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