The Frontstretch: MPM2Nite: Answering Questions Nobody Asked by Matt McLaughlin -- Thursday February 10, 2011

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MPM2Nite: Answering Questions Nobody Asked

Matt McLaughlin · Thursday February 10, 2011


One of the quickest ways to ensure a business disaster is to come up with a slipshod answer to a question nobody was asking, anyway. From such endeavors marketing disasters like the Edsel, Pontiac Aztek, New Coke, the Sony Betamax and the softer side of Sears were born. Eventually, we’ll be able to add NASCAR’s Chase point system, which has proved deadly effective in driving loyal customers from the fold to the list, but before you can start totaling up the casualties you have to wait for the train wreck to stop.

So unless you’re totally clueless, loathsome, and spent the offseason clubbing baby seals in Canada (and how are you, Randy G?) you’ve probably heard at least passing mention of the new points system NASCAR has adopted for all three top touring series this season. The winner gets 43 points, second place 42 points and so on down to one point for finishing 43rd. The winner gets a way too small three point bonus, anyone who leads a lap gets a one point bonus and the driver who leads the most laps also gets an additional one point bonus. And presumably, the winner of the most races gets an Edsel wagon equipped with a Betamax player and a cargo hold full of New Coke.

There’s just one problem with the brandy-spanking new points system: it shares the same three fatal flaws of last year’s relic. A driver who finishes third but leads the most laps earns more points than the fellow who finished second but didn’t lead a lap. A driver gets a point for leading a lap even if the race is under caution. And a driver who gets wrecked out early at Daytona (a not uncommon circumstance) but wins the next three races (think Bill Elliott circa 1992) can earn less points than a guy who cruises to four top-10 finishes in the season’s first four races. That’s not just counterintuitive, it’s plain old stupid.

NASCAR made several changes in the offseason, but diehard fans are left wondering if the right one were made to fix what ails the sport.

It’s simpler to understand, Brian France pointed out proudly. Yeah, well a Model T is simpler than a new Mercedes Gullwing, but which would you rather drive from Daytona to L.A.? (Calm down, I love T’s too.) I never had that big of a problem understanding the old Latford points system. I tape a copy of the points awarded per position on the top of my computer and place another on the inside cover of my notebooks every season. And if NASCAR is adopting simplicity, how come the qualifying system for the upcoming Daytona 500 is so bizarre and Byzantine it reads like something Rube Goldberg would have devised while partying with Timothy Leary?

The message I keep hearing from fans and former fans here in this tiny outpost of the People’s Army of the Citizens’ Journalist Corps branch location (stuck right in the frozen tundra of Guthriesville) is that the fans think the racing would be better if winning paid a large points bonus. If you’ve read my ramblings for over six months you know I’m a staunch proponent of a points system that pays 500 points to the winner, 250 points to the second-place finisher, 125 to third, 75 to fourth and so on down to around twentieth place, which would be worth five points. Finish below twentieth, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you, thanks for playing but no soup (er, I mean points) for you. Realizing just about every driver and team is going to have a few DNFs at the end of the season, whenever points are tallied to decide a title a driver’s worst three finishes would be thrown out.

France went on to note another change to the Chase, wherein 11th and 12th spots will go to the drivers in the top 20 in points (after Richmond in Setpember) who won the most races, but missed a top 10 points position (Think Jamie McMurray last year as an example). I’m not a complete contrarian: I actually applaud the thought behind this move. But once again, NASCAR is failing to heed the message fans and ex-fans are sending. The fans who write me here at Eyesore Acres don’t want to see the Chase tweaked. They want to see the stupid thing eliminated, as in go Billy Jo McCallister on the thing and toss it off the Tallahatchie Bridge. No single move would better convince fans that NASCAR does care than scrapping the Chase. After all, last year the Chase accidentally produced a decent finale after all these seasons and the polls I read afterwards still said four out of five fans don’t like the system. I mean, if I’m running a business and four out of five customers dislike a change I’ve made, I’m changing back. Call it the “Ruthanne White-Sharon Malasics” factor.

In the same press conference, our dear friend and illustrious leader Brian (who ought to be bought a one-way ticket to Chocktaw Ridge for a tour of the Bridges of Tippah County) announced major changes to the qualifying system. In the event qualifying is rained out, the field will now be set by final practice speeds. Hooray! I wish I’d proposed the same thing over the last dozen years… oh, right, I did. But here’s the kicker. If qualifying is held (and if qualifying is held and nobody watches, is it qualifying all you fallen trees in the forest fans?) the slowest cars in practice will go out first and so on up to the fastest driver in practice, with the exception of the drivers who must run their way into the field who still go out last. (Again, simple, right? Sort of like Chinese calculus.)

