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Why Edwards Staying With Roush Is Awesome

Carl Edwards announced today he’s re-signed with Roush-Fenway.

Personally, I’m thrilled. I’m a JGR girl, and I can’t stand Carl. Period. To have him on my team would suck. A lot.

From a non-personal standpoint, I’m still thrilled. Carl is one of the sport’s most marketable stars and most popular personalities. If he switched teams, it would probably hurt that – think LeBron James going to Miami, albeit on a considerably lesser scale. NASCAR needs its marketable stars, to help grow the sport.

It also gives a lot more credibility to Ford. The manufacturer battles between Chevy, Ford, Toyota, & Dodge are another thing that help NASCAR (for example, I have a friend who’ll watch NASCAR races on occasion for the sole reason of seeing how well the Fords do). One of NASCAR’s top drivers choosing Ford over Toyota makes those battles better.

It helps Joe Gibbs Racing, too. If you buy into the rumors, Carl would’ve driven the #20, demoting Joey Logano to the fourth car, having Joey go through all the bumps and growing pains on the new team. That would’ve hampered Joey’s development a lot. And IMO, JGR needs to fix the problems with their engines before they start expanding. Having to get a whole new team up and running smoothly would put the engine issues on the back burner. They will never win a championship until those issues are resolved.

And it’s the best for Carl. Trying to compete for a championship, knowing this will be his last season with the team, would be a distraction – not only to Carl, but to his team. There’s always the conspiracy theories, that Carl wouldn’t get the best cars if Roush knew he was gone after the season. Ford’s engines, and their cars in general, are unbeatable in NASCAR right now; why would you abandon that for a manufacturer that’s never won a title? Changing teams would take a while to adjust to, and would likely hamper Carl’s championship hunt for at least a season. Aflac, Subway, and Carl’s other sponsers might not have followed him to JGR.

So that’s why Carl choosing Roush was the best thing for everyone involved.

Crew Cheif Changes

I am making a solemn, sure-to-be-broken vow to update this blog more, so here’s my thoughts on the recent crew chief carousels.

• Greg Erwin:
It’ll be a great improvement for AJ, but given AJ and Mike Shiplett’s friendship, I have to wonder if firing Mike is smart. A lot of drivers and crew chiefs have rocky relationships, and AJ and Mike’s friendship helped a lot, helped AJ trust his crew chief more on risky calls, not get as pissed off because of a blown call, ease a lot of that tension, I’d think. I’m not saying Greg and AJ won’t get along, but I have to wonder if they’ll be as good as friends as AJ & Mike. Greg’s a rather high-profile crew chief, so there’s a good chance he’ll work out better than Mike, but I have to think it’ll be more tense.
I do have to wonder, though. I specifically remember reading that Greg Erwin was leaving as Biffle’s crew chief because he was being promoted within the organization. Did he reject the promotion? Did Richard Petty Motorsports give him an offer to good to turn down? What happened there?

• Brian Pattie:
You could see this one coming from a mile away…after their Chase performance in ’09, the Pattie-Montoya duo hasn’t been very impressive. 2010 obviously didn’t meet the previous year’s standards, and Juan spent Pocono and Indianapolis screaming at Brian’s pit calls. A lot of people thought that the #42 Chevy would rebound this year, but despite coming out of the gates strong, JPM has struggled. The team was badly in need of a change, and this was it. I’m of the opinion that this change will work; that this change will push Juan Pablo into the Chase, or at least near it. If this doesn’t help, though, I’m pretty sure that all hope is dead for Montoya fans.

Speed or Strategy?

As long as this is a hot topic right now, I’ll throw in my two cents.

Speed is not the most important aspect, and I don’t think it should be. I don’t think NASCAR should be a contest of who can mash the pedal down hardest; I think brains, strategy, and other skills (such as fuel-saving) should play a role. People often dismiss NASCAR as rednecks driving in circles, and us loyalists always argue that it’s not. But if there isn’t any strategies involved, then what else is it? I always get pissed off when people say NASCAR isn’t a “team sport,” and although technically it isn’t, it actually is. It’s not a team sport just because of the pit crew and the guys in the shop; it’s also because of the crew chief. You hear “the race can be won or lost on pit road,” and it can, but it can also be won or lost on the pit box. And I like it like that.

