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« The Best of NASCAR 2013 was… | Main | NASCAR on TV: Is DVR changing the way fans watch? »

The Worst of NASCAR 2013 was ….

By admin | December 28, 2013

By Richard Allen

There were certainly good moments in NASCAR during the 2013 season, but there were also some negatives. So, here is my list of those less than memorable things to occur in the past year.

Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 but Danica Patrick garned much of the attention.

The Daytona 500- For an event that is often billed as “The Super Bowl of NASCAR” this race was a tremendous letdown in 2013. Once we got beyond the hype for Danica Patrick’s pole winning run, there was nothing to get excited about as drivers and teams worked to get a handle on the latest restrictor plate rules package.

For the most part, the race was a 500 mile parade with a few moves being made at the very end to offer a bit of excitement. And what might have been worst of all for some fans, the race served as a preview of things to come with Jimmie Johnson winning on his way to a sixth Sprint Cup title.

It wasn’t the much disliked 2×2 style of racing, but it wasn’t very good either.

Racing throughout much of the NASCAR season was done in single-file formations such as this.

Parading in general- And speaking of parade racing, that pretty summed up the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup season. And no where was that more evident than on the so-called ‘cookie cutter’ tracks where the only passing seemed to take place on pit stop exchanges and immediately after restarts.

And to make matters worse, the parade races seemed to always end with fuel mileage stretches. While those types of endings certainly add drama, there is just something bothersome about cars designed to race at full speed being made to coast to the finish line.

Clint Bowyer’s late race spin in Richmond has sparked controversy.

“Spingate”- This thing got covered and recovered when it happened, but it still has to mentioned on a “worst of” list. Michael Waltrip Racing paid a heavy price for manipulating the finish of the Chase for the Sprint Cup deciding race in Richmond when they allegedly had Clint Bowyer spin on purpose and Brian Vickers mysteriously give up a number of positions to get Martin Truex, Jr. into the playoff.

And it seemed as if NASCAR handled the situation in the worst possible way by leaving the driver who it was believed to have spun on purpose in the Chase while eliminating the driver who essentially had nothing to do with the entire conspiracy. And further, the sanctioning body decided to include a 13th driver at the last possible moment when they put Jeff Gordon in the Chase after teams had already begun preparations for the race in Chicago the next week.

This situation was just badly handled all the way around.

Empty seats, even at popular tracks like Bristol, were commonplace.

Poor attendance- While there were instances during the season in which grandstands surrounding NASCAR tracks were full or mostly full, there were far too many times when huge pockets of empty seats were visible or were covered by large banners. And as that trend continues, tracks seem completely oblivious as many of them keep ticket prices high in the seating areas that fans might actually want to sit in.

Further, some tracks have announced ways in which they will “improve the fan experience” in the future by adding high priced video screens while at the same time eliminating the more affordable seats to do so. Apparently the television money is good enough that they do not have to worry about selling tickets.

Denny Hamlin being transported from his accident scene in Fontana, California.

Injuries- For all its faults, the Car of Tomorrow dramatically improved driver safety during its tenure as NASCAR’s primary vehicle. Along with SAFER walls, Hans Devices and other improvements, safety has sometimes been taken for granted in racing. But 2013 showed us that this is still very much a dangerous sport.

High profile absences by two of the sport’s biggest stars jarred us awake this past season when Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart had to miss races due to injuries sustained while racing. Granted, Stewart’s broken leg occurred while racing a sprint car rather than in a NASCAR sanctioned event, but racing is racing in that sense.

These injuries combined with the tragic death of Jason Leffler, also while racing in a sprint car, made us all realize that we can never believe that this sport is free of danger.

Danica accomplished more off the track than on it in 2013.

Danica-palooza- I’m not sure if I’m in the majority here or simply a vocal minority, but I reached the breaking point on Danica Patrick publicity very early on in the season. There’s only so much that can be done to make a 25th-30th place driver look like a star. “Keeping the fenders on it” and “logging laps” just weren’t very intriguing storylines once we hit the 25th race of the season.

But she did appear in a TV cooking contest and host a country music awards show. That’s good for NASCAR…right?

We shall see in 2014 whether or not any real progress was made in the female driver’s career or if she will simply continue to be a commercial and tabloid star.

Speed signed off as a network in 2013.

