The Frontstretch: Winning Back Longtime NASCAR Fans : Part II by Matt McLaughlin -- Thursday January 3, 2008

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Winning Back Longtime NASCAR Fans : Part II

Matt McLaughlin · Thursday January 3, 2008


Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a two-part series by Matt McLaughlin on fixing NASCAR’s future. If you missed Part One, click here to catch up.

Speaking of TV – And who isn't these days, usually noting that they find the current NASCAR broadcasts absolutely terrible to the point of being almost unwatchable. Of course, everyone needs to be appreciative to a point, because only a generation ago a damn few races were on TV at all – and those that were were shown in part often weeks after the fact. But like so many things, it's not that much harder to do things well than it is to do them poorly.

A lot of folks, myself included, thought or just hoped that things would improve when ESPN got back into NASCAR broadcasting. That didn't turn out to be the case. After a tough year, it would behoove ESPN management and "talent" to use the offseason to review tapes not of this year's broadcasts but tapes from the glory days of the mid-to-late 1980s. Those broadcasts were free of gimmicks and talking heads with little to say, long on information and actual coverage of the racing itself. Today's race broadcasts were exactly that, coming across too much like People magazine – a curse on this generation – and too little like ABC’s old Wide World of Sports.

Naturally, the primary bugaboo that drives fans nuts is “too many commercials.” You’ve got to pity the poor producers and directors of these race broadcasts, trying to cover about the only sport with no natural “timeouts” or scheduled breaks. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t with ads; while fans are screaming there are too many commercials, network execs are screaming they need to sell more at higher prices to make race coverage profitable. The number one improvement that could be made to current race broadcasts is to adopt the “side by side” type coverage ABC/ESPN uses during IRL races. That way at least fans can keep track of what's going on on-track, while enduring the barrage of commercial messages.

Secondly, I know there are new fans to the sport who might not be the dyed-in-the-wool gearheads that most old-time fans were – and I appreciate they may not know a camshaft from a driveshaft. But if I have to endure one more animated explanation of valve train failure, I might launch a frosty through the HDTV. Networks can use their websites to provide technical data for the uninformed; it's time to stop talking down to the audience.

Along those same lines, it's well past time for some members of the broadcast teams to stop serving as NASCAR apologists and to realize that they're there to report the “big show;” and contrary to what they think, they are not the big show. A lot more honesty and a bit more humility would improve race broadcasts overnight. Stop worrying about biting the hand that feeds; it's the networks that are feeding NASCAR huge bushels of cash. Believe me, for all their occasional bluster NASCAR officials aren't going to upset that gravy train.

It's the Racing, Stupid! – The core of what ails the last couple of years of stock car racing is what NASCAR officials like to call “the product” – the racing itself. The fact NASCAR officials call racing
“the product” is a pretty clear indication of what's wrong at the heart of the matter. Racing isn't a “product” – it's a “sport.” Equally clearly, my dear Mr. France, racing is again a “sport,” not “entertainment.” Most sports – with the obvious exception of baseball and golf – are entertaining by nature. But entertainment is not “sporting.”

If the current “product” is seen as entertainment, then it is acceptable to manipulate the rules to make the "product" more entertaining. By that analogy, I'm thinking of all those dubious debris caution flags that have peppered the endings of otherwise monotonous racing the last few years. I'm thinking about the absurdity that is the "Chase," used to determine our champion and prolong crowning the victor. In my mind (what is left of it) Jimmie Johnson is the "Entertaining Product" champion of 2007, while Jeff Gordon – who amassed the most legitimate points of any driver this season – is the "Sport" champion.

But let’s leave aside the debate about the Chase for a moment and get back to the brass tacks. Over the last few years, “the Product” itself has sucked on the track. 2007 has entered the record books as one of the most tepid in series history; for every finish like the first Martinsville race or the second Texas race, there were too many quickly forgettable "Instant Debacles" waged in the name of stock car racing.