Maybe it’s just because I love strategy and thinking, whether that be a book of brain teasers or a video game, or a hockey game coming down to who the coach puts on the ice or what strategies he uses, or a NASCAR race coming down to a crew chief’s call to pit or not. It adds complexity, which I love. Maybe it’s because of the “root for the underdog” mentality that nearly everyone seems to have, with someone other than the day’s dominant car winning. Maybe it’s because I hate simplicity, and what’s more simplier than a guy leading all day and winning and not having anything exciting happen at the end?

Whatever the reason, I really don’t get why you wouldn’t like a race that ends on strategy. People always talk about wanting exciting finishes; what’s not exciting about a fuel milage finish? Sure, the guy who’s supposed to win usually doesn’t, and sure, it is incredibly stressful if it’s your driver in that position (as I’m sure Junior Nation knows), but fan loyalties aside, what’s not to like?

In my mind, fuel milage wins aren’t legit wins. But they’re great finishes, and in the short term, what more could you want than a great finish? In a long term veiw, you’ll want your driver to get a good points finish, and in any veiw, you’ll want your guy to win. But if your driver isn’t in the finish – or better yet, in the finish, but not losing – I really do not get how you can’t like a crazy fuel-milage finish.

Championship Breakdown Part II

Sorry this is a little late…I did say Monday or Tuesday, right? Kidding aside, my laptop got a virus. Well, on to the breakdown.

Clint Bowyer
Clint’s really stepped up. I never veiwed him as a contender, but after last year’s Chase, I’d be crazy not to consider him. Without the penalty, he would’ve been 5th and I think that the penalty got rid of something more important than points – momentum. Clint’s really stepped up, and this season’s been strong so far. After a horrid start, he has four straight top 10′s and two straight 2nd place finishes – and of course, Talladega was more or less a win, .002 seconds off P1. Clint will have a strong season and probably contend for the title.

Paul Menard
I’ve been surprised with Menard. I’ve always been a huge critic, I’ve always maintained that he has no place in the sport, and I’ve always referred to him as ‘talentless.’ Well, Paul has proved me wrong. 11th in points, 2 top 5′s, 3 top 10′s, and a DNF. I’m not ready to jump on the “Menard For the Sprint Cup” bandwagon, and I’m not even sure he’ll make the Chase, but if he can continue with what he’s doing and keeps on improving, I think he’s a lock for the top 15 in points. Not to mention…Clint Bowyer attributed his turnaround this season, from the first 4 races to the last 4 races, to a setup the #33 team got from the #27.

Jeff Gordon
I honestly don’t see Jeff contending for another championship, ever. He’s getting old and he’s starting to fade. Phoenix proved he still can get it done, but he’s been inconsistant. He’s only had 2 top 10′s since the win at Phoenix, and only 3 top 10′s this season, period. And it’s not like it’s just been unbelievable bad luck keeping him from the top 5. He’s only had one DNF. Jeff may just go crazy come Chase time and turn it around, but I honestly don’t see him doing much.

Mark Martin
Mark has been pretty quiet this year. He’s been very consistant, always in the top 20, almost always in the top 15, but he hasn’t spent much time in the top 10 (3 top 10′s this year; 2 of those on restrictor plate tracks) and doesn’t have a single top 5, not to mention only one lap led. Especially after last year, I don’t see a championship for Mark. I don’t see a Chase, unless he improves. I do see a top 15 in points, but more than that? Sorry, Mark.

AJ Allmendinger
I was sure 2011 was going to be AJ’s breakout year. After how he ended last year, I was sure he’d make the Chase, win races, run consistantly top 10, etc. He hasn’t run as good as I thought he would, though. 4 laps led, 0 top 5′s, 3 top 10′s, 1 DNF. His results actually look pretty similar to Mark Martin, and if I don’t see a Chase appearence for Mark, how can I predict one for AJ? However, maybe because AJ is one of my favorite drivers, I think AJ can step it up, I think he can make the Chase, and although I don’t think he’s ready to contend for the title, I think he can get a good finish. AJ showed alot of muscle in the late stages of last year – remember Dover? – and if he can find that speed again, I think we’ll be seeing alot more of him in the top 10.

