By admin | April 18, 2011
By Richard Allen
With the Aaron’s 499 now in the rear view mirror there are just over two full months before the next restrictor plate race in Daytona on Independence Day weekend. If NASCAR were ever to do something that might change the 2X2 style of racing that has suddenly become the norm at Daytona and Talladega, this would be the time to do it.
NASCAR did not necessarily create this type of racing. It is more the product of the teams doing work on cooling system and other mechanical and aerodynamic factors. If the sanctioning body does want to change things they would have to make rulings in those areas.
But, why would they do anything about it?
NASCAR fans and media have often complained about the lack of passing for the lead in Sprint Cup races. There have been record numbers of lead changes in both races on the restrictor plate tracks so far in 2011.
NASCAR fans and media have often complained about a lack of excitement in Sprint Cup races. Sunday’s race was decided by .002 seconds with a four-wide finish. That’s pretty exciting.
But even with the number of lead changes and a blink of an eye finish, there were complaints about the racing in Talladega. As a matter of fact, there was a point in the race when Fox Network commentator Darrell Waltrip said, “You’ve gotta love this type of racing.” Upon hearing that, I asked my followers on twitter whether or not they did indeed love this type of racing. The response was overwhelmingly against the 2X2 tandems.
While the results of this poll are hardly scientific or official it reveals a strange quandary for NASCAR. Tandem racing has given fans and media what they have asked for but many fans and media do not seem to like it.
The problem most people seem to have(and the problem I myself have) is that the racing is so different from the norm and it just doesn’t look ‘natural’. Even the big packs previously created by restrictor plates seemed more appropriate to many fans than this.
During Sunday’s race my dad, a lifelong fan and one time racer himself, said, “This looks like a bunch of female dogs in heat being chased by a bunch of male dogs.” It just looks…weird. The selecting of partners and dumping of one for another seems more like the TV show Survivor than racing.
Also, I have to wonder if a deeper issue might be at stake here. Is the fact that the chances of ‘The Big One’ are greatly reduced play a role in people’s disdain for 2X2 tandems? Maybe mangled sheet metal is part of the draw for Talladega and Daytona.
NASCAR has been ever trending toward making the sport into a made for ESPN SportsCenter highlight package for some time now. The record numbers of lead changes combined with slow motion, high resolution photo finishes and a crash or two mixed in are exactly what they are looking for.
So again, why would NASCAR do anything about 2X2 racing at Daytona and Talladega?
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