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.
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