Greg Biffle
Greg’s quest to become the first driver to win championships in all three national touring series has hit a few road bumps recently (well, really, ever since he got to the Cup, but bear with me). His results the first three races were horrid; he’s been better the last 5, with 3 top 10′s and a 11th, but he’s still got some work – 16th in the points, 24 out of 10th. He’s shown he can rip off a few wins, so even if he doesn’t get the points, a wildcard is a possibility. But I just don’t see him contending for a title. Any driver who’s listed as a wildcard possibility is a question mark for the title, and Greg’s never really had the one year where’s he’s really shown he can win a title, other than 2005. If Greg ever does have “the year,” I don’t think this will be it.

Denny Hamlin
Well, I’m clearly unbelievably biased, but I think that this year’s not been nearly as bad as everyone’s making out. Sure, 17th in points isn’t impressive. But consider his luck. Consider the inconceivable failure that is the Joe Gibbs Racing engine program. Denny hasn’t had bad performance; he’s just had bad luck. Once the racing gods stop frowning on Denny, he’ll jump into the Chase and cruise right to that championship.

Kasey Kahne
Kasey’s actually been running really good, alot better than the points standings show. Like Denny, he’s had alot of bad luck – but not the bad luck as in damaged enough so you can’t run good, terrible race car, terrible engines, ill-timed cautions, etc., but the crashing kind of bad luck. Daytona. Martinsville. Talladega. When you count out those three, Texas has been the only race he hasn’t finished in the top 15, and three of the four races outside of ‘Tona, M’sville, and ‘Dega have been top 10′s. He’s still looking for his first top 5, he’s only led 10 laps, but he’s been performing good, he’s had fast cars, I think he’ll get up to the Chase by the time this is all said and done. I think he’ll contend for the championship. Win it, maybe not, but contend, probably. It all depends on his luck.

Martin Truex, Jr.
This is going to sound pretty familiar. His luck’s been bad. His performance has been good. 92 laps led, a best finish of 6th, but twice as many DNF’s as top 10′s. Once the racing gods decide they don’t hate Martin, he’ll get up there. I don’t see him contending for the championship, but it’s possible. Luck turns around, and the Chase is a lock.

David Ragan
Everything looked so promising after Daytona’s would’ve-could’ve-should’ve…but David has failed to follow up, with just one top 10 since the season opener. And the luck excuse? Despite 2 DNF’s, he hasn’t had the bad luck of Hamlin, Kahne, and Truex. If David can show the promise that appeared in the 500, he can possibly get up there. But I don’t see it happening. Top 20 in points, maybe, but other than that? Not a chance.

Championship Breakdown

7 races into the season with Talladega tomorrow, I think that whoever’s going to be challenging Jimmie is starting to become obvious, or least starting to give subtle hints. It also is starting to become obvious who’s fading back, who’s making improvements, and who’s not changing at all. Here’s my breakdown of 1-10 in the standings.

1. Carl Edwards
Carl has been strong so far this season, obviously, with 5 top 10′s, 4 top 5′s, 2 poles, and 1 win in 7 starts, along with the points lead. It seems that if anybody’s going to challenge Jimmie, it’s going to be Carl… or is it? Look at the past. Since when has the regular season’s dominator, the champion of the first 26 races, won a title? Regular season success does not equal into post-season success. I’m worried Carl will use up all his stuff in the regular season, and be all worn out by the time the Chase rolls around. Like Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Kyle Busch have all pointed out in previous years, just because you’re the best throughout the first 26 don’t mean you’re going to walk home with the Cup.
Of course, a championship for Cousin Carl isn’t totally impossible. In fact, it’s probable. Carl seems to hang back some, i.e. Bristol, and seems to have realized that he needs to save his best for last. He seems to be cruising, almost; he isn’t racing all out, isn’t peaking too soon.
Bottom line: We won’t know if he really can challenge for the title until the first couple races in the Chase are over.

2. Kyle Busch
Is “The New Kyle Busch” finally here to stay? Kyle has shown surprising maturity throughout the first two months of this young season. His temper and child-like whining have emerged on more than one instance, yes, but he has conducted himself in an almost shocking display of maturity. Maybe it’s Samantha. Who knows? Whatever is the reason behind Kyle’s sudden growth spurt, it’s helping him. I’ve always maintained that maturity is one of the must-have’s for a championship (Sebastian Vettel aside). Kyle is more patient, doesn’t race %110 every lap, doesn’t let his temper get the best of him, and, overall, has more poise and self-control. We all know he’s got the talent. Now, he might just have the maturity.
Bottom line: beware of the Shrubinator. We might just be saying “bye-bye Jimmie, hello Kyle” by the time the Awards Ceremoney rolls around.

