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Voices From the Cheap Seats: Chase Begins Countdown to the End

As we descend into the depths of the 2014 season with yet another infernal change as to this sport’s definition of a champion, so begins the countdown to the end of this infernal column. Yes, that’s right, I’m really, really gonna do it this time. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

As I get older, I find my tolerance for stupid is declining at an alarming rate. I mean, you can rant and rave for years but no one seems to listen. Or, to put it another way, “You buy ‘em books and send ‘em to school and all they want to do is …” well, you get the gist (and hopefully, some of my more mature readers can finish the quote!)

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)
Using the rules from just one year ago, the Chase field would look different than today. (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

At the heart of stupid is the Chase. Especially this new one. Let me show you an example as sometimes, I find it more beneficial to actually see things with your own eyes than it is just to hear or read about it. The following is the list of how our top 25 drivers would line up under the current points system, or as it is commonly called, the ‘classic system’ (with their current “Chase” position in these cute little things like I am using here, called ‘parenthesis’ ).

1) #24-Jeff Gordon(C2) 914 2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(C3) 883, -31 3) #2-Brad Keselowski(C1) 830, -84 4) #22-Joey Logano(C5) 829, -85 5) #48-Jimmie Johnson(C4) 802, -112 6) #20-Matt Kenseth(C14) 797, -117 7) #4-Kevin Harvick(C6) 788, -126 8) #31-Ryan Newman(C16) 782, -132 9) #99-Carl Edwards(C7) 777, -137 10) #16-Greg Biffle(C15) 753, -161 11) #15-Clint Bowyer 746, -168 12) #42-Kyle Larson 737, -177 13) #5-Kasey Kahne(C11) 735, -179 14) #1-Jamie McMurray 706, -208 15) #27-Paul Menard 701, -213 16) #3-Austin Dillon 698, -216 17) #18-Kyle Busch(C8) 687, -227 18) #55-Brian Vickers 681, -233 19) #11-Denny Hamlin(C9) 659, -255 20) #41-Kurt Busch(C10) 651, -263 21) #9-Marcos Ambrose 645, -269 22) #43-Aric Almirola(C12) 628, -286 23) #47-AJ Allmendinger(C13) 611, -303 24) #13-Casey Mears 596, -318 25) #78-Martin Truex Jr. 580, -334

Now, when you actually see the visual, (and it can be found all year long on the ESPN owned jayski.com), don’t you think something is totally wrong with this picture? Some guys are robbed while others are given benefits akin to the illegal aliens pouring into our country!

If this were one scant year ago, rookie Kyle Larson would be racing for a championship, but no! No one on this planet will ever convince me that a couple of guys, that would ‘classically’ be in 11th and 12th place don’t deserve the chance to be a champion but a couple of guys in 22nd and 23rd do. It just ain’t right!

Let’s take this a step further, though, and forget the Chase and this new grid crap. Imagine a ‘classical’ system but with a ‘win’ being worth 100pts more than second place…now look at the list again. What kind of exciting finish might we have then? That’s all they had to do, folks, that’s all they had to do. I’ve been preaching it for years.

Here’s a bit more stupid for you. It was announced that, effective immediately, the geniuses at Stewart-Haas Racing are swapping the crews of the No. 14 and the No. 4 because…”We made this change in the best interests of the entire organization,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at SHR “Our primary goal is to win races and championships, and this pit crew swap provides championship experience to the No. 4 team and continued race-winning experience to the No. 14 team.”

Excuse me!? If I was Harvick, I’d be a bit pissed off. I mean, who’s in the Chase and who is not? Who has won races this year and who has not? And what happened with the No. 14 crew last week? Oh that’s right…Stewart had climbed to as high as tenth inside the final 100 laps but fell back when his crew missed a lugnut on the final…yes, the ‘money’ stop…the final pit stop! Bob only knows the logic behind this decision!

While I could sit here all night long and point out the stupid of the last 11 yrs, there has been at least one good change in the last few years and one that is coming up. The first is, of course, the double file restart. Look at the word! R E S T A R T! It is starting over again. You start the race double file, common sense only dictates that you RESTART double file as well! The other good change coming up is the final capitulation of NASCAR by bringing the Labor Day race back to Darlington! It only took them how many years and empty seats to figure it out?

As much as I am going to miss this weekly thing to some point, don’t start celebrating just yet. While I won’t be writing weekly, I will still be voicing my version of righteousness from time to time in other existing or upcoming features. After all, I do love to argue and who better than me to keep hanging around and piss a few of my favorite colleagues off!?

