Monday, January 07, 2008

Examining the six biggest NASCAR myths

What with answering e-mail, making occasional visits to one or two online NASCAR message boards and doing a radio show for four hours each weekday morning on Sirius NASCAR Radio, I spend a pretty sizable chunk of time in contact with race fans.

It has become apparent that there’s a mythology that’s developed around the sport of stock-car racing. There are certain ideas that fans have, for reasons I can’t quite figure out, come to accept as truths.

They’re certainly not truths, of course. At best, they’re debatable opinions.

At worst, they’re just outright bad conclusions drawn from jaded recollections of what has happened over the years. But if you dare to challenge these myths, you’re automatically considered a heretic or, at least, an apologist who’s on the NASCAR payroll.

Well, I dare. Over the next few days in this blog, I am going to count down what I think are the six biggest NASCAR myths. I am going to explain to you why they’re just wrong. A lot of you are going to disagree, I know. But at the very least I hope I will make you think about why you believe what you believe and at least in some way question that.

Let's start with Myth No. 6

6. Racing just isn’t like it was in the “good old days” and that is killing the sport. I could fill up a couple of pages with numbers and statistics showing that, from an actual competition standpoint, that’s just flat wrong.

There have never been more competitive teams capable of running up front and winning that there are right now in this sport.

But data won’t change anybody’s mind about this myth. It’s more about a feeling than facts. It’s the same warm and fuzzy we all get when we think back to how great things were in high school or in college. The music was better. The food was better. Television was better.

You know. The same things that used to make us so mad when our parents told us the same thing about their “good old days.”

Look, history doesn’t have reverse gear. Things change. Things evolve. If NASCAR hadn’t grown, it would have faded away. Those are the only two options.

Thirty years ago, tickets didn’t cost as much. Gas didn’t cost as much. Crowds weren’t anywhere near as big, so traffic was less of a hassle. Hotels rates might not have been as jacked up as they are these days.

But let me remind you that 30 years ago your average salary was lower than it is today. You still had to plan your budget to include races. And when you got the race track chances are you parked in a muddy field or, at best, a gravel lot.

Your seat was a splintering wooden bench and the concession stands offered cold hot dogs, lukewarm coffee and watery soft drinks. If you went to the men’s bathroom, changes are you relieved yourself in a trough or up against a wall. If you went to the women’s bathroom, chances are you couldn't find it.

When the race started, if a wreck happened on a part of the track you couldn’t see you were just out of luck. There were no television screens around the track showing you replays from 12 angles.

When you got home, you couldn’t check the DVR or look on Speed or ESPN to get a frame-by-frame review of the incident. You couldn’t go on the internet and read 20 stories about the race to see what you missed, either.

If you stayed home instead of going to the track there was certainly no guarantee you were going to see the race on television, at least not live and most likely not in its entirety. If you did get to see a race, you didn’t complain if they didn’t have those 12 replay angles because nobody used 12 cameras, total, to show a race. There was no telemetry, there were no in-car cameras. You couldn’t hear in-car audio.

I could go on and on and on and on. I won’t. The point is you can’t back up selectively. If you want the good old days, you have to take the whole package. Personally, I’m good right here where I am.

* * *

Myth No. 5

5. NASCAR’s new fans are killing the sport for its longtime fans.

Let me just say it simply right off the bat. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a NASCAR fan for five minutes or 50 years, you have the same right to like or dislike a driver or a track or a TV announcer or who sings the national anthem or anything like that.

You can pull for open-wheel drivers or against them. You can pull for Toyota because it’s bringing new blood to NASCAR or pull against Toyota because you read about Pearl Harbor in a history book. It’s your prerogative.

That’s the joy of being a fan. If you like Elliott Sadler because of the way he talks, or think Jamie McMurray is a metrosexual dreamboat, or Carl Edwards because he has six-pack abs or Tony Stewart because he doesn’t take any grief off anybody, good for you.

