A Voice for the Fans ~ Too Much Is More than Enough
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course a warm welcome as well to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR this wet, dreary Tuesday as I search for a way to begin this missive. As of now, this has no title, as I’m not sure where it’s going, but I expect it will be in a downhill direction. I was taught growing up that if I had nothing nice to say, then I should say nothing at all. Sadly that philosophy really doesn’t mesh with writing a racing column, especially about some really disappointing racing.
Okay, it’s been no secret for the 20 years I’ve been on line that I detest plate racing and have ever since the first restrictor plate came on scene in 1988. It’s funny now, but it was terrifying then. Again, it was the Daytona 500… 30 years ago. Sure, there were wrecks before restrictor plates, but they didn’t involve over half the field in a single one. Take a peek at this one and it will make you wonder how King Richard managed to survive this series of crashes, flips and spins… at the first restrictor plate race (not counting that deal in the early 70s that applied to the type of car you entered in the race, not to everyone. That didn’t last long!) The plates didn’t fix anything back then and they surely haven’t fixed anything to date.
That’s what restrictor plate racing promotes. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll see wrecks like that at every restricted race. Call me crazy, but I can’t help but realize that inside those smashing, crashing hunks of “composite material” are human beings… humans that want to be able to go home to family and loved ones following the race… or wreck-fest if you will. Sure, the cars are “safer” now, but don’t be lulled into complacence. Auto racing will never… let me repeat… never be completely safe. It is by nature a dangerous sport, and remains so despite the best efforts of man.
So much for my opinion of plate racing. This is a quick rundown of the damage toll in all three races, Trucks, Xfinity and Cup.
Race - 100 laps
32 started - 21 finished
Lap 56 - 7-truck crash
Lap 65 - 4 truck crash
Lap 74 - 6 truck crash
Lap 83 - 5 truck crash
35% of race run under caution
Average green flag run: 8.1 laps
Race - 120 Laps Scheduled - 143 Laps Run
40 started – 27 finished
Lap 11 - 8 car crash
Lap 100 - 8 car crash
Lap 107 - 3 car crash
Lap 112 - 2 car crash
Lap 119 - 1 car spin
Lap 123 - 18 car mess
Lap 131 - 1 car spin
Lap 134 - 2 car crash
Lap 139 - 1 car crash
34.3% run under caution
Average green flag run: 7.2 laps
Race - 200 Laps
40 started - 25 finished
10 finished on Lead Lap
Lap 10 - 1 car crash (engine)
Lap 52 - 3 car crash
Lap 61 - 9 car crash
Lap 94 – Debris
Lap 103 - 7 car crash
Lap 191 - 1-car spin
Lap 200 - 12 car wreck
Lap 206 - #3 wrecks #10 for win. No caution.
17.9% run under caution
Average green flag run: 18.9 laps
I count 11 Trucks, 13 Xfinity cars and 15 Cup cars all in the garage before the races ended. That’s 39 very expensive vehicles torn apart, many beyond repair. Who gets to pay for all that carnage? Why, it’s the car owners! Strange that we hear NASCAR folks constantly patting themselves on the back for saving the teams money with grand gestures such as a common air gun and one less man over the wall. Well intentioned, I’m sure, but it’s a mere pittance compared to what it will cost to replace the damaged vehicles from that single race.
And for those folks that applaud a wreck, I have a word… but I can’t use it here. Just go watch MMA or whatever. Racing isn’t supposed to be about blood, broken bones or death.
Now then, it’s time for a few quick facts and we’ll be done here for today.
1. In many racing series, if you wreck the leader (as in drive clear through him…) you are placed at the back of the cars on track and the second place car is declared the winner. That mess at the end of the Daytona 500 wasn’t laudable, it was deplorable.
2. Austin Dillon is not Dale Earnhardt, 7-time Cup Champion. Dale died 17 years ago the day that Austin won the second race of his short Cup career. He can sport a cowboy hat, find a kid to give him a penny and glue it to the dashboard of a car with #3 on the door, but that does not make the lad “Iconic” or any of the other adjectives I’ve seen and heard applied to the young man. I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, that refers to Austin as Eddie Munster. Google it…
3. Bubba Wallace ran a good race, but it was a plate track race, notorious for first or only time winners. His test will begin at Atlanta this coming weekend. Then we’ll see how well the youngster in the #43 is adapting to the Cup ranks. Remember, there is an old saying in racing that says, “Second place is just the first loser.”
4. No one cares what Denny Hamlin is weeping and wailing about this week. Whatever it is, it will be something or someone else next week. Someone please give that lad a crying towel… and some duct tape for his not-so-funny mouth.
5. After the madness that was the seemingly never-ending Xfinity race I think it’s safe to say that there really needs to be a limit to Green/White/Checkers or Overtime or anything else that becomes the buzz word du jour for too much is more than enough. The NASCAR of yesteryear believed in running the “advertised distance”, meaning the Daytona 500 was over at the 500-mile distance regardless of which flag was waving at the time. Nothing wrong with that logic.
A word about the ratings before we close. This is from http://www.sportsmediawatch.com
Sunday’s NASCAR Daytona 500 earned a 5.3 rating and 9.3 million viewers on FOX, per Nielsen fast-nationals — down 20% in ratings and 22% in viewership from last year (6.6, 11.9M) and down 20% and 18% respectively from 2016 (6.6, 11.4M).
The 5.3 rating is the lowest for the Daytona 500 since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979. The previous low was a 5.6 in 2014. The four lowest Daytona 500 ratings have come in the past five years.
Makes one wonder what the other 70.7-million fans were doing last Sunday, doesn’t it?
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout and this week we have a REAL oldie. This is Tex Ritter’s Ranch Party, with guests Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Bobby Helms and the Collins Kids. That’s some fine company to be keeping friends!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!