Here’s the message NASCAR missed. The fans who write me hate the top 35 rule that ensures any driver for a team in the top 35 in owner points makes the race. But rather than admit a mistake and scrap the system, NASCAR once again decided to tweak it rather than eliminate it. You can add all the salt and pepper you want to a bullsh*t sandwich, but it still isn’t going to taste good. At this point, the Top 35 rule has made qualifying such a non-event (what hangs in the balance is pit selection) that it has turned grandstands into ghost towns most Fridays. Some tracks, including Pocono have decided to throw in the towel, cancel qualifying on Friday and run it on Saturday as a companion event to the ARCA or Truck races. Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient. I recall an era when on a nice Friday summer afternoon on Pocono race weekend it could take up to an hour to exit the parking lot so many fans attended qualifying. The proper answer, at least for me would have been to just scrap the top 35 rule and let the 43 (and speaking of simple, why 43-car fields?) fastest cars qualify.

Now hold on there a second, Bubba-Louie, some fans proudly polishing their “Fan for almost three years” medallions are hollering. If I’m laying out my hard-earned bucks for a race ticket, I want assurance Jimmie Johnson is going to race that weekend even if he blows an engine in qualifying. Yeah, OK, and if I book a hotel room in Indy next February I want an assurance that the Phil-a-dulph-ya Iggles are going to be in the Super Bowl. It just doesn’t work that way in sports. Not in legitimate sports, anyway, where “legitimate” in this instance means “not run by the France family.”

The key to problem solving is first to correctly identify the problem. Then, you come up with a solution that doesn’t mitigate the problem but eliminates it. The 2011 Cup Series season hasn’t even started yet and I’m already throwing my hands in the air in frustration. Keep your hands in the car, kiddies. This is going to be another dark ride.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

Thursday on the Frontstretch:
Potts’ Shots: Figure-8 Racing And The Story of Big Bumpers
Dialing It In: The Stories You Should Be Watching In 2011
Getting the ‘Cheerleading’ Out of My Journalistic System
Did You Notice? … What The NFL Teaches NASCAR, Pesky Hangovers And Hanging On

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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!

02/10/2011 05:32 AM

Well said, Matt. I agree with almost every word that you said. I wouldn’t advocate for allowing a team’s three worst performances to be dis-allowed, but otherwise you are on target.

As a side note, Randy “need one more?”, “NASCAR Tuna”, “DansMom”, “VolcanoNacho” Goldman has decided to add “Jacob” to his many screen names. So, while I am sure I won’t agree with every word that you write, you will be able to differentiate me from the “other” Jacob, because one of us will sound informed and intelligent, while the other sounds like Randy.

Bill B
02/10/2011 08:19 AM

So you came back for another year of torture Matt, glad you are back (misery loves company).

The only way I am for the fastest 43 qualify with no provisionals is if there were two rounds of qualifying and teams were allowed to do whatever was in their power to make their car the fastest it can be for qualifying (including swapping out engines).
Otherwise there will be teams that set their cars up for qualifying just to get in the race and then they would suck once the race started. That wouldn’t be good for the sport.

I don’t think “4 out of 5 readers dislike the relentless birage of negative media that “journalists” throw at NASCAR on a daily basis”, I think 4 out of 5 fans applaud the media because they are they only ones that say what we are thinking.
I think the problem is that you still haven’t realized that you’re the 1 out of 5 fans. That’s why you need those other screen names when you post; to make it look like there are others that think like you. How about that, you are your own crowd. LOL.

02/10/2011 08:52 AM


Of course there is no doubt as to which posts are mine. Mine read as though they are written by an intelligent person, while your’s read like a retarded child has been throwing a tantrum. By the way, it is spelled B-A-R-R-A-G-E, just for the record.

As for your ridiculous and useless comment, by your own ‘Philadelphia Eagles should only be “locked in” while playing at Philadelphia’ argument, that means that Jimmie Johnson should only be “locked in” at Auto Club Speedway, as he claims El Cajon California as his “hometown”.

