By admin | November 10, 2008
By Richard Allen
Perhaps my least favorite part of the television coverage of NASCAR is the statistic called â€˜points as they runâ€™.
For whatever reason, the networks that cover racing feel the need to keep viewers constantly updated as to the point standings â€œif the race were to end right nowâ€. Trouble with that is, the stat is often given when the race is nowhere near its completion.
It serves very little purpose to give viewers this update 100 miles into a 500 mile race. That is especially true when the update is given before the halfway mark. Or, when there is no obvious threat of rain or any other condition that might cause the race to be shortened. For that matter, the stat is pretty much useless even if one of the top points competitors has had some sort of trouble.
Networks especially seem to love flashing this stat onto the screen when one of the points contenders has for some reason gotten out of sequence on pit road and has thus dropped back in the field. Never mind the fact that everything will eventually even out when the other contenders make a pit stop or when the next caution flag flies.
The only time positions matter in relation to the point standings is when the checkered flag waves. Something bad that happens in the first half of the race may be overcome by the finish. A car that has run well all day might experience a problem on the last lap that may cause a drop of 20 positions.
However, it will be a safe bet that should Carl Edwards take the early lead and Jimmie Johnson drop back in the pack due to a problem on pit road this Sunday viewers will be inundated with visual aids to update the most useless stat in racing. That is â€˜points as they runâ€™.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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