The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off : Fixing a Hole in the Ocean NASCAR Destroyed by Matt McLaughlin -- Thursday May 28, 2009

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On Tuesday, NASCAR held a pair of town hall meetings, reaching out to drivers and team owners for suggestions on how to fix what ails the sport. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail, because I’ve got ideas on that topic like a mongrel dog has fleas. In a way, these sessions proved sadly ironic, as the sport seems primarily concerned about how to re-attract increasingly frustrated and disenfranchised fans whose numbers are shown by decreasing ticket sales and declining TV ratings. But guess which one group of folks wasn’t invited to the meetings? The fans themselves! NASCAR has shown a decidedly egalitarian view when it comes to listening to the fans — and now, that’s coming back to haunt them. By and large, millions of supporters are growing disgusted with the sport that was once a passion for them and, as just another race fan with a soapbox and a cool job, I count myself amongst them.

Yeah, admittedly holding a town hall meeting with the fans would be a rather unwieldy enterprise. Who would decide which fans got to attend? And my guess is that Brian France would get such an ass-scorching at such a meeting, he’d be wearing asbestos boxers the rest of the season and cuddling up with a fire extinguisher when he laid down to sleep at night. In fact, I’d suggest that if he were to hold such a forum, any stout branches be chopped down from trees in the area while participants be frisked for rope before entering.

Call me cynical, but I don’t buy this whole charade, including the new talking point of NASCAR stressing thanking the fans in the stands for coming out after winning a race. I think after most races lately, the drivers ought to be apologizing to all the fans that aren’t there as evidenced by empty seats. But in the interest of constructive criticism, let me offer some of my ideas… though I’m keeping the tar boiling and accumulating bags of feathers by the local railroad track.

Brian France held a town hall meeting with the Cup competitors on Tuesday in Concord, but if he really wants to fix the sport, he needs to listen to the fans’ concerns.

Shorten the Season — The NASCAR season is way too long, longer than any other professional sports season I am aware of. Our season starts the week after the Super Bowl and stretches into the 10th week of the NFL regular season. The glut of races diminishes interest in, and the importance of, every race, while some tracks offer up such pitiful competition year in and year out that they just need to be scrapped. Nobody wants to give up a race date; thus, as I’ve suggested before, the tracks should be split up into regional groupings of three apiece. (Dover, Pocono, and New Hampshire for instance.) Each year, one track in the group would get two race dates and the others would get one. And this road racing idiocy needs to be ended. I’m tired of the argument that stock car racing started with bootleggers running loads on public highways; if that’s the case, I guess the NHRA should be running a few nationals on public streets annually. Also, the two non-points events should be run on the same weekend as the Daytona 500 and the World 600. Ideally, I’d like to see a schedule of 24 points-paying events, one that started in March and ended in early October.

Shorten the Races — The Daytona 500 and the World 600 would be the exceptions, but I think every other race needs to be shortened by at least one third. By their own admission, the drivers and teams don’t even start competing for real prior to the final quarter of the race. Watching cars run in a processional parade for three hours prior to a half hour of actual racing isn’t much fun to watch. Americans’ attention spans are shorter in this age of informational glut and nearly unlimited entertainment options, as evidenced by cable TV networks with 600 channels, YouTube, and Tweets. Races should come on the air by 1 PM ET and end by 4 PM. Sing the song, fire the engines, and start the race.

Reduce Horsepower — It might seem counterintuitive, but higher speeds make for worse racing. If the drivers are balanced on the edge of a razor blade trying to control their cars as they hurtle through corners, you’re not going to have the side-by-side racing which proves the hallmark of our sport. Reduced displacement, lower compression ratios, limits on camshaft lift and overlap, smaller carbs (dare I suggest fuel injection to drag NASCAR kicking and screaming into the modern age…for the millionth time?) and increased weights for internal components could all help limit horsepower to a more reasonable target area of 500 HP without completely stifling an engine builders’ creativity. Getting these pushrod OHV engines to turn at close to 10,000 RPM is an expensive enterprise that is killing the sport. Hell, I’d prefer crate engines to the current madness if it contains costs. And one more time, NFRP! In case, you didn’t get it, the first word in that acronym is No and the last two are Restrictor Plates. You figure out the other one… I’ll be polite and say it rhymes with “chicken.”

Extend the nose of today’s race cars just a tad, and the side-by-side racing pictured above may well become the norm rather than the exception.

