NASCAR Are More Changes needed?

Points, Penalties and More - Are MORE Changes needed in NASCAR?

11/30/09 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

The 2009 NASCAR season is in the record books, along with Cale Yarborough's record of three consecutive championships.  In these years where the Chase was supposed to make the end of year competition more exciting, Jimmie Johnson has once again won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, in quite a dominating fashion, and for the fourth year in a row.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Jimmie, nothing at all, but I do have something against NASCAR. 

Some would say that the racing is better than it has ever been, or at least better than it has been in years.  I would say that, overall, it is safer than it has been.  We have seen some terrifying accidents in recent years, yet every one of the drivers involved have walked away.  some have needed some time in the Infield Care Unit, and yes, some have been transported to hospital for cautionary reasons, but we have not lost a life.

Does that mean the racing is better? Not in my opinion.  Talladega saw a horrendous crash in the spring race, resulting in no injuries to the driver, Carl Edwards, but 8 people in the stands were injured.  NASCAR's solution to this was to tell the drivers they would be penalized for bump-drafting in the corners.  That was a ......wonderful move, and it resulted in.....two horrific crashes in the fall race at Talladega.  Ryan Newman stated he didn't much like what had happened to him, and vowed to work with NASCAR R&D to figure out a solution that would actually work.

The second accident saw Mark Martin, long time protester of the restrictor plate racing, also go tumbling.  In other words, he went airborne, exactly what NASCAR didn't want, and the bump-drafting in the corners had squat to do with it.

Instead, the racing was boring.  We saw a freight train run around Talladega and although there where cheers when Dale Earnhardt Jr or Kevin Harvick got to the front, and boos when Kyle Busch did, the racing itself was forgettable.

The COT was supposed to cut down on costs for the teams, effectively providing them with a car that could be taken to any track.  Unfortunately, although that is the case at some tracks, the car is terrible on the Superspeedways.   One of the suggestions  I have read is for the teams to develop a car that incorporates portions of the old restrictor plate cars and the new cars.  The measurements for the COT are so strict and unmoving, but for the restrictor plates, that just doesn't work.  The teams, and especially the engineers in the shops need to be given some freedom to try to figure out how to utilize what they have, keeping to the safety parameters, but allowing testing to find a way to keep the cars on the ground.  If the engines need to be reduced in horsepower, so be it.

Okay, I'm off my soap box for now.

Other suggestions have been around for months on how to make the competition better.  Some that I've seen are:

1.  Get rid of the fines and penalties before the race starts.  If an infraction is found on the car or in the engine, the team is given one opportunity to correct it.  If it isn't corrected, and is found to still be there after qualifying, the car is disqualified.  Period.  No fines.  The team is told to leave the race track and forfeit all entrance fees, garage rental fees and anything else. 

2.  If any car fails inspection after the race, they are stripped of their finishing position and placed in last place.  Again, no fines, the loss of points and position is punishment enough. If more than one car is found to have infractions, they share 43rd spot and receive the same number of points, no one receives an advantage.

3.  Get rid of the 5 points for leading a lap - it's a huge reward for very little.  Mikey Waltrip got five bonus points time and again just staying out on the yellow.

4.  If you are found to be the cause of an accident because of an aggressive move towards another driver, you are not eligible for a Lucky Dog pass again in the race.

5.  You may only receive one Lucky Dog pass in any given race.

6.  Get rid of the Lucky Dog pass altogether.

7.  Award points for the win at the time of the win, not at the end of the regular season.

8.  Award more points for the win.

9.  Award points for getting the pole for the race.

10. Award more points for leading the most laps in a race.

11.  Don't penalize drivers if they want to scrap with another driver after a race, let them go at it.  No helmets though.

12. Get rid of the top 35 as far as qualifying is concerned.  Everyone must qualify for every race.  If you don't get in, you don't race.  Your sponsor will have to suck it up.

