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NASCAR rant: Not drinking the Daytona 500 Kool-Aid

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Bubbler, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    It's occurred to me. 43 cars aren't too many if they're spread out among the 2.5 miles, like a pre-plate Daytona/Talladega race (or a current Indy/Pocono race). But when you've got 30 cars within a second of each other, running in a pack three and four-wide, then it's way too many. When you've got 43 cars on a half-mile track and the 43rd-place car is exiting Turn 2 while the leader is crossing the s/f line on a restart, it's way too many.

    IMO, NASCAR allows 43 cars not because it allows wrecks.

    NASCAR allows 43 cars so there are 43 drivers in every race (and therefore, more fans able to see their favorite driver/hometown boy), and more importantly, 43 primary sponsors getting TV airtime.

    The end result is that there really are only about 50-55 drivers who have the "whole package" to run consistently on Cup weekends. If fields were capped at 26 cars on short tracks (like Hooters Cup and some other smaller series), there would still be enough cars to go around for everyone, and a lot of the midpackers and backmarkers would be shuffled off to the Busch series, where they would be able to learn against similar competition. But, because of the 43-car fields and the fact that sponsors want recognizable faces shilling their products, 75% of the Busch fields are Cup drivers running a different-colored car.

    The huge fields also help fuel NASCAR's monopoly on American racing. If there were shorter fields, some of the backmarker teams that would struggle to qualify in a 26-car field (or a 34-car field on a 1.5-mile track, or a 43-car field at the 2.0-2.5 mile tracks) would likely take their $$ to other forms of racing (IRL/CCWS) and field teams in a rival series. So, it fuels NASCAR's best interest to have big fields, on several levels.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Great explanation, crimson.

    The one thing the big fields don't fuel, however, is really good racing. But then again, NASCAR (like ALL professional sports leagues) is far more concerned with the money than with the quality of the product.
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    Another thing I forgot was ...

    43-car fields not only keep a lot of mid-packers & backmarkers in the field, keep a lot of crappy teams schlepping along in NASCAR instead of possibly being contenders somewhere else, the glut of drivers basically forced to do both series makes sure to get Dale Jr., Kevin Harvick & Mark Martin in front of fans 50-60 times a year, instead of just 36, which fuels the marketing machine even more.

    NASCAR hasn't been about competition for the last decade. It's about money, period.
  4. Oz

    Oz Well-Known Member

    Second that. I had never really thought about it that way.
  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Crimson explained in a much more lucid way what I tried to explain in my irrational angry way.

    And I still contend that many of these drivers just aren't as good as their forebearers, especially in tight quarters, especially in plate races. The rush for teams to find the newest "young gun" has a lot to do with it.
  6. Chuck~Taylor

    Chuck~Taylor Active Member

    Heyabbot, I take it you're the guy holding the confederate flag at the races huh?
  7. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    The NASCAR approach might enliven the 10K or the marathon at the Olympics. Just throw out a caution flag at 23 laps or 25 1/2 miles, depending on the race, and then bunch the field again and let em' race. That last lap, and last .7 mile, would be spectacular!
  8. nowhat

    nowhat New Member

    Some great points bubbler and buck. Let me add just a little to what you both pointed out. Ever since Earnhardts death, those cars are like coccons, the drivers with rare exception (especially these so-called young guns) know that they can do some of the dumbest shit out there, wreck their car, and what is the consequenses? Get out of the car, wave to the fans, do a quick interview thanking the sponsers, and back on his million dollar travel home he goes. Up until I dare say ten years ago the driver had much more respect for their lives knowing pulling some of the shit that goes on now could very get them killed, and....you wreck your car, and your ass is in the garage with the rest of the boys fixing that car you just fucked up!
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Some of the drivers in NASCAR now are far, far better than those who came before. Hell, there's one I think is better than A.J. Foyt --- and I used to think they didn't come better than A.J. just because of his willingness to drive (and ability to win in) any race car. Those other drivers --- y'know, the ones who aren't ever gonna win and just get in the way --- have always been there; other names, of course, but those type of drivers have always been around. The difference? Two:

    • Back then, they couldn't get a sponsor because they weren't perceived as being championship drivers. Now they can because their amazing ability to represent a sponsor well at a Tuesday reception1 is perceived as being more important than something as insignificant as winning races Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. There's one specific owner (and his loyal wormtongued toadie) who I blame for this change.
    • It's not just the crap teams that miss the race anymore. Hello, Red Bull Toyota. Thanks for coming.