Revamp the Cars — Since bringing its Frankenstein of a race car — the Car of Sorrow — kicking and screaming, spewing pea green projectile vomit all over itself and onto the scene, NASCAR had steadfastly refused to allow changes to be made to the ugly little bastards. If you’ve read my stuff for more than a week, you know how I feel about the Car of Horror… but I’m willing to be reasonable to an extent. Team owners have now spent a ton of money on these new cars, and we can’t just scrap the CoT in this current economic climate with sponsorship dollars so hard to come by. So let’s start by tweaking the front clip, allowing a conventional suspension system… not this coil-bound nonsense teams currently run. Folks I talk to who are a lot smarter than me tell me lengthening the noses of the cars, even just a few inches, will dramatically reduce the aero-push condition that makes passing all but impossible these days. And for God’s sake, let’s send those rear spoilers to charity to be used as picnic tables for Munchkins. Put a blade type spoiler back on the cars…

As a car guy, aesthetics in vehicle design are as important to me as cold beer and 99 cent burgers (the breakfast of champions.) Yes, some people are going to debate my tastes, as I regularly drive an old Pontiac with a screaming chicken decal on the hood. But while beauty is skin deep, ugly goes right to the soul. I’d estimate that the life cycle of a new race car is about three years (unless it’s running in close quarters with Michael Waltrip while trying to lap him.) So let’s start phasing out the CoT just as it was implemented — starting at the short tracks — while working our way back to more conventional-looking and acting race cars with Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger bodies. I want those bodies to be virtually indistinguishable from their street counterparts, right down to the grilles and outside rear-view mirrors. Yeah, it might seem insane, but sometimes objects in the rear-view mirror really are closer than they appear.

Revamp the Points System — If a driver who finishes second is only going to lose 10 points to the winner, what’s the risk / reward ratio to making a no guts, no glory pass on the last lap? In a perfect world, I’d like to see the emphasis of winning a title diminished and the emphasis put back on winning races. But that’s not going to happen now that NASCAR has embraced the Chase, a cancer on the heart of racing. So, let’s change things to make winning a race at least 100 points more than finishing second. A win should earn far more points than a top 10, and a top 10 finish should earn a ton more points than a finish outside the top 10. Any finish outside the top 20 should earn no points at all, and at the end of the season drivers should be able to drop their worst three finishes from their tallies.

Leading laps should carry a lot higher award, as well. The driver leading the most laps should get 25 points, the driver leading the next highest amount of laps should have 15, and the driver who leads the third highest amount of laps gets 5.

Finally, any driver winning a race should get an automatic bid into the Chase, and any driver who fails to win during the regular season shouldn’t race for the title. You want to talk about turning up the intensity in the final few races before the Chase? Consistency is good in investment strategies, choosing a mate, and raising rug-rats… it just makes for crummy racing.

Reopen the Garage — It’s been a pet peeve of mine for many years, but it seems the downturn in our sport coincided with NASCAR deciding the garage area was off limits to fans, thanks to Tony Stewart’s caterwauling about claustrophobia. I still had regular access to the garage area, but I felt the fans were being slighted. No, I’m not suggesting that the gates be thrown open to all who wish to enter, but there should be some fan access to the inner-sanctum — be it by lottery or any other method other than who is willing to pay the most bucks, as long as they handle themselves with a degree of decorum.

These drivers need to understand (as they once did) that the fans buy the sponsor’s products. The sponsors spend some of that money backing race teams. The sponsors make the drivers millionaires. Without the fans (and they are leaving in record numbers), the whole business model is just more sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground. Hey, let the track promoters tell fans if you buy a ticket, 50 of you will be allowed garage area access and we will let you bring one guest. You’ll get five minutes of one-on-one time with your favorite driver, a tour of a NASCAR hauler, suite access for the race, a chance to attend the driver’s meeting, and a T-shirt autographed by all 43 competitors. 50 winners among all the tens of thousands of tickets sold doesn’t give a fan a great chance of winning… but state lotteries aren’t going broke because the odds suck. You buy a ticket, you have a shot.

For one weekend, you get a chance to feel like the principals in NASCAR give a crap about you. And maybe five lucky winners during the season get to attend the text “Town Hall” meeting to address the future of the sport.