The problems leading to the current state of affairs are myriad. Some fault must be laid on the current mix of tracks on the schedule. The loss of two dates at Rockingham and one at Darlington removes three dates from a pair of highly competitive and unique tracks. The continued scheduling of two dates at places prone to put on snoozefests like New Hampshire, Michigan, California, and the inclusion of Joliet now almost guarantees a high ratio of clinkers to classics when it comes to good racing. Let's face it: when Michigan, California, Joliet and Kansas City were designed, they were planned as “dual use” facilities that would cater to both stock car and open wheel. Well, with open wheel racing having become an asterisk on the sport's scene – rivaling curling and fencing in the American conscience – it's simply time to tear up those tracks and build a facility more suited to racing the “taxi cabs.” Yeah, it's expensive and the shareholders will bitch, but it's another case of the long term good versus short-term profits.

California is a track that particularly galls me. Other than a few Truck events, I can not recall a single race worth watching at the joint. It's time to dig it up and replace it with a three-quarter mile track patterned after Richmond – or better yet, replace it with a three-quarter mile dirt track patterned after Richmond. Now that would be something to see. As for Joliet, how about a one-mile circular track with graduated banking reaching to forty degrees at the top of the corners? Kansas City? A one-mile track configured as a figure eight, with the frontstretch bridging over the backstretch. That ought to drive the chassis guys crazy; but it's time to start thinking outside the box.

Some blame must also go to the hideous new cars, which have not solved the problems they were designed to eliminate. Everyone says these new cars are tough; I don't know about that, but I agree they are tough to look at. And drivers, by and large, are still afraid to beat and bang with the things, fearful of upsetting their aerodynamic perfection. I hate aerodynamics; frankly, I feel a rule forcing any crew member found within three miles of a wind tunnel to wear a pink party dress for the rest of the season would be good for the sport.

But wind tunnels should have been a thing of the past, as the CoT was supposed to eliminate the “aero loose” condition that is ruining racing. The problem is simple: when a faster car attempts to pass a car ahead of it, the loss of air off the nose makes the car "loose". (Simple explanation; the car wants to go straight even as the driver turns the steering wheel). That makes the driver unable to pass, creating a disappointing single-file stalemate. It's a problem that has been deviling stock car racing for a decade now – and it's time to eliminate it.

Much of the problem is there isn't enough “stock” left in stock cars. These are aerodynamically tweaked rockets, with suspension geometry unlike anything that has been run on the street since the days of the horseless carriage. With the exception of the necessary safety equipment, stock cars should be simply that – “stock,” complete with outside rearview mirrors, stock front valances, stock suspensions, and production-based fuel injected engines. Ideally, they would be virtually indistinguishable sheet metal wise from the Mustang you can drive off a dealer's lot, or the new Challenger and Camaro you'll be able to purchase soon. In my opinion, a fender removed from a Mustang rental car in the track lot should bolt perfectly to a Cup car, and the windshield and side windows should drop in place as well. As for the engines, horsepower should be capped at whatever level the competition department can beg past the warranty department in mass produced cars sold by the thousands at prices under $35,000. That would get the old time Ford, Chevy, and Mopar stalwarts back in the stands; strip off the exhaust systems, paint some numbers on the side, and race those summabitches while Al Gore has a coronary over the carbon footprint of the sport.

One important deviation from “stock” would be the rubber bolted to these cars. Radial tires have been a decided detriment to stock car racing; Goodyear introduced radial tires to the sport not only because they were faster, but in an attempt to drive upstart tire company Hoosier from the sport. However, the bias ply tires – last used in the late 1980s – were more predictable and forgiving. Drivers could race harder on bias ply tires, and speeds were both reasonable and safer. Oh, Goodyear might get upset, but let's look at things logically: how many of you go out and buy tires that need to be replaced every fifty miles and can't be operated in the rain for your wife's mini-van? The idea that racing improves the breed when it comes to street tires is as outdated as tailfins and whitewalls.

Finally, it's time to revamp the points system and payout structure of our sport. Each race is currently not 1/36th of the season. Each race is a unique event in and of itself, and it should be viewed only as such. Every effort should be made to see that that week's unique event is of the highest possible caliber, and there should be a massive points difference between the first and second place finishers tally. But that's not enough. Two cars racing for the lead is all well and good (and a bit of a rarity lately) but there needs to be good racing throughout the front half of the pack. Points payouts between each position should be made significant enough that we see the old style dogfighting (not literally, Mr. Vick) over each spot we once enjoyed.

