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« Big contrast in perception of Daytona 500 and Indy 500 finishes | Main | If Logano is out, Bayne would be a better fit than Busch at JGR »

The individulal race has been assassinated by a villain named “Points”

By admin | May 28, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

A crime has been committed. The individual race is dead in NASCAR. It was killed by an assassin that goes by the name “Chase for the Championship” or “Points” for short. As evidence of this crime I present the Coca-Cola 600 held this past weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Or for that matter, I can present as evidence just about every race held during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

For most of the 600 miles of that most recent race, there was little more than a parade formation at high speed circulating around the 1.5 mile track. Proof of that came from the ‘RaceHub on Speed’ show on Monday evening. The highlight package of the previous day’s event featured as two of the most pivotal moments a replay of Tony Stewart getting spun on pit road and Jimmie Johnson’s gas man taking a spill after unsuccessfully attempting to disengage the fuel can from the 48 car.

When two of the biggest moments of a race take place on pit road rather than the track, there is a problem.

So what went wrong with this race and so many others? As has been written on an almost weekly basis on this website and several other places, there are a number of issues at the heart of the lack of drama and intensity being seen on the track this season. The Car of Tomorrow’s mandated equality and aerodynamic dependence, the fear of reprisal from sponsors or NASCAR for rowdy behavior, tracks that lend themselves to parade racing and tires that do not show significant signs of wear even after long stretches are all contributing factors of this season’s deficiency in excitement.

But the overriding culprit in the opinion of this writer is the current points system. After last season’s tie between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards for the series title, drivers live in fear of doing anything that might cost them a precious point. Not making the Chase for the Championship or losing out on a title by one point has become the unforgivable sin in today’s NASCAR.

After Sunday’s race, driver Denny Hamlin was asked why there has been so little drama in 2012. He responded, “Some people got hurt by crashes early in the year last year and that caused alarm for drivers this season. No more Mulligans.” That says it all. No one is willing to take a chance that might cost them a point, even if it means foregoing a race win. The result is race after race of high speed follow the leader.

To further explain my point, Kevin Harvick tweeted just after the Coke 600 that he had a “Solid night all around!” He finished 8th. There was a time when that was considered a mediocre day at best. Now, 8th is not only solid, but it is worthy of an exclamation mark. And Harvick is considered a fierce competitor. Think what the shrinking violets consider an 8th place run.

So, individual races carry virtually no value anymore. Just scoring points is all that matters.

Perhaps next season NASCAR can come up with a system in which drivers and teams simply move from race to race and complete a set number of miles with only a ‘Points as of now’ graphic shown at the end of the race. No victory lane ceremony, no post-race interviews or no trophies will be needed. Just give them their points and move them along to the next points paying destination.

The joy of the individual race has been killed and “Points” has gotten away with murder.

Topics: Articles |

18 Responses to “The individulal race has been assassinated by a villain named “Points””

  1. zhills fan Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 2:30 am

    NASCAR is dead!! I watched the indy 500 and it was way more exciting and they are in much more dangerous race cars. I got so tired of watching the 600 that i finally shut it off and went to bed.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 5:39 am

    When I first got interested in Nascar there was really no mention of a championship. It was all about who won what race. Unfortunately I still have that mind-set. But Nascar doesn’t. Which is why I actually haven’t watched a full race this year. At least 5 of the races I didn’t watch at all. This is from a 50+ year fan.

    One of the golden rules as a performer is… If you don’t care about your fans on stage what makes you think your fans should care about you?

    And that is the territiory that Nascar has headed towards. The attitude is ‘Shut up and keep buying tickets and watching on TV. We know better than you do’. Unfortunately for Nascar the fans aren’t shutting up and are a heck of a lot smarter than Nascar likes to believe they are.

    Like the proverbial tree in the forrest…. Is it a real championship if nobody is around to watch it???

  3. Gordon85Wins Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I thought the Chase was a horrible idea even before my driver got jobbed out of two championships, but even I didn’t imagine the damage it would do to the sport. zhills fan is right, the sport is dying.