After they’re frisked for rope, of course…

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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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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05/28/2009 02:12 AM

This is at least the 4th site (10+ yrs) I’ve read your work on, and agree with 75%+ of your comments.
Let me address only the ones in this article

1. Shortening the season, this sounds like a good idea that would allow for more rain dates if needed, and maybe also help The Fans by allowing them to only buy 1 set of tickets every 3rd year. While I’m not a big road course fan I believe it helps round out the Champion, (or it did before the chase).

2. Shortening Races
For the TV fan this is a great idea, (I might get something done on Sundays besides the nap the races seem to produce)But for the many Fans to pull campers or stay in motels because of extended drives, I/We need more then 2 to 3 hrs of entertainment to justify the trip. That is my problem with some of the lower non nascar series(ASA, Lucas Late Model etc) I can not drive 3+ hrs each way to watch a 2 hr program.

3.Reduce Horsepower
Great Idea, I have wondered why this has not been done at Daytona and Talladega for years. Yes you have initial start up cost for build the new engine, but if this removed the plate and the Big One look at the cost savings and the Drivers and Fans safety.

4.Revamp the cars
I had hoped this car would improve the racing, so far I do not believe it has. Still to aero sensitive, drivers can not touch each other with damage. I like to see good Hard Side by Side racing. Like Earnhardt, Bodine, Richmond and the Like gave us in the 80’s. To all the newer Fans no every race was not a Classic or even Great, (I did not take a nap because I never knew what could happen next).but the were also not rare to see.

5.Revamp points
I agree something needs to be done to encourage racing for the win every week instead of the points racing for the Championship we have now. But I would hate to see the Champ win 5 or 6 races and blow up 4 or 5 races.
Why not take $5 million of the Champ payout and spread it over all the point races roughly $139,000 per race and add that to only the winner purse.

6.Reopening the garage
Great Idea, would be nice to see some of the Hard Working Blue Collar FANS who sit in their seats (through the rain)and in hrs of traffic get into the pit. Instead of the big money stay in their RV until race time fans.

Great article Matt, keep up the Great work.

Lunar Tunes
05/28/2009 02:36 AM

Hey wcfan,
Not all of us are ‘big money stay in the RV until race time’ fans….

Alot of us are low budget, stay in/around the RV until race time cuz we spent most of our wad on just gettin the ‘old girl’ there and we still got to drive X number of hours to get the old girl back home again so we got no extra money to do anything else fans! You know, the ones nascar cares so little about!

Gary Hammond
05/28/2009 05:55 AM

As a former fan of 45+ years, these 5 things MUST happen before I’ll ever give NA$CAR the time of day again:
1. Sh*tcan the chase for the chump points scam.
2. Put THE Southern 500 back at Darlington on Labor Day.
3. Put Rockingham back to its rightful place on the schedule.
4. Toyota MUST go. (They make a fine car but have NO PLACE in NASCAR)
5 Brian France HAS TO GO.
These are non-negotiable.

05/28/2009 06:12 AM

Reducing horsepower has been tried , many times in many ways . But horsepower always seems to increase again . Thats what engine builders do . So scratch that idea .
Using a longer nose on the COT would make the aero push worse .
Tony Stewart is responsible for the garage area being off limits to fans ?
The garage area was closed to the fans before Tony Stewart was born , so forget that idiotic excuse . The garage area has always been used by Nascar as the” carrot on a stick “ for autograph hungry fans . Nascar strictly controls access to the garage area , and suddenly it becomes a “must get into “ area . In truth NHRA has always had a completely open pit area with total fan access to drivers and crews and guess what ? Its never caused a problem in the 50 plus years they’ve been doing it . All it takes is buying a pit pass . The IRL has a similar policy toward driver/fan interaction . But Nascar uses the exclusivity of the garage area as a marketing tool , and as a special reward . Thus we are treated to all of the hayseeds in the background of every driver interview ,waving wildly while talking on their cell phones to see if they need to move to the right to be in the camera shot . On second thought , maybe the garage area should be even more tightly controlled .

Bill B
05/28/2009 07:08 AM

Why bother. Nothing is going to change. While I agree there are a lot of things that need “fixing” in NASCAR these “what NASCAR needs to do” articles are becoming an exercise in futility.

05/28/2009 08:00 AM

Matt, I agree with some of what you said and disagree with other things, but you left out the top three reasons for NASCAR’s steady and growing decline:

1) FOX
3) TNT

The broadcasts are horrible and getting worse by the week. Tune in to a Fox broadcast and the absolute constant corporate shills covering up the racing make it a miserable experience. Until fans get to see more racing and fewer ads…and less of an idiotic gopher…the ratings are going to continue to fall.