And we cannot stop there. The current payout structure rewards teams with the big checks at the end of the year. That system was designed back when NASCAR was struggling to find enough teams to run the full schedule after the car manufacturers withdrew from the sport in the early 1970s. Now, there's too many teams that want to run the full schedule week in and week out. Make the purses to win races or finish in the Top 10 much larger, while at the same time making the year end payout for the top teams much smaller. $100,000 and the pride involved ought to be plenty of incentive to win a title – and if a driver wants to fly in a private jet and keep an eighty foot motor yacht at the marina, he can damn well get out there and run for all he's worth each and every week to earn the big check, to the considerable delight of the fans who bought tickets not for the season but for that one particular event. It’s those old time fans who used to fill up the grandstands, remember? Crew chiefs often remind today's drivers to keep "the Big Picture" in mind when trying to get them to give up positions or a chance at a win for a safe and sure points day. Well, the "Big Picture" here is that the sport is all the poorer for conservative racing, and it’s beginning to show up in NASCAR's bottom line.

You want the old-time fans back? Limit the cost of the sport on both sides of the catchfence. Make a set of easily understandable rules and stick to them. Give the drivers and teams incentive to finish as best they can each week in cars similar to what fans might have parked out in the lot. Then, clear out the bottom ten rows of the grandstands, stand back, and let them summabitches race.

Want to join Matt M. on our Frontstretch Staff? Now’s your chance to join one of the fastest-growing racing websites on the internet, matching wits with some of the most respected writers in the business today. is actively seeking 3-5 new staff members for the 2008 season, and you can audition now by clicking here to find out exactly what you need to do. When finished, send your completed audition to – we hope to hear from you soon!

Editor's Note : The 2007 season is over, and even the Final Chase exam has come to a close - which means it's time to give each driver their annual year-end evaluation. For the second straight year, your favorite Frontstretch staff members are giving driver reviews for every full-time wheelman on the circuit, giving you insight into the seasons of anyone from A.J. Allmendinger to J.J. Yeley. Want to know when your favorite driver's getting featured? Check out this link for our writing schedule, and be sure to keep coming in every weekday this offseason for even more original content by the Frontstretch!

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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…


©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Dave Monroe
01/04/2008 09:09 AM

Matt, I’m over it. Lost the interest that was once a passion. They remind me of politicians, entertainment value is ZERO. No Daytona, no Pocono, first time in 20 years. Sad. Dave Monroe, Durham, CT

01/04/2008 09:11 AM

Sadly, Matt, NASCAR will not listen to you as an excellent commentator and long time fan, nor me as a long time fan. Our opinions don’t count. It’s the “product” and bottom line that interests the France family. It will take a prolonged loss of fans and dollars to get their attention. Unfortunately, King Brian has his head buried so far in the sand of Daytona Beach and his brain so muddled by whatever he was under the influence of that night last year, that he can’t see the forest for the trees.

01/04/2008 09:43 AM

Matt leave my Kansas Speedway alone, if nothing else install lights and another date. Lose the road races, or use the driver you hired at the start of the season. Lose the top 35 rule and past champ, run the fastest 43, and quit comming out of retirement to run in subpar equpment. Bored in Topeka Ks

Mike C
01/04/2008 10:18 AM

All Nascar race broadcasts in 2007 were terrible . ESPN and FOX think we want the same old group of analysts . We don’t . Joy , Waltrip , Hammond , Punch ,Larry Mac , and all of the periphreal so-called talent need to go away , never to return .
Bestwick , Jarrett , Dallenbach , Venturini , can and should stay .
The fastest cars in qualifying should race , along with one extra ( call it a provisional , call it promoters option ) . Everyone else goes home .
Funny how NASCAR has always denied phoney cautions , Tony Stewart speaks out about it , NASCAR never admits to it , but suddenly the caution flag count per race drops by half .
True “ stock body “ race cars would add greatly to the show , but Brian France is working hard to build himself a legacy , so his COT will stay . I wonder if the NASCAR cars of the 1960s and 70s were really bothered by aero tight and aero loose , or if that is a product of design by wind tunnel . Because the racing then was sure better than the racing now .

