The Frontstretch: Did You Notice? ... Dollars Alter Dreams, Chasing Not To Lose And NASCAR Overexposure by Thomas Bowles -- Wednesday September 29, 2010

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Did You Notice? … The substantial, yet not surprising shift in Chase strategy towards “playing not to lose?” From Denny Hamlin on through the field at Dover, the philosophy turned towards simply gaining as many points as possible at a place where Jimmie Johnson could have the track renamed in his honor.

“I think there’s too much to lose within this Chase for anyone to really do anything that’s out of the ordinary,” Hamlin said Sunday. “Or make a dumb move. It’s just not worth it. There’s too much at stake for these race teams.”

That follows up a Friday conversation I had with Hamlin in the media center, one where he claimed “it wasn’t what fans liked to hear” but that he would spend the weekend attempting to minimize a bad day instead of going for the kill. To a certain extent, I understand that, with his track record here colored with the ugly red pen of DNFs while Johnson can’t even see his stats underneath all the Dover trophies on his mantle.

But you better believe Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton’s deflating endings in Loudon, while heart-stopping for fans, proved a cold reminder this system is based on passive consistency, not aggressive risk. Don’t think there wasn’t a conversation in the No. 31 shop this week about how if Burton’s fuel had made it to the checkers last Sunday, he’d be sitting runner-up in the standings to Hamlin instead of seventh, 80 points off the pace. And Stewart, well, losing that gamble was like blowing your thousand in Vegas in 10 minutes, meaning it’s only 9:10 PM but you’re supposed to stay out to your friends ‘till two, leaving you broke, frustrated, and watching a whole bunch of people win money you’ll never have. No wonder he was cranky after an ugly race on Sunday, finishing 21st and then refusing to comment publicly while punching himself in private over the mistake that’s destroyed his Chase.

After Jimmie Johnson made his final pass on Kyle Busch for the race win, passing at the front of the front of the field was at a minimum.

Such conservatism suggests how much a mulligan of sorts would work wonders to invigorate this playoff system — if we keep it. Or even a separate point system among the Chasers themselves would help, done in a way where wins and running up front encourage you to take gambles, not shy away from them. Whatever the answer, the status quo just doesn’t work; for in the closing laps of a single-file parade, with five Chasers sitting inside the top 6, what I saw at Dover was a whole bunch of people sliding around and simply happy to make it to the next race with what they’ve got. That’s fine, I guess, but fans don’t get to travel to Kansas and see their Chase plans play out; they get three hours with their heroes on a Sunday, once a year, and they expect people to be focused on the race they’re paying to see.

Right now, our point system is not set up for drivers to do that … yet another reason attendance and viewership in these early playoff races continues to drop.

Did You Notice? … The troubling downhill slide for aspiring owners, men who now can’t find their footing in a sport that used to welcome them with open arms? On Sunday, that spotlight was shining darkly on TRG Motorsports, in their second year of operation since being built from scratch by sports car success story Kevin Buckler. Last season, as a rookie owner on tour he tried to do everything the right way, hiring an underdog driver (David Gilliland), a crew chief with something to prove (“Slugger” Labbe) and a small, dedicated group of individuals with the right chemistry to believe that underdog story could play out for them. In an era where owners saw the open spaces on the 43-car grid and had visions of dollar signs dancing through their head, Buckler believed he could do the unthinkable: Post consistent top-10 finishes right along with Hendrick, Gibbs, Roush, and Penske under the right circumstances.

Their first few races started off strong, making even the biggest doubters believe in the ultimate upset. Gilliland was hired after a Daytona DNQ and scored a shocking 15th-place finish at Las Vegas, just his second start behind the wheel of the No. 71 Chevy. By Bristol, they were the only one of the upstart programs to sneak inside the top 35 in owner points, with hopes of a sponsor and dreams of cementing themselves on the Sprint Cup circuit dancing in their heads.

“I think the economy opened up a door,” he said in a story I did for last April. “I saw it as a little bit of an opportunity, because I think some of the big teams are actually throttling back a little bit on some of the expenses that they could afford to do. And we had parts, pieces, available people, really good personnel available.”

But they also were running out of money rather quickly, as doing things the right way was far more expensive as others parked around them. What Buckler wouldn’t say was how much engines and chassis from Richard Childress Racing were costing, deals set up that were just expensive enough to drain an unsponsored operation and keep them from running the distance. A $75,000 engine rental was more than the purse sometimes, but without it, you don’t qualify for the race; that’s where the start-and-park comes in, running 20 percent of the laps saving you $60,000 of that cost while neatly ensuring you’ll never end the day running in front of the lessee.

