminate themselves due to performance. But yes, they could also eliminate some lucky driver who could catch fire and come back from near death to win it all. The Alan Kulwicki Scenario if you will. Kulwicki overcame a 278-point deficit in the final six races in 1992 to win the title over Bill Elliott by 10 points. A title he won by having a good points day over and over again, not by winning the last 6 races as Brian France would prefer.

So yes, in the new scenario, that would be hard to do again — but that has been hard to do in the Chase anyway. No one has come from dead last in the Chase to win the title and that is from far less that 278 points back.

So while I am not thrilled with this new format, I have no choice but to watch and see and then decide if I was right, or if Brian France was right. And just to be clear, one season won’t the going to be the final decision on this. We’ll need to see multiple title runs to see just how this is all panning out.

In other news, NASCAR continued it silly Spring with more changes, this time with the penalty system. Not the penalties will be ranked P1-6 in severity and also make allowance for first time offenders and repeat offenders. This also means we could have a race with no winner if the eventual winner is penalized hard enough to cost him the win. Second place will not inherit the win. That should be really interesting.

Travis Kvapil took a plea deal in the domestic assault case where he allegedly struck his wife and pulled her by the hair into their bedroom. He gets 2 years probation, pays a fine, does some community service and attends anger management classes in return. He also has no ride for 2014 and my guess is that he will get a Nationwide or truck ride at best. At best. If at all.

Todd Parrott has been hired a crew chief for Reed Sorenson at Tommy Baldwin Racing. Let’s hope it all goes well for Todd and TBR in 2014.

We are still a couple of weeks away from the Daytona 500 and all the fun that surrounds the race. In the meantime, enjoy your hockey and the Olympics.

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4 Thoughts to “A Very Silly Spring in NASCAR, Indeed”

  1. Racing Maniac

    Good article. But I’m one of those fans whose interest is waning. And if I don’t get this stupid computer working, I may have to wane.

    But instead of hockey, can’t I watch golf?
    RM

  2. Chuck Abrams

    UPDATE: Wins under a penalty will be stripped from a driver when it comes to Chase seeding, not in the actual race per Robin Pemberton. The hypothetical questions would be this: Driver A wins but has P6 penalty that would void that win for the Chase. Does that driver still get in based on the one win or are they passed over for a valid winning driver?

  3. I will be watching the Daytona 500 mainly because it’s an iconic race similar to why I always watch the indy 500 (even in it’s worst years).

    I will watch the final race at Homestead mainly because it’s a first and I’m curious about how the season plays out.

    Other than that I can’t think of a reason to watch. The normal crew of drivers will get their win and be high enough in the points to start the chase. It doesn’t matter how many wins they get or who wins what race because it all comes down to a crap shoot in the end. At least for this year all the announcers will be talking about how each race fits into the final race and very little will be on the race in and of itself.

  4. GinaV24

    Moody is correct in his point of view, but forgets that there is another choice for fans and that is to become the casual fan that Brian so badly wants. Over the past 5 yrs, I’ve already become less engaged with the sport than before so taking the next step down the “who cares?” path is not that big a step.

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