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« Junior’s crash, NASCAR’s debris cautions and a Hendrick win make for predictable Chase opener | Main | Team Hendrick looking to bury other ’super teams’ »

To those who missed the Chase: See ya next year

By admin | September 21, 2009


By Richard Allen

Who cares about the drivers who didn’t make the Chase for the Championship, anyway?

Well, considering that fan favorites such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and others did not make it, there are probably quite a few fans who care about the drivers who did not make the Chase. However, since the vast majority of media coverage is going to be centered on the twelve championship contenders over the last ten weeks of the season, those guys would be just as well off to stay home, coverage wise that is.

You may have noticed in the coverage for the Sylvania 300 that not a great amount of attention was given to those who did not qualify for the playoff. An argument could be made that such is just the way of things. Those drivers and teams need to perform better if they want to be talked about.

However, another argument could be made that there is something inherently wrong with a system that causes approximately three-fourths of the field to be essentially ignored.

At the initial inception of the Chase for the Championship the idea was that rather than one, two or at most three drivers competing for the title in the final weeks of the season, there would be ten(now twelve) drivers vying for the glory. So, with more drivers brought into contention, there would be more drivers to receive attention.

Actually, the opposite has become true. Fewer drivers now receive attention than before.

Under the previous system, if only one or two drivers were racing for the title, the media had to focus their attention on others. Besides, the intriguing stories under the old system often came from drivers making moves late in the season. Now, that is a secondary concern.

Let’s compare NASCAR’s system with other examples from the world of sports.

College football has a system that can be somewhat compared to the Chase. With the most recent adjustment made to the Bowl Championship Series, there are supposed to be five games to make up the most elite of the post-season games. In reality, the game that is set to decide the national championship gets virtually all of the attention while the others serve as somewhat of an afterthought.

The teams who make the Chase get all of the attention and everyone else seems to be somewhat of an afterthought even though they are still out there, much like those teams in college football who make a bowl game but not the ‘big’ game.

The NFL playoffs are not at all like the NASCAR form of a playoff. Unlike college football and NASCAR, in the NFL teams stop playing once eliminated. So, there is no need for cries of no attention being received.

Obviously, the teams outside of the Chase could not be sent home and races run with only 12 cars.

As it turns out, the Chase has proven to be somewhat counter productive for the teams to not make the playoff.

When I first heard of the idea for the Chase I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard. But then, I decided to give it a chance to see if it would grow on me. And admittedly, there is something to be said for the tightness of the points battle going into the last race.

Now, I have gone back the other way. I simply can’t get over the fact that the winner of the title is not necessarily the legitimate champion. For example, if Mark Martin goes on to win the Sprint Cup this season it will be because he was essentially handed several hundred points so that he could be brought even with the leader for the sake of a made for television run to the finish.

Aside from creating a system that produces an illegitimate champion, NASCAR’s system causes teams who are desperately seeking sponsorship or who get hot late in the season to be forgotten. So, to those who didn’t make the Chase this season, have a good off season and see ya next year.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “To those who missed the Chase: See ya next year”

  1. Rick Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 4:40 am

    The teams that ran near the front got coverage, like Dale Jr and Kyle Busch but even some chase drivers like Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle didnt receive near the coverage of other chasers. As well as Jeff Gordons car lost the handle he received less and less coverage. Without the chase people can only refer to a handful of championship battles that were worthwhile in the history of nascar. The chase system is about a playoff where as we saw the Arizona Cardinals were 9 and 7 and made theSuperbowl so it wasnt like they were handed a bunch of wins so they could overtake the Giants.

  2. Charles Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Richard you are correct on all points, but I think alot of fans who go to the race and watch are wanting to see a good race and not a point race which is about finishing and not leading!

    Demoting the Chase and putting more into a better race on race day is what Nascar Fans need! Besides winning the Chase does not have the greatness it once had!

