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Hyped Richmond race proves to be a “snoozer”

By admin | September 9, 2012

By Richard Allen


No doubt the headline of this piece grabbed the attention of at least some of the folks who have clicked on the link to see what it has to say. Hopefully before heading to the comments section of the website to remind the writer of all the drama that played out in the final 50 laps of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond International Raceway, readers will consider what is written.

Yes, there was a great deal of drama in the final laps of the Sprint Cup event on Saturday night/Sunday morning. But when the word “snoozer” was used, at least one of the points to be made was that it’s likely very few people actually saw what happened.

Due to a delayed start because of an early evening rain shower and another delay of almost an hour prior to the halfway mark of the race, the checkered flag did not drop until well after 1:00am on Sunday morning. That’s probably well past the bedtime of many who may have intended to watch the ABC broadcast.

Much of the NASCAR audience was snoozing by that time.

But more, whether the race had been delayed or not, it could very well be that many fans would have tuned away before the dramatic portion of the event because the first 350 laps or so made for a real “snoozer”. Essentially, very little passing took place and several of those drivers who had been the focus of the pre-race hype regarding the competition for the remaining spots in the Chase for the Championship were floundering. Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman got off to very poor starts with some of them even going a lap down.

It looked very much like the race for the wildcard was going to come down to three of four drivers a lap of the pace struggling to make it to the finish ahead of the others. That doesn’t exactly live up to the “Win at all costs” or “Do whatever it takes” hype that was hammered home by much of the media for an entire week leading into the race.

And by the way, it would have been almost impossible for any race to have lived up to what was expected from this one.

Quite frankly, the first three-fourths of the 400 lap race were boring and probably would not have held the attention of many of those viewers who did not fit the bill of ‘die-hard race fan’.

Of course, in the end Clint Bowyer and his crew gambled on fuel mileage and won a nail bitter of a late race run. And Jeff Gordon made one of the great comebacks of his career when he drove back to 2nd place at the end and locked himself into the Chase.

The final fifty laps of the race proved to be some of the most thrilling of the season. Unfortunately, it took a long time to get to that drama. And that meant a lot of fans were snoozing instead of watching.

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “Hyped Richmond race proves to be a “snoozer””

  1. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    September 9th, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I’ll admit to falling asleep with Denny Hamlin dominating only to find Clint Bowyer in victory lane.

  2. JudyBTeam24 Says:
    September 9th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    As a Jeff Gordon fan y’all couldn’t have gotten me to sleep with 6 doses of NyQuil followed by 4 cups of Sleepy Time Tea. I had faith that the team would live up to the mantra of “never give up, never give in” & wouldn’t have missed it for anything!

  3. JudyBTeam24 Says:
    September 9th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    btw, please don’t take my previous post as an endorsement of the stupid chase in any way, shape or form. I enjoyed the true drama of watching my favorite driver & his team pull off an amazing accomplishment, not the manufactured drama of an asinine playoff system that, IMO, does not belong in racing.

  4. zhills fan Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 4:31 am

    I stuck it out until there was only a dozen on the lead lap.

  5. midasmicah Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 6:57 am

    As soon as Denny Hamlin said that he was trying a new set-up for the chase, that told me a win was secondary in his book. My interest waned quickly after that occurred. Not very long ago I would have stayed up and stuck it out. Due to the chase not anymore. A snoozer indeed.

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I doubt The Chase and Sprint work for NASCAR. I feel angry that Mother Nature did us no favors and I almost would feel relieved vs. jobbed if Sprint left the Sport and we got a new sponsor who had concern for Stock Cars.

  7. Russ Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Wasn’t this typical of most races over the last few seasons? A lot of hype and very little substance.

    As for Sprint, would you expect any other company in these times to be much different?

  8. Sue Rarick Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Staturday night races come down to Nascar or Larry’s Country Diner for me. This season Larry’s has won out, and most likely will win out next year too.

  9. John Cooke Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Living only an hour from the track, we left for home about 7:00 with it raining and knowing it would be after nine to start if it stopped right then. I think the right call by Nascar, knowing that bad weather was being called for all week about race time, would have been to postpone the race till Sunday, since that day was supposed to be nice. Having 90,000 fans gathered in a small space with severe weather being called for is not real smart! Luckily, the severe wind part of the storm skirted the track to the north, only miles from the track.

  10. oldirtracker Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    The race was a real disappointment to me after the fantastic nationwide race on Friday night,maybe we need to switch up and make Nationwide the top circuit. The nationwide race was exciting even though a third of the field start and parked.

  11. Bill B Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Judy is right on if you were a 24 fan. I know that five beers didn’t have any effect on me. I was adrenalized. I didn’t fall asleep until 3AM.

    But you are correct Rich, usually the final spots in the chase come down to mathematics no matter how NASCAR arranges things. BTW, both years now since the wildcard the top twelve in points made the chase. The extra “winning” concept has not panned out as the deciding factor.

    John Cooke,
    I read on Jayski hours before the race that NASCAR was going to do everything in their power to get the race in Sat night because they didn’t want to go head to head with the NFL opening week. One could argue whether the ratings took a similar downward spiral after 11PM to make it a wash but that was the thinking.

  12. Brian Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Actually I believe all of the Chase Wild Cards went a lap down within the first 200 laps.

  13. dawg Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    NASCAR’s new catch phrase for next season ought to be “All’s well that ends well.”
    Their specialty seems to be 3 &1/2 hours of mind numbingly boring parade. Then 30 min. or so of real racing.

  14. Steven Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I love short track racing but hate gas milage finishes. I am sick too of the broadcasters and their points/chase pounding. As if France’s playoff concept was the center of the universe. Yay for Football season.

  15. Russ Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I live 5 miles from the track. No way I would go out there and fight the weather and the traffic. Although the good news is the traffic isnt as bad as it used to be.