The Frontstretch: Voices From The (Empty?) Seats: What Did You Think Would Happen? by Jeff Meyer -- Friday September 13, 2013

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Finally, the end may be in sight!

The end to which I allude is the comical farce and bright idea of Brian France. Yes, that’s right… the Chase!

It’s been nearly ten years since the mess that NASCAR now finds itself in was set into motion, but the outcome was inevitable. Ironically, and I haven’t heard anyone make this connection yet, the incident that hopefully is the end to all this nonsense involves the very same person the almighty Chase was created for in the first place: Ryan Newman!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Newman did nothing shady or immoral, other than maybe whine a lot, to create the Chase nor to finally reveal it for the sham it has always been. All he did was race, but you have to enjoy the irony of the history!

Ryan Newman was indirectly responsible for the origin of the Chase… and maybe he’ll be indirectly responsible for the end of it as well.

If you remember, back in 2003, Newman won like eight races over the year to Matt Kenseth’s one. However, Kenseth took home the last true Champion’s trophy. Oh, the outrage! Oh, the humanity! Blah blah blah and suddenly, the Chase is born. Now, here we are in 2013 and NASCAR has to “adjust” who makes their playoffs after blatant cheating… oh, excuse me… manipulation, by a team that wasn’t even in existence in pre-Chase history, once again benefiting Ryan Newman. Another irony is that Newman has never finished the year ranked higher than sixth, Chase or no Chase, and has only made it to the “playoffs” five out of 10 years counting this one. Again, I’m not picking on Ryan; I just wanted to point out the irony of it all.

Now, not even a week after the fateful race that hopefully will force NASCAR to abandon this stupid format, we find that not one, but possibly three teams in all had a hand in “manipulating” the outcome of an activity (racing) that is inherently one of the simplest premises in all of sports: who can go the pre-determined distance the fastest! How on earth can NASCAR take something so simple and turn it into such a mess?!

While we are looking at what constitutes a “Champion,” consider the following. Let’s say Jeff Gordon, just to pick a racer at random, goes on the hottest streak ever and wins the next ten races. Can you sit there and honestly, with a straight face, tell me he should not be this year’s Champion? Oh, that’s right; he’s not eligible!

Ladies and gentlemen, I sit and type this once again, with just a little “I told you all along” smugness, the Chase is the biggest farce and sham… OK, I’ll come right out and say it… bullsh*t that was ever invented!

If you want a true Champion, all you have to do is award at least 100 points more for finishing first as opposed to second! If a system such as that were in effect, no one team would be “unreachable,” even in the late stages of the season. If, by some reason, they are that far ahead, well, they’ve obviously earned it and deserve to be a champion. You don’t have to have a system that resembles something Rube Goldberg may have created! (Look it up!)

Folks, I love racing but I urge each and every one of you to yell, scream and holler — better yet — speak with your dollar, let NASCAR and the idiot running it know that this is the last straw! We don’t want or need a “show.” We want a race!

Until there is massive change, NASCAR has finally proven itself to be a joke and should never be taken as serious sport in its present form.

Let’s hope last Saturday’s race will forever be known as the “Reality Revealed” at Richmond!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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09/13/2013 11:11 AM

I’d add a ‘drop’ to the format as well. It’s impossible to set up a point system where a driver who tries but fails isn’t hurt worse than if he had simply played it safe. If you want to encourage drivers to ‘go for it’, you have to not only increase the payoff for success, you need to lessen the hit if they come up short (like, for example, running out of gas).

09/13/2013 12:18 PM

Fantastic article which should have been at the top of the webpage over the Amy Henderson tear jerker.

This story is SPOT-ON. There’s nothing new under the sun. Drivers and teams have done all manner of things to help out others throughout the ENTIRE history of Nascar. And Nascar damn sure ain’t clean themselves.

Nascar is in dire need of a complete house cleaning if the sport is to continue.

