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Cookie Cutter Track + Bad Tires + Gen6 = Bad Racing

By admin | November 4, 2013

By Richard Allen

If you want to raise the ire of many fans and former fans of NASCAR, just bring up the topics of ‘cookie cutter tracks’, bad racing tires and the slightly upgraded version of the Car of Tomorrow(Gen6). And when you bring all three of these often despised subjects together in one place at one time, it’s sure to not end well.

On Sunday at the Texas Motor Speedway, that is exactly what happened. A perfect storm of all three elements mentioned above blew into the Fort Worth area and left an afternoon filled with bad racing in its wake.

The statistics from the race indicate that there were 28 lead changes in all. That sounds impressive until it is considered that a great many of those “passes” took place during pit stop exchanges, either under caution or during green flag exchanges. Add to that lack of excitement the fact that one driver, Jimmie Johnson, completely dominated the event by leading a total of 255 of the 334 laps run on the 1.5 mile track. Several of those lead changes not directly related to pit stop exchanges were simply the 48 car retaking the lead after having given it up for a few laps due to differing pit cycles.

The so-called ‘cookie cutter’ tracks are frequently responsible for less-than-stellar racing. Tracks such as TMS, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Chicagoland Speedway and the Kansas Speedway are among those noted for what more closely resembles high speed parading than racing.

Nothing happened on Sunday to change anyone’s opinion on that.

Cookie cutter tracks like Texas have great amenities but typically offer poor racing.

And to make matters worse for this particular race, the tires supplied by Goodyear and/or the setups being used by teams caused drivers to have to nurse their cars around the track to avoid blowouts and excessive wear.

After Kyle Busch hit the wall early in the event, his crew chief radioed the driver to say, “It’s not a camber problem. It’s a tire problem.” A number of other drivers and crew chiefs complained about the tires throughout the day, but it has to be considered that sometimes those very drivers and crews do things that cause the issues.

Whatever the case, tire wear was a problem in Texas. And the babying drivers were having to do so as to avoid serious problems did not help the racing at all.

Kyle Busch received damage to his car after a tire shredded.

And lastly, the Gen6 car has not improved racing on these type of tracks at all in 2013. Even NASCAR chairman Brian France admitted after the race in Charlotte last month that the sanctioning body is looking into ways to improve the machine’s race-ability. While the look of the new car is certainly an improvement over the old CoT, there is actually little difference between the two under the skin. That has led to a season filled with the same aero-sensitive racing that has dominated the sport since the original version of the car made it debut.

Sunday’s race in Texas was not one that will be remembered for edge-of-the-seat excitement. It is more likely that it won’t be remembered at all as many who intended to watch may have fallen asleep or  tuned away.

Topics: Articles |

17 Responses to “Cookie Cutter Track + Bad Tires + Gen6 = Bad Racing”

  1. Kelly Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Well, I suppose we should be grateful that Brian F took a minute out of his day counting money to maybe acknowledge the minions might be right on something…oh small favors.

  2. Russ Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Given the fact that its a spec series, and everyone has the same horsepower, gear ratio, trans ratio, etc. how can it be otherwise? Slightly better aero, or one small development would make a huge difference. That assumes of course that the drivers are equal.
    As much as we’d like to see it change, in this age of “parity” I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

  3. Tom Wilkinson Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 6:41 am

    IROC all over. Look what happened to it.

  4. Jason Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 7:02 am

    The competition of today far exceeds yesteryears but the whining never stops. One team built a better car and racing ‘journalist’ think it’s NASCAR fault. When the 49ers stomped the Jaguars it was the NFL’s fault?

  5. Chris Fiegler Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Do you Guys think that the AAA Texas 500 is the Worst Sprint Cup Series Race of 2013?

  6. GinaV24 Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    LOL, love your post, Kelly. Russ, it seems as though the IROC series cars were the model for the ugly race car. We all know what happened there — the IROC series is out of business.

    Agree with Rich’s column - bored, bored and more bored. I had a ticket for the Charlotte race and didn’t bother to go. It simply wasn’t worth the $ it would have cost me to travel to and from the race, it was cheaper to simply not use the ticket. Personally, considering the $ it would take for me to travel to Kansas, Chicago or Texas, I wouldn’t even consider those tracks as places I “have” to go to as a fan. At least a home, I can do something else during the race.

  7. jPE Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    The simple answer is: short tracks = better racing. For that USAR ProCup is the best game in town. Too bad it isn’t televised.

  8. midasmicah Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Not to change the subject, but why does JJ seem to be able to pass other cars at will when he needs to, yet others can’t? It seems he has 50 more horse power than anyone else.

  9. Michael in SoCal Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    The only cookie cutter track I would ‘want’ to go to is Charlotte, for the All Star Race (which in my opinion should move around to other tracks, but that’s another story). The wife & I stopped going to Fontana a couple years ago because it was just boring. Love all the hoopla and trailers at the track, but the racing is lacking after the third lap.

  10. Terry T Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    zzzzzzzzzz… Is it over?

  11. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Just cover all NASCAR tracks with two feet of dirt and watch the racing began for real.

  12. RacingFan Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I think the racing was better earlier this year before the engineers had a chance to figure out the Gen 6 cars’ aerodynamics.

    It is interesting that the announcers say that a car is pitting for “4 fresh Goodyear Eagles”, but never say a driver had a “Goodyear Eagle” come apart causing a spin or crash. It is always just a tire that does that. I suppose the same could be said about never announcing that there was a “Sunoco fuel” fire in the pits.

  13. Ken Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Some would say there is nothing wrong with the Gen-6 car, that it is perfect. After all, one team has it well figured out. They can pass any other car at will, and has the most power, and they are now destroying the competition. That team is also “The Chosen Ones”, the one team NASCAR listened to the most about what they wanted in the new car. The real problem is that none of the other teams have it figured out, including team cars of “The Chosen Ones”. And you can bet that when the other teams do get it figured out, there will be major rule changes to keep “The Chosen Ones” at their dominate stature.

  14. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 5th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I would like to see Hoosier again. And I find that instead of the stereotypical JJ This, JJ That, I still feel the Old Points System would have carried more than the current one. And, I would have paid 50 Points More Per Win and the CART Styled Scoring for every Twin.

  15. Russ Says:
    November 6th, 2013 at 5:47 am

    IMHO the car with 50 more hp has something different in the aero package, somewhere. Doesnt have to be much, because its a spec series. Only surprising that the rest of the teams cars don’t seem capable of the same. Driver might have a little to do with that.

  16. Michael in SoCal Says:
    November 6th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Watching the race, Matt Kenseth was able to move up from P16 to P4 after his pit road speeding penalty. That seems like his car was able to pass too.

    And I’d love to see how the 48 team cheated, but it wasn’t caught by either the 2 team or the 20 team, both parked right next to the 48 in the garage.

    Watch out for the black helicopters…

  17. john Says:
    November 6th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Never will eliminate aero push. Never will have parts that prematurely fail anymore. Never will have drivers that rubbin’ is racin’ anymore. Make the tracks rough like old Darlington, soften the tires so there are marbles all over the track. Now do we pit after 20 laps or do we push it a little more before a blown tire puts us in the wall. Watch the cars slow 3 seconds a lap, and make them drive a car that has to handle.