The Frontstretch: Voices Returns: The Pros and Cons of NASCAR’s Furious Backpedaling by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday May 20, 2010

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Voices Returns: The Pros and Cons of NASCAR’s Furious Backpedaling

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday May 20, 2010


As many longtime readers may have noticed, the Voices column has not been around this year. There are plenty of reasons for it, but I will briefly share a couple of the major ones.

First and foremost, I just plain got burnt out. This space started out years ago as a fun way to share my enthusiasm for all things racing, but over the years, and especially the last couple, it got to be a drag. You can ask most people who know me, I am about the most laidback person you will ever meet; but when even I know I’m being bitchy, well, it was time to take a break.

Secondly, NASCAR had/has become so predictable, Al Roker was rumored to have been picking Brian France’s brain (or the people who tell him what to think) for career advice. For those of you that didn’t catch that, it means that a NASCAR race is more predictable than the weather! To sum it up, I lost interest, as well as many of my friends and millions of other fans. Oh sure, I’d go to a race or watch part of one, but the glitz and glamour were gone. I never thought I’d say it, but it really didn’t matter anymore if I saw the race or not. Five years ago, I planned my Sunday around it. Call it apathy.

Having said that, and after taking a few months of sabbatical, (that’s a rest, for those still wondering who Al Roker is…) I am here to tell you that I will be back, starting in June, full-time! Lucky you! I can’t say that I won’t be bitchy anymore… but at least I can do it with renewed enthusiasm! In the meantime, here are a few observations that I have made during my time on the sidelines.

NASCAR, as a whole, has made some very good progress over the last year. But despite the fact that they did the right thing(s), just know they told you the wrong reasons behind it.

NASCAR’s decision to send the Car of Tomorrow wing to the junkyard has been universally applauded by drivers, teams, and fans.

The biggest and best change, by far, is the removal of The Wing from France’s beloved CoT. The drivers never liked it, the fans never liked it, and despite NASCAR’s adamant claims, wings were made for flying! As John Madden may be apt to say, if God intended man to fly, he’d have given us wings. Well, Brian France did give us wings, and guess what? Cars flew! Oh sure, you angle it down enough and you will get downforce, but I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts that during all the development of the CoT, they never faced the ass end of it into the fan at full tilt in the wind tunnel! Had anyone bothered to do that, we probably never would have seen it on a stock car. I hear the purists now… “but Petty had a wing on his Charger once…” Save it! Look at the ‘wing’ on those old Dodges; they resemble more of a rollbar on redneck’s pickup than they do a wing! Run it backward at 190 mph and it won’t lift the car off the track – not like France’s wing! The wing on the CoT totally negated and overpowered the roof flaps on the top of the car!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that cars will never get airborne again. This is racing, after all and as they say, caca happens, but the return to the spoiler is a super step in the right direction for the drivers, the fans, and safety in general. If, like some of our staff, you want everything about racing to be totally safe and accident free, you’re in the wrong sport. If there wasn’t risk, no one would do it.

Last year about this time, NASCAR, “because the fans wanted it,” gave us double-file restarts at ALL the races. Well, duh!!!! That is how you start a race, ain’t it? It is called a “restart,” isn’t it? “Because the fans wanted it” is some of the deepest BS that NASCAR has ever given us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: once racing back to the yellow was forbidden and the “Lucky Dog” implemented, double-file restarts should have been an instantaneous next step. Once you are giving a guy his lap back, there is no need have him starting up by the leaders! It has nothing to do with “the fans wanting it” and everything to do with that rare commodity, common sense. ‘Nuff said.

One area that NASCAR has managed to screw up this year is the green-white-checkered finishes. GWC, if you remember NASCAR’s rhetoric, was deemed as totally unsafe for the Cup cars… until that fateful race in 2004, when fans were willing to go to such extremes as to throw perfectly good beers onto the track in Talladega. NASCAR, realizing the value of a perfectly good beer, (and what a bitch it is to pick up all those cans off the track) decided that maybe it was OK to have a GWC for the Cup Series after all.