Bill B is right, you are too stupid to realize that you are in the minority, and use your multiple names, in order to make yourself feel like you aren’t alone. “Jacob” is your newest addition and I suppose it should make me feel good, after all, as the saying goes: IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY.
The most humorous part of all, is that you aren’t even bright enough to realize that your own words are the BEST ammunition against the very principles that you argue for.

Kevin from PA
02/10/2011 09:08 AM

Well I wondered if Matt would be back – and yes, here he is! Welcome back! I really didn’t know if you would return.

The drivers were point racing before BF’s new point system and they will still be point racing. Nothing like motivating a driver by giving them +1 points if they try and succeed but -15 points if they try and fail.

Think about it: If you boss promised you a $1 bonus if you took on extra work and did well but you would be fired if you did a back job – I think 99% of the people would probably say thanks but no thanks and stay with the status quo. Same thing with the drivers: I can either drive the crap out of my car and gain a few spots but then risk losing spots if I wreck or wear my tires out – OR I can be happy staying where I am and forfeit my extra +1 point.

The top 35 rule is terrible but everyone seems to forget about the old provisional system was even worse. I remember one year Elliott Sadler couldn’t make the field 8 times. But he got in because in the old system you always received a provisional if you stayed in the top 25.

There has to be a better system. I bet if you got 5 real fans together for an afternoon they could probably create something that would work (no top 35 rule but all full time drivers get 3 mulligans each year?). But of course it won’t be BF’s idea so why even bother coming up with something.

This will be a very interesting year. NFL just set record TV ratings. If the Daytona 500 ratings are flat or down, then it really is NASCAR. Of course BF will create some excuse and will make some change in the middle of the year that will result in nothing but will allow NASCAR to claim that they “have heard the fans”.

Final note: I don’t think even 4.99 of 5 fans hates the non-official media. NASCAR has went so far out of its way to bend the truth that the independent non-offical NASCAR sites are the only places that actually deliver real news and opinion. If by “journalist” you mean and the other inside media – then yes I agree. has been unreadable since about 2003.

02/10/2011 09:55 AM

Welcome back Matt. Glad you decided to stick around another year.

As ususal, your ideas are almost spot on. This new points system is even more regressive than the old Lattiford system. At least then there was a points advantage to fininshing in the top five or ten. There was a five point difference between the first six positions, a four point difference between the next five positions, and a three point difference between the rest. There was some (but not enough) reward for fishing higher. Now there is noting but the bonus points.

As far as throwing out the bottom three finishes, your suggested points system would effectively do just that. Every finish below 20th would be discarded by awarding zero points. Same thing would apply to everyone, so it would be fair.

I think the top-35 rule needs to be scrapped. Go back to two qualifying runs and take the fastest. If you screw up twice, you get to go home. Given two chances, if you cant get into the top 43 cars you don’t deserve to be in the race. Make the rule consistent that you have to start the race on the same setup you qualified with too.

Brain Fart needs to think about it for a second and realize that nobody is gunning for wins during the first 26 races. All focus is on staying in the top-12 even if it means cruising to a decent place finish. Better to finish tenth than to take a risk, wreck, and finish 40th. Racers still want to win, but they are discouraged from pushing their cars to the limits because the punishment of failure is much greater than the reward of success. The excitement is gone.

The racing has to come first. If it isn’t entertaining, nobody is going to watch no matter how the champion is decided.

Each race must stand on it’s own. The method of selecting the champion needs to be based on the best combination of individual finishes and should affect race strategy as little as possible. No solution will be perfect, but damn near anything would be better than it is now.

Doug in Washington (State)
02/10/2011 10:02 AM

Randy, think of it this way. If you buy a ticket to a Yankees game expecting A-Rod to play, and he’s not in the lineup, do you just turn around and go home? There’s still going to be a game, just like there’s still a race even if Mark Martin isn’t in it.

Same for any other sport. Sometimes the stars aren’t in the game. Maybe they’re injured, maybe they just got the night off.

I suppose SOME would leave, if they ONLY went to see their favorite player, but they aren’t die-hard sports fans, and you aren’t gonna get a refund anyway.

The T35 isn’t about drivers. It’s about protecting sponsors, but it has horribly backfired, preventing new sponsors from getting into the sport with new teams, instead banking solely on established teams to guarantee exposure. In the NW and Truck series it’s even worse, with Start-and-Park teams who can’t even maintain minimum speed for one qualifying lap getting guaranteed spots over start-up teams trying to break into the sport.