Once the team fell outside the top 35, a sponsorship deal went sour and soon there was no choice for TRG but to rent the top-level equipment and pull the dreaded S & P whenever possible that spring. Even then, Buckler had hopes of remaining in a “locked in” spot, circling target races where the team could be successful while parking in others just to maintain that Cinderella chance. When Gilliland’s hope soured, he left the team for a shot at Joe Gibbs Racing that ultimately proved unsuccessful; yet his foundation along with Labbe’s led the way for recently unemployed 2000 champion Bobby Labonte to come calling. It was a dream come true for the little team that could, signing a 15-race sponsor in for the start of 2010 and hoping the reputation of a former superstar would be enough to fill the financial gaps.

Bobby Labonte’s extensive Hall of Fame credentials weren’t enough to jumpstart success at single-car TRG Motorsports.

It didn’t. In an era where engineering, not excellent feedback, makes the difference the team ultimately fell a step behind those with better personnel, the money for simulations, and equipment that ultimately proved a step above what they were being leased. Labbe left, off to a better opportunity with a team whose future was funded by some of daddy’s money (Paul Menard) — the perfect match as opposed to living on the edge, week-to-week with worries running the distance wasn’t enough to get a sponsor. Labonte never clicked with the crew chief replacements, went the whole season without a top-15 finish and openly griped about the lack of horsepower and handling.

Yet despite all the obstacles and money issues, they kept trucking on when other teams around them showed up clearly to collect a paycheck, drive a handful of laps and head home. Buckler ran the team into the ground, and then some, until the money ran dry, finally forced to use the dreaded S & P when TaxSlayer was the only part-time sponsor who’d keep ponying up. Three times in four races they pulled in during May and June, embarrassing for one of the sport’s former stars to the point he finally couldn’t handle it by the start of the summer. In a flash, Labonte was gone, only returning when the team has money — and when it doesn’t, suddenly the lucrative world of starting and parking has begun to creep into the picture even though they’ve won the fight to sneak in the top 35.

And why not? PRISM, NEMCO, and so many organizations around Buckler are making a quick buck, earning $100 less per race while his team puts in twice the effort and gets nowhere against the ironclad, country club operations forever positioned in front of him. So in six of the dozen races since Labonte’s semi-departure, that’s exactly what he’s done, using rookie Landon Cassill as a test session and not a talented future driver like he once was for Hendrick Motorsports in Nationwide. These are tough times in a weary world, my friends, which brings us finally to the dark side exposed after the team pulled in after 126 laps with “clutch” problems on Sunday:

“Switch over to channel 2, please.” The scanner chatter was the luck of the draw, and I perked up while quickly switching to the alternate one in a crowded media center. Whatever was said, they didn’t want anyone to hear – which meant you knew it was eavesdropping material.

Despite proving capable of running with NASCAR’s big boys, the toil and expense of trying to compete against both superteams and start-and-parks has taken quite the toll on TRG.

“They’re going to pull some bullshit,” said the crewman on the radio to his boss, referring to NASCAR questioning the team pulling in early – one of those “stern lecture” type of things that does no more to stop the practice than blinking your eyes, putting on a puppy dog look and saying please. “We may have to think about running longer.”

“****!” was the response on the other end of the radio, worried not about winning but of the thought they would have to – God – keep racing in general. “That’s ridiculous. They can’t do that.”

The conversation that followed surrounded “fake diagnosing” the problem, and whatever discussion they had with NASCAR paid dividends – the car was never forced back on the track. But it’s moments like those that make me cringe, as the transformation of determined underdog to throwing in the towel, starting and parking to collect a paycheck had officially become complete. This organization had done everything it was supposed to that in a different time would have sparked a long-term future in the sport.

Now? They’re getting beaten down by others, rivals whose goal it is to keep them from not making it past halfway. And you know what? After awhile, it’s like the old saying goes: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Ladies and gentlemen, your NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010.

