The Frontstretch: To All The Bored NASCAR Fans Out There... Patience Is A Virtue by S.D. Grady -- Tuesday July 28, 2009

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To All The Bored NASCAR Fans Out There... Patience Is A Virtue

Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Tuesday July 28, 2009


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Boring. Tedious. Wearisome.

These are adjectives continually assigned to NASCAR races. It seems that we, the fan, expect to be entertained every week with side-by-side racing, last lap passes, on-track rivalries, and finishing orders that materially affect the Chase. It’s clear that we’d rather not watch a 400-mile event where a single car drives away with a five-second lead, such as Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

Well, if watching the 36-race parade isn’t managing to live up to our expectations… what would? Why do we tune in only to spend the next five days degrading the waste of a Sunday afternoon? Are there acceptable alternatives?

I’ve heard it often enough: “I’d rather spend my afternoon washing the car.” I may have said it more than a few times myself.

So, why don’t we?

I don’t know about you, but my time spent in front of ESPN and SpeedTV isn’t usually a portrait of somebody glued to the set. Even if I go back a couple decades to the infancy of my addiction to all things stock car, there really wasn’t an expectation that Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt would provide all the entertainment for the day. NASCAR was more of a backdrop to afternoons while I waited for the evening’s excitement to begin. Maybe something thrilling would occur on the newfangled big screen TV with the cable box on top… but maybe not. It didn’t take but one season for me to learn that as tense as the announcers sounded, most of the time there were a bunch of cars burning an insane amount of fuel and eating tires like there’s no tomorrow.

Even today, I will open a book, do the dishes, fold some laundry, and feed the cats while the familiar commentator’s voices walk the cars around the track. The faces are different, the cars are burdened by that silly wing, and the locations have moved. But no, I’m not holding my breath for a visual feast to start. I’ve come to accept that there is a greater likelihood of seeing door-to-door competition by watching Monster Trucks.

NASCAR has its share of boring races — like this weekend in Indianapolis. But it also has its exciting moments… and that’s what brings fans back.

However, there are a great many things that I look forward to during a race weekend, and if I’m honest, somewhere along the way I will find several things to talk about.

Maybe Juan Pablo Montoya was not the first driver to tuck an Indy 500 and a Brickyard 400 under his belt, but it was fun to watch him try. His diatribe after he missed pit road speed was certainly worthy of a Monday morning sound bite. And no, Mark Martin did not manage to add yet another victory to his stellar year. Even the disappointment of watching a champion continue to be a champion couldn’t entirely kill my enjoyment of the weekend. Why?

Because there’s a great deal more to racing than Sunday afternoon.

Perhaps the Truck Series does not garner the headlines the Cup boys do, but they certainly deserve greater recognition. Hornaday’s four-in-a-row on Friday Night was everything we love! Heck, the Saturday night Nationwide race provided enough fodder for the racing gossips to chew on for the week all by itself. Between Carl and Kyle’s continued battle for the first and second spot and absolutely on-your-feet-move-over-so-I-can-see final laps for the rest of the field, I just wasn’t that let down by Sunday’s naptime.

The hours were filled by catching up on all the Silly Season drama that continues to unfold, and it appeared that an alien had landed in Kyle Busch’s head. Who finally issued media interview answers to the boy?

Let’s face it. The cars can’t always be ready to wreck. The rookies will rarely make a good showing. Your driver isn’t likely to win, unless you’ve signed up with the Hendrick Domination package, and until the gigantic corporate sponsors vanish into the mists of the damaged economy, the commentators won’t sound like they can’t believe so-and-so kept their car off the wall.

But, come next Sunday afternoon, I will have a nice lunch with the family, set out the cold drinks, turn on the television, and lean into the next day in NASCAR. The engines will rev, the flags will fly, the hours will pass by in pleasant conversation, and if I’m lucky… something worthy of note will happen.

After 20-odd years of cheering, I’ve learned something usually does.

Contact S.D. Grady

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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
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07/28/2009 08:28 AM

Spoken like someone that always watches a race on TV, not in person!

The REAL issue as regards the extremely poor racing as provided by NA$CRAP these days, are the folks of old, like myself, that really, really, want to go to the track and buy a ticket to see “real & exciting racing”!

That, is the problem!

And then patience, is not a virtue! It, patience, then becomes “frustrating” waiting for change to happen!

Thank you King Brian Farce!

Joe C.
07/28/2009 09:28 AM

Yes, there is a great deal more to racing than Sunday afternoon. And, there’s a great deal more to Sunday afternoon than racing (hee hee).

07/28/2009 09:54 AM

I attribute my decline in watching races (probably 33%) is lame Fox programming coupled with even lamer COT racing. When you miss the majority of the races at the beginning of the season you are less vested in seeing the outcome. Unfortuntely watching NASCAR is like flipping through a lousy paperback at this point

Don Mei
07/28/2009 12:01 PM

Sorry, SD but Nascar is afflicted in most cases with terminal boredom. The reasons are many and too complex to go into any detail here but the inflexibility and just plain ugliness of the COT, the new generation of “corporate spokesmen” drivers, the Chase and the premium it places on playing it safe instead of going for the win, the hideousness of plate racing…I could go on and on. Ive been a Nascar fan for some 40 years or so; now I never watch an entire race on TV…if I think of it I may watch the last 50 laps or so ,if I’m not watching something else. Its too bad really…the new sanitized, parity conscious Nascar is certainly a money machine but I’m afraid boredom is its middle name.

J Furjanic
07/28/2009 12:39 PM

I was at the Truck race @ IRP and it was one of the best I’ve seen. There was actual passing, few cautions and two of the best ever in the trucks fighting it out for the win. This is the most underrated series in NA$CAR!

07/28/2009 01:12 PM


What I hope is that NA$CRAP will actually read what is being said about their STUPID racing as it is today!

And my first comment for them????


Hope you read that NA$CRAP!

The gauntlet has been thrown!

Want to know why?


07/28/2009 07:28 PM

damn, where do I begin.

It really is the cars… and the tracks… and the rules… and the FOX commentary… and the vanilla drivers, that prevent me from watching.

Friday night Truck race? I watch every lap from my couch, not flicking except during commercials, and doing nothing else. Because every lap IS exciting.

I do the same for a lot of World of Outlaws Sprint/LM racing… SPEED World Challenge… ARCA, when it’s on a short track… I even pay full attention to most Grand-Am (non-enduro) races for the whole thing.

I used to watch Cup races all the way through, other than having an internet chat going, or working on a model car. With the exception of big snoozers like Indy, Pocano or Michigan, I always felt I was getting my fill of racing action. Always something to see.

Not now. Not with these cars, tracks, tv networks and drivers. I don’t watch half the races at all, and the other half I just leave on in the background. Not even the awesomeness of Darlington or Dover can make me pay full attention to a Cup race anymore.

Kevin in SoCal
07/29/2009 01:28 AM

Don Mei said, “the Chase and the premium it places on playing it safe instead of going for the win,”

Yeah, as compared to all that racing every lap we used to have during the old points system. No, drivers used to get huge point leads and then coast thru the last ten races just staying out of trouble. Same as they do now.

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