05/28/2009 08:05 AM

Good article, Matt, but I agree with Bill B. Everyone is talking about this, but nothing is happening. France will do nothing to “fix” the sport for the fans. I have given up on it. I like the racing in the IRL, although few others seem to. I’ve turned to the ALMS and road racing as well. I don’t care about “championships,” just the individual races. I couldn’t tell you who the champion was last year or the year before in any sport. Golf picked up the “chase” mess and I don’t know anyone who cares. Just let NAXCAR die. When it starts over, maybe someone will do it right.

Mike in Floyd Va
05/28/2009 08:20 AM

Shortening the races? That only keeps the short attention span crowd interested, providing they haven’t changed channels after the first commercial or Digger appearance. Races are supposed to be about the endurance of both man and machine. So leave the race lengths the way they are.

A former champ once said to me “We used to beg fans to come to the pit and garage area. Why charge them for something they rightly deserve?” It is a marketing tool nowadays.Why should I pay big bucks for something that is only for a cold pass and that won’t necessarily include any drivers being around? I do like the idea of the raffle, etc. based on the current regime running things. It would give some lucky fans access.

I’m all for putting stock sheet metal back on the cars. The last two generations of cars haven’t really resembled anything on the street. The present monstrosity is more aero dependent than the car it replaced. Simple things like changing the steering points and using an Indy mod for the wing could make the racing exciting again and give the drivers something they could control.

Lowering the HP might seem like a good idea but it’s been tried before and every time some engine builder finds a way to get more HP out of the engine. Using crate engines would turn this “One Car Fits All” brands beast into a true spec car and spec racing series. Look what happened to IROC and the ASA.Enough said there.

In the end, the only time changes will be made is when it severly impacts NASCAR’s pocketbook. Until then, it’ll be business as usual.

Get rid of the Nepotistic Nincompoop and put somebody in there to run NASCAR who knows what racing is supposed to be about and not just for making yourself look good to the media.

05/28/2009 08:28 AM

Something I just don’t understand! (of course there are many, but lets just start with one).

What I don’t understand, is why NA$CRAP has to call a “special meeting” to discuss it’s ill’s!

ANY, and I do mean ANY, CEO that runs an organization ALWAYS knows what’s going on and affecting his organization!


In the case of NA$CRAP, it is in the papers everyday, it is on the internet everyday, it is in the talk media everyday!

Why does this idiot Brian France have to call a “special meeting” to discuss what’s wrong with the sport?

This makes no sense whatsoever!

It’s like he just climbed out of a cave and says “what’s going on”?

Of course that could be the case, as his cave has a really nice bar in it I understand!

05/28/2009 08:40 AM

I love the article and agree with most of what was said. The only disagreement I have is awarding all race winners a spot in the Chase. What if the “Big One” happens at the Daytona 500, taking out 15 good cars, and Dave Blaney wins the race, he can go back to starting and parking the rest of the year, only to get an automatic bid into the chase. shudder to think about that.
There does to be more of a premium on winning and running up front. I am so tired of hearing drivers say “we had a good points day today,” or “We’re happy with our top 5.”
I would also like to see a better selection of tracks. One race looks like another that these 1.5 mile tracks. We need more tracks with character like Darlington or Rockingham.

05/28/2009 09:13 AM

another 50 year fan (was) here noting that when the garage area became off limits, the drivers started wearing those dumb assed, prima donna sunglasses. nothing like trying to hide from the fans.
Isn’t it interesting that a meeting was finally held with drivers and owners only after his majesty noticed his crown was falling off and now wants the the people he snubbed to try and fix thing? boo hoo, brian

Joe D'Antoni
05/28/2009 09:15 AM

The other current fixes I’d like to add, are make the car lighter. 3000 lbs is a good number.

05/28/2009 09:17 AM

Matt – it all sounds good; but, nothing will happen unless NASCAR wants it to change. They seem to be seeking a solution that will help them bring back fans while not really changing the essence of what they’re currently doing. I’m particularly fond of the points and race length suggestions you made.

For those that want everything put back the way that it was, you’ll continue to be disappointed… sorry.

