By admin | October 10, 2009
By Richard Allen
One of the arguments against the Chase for the Championship has always been that thirty-one drivers and teams would fade into obscurity once the Chase began. NASCAR has claimed in the past that those drivers outside the Chase are to be treated no differently than those within the playoff. Last Sunday in Kansas that was proven otherwise.
Early in the race, rookie Brad Keselowski was told by NASCAR officials to be, â€œaware and cognizant of who he was racing against at this particular point in the race.” In other words, â€œstay away from the Chase drivers and get back there with the other non-Chasers where you belong.â€
On Friday, NASCAR â€œclarifiedâ€ that they were not telling Keselowski that he could not race against Chase contenders, but rather, this was merely a typical warning often dished out to any and all drivers each weekend. That seems an odd way to word a general warning. So in other words, had a Chase contender been racing hard against Keselowski that Chaser would have been told to be, â€œaware and cognizant of who he was racing against at this particular point in the race.” Yeah right.
Each week it seems as though NASCAR takes another step toward further alienating the intelligence of its fan base. Sometimes it almost seems as though they are trying to drive people away. Or just as bad, they are demonstrating that they are so out of touch that they are unaware of the impact of some these rulings.
But back to the main point, the oddity of having a playoff going on at the same time non-participants are competing opens itself to such happenings. Of course, there will invariably come a time in which a non-Chaser and a Chaser come in contact with each other.
Having a controversy brewing between non-Chasers vs. Chasers could be quite intriguing and could help stir a bit of interest in a time when television ratings and ticket sales could use such a boost.
NASCAR instead opted to intervene, or rather send out a â€œtypical warningâ€, in the wrong direction as they so often do. They have the ratings to prove they often decide things in the wrong way.
But for now, here is the message to the OTHER 31 drivers in the field for the rest of the season: Stay Out of the Way. Letâ€™s make this Chase as bland as possible.
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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