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On Thursday afternoon, I was enjoying – yes, actually watching and enjoying – last year’s Coke Zero 400. Kyle Busch was leading that 4th of July spectacular we enjoy each year at sunny Daytona, with the announcers reminding me just what an incredible year M&M boy was having… and then, SPEED interrupted my fun and cut to the NASCAR Media Circus Meet Your CEO Day.
Oh, well. As the dutiful little NASCAR writer that I am, I sat through the entire 90-minute Q&A session, hanging on every word. During the broadcast, there was talk of spoilers, bump-drafting, restrictor plates, and some minor discussion of fuel injection. I ate it up. I looked at my calendar and counted the days to the Shootout. I could almost hear the roar of the engines. And then, Wendy Venturini gave a smiling signoff, promising all the good things to come during the upcoming season.
I walked away from the interview feeling a little happy and more than a little excited. Unlike many of my peers, I have not spent the past week wandering through garages and infields. My life has moved forward full of snow, cold, and the interminable winter. I really desired something to give a spark to my world – and NASCAR looked like it would do the trick.
Yet on Friday morning I woke up, turned on the telly, and frowned. Running in a little ticker at the bottom of the screen, it said, “NASCAR approves more crashes.”
I sank into my couch and growled. It just had to happen, didn’t it? I was not going to be allowed to enjoy even a single day of blissful anticipation for the racing season.
But there’s more. The little sports reporter made his five-sentence segment about how NASCAR, by legalizing bump-drafting, was guaranteeing more wrecks…and apparently, that’s the only thing NASCAR fans want, so there we go.
Already, the rot was setting in.
Honestly, couldn’t we just leave that little jab at my sport in the closet where it belonged? At least until the field wrecked on the last lap of the Daytona 500 because somebody bumped somebody else in an effort to push them past the leader for the checkered flag? Oh, wait… that’s been happening regularly as long as I can remember at plate tracks, bumping allowed or not.
See? There went my happy-new-season-fan. I was now slouched on the couch, arms crossed over my chest, and just pissed off at a completely misleading and poorly executed summary of Thursday’s proceedings.
NASCAR is one of the few joys in my life, complete with all its myriad imperfections. In fact, it’s those quirks, mistakes, and ever undulating regulations that are part of the complete entertainment package. It’s at this time in late January, when the paint jobs are hot off the press and I have yet to figure out who is driving which number, that I tend to reach into my memory to find those racing moments that transformed me into the racing fan that I am.
I look forward to the first flyover, the echoed “amen” off the stands, and “Drivers, start your engines!” That anticipation is part of the glory of a new year. I try to shelve the lingering aftereffects of last season, focusing on the new and untried. For there has to be a journeyman who will have their breakout season, a rookie who will shine, a veteran who will stumble, and a media darling who will say something they shouldn’t. But those stories are unwritten. The jeers and cheers have yet to be earned.
So, I beg of you, media members and fans alike, before you fire up the “What was NASCAR thinking?!” machine… could we all take a moment to look forward and smile? For there’s a reason that you turn on that television each week between February and November. I know it… and so do you.
We love racing.
And that is a good thing.
©2000 - 2008 S.D. Grady and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I think we need to wait until the season starts to start criticizing how these rules have messed up the sport. Assuming they do, and you know what they say about assuming…
I do question swapping to the spoiler part way through the season, especially if it radically affects how the cars perform, since when they debuted the Nationwide COT NASCAR said that they’d probably see some changes to the Cup car in 2011 so the two cars wouldn’t be so different, meaning they could see this change coming six months ago. Maybe they’re planning on addressing the tail now and the nose of the car in 2011.
But, I’m excited too, and can’t wait to see the season start!
By the way, I was thinking of writing for FS but I think maybe I’m too optimistic for this site, hehe…
I certainly don’t need to wait until the season starts to comment on the “changes” NA$CRAP made. Why? Lets examine a few of those “changes”!