Now, that decision was a rare but wise one on NASCAR’s part. Unfortunately, this year they have tried to improve it with “three attempts at GWC” because “we are listening to the fans.” OK, well let me ask you this; can you honestly say you personally know even two people who were not happy with just one GWC? I bet the answer is no. If NASCAR was truly “listening to the fans,” they would have known that the “fans” were extremely happy (not to mention surprised) that GWC was even implemented at all – let alone asking for two more!

No, three attempts at GWC is seen by fans for what it truly is… NASCAR’s pathetic propensity for screwing up a good thing, not to mention it now becoming a hokey gimmick. In this day and age, NASCAR needs to avoid all appearances of gimmickry.

This next bit of foolishness came up in this week’s Mirror Driving, and that is the subject of, gasp!, someone on Twitter, tweeting the results of the Truck Series race before someone else had the chance to watch it!!! OMG!!! Can you believe it?

Personally, I don’t twat, twit, tweet, or whatever it’s called, but this had me literally ROFLMAO! I do have a cell phone, but I only use it to make phone calls and the occasional text, so call me an old fuddy duddy or out of touch or whatever but baby, this is the information age! Stuff like that is gonna happen, so get over it or don’t twitch, er, tweet, er, chirp, or whatever it is you gotta do. The total reliance of people nowadays on their little electronic devices and the “need to talk to people” is just ridiculous! Heck, there used to be a time you had to wait for the next day’s paper to know the outcome of anything!

Let me put it this way: millions upon millions of people are so dependent on American Idol or some other inane show that even if your friend tweeted you to tell you who won before you had a chance to watch your DV-R, you’d still actually watch it, right? Don’t lie!! It’s the same with racing. It’s about the actual racing, stupid! Just because you accidentally know the outcome doesn’t lessen the quality of the race (or the show).

Before I finally put this thing to bed… is it just me, or has even the Junior Nation finally come to the realization that hey, maybe he’s just mediocre at best? I mean, they just don’t seem to argue the point as fervently as they used to. He’s been in the best equipment money can buy for quite awhile now. How long does it take?

I dunno, just sayin’!

Stay off the wall (and off your device for a change!),

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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05/20/2010 09:21 AM

I’ve seen cars with spoilers get airborn too.

Also, cars today aren’t manufactured with spoilers either. The wing AND the spoiler are outdated.

And why can’t NASCAR combine the 3 GWC’s into a 10 lap shootout. If there’s a wreck, it’s over. Atleast drivers will have a chance to win a RACE not a RESTART (double-file-SHOOTOUT STYLE)

05/20/2010 09:55 AM

Thanks for taking the time off. I wish more columnists with perrinialy negative attitudes would do the same.

AS for your article. If NASCAR is so predictable I’ll be my house vrs. your house that you can’t predict the winner of this weeks All-Star Race, the Coke 600, and Cup Chamption for 2010.

Wanna take that bet? Anyone?

05/20/2010 10:36 AM

As the Elton John sings, “The B**ch is back” ‘Nuff said. Good article.

The Mad Man
05/20/2010 10:43 AM

Good to see you back Jeff.

If NASCAR really listened to the fans, they wouldn’t be in the dire straits they are now with half-empty grandstands, poor TV ratings,and yes, predictable racing.

I’ll be at Charlotte for the 600 as it’s a tradition with me and my friends but the best racing I’ve seen so far this year was at North Wilkesboro for the re-opening.

05/20/2010 10:54 AM

Could you possibly convince others in your brotherhood (media) to take an extended sabbatical? It would be a relief to us all.

As far as Jr Nation is concerned, no, we do not believe Jr is mediocre. We have just grown weary of debating with a fence post. Nascar media is just one dumb fence post.