Mike Barril
01/04/2008 10:20 AM

I have been thinking of the same thing for over ten years. The teams go to the local dealership, pick up a true stock car, put in a roll cage use stock engine, tires, and then let them race. No engine modifications, no special fuel allowed, no allowed body work, limit tires to be replaced only if they go flat. ( RULE: teams can use only the same rubber that comes standard with the car.) This would really be racing stock cars. I can almost “see” the racing, it would be excellent, just think how close the racing would be. AND only the fastest forty three cars period. No provisional’s at all. 100 points for the winner, one point per position for the rest. ( 2cd place would get 42 points last place 1 point.) That would eliminate “points” racing. What do we need NA$CAR for? Let’s start a real stock car racing series. I would attend racing of this sort. I no longer goto NA$CAR events, cost way too much. ( I do go to my local race tracks, St. Clair speedway in Belleville, Illinois, and I-55 in Pevely, Missouri.) Great article, great thoughts. Too bad it will not happen.

01/04/2008 10:37 AM

The top 35 rule is a joke! and don’t even get me started on the rough driving rule. All of the drivers now are afraid of the hand of “God” France to pick them up and punish them for exacally what they were taught to do…beat and bang to get the win. I think racing should be about that week’s race not the points system. The interviews that burn me up are the ones that state “ I finished 5th, that puts me good in the points race!” You lost dumba$@! Did you even try or was the points race more important?

01/04/2008 10:49 AM

Matt, I agree with you as I often do. But, the bottom line here is that NASCAR was started by people that had a “PASSION” for racing. Those people have passed on, what we have left running the show are people that have a PASSION for MONEY, not racing. I fear NASCAR is doomed to be a foot note in sports history.It would seem the late Dale Sr. probably had more to do with keeping the racing “REAL” in NASCAR than any of us ever thought. We all know he had Bill’s ear anytime he wanted it.These are sad days for race fans….

01/04/2008 11:04 AM

Matt, could not agree more! I have always said that if CART / IRL could run on the track that NA$CAR should not! Not enough banking.
Case in point, Roger Penske went to California and built a near-duplicate of Michigan (famous for snoozefests) with LESS banking!. What was he thinking? What did he expect?
Best broadcast team of all time? Bob Jenkins, Ned & Benny. No contest.
I could go on for pages…

prof pi
01/04/2008 11:29 AM

Has anyone complaining about the influence of aerodynamics bothered to read a physics book? You can’t ram a car through the air at 200 mph (300 ft per second) and NOT have aerodynamics play a huge part in vehicle dynamics. At those speeds the air flow over the car in front will have an enormous effect on the air flow over following cars. It’s like gravity, that’s how the world is wired together.
And grow up, folks; as long as Brian France has more money than you do, he’s not going to listen. So, either become very wealthy, put up with the France version of “racertainment” and all of its financial issues, i.e., advertising, or find another series to watch and support. Legends cars put on great racing at local tracks every week, for a starter. I was looking through old pictures and found checks from just 5 years ago, 10th place paid $25 in a race with 38 cars: we race because it’s a passion. You can’t have cars which cost $20 million a season to perfect and not have sponsors. I have a total race team of 2, which we do as a hobby, Hendrick has a payroll of 600 highly paid, very talented people.
You can’t have it both ways, but you can find other forms of racing to watch and cheer.

01/04/2008 12:48 PM

I totally agree that Nascar used to be run by those who LOVED racing. That gene seems to have skipped this generation. When the only time you can see Brian France on the track side of the catch fence is when there are enough pseudo ‘celebrities’ to give him a good photo op, you know we’re in trouble. To me, the quality of the broadcasts simply reflects the attitude of the man in charge, who has spent the majority of his time in the front office trying to erase any trace of what used to make NASCAR unique and different. We’re doomed.

01/04/2008 12:52 PM

First matt said…
Networks can use their websites to provide technical data for the uninformed; it’s time to stop talking down to the audience.

THEN Matt Said…
when a faster car attempts to pass a car ahead of it, the loss of air off the nose makes the car “loose”. (Simple explanation; the car wants to go straight even as the driver turns the steering wheel).

Pot, kettle, black my friend. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Oh wait. You described push. Should have listened to Ned Jarrett one of the 10 times a race he used to explain the difference on ESPN’s great mid 80’s coverage.

