A Voice for the Fans ~ The Place Where Names Are Made
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course a warm welcome to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this cloudy, humid day in North Georgia. Well, it was Bristol Baby! How many times did we hear that toss-away statement over the weekend? Too many, I’d wager. Let’s skip the argument discerning “Old” Bristol and “New” Bristol. It is what it is. Does the Coke syrup help the racing? Whether it does or not, if it makes the drivers think it does, then it works.
Today won’t be a recap of the weekend, because I have something else in mind, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of things that dominated conversation in my little corner of the world. On Thursday, I had the Truck Series on the TV but managed to pay only casual attention to it. Johnny Sauter beat Stewart Friesen by a couple tenths of a second… and it was bedtime. The race should, by all that’s right and holy, have gone to John Hunter Nemechek, who held a comfortable lead with the laps quickly winding down when he developed some sort of fuel pickup problem and was promptly forgotten in all the excitement over another Johnny Sauter win.
The Xfinity Series was the one that caught most of my attention this past weekend. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t slightly amused when Kyle Busch took himself out after leading the initial 69 laps of the race and had no one to be mad at but that guy in the mirror. For a while, the TV boys in the booth seemed confused. One might guess that they had all their talking points and Kyle data at hand, ready to tell the great unwashed out in TV Audience Land how magnificent he is as he supposedly threatens to break Richard Petty’s 200 win mark. Yeah, right!
So where is all this taking us? Your scribe has a couple points to make. The first one has to do with the NBC networks and their coverage of races, and this Xfinity race was a perfect example. During all the races, I monitor conversations on a couple active boards and gather information from that on the feelings of the fans and what they deem as important. Throughout the Xfinity and Cup races, one thought permeated both nights. Someone needs to corral and muzzle anyone that screams into a sensitive microphone. The result on the other end is an outright assault on the ears of the listeners and viewers.
It is then compounded four-fold or more when everyone in the overcrowded booth is screaming and yelling at the same time! It’s reminiscent of the hooting and hollering brought about by a last second touchdown in the Super Bowl by viewers in some beer garden that have been imbibing since the early tailgate parties. Add to that the fact that two and possibly three of the quartet would be singing soprano in any given choir and we have the fingernails on a blackboard sensation. Unpleasant, to say the least. They might want to consider taking a course at the Dale Carnegie School for Public Speaking. It was good enough for Ned Jarrett, and a couple million fans would thank them for it.
Throughout the season since NBC took over broadcasting from FOX, Rick Allen has been the brightest light in the booth, professionally trained as a play-by-play announcer and doing a good job working with what he’s tasked with. Saturday night, he brought me and many others crashing down with a resounding thud when he identified Chase Elliott as Elliott Sadler. My guess is that the constant over-modulation surrounding him has become distracting. Someone corrected him, off-air and he did apologize, saying that Sadler was on his mind since he announced he wouldn’t run a full schedule next year. Everyone at home knew it wasn’t Sadler up there, it was Elliott!
The best advice one can offer is to calm down and learn to speak like men, not shriek like little girls. Trust me, all that excitement is exactly what is not needed to call a race properly. The viewers have difficulty even understanding what you’re yelling into a sensitive microphone, and when that becomes times-three, all coherency is lost. I actually tried to move over to PRN on Saturday evening, but for whatever reason, could not access the live race. That will be attended to before Las Vegas.
The second point, made by many, many fans, deals with the points taken away from Xfinity drivers by Cup Intruders crashing their races. NASCAR turns a blind eye to this, though in fairness, they have limited those visits somewhat, but not enough. If Xfinity must race under the current convoluted point system times-two, including stages, then their points should be available to them. Cup Intruders can’t use them, so all those points, both regular points scored in the races and the Fairy Dust Points associated with wins and stages that carry over to the “Playoffs” are simply tossed into cyber space and lost.
It took a while, but I’ve compiled a count of both sets of points that have been lost to date this year to Xfinity drivers. First up are the Fairy Dust Points and which Cup Intruders took them. There are only 7 available in each race, 5 for a win and 1 for each stage. These total 83 Playoff Points. That is almost 12 full races worth of points just lost.
My thought would be that either the Cup drivers’ placement in Xfinity races should be ignored, giving the rightful points to the first Xfinity driver eligible to use them, or the Cup drivers should not be able to enter the Xfinity races at all. Please, let’s not hide behind the excuse that their presence somehow increases the audience at the Xfinity races. Have you checked those grandstands lately? If that’s what NASCAR calls “Enhanced attendance”, what on earth would normal attendance look like?
Next up we have the actual points for positions in the top-10 lost to the Xfinity gang through the Bristol race. In each race, there are 55 total points available for positions in the top-10. The total below, 269 points, is equal to more than 5 full races of points taken away from drivers that earned them, because the boys from Cup came calling and took them.
Gentle readers, both sets of points equal a huge number of lost, unusable points and it’s this scribe's feeling that it’s blatantly unfair for the Xfinity teams to enter a race under the current rules, pay the exorbitant sanctioning fee demanded by NASCAR and then be unable to score points in their own race because the Cup Intruders come in, not with their own cars as it was in done in yesteryear, but in cars belonging to the top teams in CUP racing… Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing. They also bring along their Cup crews, which are far superior to most found in the less-funded Xfinity ranks. Oh yes, and when racing at the same track, guess who gets a lot of free practice!
If the Xfinity Series is truly to become “The place where names are made”, as advertised by NASCAR, then those names cannot be Busch, Keselowski, Logano, Harvick and Larson! Those names have already been made, and having those names playing in the little kids’ sandbox just dirties up the whole game.
That’s my two points. Agree? Disagree? Have thoughts or additions? Please feel free to post below in Comments.
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout, and though this little gal isn’t quite old enough to be a true classic, she’s a bundle of talent and years ago, when she sang Delta Dawn, my little girl, just a budding teen at the time, learned to sing it exactly as she did and a Mama has to love that. Here then is Tanya Tucker, Live at Church Street Station. Please enjoy!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling.
It looks so good on you!