The more I soaked in the shower and thought about it – yes, I do some of my best thinking when I’m all wet – the more I became convinced that this new format virtually invalidates all the previous Chase championships before it.
Notice I said, “Chase championships.” I’m not even going to go down the road of NASCAR’s playoff versus the classic points system. No, this new format is so screwed up it makes me yearn for the days of simply “the Chase.” Maybe that is Brian France’s master plan, but wow, how screwed up is that?!
Now, somewhere out there, there is a nerd – er, excuse me, a person who has way too much time on their hands – that has been still keeping tabs on all the races for the last 10 years and converting the standings using the classic points system. That is great and it does come in handy sometimes when trying to get a point across about the mess this all has become, but now, the thought occurred to me that this person has a whole new area into which to expand.
Enter the era of the “Elimination Chase” versus the “Classic Chase.”
From now on, someone needs to keep track of how those that have been eliminated – especially since some really, really big teams are among them – would have fared, say, one scant year ago under the old Chase system as they continue on through the year.
Not only that, but the nerd could go back and look at, for the sake of argument, “Jimmie Knaus,” and see if Jimmie Knaus ever had a couple of bad races that would have eliminated them under the new format and see if they would have six championships. Maybe they still would have… maybe not. The only thing I do know is I sure as heck am not going to be the one to waste all the time to figure it out. Chances are, based on how much the Chase crowned different champions compared to the old point system I have a sneaking suspicion this new format’s close to doing the same.
The long and the short of it all is, with this “Chase grid,” how can there NOT be an asterisk by a champion’s name? Especially if you are of the mind that this type of champion is as important as or equal to a past Chase champion – not to mention a champion of yesteryear, like Jeff Gordon, to keep it somewhat modern. I’ve said it before, as recently as last week, that this format is nothing more than who gets lucky at the right time. Brad Keselowski got lucky. Yes, he is a good driver but he is also still in the hunt due to nothing but luck.
Guess what though? Things are gonna change.
There were a couple of things I heard Jimmie Johnson say during his post-race interview that vividly point out what is wrong with the sport today and how it has even become the norm in the way the competitors think about the sport.
The first was when he hoped he would get help from “another Hendrick team, like the (No.) 41.” Does that just not sit right with anybody else? Yes, I know that there is an alliance and that Stewart-Haas Racing uses Hendrick engines, but really? To think of them as a teammate?
The second little tidbit came when Johnson said something to the effect that the rules will change, officials will adjust things and that they’ll be back in it next year. This matter-of-fact philosophy is how they think, folks!
While those comments cannot be found in the written press releases, the entire video can still be seen here on NASCAR.com. (For now, anyway; I’ve noticed that videos sometimes tend to disappear from that site once the censors have the time to go through them all and remove anything that might be detrimental to stock car racing.) Johnson’s interview starts at 1:43 and ends at 3:11. I urge you to take a look and tell me what you think.
You know, as I re-read some of what I have written, I’m really sort of glad that I’ve decided to hang up the weekly column gig. Me, referring to it as the Classic Chase… look what they’ve done to me!
Stay off the wall,