02/10/2011 10:13 AM

Is it just me or is there a lot of negativity and personal bashing going on here on this forum? I thought the point of all of this was to talk about nascar and share some valid insights. While I haven’t been reading long enough to know RandyGoldman that well, I feel like all the other Jacob is doing is personally attacking him. Sounds like someone has some personal issues they have to deal with.

That being said, I am completely for the new points system. The old system was arbitrary and pulled out of nowhere, why is this one any different. At least in this one the numbers assigned make sense.

02/10/2011 10:16 AM

I’ll play the optimist. I think the Chase’s days are numbered. It only survived because it’s tied to ESPN TV deal. I look for it to go after the 2014 season, and hopefully take Sprint with it as title sponsor. Jeff Burton and Bruton Smith hinted at this during the media tour. I agree the change in the points system really doesn’t do anything. It does give a bonus to the winner, but not enough. I’ll give it a chance though and see if it makes a difference. I agree top-35 is obsolete now with so many underfunded teams. No way if you go back to the old provisional system there would be a big risk of a star on a top team missing a race.

02/10/2011 10:22 AM

1. I would observe that an Edsel Wagon is worth playing for. Were that the case I might care about the points.

2. “Chocktaw” is an incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is “Choctaw”. I know because I grew up on the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay and the local High School shared the name— but I’ll forgive you that because maybe you spell it differently where you are, but it is still wrong.

3. “Now I’m old, but I’m not ancient.” You are correct I’m Ancient and it is copyrighted.

4. Everything else you said I agree with, and for the first time in 2011 I herewith dust off my Chase mantra and place it before you: It cannot be mended. It must be ended.

The Mad Man
02/10/2011 11:07 AM

Misery likes company so welcome back for another year of the NA$CAR “Glutton for Punishment Tour” Matt.

As to Mr. 3 Faces of Eve, seek some professional help. It’ll do wonders for you.

Michael in SoCal
02/10/2011 11:29 AM

Get rid of the Top 35. The top 20 positions from the previous race are guaranteed a spot for the next race (Daytona 500 included). Everyone else qualify on time. Daytona can still use the crazy qualifying plus Duels to make up their 43 car field.

Michael in SoCal
02/10/2011 11:35 AM

I’d like to amend my comment above – for the Daytona 500, (or a different race if Daytona is the first race of the year), no guaranteed starting spots. No one cares about last years’ finishes, so let’s start fresh.

02/10/2011 11:37 AM

I don’t like the new points system and would have favored one similar to Matt’s suggestions.

BUT. I’m tired of changes every year. The stick & ball sports wouldn’t survive either if the commissioner toyed with the rules this often.

So keep the Chase and the points system for another five years and let’s just accept what we have.

By that time maybe IndyCar will have recovered and I can watch them instead. If not, I want to the head of NASCAR (BZF is unlikely to last this long) to dump the Chase, go to stock bodied cars (not the Nationwide Funny Cars), and set up a points system that includes only the top twenty finishing positions where 1st place gets a minimum of 33% more points than second. No bonus points for nuthin’.

Mike Locklear
02/10/2011 11:42 AM

The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…One thing that was constant during the growth period of the sport was continuity…Every race was viewed as a Super Bowl, winning a race during a season may make a driver and/or team’s season and the driver who was the most consistent throughout the course of the year was the Point Champion…Did people think any less of Bill Elliott’s 11 win season because he didn’t win the points…He was the Driver of the Year, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, an instant legend but did all that go away because of a late season string of bad luck…No it didn’t…Stock Car racing to the diehard fans was(is) full of nuances and details that not everyone can see during an event, but only those with a trained eye…I really believe that as great of a driver a Rusty Wallace was, he has no idea how to watch, much less call a race…These days the events seemed contrived with all of the cautions and the season ends in the ultimate contrived situation…The points should be like a good old race…many long runs where the leaders tug and pull at each other for the full distance in what will eventually wash out and crown a winner or in the case of the full season, a Points Champion…Those who think it was boring will never get it, ever, and anyone who thinks every week a green/white/checker finish is needed to make a race exciting don’t get it…For me, I am done with it Period…

02/10/2011 11:50 AM

“Stick and ball” sports do change their rules every year. Sports, like everything else, evolve. In all honestly, I think Nascar is one of the most antiquated sports out there. I mean come on, we still use 5 lug nuts. No other racing sport out there uses that many. Nascar could very easily change to a single nut. Why dont they do it? For the fans and for the nostalgia of using “stock” cars.

