I climbed into my Laz-E-Boy at 7:45 Saturday evening and followed ole DW’s instructions. I pulled my seatbelts up tight and watched as the “All Electric” Ford Focus and Mark Martins #55 took us to the green flag. I was excited because The Nascar tour had finally gotten back to the Southeast and good old Saturday Night short track racing at Richmond International Raceway. I was tired of the snoozers we have been treated to in the past six week and knew we were going to get a doozy.
What we got, was another snoozer. The most excitement in the race was the Pit Road mis-cues costing top line drivers valuable track position, and the Carl Edwards re-start mess. The cars got pretty strung out again toward the end, and we caught the infamous (wink! Wink!) debris on the track caution that would bunch the cars up for a final restart. I don’t think Smoke was a “Happy Camper” with that decision.
I have read numerous articles and blogs this past week talking about having to create wrecks on the track to induce excitement, and decided to chime in with my two pennies. First and foremost, I don’t agree that you have to have wrecks to create excitement. I don’t enjoy wrecks because we have to watch 850 horsepower stock cars run caution laps at 60 miles per hour following an electric car around for 15 minutes. I don’t know about you, but that’s not exciting either.
I categorize races into three groups. Exciting, Good Racing and Snoozers. Exciting races are ones that have cars bunched up on the track well enough to produce some door banging, bumping and an occasional spin out. If you watched the Nationwide race at Daytona this year, you saw drivers running three wide going into turn 3 and some of them trying to go four wide. There was some slipping and sliding, bumping and grinding, but no wreck. That’s exciting.
Good racing is where there are several packs of cars, and drivers are fighting for positions. One car will get under another and then the next lap the roles are reversed. Drivers are trying different lines or corner strategies to gain an advantage. These are races where, during post race interviews, drivers are saying “it was fun out there tonight”. Most seasoned Nascar Fans who understand how to watch a race, enjoy this kind of racing. I say this because, new and casual fans don’t know how to watch a race yet. It takes time to learn what and where to watch at a stock car race.
The Snoozer is what we are getting of late, including last night’s race at RIR. The cars get strung out too quickly after re-starts, and there are few if any packs of cars running side-by-side. This would be good racing in the IRL and F1, but not Nascar. The question becomes what is causing this type of racing? I personally think the COT car and the current points system are the culprits. I don’t believe creating more wrecks is the answer. Wrecks will only produce more caution laps, and for those of us watching the race on TV, Commercials to watch.
We can only hope that Nascar addresses the problem soon, before we loose more new fans, and they go back to baseball, soccer, or what ever they were doing on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons before they started watching racing. The good news is next weekend is Talladega and we all know there will be exciting racing there, and probably “The Big One” for fans that must have wrecks.