Hello, race fans. Welcome to my NASCAR blog. I have been a Passionate follower of NASCAR ever since I saw my first race in 1996. Now, I realize this does not make me a big authority on NASCAR, since I wasn’t around when Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt got their seven championships. (In 1996, Dale already had them.) But, from the moment I first saw that first race, I was hooked. I crave information about the sport. I don’t go anywhere on weekends, because I need to be in front of the television. In fact, in 1998, my brother got married in Texas. While I was there, everyone but me went sight seeing in Houston. I had to stay there and watch Talladega!
I still crave the weekends so I can watch practice, qualifying and racing all weekend. I write a weekly review of the race that weekend and I tell everyone who wants me elsewhere that I have to watch so I can post. The truth is that there is no where else that I’d rather be.
On Fridays there is qualifying and practice. And if I’m lucky, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is racing somewhere and I may be able to see something on Wed. and Thu. The Big race on Sunday. But a whole weekend of television telling me what is going on.
In the late 1990’s NASCAR was coming on strong. Apparently I was not the only on who “found” NASCAR. Bill France, Jr. was in charge and Winston was the sponsor, gaining fans all the time. More and more fans were watching all the time. Maybe not as passionate as me, but NASCAR had quite a following back then.
These days, more and more fans are walking away. Many fans complain about the lack of racing in a race. Many fans complain that the racing is boring. (Racing, by definition, is NOT boring!) Ratings are going down. Attendance is falling way short. Sponsors are pulling out. No one wants to watch my beloved NASCAR any more. NASCAR Scene is no longer publishing their weekly newspaper. And my “Bible” Official NASCAR Review and Press Guide is no longer being published! (What am I going to do?)
So, what happened? I have a few thoughts. Brian France brought in a new era. RJ Reynolds and their Winston brand would be no more. And I mean that literally. When Nextel came in, there was never another name for the series. At Daytona, the first race of the year, announcers were saying Jeff Gordon was a four time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion! NO ONE was a single Nextel Cup champion. It just started. Sprint came along and bought out Nextel and everyone was a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. By the way, they changed the trophy to look like checkered flags. So, my question is, why did they keep “Cup” when the trophy isn’t even a cup? Apparently so as not to confuse the media.
Matt Kenseth won the last Winston Cup championship in 2003. And points were accumulated over 36 races. But Matt only had one win that year, while several others had multiple wins. It was decided NASCAR needed a playoff to let the driver with the most wins have a better chance to win the trophy, so the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup was born. The top ten in points after the 26th race in Richmond were in the chase. The best anyone in eleventh place could do was eleventh. And no matter how badly anyone raced those last ten races, the ten could not do any worse than tenth in the final standings. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is now 12 drivers. The top ten are still honored at the banquet.
The media loved the concept of a playoff. NASCAR had to compete with football those last races, so it was said that if NASCAR had a playoff during those last ten races, everyone would watch the NASCAR playoffs, instead of football. Everyone would tune in to see the playoffs. Fans would flock to those ten NASCAR tracks. A driver wouldn’t be able to run away with the Title and grab it before the last race, making for more excitement. In my opinion, you would get better ratings if the media was talking about the top 25, instead of just the top 12. The point system wasn’t broken, so why the need to “fix” it? Give more points for each win, and the driver with the most wins should win the championship. And everyone would be racing for the win, since second wouldn’t get nearly as many points.
In 2007 NASCAR came out with the COT. The Car Of Tomorrow. All cars will be exactly the same, following NASCAR rules. Many safety features are in the car. But all cars are created equal. Anyone remember the IROC? (International Race Of Champions) The driver was supposed to make the difference in those races because all cars were prepared equally. As a fan, I loved those races. But they were just special races. Not 36 a year. The cars were hard to get used to because they wouldn’t turn. NASCAR declared that racing was supposed to be hard. What’s the point if it was easy?! Kyle Busch won the first race in the COT and the media asked how he liked the new car. His reply? “It sucks”.
Ratings started going down, but NASCAR was not alarmed. Attendance was down but NASCAR was not alarmed. Finally, someone started the NASCAR Fan Council and polled fans about what they thought. I am proud to say I am one of the members that they poll. NASCAR is now starting to listen. We got double-file restarts. Now they lineup double-file after a caution. So the leaders are ahead of those a lap down. Personally, I love it. It’s a brand new race after the caution.
This year NASCAR is talking about replacing the wing on the back to where it was before the COT. Starting time for the races are back to 1, 3 and 7:30 ET. So, NASCAR is listening. But is it too little, too late? NASCAR Scene is no longer publishing their weekly newspaper. And UMI is no longer publishing their Press Guide.
Sad times for NASCAR fans. I will still be reviewing the races. Leave a comment if you would like me to cover more than just the race on Sunday. You all can get info online. I’ll miss my printed word, though. And I don’t know what I will do without my Press Guide!
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Only a few more weeks to go! Take care.
Tags: Bill France, Dale Earnhardt, IROC, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, NASCAR blog, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Fan Council, NASCAR fans, NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Scene, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nextel Cup, Press Guide, Richard Petty, Sprint Cup, The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Winston Cup