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Can the Sprint Cup race in Martinsville match the excitement of the trucks?

By admin | October 29, 2011

By Richard Allen


If the Sprint Cup race on Sunday at the Martinsville Speedway has as many noteworthy happenings as the Camping World Truck Series of Saturday afternoon on that same track had, it will go down as one of the most talked about races in the sport’s history. However, the likelihood of that happening is somewhat remote.

Just look at all that took place during the 200 laps of Saturday’s race. A rare participant in the series, Denny Hamlin, took the victory. That eventual winner employed a different strategy than many of those he had to race against for the win and had to come from far back in the field during the second half of the event. The winning move came very late in the race and was the result of the series points leader making a bobble while racing for the lead.

Also, there were more temper flaring incidents than can be recounted in the space of one blog, but the most noteworthy came when two teammates, Max Papis and Todd Bodine, had an on track skirmish which led to a heated post-race confrontation.

Those of us who plan to watch on Sunday can only hope for as much entertainment, but to count on it would be a bit overly optimistic.

One reason stands out as a glaring difference between the two series’ that will cause a more tame affair in the headline event. That difference is the Chase for the Championship playoff format.

In today’s Sprint Cup Series, everything has become about points, points and more points. With that being the case, those involved in the Chase will be reluctant to go all out for fear of damaging their car and losing points. Those outside the Chase will be inclined to tip-toe around the championship leaders for fear of doing something that will cost them points.

Last week’s race in Talladega demonstrated how the chase for points has completely taken over the sport. The big controversy from the restrictor plate race that has had everyone talking all week was the use of team orders by those involved. However, it wasn’t how those orders impacted the outcome of the race but how those orders affected the series standings that caused such a stir. For that matter, hardly anyone talked about winner Clint Bowyer during the past week. Instead, much more was said about points contenders Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, who finished 18th and 27th respectively.

What does it say about a sporting event in which two competitors who were so badly beaten get such a disproportionate amount of the attention from that event? It says the focus is in the wrong place.

So, on Sunday in Martinsville, I will be surprised if we see the same type of action that we saw in Saturday’s truck race. I expect more concern of points than the actual race win.

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4 Responses to “Can the Sprint Cup race in Martinsville match the excitement of the trucks?”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    October 30th, 2011 at 5:08 am

    The truck series has provided the best racing for years. NASCAR has totally destroyed the cup series. Like I have been preaching for several years, the cup series is nothing more than the continuation of IROC.

  2. Erich Sturgill Says:
    October 30th, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I agree with your point that the Chase has de-energized the individual races in Cup.

    I also agree that the Truck race was great–watching the different strategies and racing amongst the six to eight fast trucks was great!

    However, all of that junk in the back of the pack was ridiculous. It’s sad to see them use their trucks to take out their aggression. I’ve seen more professionalism in four-cylinder races at Gaffney. It’s fun to see one or two go at it, but there were twenty trucks out there chopping eachother off and trying to kill eachother every lap. Todd Bodine lost his mind yesterday.

  3. Russ Edwards Says:
    October 30th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Isn’t it interesting that the premier series, Sprint Cup, has the least interesting racing. While the lowest of the trio of national series, the trucks, is by far the most entertaining.

  4. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 30th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Can’t they cut the races?