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Fuel mileage stretches are uninspiring

By admin | September 19, 2011

By Richard Allen


I am not sure when NASCAR racing crossed into its current realm but it has now become the norm rather than the exception for races to end in fuel mileage stretch runs instead of the fastest car simply outrunning everyone to the finish line. In previous years, or eras, there was the occasional race that ended with a driver making the gas in his tank last long enough to coast to a win. Now, such a finish has become the way in which most races seem to be won…or lost.

Granted, these fuel mileage races do create drama. Up until the final turn there is the question of who will make it and who won’t. And, such racing has provided for a wider variety of winners this year with some new names finding their way into victory lane. But still, I am having a hard time embracing these conservation laden coasts to the checkered flag.

Due to the fact that I had already used one sick day to stay home and watch the rained out Atlanta race, I chose to set my DVR for the postponed Chicago race and go to work on Monday. After following along on Twitter for the final laps and knowing how things played out, I decided to cut my grass rather than watch the taped race when I got home.

The decision to stay home and take in the Atlanta event was a good one on my part. The late battle between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson was one of the best races of the season. Neither driver was concerned about fuel. It was simply two skilled drivers giving it all they had to win. In my mind, that’s what racing is.

The Richmond race of one week ago provided enough controversy and excitement to stir debate for weeks. And again, it wasn’t fuel mileage that made things interesting.

With those two lead-in events as the backdrop, I was as excited going into this Chase for the Championship as I had been in quite some time. And then, I read a plethora of Twitter posts about drivers being told to conserve gas and of drivers running half throttle or even cutting their engines off in the turns. Sorry, but that isn’t inspiring to me.

In my opinion, it is a sad day when the roar of a wide open engine tearing down a straightaway has been replaced by the muffled sound of a motor being milked for better gas mileage. The rhythm of a driver working the accelerator to get his car to better maneuver in the turns is far preferable to the silence of a deadened machine in conservation mode.

If you enjoy the drama of fuel mileage endings and the surprise winners they create, please continue to do so. As for me, I would rather see and hear actual racing.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Fuel mileage stretches are uninspiring”

  1. Tyler Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    NASCAR needs to go back to the 22 gallon fuel cells. The combination of the smaller full cells and the Ethanol blended gas is causing short fuel runs.

    Also, it’s ridiculous that the 17 can push a car to victory the entire last lap at Daytona, but is penalized for getting a push for less than a whole lap for just a top 10.

  2. Arnold Decker Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Stop the fuel milage racing.
    Stop the race 30 or so laps from the finish, make everyone pit. Then restart in the same order as when the race was stopped.

  3. jerseygirl Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Boring. Menard won the Brickyard that way, too. One of NASCAR’s so called premiere events and it’s a fuel mileage race, not a side by side to the finish.

    And then Chicago — woo hoo, what a race. Not.

    If this is the chase, wake me when it’s over.

  4. Sue Rarick Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    If anyone thinks gas mileage races are exciting they should have been around in the 70’s and I’m sure watching cars run out of gas while in gas lines would have had their knickers all aflutter.

    As for me, I will have better things to do. I will read about the races, because I have been a fan since the 50’s. But try as NASCAR may, this isn’t racing. It’s a fuel mileage EVENT. Between Menard-gate and this fuel mileage event, NASCAR is doing a lot more damage to their name, and racing, than they know.

  5. Kevin Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    The simple soloution to the fuel mileage race is for Goodyear to bring a tire to the track that won’t last for a full fuel mileage run. If the cars can go 50 laps on fuel, have the tires last for 40 laps and give up 3 seconds a lap when they get to that point. If you can pick up 3 seconds a lap by getting tires, than everyone is going to pit by lap 40. Fuel mileage doesn’t come into it equation then.
    I realize it isn’t quite that simple for Goodyear. Because of the configuration of the car that we’re using is super hard on the right front tire. As a result, Goodyear has a tough time developing a compound that is soft enough to give up 3 seconds a lap, but durable enough that it won’t blow out and cause safety concerns.
    I have a hard time believing that with the technology we have available today that Goodyear couldn’t come up with something if they were told to.
    I think Goodyear has had run of the system long enough now. I understand that one company was awarded the tire contract as a result of needing consistency, but I think the product has suffered as a result of a lack of competition.
    I believe that NASCAR needs to hold open competions during the off season - Invite Bridgestone, Pirelli, Goodyear, Firestone, Hoosier and whoever else to compete. Go to multiple tracks, with different conditions and surfaces, and pick the company that has their stuff together the best. They get a one year contract, then everyone else has the opportunity to make their stuff better for next year.

  6. steven Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Cant wait to see Danica win a gas milage cup race.