3. Matt Kenseth
In 2003, Matt Kenseth coasted to his first NASCAR Cup championship, clinching the title a week before the finale, and winning it by 90 points over Jimmie Johnson. He had one win that season.
That’s how Matt’s going to win it this year.
He’s always had the consistancy. But lately, he’d been running consistantly outside of the top 10. Many (including myself) were questioning his ability to run up front.
Not anymore.
Matt, not a noted qualifyer, has a pole this year. He has 3 consecutive top 5′s. He’s coming off of a dominative TX win.
Bottom line: not a frontrunner for the championship, but a good darkhorse pick. A given for the Chase, we’ll wait and see until September arrives to see if he’s still putting up these results (remember, he put up similar stats in the first few races of 2010, but faded out).

4. Jimmie Johnson
Do I even need to write anything? We all know Jimmie’s style. He doesn’t do much in the regular season, but when the playoffs start, he dominates. His performance in the first 26 means nothing about the last 10.
Bottom line: ask me in September.

5. Kurt Busch
Following an amazing Speedweeks and an early points lead, Kurt looked like an early favorite.
Now, you’d have to be crazy to list him as a championship contender.
His performance the last few weeks have been less than stellar, but that’s not what I’m concerned about. Penske has 19 races to fix any performance issues.
What I am concerned about is his attitude. Have you ever listened to his radio? It’s absolutely terrible.
“How many cars are on the lead lap?” “25.” “That’s where we’ll be by the time this is done.”
He seems unwilling to work. He gives up too early. He constantly throws his pit crew, crew cheif, and carbuilders under the bus. And just try to count the number of swear words! I’ve nothing against cursing, but there are other ways to express your feelings, and 90% of the time he goes on one of his cursing sprees, it’s over next to nothing. He’s a bratt.
Bottom line: turn the attitude around, you’ve got a possible champ. Otherwise, nothing higher than 7th in the season-ending standings.

6. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Championship hopes for Junior?
You’re joking, right?
But while a title doesn’t appear in Jr’s future (at least, I don’t think so), I’ve been impressed with his performance. He’s consistant, he’s good, he’s contending, he’s coming back from adversity. He nearly won Martinsville. I wouldn’t be surprised to see at the Awards Ceremoney in Vegas, making a speech other than an acceptance speech for the Most Popular Driver Award.
Breakdown: Championship, no. Good finish, yes.

7. Ryan Newman
I don’t see Ryan contending for a championship. The Rocketman’s been pretty quiet lately; so much that I couldn’t give you a breakdown of his championship hopes. 7th in points with 4 top 10′s, the same amount as Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson, seems to say that it’s a possibility, but I just don’t see it. After a blazing start to his career, he’s cooled down. I don’t see him ever winning a championship, but we’ll see.
Breakdown: Maybe. Probably not.

8. Juan Pablo Montoya
Get rid of his temper, you’ve got a championship-calibar driver. Juan is very talented, but his temper and incidents with other drivers seem to take him out. However, while I believe lengthening that short fuse of his would help, I don’t believe it’s the sole reason he hasn’t contended for a championship. The main reason? Luck. He has incredibley horrid luck. Engine failures, wrong-place-wrong-time wrecks, impossible-to-avoid penalties…they all factor in, and they all detract. Indianapolis Motor Speedway the past two years has been the poster child for Juan’s luck (or lack thereof). The Brickyard 400 isn’t just how Indy goes for Juan, it’s how JPM’s entire career has been – filled with bad luck.
Breakdown: Get rid of his bad luck, probably his temper, and Jimmie’s met his match.

9. Kevin Harvick
Two straight wins? I’d be crazy not to consider him. He was M.I.A. at Texas, but i think you’d have to be crazy not to consider him. Slow and steady was his slogan in ’10, and he’s trying his hand at a more flashy style. If he’ll combine those two approaches, consistant with a habit of winning, he’ll not only challenge Jimmie’s 6-Pack campaign, he’ll save Jimmie the trouble of having to come up with a slogan for 7-in-a-row.
Breakdown: if he can bring back his consistant touch, but retain the winning flaire, he’s got this.

