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Talladega race may have been an all time low point for NASCAR

By admin | November 1, 2009

By Richard Allen

Perhaps NASCAR had forgotten that the Talladega race was coming up. Maybe they just didn’t think about what might happen when cars bump each other at Talladega. Or, just maybe it was yet another example of NASCAR reacting at the wrong time.

I believe the last option is likely the best choice. In Sunday’s drivers’ meeting for the Amp Energy 500 the sanctioning body announced that drivers would not be allowed push each other through the turns.

Unfortunately for teams and fans, this last minute rule change, or rule enforcement, made for a terrible race. Cars simply lined up and paraded around the track that more often than not has provided some of the most intense action in NASCAR. Two and three wide racing is usually the norm for Talladega, but this time around, it was single-file, follow-the-leader boredom that carried much of the day.

“It’s like the NFL going from tackle to two-hand touch,” declared Dale Earnhardt, Jr. during his pace lap television interview.

Once again, NASCAR has found a way to open themselves up for controversy and second guessing unnecessarily. This race has been on the schedule for quite some time and the dangers of racing on this track have been known since the track opened.

Had NASCAR announced this change right after the spring race on this track in which Carl Edwards’ car went flying toward the grandstand on the last lap they would have looked proactive and truly concerned about the welfare of drivers and fans. Instead, they chose to make the announcement one hour before the drop of the green flag which made them look reactive and arbitrary.

And more, had NASCAR announced this change before teams arrived at the track, the cars could have been set up with that change in mind. Crews had prepared their cars with the anticipation that drivers would be allowed to bump draft as usual and push each other all the way around the track. With that ability removed from over half the racing surface, there was little else drivers could do but log miles and wait for the final few laps to race.

Drivers were no doubt afraid to test the limits of the new rule because of the hap hazard way in which the sanctioning body doles out punishments, so they refused to take any chances. Who could blame them?

NASCAR attendance and television ratings have been down virtually all season. There were so many empty seats in Talladega that the painted pattern on the grandstand seats could be distinguished. Thanks to today’s horrible showing and the certainty that Jimmie Johnson will win the Sprint Cup title, it will be somewhat of a miracle if more than a scant few attend or watch the final three events.

I do not like writing columns so laced with negativity. I wish I could write about the excitement generated by Jamie McMurray’s surprise win or the historic nature of what Jimmie Johnson is about to accomplish. But instead, NASCAR just continues to step from one mine field to another.

How some of these media lackeys for NASCAR can trot out on television, radio and print every week and boast of the great competition and the positive direction of the sport is utterly amazing to me. (More on that subject later in the week.) This week the sport of NASCAR racing may have reached a new low.

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

Topics: Articles |

19 Responses to “Talladega race may have been an all time low point for NASCAR”

  1. Josie Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 6:34 am

    It was a sad sad day for NASCAR. AND you bring up the media…during the broadcast the announcers were obviously hard up trying to describe the racing…it got to the point they were bored..and just rambling..or saying nothing. There were times the announcers pointed out how boring the race was..and SURELY it would pick up sometime towards the end. However..I don’t think they were even prepared for Ryan’s “flight”. I never miss watching a race..I will admit I have been doing alot of “channel surfing” during the Chase..BUT…the final three races will probably be one of the channels I surf TO…instead I will have on an old CSI program..and check on the racing during commercials. Thank the Lord Ryan is ok (albeit sore this week), congrats to Jamie on his win and kudos to Jimmie for this fourth straight. Every season I look forward to the racing..but I have noticed for a couple years now as the season wanes on my attention span is wandering….I don’t want to give up on NASCAR..but I feel like they have given up on me.

  2. Charles Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Richard I agree with you on the ‘last minute rule changes”, Nascar controling the drivers has reached a new low!
    Nascar should let drivers be drivers, if they wreck then accept and move on!To many rules, yellow line, now restricted bump drafts, radio control of the drivers this is to much ‘micro managed” racing!

    As far a the Chase being over, I am glad, I am not going to a race and bring a spread sheet or calculator to see who is winning the Chase!!!!!!!
    I pay to see racing on race day! Not the “down the road” Chase System! Racing is about racing not Chasing!!!!

    The Chase Title in my view has “lost its lustre”, if you go to a race just to see who is winning the Chase, I just dont get it! Plus with the racing at Talledaga it looks like the racing action is waning as well!

  3. The Old Guy Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Sundays race at Talladega was perhaps the worst snooze fest ever in the history of nascar.

    Conrats to Jamie McMurray on the win.

  4. JohnP Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 9:01 am

    The bloogers keep getting it right, as does the author.. Snoooozzzzeeee Fesssttt… Only Indy of last year was worse!! Another person said it best, Nascar is now a sport to check out on commercials.. I always checked out my Redskins on the Nascar commercials.. Now it’s the other way around, all to the fault of Nascar themselves.. And the Redskins suck this year, my point made?? Redskins suck, and Nascar is still in second place on my tv after of being in first place for 15 years!! Get it??

  5. Was there & bored, too Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Lots of fans around me left half way and 2/3’s of the way thru the race. + It was cool and windy, I guess they just got bored. They are rolling dice with the Nov. 1 date weather wise–could have had Sat.’s weather.
    …I honestly think that Talladega is a race where there are a LOT more and more people coming just to camp/party and watch the race on the dish at their campsites. Saw more campers than ever–but less people in the stands than ever.