Did You Notice? … Some quick hits before we go:

- An unintended victim of this whole Clint Bowyer saga continues to be Ryan Newman. While the Chase has been reduced to virtually 11 candidates, pending an all-but-likely denial of the No. 33’s appeal Newman sits 13th in points, with the consistency of five top-11 finishes and the knowledge he, not Bowyer, would be gunning for a title if that penalty had been handed down during a Richmond “warning” instead of that fateful Sunday at Loudon. If Newman was put in the Chase, the No. 39 would sit seventh, 74 points behind leader Hamlin and with as much of a shot as anyone considering his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, won Kansas last fall with driver/owner Tony Stewart.

Considering the man’s Stewart-like tendency to get in the news lately for all the wrong reasons – his Sunday scrape with David Reutimann is the latest in a long line of on-track incidents that have people pissed off – he’s done an incredible job of staying cool under the circumstances. But a top-5 finish at Kansas and another at Fontana, and it’s hard to believe he won’t be sitting up at night wondering, “What if?”

- Is it just me, or is it impossible for the sport to put two complete races together back-to-back? We start with a fantastic Daytona 500 (pothole excluded) and one week later, there’s Fontana (‘nuff said). The best finish of the year at Martinsville, Denny Hamlin’s pre-ACL win (albeit on a rain delay where no one is watching) gets followed up by an off week, then a Phoenix yawner, a weird finish where Newman, in a sense, lucked into his victory. Then we have the best start to the Chase in seven years at Loudon, followed by a soap opera-like atmosphere leading up to a Sunday race where fans anticipated a Hamlin-Harvick brawl on or off the track. Instead, they got a bunch of single-file racing, Jimmie Johnson domination at Dover that gave them every reason to say, “No thanks,” go back to their NFL package and finish off the season elsewhere.

I guess when it rains, it pours. The problem of it all, of course, is you can only hype things up so many times before transforming into the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

- So let me get this straight. Last year’s Kansas race was two hours, 55 minutes, 13 seconds, run from a little after 1 EST to 4. But the pre-race coverage leading up to it all runs for three hours: two hours of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED followed by a little over an hour pre-race show on ESPN.

Yes, you read that right; the pre-race shows are longer than the actual event itself. Need any more proof our sport is suffering from a case of overexposure?

Wednesday on the Frontstretch:
Why The Monster Meltdown at Dover For Chase Contenders?
Mirror Driving: Three Cars For RPM?, And Three’s Company For Harvick, Childress, Hamlin
Potts’ Shots: Over-Officiating And Commercialpalooza NASCAR No Nos
Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Dover
Carey And Coffey: Weeding Out Those Chase Pretenders
Top Ten Things Kevin Harvick Doesn’t Want To Have A Pissing Contest Against
The Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Dover, September 2010

Connect with Tom!

Contact Tom Bowles

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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 Thomas Bowles and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

09/29/2010 07:47 AM

A Chase mulligan? We already have the Lucky Dog and the wave around.

Kevin from PA
09/29/2010 08:39 AM

Drivers are point racing?? Never noticed. Always wondered why after Daytona, drivers seemed content finishing 7th every week.

And agree with Shayne. Do not let NASCAR mess with the Chase group once the cursed Chase starts. Thank goodness a certain driver wasn’t 13th in points in this year; I could NASCAR in their desperation giving into such suggestions.

Finally, I mentioned this earlier. The powers at Fox, ESPN, etc. need to either dump their prerace coverage or create a seperate earlier show – just like their NFL programming. If the race is to start at 1:00, then the viewer should be seeing the green flag waving at 1:00 – not some stiffs going over the weekly news that everyone already knows about.

09/29/2010 09:07 AM

So, Thom, let me get this straight. Since the majority of the fans hate the chase due to it’s contrived and fraudulent nature; your suggestion for a fix is to add another layer of deception, fraud, and contrivance?!?
“Yeah, THAT should fix the problem,” I say sarcastically. If you keep the chase, but just add rules designed to keep the #48 out of the championship hunt, you WON’T add the legitimacy that is lacking right now. Without the fans being able to see the championship as legitimate, they won’t tune back in.

Ryan Newman had 26 opportunities to get himself into the top 12. He failed to do so. Penalizing Bowyer FOR A CAR THAT WAS TECHNICALLY LEGAL would have done…what, exactly?!?
Are you aware that if NA$CAR had decided to leapfrog Jr. into the top 12, he would be somewhere in the top 12, right now? His inclusion would have been WILDLY more popular than having Stewart, Johnson, Harvick, Bowyer, and/or Newman COMBINED!!! They should have done that after Richmond if they wanted to sell tickets early in the chase.