Frankly, I’m laughing myself silly at the whole thing. What would make it better is for Clint to win the championship. HEY! It’s all about the show, right?

09/13/2013 01:15 PM

Spot on, Newman didn’t win the 2003 title because he 7+ DNFs to go along with his 8 wins. I think most agree the Champion should be a consistent top-10 finisher that wins multiple races. What happened in 2003 was an outlier in the history of the then Winston Cup. The response was overkill and gave us this monstrosity of a so-called playoff. I actually think the system was really targeted at Hendrick and Jeff Gordon at the time. Gordon had a habit of running up a big points lead then sitting on it to win the title. Funny, how that blew up their face with one team (Hendrick 48) winning 5 straight, something that never came close to happening in the Winston era.

I agree with the possible solution, though you probably don’t have to award a 100 points for a race win. A 15,20 or 25 point bonus would allow a hot team that wins a bunch of races to threaten a “safe” points lead. The flaw both pre and post-Chase is that the NASCAR points system simply doesn’t reward the winner enough, and makes comebacks from big points lead very difficult unless the leader has problems. Look it took Jimmie for terrible races just to fall out of the points lead this year.

09/13/2013 01:26 PM

Just give out points say to the top 15. This way when cars get in wrecks they won’t be coming back out.

Sherri T
09/13/2013 02:21 PM


09/13/2013 02:25 PM

I guess you haven’t noticed, but many of us have been hollering, screaming, staying away from the track, and turning off our TV sets for several years. The ‘brain’ in Daytona doesn’t seem to care. Notice how much he’s had to say about this whole mess?

09/13/2013 03:06 PM

I’ve been saying for years that first place deserves a 50% point premium over second, AKA “the first loser”. Secondly , I completely agree with only paying points to the top twenty or twenty five or fifteen, whatever,so we remove the incentive to bring the rolling wrecks back onto the track. Had an intelligent points system that rewarded winning we might have been spared this ten year exercise in stupidity.

Old Timer
09/13/2013 03:13 PM

For fun, I keep a “personal” Points Standings every year. The format? One point for 10th, two for 9th, etc., doubling each position for 10th thru 1st … 1st – 512; 2nd – 256; 3rd – 128; 4th – 64, 5th – 32; 6th – 16; 7th – 8; 8th – 4; 9th – 2; 10th – 1. Winning is the premium, but not “the only thing.” Right now, Kyle Busch leads the points (2853) over Jimmie Johnson (2840) and Matt Kenseth (2654). Oh gee … 13 points between 1st and 2nd?!? Seems like “my system” is producing an even closer points race … LOL

09/13/2013 03:16 PM

Totally agree the chase needs to go. It’s been a farce, now it’s also a fraud.

I agree with Sal. Writers here seem to think that they are the first ones to say the Chase should go. A lot of us fans have hated it for years. I doubt if I’ll watch this year’s idiocy – it’s boring anyhow. I would hate for Bowyer to win this year but in some ways it would serve NASCAR right to have to explain how the guy who drives for the team who was fined for cheating at the beginning of the 10 races can get the big trophy and check. Of course maybe that’s the plan – NASCAR’s way of giving the $ back to MWR for their fine.

Go back to racing the entire season.

09/13/2013 03:29 PM

The way I see it, and I may be in the minority on this issue, is auto racing does not lend itself to determining a “season champion” despite the excessive manipulations, calculations and machinations that Nascar has brought about over the many years to create just that.
Each race in and of itself is the only thing that matters; all else is fabricated to suit either the owners, drivers, Nascar, fans or a combination of all the above.
To award “points” for finishes is taking the sport way off the mark for what it was created for and delving into that nebulous world of stick-and-ball sports.
At the end of the day (and race) it is only about who won the race.
Anything more is to assign importance to the unimportant and irrelevant for the sake of – you guessed it – manufactured excitement for TV audiences.
Thus by going down this road and endlessly emphasising it, Nascar sold it’s soul to the Devil.
I’m sure that the water is boiling at the Daytona headquarters and has been for years.

