Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Playoffs
Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Playoffs
Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts and observations. Normally I do not offer statistics, although at times I may reference what different broadcasters, among others, have said or alluded to.
I would like to congratulate Martin Truex, Jr on winning the regular season Championship and wish him the best in the next 10 races. Regardless of the final finish at Homestead, he is my true Champion of the 2017 NASCAR Cup racing season.
NASCAR recently made news by penalizing the winner of both the Xfinity and Cup races at Darlington. The same Cup interloper won both races. Since that time, they have adjusted their rules on penalties and have made them a bit more severe, with a higher monetary cost and point deduction. Personally, I am not sure this will make a difference in whether teams will still be working in the gray area and trying different things to get an advantage. That will be a wait and see issue that a lot of fans will be watching very closely. While watching qualifying at Richmond, I really took offense at Jeff Burton when he said about Gray Gaulding's lap - "Although we do not recognize him as a player in the race, we take note of his time, which is faster than practice" - referencing the weather and shade on track. Isn't it nice that they don't even recognize all drivers as players in their races? How sad. Not too long after that, although I don't remember who said it, one of them also alerted us to the fact that Christopher Bell is "THE" future of JGR. My question is this: What is going to happen to all the other drivers at JGR? Are they going to just meekly let him be "The" one? What happened to their team work? Is it suddenly no longer the way they play or work together?
Let's talk about team work for a bit. NASCAR prides themselves on the fact that it is a team sport. Each owner that has multiple teams always tells us they all work together as one team. Each team tells us they work with the other teams in their owner group. This sometimes does not appear to be the case. Especially with some of the satellite teams. From what I see and hear, this is far from the truth at times. If all teams work together to develop the best advantage, then why do some of the cars from one owner seem to be so much better - or worse- than some of their other team cars? It can't be just the driver as there are always remarks that they need to put the racing back into the driver's hands. To me that means it is more car than driver that is performing. So, where is the team work?
Since the final season race at Richmond, there has been a lot written and said, a large percentage of it being speculation. A lot of fans feel the race and the officiating of the race was not up to par. They feel NASCAR played a big part in the finishing order due to the officiating. Beginning with the caution they immediately threw when there was smoke coming from Matt Kenseth's car due his braking very hard. We have never before seen a caution for brake smoke. It was very strange indeed. Even the broadcasters could not explain it. They seemed to think at one point that he possibly had a problem with the car which did not turn out to be the case.
Later in the race, an ambulance which was parked at the entrance to pit road created a huge problem. Since the pit light was green, drivers started to enter pits. In order to avoid that ambulance and other cars, there was damage done to quite a few of them because they either hit other cars or the parked ambulance. This definitely impacted the finishing order and also cost some teams financially.
With 3 laps to go, a driver about 15 laps down brushed the wall and NASCAR immediately threw the caution, although at other times they have waited to see whether it was truly necessary for caution. This caution definitely affected the outcome of the race. Cautions are necessary at times, but this particular race seemed to have some very, very unnecessary ones. Most fans feel cheated out of a true finish by these cautions. Perhaps this is one of the races a lot of fans feel was manipulated into a finish with drama which NASCAR seems to desire.
Since we are now entering the last 10 races of the season, or the playoff period as they like to call it, there is uncertainty about how the fans will be responding in attendance or viewership. Perhaps some of the reasons attendance at the track is down and television viewership is down are because of the following reasons.
Technology changes, people change and life seems to lead us in different directions throughout the years. We grow, but core values seem to linger and stay with some of us. Life was so simple and we older fans put depth into whatever it was we were interested in. We wanted perfection in everything but we also wanted substance. In today's world, the agenda seems to have changed and people are always in a rush and for them the answer is instant gratification so that is what so many search for. Very few seem to hang on to that substance and remember how satisfying something real (NASCAR was once real) gives us. In other words, back then we lived in an era where people really cared. Today, there is too much of everything for some to put too much caring into one particular thing. Unfortunately, as more generations came/come along, so does staying power.
One of our readers mentioned that he felt viewership would increase if the broadcasts were better and he was right. For instance, it would be nice if we had timely updates on drivers who have problems and go to the pits or garage. There are normally 40 drivers in each Cup race, but we rarely hear about most of them.
We just got the news that Smithfield is leaving RPM mainly due to lack of performance. However, I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that they got very little exposure from the broadcast crew, because that car and driver was not someone they normally spoke of during their broadcast. Perhaps he was also someone they did not recognize as a player? One of our readers wrote that the booth does not cover cars based on performance and their standards are their own, or perhaps NASCAR'S. To that I add, one thing is for sure, they do not cover the cars who are not performing very well. They seem to dwell on what they call "the cream" which always rises to the top.
Thank you for reading and commenting. What are your thoughts on this? I welcome your comments and ask that you keep them clean and do not bash anyone. You may also email me if you wish.