The Frontstretch: Scanner Static : Is Stewart Missing The Chase Bad For The Sport? by Jess Nicholas -- Wednesday September 13, 2006

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Scanner Static : Is Stewart Missing The Chase Bad For The Sport?

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday September 13, 2006

 

Q: No other way to say this: NASCAR should have made a last-minute exception and put Tony Stewart into the Chase. It's their series and they can do what they want to anyways, so they should have done it. They wouldn't have had to knock anyone out, but if they just felt like only 10 drivers could be in, they could have kept Jeff Burton or Mark Martin out of it. Neither has won a race this year, so don't tell me they're suddenly going to win the Chase. I won't turn the TV on again until Daytona in February. Storm

A: What Jeff Burton or Mark Martin may or may not do in the coming weeks is irrelevant. They're in the Chase because they took care of business the first 26 weeks and Tony Stewart didn't; end of story. If I had to guess, you've probably got a "20" decal on your vehicle, and while I can sympathize with you from a fan standpoint, everyone knows the rules and every driver knows what they have to do. Tony Stewart just didn't do it, and he admitted that after the race.

Q: Do you think the past year's champion should get an automatic entry into the next season's Chase? I do. I think there's some changes that need to be made, and I'm sad that Tony Stewart won't be there to defend his title. Debby Markus

A: If NASCAR wants to make some changes in the future, then I'd agree that the previous year's champion should get a spot, along with any multiple-race winner from the current season. If Kasey Kahne had missed the Chase this year despite having five wins, it would have been outrageous. And by the way, Tony Stewart qualifies under either idea (he has two wins so far in 2006, the only multiple winner on the outside).

Q: So much for the battle of the home improvement stores. How the (expletive) did Stewart miss the Chase? Clarence

A: The most recent issue was the loss of his primary car in Richmond practice, but that begs the question why the team didn't have a capable backup car with them. That points to poor planning. The bigger issue, though, was the injury to his shoulder earlier in the year and the amount of damage it did to his Chase hopes over the weeks that followed.

Q: (On multiple teams) I wouldn't call it a conspiracy because that would allude to it happening behind our backs, NASCAR does it right in front of us. You make the point that it takes money, but overlook that NASCAR created this issue. By letting car owners own multiple teams throughout various divisions it has made some just a powerhouse (Hendrick/Roush/Childress). Single/two-car teams can't make the cut at this point…when you hear rumors of Yates or Wood possibly getting out of the business it’s not a good sign (even if they are just rumors, there still may be a grain of truth in there that got then started). Until NASCAR faces the huge multi-car owner problem, you can't help but to feel for the small teams. Chris2

A: There's no doubt that's true, although one two-car team (DEI) has a Chaser (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) this year and Evernham has made the Chase the last two years with Jeremy Mayfield when he was a two-car team (he's a three-car team this year with Scott Riggs added). The issue here is that NASCAR is a publicly-held company these days, and does so much business with other publicly-held companies that pleasing the stockholders becomes job number one. That's what causes races to be moved from Rockingham to bigger venues, and for NASCAR to allow ultra-rich teams like Roush to have more of a say in the matter than smaller teams. It doesn't help, either, that Roush is a hardline capitalist who'd like nothing better than to corner as much of the NASCAR market as possible. The question is whether NASCAR will do something to change this, and the answer is probably not.

Q: Who do you think will win the Chase? I think this could really be Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s year. Cathy A.

A: I think Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick are the favorites, with Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch the next most likely winners. I'm not pulling against Kahne, but I also know if he wins that we'll see those “I CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO MEET KASEY KAHNE!” commercials with the queens of distracted driving, and I'm not sure my poor eyes and ears can take that.

Got another suggestion for how Tony Stewart could have snuck into the Chase this year? Think NASCAR needs to change from hardline capitalism…to communism? Email jess@frontstretch.com with your plan to make them see the light…or just send him another NASCAR-related question or comment, and you could appear in this very space next week!

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James
09/14/2006 11:50 AM
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How the heck can anybody see the logic in allowing Tony Stewart in the chase just because he was last year’s champ. For the record, Tony is not my driver but I am not in the category of fans that hate Tony Stewart. I was at the Richmond race and was certainly disappointed that he would not get the chance to defend his title.

Show me another major professional sport in which the prior year champion gets automatic admission into the playoffs, regardless of regular season performance.

What if Stewart was currently 20th in point standings? Would people be making the agrument then? Sure, it stinks to miss the chase by a few points and one position, but that’s how pro sports go and that’s what keeps things interesting.

Mike Alexander
09/14/2006 02:55 PM
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Stewart missing the chase is no big deal. He will now concentrate on winning, and he will snatch 2-4 races and still be in the spot light. As a fan of his, missing this chase might be a wake up call, he needed. He messes around too much on the track and it costs him.

Molly
09/15/2006 07:49 AM
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“Show me another major professional sport in which the prior year champion gets automatic admission into the playoffs, regardless of regular season performance.”

In response to this comment, first of all NASCAR is not like any other professional sport, and second, show me a proffesional sport where a team can go winless(ie: burton, martin) and still have a shot at a championship. I believe a “defending champion” provisional if he is within so many points of 10th is logical. Give him a chance to defend the title. Don’t make it an automatic in, that would allow speculation that they don’t have to race as hard because they have an automatic in. I also feel that more points for a win would help to solve that possible champion without a win scenario. And how about this: What if points were awarded to the team with the fastest full pit stop (4 tires, fuel, ect.). Give the pit crew a chance to bask in some glory for earning their guy some points. But of course, this is all just MY opinion.

Mark
09/16/2006 11:07 PM
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Molly and James miss the point altogether. Tony missed the chase because Tony didn’t run well enough to make the chase, period. Better luck next time, Tony. I am rooting for you, you are a favorite of mine.

And let me fill you all in on a little pet peeve of mine. True. Burton and Martin have not taken the checkered flag this year, but does that mean they aren’t contenders? Hardly. Here is why, and listen good. Every time there is a race, there are 43 teams, all playing on the same field, not one on one like stick and ball sports. All 43 race each other. There are actually about 900 separate races taking place on the track, every race. That is why consistency is important. I’ve seen sissies like Ryan Newman win races because they got a lucky dog pass and came in late to top off with gas, does that make him good enough for the Chase? The trouble with most people making comments is that they do not understand racing, they just think it is cool to have a “driver” to pull for, and make mean spirited comments toward another driver. These are not fans of the sport, yes, sport, these guys are athletes. Wimps don’t drive cars.

 

Jess no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can still read all his articles on his archive and bio page.