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The Daly Planet

Various Other Articles

Who's On First?
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By Dave Clark | 05/22/2016
Category: Various Other Articles

Saturday night’s NASCAR All Star race seemed to have everything: great racing, a spectacular crash where no one was injured, and a down-to-the-wire finish.  Great, right?  Not so much.   Over-shadowing what should have been a terrific night for the drivers, the fans and NASCAR in general was the incredible confusion over the special format rules.  

Interestingly enough, I remember hearing ESPN's Bob Pockrass talking about the new format in the media center during the Kansas race.  I also remember thinking to myself, "Well, now that's confusing."  Apparently, I'm a prophet. The drivers were confused, the crew chiefs were confused, the FOX TV team was confused, and as a viewer, I was confused.  NASCAR, by its very nature, is controlled chaos at 185 miles an hour.  Add in mass confusion about the rules of engagement and what you have is a big ol’ mess. 

Be ready for another NASCAR fine against Tony Stewart, who was, shall we say, "blunt" about his displeasure. "It's the dumbest damn thing I've ever been a part of. I'm as baffled as everybody. I don't know how in the hell we were scored a lap down after they stopped the 20 car and they pit everybody together. It's the most screwed-up All-Star Race I've ever been a part of, and I'm glad this is the last one." 

Kurt Busch is still trying to wrap his head around the whole thing too, he tweeted this: "Watched the race this morning...still a bit confused. I understand why some of you at home were frustrated.   All eyes on the 600 though."

Even race winner Joey Logano didn't fully understand all that happened.  "I was confused," Logano said. "All I know is if there is a car in front of me, I probably should pass him. That's kind of where my head was."

The truly sad part of all this mess, is that everyone, myself included, is talking about rules and not about the fantastic job Logano and the Penske team did in winning the race.  We aren’t talking about the incredible day Kyle Larson had.  Hell, we aren't even talking about Chase Elliott nearly "pulling a Juan Pablo" on the jet-dryer.
I completely understand the idea of trying to make the race more exciting, especially at the end.  But, the truth is, we’ve seen really great racing all year long.  With the new aero package, some amazing "young gun" drivers, and wily veterans doing what they do best, there have been several photo-finishes, lots of last-second passes and some pretty fun racing over all.  

Dale Earnhardt Jr. may have had the best take. "I just think they ought to go back to the original formats that they started with that are simple and make the cars race better, you know?" he said.  "Gimmicks and all that stuff, trying to trick up the race is going down the wrong path.  The way to make the racing exciting is to make the cars exciting."  

Perhaps a much simpler format would be to throw a mandatory caution with 10 or 15 laps left in the race.  That's it.  It would bunch up the field, the pit strategy would take care of itself, and with the million dollar carrot dangling in front of the drivers, I'm pretty sure the end would be exciting.

The bottom line, in my humble opinion, is this: you can't manufacture excitement, especially with long and confusing rules.  Give the drivers fast cars and turn them loose with a million dollars on the line.  The rest will take care of itself.



05/22/2016 3:34 pm (1)
You are right.It's the concept of the million dollars with no points to worry about. The stupid confusing rules were a big detraction.NASCAR has lost the connection with race fans.
05/23/2016 10:53 am (2)
Dale Junior is exactly right. Make the cars more exciting. The drivers already are, if the have a car that will let them be. Gimmicks will never make up for a car that has sucked the life out of the sport.
05/23/2016 6:18 pm (3)
[ You cant tell the players without a score card.] You are so right, "call um like ya see um, Tony" just has never fit in with the NASCAR upper elite...........Thanks for another great article..........
05/23/2016 10:49 pm (4)
is it odd that the only one that I heard praising the format was Brad K- whose idea the format was? lol
05/24/2016 10:06 am (5)
I remember when the All-Star Race required a full pit stop since the first segment would be more than a fuel run (ASR III-V, 75 laps when cars ran 60-65 laps on fuel). Maybe a 60, 40, 15 would do the trick, with the only rule being the mandatory stop be under green in the first leg.
05/24/2016 8:53 pm (6)
OK, that's odd. Apparently I hit on one of the boards mysterious hidden secret character combinations that makes your whole comment invisible.

Anyway, what I was attempting to do was quote the Logano bit above, where he says All I know is if there is a car in front of me, I probably should pass him. Which to my mind is the essence of racing. So Cheers to Logano.


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