10. Tony Stewart
Wow, where do I start? I don’t need to say much about Tony’s performance. The gambles, the failed gambles, have cost the #14. There’s nothing to critique about Tony, save for ill-timed penalties, but there’s plenty of questions marks surrounding Darrian Grubb. His pit strategies have cost Tony 3 or 4 wins. How much faith does Tony have in Darian? How safe is Darian’s job? How much money do you want to put on Tony having a new crew cheif by the end of the season? I’m betting on a crew cheif change over at Stewart-Haas. However, although Darian has cost Tony about half the races in the season, would firing him really be the best move? He has gotten Tony into the position to win, after all. I’m thinking a demotion, maybe. Who knows?
Breakdown: better pit strategy = third championship for Tony.

Although the points will be mixed up after tomorrow, I will try to post a breakdown of 11-20 in points Monday or possibly Tuesday.

What ‘Championship Hangover’?

I am tired of hearing about Denny Hamlin’s ‘championship hangover.’ Last year’s defeat took too big of a mental toll for Denny to contend again, they say. Just look at his stats this year, they say. Denny’s not going to win it or even contend, they say.

Yeah, right.

Denny’s finishes this year have been 21st, 11th, 7th, 33rd, 39th, and 12th. Average finish: 20.50.

Last year, his finishes were 17th, 29th, 19th, 21st, 19th, and 1st. Average finish: 17.67

Take away last year’s Martinsville win, and 2011 has been kinder to Denny than 2010 did.

Denny’s results have been subpar so far this year, but so has his luck. Wreck, 11th, 7th, wreck, engine failure, and guaranteed top 5 and possibly win turned into a 12th because of a ill-timed caution flag.

His terrible results caused because of a lost championship? Have you noticed something? If you subsitute “results” with “performance” in that last sentence, it would no longer be correct. That tells you something.

Denny’s results have not sucked because he’s too disheartened after last year’s loss.

Denny’s results have sucked because his luck (and Joe Gibbs Racing’s engine program) sucks.

Denny’s performance has not sucked because of last year.

Denny’s performance has not sucked, period.

Tonight, NASCAR’s in Texas. When Denny wins tonight, don’t be surprised.

What “championship hangover”?

NASCAR’s point system: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I’m a rather big fan of simple points systems. I love racing enough that I watch every race that I can find on TV & regularly watch Formula1 & IndyCar in addition to NASCAR. Racing series with simpler points systems always seem to have tighter battles – just look at the points over the season from Formula1, or Dario Franchitti’s margin of victory in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar series. Niether series could crown a champion until the last lap. I’ve always attributed the closeness of the battles in F1 and the IRL to their simpler points systems – less points awarded make it easier to fall & harder to get ahead.

I am very happy with NASCAR’s simpler system. Not because it’s simpler – I had a good grasp on the old system, it was simple to me – but because it’ll encourage tighter battles, I think. As someone who despises NASCAR – love the racing itself, but hate the sanctioning body – saying I approve of something they do is very hard. So here’s my breakdown of the good & bad of NASCAR’s new system.

The Good:

It makes following the race & the points less difficult for the casual fan. Any diehard fan would, more likely than not, understand the old system. But if you don’t spend some time studying it, like anybody who just watches a bit of the race or something like that, it’s going to seem a little complicated. Like I said, understanding it was fairly simple for me and other diehards, but for casual fans, it simplifys it.

Less points = smaller leads. I’ve always said that if you award less points, you get tighter battles. I’ve preached it the entire time I’ve written a blog.

No more, “well, this guy did good and won some races but had some bad luck.” You do good, you win some races – like JMac in ’10, or KB in ’09 – and you run into some sore luck, and you’re out of there.

Everywhere you read, there’s constant praise of the new system. But here’s the bad of it:

It discourages regular-season consistancy & good performance. If you win 5 races out of the first 15, you aren’t going to need to do well in the points to make the Chase. Therefore, you might just hang back. Analyze the competition, give your crew a rest, try some different things that might not work. It would discourage driving 100% if you’ve already got the wildcard all but clinched. Then again, it might encourage guys to drive like hell because they can’t miss it, but more likely than not, if you win a bunch of races, you’re going to use the rest of the regular season as a test session, and that would probably hurt the competition & racing of the final regular season races.

