The Frontstretch: Making A Mockery Of How The Chase Makes A Mockery Of Racing by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday September 16, 2010

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Making A Mockery Of How The Chase Makes A Mockery Of Racing

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday September 16, 2010


Well kids, here we are once again. NASCAR’s season is over, evidenced by the fact that football has started! Oh, yeah I forgot. We still have this “Chase” playoff system thingy to suffer through yet so once again, I will extol the virtues of getting rid of it! Before I begin, though, let me say a few things (again) about racing in general.

First of all, we all know the Chase is Brain Fart’s idea of competing against the NFL during this time of year. It came about because Matt Kenseth, throughout the course of the 2003 season, had the audacity to win only one damn race, while Ryan Newman won eight – yet Kenseth claimed to be the champion!

This made a lot of people (mostly in the Ivory Towers of NASCAR) upset, and Mr. Fart saw it as the perfect time to leave his stench upon the sport. Thus, the Chase was born.

What the head Fart failed to consider, though, was this simple fact: racing is NOT a stick and ball sport. In other sports, during their “playoffs,” should you lose at the wrong time, you go home. That is not the case in racing. Never has been, and never should be.

As NASCAR’s regular season once again comes to an end, we begin the controversial Chase playoff.

Up until 2004, the purpose of having a racing “season” has been to crown the best overall performer THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. Yes, the points system to determine the best has changed over the years, but no matter its form, it still rewarded not only wins (although not enough) but consistency over the entire year. People forget the reason that Matt Kenseth was the 2003 Champion, and it is really quite simple. Kenseth’s average starting position was 21.3. His average finish was 10.2! That is his average for the entire year, folks! Newman, meanwhile, faster than a chick I knew in high school during qualifying, averaged a 6.7 start with a 13.9 finishing average. Now you tell me, who would you vote for to be the champion? A guy that starts in the back and finishes up front, or a guy who starts up front but falls back by the end of the race? With that in mind, let’s take a look at this year’s averages for some key drivers through 26 races, showing you how this playoff system makes a mockery out of their stats.

Up until B. Fart essentially “started the season over” after last Saturday, Kevin Harvick was leading the pack over second-place Kyle Busch by 228 points. Harvick and Busch both have three wins, so what is the difference? Kevin’s average start is 19.0, combined with an average finish of 9.8! Kyle starts at 14.7 in comparison, posting a 12.5 finish as well. Who’s been the better racer this year? The guy who improves almost ten spots, or the guy with just over two? Now, let’s look at the boys who have the most wins, but yet could not catch Harvick.

Denny Hamlin: 6 Wins. Avg. Start: 16.2. Avg. Finish: 15.2!
Jimmie Johnson: 5 Wins. Avg. Start: 7.3. Avg. Finish: 14.5!

If there was NOT a Chase, Denny Hamlin would currently sit in ninth place overall, with Johnson sitting in fifth. Magically now, even though one guy only improves his position by an average of one position per race, and the other actually drops seven positions, they sit first and second among all drivers. Totally absurd!

Other key players in this drama are…

Carl Edwards: Avg. Start: 16.8. Avg. Finish: 11.9.
Jeff Gordon: Avg. Start: 12.0. Avg. Finish: 12.1. (seems he’s only dropping back by a quarterpanel or so!)
Greg Biffle: Avg. Start: 17.3. Avg. Finish: 15.3. (Greg barely limps into 12th spot, 546 points behind leader Harvick, yet magically with the Chase is suddenly up to seventh, only 20 behind him! Better yet, he’s only 50 behind “Chase leader” Hamlin!)

Listen folks, and I know you are getting tired of hearing this criticism but… this system is just way out of whack!

If NASCAR wants to put ALL the emphasis on winning, while making a mockery of the rest of the season and consistency, let’s just do it then! Forget all this other Chase crap; simply put, the man with the most wins takes the Championship!

Personally, I’d crown the champion by a system that rewards both wins and consistency. Oh yeah, we sorta had that… but what do I know? I’m just a hayseed in Iowa!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

Thursday on the Frontstretch:
MPM2Nite: Here Beside The Rising Tide…
Fanning The Flames: Richmond Reaction, Fantasy Talk, And A Junior Fan’s Last Stand
Driven To The Past: Thinking Outside ‘The Box…’
Fantasy Insider: Two Former Champs A Trendy Pick To Start Strong At NHMS

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Rick Jacobs
09/16/2010 09:29 AM

Oh, how I agree with you. I am 64 years old and my Dad started taking me to stock car races when I was a little boy. I love stock cars, but I so hate “the Chase”. As you said, it is a gimmick met to appease the football types into sticking around for a few more races. Meanwhile, we die hard stock car fans have to endure this cocked up way to choose the best driver. There was nothing wrong with the old way. The best performing driver and team over the entire season, is the champ. Now, the guys in 13th a below have no chance to rise even to 12th in the points, even it their season is red-hot for the last 10 races.
I live for the day that the Chase is gone along with Brian Fart and gang.