And, for one more reform – fastest 43 only. No top-35 crap. Maybe this will cut down the number of teams; but, maybe that’s not such a bad thing – fewer, but healthier teams.

mr ed
05/28/2009 10:07 AM

ONCE UPON A TIME Brian the Arrogant held court and heard what the kingdom had to say then he the bringer of the great COT had the great words of wisdom Praise the Arrogant or be like mayfeild or Long or R.Gordon.And the kingdom heard the Arrogant and said we understand the drug policy and the COT is perfect we just can not drive.We were wrong to complain and that is why the stands are empty and the TVs are watching anything but the races of the great COT .So now we praise the Arrogant and like the TV hosts pimp the great racing. So peace and shut mouths once again roam the kingdom of Brain the Arrogant and the great racing will began. THE END

Steve Cloyd
05/28/2009 10:09 AM

Take them off and leave everything off. A total reliance on down force for grip is what is slowly ruining all types of racing in my opinion. Aero-push is not unique to NASCAR. Make them find grip mechanically, I say.

05/28/2009 10:53 AM

Lunar Tunes
Sorry if I offended you, If you would reread my comments you would see that I too take my RV. I was talking about the many newer fans who spend all their time in the RV, not around the campfire meeting new people.
When I agreed with Matt about lower HP, I was meaning lower cubic inch, say to 283-289 range. I’ve always believed cubic inch = HP all things being equal.
Someone above hit it on the head when he said after the meeting the drivers suddendly total understood the drug policy and once again loved COT.(sounds like last years meeting at MIS)
I do not remember these types of meeting when Big or Little Bill ran Nascar(I believe they tried to fix something before it was truly broke unlike the current Daytona stooges.)

05/28/2009 11:24 AM

if your a true nascar fan shut up and enjoy if not go watch irl or nhra

05/28/2009 11:35 AM

I know I’m getting away from the topic at hand, but mit ties in as to what’s wrong with nas$car. I just read where nas$car fined and took points away from Robbie Gordon. Boy, don’t they go after the little guy lately. The teams that can afford it least. Whose next? Dave Blaney, Joe Nenachek, maybe Tony Raines?

05/28/2009 11:36 AM

I’m gonna disagree with you, Matt. You want better racing, but shorter races? If we have better racing, then there’s no reason to shorten the races.

Same with shortening the season. If we have better races, then your reasoning for shortening the season goes out the window too. And quite frankly, i’m sick of all the comparisons of racing with other sports. This ain’t football. This ain’t baseball. Quit trying to be the NFL and get back to worrying about RACING.

Funny thing is, everyone says they want more exciting racing, want more competitiveness, want more drivers to have a shot at the win, but look at all the complaining about Talledega. Any way you slice it, that was an exciting race, and I enjoyed seeing Keselowski get the win. yet most columnists and a lot of fans complained about that.

And let’s be honest – we like to see wrecks. It’s not politically correct to say it, and a lot of columnists put up this phony front about it, but fans like to see wrecks. They’re exciting. Sometimes they’re scary (Edwards) or tragic (Earnhardt), but that element of danger is what draws the fans in, what brings the casual fans to watch and as they watch more, they become more dedicated fans.

In the end, the ‘Chase’ is the achilles heel of NACAR. It’s a joke. it’s a stupid way to determine the champion, and it turns the focus from winning the race to conservative points racing, and THAT is the single biggest thing wrong with NASCAR today.

As for changing the cars, I’ll agree with you on wanting the cars to look like the ones we see at the dealerships, but then again, 99% of the cars at dealerships these days are just as conformist and ugly as the COT.

I don’t have the knowledge to comment much on the engineering and design of the cars. But I do see a problem with that rear wing. It looks to me like it’s the reason for cars flipping and going airborne anytime they start going backwards up the track at speed.

And while I keep seeing people say they should switch from carburetors to fuel injection, I have yet to see an explanation of WHY they should.

As for Toyota, let them race. Let any manufacturer who wants to, race. Nothing in NASCAR as it is today has any relevance to the manufacturers anyway.

Lunar Tunes
05/28/2009 11:56 AM

LOL @wcfan!
No worries mate! I was NOT offended by your comment at all. Just trying to point out that the majority of people in the surrounding campgrounds are some of the best people you’d ever want to meet (some also are not!) as you no doubt know. No need to apologize!

Dans Mom
05/28/2009 12:08 PM

Quality racing should be rewarded by consistency, not a flash in the pan. Winning qualifying you for the chase can NOT qualify you to win the championship. Otherwise, the winner of the second race of the year could take 8 months off and still win the championship.