13. Get rid of the Chase.

As you can tell, there are several suggestions that would eliminate one or more of the others. Obviously, as well, some of them are completely out of the question.  I'm not saying I am in favor of any or all of them, but if you've ever read anything I've written, you know which ones I am in favor of. 

This is the place for you to let it loose.  Say what you would do, if you were given the power.  Would any of them be implemented? If so, which ones, and why?  If you wouldn't implement any, but have your own suggestion, share it with us.
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12/6/09   |   LoriDbl18fan   |   138 respect

wrote:

ok Deb, I am not drunk but I am hopped up on Caffeine, so here you go.

As you stated at the end some of your Solutions would eliminate some of the other Problems. I will start with get rid of the CHASE. It makes absolutely no sense. Why eliminate almost 75 percent of your Sponsors from winning a Championship? Besides NASCAR is the only Sport where the teams not vying for a title have the ability to have an effect on the outcome. Even in other Sports that have tournaments or playoff rounds the opponents are eliminated and at the end there is a consolation game for third place.

I have no problems with the bonus for Leading a Lap or the Lucky Dog. I do agree there needs to be changes there as well. Like a point for every green flag lap led up to 5 for a total of 5 points. If you lead just one you only get 1 point. If you lead the most laps then 5 or 10 more points is awarded. The Lucky Dog should continue to be awarded with some type of minor change. I am not opposed to getting more than one in a race. But if you are the first car two laps down you should not be awarded them consecutively. For example if you are 2 laps down and a caution comes out, you can gain a lap back. But if the restart causes another caution you should not be allowed to get another lap back. Just minor suggestions for making some guys earn their laps back.

Winning the Pole should be worth 10 points and winning a race should be 25 right then and there, no additional bonus points for the balance of the schedule after 26 races.  I would also like to see all the races become impound races, so no cars can be manipulated after they have qualified. I also agree with Deb, if there is a violation of the Rules after qualifying the car goes home. After a Race the car loses all points earned and is suspended for the next Race.

Going back to Scott’s point I like his suggestion but what would make it more interesting would be the Fact that the 10 tracks would be Tracks that only have 1 race per Season, that way it is a neutral site for all Parties. I would also like them to make tracks more attractive and Fan/Family Friendly. Some tracks do a great Job, most of them are Bruton’s tracks, but whatever, Lots need to be improved. Parking that costs $50 plus dollars at Daytona unless you want to be shuttled like 3 miles or walk a mile and a half is just ridiculous. Season Ticket Holders getting shafted by Tracks offering discounts only on Seats they try to unload just days before a race. Some people may think this is ridiculous, but Season Ticket Holders are paying in some cases 40% more that walk up purchases. So what about NASCAR saying they will be taking care of the Loyal Fans? Also tracks like Kansas and Vegas should not be able to force Season Ticket Holders to purchase the whole weekend package.

I definitely agree the Top 35 should be gone. Qualify all the cars for every Race. I also think that they should eliminate the Super Teams. The fact that Free Agency is so prevalent in NASCAR, even the average Fan can see the best Drivers will move to the best Teams with the best Sponsors. This will be the end of our beloved Sport, no matter what you think. The Charm of NASCAR was always that any Driver had a chance to win. The Days of a Alan Kulwicki coming in and winning it all are gone. Please refrain from comparing him to Tony Stewart and SHR. Over the last few years I think you can all see that it really isn’t possible.  We need to go to two Cars on one Property, that are not allowed to share any information, with any other teams outside their Team mate.

I would like them to remodel the COT, not get rid of it.  Make the weight of the COT more evenly distributed. Although it appears to be keeping drivers from far greater injuries, I believe that it actually causes a greater wreck. With hardly any weight in the back as soon as air is forced under the rear it is more apt to take flight. This is especially true when the car gets spun and is traveling backwards at the Superspeedways. Some minor modifications can correct this, and I think giving the cars just a little more of a resemblance to their mass produced model would help the Fan Base with vehicle association and recognition. It may even increase Sales of the product on the track; remember win on Sunday buy on Monday was the Slogan of NASCAR past.