But hey, it ain’t over yet! I got 10 more weeks. After that, well, since I can’t fix ‘stupid’, I do enjoy sitting back, sipping a few beverages and watching it!

Stay off the wall!

Jeff Meyer

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kb

Thanks Jeff, you gotta do what you gotta do..your sanity is at stake! Nothing makes sense, hasn’t made sense in a long time. When the “win your in” mantra is done and you look at who is in, by a fluke win (yes I know a win is a win) it doesn’t represent the true competition for most regarding 26 races. Castle Daytona cares not a whit what their customers want, and will continue to have no shame and follow the dollars (obvious not the fan). It is sad to see this sport I love being flushed on a weekly and yearly basis.

Crew swap: I am sure the folks at SHR think this is a good idea, I say not. Kevin’s team knows how to win and handle the pressure I agree some stops were ugly, but so were other teams in the close but no cigar area. Tony’s crew hasn’t even so much as sniffed the front all year. Oh well, I hope it works out the way I think it will. Not a fan of Harvick, and Kevin has a history of throwing his team verbally under the bus to the public, no matter who he works for. His exaggerating of his team doing him wrong is not surprising. IMO.

Bill B

Agreed with everything except your praise of the double file restarts. I don’t like them because, depending on the track, drivers are penalized based on what lane they start in. Yes, they start the race that way but you have the entire race to make up any disadvantage resulting from being on the inside or outside lane. As the race progresses being on the inside or outside becomes more significant.
So, if you are at Martinsville would you rather be 6th on the outside or 11th on the inside? If you say 11th on the inside then there is something inherently wrong with the system.

DoninAjax

I thought exactly the same thing. I’d like to add that there were always double file restarts once cars were lapped. The lead cars were on the outside and the lapped cars on the inside. I’d like to see them go back to that system but now the leader picks the inside or outside and the rest of the lead-lap cars follow him (Or, God forbid, her). The lapped cars start in the other lane beside the fourth place driver.

Dennis

I appreciate your rants Jeff. I’m quite good for several a year myself. LOL. Yes, NASCAR is frustrating. So many changes I’d like to make. This Chase will be quite interesting in that it seems to have really maxed itself out in making luck a huge factor. And by “interesting” I don’t mean I approve. I was fine with adding up the points after 36 races to reward consistency. I always felt winning races was it’s own reward.

But, at least, they are still conducting races. I don’t know how IndyCar still manages with it’s poor viewership.

All the best.

JohnQ

You are so right. Where else except EVERWHERE in EVERYTHING is actual winning more important that consistent close losing. The Chase is a mess for sure, but NASCAR never has had a formula for picking a legitimate Champion. In Major League Baseball what team finished the most consecutive seasons in second place? Answer, nobody cares. Question, what NASCAR driver has the most top ten finishes without a win? Answer, who cares. A loser is a loser is a loser, close, consistently, or otherwise. In life, consistency isn’t Sh-t, accomplishing the goal is.

Bill B

When all the teams show up and compete against all the other teams at the same time every game and in the playoffs then you can start comparing it to those other sports. In other words that is a terrible analogy. The only fair way is the old way.
Although I would be open to whatever driver wins the most races out of all 36 races wins the championship (with tie-breakers being most 2nds, 3rds, etc.). I don’t think it’s as good of a measure of who was the best week in and week out but it would be a lot more legitimate than the chase.

Ken

I think most of the modern NASCAR is because of the death of Dale, Sr. I was never a fan but NASCAR was afraid of him and it usually went the way he wanted. The favorite thing I remember Sr. saying was “2nd place is the first loser”. I watched many races to see what mean sneaky thing he would do to win the race. I cursed him but I watched (which I seldom do now with 43 generic “Pretty” drivers).

Steve

Big E died 13 years ago. Please get over it. I’m tired of hearing the Nascar fan base ask the same stupid question of “What would Dale do?” He’s not here. Move on.

Mary Dixon

P-L-E-A-S-E…..don’t stop writing your column! Yours is the only piece I look for each week! Sometimes the only way I can take Nascar news is with a healthy dose of humor, and I find yours THE BEST!

Steve

So if Harvick wins the championship are you going to tell us in another article about how badly that rant blew up in your face because I’m calling you out. Harvick is obviously unhappy with his crew. Why not try and switch it up? A few years back Knaus did this in the middle of the Chase and everyone thought it was brilliant. Its no secret you dislike Stewart, but I can name about 10 other things to rant about that are wrong with Nascar more important than this.

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