The “spoiler” change! WOW! Like going from a wing to the old spoiler is going to improve the “racing”! (remember at this point the spoiler change is on the POS, and until they change the suspension and such, it will still drive like a garbage scow!)
So, scratch “the new spolier” from the improve-the-racing list!
BUMP DRAFTING! If one looks at last year, these drivers DID bump draft all around the track! And remember, right after they announced loosening the bump drafting rules, they also stated that they “would continue to police the bump drafting and penalize accordingly”!
So, with that in mind, just what has changed? It will be just more of NA$CRAP “selective” enforcement!
Oh, and I read last week an article on the NFL on how much actual playing time there was in the typical NFL game! The result was about 11 minutes of actual “action” during one of their games!
GEE! That’s pretty darn good, that is TEN (10) more minutes of action than in a typical 500 mile NA$CRAP race!
“TOKENISM” is all it is, and apparently people are buying it! Well, some people anyway!
When has King Brian EVER made any logical statement about NA$CRAP?
NOTHING has changed folks! NOTHING!
Well I agree Turnip – Nothing has changed for the Daytona 500. But changes are coming – and it looks like they are modeling the Nationwide COT. But, I thought one of the arguments for the original COT was to make the Cup car different from the Nationwide car – eliminating the advantage of cup drivers who run the nationwide cars at the same track in a weekend and reduce moonlighting in that series… Well, that’s just a fail all the way around.
And as far as I’m concerned – as long as NASCAR doesn’t implement a “Booth Replay” it will forever have an excitement edge over the NFL. See last nights Saints/Vikings Game where 5 of the 8 plays in overtime were reviewed. Snooze fest!
Odds on the Superbowl are -3 Colts. Anyone for -3 cars getting airborn at Daytona in the 500? Maybe they shouldn’t wait to change that wing. -3, three. ironic huh…
Hey Mike! As the perennially happy voice on Frontstretch, don’t let all the gloom and doom dissuade you. It takes all points of view to make this website shine.
They can mess with the Nationwide car all they want. All they are doing is making it even easier for my girl Danica to kick the snot out of the rest of the Nationwide guys. With the nunber of races Danica is going to win, they should just rename the Nationwide Series to the GoDaddy.com series.
Hey DansMom, The problem with NA$CRAP implementing a “booth review”, for whatever, would serve no purpose, who do you think is going to “review the play”?
And of course, with all due respect, I did watch the latter part of that NFL game and I congratulate the NFL for at least trying to get it right! So it takes a minute or two, but at least you know they tried there best to do the right thing.
Why continue playing when that really was a first down, or really was not a catch?
Same with goals in the NHL! They review each and everyone, and get it right most times, that is only fair to the teams and to the fans!
I like replays, but that is not the problem in NA$CRAP! It simply is their “rules interpretation” driver to driver, and when they choose to penalize or not, and to whom!
(Oh, by the way, they are going to change something for the Daytona 500, the restrictor plate is getting larger. But what difference will that make as long as they are running that POS?)
VolcanoTaco – best user name ever!
Really the only change is the spoiler/wing. Rule changes to bump drafting will have no effect on the overall opinion viewers have of the racing since it only applies to 4 out of the 36 races.
That spoiler better be damn good and make a helluva difference in the racing.
I agree that selective reinforcement is an issue in NASCAR, as it is in most sports (any NFL fan can tell you about a game in which one team or another seemed to get the breaks from the officials, or how officials seem more hesistant to call penalties against the home team). NASCAR could do better. The best solution would be what they’re trying to do, apparently, which is back off on enforcing certain things that seem to be the most selectively (subjectively) enforced. But I don’t believe that this is a problem that will ever be “solved”.
Here’s something they could solve: making sure their TV partners zoom in on debris whenever there’s a debris caution. And also, don’t call the cautions when it’s something small like a hot dog wrapper or a piece of bear bond or whatever.
Hey Turnup, your a dick!
Best wishes to all fans looking forward to the 2010 NASCAR season.
I’m sure all “26” of you have a lot of great times ahead.
Hey BIG THANKS Bill for the compliment!
glad you noticed!