And the one thing I would change about the Fans, although very passionate, very uneducated. I am not taking pot shots at the intelligence of the Fans; I am merely suggesting that they learn something about the History of the Sport. The governing body of this Sport says one thing and means another. They only want the Fans to know the Part of the History they are ok with. This sport was started by Moonshiners and Outlaws. There was no Money for the guys who finished 10th. The Hall of Fame and their Inaugural Class just proves my point. Most of today’s Fan, don’t even know that Richard Petty, that is if they even know who he is, know that his Father was a better Race Car Driver than the King. Many believe Dale Earnhardt Sr. was a popular Driver. Maybe at the end, but he won the Award the only year he never finished a Race. With the ability to gain so much information on the internet you would figure the Fans would be even more in tune with the Sports History.

I know I have many more, here are just a few things otherwise I will be here all day. Great job again Deb.

Just a couple notes for you to consider on your ideas, though they're all good.  Kansas does have more than one option now for the tickets, so they have listened to the fans and so does Chicagoland.  A few tracks maybe still only option season tickets, but there are a lot that are catching on to what the fans really want.

As for the history of the sport, I'm still a fairly new fan and though I've studied up on the history some with the internet as you suggested and other stuff... I've learned more from the older fans.  It's really them that need to be teaching the new generation of fans.  Instead of putting the focus on how it's changed and what they don't like about NASCAR now, they could take the time to write about or talk about stuff they seen and stuff they know especially stuff they seen personally.  Even when trying to learn by other methods, you still get the view that the media, NASCAR, etc really want or had as compared to another persons view.  I don't know if it would work for everyone, but I know when something I learn from an older fan catches my interest I want to find out more about it.

12/6/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

(Edited by Debi_L)

Excellent points, once again, Ed.  You obviously DO know the history and the sport and offer well thought out options.  I especially like the lap leading points options, the Lucky Dog options and the top 35.  I'm not so much in favor of the impound, as if we are making qualifying points worthy, everyone would be setting their cars up for the qualifying run, meaning the set up for the race may be off for racing in traffic.  In my  mind, the racing couldn't really start until after the first caution, or at least the first pit stop.  There is entirely too much just driving around recording laps, and that rule might add to it.  Notice I said "might" as I'm certainly open to options.

I also agree the COT  nees to continue to be developed, not scrapped.  They have made too much progress with safety to scrap a car because it doesn't always work the way we want it to - on the other hand, it DOES need adjustmenst or NASCAR is going to lose a lot of fans.

Above all though, I have to agree with the "know the history of your sport" comment.  You couldn't be more right, in my opinion.  It is those ground-breakers who got our sport to where it is today, and hopefully it will remain a sport we all want to follow.   

12/5/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

wrote:
I will return when I get a good buzz on......

Still waiting.....

And BTW, one more thing I would like to get changed is the 12 drivers being in the Chase - I honeslty think it should be 10 and 10 only.

11/30/09   |   LoriDbl18fan   |   138 respect

wrote:
Very well put Deb. Unfortunately you know there is no way for me to respond to this without making it an Article all by itself.

You sound like me.  I just didn't feel like typing out something that'll take up half the comment space already in use for the third or fourth time since I've been on the Q.  Call me lazy tonight. LOL

11/30/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

wrote:
Very well put Deb. Unfortunately you know there is no way for me to respond to this without making it an Article all by itself.

Feel free!!! I'd read it, you know I would

11/30/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

kramer wrote:
Johnson hasn't been all that great on plate tracks, and he's a pretty lousy road racer.  He's also never won at Bristol, and admits he's not very good at Atlanta.  Homestead he does just enough to slack off and get the championship, but if the Chase were actually close heading into the final race he'd be up the creek without a paddle at that track.
 