01/04/2008 01:00 PM

right on, as always matt!

it’s been a struggle for me to stay with na$car since 2/18/01, you know that. as was said by some else, that day killed the sport for most. love or hate him, dale sr. was nascar. the rivalry he had with other drivers, on the track, was priceless. now everyone has to play nice and be buddy buddy. i still keep waiting for jr to completely jump ship and become a hendrick clone.

flat out, it’s gotten too expensive for me. economy stinks, gas is expensive, tickets are high, food at track stinks, and the post-race traffic…..need a case of maalox for that. in a few days i’ll have the rolex on tv as i’m starting to get the racing itch, and the 500 will be on, but probably by april i’ll be disenchanted with it. i haven’t purchased tickets to ams or talladega yet, and honestly, won’t. my couch is comfy enough, no rude people in stands walking all over. i have been a fan since the 70’s. it’s way too vanilla for me, very few drivers have passion. how many of them would race just to race (with exception of ken schrader, tony stewart or possibly kasey kahne). accessability to drivers is getting more and more limited, and the new ones…forget it. they don’t even know what a true, die hard fan is. if you’re not the young, blond chickie flavor of the month, they have no use for you. it’s us middle aged fans that enable them to race without having to hold down a “day job”.

sorry, i ramble.

01/04/2008 01:40 PM

I’ve always liked Buddy Baker’s simple explanation of “tight”.

When the car is tight you see the wall yiu’re going to hit through the windhield. When it’s loose you see the wall you’re going to hit in the rearview mirror.

01/04/2008 02:14 PM

Joliet is only 2 hrs away from us and we have been attending there since it opened. This will most likely be our last year. The races are boring and we are forced to buy season tickets that you can’t renew our spots or spend big $‘s per person to move up to the better seats. We end up throwing away the tickets for the Sept races we couldn’t even give them away. That is just like flushing money down the toliet. Plus now to attend the Friday nite race we have to take a vacation day to get there. Same reason we dropped the Milwaukee races. We used to attend both MI races then we dropped down to 1 and now we don’t go there either. We are trying to make every track on the circuit but we may lose all interest before we make it. We used to be able to fly, rent a car, hotel and tickets for right around $ 1000.00. Now flights alone are over half that and the hotels make the rest of it.

Nascar is losing the younger generation not getting it. My husbands grandson no longer watches. He gave it 1 yr after Dale died but never really got back into it. My daughter-in law worked for Newell and was a big Kurt Busch fan and my son started off with Mark Martin & Dale Jarrett then he decided he like Kurt also. Then Kurt went to Dodge so they gave up going and watching races.

Several people we know went nuts when Toyota came in and their drivers went to the dark side. Now add Gibbs drivers to that list.

Drivers hopping around from team to team – car make to car make is NOT good for the sport either. About the time you decide who you’ll pull for they change everything. I have tons of Red # 8 stuff that is unusable now. Don’t get me wrong he needed to leave DEI but ouch my pockets hurt. At least he is still in a Chevy.

01/04/2008 02:18 PM

Folks the good old days just weren’t always that good. If I recall correctly; Ned Jarrett won a race in 1965 by the scant margin of 22 laps.

I do agree with getting back to racing cars that appear “stock”, after all they are called “Stock Cars”.

As far as the points system goes. Throw it out and start over. Here’s the thing, the somewhat tweaked current system was put in place to keep teams from “Cherry Picking” races. Well my fine friends, that just isn’t about to happen in today’s NASCAR. Today’s cars don’t run so much on Sunoco as they run on sponsor dollars. DuPont, Lowes, Mountain Dew, and Miller all pour enormous sums of cash into their respective teams and they want them at every track.

Bring back the lap leader bonus, not the current bonus for leading a lap or the most laps, but points for every lap led. Oh and while were revamping the points, pay out some points for winning the pole. That should put some excitement back in qualifying.

While were talking about qualifying, every team has two cars at the track, let them make a qualifying run with both of them. Then race the fastest 43 teams. Period. If Junior, Gordon, or Stewart go home, tough.

Oh and for the sake of safety. When pitting under caution, the cars line up in the same order they entered the pits.

By the way, once a year play the audio bite of Neil Bonnett explaining push and loose. He explained it best . I’ll let someone else post the quote… just to see if anyone read this far.