Ummmmmm…here’s a thought, don’t watch RaceDay, they never have anything worth watching anyway. Then your pre-race coverage will be just 1/3 distance of the actual race.

09/29/2010 09:15 AM

@ Kevin: It used to be that the 1pm-1:20pm portion of a race broadcast was the pre-race. The coverage started, you got a couple clips of what happened in qualifying, a track description, the National Anthem, invocation, fire the engines, and get ‘em on the track.
Those 20 minutes seemed to build anticipation every week. Now that pre-race coverage starts early enough to find out what kind of jammies Jr. wears, the extra 20 minutes just seem to be a further waste of my time, and I am ready to find some action to view.

Long story even longer, I agree with you. The cars need to be coming to the green flag at 1pm.

Carl D.
09/29/2010 09:22 AM

No mulligans, please, but the idea of a separate point system for the chase contenders has merit. It seems to me that it would tighten the points up between the chase drivers and force them to race each other harder and go for wins more often.

That’s assuming Nascar keeps the ridiculous Chase format, and we all know they will.

09/29/2010 10:59 AM

You are a little harsh on Landon Cassill saying he is not a talented future driver. Why would HMS keep him on contract if he has no talent? Just because they are biding their time with him doesn’t mean he is not talented.

09/29/2010 11:04 AM

It’s STILL about POINTS and not wins, no matter the format.

keeping it real
09/29/2010 12:11 PM

So, Mr. Bowles, you’re saying that it’s because of the current point system that drivers were just “sliding around”, as you put it? Tell me, how is a different point system going to magically make the cars handle better? If they’re sliding around now, they’d still be sliding around under any point system. Unless you’re suggesting that the crew chiefs would suddenly see the light, unlocking the secrets to better handling that they’ve missed all year?

Kevin in SoCal
09/29/2010 12:45 PM

A separate point system would go a long way towards making the “playoffs” a lot more legitimate and making the Chasers race each other instead of also the other 31 drivers who are technically eliminated.

09/29/2010 12:53 PM

Enjoyed this article immensely but it got my blood boiling. again…
This is exactly why i say the chase system is retarded. it forces teams to “points race” and what does points racing yield? Boring races (or to be fair, ones that aren’t a shadow of what they could be,) the bleeding off of another million tv viewers from last year’s ratings and tens of thousands of fans who aren’t showing up to the track.
I’m not exactly sure why nascar created the chase but i keep hearing about “competing with the stick and ball sports” well, here’s my take. Nascar will NEVER be able to compete with the NFL or MLB period. Even the nascar shills on sirius spend good portions of their shows talking about what? the NFL and baseball of course…
Regarding playoff systems; stick and ball playoffs are about one thing, TWO teams play each other for a set number of game(s) resulting in a clear cut winner and a clear cut looser with the champion resulting from who won the most games. It has nothing to do with who has “the most points.” MAIN POINT: Champions are determined by the simple formula of who won the most games and excitement is generated by making every event in those playoff systems are of the utmost importance to actually WIN. There is no such system that can be devised for a sport where nearly the same 42 teams compete together on the same every week. Please STOP this nonsense. If all the chase is good for is providing a marketable point to promote and attract new fans, clearly it is proving that it is not enough to hold them.
So, keep the chase, keep increasing the amount of money it takes to be competitive, keep adding regulations that eliminate all the ingenuity, make the cars all look the same (sorry I’m not buying the nationwide noses make the cars look anything like the street cars,) keep taking sponsorship opportunities away from race teams… all it will accomplish is the continual hemorrhaging of fans.

09/29/2010 01:10 PM

The fairy tale about radio transmissions on the 71 car were entertaining , but they sure leave a lot of unanswered questions . How is it exactly that the bloggers for this site always happen to be listening to the correct channel to pick up these nefarious conversations ? Since these crews are well aware that NASCAR monitors radio talk ( so does everyone with a scanner ) why would they risk being overheard ? Since theres plenty of time before each race to discuss a potential S&P scenario , why do you suppose these teams alledgedly put their plans out over the airways instead of talking about it in the motorhome ?
The fact is , i’d say nothing of the sort took place . I don’t say there aren’t teams that use a S&P strategy ( by the way , i couldn’t care less ), i say your accusations are from proven . At any rate your tired old S&P witch hunt is very tedious .

09/29/2010 01:32 PM

One big problem with the “What if Newman was in the Chase?” story. Bowyer’s car was legal at Richmond. They were warned they were scary close to going over the tolerances, not that they were over tolerances. Sadly, you probably aren’t intelligent enough to process the difference. Must be hard getting around being so unintelligent.