  6. Gail Forrester Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Y’all should have watched the Vikings-Packers game. NASCAR still has not learned how to entertain the fans the way the NFL does. If NASCAR was running pro football, they would have put in a rule change 15 minutes before the game saying the Pack defenders could not touch Brett Favre - oops! The Packers did that without being told!

  7. goat Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 10:38 am

    We have better racing in quarter midgets than I’ve seen in NASCAR this year. I think they need to build a few new tracks along the lines of Richmond, and abandon some of the more boring races.

  8. Mike Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 11:11 am

    NASCAR is its own worse enemy. They operate like some big govt bureaucracy. Rap themselves in red tape overregulate, tell everyone how great racing is and expect the sport to grow. The # tell the truth empty stands, boring racing, low TV ratings. Yet NASCAR continues to fumble the ball. Now theyve even pissed off the drivers so much so they wont race.
    Oh but listen to shills in broadcasting this race was going to be the “GREATEST RACING EVER at Talledaga”!!
    Yeah that worked out well didnt it.

  9. midasmicah Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    God, I hate to negative about nas$car all the time, but what do we do? All I want is for the powers that be put a good product on the track. Instead it just keeps getting worse. The dead horse syndrome has gotten old. I’m numb. nas$car. Wake up. All we want is good hard racing minus all the stupid rules you’ve enacted the last few years. Thanks for listening folks.

  10. midasmicah Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Gail Forrester. Sadly I did watch football, not knowing who wond the race till later. On the upside, the niners have improved. I loved the comment about the rule 15 minutes before the game.

  11. midasmicah Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I was real sad when I read that Memphis Motor Park is shutting down. That’s not a good sign for nas$car. It can no longer exist support just nationwide and truck races. It’s a great small track. Too bad.

  12. Gary Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    We keep hearing about needing to take races away from tracks to move to other tracks for the good of the sport. Take races away from Daytona and Talladega and give them to tracks where the fans can see some real racing. These races are terrible and not even worth watching. I live in the northeast but have been watching since 1969 and have watched almost every race I could since then. I have attended about 100 races in 40 years and used to have season tickets at Charlotte, Pocono and Bristol. We have not gone to a race in 2 years and not because of the economy. I have the means but only want to spend my money watching a quality product, which Nascar no longer provides. In the last 3 weeks, we have totally missed 2 out of 3 races on TV by choice, and would have skipped most of yesterday, if the Giants were not getting beat so bad. I do not know when Nascar will wake up.

  13. RT Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Another boring year and the chase needs to become the chump fest as JJ will keep winning as it is set up for him. It used to be ‘dega was great racing, not snooze fest racing. I am not even going to bother watching the final 3 races as it does not even matter anymore for the championship. So much for the chase bringing excitement, all it brings is boredom.

  14. Gina Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I laughed at your paid media trotted out comment. NASCAR thinks the fans are too stupid to decide for themselves if the racing they are seeing is good or not, they think that if someone “official” says its good, we will think the same.

    Yep, I’m pretty much done with NASCAR for the season. Johnson has Chase Title #4 locked up, so why should I waste any more time on this? If you’re a 48 fan, you’re happy. For those of us who wanted to see racing, not chasing, this is a total flop.

  15. tim smith Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I say reworking the track is the only way to get away from people just riding around for 450 miles then jockey for position and wreck. Nascar should knock the high banks down and take away the restrictor plates, quite simply thats the only way the race will be run with real racing and change daytona also.

  16. Dump the Chase Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Chad once again proved why he will probably never be beaten in the ¢hase. Hang around in the back, miss all the crap then finish well. He is using this track to his full advantage. He knows exactly what it is. It is just amazing the other ¢hasers didn’t do this as well. Chad has used this ¢hase format to stomp on everyone every year now. Test all year, then go at the end. Play conservtive when you have to and reap the rewards. He is making NA$CAR look like a complete joke. Chad will win #5 next year for sure, then #6, then #7 and so on till he retires. After a couple of years of practice with this ¢hase crap, Chad has it down pat. He will wrap it up a race early this year for sure. So much for Brainle$$ Fran¢e’s promise of this never happening again. What’s his excuse now. Pathetic moron. In your fa¢e NA$CAR, it’s more fun now to watch you crumble and fail then it is to watch the racing

  17. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    The good news about yesterday… I got to see more exciting driving on Rt 40 on the way to Walmart. And my BF got in a good nap.

    As a fan since the late 50’s this is a sad comment.

  18. dewayne Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Dega and Nascar I WANT MY MONEY BACK FOR THE SPRING RACE TICKETS PLEASEEEEE. I have had it with Nascar. I will go to Eldora and watch a good race and skip the political crap of Helton and the France machine. You have ruined the sport, Dale Sr is rolling in his grave Helton. No way can he rest in peace with you and Brainless France at the THRONE

  19. dewayne Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Oh yeah I almost forgot. Thanks Jimmy Johnson for once again blaming US fans. It is our fault that us fans want to see this kind of racing. I can tell you if the fans had their way is would change and it would be better racing. We could tell Nascar how to do it and it would be right and also the chase would change and you would not have but only 1 title so far either. Go ahead and ride in the back the next 3 races JJ. I don’t care because I won’t be watching any of them. They might as well just give you the title and save the other teams some money and end the season now. It is over for me and maybe from now on. I may take up watching paint dry.