01/04/2008 02:49 PM

NASCAR today is just CART with fenders. The racing worth seeing is at the local tracks. Winston/Nextel/Sprint has given up all entertainment value. There is no place for a Dave Marcis or J.D McDuffie to make an inroad. Dale Earnhardt would not get a ride today because of his rough edges. His son is idolized but has minimal achievements to claim. I get to spend Sundays with my family now.

01/04/2008 02:51 PM

I hated to old points system. The only thing I don’t like about the chase is that it’s covered by ESPN. A company that’s filled with arrogant baseball-lovin’ know-it-alls.

The COT doesn’t bother me….yet. It better get…better though.

There needs to be fixed start times on all races.

California needs to change or die. I watched half of the very first race there and have not watched another.

The Top 35 needs to die or change to a lower number or it just may bleed this sport to death. I don’t even bother with watching or listening to qualifying anymore. What’s the point?

Margo L
01/04/2008 03:19 PM

Steve , the cars don’t run too much on Sunoco either , it’s full of water .
One major reason for the decline in NASCAR popularity is their constant push to make every area of every racetrack “ exclusive “. That allows them to charge more money of course . But it is killing the fan participation . NHRA drag racing , the IRL indy cars , even the Grand American sports cars all allow , even encourage the fans to get up close to the cars and drivers .The Cup drivers hide in their motor coaches . Pit passes are treated as the holy grail, and a garage pass more so . Why? Go to an NHRA drag race and with the purchase of a pit pass ( available to anyone ) you can walk right up and talk to every driver in the race .And the drivers are all for it . Watch every crew work on the race cars . Those drivers and teams are actually in more of a hurry than the Cup teams , yet they don’t mind the fans watching and roaming through the pits .

01/04/2008 05:02 PM

As a fan of the sport it hurts me to say this,if you want to send Na$car a message it is to boycott a race enmass.Think of the fall out if everyone who claims to be a fan doen’t go to the“Atlanta 500”(just to name a race),the old adage of what if the had a race and no one came….my fellow race fans till that day happens King Brian will not listen.

01/04/2008 06:17 PM

Neil Bonnett’s explanation of pushing vs. loose. When you’re pushing, you see the wreck.

01/04/2008 06:55 PM

Great job Matt. Once again,you’ve covered just about all the bases.

As to boycotting a race to get the attention of the Frances as was mentioned in an earlier post, it would take more than just one race.You would need to boycott all the ISC tracks, boycott all the sponsors, don’t buy any souvenirs from the official vendors, skip the concession stands, and listen to the radio rather than watch the races on TV. Then and only then, would you get the attention of the Frances because the ledgers would be bleeding red ink and Lord knows how much this younger generation of France loves money.

Of course, this may end up happening anyways as a result of the ever skyrocketing ticket prices and cost of everything that goes with a race weekend plus the loss of the short attention span crowd and the fad fans that were so dearly coveted down in Daytona. This could very well drive race fans back to their local tracks which are becoming an endangered species as more and more of them fold up because they can’t compete with NASCAR contrary to what Jim Hunter says about the local tracks not promoting themselves. If they had NASCAR’s promotion budget, they could bring in NASCAR races. They wouldn’t need to promote their local talent. But as they don’t have that kind of money, they’ve got to compete again the Goliath that is NASCAR.

So instead of watching the races at Fontana, get out to your local track. If road course racing is boring to you, go to your local track instead of watching NASCAR. There are always options of some sort.

I skip watching several races a year to attend some of the driver reunions and public appearances of the legendary drivers of old.I always have a great time and hear some great stories. This is an option that’s available to some folks here on the East Coast and there are some West Coast reunions also. So you might want to look at these as alternatives.

Daytona Bob
01/05/2008 05:11 AM

Right On Matt! Remember the NFAISC? We do not forget how they used a National Tragedy to profit!! I have not been to the Daytona 500 since. I’ll be at the Rolex 24 and that is it! And I will have a HUGE Cooler :)

01/05/2008 06:32 AM

Dude, You’re stuck in the 1980’s, it’s 2008, GET OVER IT!!! “or better yet, replace it with a three-quarter mile dirt track patterned after Richmond.” That is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, a dirt track for the Cup Series, what are you smoking?