Managing Editor
09/29/2010 01:47 PM


I apologize because I’m breaking a rule I tell my staff never to do, respond to critics. But after a year of this and an increase in bashing of virtually EVERY writer on this site, I’m breaking ranks for this one. Couldn’t be more wrong on your TRG “fairy tale” accusation. Surely, I couldn’t have misheard the 71 conversation since I was listening on a scanner at the track in the media center; you know, that place you’d love to be a part of but have never walked through the door. I guess I’ll throw away my tape recorder with fantasy interviews and conversation with NASCAR personnel – Mark says I dreamt it all. Man, that’s been a long five-year dream.

I ask you one more time, why do you come to our site to constantly bash us daily, insulting our intelligence and for many of us our chosen profession? You’re neglecting one important point; for me, this isn’t a hobby, it’s a passion and a paycheck. You better believe I don’t report things I just think up in the morning out of thin air. And you better believe that not a single member of my staff would ever do the same if they expect to work here.

But that’s a key difference from you, fact getting in the way of your fiction as you desperately drown in enhancing your own personal self-esteem by figuring out the best way to bash a bunch of NASCAR columnists you disagree with to make yourself feel better. Every post you’ve ever written here has also come with a skunk-induced smell of swagger indicating you know it all. Alright then, Mark probably-stuck-with-an-awful office job Roley, you write a column for us and tell it like it is, since it’s your job to inform us of how misinformed and miseducated my master’s degree really is.

I’m waiting for your column and your job. Do drop a line and let us know when you get it.

09/29/2010 02:08 PM

Kudos, Tom. Great column — I’m tired of the chase, tired of the 48 winning all the time and tired of the same old hype. Weekend weather is looking good — too good to sit inside and watch ESPN bore me out of my mind with their race broadcast. I quit watching Raceday after Daytona — don’t need to hear Kenny Wallace braying nonsense for several hours. I preferred the 20 minute pre-race show we used to get — actual info about the RACE I was going to watch — not the rest of this malarkey.

And yet, NASCAR still doesn’t get why the ratings and attendance are down. Here’s a clue — it’s NOT the economy.

09/29/2010 02:18 PM

I don’t like the chase and I didn’t like the old points system. I think the champion should always be the driver that wins the most races. In the event of a tie, you have a raceoff with the winner being the champion. Every driver would race to win every week. I think Dale Sr. said it best when he said “2nd is the first loser”.

09/29/2010 02:31 PM

I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t address any of the points i made Tom .

09/29/2010 02:51 PM

@NSC*9 – you missed the point of his Landon Cassill reference:

“using rookie Landon Cassill as a test session and not a talented future driver like he once was for Hendrick Motorsports in Nationwide”

The way I read it, he’s saying that they are using him merely as a testing driver, not as the future star that he could be.

No indictment of Landon’s skill, just saying that his talent is not being used or shown to its full potential.

Doug In Washington (State)
09/29/2010 02:53 PM

I’ve said it before- if NASCAR wanted to stop the S&P practice they could in a heartbeat.

1) Prorate the prize money based on percentage of laps completed. Complete 29 laps of a 400 lap race? Get 7.25% of the prize money… so instead of $66,630, TBR would have gotten around $4800. Not quite worth it at that point. Take the money not awarded due to laps not completed and pay it out to the teams that complete 90% of the race and are running at the finish. If NASCAR wants to help teams compete and have parity, they need to award finishing races, not award simply qualifying, taking the green flag, and heading to the garage. There are plenty of folks out there that would run races if they could afford to and could get in, but S&P cars have an advantage of not needing to build and set up the cars to run more than one pit window.

Or, another idea:

2) Any car that “retires” for a mechanical reason gets the part that “failed” confiscated for 10 days. If it REALLY failed, and tests out to be bad, the team gets the part back so they can either fix it or learn what went wrong. If the part tests out good, NASCAR holds it at the R&D center for the remainder of the season.

3) REQUIRE all teams to show up with a complete pit crew and purchase (lease) the full complement of tires for the entire race ahead of time. Most of the S&P teams don’t have a pit crew and only lease 2-3 sets of tires to practice/qualify on, and most of the time they “trade” the tires to other teams to recoup the money anyway.

