The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Fan Q & A: Focus On The Chase by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday September 13, 2012

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Frontstretch Fan Q & A: Focus On The Chase

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Summer Bedgood · Thursday September 13, 2012


So apparently people are still complaining about the Chase format, and you can look no further than this very website to see it. It seems like weekly leading up to the Chase and every weekend during NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, I can’t read one bit of analysis from fan nor media without seeing some criticism of the format.

Look, I’m not saying it’s perfect nor was it popular with NASCAR’s base. But aren’t we past the point of the constant bitterness and complaining? It’s the system we have and it, too, will change with time. But expecting NASCAR to go back in time is unrealistic. Make the most of it, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Speaking of the Chase…

Will the MWR teams of Bowyer and Truex be serious contenders in the chase? Thanks.
*Burt B. Lakeland, TN*

Hi Burt!

To put it bluntly, no I do not think either Clint Bowyer or Martin Truex Jr. will be contenders for the championship. Don’t get me wrong, I could easily see both of them getting back to Victory Lane at least once. Especially Truex, considering how close he’s come so many times this season.

However, I don’t think they’ll be able to compete with the frontrunners as of now, who are Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and in my opinion, Brad Keselowski.

Might Clint Bowyer’s win at Richmond and MWR’s newfound speed propel Truex and Bowyer to a Chase championship? Not so, says Summer.

Nevertheless, Michael Waltrip Racing should hold their head high. No one, including myself, thought they’d be doing this well this season and I’ve eaten my words from the harsh criticisms I’ve thrown their way up to this point. I’m sure they’ll continue to get better each and every season. I just don’t think that 2012 is their year.

In your opinion, who will be holding the Sprint Cup Series trophy in Homestead?

I hate making predictions, but I’ll give mine out. Honestly, I can’t look past Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin has been extraordinarily competitive and seems to be peaking at the perfect time, but Johnson has been consistent and has some of the best stats of any other driver out there. Sure his last few finishes might now show that, but I guarantee starting in Chicago he’s going to come out strong.

I’ll go a step further and say I think the final three drivers at the end of the season will be Jimmie Johnson vs. Denny Hamlin, with Brad Keselowski within enough points to snatch it away. However, I do think when push comes to shove, Johnson’s five championships will work in his favor.

I do know one thing for sure though. These guys are going to have to put on a darn good show to even contend with last year’s battle at Homestead. Here’s hoping!

Do you think that there should be more Saturday night races?


It certainly would be nice! Especially this time of year, when the races are attempting to compete with NFL games. Here’s a hint: They will lose. Always.

I know that the concern for this is that it would hurt the local short track races who routinely host Saturday night events. My local short track, Heartland Park Topeka, usually offers kids 12 and under free admission on the weekends of Saturday night Sprint Cup Series races I’m sure other racetracks have similar incentives to get people in the door.

However, let’s eliminate that issue for a second. Saturday night races are pretty much a win-win situation all around. If weather is an issue (like it was Saturday night in Richmond) and rains the race out, it can be moved to Sunday and most people can still attend. Saturday night races also give people an extra day to travel home, possibly opening the door for more people to attend.

And again, that whole TV time slot thing is helpful too. I know just by following my timeline that there are plenty of fans who are either switching back and forth between the games and the race, or tune out the race entirely until about the last 20 laps. Even then, with Twitter, they may not tune in at all if they see the race is boring!

Saturday nights are absolutely the best route for NASCAR to take, especially with this being such an important time in the season. Between that and adding more short tracks, that’d be a change I could get behind!

Connect with Summer!

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Carl D.
09/13/2012 07:38 AM

Wow! Three questions, and I agreed with all three of your answers! Apparently I’m not the disagreeable old curmudgeon my wife says I am.

Saturday night races: Another factor is that in the fall there is usually a marquee college football game on Saturday night that Nascar has to compete with. That’s more of a issue in the south, but the south is also the heart of the Nascar fanbase. I still agree there should be more Saturday night races, but maybe in the summer when it’s hot during the day and it’s not football season.

09/13/2012 09:27 AM

Thank you for answering these questions, Summer.

I’ll never quit my crusade against the Chase. NASCAR wants me to quit, but I won’t make it so easy for them.

Bill B
09/13/2012 12:13 PM

Good answers Summer.

Andrew, I am with you brother. Unfortunately NASCAR is not listening and does not care.

Here is a question… if the Chase is so great why hasn’t it been put into effect in NW and Truck series? Once they stopped allowing cup regulars to stop getting points it seems like a no brainer (since they think the chase format is so wonderful).

09/13/2012 12:22 PM

Fans should just accept and not complain about the chase? You got to be kidding me. The ultimate power of the sport is its fan base, not NASCAR, not the sponsors. If fans feel the Chase format is not the way to go by all means they should complain. If enough fans (the same people that attend races and buy sponsor products) refrain from this activity, NASCAR will get the message and make changes. Why simply roll over and accept the status quo. It is obvious that NASCAR management is every stubborn, but even even stubbornness can be overcome if hit in wallet hard enough.

09/13/2012 01:01 PM

Your probably right about the Chase. Maybe if the 48 team hadn’t stunk it up there would be less hate for it. I’ve learned to live with it, but it still feels like a gimmick more concerned ensuring a close finish at Homestead instead of trying to crown the best team champion.

It just hasn’t fixed the problems it was supposed to. 1) Make winning matter more, No-see Carl Edwards last year or Kurt Busch in 04. 2) Increase parity in the Cup Series, No-one team has won it 5 out of 8 years. 3) Make the end of the season more exciting, Yes and No-the title has always been mathematically on the line at Homestead, but in most of the Chases it would have taken a disaster for the points leader to fail in last race.

Unfortunately, its here to stay. The epic finish last year was probably enough to save it after many in the sport were grumbling to axe it after 2010. Despite what the fan base thinks, unless ESPN and Sprint want it to go it will be around for the foreseeable future.

Carl D.
09/13/2012 01:04 PM

If people had just gave up and accepted the BCS system, we’d never have a college football playoff…. well, we still don’t, but we’re one step closer to getting there.

Viva la resistance!

09/13/2012 01:15 PM

It sucks, it contributes to mediocre follow the leader point racing. Why should I accept something I think is idiotic?

09/14/2012 02:04 PM

I like Saturday night Cup racing. It doesn’t stop me from going to my local short track either. Just DVR the race and watch it the next morning.

Summer, the 3 drivers you named are worthy for the Championship, but I don’t know how anyone, after what happened last year can rule out Smoke as a contender this year.

People hate the Chase because how ridiculous is it that with Tony’s 5 wins in the Chase, he still had to win in a tiebreaker.

And how can people get excited about the Chase when half the races are on 1.5 mile cookie cutters? Chicago is going to be an extremely boring race. Not the best way to start your “Playoffs”