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Another question answered… I think.

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December 2008
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One of my regular readers sent this question in, (I am trying to answer questions during the off season to fill in the lack of real racing news. )

As you know a couple of years ago, they changed all of the rules and decided to go to a top ten shoot out for the cup. How has that changed the field in regards to competition? I mean, if you aren’t in the top ten, do you really compete as you used to during the real season? I dunno, but I sort of wish they would bring back the old way of doing it, even the little guys still had a chance (1 in a million) but it was still a chance of getting recognized. What is your take on this?

The New NASCAR....

The New NASCAR....

The new version of NASCAR VS. the “old version” of NASCAR….

The old NASCAR....

The old NASCAR....

The “old version” of nascar… Which is better?

Looking back on the way that NASCAR crowns a championship…… Used to long ago NASCAR would award points for how you finished a race, winner got the most and if you led the most laps and led a lap you got bonus points for each of those feats.

Today you need a computer to figure out the points, you race for 26 weekends to try and make a 10 race shootout at the end of the season, in this format the top 12 are locked in, no one else can get in and the points are reset, then the final 10 races you race and your points are added up separate from the rest of the field, who by the way are racing for a $1 million bonus for 13th place, the first driver to not make the chase.  In theory this gives the fans “2 races with in a race, one for the top ten and one for the rest of the field who didn’t make the chase.”

This is where NASCAR has tried to compete with other “stick and ball sports” by putting in a playoff type champion. To some it works but to the purist it is an insult.  To change something that has worked for years, kind of like following the old saying “if it ain’t broke ….. don’t fix it”, this is the mindset most purist fans view the points system, but the higher up’s of NASCAR didn’t see it that way, thus the changes. The driving mindset of NASCAR has been greed since the takeover of Brian France, his actions seem to root out the true fans that has over the years put NASCAR on the map, in favor of a “new Breed” of fans. Ones who come to the races not minding spending $1500.00 for the weekend. And in attracting the “New Breed ” of fan NASCAR felt they had to give the new fan something they could relate to, a playoff system. But has it worked? Has it improved the numbers? well to hear NASCAR tell it it has , but to the purist who has watched ticket prices skyrocket it hasn’t, to the teams who have went from 35 or 40 full time employee’s to teams that have 275 per car. To the teams who have had to spend countless millions on R&D, it has affected those numbers…..the true cost of racing. It is quickly getting out of hand and will only get worse, if left unchecked…………. But what are we to do? Should we go back to the old way? Or stay with the new? Or come up with a combination of both?

In my opinion, which never means much, I would like to see it done this way………

Go back to the old way, in as much as you race all teams for the entire season, taking away the 10 race shootout.  Give more points for winning, give a few points for qualifying, that would liven up the points race with out making sponsors mad, keeping all drivers in the hunt a little bit longer, and rewarding the teams for winning will liven up the on track racing.

I know everyone will have idea’s on how they think it should be, so why dont NASCAR try a poll? let the fans who foot the bill have a voice? naw that wont ever happen……but a guy can dream can’t he?

The Dr.



  1. SLY 1 says:

    Just kinda figured Bill would get in there,,,
    Great Blog Mitch,,,

  2. Scott says:

    Dr. ,

    That was a great post. You went over and beyond what I thought you would. I am in true agreement that Nascar under the direction of Bill France has become seriously greedy. With the economy in the pits and might be this way for quite some time, France will probably succeed in causing quite a few sponsors to drop out just because of the cost associated with sponsoring a top team.

    I think IMHO that the fans will end up taking the brunt of the problem in the form of ticket prices and generally be priced out of the market. I used to live very close to the track in Charlotte and have been to many races, as you are well aware it is a carnival atmosphere there for all members of the family. You get to see all types even though Nascar is trying to raise the bar and get away from the blue collar roots that it came from.

    By the way, I hope this blog gets the attention of the media and you can capitalize on all of your knowledge and hard work. Good Luck.

  3. FLETCH says:

    Yep, NASCAR/FRANC~CAR definitely caters to the White collar elite and the Corporate giants now. And, slowly, it’s weeding us normal folks out. Judging from the drop in Television ratings and attendance.. IMO, this will come back to bite NASCAR …with the economy the way it is now.. It will be sooner rather than later.
    Those Corporate $$$s are going to be very scarce from here on out.

  4. Jack says:

    I also feel that if the Big Three are not made solvent by some means, whether a structured loan , bailout or bankruptcy it is the end of Nascar as we know it. This posturing on Capitol Hill is not solving the problem. They have to save the auto industry here or it will be a sad day for Nascar. What amazes me is the number of so called racing fans that are against helping the Big Three. As the Big Three go, so goes Nascar.

  5. Scott says:

    Again, I have very mixed feelings in regards to the bailout of the Big 3 auto manufacturers. Where is the fairness in bailing out companies that are mismanaged? Oh I know what you are going to say, what about the mortgage and bank crisis? There is a big difference, the 700 Billion Bailout of the mortgage and bank industry will in fact be a money maker for the federal government. Think of it this way, they are buying back Mortgage backed securities at a deep discount. The only institution large enough to hold these securities until Maturity… up to 25 to 30 years is the government. They are buying these notes as much as 75 to 80% discounted and when they mature they will get back 100%.
    ex. buy 100K note for 25K and it will mature at 100K in 30 years. in other words 700 Billion will become 2.1Trillion over time. Were mortgages and loans sold to the consumer without thought or consumer goodwill? Emphatically yes! yet, I was told by my parents growing up, don’t sign a contract that you don’t understand. So where do we draw the line?

    On the other hand, what is the benefit for bailing out the Big 3? Saving jobs? yes in the short term, however what about the costs associated with the UAW and pension programs? I have read many surveys that say anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 on each car made go to pay for the union benefit plan. If they instead were to “go under” with a Chapter 11 re-organization, they then would be able to let the union and the prior poor commitments go to the wayside. If folks were truly wanting to work, the union would not be in the picture. Yet at the same time, there would not be any more free lunches like collecting 95% of your salary if you were laid off, however just being required to report to the labor union hall.

    You can’t have it both ways, the big 3 definitely need a reorganization to become competitive in today’s world economy. If BMW, VW, Honda, Toyota and many other manufacturers can be profitable, why can’t the Big 3? Yes it would effect racing and Nascar, however that should be the least of our problems when considering this bailout.

  6. Red Zone says:

    I always felt Nascar set themselves apart from the typical sports. It mattered what you did each week because those points tallied up at the end of the year. There was no regular season where you could take it easy. There was no playoffs where if you had a bad day it would cost you in a shorter season. You had to lay it on the line each week and if you didn’t, it could mess you up at the end of the year. Now with the change in the championship format, it’s just like other sports. I, for one, am not that crazy about it.

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