  4. Tyler West Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 6:15 am

    It’s a crying shame what they have turned nascar into. There is no racing except at the restrictor plate tracks, and that’s iffy. All it is now is a bunch of idiots blowing smoke, the problem with that is none of the race shows actually talk about the race. What the hell has happened to this series? There is no racing! NONE! And when a driver does try to get rough with the competitiors he is blackballed by all the “fans” and retards in the media! Nascar may as well just go ahead a say that they are not in the business of racing they are instead in the business of generating fictional stories. They have becime wrestling on wheels! I CAN”T STAND WHAT IT HAS TURNED INTO!!!! And for the love of God GET RID OF BOTH WALTRIPS!! And everyone else for that matter!! All they do is repeat the same old crap over and over and over!! The Indy 500 was WAY MORE EXCITING!!! Get rid of the 1.5 mile tracks. THIS IS GARBAGE!! All their technology is destroying the product on the track. I’m affraid it is far too late to correct what is wrong, it’s never going to be good again and that is a real shame. Way to go! I’m so sick of them pushing twitter and all the other garbage that I could scream. Racing is not about all that mess, but I guess I’m the one who is wrong. Either way the sport I love is dead or dying quickly and that is a shame.

  5. Steven Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I think Sadler is obsessed with points. That’s why I root for Stenhouse.

  6. Chris Polk Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 6:38 am

    To anyone who is going to quit NASCAR because you don’t like the racing: Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. I listened to the entire Indy 500 and loved it. I listened to half and then watched the last half of the Coca Cola 600 and loved it. You know why? I love racing. I’m not a crack addict that needs some mystical “drama filled and ‘exciting’ race” to keep me interested. Sure, when there were only 8 teams with a shot at winning, 8th was a huge disappointment. We now have at LEAST 20 teams capable of winning. Getting out with a Top 10 in such a competitive environment IS an accomplishment. ESPECIALLY when you car isn’t handling like you want as Harvick’s car was Sunday night. RCR has some work to do. He is probably fortunate he didn’t finish 20th! Last year, Sirius NASCAR Radio replayed a race where Dale Earnhardt lost a wheel with 5 to go and he still finished in the top 10! HE. LOST. A. WHEEL. Do that today and you’ll finish outside the top 25. Yeah, racing sucks.

  7. Bill B Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 6:49 am

    There are always unintended consequences when someone changes something. Now, a decade in, we see how the chase has affected the racing. It’s all about points now.
    Before the chase if you were in 5th and more than a race worth of points behind the leader, you knew you needed to race hard. Now, as long as you can stay in the top ten you just wait for “the gift” that resets everyone to equal after Richmond.

  8. Jerome Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Great article Rich;

    Chris;

    I agree with you. I have been watching racing for 40 years. I don’t need “drama”, but I do need racing. What is being given to us is not racing. The only passing happens on pit road. I do expect the drivers to act like winning a race is important; “wreckers or checkers” if you will. As far as a competitive environment-really? ou have 6or 7 start and parkers; probably another 10 cars who drive around trying not to destroy their equipment-that gives us what-25-30 cars who are “racing” to use the term loosely. i don’t know how long you have ben watching but I think most long times fans will tell you that the “racing” we have today is not like the RACING of old.

    And Tyler; I agree with you all the way.

    keep up the great articles Rich.

  9. mr clause Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 8:51 am

    NASCAR is never going to admit defeat on the chase so how about this idiotic method of getting points for it. Only the first five finishing positions get points for the chase. 5 for the win and decreasing by one for each position through fifth. Simple and you can bet there will once again be real racing.

    Throw out the top 35 rule and give points for the top five qualifiers the same as the top five winners.

    Got a pretty good idea that the action would be a whole lot better. No stroking for points!