    Unfortunately, for every Daytona 2007, Dover 2006 and Daytona 1979, you have Michigan/Kansas/Chicago (insert year here). Some of the new high-profile stops on the tour are nothing more than a good cure for insomnia. An IRL oval race is more exciting than a NASCAR race at the same track, unless the track is Richmond.

    NASCAR did a very good job of getting the track cleaned up so the drivers could finish the race and made the right decision in not throwing the caution until absolutely necessary --- allowing the drivers at the front to decide the race. Past decisions to freeze the field are, well, bullshit. Great job of playing the draft for a slingshot move by Harvick3, who is a helluva driver and not just a sponsor chauffeur like ... oh, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and J.J. Yeley all immediately come to mind. I can think of about 20 others who belong in that category.

    And I can count the number of other current drivers who could have pulled off that last-lap pass on one hand. I'd have fingers left over, too.

    1Bubb, it's not just finding the next young gun. It's finding the next young gun who can make sponsors happy and who cares about winning on Sunday anyway? There's too much money on the line for that.
    2Too bad it was Sunday night. Thanks so much, Fox. Now go broadcast something else and take Ole Dee Dubya with you when you leave.
    3Eerily reminiscent of that fella who drove the 3. No, I don't mean Barry Pepper.
  10. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I am not a NASCAR fan. But, for whatever reason, I thought I'd watch yesterday. I turned it on in the early afternoon. And I saw Kelly Clarkson. And a giant "liberty" flag unfurled in the infield, which I'm not real sure is a direct corollary to Ms. Clarkson's "Ms. Independent" song, but surely has been unfurled for such reasons. So I turned it off.

    I flipped back on with 40 laps left. I could hardly believe the race was still going. Tony Stewart was leading, I think. I left the room.

    I returned, and Stewart was out of the race. Now Mark Martin, who was 20th the last time I checked, was leading. So, in between watching Mickelson's choke at Riviera - time to take away the "best short game" title, methinks, when you blow three chips in four holes - I followed the neverending conclusion to Daytona.

    What struck me was the announcing. It was awful. For one thing, I can't tell the difference between the voices and they're constantly making random comments about guys stuck somewhere in the field, nowhere near the front. Or they're making predictions and proclamations about how it will end. For another: however contrived, it was an amazing finish, and these guys either botched it totally or were angry Harvick won, because the cameras immediately cut to all the wrecked cars, and the announcers, instead of going batshit over an incredible, once-in-a-decade finish, dispassionately observe and comment on all the wrecked cars. <i> Who the fuck cares! </i> Then we watch the replay of the wreck. Then we relive the saga of the bastard who finished 25th or whatever sliding his wrecked car across the line. Again: <i> Who the <b> fuck </b> cares! </i> Then we finally see the winner, some bullshit about Mark Martin, and then we learn the race actually ended before the finish line, frozen at yellow.

    I won't be watching NASCAR again this year.
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Restrictor plates are needed at Daytona and Talladega. I'll take decades of metal cocoons colliding over one incident of a car flying into the stands. And NASCAR cravenly moving toward the mainstream is far from new; it's been going on for at least a couple of decades. And as much as the true believers hate to hear it, wrecks do stir interest; there just aren't enough Unser-Goodyear finishes to rely on.

    As to the issue of bunching up the field with a caution: Surely we have the technology to space out the field as it stood when the race went to yellow. So if the leader entered the caution leading by 30 car-lengths, that's the lead he should start with after the caution.
  12. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    That's the way it was done in the Indy 500 until, I believe, 1979. The pace car never appeared on the track during the race and drivers didn't "pack up."

    The initial rule required drivers to simply slow down and maintain their position. Later, there was a system of lights that required drivers to slow down or speed up to maintain the same distance behind the next car that existed under green conditions. The green was thrown not when the leader crossed the line, but when the track was clear, no matter where cars were on the track.

    Of course, the result was that a race where two drivers finished within 30 seconds of each other was considered "close."
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