02/10/2011 12:04 PM

“The bottom line is that diehard fans, which I include myself, have given up on what was a once great sport…”

A) Then why are you here?!

B) I consider myself a “diehard fan” and I still very much enjoy watching the races. Very seldom does a week go by where i dont watch or at least listen to the race on the radio. Therefore, your statement is false.

02/10/2011 12:21 PM

Welcome back, Matt. An opinion on the points system: I haven’t followed Formula 1 or any other series for quite some time, so I don’t know how their points are done. But I do recall how it was done way back in my college days: Winner gets 9; second gets 6; next finishers get 4, 3, 2, 1 respectively. Now, in NA$CAR, with 43 entries, this wouldnt be enough. However, I seem to recall another racing series (was it SCCA? Trans-Am? Can-Am? Formula 5000? I can’t remember) that awarded them as follows: First got 20; second got 15; third got 12; fourth got 10; fifth got 8; and then it was 6-5-4-3-2-1 or something like that. This would make MUCH more sense – note how the difference between the winner and 2nd place is 5 points; between 2nd and 3rd is 3 points; between third and fourth is two points, etc. This would still give points to all finishers in the top ten (or so), but gives enough extra points for incentive to finish higher, rather than “settling for” a top ten. Of course, to keep sponsors happy for some 43 teams, this could esily be adjusted to include, say, the top 20 cars or so. Why can’t they do something like that? Oh, wait – maybe it makes too much sense. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Bill B
02/10/2011 12:38 PM

Re “Someone show me a legit survey that says that over 50% of NASCAR FANS hate NASCAR”.
You kind of made it an all or nothing proposition there, didn’t you?. I would agree with you that most NASCAR fans would not make the unqualified statement that “They hate NASCAR”, but many, many fans would say “They hate the chase”, or “They hate the COT”, or “They hate the top 35”, or “They hate what Brian France has done to NASCAR“etc..
Americans are taught that if they don’t like something then they should make an effort to change it by legal avenues and most importantly through free speech. Many fans have been involved with NASCAR longer than Brian France has so it’s only natural that, while vocally complaining, they are hoping to outlast or oust BF.
You are using the old argument that was so popular among conservatives during the 60’s and 70’s (Vietnam War)… “America, love it or leave it”. Well, very few left. Most stuck around and tried to change it and, to varying degrees, arguably they did.
Just because the establishments makes a decision or policy, doesn’t mean you should get in line and pretend to support it. That why we have sheep.

Bill B
02/10/2011 12:44 PM

Geez, why don’t we just say whoever wins the most races is the champion (providing they attempt to qualify for all 36 races). It wouldn’t be my first choice but it would shut everyone up who doesn’t think there is enough emphasis on winning. Then we wouldn’t need a points system at all.

Oh yeah, and here is a coming attraction…Now that each manufacturer has a unique nose,,, How long before the first articles appear where someone accuses one manufacturer of having an advantage?
Trust me, it’s coming.

Doug (wis)
02/10/2011 12:48 PM

If everything in NASCAR is so great, we wouldn’t have so many people complaining and offering their ideas, right?

02/10/2011 01:01 PM

Welcome back Matt
To bad there are so many ying yangs posting here,that just don’t get it. I guess you need to have been exposed to REAL racing to see how it differs from the “Entertainment” that is being purveyed as racing by ol Brain Fart and his cohorts.
I don’t think people hate na$car they hate what the leadership(and I use that term loosely) have done to the sport. Why is that so hard for newbies to understand??
People will never tire of the truth,and when they see na$car constantly lying they stop going to and watching races,exactly as we have been seeing the past couple of years.
And RG the only badge you should get is one proclaiming “World’s Biggest Dumb A$$” Wear it proudly!!

02/10/2011 01:10 PM

YAY…. welcome back Matt!
I can’t seem to leave either no matter how many times I say, “That’s it, this is so effing ludicrous I can’t take it anymore” I just can’t walk away. No doubt that NASCAR is broken and needs to be fixed in order to more become attractive to the die hards as well as future fans. No doubt some of our “heroes” are better suited to be media spokespersons or actors in commercials than racecar drivers. No doubt the sport is over exposed and there is WAY too much money involved in it. No doubt that most races are too long for the amount of entertainment that they offer. But DAMN a good competitive race gets my blood going.