No Spin Gerry
09/29/2010 03:10 PM

Mark “2nd is the first loser”. and you are him, I know all of the old guys are dumb, a lot of old timers we let our ass’s over load our brains and start talking before thinking, oh shit that must be you!

Please go away

09/29/2010 04:19 PM

As more fans become apathetic about the sport, expect the nas$car ship to sink further. For the first time after 30+ years of watching nas$car, I recorded a race (Dover) and then didn’t watch much of it. It is so obvious that the drivers are not putting much emphasis on winning. Hell, the first 26 races are one big test session. With this “chase your tail) system in place, why bother take any chances. And with the cup drivers dominating the “cup light series”, I quit watching that series last year. And in closing, where are the future cup drivers going to come from? I hate to be all gloom and doom, but I just don’t see a silver lining anywhere. Burton’s been my favorite driver for years, but after he retires, I don’t know if my heart is going to be in it much longer. Brian France needs to be replaced and if it isn’t done soon, the whole situation isn’t going to improve.

09/29/2010 04:28 PM

And to all you morons who feel it’s their “civic duty” to bash the columnists and anybody else who do not agree with, please go away. Op[inions are like a$$$holes, everybody has one.

09/29/2010 04:32 PM

Ain’t it funny. How the same folks that say they aint racing hard only racing for points, and on the same note complain about how Kyle Busch aint a true contender for a championship cause he races the wheels off the racecar each and every race for a win. Now he settles down to get good positions and a points day cause he wants a championship. He even said he would trade all the wins for a championship and Joe Gibbs told him to calm down get what u can get out of the car and call it a good day. It’s just funny how people complain about them not racing hard for wins and it aint fun, but when a guy who races hard for wins is looked at as a fool but on the same breath complain that they dont get to see a real race LMAO Cant have it both ways

09/29/2010 06:29 PM

Thanks for the Landon Cassill explanation – I totally did not read it that way the first time.

09/29/2010 06:44 PM

Pretty sickening about TRG. Just stay home. Same to Nemecheck and Parsons. They are basically legally stealing fans money. Fans pay tickets and buy products which gives the track – indirectly – purse money. The fans buy these tickets to see a race. Those jackasses run twenty laps, park, and put $60,000 in their pocket while fans watch 35 cars race. Or, worse yet (like what happened with the 26 at least twice) – a start and parker makes the race and a team planning to run the whole race goes home. It makes my stomach turn. If we can’t fill a field up with RACERS, then cut the fields down to 35 cars or whatever.

NASCAR’s stupidity over the years has created new problems with worse NASCAR solutions. Its to the point where fixing one thing doesn’t make a difference, because there are twenty other repercussions from the other stupid things NASCAR is still doing.

09/29/2010 07:10 PM

Oh yeah, forgot this. The irony of your column (which I agree with) is that “points racing” gave us the Chase to begin with. Matt Kenseth only had one win on his way to a championship and because he “points raced”, everybody got bored.

A few drinks later, and Brian France came up with the Chase. A lot of good that has done us.

BTW, why do people waste their time to read an article they already know they will hate written by a guy they already know they don’t like? I don’t understand that. If y’all already don’t like Tom and think he’s a dumbass, why do you come back every week? Sounds like y’all are the dumbasses, not Tom.

09/30/2010 12:18 AM

Chase Mulligan? He’s an up and comer in the Nationwide series (with Cup promise), right?

The Chase should be tweaked though—points for 1 – 12 Chasers should be awarded to the Chase finishers in the order of what position they finish in: first Chaser gets x points even if he only finishes 10, then the next Chase gets second place Chase points and so on and so forth…

Sounds good.

I’d rather see it done that way and at least make it possibly come down to the final race with almost every Chaser having a shot at the title then the way it is now.

Points scale: 12(1st), 11(2nd), 10(3rd) and so on…

Personally though, I’d like to see the Chase points awarded to only those drivers who finish in the top ten—that might really jazz up the racing.

09/30/2010 01:29 PM

Now you know how we feel Tom! We have been run off every site by the domineering newbies. Its looking like deja vu again on Frontstretch.

Don Mei
09/30/2010 05:08 PM

The best thing about the chase is it happens in the fall, which up here in New England is the absolute best time of the year to get out on a sunday afternoon on the Harley or take the vintage car for a ride to one of the many fall shows. Usually Ill watch Speeds news show at night to catch up on whats happening, though Im beginning not to even care whether or not I get the Nascar results.


Contact Tom Bowles

Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
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