NASCAR Race Weekend Central

No Chase? Great!

It just occurred to me that with all the things there are to complain about with the Busch and Truck series, (like Buschwhackers, really late start times, Buschwhackers…) they both have one really great rule (or lack of one): no Chase.

At least not yet; frankly, never would be too soon to add the manufactured title run we have to suffer through in Nextel Cup. Whether the Chase has been good for the Cup Series is certainly debatable. It’s made the last 10 races exciting, but it’s also left us with a champion who had no right to the trophy. Some fans like it, many despise it. But whatever their reasons, NASCAR has not used the format in the Busch or Craftsman Truck series.

Why? Well, in the case of the Truck Series, the season is simply too short. With just 25 races on the schedule, the truckers would have a scant 15 races to prove themselves for the playoffs. That’s barely enough time to establish themselves and their place in the series before the points would be reset.

Many drivers in both series are also very young; they are drivers looking to establish themselves in NASCAR. The added pressure of making and then running a Chase system could be too much. And if a driver is labeled as unable to perform under pressure, no matter how unfair or unfounded the label, it could derail a career before it even began.

See also
Truckin' Thursdays: Truckwhackers? Not a Problem in Truck Series

In the Busch garage, adding a Chase would only widen the disparity between the haves and the sort-of-haves. Teams like ppc Racing and Team Rensi would find themselves at a bigger disadvantage as the Cup-owned teams ramped up financially to make and win a Chase. Sure, one or two independent teams would make it, but could they compete with the dynamometered, wind-tunnel tested, Cup mechanic-tuned racecars that their richer competitors could trot out every week? Unfortunately, it’s not likely.

Nope, NASCAR (so far, anyway) has this one exactly right. These two series are not ready to support a system that has so many potential implications on their overall health. Although this year’s Busch Series points race has been a yawner almost from Daytona, it is as it should be given the current rules and circumstances. Whether or not they should be eligible for two NASCAR titles, Richard Childress Racing and driver Kevin Harvick have been the class of the field in Busch, and the trucks have a decent points battle going on, with an interesting mix of drivers and teams in the top 10. They don’t need a Chase to have great racing… they have it already.

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