  3. Prof pi (Jeff Thompson) Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It seemed like the only reason the 31 non Chase drivers were on track was to give the 12 Chasers some cars to pass. There were some interesting stories, not the least of which is Reed Sorenson driving for free, talk about grit and determination in the face of adversity; and yet, the 43 car was never even mentioned, not once.
    If anyone wants to know why teams are totally focused on points racing all year it was only necessary to watch the one race on Sunday and it is painfully evident.

  4. Dump the Chase Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    All you have to do is look at the ratings for the first Cha$e race to know what it has done for NA$CAR. The definitive proof is in the numbers. It is an absolute failure, no question about it. There was nothing wrong with NA$CAR before 2004. The “sport” now seems to be in total disarray, with no real direction. Thanks for nothing Brainle$$ Fran¢e, you drunk trust fund wannabe. NFL is way better anyway

  5. SB Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I’m not sure you can really say anyone outside the chase was ‘covered’ by TV. They may have gotten a mention (once) as an afterthought. I didn’t even know Elliot Sadler was running near the front until the last 10 laps. The ‘chase’ is only compelling if your be-all and end-all for an entire season is who wins a title, rather than watching good close races from the start to finish of the weason. Putting so much emphasis on the end of the season trivialized the first 2/3 of it. I think the most telling comment I’ve read about the format came from Jeff Gordon at a press conference at NH. When asked about the possibility of winning a 5th title this year, he said he wouldn’t think of it as a ‘fifth’. He would say he won 4 Winston Cup titles, and one Sprint Cup title. Maybe the fans aren’t the only ones who don’t consider a 10 race ‘not-a-playoff’ the same as a season long title?

  6. j-dawg Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    What race were you watching? Did you not hear the race coverage on Bobby Labonte? What about Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer? Junior? and David Reutimann? In the NFL, NBA and MLB- if you don’t make the playoffs, you’re gone. No one is talking about you then. At least the 31 others still get to compete.
    This just sounds like more of the same embittered “things were better in the good old days talk.” It’s Year Six of the Chase. It’s not going anywhere.

  7. Matt Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    The chase is here to stay and thank god. For years the champion to be didnt even have to show up and race at what used to be Atlanta and is now Homestead. Not only does the chase make championships come down to the wire, it also makes the races leading up to the chase more exciting as well. Even though my guy Kyle didnt make the chase, i was still watching every lap of the Richmond race to see if Kyles name was in green. I was on the edge of my seat the whole race, something not accomplished save the last few laps, ever in all the years ive been watching NASCAR. The previous poster is right, what will you hear about the Royals once the baseball playoffs start? You can still go out and compete for the win, even if its not for the championship!

  8. John Jenkins Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 6:30 am

    NASCAR has too many rules. In the beginning each team brought what they thought was the fastest car. Then a couple of teams popped to the top and so rules to even up the competition began. Today everyone comes with the same car like the old ROC series. Boring. The only rule should be each car must have an internal combustion engine. That would be racing. That just might be worth watching.

    If the NFL was like NASCAR they would stop the game when anyone got hurt. Set the score back to -0- and let them begin again.

    Jamming the track with too many cars causes wrecks. Go back to “heats” and the best 10 cars run the final race of the day.

    The champion should be the winner of the most races plus the leader of the most laps.

    Too many cars, too many pretty boys killed NASCAR.

  9. Pat Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Dump the Chase is right. There was nothing wrong with NASCAR before 2004. The old points system was fine as it was. Apparently,Brainless Brian France does not subscribe to the philosophy “If it ain’t broke,don’t fix it”.

    There are 43 drivers on the track who all deserve a mention. The old points system was much simpler and much more fair,you won races,you won championships,simple as that. Racing is not like other sports. A playoff system for racing is absurd. It used to be that a driver and team owner’s thought was winning this week’s race and nothing else. But then the passion for racing was stronger then. Today’s NASCAR has been taken over by greed,pretty boys,political correctness,boring races since the inception of the COT,and the idiotic Chase.

    It’s obvious NASCAR doesn’t get it and seems to be in denial about declining race attendance,falling ratings,and other factors,and it’s not the economy. This was happening before the economic troubles of late. What took Bill France Sr and Jr 50 years to build is being destroyed almost overnight by Brian France.

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