It’s seems often times that NASCAR is criticized for not listening to the fans.
It happened when NASCAR took races away from North Wilkesboro, The Rock, and Darlington. It happened when NASCAR introduced the new car. It happened after the 2008 Indy Tire Debacle. And it seems as though it now happens just about every week.
I’m not saying it’s wrong that the fans think this way. Heck, I’ve preached that very thing on here ever since this blog started last May. But often overlooked is the fact that, one time, back in June 2009, NASCAR did listen to the fans.
And born were the double-file restarts.
It’s the one area of the sport that I have to give credit to. The fans spoke; NASCAR listened. However, I do not believe that the double-file restarts should force us to gravel at NASCAR’s feet and thank them for listening. Once.
There are two reasons for that. The first, obviously, is that one good deed cannot excuse a group of leaders from bringing a great sport down to what it is today. Again, yes, they did listen to us on that issue. But again, they did not listen to us when it came to far greater issues, such as the car, schedule, ect.
Second, in my opinion, the double-file restarts did not make the racing any better. There, I said it. I know it was the fans’ idea, and it was a darn good one. It works at the All Star race, and it works at the Shootout. Unfortunately, it appeared that, as long as at least $1 million wasn’t on the line, the drivers really didn’t feel like putting on much of a show.
I won’t say that the double-file restarts made the racing worse. Back in the pack, you never knew what was going to happen. The problem was, at the front, the racing was vanilla at best. And I believe that two rules that went along with the double-file restarts were to blame.
First, the fact that the leader got to choose his line. I know, he’s the leader and he should get privileges. My problem is that second place got stuck with the worst of the two lines, and often got messed over because of it, while the leader drove off and left everyone. Usually, the driver who restarted second was a sitting duck and wound up no better than third or fourth by the time the cars came around turn two.
And that’s if they managed to get out of their line.
The second rule stated that drivers could not pass before the start/finish line, which allowed cars at the front to lay back and then take off, leaving everyone else in the dust. Often times, the leader would also get a huge advantage thanks to this rule and second place would, again, get messed over.
So here’s what I propose. Eliminate one of those two factors; preferably the latter. That would allow the cars to jockey for position on restarts just like they used to, instead of having their fate determined by whether or not the car in front of them, or next to them, goes.
Again, I will commend NASCAR and the fans for coming up with a neat new way of going about the race. However, I believe that it is still far from perfect, but a little tweak could most certainly improve it.
Just a slightly different perspective on double-file restarts.