The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Excitement Or Hype?


Welcome NASCAR fans to my NASCAR blog. I love NASCAR! As my blog implies. I have loved NASCAR since the first time I saw a race in 1996. Racing for me is Exciting. I love watching them come up through the field, passing one another. I’m not too crazy about crashing, though. An exciting race for me is few cautions and lots of passing.

The point system has been the same since the Modern Era in the ’70’s until Nextel took over sponsorship from Winston. And it has worked just fine all those years. Dale Earnhardt collected seven Championships with that points system.

Then along came Nextel/Sprint and a new leader. Brian France decided the points system needed to be changed because Matt Kenseth, in 2003, only had one win and still won the championship. For some reason, the champion needed to have more wins than the rest of the drivers.

The solution should have been to give more points to win each race. Instead, the Chase was implemented. The media embraced this idea. I don’t know if it was so they only had to cover twelve to fifteen drivers instead of all 43, or what their reasoning was. For me, having a play-off with all 43 drivers racing, was a stupid idea.

NASCAR wanted to have football fans watching the races late in the season, instead of watching football. And since football has the Super Bowl, NASCAR felt that if they had a play-off, everyone would rather watch NASCAR.  I honestly don’t believe football fans watch football BECAUSE there will be a play-off. A play-off for stick and ball sports is necessary because there are different divisions and even different Leagues. And the play-offs decide who wins which League. The winners of each League play each other to decide who is the overall champion.

In NASCAR, there are now 36 races each season. And there are 43 drivers racing on each track for all the 36 races. Only now the season is 26 races to get into the chase and ten to decide who is the champion. However, there are still 43 drivers going for the win in all of the races.

Is it more exciting crowning the champion based on ten races? The media thinks so. Or is it just hype having the champion crowned based on their performance during the last ten races? I’m thinking hype.

Does anyone want to watch NASCAR during the first 26 races, when all the announcers talk about is the chase? That is talking about twenty drivers at most. NASCAR fans are the most loyal fans of all. And each of us wants the media to talk about our driver. Is 12 to 15 drivers exciting when there are 43 drivers out there? No way! The Chase is supposed to be exciting for the last ten races because it is a play-off of sorts. But if your particular favorite is not among the chosen 12, do these fans really want to watch those last ten races? I do because I love NASCAR. But do the football fans want to watch?

The Chase is supposed to bring in new fans because now that we have a play-off, NASCAR is now exciting. Exciting, in my opinion was in 2003 when Terry Labonte raced his way into the top ten in the last race. And Kurt Busch raced his way out of the top ten that last race. They can’t do that any more. The Chase is set after Richmond and no one in the chase can do any worse than twelfth. On the other hand, if your driver is in thirteenth after Richmond, the best he can do is thirteenth. That’s not very exciting for me.

Now NASCAR wants to tweak the chase. Maybe fifteen drivers instead of twelve. Maybe different tracks to race those last ten races on. But is that the best solution? Are they changing things for the fans or for the media? My solution? Instead of giving the winners ten points in the chase, why not give them those ten points or more for winning? Certainly the driver with the most wins, and therefore the most points, should win the Championship, no?

As a fan, I find the chase to be hype, and not excitement. I don’t like a champion crowned based on their performance during ten races. I liked it much better when they had to perform all year to be able to win the trophy. But what do I know? I’m just a NASCAR fan. But I do know that if I were a football fan who had a favorite driver that did not make it into the play-offs, I’d stick to football. In my opinion, the chase is chasing the long time fans away. And it isn’t bringing in any more fans. NASCAR is left with fans who like crashing. And that’s not racing.

Let’s get back to racing being exciting because it is racing and not merely entertaining, like WWE. Play-offs do not make a sport a sport. Do they watch football because it is entertaining? Or because there are some dang good plays on the field? And should we watch NASCAR because it is entertaining and has a play-off? Or because there is some dang good racing going on?

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I  love NASCAR


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4 Responses to “The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Excitement Or Hype?”

  1. Tweets that mention The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Excitement Or Hype? « Sheilalovesnascar's Weblog -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Owen Coleman. Owen Coleman said: The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup: Excitement Or Hype … #nascar […]

  2. arnold Says:

    The present format definitely gives everyone enough chance to qualify for the chase IMO. Only those who show winning skills again and again make it to the final chase. Why would anybody watch the initial matches if the same people were racing again and again throughout the whole season? In that case the winner of the last race could very well be a leader just by fluke? Consistency should be rewarded and that’s what the present format sets out to do. Take the example of RCR racing’s Kevin Harvick. He is showing remarkable consistency right from the beginning of this racing season.

  3. sheilalovesnascar Says:

    Yes, Kevin is doing very well. And should be commended. And that’s what the old system would do. The chase just locks out potential winners from moving up into the top ten. If there are 36 races in a season, why not give more points for wins and not lock anyone out of the top ten? Giving more points to actually win a race would correct a driver with only one win, but very consistent all year from winning. The driver with the most wins should be the champion. Over all the 36 races. And isn’t the whole season what it should be about? Not just the best in ten races? Will Kevin win the Championship as it is now? I doubt it.

  4. old school bmx bikes Says:

    Great post! Tnx.

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