Weather pretty much rules out Watkins Glen or Bristol - although the weather may be fine, they can't take that chance.  I DID say " they would make it their business to "figure out" whatever track WAS on the Chase schedule" which I stand by.  If it came down to it, they would concentrate on whatever track they needed to concentrate on, and they would figure it out, I have no doubts about that at all.

11/30/09   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Debi_L wrote:
I see what you are saying, but honestly, is there any track where Jimmie and Chad haven't been able to figure out how to dominate?  If they changed the tracks, they would make it their business to "figure out" whatever track WAS on the Chase schedule, so I'm inclined to agree.  I don't think the Chase is serving its purpose.  If points were awarded at the time of the win (25) I think we would have a better representation of the best of the best.  Although Kyle didn't have all the success in the last ten races he hoped, I think it might have been a different matter, were he in the Chase.  I think they used the Chase races to work on 2010 instead.  I honeslty do wish he had been in the Chase, as I think it would have been very different -maybe not the ending, but the races themselves. 

Johnson hasn't been all that great on plate tracks, and he's a pretty lousy road racer.  He's also never won at Bristol, and admits he's not very good at Atlanta.  Homestead he does just enough to slack off and get the championship, but if the Chase were actually close heading into the final race he'd be up the creek without a paddle at that track.

 

11/30/09   |   LoriDbl18fan   |   138 respect

There are so many ideas to fix things and some of them are really questionable, but right now I stand by all the ones I've suggested before, which I'm not going to type out all out again, except I'm now ready to see the Chase go.  Even though it's all I've ever known as my first season watching was the first year of the Chase, I actually enjoy the Nationwide and Truck series more at the end of the year than watching what might as well been just a ten race season on the Sprint Cup side.

I do wonder though about the suggestion of if a car fails inspection after a race stripping them of their finishing position.  The only reason I say this has to do with racing incidents can alter the car enough to cause a failure sometimes.  That's not a team trying to cheat, but a result of racing with all they have and they shouldn't be punished for that.  I could see if they fail for something that couldn't be anything other than the team trying to cheat, stripping them of the finish then.  However, that then puts it as a NASCAR call and we've all seen how uneven they can be in their calls.

11/30/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

Scott wrote:
I know this is wishful thinking but for me, the only thing that I can see that would make the Chase better would be if Nascar was able to change the chase track schedule on a yearly basis.  Right now, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have the market cornered on the 10 tracks in the chase and if Nascar could change it up every other year or so, it might make the playing field more level.  I know in the grand scheme of things that isnt plausible so I would have to agree, ditch the chase all together and make the whole season actually mean something

I see what you are saying, but honestly, is there any track where Jimmie and Chad haven't been able to figure out how to dominate?  If they changed the tracks, they would make it their business to "figure out" whatever track WAS on the Chase schedule, so I'm inclined to agree.  I don't think the Chase is serving its purpose.  If points were awarded at the time of the win (25) I think we would have a better representation of the best of the best.  Although Kyle didn't have all the success in the last ten races he hoped, I think it might have been a different matter, were he in the Chase.  I think they used the Chase races to work on 2010 instead.  I honeslty do wish he had been in the Chase, as I think it would have been very different -maybe not the ending, but the races themselves. 

11/30/09   |   Scott   |   51957 respect

(Edited by Scott)

I know this is wishful thinking but for me, the only thing that I can see that would make the Chase better would be if Nascar was able to change the chase track schedule on a yearly basis.  Right now, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have the market cornered on the 10 tracks in the chase and if Nascar could change it up every other year or so, it might make the playing field more level.  I know in the grand scheme of things that isnt plausible so I would have to agree, ditch the chase all together and make the whole season actually mean something

11/30/09   |   Debi_L   |   11782 respect

Dubs wrote:
Great article!      

Thanks!

And Bryan, I have to agree about the top 35 rule.  i have always hated it.  I believe each week is a new week and the teams should have to compete for a starting spot each and every race.

11/30/09   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

The top 35 rule should definitely go, and the Chase has been abysmal to say the least.

11/30/09   |   Dubs   |   2488 respect

Great article!