Now, winning one of the 4 “major” races as qualification for the chase (as long as you stay in the season top 20 in points) makes sense. Daytona 500, COKE 600, the Brickyard, and Richmond (of whatever race ends up right before the chase). Winning one of those, or being one of the top 10 drivers to win any race that year, puts you in the hunt for a championship

05/28/2009 12:18 PM

I agree with Gordon82Wins
that the TV coverage has turned me off, I am not a newby to nascar racing and I never missed a race on TV until a few years ago I love racing and watch all racing when it’s on except nascar, they make the drivers look like clowns not the talented jocks that they are. Who the hell is the jerk called rutlidge? What does he add to anything? He is the main clown next to Larry McReynolds.

Kevin S
05/28/2009 12:25 PM

OK – great that a meeting was called. But am I only the one who thinks this meeting is about 2 years too late?

If NASCAR was being run with any forethought, they could have seen the grumblings and growing disinterest years ago. But instead they wait until the fire has spread before worrying about buying buckets to put the water into.

I used to work for a company like that. Used to because they went bankrupt.

05/28/2009 12:34 PM

Re. Gary Hammond’s comment:

Take away the Toyotas (Camrays sold here ARE made in the US by US workers), and what’s left will be Fords (holding their own for the time being—that’s good) the Fiats, and Obamamobiles, aka Government Motors.

Maybe the Democrat party could sponsor Junior’s Obamamobile. Then, I suppose, all would be well.

05/28/2009 12:50 PM

Yes Nascar is a big hole in the ocean. When Earnhardt Sr., Davey, Cale, Bobby, Richard and others raced they raced a man’s race (touch, intimidating, race to win, achieve the dream of a Nascar win, bump and run, draft, etc.). The COT’s are stupid, they are a wasted piece of $$$ (but not in Nascar’s pocket. ) The chase sets you up for a disappointment! About like qualifying (where you give the top 35 a spot in the race, what happened to the ‘top’ qualifiers). Make them earn the race spot in qualifying. Then there is fining the little guy, who well can afford to be fined; but the big teams don’t get much fines and they get away with the tricks of the game. Then Nascar doesn’t publish what they found or fined them for – imagine that. Then there is TV – select one station that all ‘fans’ can watch/see and stick with them. And how about giving “ALL” the teams a chance to be seen on TV, Their sponsors shown, talking to the big and little drivers and teams. I don’t like to see the jeff and jimmy show every race. There is a lot of teams and their sponsors deserve a chance to be seen and heard. Pan thru the field of race cars—show them all during a race. Talk with the various crew chiefs and owners of all race teams. Get rid of some of the ‘goofy’ reporters you now have. Then there is the ‘jobless’ness of Nascar and the teams – where did those 900+ jobs go all the sudden; well into the team owners pockets, crew chiefs and drivers only. Hire these non-experienced young guys to work and they don’t know what the heck they are doing (besides messing up a team’s chance to make it good/big). Those guys (10+ yrs. experience) deserve a fair chance to work. they have years of experience and a willingness to work hard and achieve a dream, not based on a ‘i look good’ attitude. Not base getting a job on the who-you-know in the sport; but honestly look at the resumes and give the guys/mechanics-engineers-fabricators-etc. a chance at a job. yes, i think they now understand they will take a pay cut. Bout like the garage and pit passes, and pit lizards (how’d they get in there??). I’ve heard sponsors of cars even say “hey there goes a pit lizard working up the food chain” — what about them. Brian sure ain’t like his daddy or grandfather. Let’s get some of the older racers opinions, dreams and ideas back into Nascar. Let’s get back to RACING like NASCAR used to race. Thanks!!!

Jonathan Wiliams, Cocoa Beach, FL
05/28/2009 01:34 PM

Here’s an analogy- If Heinz started putting water in their ketchup bottles but still called it ketchup, would people continue to buy it? NASCAR became famous for “Stock Car” racing, but no longer races “Stock Cars”, and now they are surprised that business is declining. Or in Brian France speak; they’ve gotten away from their core product.

Kevin in SoCal
05/28/2009 01:47 PM

If you have that large of a margin between first place and second place, you will have endings like Edwards vs Keselowski every race as drivers run over each other trying to get to the front. Is that what you really want?

05/28/2009 02:46 PM

How to fix NASCAR?

1- Fire Brian France

2- Fire Mike Helton

3- Cut all tracks back to one race each, including Charlotte, Daytona, and Talladega.

