Welcome NASCAR fans to my NASCAR blog. Racing for the 2010 season is over and racing for 2011 will not begin for another few weeks. More changes are on the horizon again. And I have to wonder how it got to the point where NASCAR needed to be changed almost every year. Why it needed to be changed at all. And why the constant tweaking? What was wrong with it to begin with?
I fell in love with NASCAR the very first race I ever saw. Now I have to wonder what about it made me like it and and ask myself how it can be better. I don’t see anything that could make it better. NASCAR racing is just the best sport out there. Always has been. Do they need to improve it to get more fans? Not that I can see. NASCAR was very popular in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s. NASCAR was getting more and more fans all the time.
One thing I liked about NASCAR was that it was not like other stick and ball sports. It wasn’t two teams playing each other. It is 43 teams racing on the track at the same time. And I have to admit, I love watching them going so fast and so close to each other. Racing itself is exciting to me. It’s a sport all on it’s own. Nothing else out there is like it. A beautiful, wonderful sport. I became a fan and showed others NASCAR. And they became fans. No one had to convince us racing was exciting. We saw a race and fell in love.
In my opinion that all changed when Brian France took over the reigns from his father, Bill, Jr. All of a sudden racing needed to be more exciting. And needed to compete with football to get the football fans watching. The last races of the season have NASCAR competing with football for television viewership. So they decided what NASCAR needed was it’s own playoff system. I admit I didn’t like the concept right from the beginning.
Racing to get into the chase is really no different than racing the first 26 races. Each race was always exciting watching everyone trying to win. Just because the announcers and reporters talk about how exciting it is, does not make it so. Racing by my definition is exciting, there is no need to tell me so. The problem with the new system is that now NASCAR is no longer a unique sport. And I have to tell you as a NASCAR fan, I don’t like it trying to be football. I liked it better when it was just NASCAR, the best sport.
The concept of the chase was to make the winner be the one with the most wins instead of having only one win like Matt Kenseth did in the final year of Winston Cup. It’s supposed to make the 26 race “regular” season more exciting because they are racing to get into the chase. And the last ten races they are chasing the championship. So far it has not done anything for ratings. In fact, since 2005 the year after the chase started, ratings have been steadily going down. Especially the last ten races. Why? I believe the long time fans don’t like the hype of the chase. There are 43 drivers in all 36 races, but in the last ten races only 10, now 12 drivers actually count. NASCAR fans are very faithful to their driver. If he didn’t make it into the chase, why bother to watch the last ten races? That’s fans of 31 drivers who are no longer interested in watching. No matter how great the announcers think the chase is, you can’t convince the long time fans that it is. So, instead of the chase bringing in more fans (and they may be doing so) the chase is chasing away the long time fans.
NASCAR is getting rid of the fans they once had by trying to capture more fans. This year they want to tweak the system again. And keep the chase. I say, get rid of the chase and talking about only twelve drivers and bring back the old points system where the driver with the most points wins the championship. Instead of the driver that is best in the last ten races. You can’t have a playoff in a sport with 43 drivers racing on all the tracks at the same time. It doesn’t make sense. Playoffs are for sports with divisions and leagues. NASCAR has neither.
Please, NASCAR, put it back to 36 races and the driver with the most points wins. And all 43 drivers count. Give more points for winning and the driver with the most wins should be leading the points. Instead of the is manufactured excitement of a playoff. And I believe if that happens and NASCAR is no longer about 12 drivers, the long time fans will come back. If the football fans don’t watch, who cares? It never used to matter. But the way it is, NASCAR is trying to find new fans at the expense of the long time fans. Wake up NASCAR. The fans want Sprint Cup to be about racing like the other NASCAR Series’. Not about a playoff like football.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley.
I love NASCAR. Thank you for listening.