Kevin in SoCal
09/13/2013 03:31 PM

Jeff Gordon being in 11th place (pre-chase) could win the next ten races and still not gain enough points to take over the points lead and win the championship. So how could you declare him the champion? He didnt race well enough during the regular season, as Brad K didnt either. They dont deserve to be in the playoffs.
Even when Tony Stewart won 5 out of 10 Chase races, he only TIED for the points lead, and won on the tie breaker. I dont think your example is valid.

09/13/2013 03:39 PM

I agree the chase is the problem,and has already cost half the real fans. I’m an mwr fan, and after 55 yrs of watching, listening,and participating in racing, I,too have about had it. Watching nascar squirm out of levying the hammer on penske will be fun, however.

Jeff Meyer-FS STaff
09/13/2013 04:43 PM

Kevin, if there had been a SIGNIFICANT point difference between 1st and second for a win, Tony would have won it outright. I don’t think YOU are valid! (Im only kidding, ol buddy! Just like to raz ya a bit!)

And Jerseygirl, you have to remember, I am (and always was) a fan first and a writer second. I for one HAVE said since day one that the Chase was stupid and wouldn’t work. I can’t speak for the rest of the writers here, 99% of which joined our force way after me!

09/13/2013 05:10 PM

Well, nobody has to guess who will win the Championship now. I am guessing either Rick Hendrick made a sizable contribution to Brian France’s retirement fund, or it really does pay to be the biggest crybaby in the world. If Jeff Gordon wins the title, and sincerely hope he suffers early engine failure in every race, it will prove without doubt that Brian France really is only a figurehead and that Rick Hendrick really does own NASCAR!

And if you think there are empty seats now, wait until this travesty of a year is over.

Have fun with your NASCAR Mr. Hendrick! Or should I say, have fun with your HendrickCAR. The sport died, and you and your puppet Brian killed it!

Kevin in SoCal
09/13/2013 05:45 PM

True Jeff, but we’re talking with the points as they are now. I’d like to see the winner get 50 or 55 points, instead of the 48 max they get now. And 2nd place would 45 points, instead of 42.

09/13/2013 06:44 PM

No way will the Emperor be reading your article. I hope you send it to him or maybe a group can pool some money and buy a billboard across the street from Daytona speedway and put it where all can read it. His manipulated entertainment event with it’s mystery caution flags to create excitement has met its end, we hope.

09/13/2013 08:12 PM

You didn’t have to tell any of us we knew it when we saw it and some people came on board because of it and told me flat out I was nuts…I just said to them all you watch….

09/13/2013 11:21 PM

going way back to the dark ages of the Winston cup you need to look @ benny’s championship &dw’s 1975 &probably 2/3 of seniors where they just rode around to get points

09/14/2013 08:51 PM

couldn’t agree with max more…

in my mind it’s the races are important.. not the chamionship. i could really care less who wins it but i certainly care about who wins any given race and even moreso if the race was exciting and hard fought.

Jerry Smith
09/15/2013 08:52 AM

I’ve never bought into the theory that the Chase was introduced as a result of Kenseth’s 1 win championship. They could have simply adjusted the points in favor of wins versus consistency to solve that. I think the Chase was introduced solely to artificially insert drama (AKA revenue) at the end of the year. Listening to XM NASCAR radio I thought I was the only one that didn’t like the Chase or questioned NASCR credibility. It’s nice to know there are at least 50 or so people that agree with us.

09/16/2013 11:16 AM

Nascar, racing is a complete,joke,now!to me,its just a fixed,expensive,show to rip off,the fan!The,Winston cup, was a great sport, for so many true, race fans, but now ,its just a farse, and not even worth watching ,on t.v.To much cheating and,Hendrick, making sure, he gets 8, championships, and gets more than Dale, and Richard !!!


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