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« Should NASCAR suspend Kyle Busch from the Sprint Cup race in Texas? | Main | Did we just witness the 48 team buckling under pressure? »

Races like that will cause people to start watching NASCAR again

By admin | November 7, 2010


By Richard Allen


To be honest, many of this season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races have left me feeling a bit blah after the event concluded. So many times this year the races have turned out to be somewhat lifeless affairs with few storylines beyond the usual long stretches of boredom followed by a contrived finish.

The AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway had enough storylines to make up for an entire season.

A major star was given an ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ penalty for his use of an obscene gesture which was followed by a second profanity laced tirade in as many days directed toward NASCAR officials. Later, two of the sport’s most well-known names wrecked each other then got into a physical altercation on the track.

And more, the sport’s top team benched their pit crew in the middle of the event. The three top drivers in the Sprint Cup standings staged a late race scramble for position which ended with a turnover in the standings. And, the end of the race saw a spirited battle for the win with the lead changing hands multiple times over the final couple of laps.

Wow! That’s a lot to digest from just one race. So, this piece will only focus on a couple of the happenings.

Kyle Busch felt as though he had been cheated in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race and let the world know it in the form of a an obscene radio interview followed by a similar meltdown inside the track’s media center. Apparently, he was not over it by Sunday.

After a spin, he went to the pits for repairs to his car. He was deemed to be speeding as he left pit road. It was at that point when Busch’s emotions got the better of him. He offered an obscene gesture toward a NASCAR official for starters. Then, when told of his violation he let loose with a tirade that would have made the most hardened sailor blush.

NASCAR, which is known for remembering past transgressions, issued a two lap penalty when going to the end of the longest line on the restart is the typical punishment for speeding on pit road.

Many of the folks who follow NASCAR races on the social media site twitter began to joke that the race had provided its highlight moment that would be seen on all the national sports television shows. No one knew what was to come.

Following a lap 190 incident, under caution no less, in which Jeff Burton nailed Jeff Gordon sending both cars hard into the turn two wall, the two drivers staged a re-enactment of old time NASCAR. After both cars came to rest, Gordon emerged from his machine and began a long walk toward Burton’s wrecked vehicle. Once there, the two drivers engaged in a brief fight and shouting match before being separated by race officials.

Amazingly, those officials then decided it would be a good idea to load the combatants into the same ambulance.

Both of these incidents showed an element NASCAR has been missing for years. Passion made a return to a sport too long known for scripted answers designed to draw as little controversy as possible and offer praise to sponsors and the sanctioning body. Maybe neither was the appropriate way of dealing with the situation at hand but at least the drivers involved didn’t stick with the stale, boring answers from the recent past.

Whether appropriate or not, the real benefit from both of these situations is that interest in a sport most definitely in the midst of a downward trend in attendance and television viewership may be rekindled, in the short term at least.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter and Facebook by clicking on the icon of either social network on the left side of the page.

Here are other columns you may find interesting:

Bayne makes Sprint Cup debut in Texas

Should NASCAR suspend Kyle Busch from Sprint Cup race in Texas?

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “Races like that will cause people to start watching NASCAR again”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Sounds like a set up deal to me. Getting more like the WWF every week.

  2. Jim Ricci Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Your article is typical of the “new” NASCAR. If you really think this will do the sport good, you are a fool! It is a sorry shame that this once proud sport has turned into the WWE. The TV coverage or commercialized program with time outs for the late breaking action missed while the same tired ad runs for the seventh time is driving any casual fan away. The core fan is in amazement with the play by play, the guy on speed with Dr Dick during the Dirt Finals should be announcing the races. At least he understands racing, Marty should go back to his roots and take a few of the so call color commentators with him. Who needs two hours of pre race coverage? Its the post race the fan wants. They only care about the chase teams, maybe their should only be twelve cars on the track, that way they might have a chance to follow the action live.

  3. Gordon82Wins Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 6:47 am

    I agree with you a lot Rich, but the racing isn’t the problem so much…it’s the moronic playoff system.

    I don’t care how good the races are, I think I’m done at the end of this year. Seeing a contrived points battle being hailed as “the closest in NASCAR history” is turning my stomach. As long as the idiotic playoff remains NASCAR will keep losing fans. Just ask anyone who pulls for Harvick right now.

  4. Charles Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 7:27 am

    This event was entertaining, but the racing until the very end was not!

    I mean Biffle had lead over 75% of the race!

    Having “incidents” other than racing action is what made this race more insteresting!

    The Gordon and Burton wreck and push and shove match will stirr emotions, and Kyle Busch who is no stranger to controversy will to!

    I think the 48 team, by pulling out their pit crew even through they may not be performing at the top of their game was a little to shrewd!

    I mean they have been rock solid all these years and looks to me Chad should have been a bit more respectful of them and this could come back and haut them!

    Wonder how Chad would have felt if Hendrick had pulled him off the pit box when he had made bad discisions?

    Nascar probably got what they wanted, but it wasnt the racing that caused the action!

  5. Justin Holt Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I dont think people are actually watching races this year if they are still complaining about the product.

    This season has been one of the best in my lifetime.

