Race Weekend Central


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 in the weeks 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.

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? *–Ashley*_

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? *Peter*_

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!

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