As a CUP after thought, I abhor the top 35 and I hate the chase, but if we must have the chase, I would modify it in the following manner: Anyone who wins a race is in. Yes, even road courses, rain shortened, a Caution or fuel mileage win gets you in… you just won a race at the top level of stockcar racing, and that’s saying something. Winning a races should be everything in this sport. Didn’t win a race? Sorry, you are not championship material. Points? 2nd place is the first looser… who want’s to be that? Flaws in this… sure… but is it better than what we’ve got… you betcha.
Oh yeah, fastest 40 qualify, 3 “promoter’s options.”

Now how much simpler can that be?

02/10/2011 01:13 PM

i should amend my system with points are only awarded in the chase.

02/10/2011 01:18 PM

EZ, just for my own clarification, what is a “newbie” defined as?

02/10/2011 01:21 PM

I think that Sprint or the networks are the ones that want to keep this Chase garbage. I know France doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb, but you can’t convince me that this is all Brian’s work. Someone is demanding this. Is France a sellout to these people? Absolutely. But I don’t think he is keeping this Chase afloat by sheer stubborness.

For qualifying, if I went to a race and my driver didn’t qualify, I would be bummed but I would still watch the race. If he wasn’t fast enough to qualify, chances are he would have a lousy day anyway, so this justifies to me the fastest 43 should start the race. My only adjustment would be having 2 rounds of quals in case someone hits the wall or has problems on the first run.

02/10/2011 01:35 PM

First, welcome back, Matt. I enjoy your columns and agree very much that NASCAR totally missed the “point” here with the new-simplified points system. Not what I was looking for after last season. Other than Randy, most of us seem to be in agreement that we don’t like the chase points system but Brainless France isn’t even aware that any of the fans don’t like it.

I don’t mind getting rid of the top 35 but I think a champion’s provisional is still a good option to have.

I don’t remember a time when I was less interested in the racing getting started.

Bill B
02/10/2011 01:38 PM

Somewhat arbitrary but I’ll take a shot….
newbie = someone who has been involved in the sport for less than 5 years.
dumba$$ newbie = someone who has been involved in the sport for less than 5 years and think they know more and what best for the sport than those that have been around for more than 10 years,

02/10/2011 01:49 PM

Woohoo! I made the “old school fan” team. I do believe the first race I saw in person was a Martinsville race in 2003. I probably watched Nascar since around 2001.

Do I get an old fart medal like the rest of you guys?!

Don Mei
02/10/2011 01:53 PM

First, let me apologize for the re-print..I’m extremely busy work wise and wading through so much of the verbal bilge here does get tedious. So here goes again..“I am tired of trying to convince you people that winning is what matters and that a point system that pays 90% of the winners points to the guy who finishes fifth is idiotic. That system, combined with the ridiculous chase means we can count on 26 races of most competitors cruising around and trying to stay out of trouble. Why bust your butt or blow up the equipment for another 2%? One of these days youll figure it out. All I know is once its warm enough here to get out on a bike or an old car, I’m gone. Ill catch the results at night on speed or check online, maybe.” TTFN!!!!

02/10/2011 02:28 PM

Welcome back Matt! I have always enjoyed your tell it like it is style.

As usual, NASCAR got it wrong. Again. The Chase is not exciting or fun. Whichever points system is used, WINNING as many races as possible should be the goal. If everyone was running to win all year long, then no chase would be necessary for excitement.

I’m going to watch, using my DVR to skip the repetitive commercials and pre-race ya-ya. Sometimes I just listen to the radio broadcast instead because they have better coverage of all drivers, not just the chosen few.

02/10/2011 02:42 PM

Oh, yeah…I forgot to mention that I was highly insulted by Brian France’s assertion that a simpler system was necessary because we fans are too stupid to understand the old points system. I’ve been a fan since the 1970’s. I learned basic math in elementary school and I can use a calculator.

02/10/2011 02:46 PM

Glad to see you back matt.But i see your little piss ant has found his way also.

02/10/2011 03:34 PM

I am glad you are back Matt, I will continue to read your columns every week.

