The carnage, madness, metal & humanity are all back, and NASCAR decided to tinker with its race format– starting with it’s Super Bowl. Bad idea. I’m writing this piece as the race concludes. I don’t care who wins, and neither to most racing fans at this point. When the race is still going, and many of the superstar drivers are personally feeding their social media, that ain’t good.
Facebook posted February 19 at 11:56am
NASCAR 2017 Monster Energy Cup Predictions:
1) The new staged-race format will not last into April, stupid idea.
2) The new rules on not being able to go into the garage and then back out on the track, etc… are great rules changes that will stick and lead to more safety improvements.
3) Danica Patrick will find another primary sponsor to compliment Aspen Dental/replace Nature’s Bakery, and she’ll get wrecked…
Kyle Busch #18 didn’t win the Daytona 500, after crashing out due to a Goodyear tire blowout. (Always mention the sponsors). But he did win the first ‘stage’ and play-off point– so congratulations, I suppose? I wonder if he’ll take pride in it?
Nature’s Bakery bailed as Danica’s Patrick’s primary sponsor for the #10 car a few weeks before Daytona, and is now trying to stiff her team (SHR) in court for $32M owed. Turns out, NB’s food isn’t so healthy, and neither are their business practices. The most popular driver in NASCAR had to hustle for a new primary, and proved she is still fast on her feet, by getting Aspen Dental to extend their commitment to “double digit” races.
There are 36 races in the season, and Tax Act sponsors three for her. That leaves her with a sponsorship gap, which will need to be filled during the season. Her car looked faster at Daytona today, until she was caught up in the huge stage-3 wreck pictured above. I had wondered if actually paying the bills would put more speed in her car, and I think it might. Imagine that?
My final fan comments on NASCAR’s 3-stage race format is that I only care who wins the third stage, and same goes for everyone else. Too many re-starts leads to too many multi-car crashes, like the one that obliterated stage 3. A race is supposed to have a rhythm to it, and this gimmick destroys it. NASCAR has mangled their Super Bowl.
Top Post-Race Driver Comments :
Kyle Busch (38th): “I don’t know if it was a left rear that went down or the right that went down but man, tore up three JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in one hit and also Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.). So I feel bad, horrible, for those guys, but man, nothing that we did wrong. You know obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air. It’s very frustrating when we have that down here every single year we’ve been here. Last year we had it as well too. … Thankfully we have I guess a segment point you know out of this day. That’s a positive. But man, you’re trying to win the Daytona 500 here you know. It’s just so disappointing.”
Joey Logano (6th): “I just couldn’t get anyone to go for it at the end. Everyone was so conservative and I don’t understand why. We kept trying to go to the bottom and make a run down there and no one would go with us. We had three cars that kind of wanted to do it, but it’s a matter of getting the right run and getting the right cars behind us and we didn’t have enough of them and couldn’t get up to the lead pack. I don’t know why everyone was so conservative today. … It was crazy to say the least. Right after the last segment it was like everyone turned up the wick a little bit and at the end it was like it burned out.”
Kevin Harvick (22nd): “We just got some cars up there that didn’t need to be up there and wound up doing more than their car could do. … We had, I felt, the fastest car in the field and right in contention for both segments and then it’s all tore up and it came to an end. What do you do? … I think that’s the fastest car I’ve ever had here, so it’s kind of disappointing.”
Jimmie Johnson (34th): “That could have been avoided and it wasn’t called for. From the minute, I got off of Turn 2 on the entire back straightaway, I kept getting hit and the rear tires are off the ground. I know there is a lot of energy behind me in the pack, but I didn’t have a chance. I fought it the whole straightaway and finally got turned going into (Turn) 3. It’s very unfortunate. I hate it for Lowe’s. I hate it for Chevrolet. We’ll go to Atlanta next week and see what we can do there.”