There’s no point cutoff. One good thing of having 0 points awarded past a certain point is that guys are going to race a whole lot harder if they’re in a non-point paying position trying to get into one, and guys are going to race a whole lot harder if they’re in a points position trying to stay in it. It would discourage back-runners from running in the back, because there’s no points to be awarded. Sure, if it’s at the end of a race, for example, and you’re running 30th and there’s no points awarded past 20th you’re not going to race very hard. But then you think about it…would you really race that hard for 29th if you were 30th anyway with a few laps to go? No, you probably wouldn’t. I know that Bill France said in the press conference that NASCAR didn’t use a point cutoff because they didn’t want guys falling too far behind because of a wreck, but just look at Formula1. Look at Sebastian Vettel’s race by race results. He finished out of the points in 4 of 19 races – that’s around 21%. Who won the championship? Sebastian Vettel. If you have a good enough driver, screw the points cutoff. They’re gonna win it anyway.

And the ugly:

The max points total per race is 48.

You might be wondering a bit that I never mentioned the lack of winning incentive. Yeah, I thought about that. But then, I realized something. The vast, vast majority of drivers in motorsports are racing because they are competitive and they want to win. These guys have so much competitive fire – like Kevin Harvick always says, “I hate losing more than I love winning.” Do these guys really need a reason to win? If you’re second, you’re probably going to risk it for 1st, no matter what the point differential is.

And that’s my opinion on the points overhaul.

Off Season

NASCAR season is officially over with the end of Champion’s Week down in Vegas. So, I doubt I’ll have much to rant about (at least motorsports-wise), so Happy Holidays!

Right now my off season plans consist of the following:
Watch hockey – go Avs!!! even if we are terribily inconsistant..
Watch basketball – Nuggets FTW!!! brink of 1,000 coaching victories for George Karl!!
Watch football – As a Broncos fan, I kinda gave up on the season, especially after Spygate II…rooting for the Saints for the playoffs.

Yeah, I don’t got much to do.

Have a happy offseason, a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!!

Halfway Through The Chase: Championship Breakdown


Halfway through the Chase…my new championship breakdown.

1. Jimmie Johnson

I’d have to be stupid not to say Jimmie isn’t the best guy so far in the Chase.

2. Denny Hamlin

Denny said that he’s going to wait until the last 3 races to go all out and win the title. The way this is shapin’ up, by that time Denny will be so far back it won’t even matter. Denny said he was focusing on surviving the first half of the Chase and he’s done that. So now he needs to focus on the championship. NOW. Not wait two more week. Go all-for-nothing. Otherwise he’ll be too far back to do anything.

3. Kevin Harvick

Kevin’s got consistantsy and wins, but he needs to step it up. He’s got enough to stay within 100 or so of Jimmie and Denny but not enough to beat them. If he kicks it up a notch he might, but otherwise, I just don’t see it happening unless Denny and Jimmie wreck out Tally or M’sville.

4. Jeff Gordon

Yeah, right. 

5. Kyle Busch

that engine failure wouldn’t have taken him out by itself, but  that coupled with David Reutimann’s little payback finished him off. A finish outside the top 30 + a finish outside the top 20 = no title.

6. Tony Stewart

Of course, he’s too far back, but let’s look at the reason he’s that far: INCONSISTENTCY. One week he’s cruising to Victory Lane, the next week he’s running outside the top 20. It’s a joke.

7. Carl Edwards

Distributor probs took him out. Even without those issues, he wouldn’t have been able to. He drives a Ford. Other than that, he has very good performance, very consistent, good points finish in order.

8. Greg Biffle

He drives a Ford…he’s had inconsistent results, some of that can be attributed to bad luck – like the pit stops at Dover – but some of that he just drove like crap. He still has some good finishes, like the win at Kansas, but the bad ones….

9. Kurt Busch

 It’s like he forgot how to drive as soon as the Chase started…if he can turn it around he can get a top 5 in points possibly, but he needs to turn it around NOW.

10. Jeff Burton

He was  my dark horse pick for the Chase and although he did get a runner-up finish at Dover, he’s just had poor finishes, poor luck, whatever. Very consistent during the regular season, but he forgot how to drive in the Chase.

