Frank’s Guide to How to Fix All That Ails NASCAR
(Drawing Ideas from the 2017 Season to Date)
Writing about history can wait. Based on the first three weeks of 2017, I think we’ve got enough evidence to suggest one remedy from each week to start reversing the NASCAR decline and raise the bar to that of . . . well, of whatever’s really popular and successful these days.
DAYTONA – Never was there more evidence that NASCAR got it all wrong with the prohibition against fixing wrecked cars (or putting them on a “clock” for repairs). What we need to do is make fixing cars fun again, like in the old days when teams would “liberate” parts from spectators’ cars in the infield if necessary to complete the fix. Here’s the modern update for that: Each race team partners with a reality show group of junk-yard pickers, back-alley speed shops, Salvadoran street gangs or second graders, who then go out and collect all parts that might be needed for fixing a wrecked car. When a car wrecks, repairs are then made using those parts, with credit given against laps lost for the repairs completed with those parts. If the wrong parts were collected, the teams must obtain what they need from one another by any means necessary (and no credits are given for those repairs). This way a car that barrel-rolls 14 times and loses 74 laps making repairs in the garage could get 75 bonus points for using parts gathered from a bowling league yard sale, and the driver could return to the race leading by a lap.
Hmmm . . . if he gets too close to Logano, we might need one of those.
ATLANTA – This one’s too easy. NASCAR partners with the State Police in at each track, and when a driver’s caught speeding on pit road. . . . Can’t you just imagine Harvick and Junior battling for the lead, and this blue light starts gaining on them from behind, and nobody knows which driver the trooper will pull over? Absolutely made for TV.
Pit road speed enforcers – sponsorship opportunities available.
LAS VEGAS – At each segment break, pick two drivers who are pis… well, ticked off at each other and let ‘em duke it out. Fans get to vote on traditional boxing, MMA or professional wrestling for the format. (Given that you don’t have enough time there for 15 rounds, maybe sumo should be an option, too, since it seems to go quickest.) For the third go-round between the same two drivers, you could have closed cages, and we might even work in tag-team events once in a while. Playoff points could be awarded.
Each driver gets to drink two Monsters before this starts.
While we’re fixing things, here’s another idea: Have you ever noticed that major NASCAR events are among the few activities that don’t have 50-50 drawings? What’s with that? At Lincoln Speedway, there’s a 50-50 (which occasionally pays the winner more than the driver earns who wins the race), a “lucky number” drawing from the program, and a game where you pick how many caution flags you think there’ll be during the heat races, and a name is drawn (for a cash prize) from all who pick the right number.
Instead of Hooters, Monster Girls could sell 50-50 tickets.
Run with that idea and you could have fans buy chances on the drivers who might end up in the intermission fights, or they could guess the highest number of parts used to fix a wrecked car . . . the possibilities are endless, and that’s before you even get to ideas like “Whack-a-Michael” or the dunk tank for NASCAR officials.
Yes, I think we’re being unnecessarily pessimistic in assessing NASCAR’s ills, when easy fixes are this close, and we’ve got more than 30 races to go, from which we can obtain even more great ideas. The best is yet to come.