When the Points Aren’t the Points and 2+2 Doesn’t Equal 4
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and as always a warm and sincere Hey Y’all to our assigned NASCAR reader today. For those to whom I haven’t yet moaned and groaned, there’s been a “slight” change at Race Fans Forever. My partner, Jim Fitzgerald, has gone back to school to get edjumicated some more, which leaves poor little me doing the entire site. Be sweet; be kind; bring coffee; bring wine! If I screw something up, consider the source.
OK, with that out of the way, let’s get back to racing, if that’s what they’re calling it these days. Is everyone having fun with the new point non-system? Do you have it all figured out and know where every driver stands? Where your driver stands? Don’t feel alone. Someone asked me on Twitter why one of the drivers got no playoff points for a stage. I took a swing at that and said that only the stage winner gets a playoff point, and the race winner gets 5. The other points we see awarded for positions 1 through 10 are race points, which is what makes the final outcome look like a numerical version of alphabet soup.
I “think” I got that right, but I even qualified it that way when I answered because quite frankly, a non-system where the winner is not always the winner just makes no sense whatsoever to this orderly mathematical mind. I much prefer a system where 2+2=4… always! New math, core math and anything else they’ve dreamed up since I was in school are just wrong. In real mathematics, there is only one right answer… and NO participation trophies!
Please just click right around here somewhere and you’ll see full results from the Pocono race. Look at the column labeled “Points.” As I said, it’s numerical soup… and that doesn’t even include the “Playoff points”, which are kept in a separate fund, to be added in later on, after Richmond. In this instance the winner, Kyle Busch, did receive the most points. However, when one looks down the column to the 6th place, occupied by Clint Bowyer, you’ll find that winning one stage now places him ahead of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th finishers in points. As a race fan of long standing… far longer than Brian France has been on this planet… it’s a huge disappointment that finishing order now means nothing in this once great sport.
In the world according to PattyKay, a race starts and ends on the start/finish line. He who gets there first on the final lap is the winner. The next in line is second, and so on down the line. Points are awarded in descending order, with the most going to the winner and the least going to the last place finisher. As they used to say back in the days of common sense, which isn’t as common as it used to be, “That’s racin’!”
is no need whatsoever for an “Overtime line”, a “Start zone” or the mythical
“Scoring loops.” Any such argument is easily settled by reverting to the last
green lap. Whether the race is advertised as “500 laps”, “500 miles” or
whatever, when the given distance is reached, the race is over, and I don’t
care if the flag flying at that time is sky-blue-pink with purple polka-dots.
Racing is a simple sport… or should be.
(Author’s note: This article was written two days in advance of the announcement that NASCAR is doing away with the Overtime line and will instead use the Start/finish line as the Overtime line. What a concept!)
That leads your scribe to another thought. Give the flagman back his job. They don’t call that man the “Starter” for fun. Flag waving should be at his discretion, not leave him waiting for a wink and a nod from David Hoots in the tower while most of the field wrecks on the front stretch, but the tower is waiting for the leader to cross the “Overtime line” on the back stretch. For a sanctioning body that preaches “Safety-first”, that mess at Indy was a real embarrassment to a lot of folks, this one included.
If it’s Brian France’s intent to make us so confused we’ll take his word for about anything, he’s doing a fine job, but it’s backfiring. When a diehard “core fan” (That’s NASCAR speak for old school or just plain old) like me loses interest in race-related things, that’s a signal that someone better start bailing because this ship is sinking.
Have any of you looked at the standings lately? That presents a whole other comedy. In any stick and ball sport, the standings are a list of who’s won the most games, in declining numerical order. In NASCAR, an entity whose CEO attempts to emulate every facet of all stick and ball sports wrapped into one, we have a list of standings. We have Driver standings, Playoff standings, Owner standings and Manufacturer standings, and yes, they are all different. So who is leading whom? I don’t believe anyone has the slightest idea. Let’s just stick with Clint Bowyer for a moment, as he was mentioned at the beginning. Clint is 10th in actual point standings, or as actual as they get this year with those stage points added in. That’s not a great year but it’s not a bad year compared to his 27th place finish last year with Harry Scott Racing. However, when we look at Playoff standings, Clint is in 17th place and out of the game at this time. Then let’s look at Kasey Kahne, who won last week at Indy, courtesy of that late caution flag. Kasey is in 19th place in driver points, yet 12th in Playoff points. Who knows how anyone will stand by the time the Richmond race ends? In this crazy world of NASCAR, 2+2 now equals 7.3333, and don’t argue with that!
Please allow my train of thought to jump the tracks to a completely unrelated matter before we wind this one down. Joe Gibbs, I was a fan since your early Red Skin days, but at Indy, my respect for you dwindled to a mere pilot light compared to the laser beam it once was. If NASCAR saw nothing worth even mentioning, let alone punishing, why is it up to you to suspend two crew members from an opposing team for a mild incident incited by the crew chief of your #18 car? What you accomplished was a great lesson in unsportsmanlike conduct… on your part… and confirmation of what the fans have taken for granted for years, that your “alliance” with FRR is not merely an alliance at all or you Sir, would have no authority whatsoever over what anyone on that team says or does. Both you and NASCAR are free to describe the incestuous relationship in the manner of your choosing, but remember, perception has a way of becoming reality. We now perceive the cars and crews of Furniture Row Racing to be cars #5 and #6 on the JGR team. Four-car maximum limit? Whatever is that? Just another NASCAR joke, and like so many, it’s not the least bit funny!
Of course, those wonderful old instruments mean it’s time for our Classic Country Closeout. This week we have another of those wonderful Country Shows featuring the stars of the 1950s. I do hope many of you are enjoying these shows as much as I am. The 1950s were such a wonderful time to be growing up.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!