Much has been said of the NASCAR racing these days. That the racing is boring. That the new car makes the racing boring. Personally, I am a die hard fan. I started watching in 1996, and I was hooked on it my first race. I continue to watch all the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Along with the NASCAR Nationwide Series races and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. Why? I guess because I just love watching racing.
In 2001, at the end of the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt lost his life after smashing into the wall while blocking. One year before that, Adam Petty lost his life while practicing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Busch Series race. That same year, Kenny Irwin did the same thing while practicing for the Winston Cup race in NHMS. The result that year was to put restrictor plates on the Cup cars to slow them down. Jeff Burton led all the laps. Not exciting racing, if you weren’t a Burton fan.
When Earnhardt died, NASCAR was forced to make changes. Their Research and Development department went into overdrive, trying to figure out what to do. All the tracks in NASCAR now have SAFER barriers, instead of concrete walls. For the best for safety reasons. So, when the car hits the wall, some of the energy is absorbed. They all have to have Head And Neck devices, along with their helmets. When Earnhardt crashed, he had an open-face helmet and his safety straps were not properly installed. Now these things are mandatory.
NASCAR went a step further and built the Car Of Tomorrow (COT). The driver is not right next to the door and there is more protection for him. However, all cars are created equal and teams get fined if they don’t comply to the templates. The COT doesn’t handle as well as the cars used to. So, some say the racing is boring because they can’t pass.
So, what I want to find out, is what makes a good race, as opposed to a boring race? In my opinion, racing is exciting. Just by definition. But I want to know what others think is a great race. Is it the spectacular crashes that draws fans? Is it more exciting to see one car crash out another to get by? Or is side-by-side racing exciting? I realize follow the leader is not exciting. And it seems that with the new car, the leader takes off and no one can catch him. I think, if that is the case, the new double-file restarts will cure that.
Case in point. Taladega. The racing all day long was three-wide. I thought three-wide was exciting. But what made the headlines was the spectacular crash at the end. Would it not have been as exciting if Carl had raced Brad to the finish line line, instead of blocking and crashing himself out? And Daytona. Was the ending better because Kyle blocked and crashed himself out and into everyone else? Couldn’t he have raced Tony to the line to be a great race?
Another thing. Is the quality of racing dependent on how well or poorly Kyle Busch does? Personally, I like the race better the worse he does. Do the fans watch the races to see Kyle win? Or, are they not watching any more because he did so well last year?
So, NASCAR fans, what, in your opinion, makes great racing? The crashes? Your favorite winning? Kyle winning or not? Or do you just not to watch because Earnhardt is no longer racing? Is it the chase that keeps you watching? Is it the excitement of the chase and everyone telling you who is where all through the race? What do you think would improve racing? Please leave me a comment. I really want to know.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley