By admin | September 30, 2012
By Richard Allen
I love NASCAR racing, I really do. But I realize that sometimes it would be hard to guess that based on the blogs I write. And I also realize that it seems as if I write the same blog just about every week. However, I believe this sport is being lead in the wrong direction and it would do no favors to anyone if I were to not say what I think.
All that said, I want to know who outlawed passing during the Chase for the Championship. More specifically, who outlawed passing for the lead during the first three outings of the ten race playoff?
Whether anyone at NASCAR will actually say so or not, the idea behind the Chase was almost certainly to showcase the sport in the time period in which NASCAR goes up against the NFL. Well, these first three races have been anything but a showcase.
On Sunday in Dover, there were a total of eleven lead changes over the course of the 400 mile event. That’s right, ELEVEN lead changes in 400 miles. But if that isn’t bad enough, the real disappointment was in the fact that only two of those lead changes were not related to either a caution period or an exchange during green flag pit stops. That’s right, there were TWO actual passes for the lead over the course of 400 miles.
Kyle Busch passed Denny Hamlin on lap 34 in a move not brought on by a green flag pit stop or caution. Then, it would not be until lap 354 when Busch passed Jimmie Johnson under green that another competitve pass for the lead would take place.
The facts listed above are almost unbelieveable but a check of the website Racing-Reference.info will confirm the numbers.
If this were just an isolated case it could be chalked up as some sort of oddity. But this lack of passing for the lead happens on an almost weekly basis. Even though there was an unusual situation to have occured in Dover when all but eight cars were trapped a lap or more down when a caution came out in the middle of a pit sequence, none of those cars who got lapped indicated the ability to drive up and take the lead under green.
Last week’s race in New Hampshire had seventeen lead changes with at least eleven of those coming as a result of cautions or green flag pit stop exchanges. There were sixteen lead changes in Chicago two weeks ago with eleven of those related to cautions or green flag pit stop exchanges.
In other words, passing for the lead under green just doesn’t happen very often in NASCAR’s top division.
I’ve said it seemingly a million times before but the solution has to be within the setups of the cars and the overabundance of rules therein. With so many components on the machines dictated by the sanctioning body, the cars are all essentially running the same speed. While this is often touted as being good for the sport, the opposite is actually true. Cars running the same speed never pass each other.
Fans often criticize the so-called ‘cookie cutter’ tracks for their lack of racing action. So far in the Chase, there has been one of those tracks, a flat one-mile and a banked one-mile. None has produced good racing.
The Chase is not doing what it is supposed to by showcasing the sport in a critical time period.
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