The loss of Speed TV- Television is a business and it must be treated as such, but it was disappointing to see the Speed network fall by the wayside in favor of an “all sports” network(that seems to show an awful lot of cage fighting). And more than what the loss of the racing based network might ultimately cost NASCAR is the potential impact on less publicized forms of racing.

In your opinion, hat were some of the more negative moments during the 2013 NASCAR season?

The Best of NASCAR 2013 was … –>

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9 Responses to “The Worst of NASCAR 2013 was ….”

  1. Russ Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 7:55 am

    IMHO the debacle at Richmond was the single worst event for stock car racing in 2013. I doubt if the repercussions of that event have subsided yet.
    As for the rest, we can expect to see more of the same in the coming year I believe.

  2. william floyd Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    So Rich, how come no media that i have seen, has shown the video of Michael Waltrip in Truex’s pit after the Richmond race, while congratulating Martin for making the chase, Mikey says, “how about those two teammates of yours” ! Mikey was admitting that Martin’s teammates worked in collusion to get Martin into the chase, but other than when it was live on camera, I have yet to see one member of the media, you included, to show that video clip of Mikey.

  3. Tony Geinzer Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Rich, I hate calling out a spade when its there, but, if any NASCAR or Other Stock Car/Motorsports Employee is caught redhanded with Substance or serious Legal Issues, he/she is suspended until the courts take course and he/she would be instantly demoted a conference. I call this the Jennifer Jo Cobb Rule.

  4. kb Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    The people I know were sick of Danica before the phony/wannabe driver ever stepped foot into Nascar. The Pole we all feel was “fixed” as PT Barnum Brian France needed a big media opening for the 2013 season. I shutter to think what he has in mind for her in the 2014 season opener..would not be suprised if she “won” Daytona 500. Sad.

  5. Chris Fiegler Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    The Worst Race of 2013 was the Samuel Deeds by Crown Royal at the Brickyard or What Everybody Knows as the Brickyard 400. there was absolutely no Passing at All.

  6. Overa88ted Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    The fact that Clint Bowyer, the driver who intentionally spun out to FIX a race, was allowed to still be in Gimmick chase was a Joke. In any other real major sports league organization, Clint Bowyer would have been Suspended indefinitely, along with his duma$$ owner M. Waltrip. Clueless Brian Z. France didn’t have the Balls to do it. Fox Sports 1, another Joke, don’t bother to watch it.

  7. R.J.Koerperich Says:
    December 29th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    The worst thing about NA$CAR 13 had to be the media fascination with the skinny little long haired dude who “drove” the 10 car…er…….really….a chick ?….you sure ?…. OK the skinny little dude like chick that “drove” the 10 car. One would think that to be a “superstar” in NA$CAR all one has to do is ride around in the rear of the pack and actually finish a race every now and then without destroying the car. When I really paid attention to NA$CAR one was expected to win several races a season and to run well and consistently every week to be considered a “superstar”,how times have changed, for the worse.

  8. kb Says:
    December 30th, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Amen RJ!

  9. Leto Says:
    January 5th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I will be the voice of dissent and say that Eldora belongs on this list, not the best of list.

    We had NASCAR lower the number of trucks that made the field, for whatever reason. Then we had everyone hyping up the gigantic field that was expected… only to have 36 trucks attempt the race, 10 fewer than some reports. NASCAR might as well have allowed everyone to race anyway, considering the track had room for all 36 Trucks. There was very little passing. The leader was almost impossible to pass- any time a driver got a run on the leader, they stalled out unless by some sheer dumb luck they managed a pass. Kyle Larson had a way better truck than Austin Dillon, but couldn’t pass him because the track was awful. Then we had everyone hyping up this huge sellout crowd for the race… yet it was only 18-20,000 (depending on what number you read). That’s actually pretty low, even for Trucks. Not to mention, everyone likes to whine about ticket prices, but the price of a ticket to the Truck race was more expensive than most other Truck races (and it was only a couple dollars cheaper than the Daytona Truck race).

    I thought the racing was pretty bad, all things considered. I know it was a desperate ploy by NASCAR to keep 22 races on the Truck calendar, even though lots of tracks would give everything to just be discussed as a potential venue, much less awarded a race. I would rather have seen the Trucks duke it out at Myrtle Beach, Gresham, Mobile, or IRP than Eldora.