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That race was like a bad movie

By admin | July 11, 2009

By Richard Allen

I’ve been to bad movies before. Some of them were so bad that people would start to get up and walk out of the theater. I, on the other hand, always stay. I figure they made the movie for some reason. There has to be something big coming, something to make this whole thing worth watching. Trouble is, most of the time I wind up fooled and there was nothing to look forward to. It was just a bad movie.

Well, that’s exactly how I felt watching the 400 from the Chicagoland Speedway. Mark Martin went to the lead early and everyone else just lined up and rode, and rode, and rode. I figured there had to be something in store, something that made the whole thing worth watching.

Bad movies attempt to make a show of it at the ending. There is a weak attempt at some plot twist or some big action scene at the end. However, those scenes are often very predictable, and thus, not very exciting.

The 400 played out exactly the same way. There was the predictable debris caution on lap 210. Then, the typical ‘cautions begat cautions’ set in and created a few more yellow flags. But in the end, the finish was very predictable.

Martin had the best car and he ultimately won. An ending everyone could see coming.

Sure, there was the attempt at a plot twist. Jimmie Johnson got the lead to make movie goers, I mean fans, believe something other than the obvious was going to happen. But in the end, the script had no surprises.

Just like in the theater, it was actually refreshing for ‘The End’, I mean the checkered flag, to appear. At least the popcorn in my living room isn’t as expensive as at the theater.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “That race was like a bad movie”

  1. Joe in Pittsburgh Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 6:35 am

    NASCAR throwing a debris caution with about 30-20 laps to go is starting to get old and what little credibility they had has pretty much gone away in my opinion. Thus all of the bad races play out the same anymore and I agree with you on that 100%. And they think we the fans dont notice? Check out the ratings and no-shows at the track (although I hear ISC makes people purchade IRL tix to get Cup tix–how ludicrous) and you can see we the fans (whats left of us) have grown tired and moved on to other things or like I do now–tune in at the end just in time for the “magical debris caution”.

  2. dawg Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 8:37 am


    A very good analogy. I quit watching somewhere around the mid point. It was still on but I’d quit following it. Something like staying in the theater, but playing with your Blackberry. What little action this snoozer produced was due to NA$CAR, “manufacturing” as you point out. As well as Goodyear, giving it up.
    With a product like this, they can market their @ss off next year, & it won’t make much difference. There are some tracks that Humpy Wheeler couldn’t fill, & this one is high on the list.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    This has to be one of the most boring races I’ve seen. I take that back. Generally all the races have become boring recently. This one was just one more in a long list of single file, follow the leader races. And I, for one don’t have much use for the double file restarts. All I’ve seen it do is cause wrecks and take out drivers who have worked hard to attain a decent position. And did you all the seats. Wow!!!!! I once again watched a SF Giants game and switched back to the race every so often to see what was going. Every time I did Martin was still ahead.

  4. Dougie Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    My Rottweiler chasing Fly’s is more entertaining than watching an NASCAR race these days.
    And they wonder why TV ratings are down.

  5. Ken Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    The boring NA$CAR manipulated races are what drives the fans away and makes the sport a joke to the majority of America. Other than the possibility of a wreck, there is not reason to watch more than the last 20 laps of a race. It doesn’t matter who is leading, NA$CAR is going to invent a caution to make the finish “exciting”. No wonder people don’t watch or attend races like they did several years ago. They went after the casual viewer who left when they saw the fraud that was presented as a sport. They lost the true fans who left because of the fraud and manipulation of the races. I’ve followed NA$CAR since the mid 60s but I just don’t care any more. Manipulated races with manipulated winners don’t appeal to me.

  6. Sara Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I was at work, and actually found myself working instead of watching the race, Yes it was that bad, I tried to watch it after I got home, and fast forwarded to to last 50 laps.
    That’s the only time they really race anymore anyway

  7. NASCAR Fan Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I loved the race. There were many lead changes, several drivers that drove from 30th+ all the way to the top ten. Jeff Gordon was a no-count for the middle third of the race, and using pit strategy and hard driving ended up in contention for the win. The final green offered strategy for Martin: restart on the inside or outside with old tires vs. new. A lot of action for a mile-and-a-half track.

    I was not a fan years ago, but I enjoy them now. I look at the classic races on YouTube to try to figure out if the races were so much better in the 80’s and 90’s, and the fact is they look about the same: hard driving at first, a middle third of the race where everyone settles in, with a final hurrah at the end. Why do so many people say current races are boring? They are the same as they ever were! How was the recent Daytona finish any different than the famous Gordon/Sr. duel in 97 (or 99?)? The big difference was that Gordon managed to block Sr. successfully instead of wrecking himself as Busch did. Other than that the finish was very similar.

    Did everyone just drink a lot more back then and now have realized they don’t like to watch races sober? Or is this the “Jr effect” where a very popular driver is not driving at the front right now, so many of his fans are clocking out? I’m confused.

  8. Richard Witherell Says:
    July 12th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    If you think ratings are down now, just wait until the NFL season starts.

  9. Ritchie Says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 7:28 am

    i only watched 30 mins of it. The races have gotten very stale. It’s not even close to how it used to be. Oh. And I tend to drink more these days.
    Come on with the FR9 already. Lets see what that thing can do.

  10. old an tired Says:
    July 18th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Its either watch the race or cut the grass. Some of those new zero turn mowers are starting to look kinda neat.