NASCAR Racing Season Ends

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Well NASCAR race fans, the NASCAR racing Season has come to and end. Now we can all find other things to do on the weekends. The Holidays are coming up and there will be much preparation and shopping to do for them. Daytona International Speedway is being repaved and should be done in time for testing in December. Hopefully, we can get our NASCAR fix at that time. The new NASCAR Season will begin again in February.

So, let’s take a look at the many things that happened this year. The new “have at it boys” philosophy was put into place to let the drivers police themselves. It hasn’t always turned out the way NASCAR intended. Carl Edwards took out his frustrations with Brad Keselowski from the previous year’s Nationwide season and used the opportunity to send him flying as a pay back. Carl was parked for the handful of laps left in that race. When he did it again (not sending him flying this time, but crashing into the wall and collecting many others) in a Nationwide race, NASCAR put and end to his reign of terror by putting both drivers on probation for the rest of the season. Carl would have to race Brad without deliberately taking him out.

I don’t think the new policy was intended as a payback kind of thing, but rather something to let them police themselves. If you get into me, be ready for me to get into you. And for the most part, that’s what happened. Although Kyle Busch, who was the defending Nationwide champion, took the ruling to an extreme when he deliberately crashed Brad out to win the race. His reasoning was that Brad took out others last year and so why shouldn’t he take Brad out also. Not very sportsmanlike, if you ask me.

The new policy did have a few exciting times. Jeff Gordon bumped Kurt Busch to get by and Kurt thought of all the times the 24 got into the 2 and crashed 24 out for having bumped him. In the chase, Kyle turned David Reutimann and David came back to take Kyle out. Kyle felt David should have waited until next year to retaliate. But Kyle had no problem with running over others for position, so he should not have been surprised that someone dared to put him in his place. The two Jeff’s had it out when Burton wrecked Gordon. Gordon walked down the track to have at it with Burton and a fist fight ensued. But I have to wonder if the fans are looking for WWE instead of racing.

The season finale was quite exciting with three drivers left standing in the chase coming to the last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And lots of scenarios for the media to talk about. Denny Hamlin came into the race with a 15 point lead to defend. With all the talk about  close points, the chase once again crowned Jimmie Johnson as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. Carl Edwards won his second race in a row.

And I have to wonder if a playoff is good for the sport, or will it only give the media something to talk about prior to each of the ten races. The racing isn’t any different in those last ten races. It just changes the champion from the driver who had the best year racing each race to Jimmie winning. Fans don’t like the same driver winning all the time. Denny had his best year with 8 wins this season. But not enough in the last race to dethrone the four time in a row champion. Had there been no chase, Kevin Harvick would have won the championship as he raced up front all year. With no chase, the title would have gone to different drivers every year, not all of them to Jimmie. But what do I know? I’m just a die hard race fan. However, ratings show that few fans are watching the chase. The season ended at Richmond International Raceway and the chase began at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. And while a playoff is exciting in stick and ball sports, it is not so exciting in racing. It doesn’t let the season play out naturally. It just locks in twelve drivers and prevents others from racing into the top ten. NASCAR is 43 drivers racing each week. Not two teams at a time. I’m afraid that the chase is chasing away the fans and sponsors of 31 drivers. And I have to ask how many in a row will Jimmie win before NASCAR wakes up? And do they like loosing fans each chase each year?

I’ll be back with more about this season next time.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. And I love NASCAR. (Although the chase is making it hard.)

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