5 Ways To Fix NASCAR

OK, so I don’t know if my ideas would actually fix NASCAR. But here they are anyways.

1.  Points System Revamp

NASCAR wanted an exciting title hunt near the end of the season and gave us the Chase. But there’s another way they could do it.
Awarding fewer points. If you have fewer points awarded, it makes it a helluva lot harder to gap someone. If you only get, say, 30 points for a win, 29 for a 2nd, 28 for 3rd, so on and so forth, 1 point for a pole, 2 points for the leader of the most laps, 1 points for the leader of the 2nd-most laps, you can’t really build up a huge points lead. It’d have the same effect of the Chase, but it wouldn’t suck as much. It wouldn’t take away the points you already have, it wouldn’t shut out guys who’ve had a few bad finishes to keep them out of the top 12 but enough good finishes, and good performance to be around 13-15th in points. NASCAR awards too much points as it is – you get more points for a last in NASCAR then you do for a win in Formula1 – and it creates runaway champions. Less points = closer points battle = no need for the Chase.

2. Ban Cup Guys in the Nationwide Title Hunt

This is obvious. But people are saying that we need to ban the Cup guys from the Nationwide Series entirely. That’s not true. We need to ban them from the full schedule, the title hunt. Limit them to 10 races or something a year, but don’t ban them. It’d hurt sponsorship, viewership, and some talent development. These young guys, when they run against Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, guys like that, it helps them – they can learn these guys’ tricks and moves, how they drive from an on-track perspective instead from on TV or being told, and helps their talent. There should be races where there are no Cup guys, period, so the Nationwiders can actually win, but let the Cuppers race some in there. Make it so they can’t win the title, can’t win all the races, but they can still run.

3. Get Rid Of “Have At It Boys”

OK, so on paper, telling the drivers “Have At It Boys” seems good. They can police themselves, they can create drama, they can do all that and attract new fans. But NASCAR has let it go too far. Have at it boys, if it’s the eye for an eye thing, it works. Let drivers retaliate without penalization. But tell them to have at it, you have Kevin Harvick dumping Joey Logano. You have Jeff Gordon dumping half the field. Juan Montoya dumping Joey Logano. You get guys wrecking each other, but not in retaliation. You get them dumping each other for track position, a move they didn’t like, personal malice, frustration. You need to let them retaliate, but not just spin someone out for the heck of it. That’s not cool. It’s stupid. People say Carl Edwards went too far with “have at it boys” but NASCAR are the ones that stepped over the line.

4. Bring Back Testing

Not letting drivers and teams test, it’s pathetic. People say that it lets the Hendricks and Childresses of NASCAR be more dominant because they can test all the time. That’s not true, all it does is give the little teams excuses. Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Roger Penske, them guys, they’re already as dominant as it gets. When is the last time you saw a team like Front Row Racing finish in the top 10 – or even the top 20? Testing isn’t eliminating large teams’ dominance, it’s just killing NASCAR. It’s ruining the ability for teams to take some young guys and give them an opportunity at a test. It’s ruining teams’ abilities to prepare for tracks – if you can’t prepare, you can only go off old data, you do that, you spend half the race trying to figure out your car and it’s a less competitive event.  It’s ruining NASCAR. If NASCAR doesn’t like testing they can limit it, but eliminate it? That’s overkill and stupid. Bring back testing, and you start to bring back NASCAR.

5. Find An Alternative For Restrictor Plates

Seriously, restrictor plates suck. We can’t take them off or everyone will die in huge crashes, but we need an alternative. They’ve turned races into crapshoots. When was the last time the Daytona 500 winner actually made the Chase? You get back-pack drivers running up front, you get a lottery. Talladega and Daytona aren’t races, they’re insanity. It’s more of choose the right drafting line, survive the wrecks, make the right move at the right time, then be fast and be good. There’s people that enjoy them, and I take a little pleasure in them as well but seriously. At the very least, don’t award points for them. Or at least throw it out of the Chase. It’s crazy. You shouldn’t get points for luck. You should get them for SKILL.

6. Ban Over-Obsessive Hype About Danica Patrick

I’m kidding, but serioiusly, this would help my sanity but ALOT.

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