  10. Larry Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I agree, the points system seems to have killed the racing. Most drivers just seem to be riding around trying to get a decent finish and keep their cars in one piece. I have never liked the new points system because I believe the champion should be based on all the races not just the last ten. And, I don’t care if the championship has been determined before the end of the season. If a driver and team are that good then they deserve it. Plus, with the championship already decided, all the drivers can go all out to win the race which should make for more exciting racing.

  11. Bob Tanner Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    NA__AR drivers should watch Sato’s failed pass of Franchitti and recall the days when they wanted to win and would make moves such as that. Shame on them for allowing NA__AR to turn them into what they are!

  12. Jim R. Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    A very good discussion of the problem. Being a auto race fan for going on 50 years, I have some opinions on the subject:
    1) As the sport of stock car racing grew, NASCAR was not satisfied with the speed of the growth and began manipulating all aspects of the racing in an attempt to draw even larger attention. This began about the time Jeff Gordon came on the scene and continues today. Things like the “Chase”, Lucky Dog, Wave Around, Green/White/Checker, Pit Road Speeding, Debris? Cautions, Double File Restarts, etc, etc all were added to produce “Drama” when none was needed. Real racing is dramatic for those of us that love real racing. These “manipulations” were also designed to protect their most popular drivers. It’s real hard for the big names with the big sponsors to ever get too far from the front of the pack.
    2) NASCAR racing has become “too safe”. This does not sound like a good thing to say, but all the safety innovations have made racing like a video game. There is no real life and death feeling to the events, which was not the case in the early years. Nobody ever went to a race to see someone get hurt or killed, but you knew that the drivers and crews were in danger with every lap. It made you pay attention and it made you appreciate their skill and daring. Today, everyone wants to see spectacular wrecks, knowing that the driver will pop out and wave to the crowd. If there are no wrecks, the fan feels bored and cheated.
    3) There is nothing wrong with the points system itself, it’s the Chase that is the problem. The team with the most points at the end of the last race of the season should be the champion. Junior has been given enough chances to become a champion under this manipulated Chase system and it is time to go back to a real system.
    4) NASCAR has got to stop promoting certain individuals (Junior, Danica are the current crop) as the savior of the sport. When you have to rely on these two names to fill the stands and tune in on TV, you have a real problem with your product. The stands are not filled, the TV ratings are down because of these two. Why, you ask? Because real race fans are insulted by the process that produced them.
    5) Rusty Wallace is right. There is too much supply and too little demand. We need fewer, shorter races with fewer cars in the field. A 30 car field would be much better. The purse needs to be adjusted so that cars are paid based on how many laps they complete.

  13. sylvia richardson Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    NASCAR IS NOTHING NOW BUT A JOKE.THAT STUPID CHASE HAS RUIN OUR SPORT.MAIN THING TO HELP OUR SPORT IS GET RUIN OF THE CHASE THE TOP 35. AND BRAIN F. PLEASE GET ANOTHER JOB FRANCE AND FLY OFF TO ANOTHER COUNTRY.

  14. sylvia richardson Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    i have not sais this before. and what if i have?????

  15. loose nut Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    a lot of things have already been said,but I attended the race and wish I had not. Was at the track 7 hours before the race and 4 hours for the race,and it sucked. I am beginning to think twice about paying to be bored. more importance on winning is greatly needed. millionaires being paid to ride around the track.

  16. Russ Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Rich, think that this one of the better articles you have written.
    However, as we have discussed the problem isnt just any one thing. Points racing is part of it, the aero dependency is part of it, Top 35, team orders, sponsor expectations, pampered drivers, TV, and on and on.

    Just hard to see how its going to change. Particularly since there is plenty of incentive for Nascar not to change.

    Wonder how many more companies there are that will be willing to pay for a car that doesnt have a chance of making the “Chase”?

  17. Gunadoo Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Another great article Rich.
    It’s not racing anymore - It’s theater…

  18. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Please, Child Please, and I don’t mean to be in Ochocinco Turf, but, I’d want to tell NASCAR that the only way Bonus Points Pay is to win a BIG Race and I feel that the mojo needs to come back to NASCAR for Real and for good!

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