By admin | October 24, 2008
By Richard Allen
For the tenth time this year and for the fourth time in seven weeks the field for a NASCAR race will be set based on owner points. This week it is the Pep Boys Auto 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway that has fallen victim to a Friday wash out.
Last week I wrote that I did not think it would be such a bad idea to have the Top 12 in the Chase races to be made up of the Chase contenders. I still believe that is a good idea. However, I do believe there should be a qualifying session held for each and every race.
There are teams who went to the expense of preparing a car, hauling it to Atlanta, feeding and housing a crew, and then unloading and setting up only to be told they would not be in this race without ever having a chance to get on the track. There is no way that is good for the sport.
And more, pit stall selections will once again be made based on owner points. The points leading team of Jimmie Johnson did not have to turn a single lap on the speedway to earn the advantage of whichever spot on pit road they deem to be best. The rich get richer because of an act of nature.
I could understand the decision to cancel qualifying if there was to be a full lineup of Craftsman Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup events this weekend on the same track, but there is only the truck series running in conjunction with the Cup cars in Atlanta.
Time could easily be found within the schedule to hold a qualifying session, especially on a track with lights. There is too much at stake not to have qualifying.
One argument, aside from scheduling, made in favor of the cancellation of qualifying is that it would cause the crews to work more. If that be the case the crew members would simply be making up for a day in which they got to sit in the garage area and play cards, as was shown during SpeedTV’s coverage.
If it is going to be said that holding qualifying at an unscheduled time will cause problems with practice, then simply make this an impound race. Practice could be held as normal, then the truck race could run, and qualifying could be held on Saturday night following the truck race.
The go or go home teams could run some sort of qualifying set up which they would have to live with until the first caution while the Top 35 teams could qualify on race set ups. This would be no different than races held on the restrictor plate tracks.
NASCAR is going to have to re-evaluate some of its policies. They are driving away too many fans with these arbitrary decisions. If they would spend as much time finding ways to make it work as they do making excuses for why it won’t work they could get this done.
On another note, we in east Tennessee and Georgia appreciate NASCAR for scheduling this event and bringing the much needed rainfall.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
Topics: Articles |