Danica Patrick (33rd): “I don’t really know. I just know we were all three-wide and it looks like the 6 (Trevor Bayne) and 48 (Jimmie Johnson) had something happen. There was nowhere to go. They just kept coming and hitting me. … It was the funnest 500 I’ve ever had. Well, probably not 500, more like 300 or 250. It is a real shame. I feel like we could have been a contender at the end, for sure we could have been an influencer.”
Final Day-After Commentary:
I actually believe I have understated how much NASCAR has de-valued their product & alienated their fanbase. A MLB rules-change equivalent would be: instead of playing a nine-inning game for the win, they ‘improve’ it by making three-games-in-one: innings 1-3, 4-6, then the big finale 7-9. Each segment would award ‘win shares’ and ‘play-off points.’ It would be SO interesting and surely embraced by fans everywhere. Just watch this idea catch on, like ‘new’ Coke in the mid-1980’s.
Final NASCAR Notes 2-28-17:
NASCAR must fix this list to stop the hemorrhaging, and take advantage of the sport’s current growth potential. 1) Dump the segmented format, and go back to racin’. 2) Reduce the grid size to 30 maximum. There are simply too many drivers who aren’t good enough to be out there, trying to compete with top professionals. These minor-leaguers clog up the track, and create the majority of wrecks because they are in-over-their-heads, and at ~200 MPH– that’s some serious bleep. On a short-track such as Bristol, it’s impossible to have a decent race, because there’s just no room with only one good groove on the track and 40 cars jammed within 1/2 mile of each other at full speed. It reminisces your favorite interstate traffic jam at rush hour. 3) More road course races. This tests a broader range of driving skills and gives different teams competitive advantages, which is good for any sport. 4) Severe punishment for intentional wreckers. This means penalties that start with driver/team suspensions, up to banishment from the sport. Driver safety must be the priory, so NASCAR never has another Dale Earnhardt tragedy.
NASCAR is a private enterprise owned by the “Big Bill” France family. They take all revenue from NASCAR ticket sales, merchandising, concessions, television and other media. The drivers are paid purses & prize money from NASCAR, which doesn’t come close to paying the bills on a race car & its team. When it comes to the problems of NASCAR, the common denominator is always ownership. Until the fans & drivers unite against this monopoly of stupid self-interest, this sport will continue to wreck itself.
3-7-17: Atlanta Motor Speedway Wrap-up: The Monster Cup series points leader after two races is Kevin Harvick, who finished 22nd at Daytona and 9th at Atlanta. This points debacle is because of the new staged-race format. Racing fans are not intrigued by those battles for 8th, 9th & 10th at the end of stages 1 & 2, which now (too much) determine cup points. Adding false drama to a sport doesn’t make it better. Racing is about one winner, and then rewarding those who finished 2nd-on-down appropriately. The point is, you wait until the race is over to do it. So, where does the handing out a trophy for winning stage 1 (during the race!), rank in the all-time most-embarrassing NASCAR moments?
Final Danica Update: NASCAR is about being competitive on the 1.5-mile tracks, so Atlanta is the first true test of the season. Danica Patrick would have gotten lapped at the end of stage 1, if the race leader hadn’t been teammate Kevin Harvick, who eased off the gas and still cruised to the stage win. If a car doesn’t have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap on a 1.5 mile track, then it has no chance in ~30 of the 36 races. The only places a slower car can hang with the leaders are the super speedways (Daytona & Talladega– restrictor plate), and the two road-course races (Sonoma & Watkins Glen). This only means competing for a top-10, forget about winning.
Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has four teams. Kurt Busch’s #41 won the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick’s #4 should have won in Atlanta. Clint Boyer’s #14 (replacing retired Tony Stewart) started 6th at Daytona (but was wrecked), and finished 11th at Atlanta. Three of the 4 SHR cars have speed to win. The fourth doesn’t even have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap. This is (again) the problem for the driver of the #10 car, who possesses one of the best overall skill-sets in NASCAR.
Over & Out