Authors Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts and observations.
Normally, I do not offer statistics.
Racing at Atlanta was interesting to say the least. The minute I realized Kyle Busch and 7 other Cup drivers were entered to run the Xfinity race, I felt it would be a race dominated by the Cup drivers. I was not wrong in that speculation. Keep in mind that NASCAR drivers are only allowed to compete for the Championship in one series and can only obtain points in their chosen series. Regular series winners of each stage and other regulars finishing the stage in the top 10 are awarded additional points after the stages. There were less than 10 regular Xfinity drivers in the top 10 at the end of all stages. The question is: even if they were not in the top 10, will they still get points until they reach 10 of the regular drivers regardless of what position they were in at the end of each stage? Same question for the second stage as 5 Cup drivers finished in the top 10. At the black and white checkered flag, Cup drivers finished in the top 4 positions. So how were the points awarded to the regular drivers?
On another note, I want to mention that during the broadcast, I noticed that Michael Waltrip was not quite as hyper as he normally is. In fact, he was unusually calm, imo.
NASCAR wonders why interest in their racing is fading. I think the first paragraph explains why some fans have stopped watching the Xfinity series and why the stands have less fans in the seats. It is because of Cup driver domination, just in case I wasn't too clear in the way I wrote it above.
Next came the truck race at Atlanta. Even though very little time had passed between the two races, one of the first things I noticed was that Michael Waltrip had become his normal super hyper self for this broadcast. There were only 4 Cup drivers entered in this race and only 2 of those finished in the top 10. Regulars took the top 4 spots at the final finish. Because of the Cup drivers in the race, I did not watch the whole race. Again, interest is fading, not only for me but for other fans as well. I am not sure how to get the fans back.
NASCAR, are you reading and listening? Attendance and television viewing is down and changing some of the rules may not help improve those areas although you may gain some temporary casual fans. There are many reasons both are down sometimes nothing will bring it back to where it once was.
On to the Cup race at Atlanta. For the most part, everything went well. The National Anthem was good and very reverent, and I thank Atlanta for that. I am sure other fans are happy as well about the way it was performed and they thank you also.
One of the first things I noticed before the race started was when Mike Joy mentioned specifically to Jeff Gordon about Richard Petty's last race which was Jeff's first race. Jeff commented on how great a memory that was. Then of course, the other party in the booth who thinks everything is about him had to mention he was also in that race and that just ruined the memory moment. It was also mentioned that there was a good size crowd in the stands and that the walk up ticket buyers at the track that day was very strong indeed. Gosh, I remember when one could not purchase a ticket at all, even before different tracks started removing seats to make the stands look fuller.
In reference to their new rules, I do have to say the stages did not bother me in this race. After a few laps, I realized there were only 39 entries rather than the normal 40. That was never mentioned by any of the broadcast team and I haven't read or heard why there was a short field. There are fewer and fewer races where they have more than 40 try to qualify, and they normally do have a full field.
Something else that was interesting was the news that they had shortened the distance between the timing lines on pit road. It seems that change caused quite a few drivers to get speeding penalties at Atlanta. I am not sure how many were caught speeding, but there was a record number and I think the one who suffered most was Kevin Harvick on the last caution. Perhaps he is just jinxed at Atlanta. He did say he pushed it a bit, but others must have also pushed it a bit considering how many were caught speeding. No one seems to know why they shortened them but I wonder if it was to try artificially heighten the drama. Another member of our site mentioned possibly for complete control and yet another suggested it was to take away the advantage some of the pit stalls had. Thanks, PattyKay and Dennis.
The final thing I want to mention is that I noticed more and more cars and drivers are without full time sponsors and some are sponsor free at this time. I am not sure if it is the economy or the way NASCAR has changed in the past few years. There are so many good drivers/racers out there and it is very sad that this down turn in NASCAR is occurring. It seems the generations of yesteryear who are long time and pure race fans are no longer as important as the casual fan is. Many years ago I saw a commercial but can't remember what company it was for. I clearly remember the person in charge was stressing how important it was to get the core customers back. That being said, he closed out his speech saying he was going to visit one them in person and was sending all the reps out to visit other customers.
Remembering what made you great as an entity is always best, and NASCAR needs to get back to that, so the older generation can pass along memories to the younger fans and they in turn can pass them along to the next generation.
Thank you for reading and comments will be welcome, or you may email me with remarks or questions.