02/10/2011 03:35 PM

Looks like King Brian fixed something else that wasn’t broken. I personally have NEVER heard anyone complain about not understanding the point system. It was what it was. My list remains the same, dump the chase, dump the top 35, dump the IROC format, the Bud Shootout is for pole winners form previous year, NASCAR should return to being a body that stages a RACE not a marketing arm that puts on a staged performance. They have openly said they are trying to appeal to an 18 to 35 demographic, which explains why they have lost so many longtime fans. As for that Randy Goof, me thinks he should find King Brian and give him a Big wet kiss, that is if he can find him.

02/10/2011 03:56 PM

Not that it matters, but NA$CAR hasn’t done themselves any favors. Just like any “welfare” system, everything NA$CAR does brings the top teams down closer to the level of the worst and take away all incentive to be creative and win.
The “Lucky Dog” was instituted for safety to stop the race back to the yellow – it has turned into a way for NA$CAR to artificially inflate lead lap car counts and to get cars that didn’t do their homework and missed their setup back in contention. I can agree to the “Lucky Dog” only if the first car a lap down is actually running within, say, 5 positions of the leader on the track – which is where you would have needed to be to pass the leader coming back to the yellow in the old system.
Though not a big F1 fan, one thing they have right is points. They have a way bigger emphasis on winning, followed by running near the front. And a 1st and a 3rd still make more points (40) than 2 – 2nd place finishes (36). They also stop counting points after 10th place – so less than half the field get points. With the bigger fields in NA$CAR, you could expand on the concept and award points to the top 20. I mean…really… if a car finishes 21st or 43rd, they still had a BAD day. Propose points to be 40-34-30-27-24-21-18-15-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. No bonus points for leading laps – it’s a race, someone has to lead it on every lap, so those points are meaningless.
No lock-ins for qualifying – if you miss – tough luck. But if a points system like the above was used, missing a race would be no worse than finishing 21st – so not as big of a hit in the standings. Emphasis would be put back on qualifying – Award 2 bonus points for the pole. And get rid of “impound” races. We fans want to see the fastest possible laps with loose qualifying setups and ass-ends hanging out near the wall, not the fastest it can be in stable race-trim.
Just my 2 cents…

02/10/2011 04:07 PM

I personally have no issue with the bonus points for leading a lap. It adds an extra wrinkle into the race (i.e. people staying out to lead a lap).

Side note: I also do-do da cha-cha.

02/10/2011 05:30 PM

Welcome back Matt! Was wondering if you would return. Other than “Octo-Alias” most on here enjoy your take on races, your ramblings on music, muscle-cars and other gasoline powered entertainment….Me included! I am the same age as you …on paper :^) and still have many (way over my marital limit) cars I play with….And I also nearly killed myself 100 times on sleds and 3 and 4 wheelers! Keep up the good work and the good fight!!!

02/10/2011 05:30 PM

Glad you’re back Matt. Why was second round qualifying done away with years ago? Have second round qualifying with no provisionals.

02/10/2011 07:00 PM

Us “old farts” who have been around this racing thing for about 35 or 40 years or so realize that there is a difference between “stock-car racing” and NASCAR. I LOVE stock-car racing. I HATE how NASCAR has used it to line there pockets for the last 15 or so years at the expense of the legacy of the pioneers of it. They change the way a champion is determined, someone figures out how to play the system, then a driver who couldn’t consistently do well in the GN Series, reels off five in a row?

In 1992, four drivers had a legitimate shot at the championship going into the last race. It came down to leading one lap more than the other guy, to get the five bonus points. That was under the point system recently abandoned. You can’t force competition. If you try you create a system that does, someone else can use it to their advantage.

02/10/2011 09:13 PM

Glad you’re back, Matt. Looking forward to your thoughts on the up-coming season.

02/10/2011 09:42 PM

Welcome Back Matt

Once again You are spot on, and only the uninformed and newer fans who have not followed You or the sport continue to bash you and your Fans.

While You are not always right you do have a true love of the sport and want to see it return to its glory days, with packed stands excitied fans talking about last weeks race until after the next race. I remember those days, I also dream of their return.

I like Tim’s idea about F-1 points and want to say I would like for a win and a couple 8-10th place finishes to earn more points then 3 3rd-5th place finishes.

02/10/2011 11:28 PM

Silver State cars at Wilkesboro. 1700 lbs. 700hp no restrictor no chase and DAMN FAST. Who needs NASCAR

02/10/2011 11:39 PM

Sorry, I confused myself, USAC Silver Crown cars will be at Wilksboro. Musta been thinking of Nevada.