    I honestly think people have somehow forgotten what the product is, which is understandable with all the changes in the past 10 years, but I think NASCAR is for sure going in the right direction.

    The only thing it is lacking now is southern flavor and affordability for smaller teams.

  6. Keith Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Gordon82wins you are on the money with your assessment. I watch the racing because I like racing and some of the racing has been great but I don’t care about the championship anymore at all. Harvick should be the points leader and they should be chasing him.

  7. Dan Active Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 9:54 am


    I totally agree with you! Racing in the last five years has been 100% better than history, People forget races finishing with 2 or 3 cars on the lead lap, people forget when there were only 5 or 6 different winner in a year, people forget when the champion was decided in the 1st week of october!……….People are tired of seeing the 48 as champion, so they blame the chase, granted he would have only won one or two of his cup titles in the old system. What about a 12-4 football team who get knocked out of the playoff the 1st round or the wild card that wins the world series or the super bowl? This is how all sport determin a champ. Harvick would have almost a 200 pt lead under the old system, what is more exciting 3 drivers with in 59 point or one team running away with it? Nascar got popular on personalites, and now most are very boring! You cant blame the racing!

  8. Ritchie Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Burton would never puch Gordon. too much like hiting a girl.

  9. Mike Byers Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Comparing driver points standings pre-chase vs. chase is a bit silly. Under the old system, teams used the strategy that would allow them to rack up the most points by seasons end. Under the new system, teams use a strategy that will 1) get them into the chase 2) get the most wins to be best positioned in the chase. So Harvick leading the points old-style just means he team did a worse job than the #11 and #48 in working with the rules and developing a strategy that would put them in the best position to win the championship. This is like congratulating the NFL team with the best rushing yards in a game that is clearly designed to promote passing.

  10. DMan Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Kryle’s deal goes even farther, to the truck race at ‘Dega. NA$CAR “gave” him that win, maybe a whole different discussion but go with me for a sec. Agree or disagree with the reason why, but Kryle did pass below the yellow line for the win, hence the “gimme”. Fast forward to this last weekend’s Cup Lite race. Edwards clearly jumped the start, video is on you tube if you don’t believe me. NA$CAR allowed the restart to stand, therefore “taking” one away from Kryle. Kryle has yet to mature enough to see that. Obviuosly still upset over the Cup Lite race he let his emotions get away from him yet again and had a meltdown. Yet again. I am surprised somewhat that Kryle still has a job with Joe Gibbs knowing how deeply religious Gibbs is. Dang near everything Kryle is goes against that faith. But Kryle does bring in the money. Maybe the almighty dollar is stronger than deep seated faith?

  11. DMan Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Don’t know what was funnier…Gordon’s half-slaps or Burton’s kicking. I was waiting to see some spitting and hair pulling. My question is this; why did the officials allow Gordon to approach Burton when Gordon was very oviously marching towards Burton intently, complete with crazy eyes and steam coming out of his ears? What, they couldn’t tell that trouble was coming their way? Doh!

  12. DDS Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Richard, Dan, and Justin;

    You guys are crazier than Brian France, RICK Allen (from SPEED), and Bozo the clown all wrapped into one. The days of 2 or 3 cars on the lead lap, or only 5 or 6 winners, or points blowouts, was because drivers, owners, teams, and manufacturers EARNED THEM. They weren’t fabricated by NA$CAR. In real stock car racing, a sanctioning body laid out the basic rules, and teams had to decide what car to run that was available from the car companies. If a car company wanted to race, it had to have a model of street car that fit the rules. Didn’t go fast enough to win? You figure it out. Don’t come crying to the rules makers.

    The Chase? Don’t make me laugh. In 1992, Alan Kulwicki had to lead one more lap than Bill Elliot in the last race in Atlanta to win the Championship by 5 points. Close enough for ya?

    ARCA doesn’t use a chase format and they have close points races. Why? Nobody has enough money to race, so it all levels itself out. No haves vs. have nots. They are all have nots.

    BTW. You want a NNS driver to win the NNS championship. Look at the ARCA point system. There is no way you are going to win the championship without running every race. With one slight change to that system, by knocking out the 250 bonus points for competing in all races in each segment of 5 races, for anyone who is in the top 40 in Cup points. A Cup driver can win every NNS race and still not win the championship.

    The only fans who MAY come back, are the one’s who just jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago. The old guard hardcore fan isn’t a fan anymore. NA$CAR doesn’t care about them. Wrong demographics. They should. They’re the ones who WOULD have introduced their kids and grandkids to the sport. They ain’t doin’ that now!

  13. shawn Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    too much water in the ship to save it from sinking now. back in the seventies and eighties it was known as grand national stock car racing or the winston cup series.drivers had personalities and the cars were awesome,now everything is nascar this and nascar that and the cars and drivers are company spokespeople and rolling billboards.who would have ever thought an anti hunger group would sponsor a race team.why not spend the money buying food instead?

  14. Jim Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Still some don’t get it. Wake me up when King Brian and Co. are forced into bankruptcy liquidation. Someone with a clue will be there to pick up the pieces.

  15. Ken Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    A poorly broadcasted phony contrived excitement race will not bring people back. Generic drivers driving generic cars on generic tracks will not make anyone want to watch the racing when the whole thing is contrived racing.