01/05/2008 06:39 AM

“The Top 35 needs to die or change to a lower number or it just may bleed this sport to death.” —— LOL, Waltrip fans, GET OVER IT, HE SUCKS, ALWAYS HAS ALWAYS WILL, IF NOT FOR HIS BIG MOUTH AND HIS BROTHER, HE’D BEEN GONE FROM NASCAR MANY YEARS AGO!!! The Top 35 is a very good rule, it rewards the teams that have been in the sport and makes it hard for “big money”(MW/Toyota) people to come in and push them out! If you don’t like the rule, you don’t understand it’s purpose and should shut-up already!!!

Chad Snelbaker
01/05/2008 07:55 AM

Matt, I cannot agree with you more. Remember the Goody’s Dash Series, yes they were small organization, but I loved their racing on dirt as well as asphalt and they same goes with ARCA. I remember my uncle talking how the NASCAR guys use to race at Silver Springs Speedway and some other dirt tracks here in PA back in the 50’s or 60’s. It might have been earlier than this even. I think they need to get back to their roots a bit and do some dirt races as well redesign some of these tracks like California, Kansas, and Chicago. I can see having one or two of these type tracks, but give me a break. Let’s do another Bristol and Richmond. That would be great as well as some dirt racing somewhere. All it seems now is that these commentators are trying to “sell” you on watching the sport and to like it, rather than it catching your attention and getting you hooked that way. I love racing, but it is getting to the point where it is losing focus of keeping the fan involved and France and his guys doing what they feel needs to be done. WE are what make the sport and we are the ones who can make it or break it. I see a breaking point coming. I know what they are trying to do with the COT’s, but come on man! I want to be able to come close when I go out to buy my car the Ford or Chevy nameplate and for it to almost look similiar to what those guys are racing. Like they saying was back in the day “Race on Sunday, buy on Monday” or something close to that. How are the manufactures going to market their product with a car they can’t produce for the street. Personally, this doesn’t make my decision on buying a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge anymore. They all have little “issues” with them anyways so it all goes down to getting the best deal for my money. NASCAR needs to take a step back and look at it from a different angle. I love the fact they said this year fans threw stuff on the track because Gordon past Earnhardt’s win record. It was Jeff Gordon, the Earnhardt fan’s main enemy at one point. They threw bottles because he won, not to what they thought. It was wrong of course, but let’s get into prospective point of view. It’s pretty bad when the truck races are more fun to watch than the main show itself. The Nationwide Series would get higher rankings too if they took the Sprint drivers out of it more and left the cars alone as well.

01/05/2008 08:49 AM

I think there are a lot of good opinions posted here on this subject and agree with a lot of them but the date and time we live in will not allow for them.Nascar has done well for itself and a lot of people are making a great living from it-crews,teams,owners and drivers so I think the cars are not the problem-hey they are still made in America-even Gibbs doesn’t build those yota’s in Japan.From looking at the article and the post’s I agree with a major problem being the tracks which don’t allow for good competitive racing,also I don’t think these guys are to good to run on the dirt and you see them want to do it for fun so I say add a dirt track or two and add more short tracks the beatin and bangin and close racing is what fans really like to see,if people don’t like to see the wrecks why are they pointing and jumping to their feet when it happens?I still love Nascar inspite of it’s faults and it still gives us watercooler talk as it has all these years.Make the competition better and the rest will take care of itself!!!!!!!

01/05/2008 03:08 PM

Best color man of all time—without a doubt__
NEIL BONNETT. His life ended tragically way too early, a brilliant light snuffed out. He had the cajones to call it what it was, way before Tony Stewart was even heard of. And, of course, his best friend on and off the track, DALE EARNHARDT. What a pair!

01/05/2008 05:52 PM

The chase killed it for me. Who has the most points in 36 races, not 10 is the winner. Jeff may be OK with it, but we are not. JG going for 7 to tie Earnhart, that would have been worth watching this year.
I wasn’t a Jeff Gordon fan, but I am now!

01/06/2008 11:54 AM

Been a fan since ’79 but left around 2003. Getting back into it now after getting sirius as a gift in Feb 07.

If Nascar wants to whoo me….get rid of the Top 35. I don’t even bother with qualifying anymore. Don’t watch, don’t listen. Why even bother? It will slowly kill this sport if not changed or removed.

Oh, and if there is ANY way to take the chase away from ESPN please do it. I watched the first two chase races in ’07, then just listen to the radio. ESPN is terrible.