Bad Wolf
02/11/2011 07:27 AM

I still don’t understand why everyone who hates Matt so much continues to read, comment about it, and complain. And why bash those of us who actually enjoy the articles put out by Matt? WE’RE the stupid ones for following something we LIKE instead of something we HATE? riiiiigghttt….

RON The Days of Old
02/11/2011 09:51 AM

Matt, nice to see the down time of the off season has brought you back to us. We all were afraid that we had lost one of the only writers left to call it as THEY see it. Will always enjoy the fact that you will write it as you see it and let the chips fall where they may.

I to have become dissatisfied with this “SHOW” that is now NASCAR. Brief history as for where I speak from, I been a fan from the first bakers dozen (13) Talladega 500 races, that’s when the races were ran there in August and you had to drive the car. I have attended races each year through out my life. So unlike some of those writing on this blog, that haven’t been to a total of 13 races, it gives me a perspective to which I can make a comment. This “SHOW” is not and will never be our daddy’s “SHOW”. However that being said the “SHOW” should improve with age, not regress.

02/11/2011 11:40 AM

Glad to see your back this year. I excitedly read your article and practically fell out of my chair with your RG comment. Spot on. What an a$$.

02/11/2011 01:26 PM

Matt – Welcome back. Like some others have mentioned, I wasn’t sure you’d come back. Glad you did.

The new points system will ‘tighten up’ the Chase – simply because there isn’t any significant spread at the top finishing positions. The Latford system utilizes a declining difference as you move down the finishing order (5 points, 4, 3, etc.) so the top finishers start to get a little breathing room as the season wears on. Removing this will artificially reduce the points between drivers in the standings.

As far as JJ blowing a motor in qualifying, in the old days he’d go out in second round on Saturday AM. If he can’t get it done in 2 sessions, then I guess he’d have to go home. The NHRA has made this type of qualifying work fairly well over the years (granted its 4 rounds, typically). If your driver isn’t prone to making the show, you better go watch him race in qualifying…

I’ve always hated the Top 35 rule because it has the unintended side effect where it stifles teams that aren’t in the ‘club’. New sponsors that lower placed teams are trying to court will simply see that they have a shot at eight spots versus 43. Can’t blame them for thinking the deck is stacked against them before they write that check.

02/12/2011 08:16 AM

Welcome back Matt, its good to know 1 of the few people who still write from the heart about nascar is back for another year, keep sharing your opinions, for the real fans that read you, we consider your columns must read every week, for little randi he gets to win an argument against himself every week.

old gal from socal
02/12/2011 02:39 PM

Knew you couldn’t stay away! Looking forward to another year of wit & wisdom, prose & pot-stirring…doesn’t matter if it’s cheers or jeers as long as we’re paying attention, right? Thanks for not leaving us Matt-less on Mondays & Thursdays!

02/13/2011 10:55 AM

Welcome back for the 2011 season, Matt. I was pretty sure you’d be here; but I didn’t expect you to be happy about the state of things. I guess we can all watch Brian France dig a deeper hole for another year. I’m just glad they finally disguised that fishing dock on the lower nose of the Cup cars and made them look more like a racecar again.

02/13/2011 04:48 PM

Welcome back Matt. I’m glad to see that you and Jacob are now dating. I’m also guessing that your column is going to be yet another year of you bi-ching about the state of NASCAR. NASCAR mades changes during the off season. It’s SAD to see that YOU didn’t.

02/13/2011 07:24 PM

Why did people think you were leaving? ‘Tis odd. You know why, too. Eagles said it, You can check out any time you want…

and then there is the nuclear option: Everytime I Think I’m Out They Pull Me Back In

You, Matt, as I, am doomed. And you’re younger than me so you are doomed longer…

02/15/2011 09:03 AM

@ Ancient: This bit from T.O.L. Homestead Recap 11-22-10 is why we thought Matt may not be back this year.

Many of you have written to me asking if I’ll be back next year. Straight answer, I don’t know. Retirement sounds good right now, but then it always sounds good by this point of the season so I give myself the luxury of a couple months’ off to decide what I want to do. But like Diehard movie sequels, I have that annoying tendency to keep coming back. I outlasted my old buddies over at the SpeedFX site (that domain name is now up for sale if you’re looking for an amusing stocking stuffer) and I’d like to think I can outlast Brian France as well before pursuing my next career goal of perpetual saddle tramp on the Harley.