09/16/2010 09:51 AM

While it’s tempting to blame the chase idea on Brian , in truth , Brians’ parking spot at NASCAR offices is empty on most days . No , the blame for the chase idea needs to be laid at the feet of the ex beer , ex cigarette , ex soft drink , ex bankers , ex execs that NASCAR has staffed their marketing department with . It’s no coincidence that the current mess started at just the time that Bill France Jr. began to delegate authority because of his failing health . Brian is only a figure head . And thats a good thing because he isn’t qualified to be anything else .
The championship has been manipulated to compete with the NFL . But before the chase came along , the NFL was worried about competing with NASCAR .
The gimics and fancy packaging of NASCAR were never needed until the people who were left in charge after the passing of Bill Jr. realized they had no idea how to run an auto racing series .

09/16/2010 10:30 AM

So now the NFL season has started and there is now a dramatic drop in Church attendence on the West Coast. They won’t miss Church for NASCAR but they will for the NFL.
NASCAR wants to compete on Sunday with the NFL and in their infinite wisdom start the races AFTER the football starts. That is to be expected by Emperor Brian who is too busy counting what is left of his money to notice. The alarm has sounded and he missed the wake-up call.

Carl D.
09/16/2010 11:25 AM

I smell sarcasm…

09/16/2010 11:50 AM

Amen Jeff! The “Chase” stinks for a lot of reasons; the biggest being penalizing the pre-chase points leader for having a great season!I’m not a Jeff Gordon fan, but he has been screwed out of several championships because of the chase! Had the chase not been invented, Jimmie wouldn’t have 4 trophies and most Nascar fans would be a lot happier! I think the second biggest reason is the fact that 31 other drivers, owners and teams become instant “also rans”! Their sponsors get no tv coverage, they can never finish the season higher than 13th in points and they have to be ever so careful not to get in the way of any of the chasers! I started following major league stock car racing in 1963 and saw all those previous champions crowned for their full season of outstanding performances…the “Chase” stinks!

09/16/2010 01:03 PM

FINALLY a FS writer gets it right. I was concerned for you folks after Nascar tapped your shoulders with a sword. #$%^ the number wins already, it’s consistency that should get you the biggest trophy at the end of the year. What I don’t like about the Chase (among others) is that you are rewarded twice with a win in the first 26 races. Once for winning, once more for “bone-us” points.
How about a Chase that runs all 36 races and starts in February? That way they can compete with baseball and basketball too.

09/16/2010 02:20 PM

Okay, everyone agrees, but when is something going to be done about it already.

It’s been 6 years too long.
The day the chase was implemented was the day racing just became another, meh i’ll watch if nothing else is on.

09/16/2010 03:02 PM

If you give enough points for winning races, you will end this points racing crap and you wouldn’t need a Chase either because the guy with the most wins will be leading the points. Pretty simple formula that the brain trust just don’t have a clue about. Its not sexy but it determines a true champion.

09/16/2010 09:39 PM

I agree. I like the fact that there are still races to watch – but I don’t like the re-organization of the standings. It’s just not right.

09/16/2010 09:45 PM

Nascar is a joke anymore , as soon as somebody doesn’t like something they change the rules , I mean they should just have Vince Mcmahon or Hulk Hogan spin a wheel and whatever car number comes up they win the race , I have been a fan since the 70s and this Moron has destroyed this sport , car of tomorrow , changing race dates ,practice rules this yellow line that bump draft its a shame , bring back the 70s , 80s and early 90s

09/16/2010 09:57 PM

Well Said!! As far as I am concerned ( which really dosen’t make a d3mm) Jimmy Johnson has only won 2 championships and the Champ this year is Harvick!

Russ Williams
09/17/2010 03:16 PM

You are so far off base it is difficult to even comment. Reality is that absolutely no one outside the top 10 has a snowball’s chance. As for Harvick’s run this year… boring, just like Kenseth. Racing is about WINNING period. I also loved the comments from the 48 haters.. Sorry, but you are witnessing the greatest driver of this era. No one has been good enough to beat him. There are no points for second place except in NASCAR.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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