Don Mei
05/20/2010 12:15 PM

Fist, to Pepper and whats-its-name; last time I looked I didn’t see anyone pointing a gun and forcing you to read columns with which you disagree. Why dont you simply take a sabbatical from reading them and upsetting yourself. We wont mind; truly.

Secondly, my apathy is a direct result of the chase. Hard to get too excited about events where most of the competitors are cruising for points or testing equipment and tactics for THE CHASE.

Don Mei
05/20/2010 12:16 PM

Sorry, delete “fist”, insert “first”. Mea culpa.

05/20/2010 12:20 PM

“The total reliance of people nowadays on their little electronic devices and the ‘need to talk to people’ is just ridiculous!”


I also agree with VaBlueGrass…more often than not, it’s all about the restart. If we have to have a GWC (which I’d still rather not), at least give us more than 2 laps to decide it all!

And to a few select others…it is pretty silly to continue reading articles about NASCAR if you dislike the media that much! After all, who’s time are you wasting?

05/20/2010 01:10 PM

Good article Jeff. The trend seems to be that the people that have watched NASCAR in it’s build-up to the 21st century like what you have to say. Those that have joined the ranks since then, don’t. Maybe they just don’t really understand the sub-par show being delivered could be so much better.

Pepper: Jr. is only mediocre. It’s not about being intelligent, it’s about being able to recognize the facts. He has failed to qualify for the chase more often than he has made it. He has never run consistently at the front. Regardless of having never been in shoddy equipment, he can’t seem to get out of his own way.
The teams have changed. The crew chiefs have changed. The engineers have changed. The only common thread is that Dale has remained.
You can refuse to acknowledge what I have said is true, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
With nearly 10 years of statistics to pour over, the facts are in. Of course there is one other possibility. The #25 became the #88 when Jr. took over. For years the #25 was known for ending careers, not launching them. (in a lackluster manner, not literally) This was so consistent, that rumors swirled about it being cursed. Racers are notoriously superstitious.
Maybe it was true all along, and the team is cursed. I’ll let you decide. A cursed car, or a lack of talent? (While deciding please remember that no chassis, engine, or crew member from the infamous 25 is still on the team.)

05/20/2010 01:36 PM

I thought Richmond was the “your name here” race. How did Noel get last weeks Dover race named after her?

05/20/2010 02:28 PM

Good article, Jeff. Multiple GWC attempts is just another gimmick for NASCAR to try and manufacture excitement because all the teams are points racing because of the idiotic chase. I was at Dover last weekend and since it was a one groove track once the concrete rubbered up, I wish I could have found a place to lay down and take a nap (my couch would have been really good) during the middle part of the race.

I like the suggestion about having it be a 10 lap finish, rather than multiple green white wrecker finishes.

05/20/2010 03:52 PM

Amazing! Three G-W-C’s or now 10 more laps! Good Lord! They just ran 500 miles or laps and you want to keep finding ways to extend that for a winner? Why run the 500? One G-W-C, if they wreck during that score them by the loops and it’s over. Why not make the races 300 miles or laps? That alone will keep things alive. A lot of the boring comes from the number 500. The middle of the race is little more than riding around. Check the action at your local tracks, shorter races, more action and excitement! 3 G-W-C’s is a way to keep you in your seat for the magic 500 number and at the concession stands and for higher gate prices. Welcome back! You did say you were coming back less bitchy right? OK!

Jeff Meyer-FS staff
05/20/2010 05:15 PM

LOL at mrclause! …“Welcome back! You did say you were coming back less bitchy right? OK!”

Not exactly…

“I can’t say that I won’t be bitchy anymore… but at least I can do it with renewed enthusiasm!”

Thanks to all for the wonderful comments and keep em coming!

05/21/2010 05:57 PM

@ DansMom: You too fail gender identification class!!! That brings you and Randy back neck and neck in “The Most Stupid American Ever” award. I guess you just couldn’t stand you lose your shot at the title.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.