4- At least bring back The Rock and North Wilksboro

5- Reduce the engines to what most people actually have: V6’s. And change to fuel injection! The last car I had with a carburetor was a 1980 Ford LTD!

6- I like the idea that at least have the bodies use stock sheet metal. I can see the need for using full frames, but at least make the bodies STOCK.

05/28/2009 03:30 PM

If you have that large of a margin between first place and second place, you will have endings like Edwards vs Keselowski every race as drivers run over each other trying to get to the front. Is that what you really want?

How about finishes like tje one between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven at Darlington, or Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards last year at Texas, or Bobby Labonte and Dale sr. at Atlanta. Isn’t that what you really want?

05/28/2009 05:33 PM

I may be getting too old, but I believe the racing was much better with BIAS PLY tires! In my mind, the RADIAL tire ruined racing! I watch races on ESPN Classic and see Harry Gant running against the wall, Darrel Waltrip hugging the bottom and Dale Earnhardt Sr. SMOKING the right rear tire in the middle —- AT BRISTOL!!! Yes, three wide at Bristol with Earnhardt dead loose! You cannot do that with the radials. In today’s racing, if the car is loose – it snaps around and you’re in the wall; thus, they set the cars up tight which compounds the aero tight condition.

Bring back Bias Ply race tires — bring back the “feel” for the drivers — bring back the ability to race a ‘loose’ car.

05/28/2009 07:28 PM

The current nascar overlords have taken the fans for granted.

Anybody remember the glorious years of Winston Cup when the sport was growing by the day? Anywho…

Yes, shorten the season. It should be over when the NFL season starts.

Yes, shorten MANY of the races but NOT at short tracks.


Personally I’d dump Auto Club Speedway. Or at least move it away from after the 500. What a joy kill after the big race.

NO PLATE RACING! It’s a crap shoot anyway. It’s NOT racing.

I can do without the chase. It hasn’t provided any excitement for me to stop watching the NFL. Drivers still points race just like the other system. I TOTALLY HATE points racing and “it was a good points day”.


05/28/2009 09:58 PM

Brian said he wanted to get back to the roots of NA$car. OK, Everyone pretty much agrees that California has never put on a good race. Fine, haul in some dirt, & really get back to the roots. A whole lot of the newbie fans have never seen a dirt race. Some drivers never raced on it. Everyone is blaming the current car. While it’s no great shakes. The cookie cutter tracks have to share a lot of the blame. With the incestuous relationship between NA$CAR, & ISC. we’re pretty much stuck with them. I strongly disagree about the Road courses. Anything not a cookie cutter, or not Indy, I look forward to.

05/28/2009 10:54 PM

I’ve been following racing since Darlington was a virgin and Daytona was run on the beach, so maybe I’m senile, but….
Stock-bodied Fords, GMs and Mopars running on DOT tires, burning pump gas in production based engines. Get rid of all the rule gimmicks and race 300-400 miles. The guy who crosses the finish line first wins, and if you get lapped, you get lapped. Better luck…or better driving, next time. It’s called stock car racing…how novel.

05/28/2009 11:22 PM

I consider the above picture proof positive King Brian is wired on cocaine.

Michael T.
05/28/2009 11:38 PM

While I despise all the goofy gimmicks (like the gopher and the Hollywood Hotel), these aren’t new to the sport. Watching ESPN Classic the other day, the race was the 1989 Dover race. They cut from the racing action to show a “Short Track Racing Rap Video.” It was painful to watch. Even Bob Jenkins was making fun of it after it played.

Then there was that stupid, “What is Benny stuffing in his fat face this week?” And I remember some stupid “western” skit starring Earnhardt and Wallace before a race in Phoenix. So even back in the hayday, they had stupid gimmicks littering up the race.

05/28/2009 11:46 PM

KSipe. Ya put it all in a nutshell. Now figure out how to CC it to the Crowned Prince and he can forget all these “meetings”.

05/29/2009 02:00 PM

Matt, The only thing I know is if they shorten the races I will start dropping the tickets I go to about 6-10 races a year and been doing so for 30 years and it will be 0 real quick.

05/29/2009 05:32 PM

MATT – I always enjoy your columns, and I agree with everything you say (you just say it better than I can). I also strongly agree with all the comments by Gary Hammond; Scrap the Chase format, bring back Rockingham and the Labor Day race at Darlington, and get rid of the Toyotas. But most important, get rid of that mental midget Brian France. He must have the IQ of a retarded turnip.