Just don’t let anybody tell you that he has more of a right to be a fan than you do because he’s been around longer.

Look, at some point in every fan’s life he or she went to a track or watched a race on television for the first time. Passion for the sport may have been born when a son went with his dad for the first time, or when a group of single girls decided to go have a party in the infield one weekend.

You may have hated racing until you met and fell in love with someone who didn’t. You may know cars from top to bottom, every bolt and every rivet, or you may not even be able to put gasoline in.

It does not matter. If you want to be a fan, be a fan. But if you decide to be a fan, watch out for anybody who starts a sentence with “I’ve been going to races for...” That’s almost always followed by a lecture on why that person is more entitled to pull for a driver or love going to the track more than you.

Until somebody has a meeting and decides what the cutoff date is, I am going to consider every fan to be equal. Unless somebody tells me that all fans have to carry an ID card affirming that they became a fan before the invitation to love racing got revoked because the lot was full, I am going to consider it everybody’s right to come and go as they please.

As for the question of whether NASCAR is “catering” too much to new fans at the expense of people who’ve been around a while, I will simply ask you to consider how you’d handle it in your business.

Let’s say you sell insurance. Or you run a restaurant. Or you cut hair. Whatever. If you’re trying to get new customers to buy a life insurance policy or patronize your place of business, how do you treat them the first time you meet? Aren’t you extra nice, trying to make them feel welcome? Don’t you take a little extra time, helping them understand their options or the products you have to offer? Might you give them a free desk calendar, suggest your best dessert or offer them a discounted rate on a shampoo, hoping your kindness will be viewed as an invitation to do business again?

Or, would you treat new customers with skepticism and disdain? Let ‘em come back six or seven times to see if they’re really willing to commit to having me worry about making them feel like valued customers.

What have they done for me so far? I’ve got a good business right now, I don’t need more people coming in here and taking my attention and focus away from the people who’ve always come in here. Let them invest a little bit of their money and themselves into doing business with me, and then maybe I will care about them.

Which approach do you think would work better?

* * *

Myth No. 4.

4. Open-wheel racers are killing stock-car racing by taking away rides.

Isn’t it amazing that a lot of the same people who say that qualifying should come down to who can go the fastest and nothing else are the same ones who don’t want to see drivers from other forms of motorsports come to NASCAR?

If you think it should be about who’s the best, shouldn’t that apply across the board? Juan Pablo Montoya has shown that he can be competitive in a stock car. Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr., Patrick Carpentier, Jacques Villeneuve, Scott Speed and whoever else might come this way each deserve a chance to show that, too.

Some of them are going to succeed. Some are going to fail. That happens with drivers with every other kind of background. There are some drivers with great records in sprint cars who’ve flat failed as NASCAR drivers. That doesn’t mean it was a bad idea to give them a shot.

Most of the folks who subscribe to this myth have their hearts in the right place, sort of, at least.

They believe that owners who’re turning to still-unproven – in terms of stock cars – guys from other types of racing are turning their backs on drivers who’ve paid their dues in more “traditional” types of preparing to race in NASCAR’s top series.

There are really two types of drivers who fall into the group of those who’re being left out of rides taken by drivers from open-wheel circuits.

First, there are veterans like Sterling Marlin, Tony Raines, Ward Burton and so on who are still looking for places to race in 2008. The complaint is that if Dario Franchitti weren’t coming over from the IndyCar Series there might be a place for these guys.

Well, that’s just not true. It’s possible that David Stremme would still be in the cars Franchitti will drive for Chip Ganassi this year if Franchitti had stayed where he was. But it’s far less likely that one of the older veterans would have gotten that ride, or any other big-time ride, especially those who’re 45 years old or more.

Professional sports are dominated by younger participants, and even though a Harry Gant comes along once every three or four racing generations there’s a reason for that. The average age of a NASCAR race winner is just over 33.6 years. You can look that up. I have.

If open-wheel drivers weren’t coming to NASCAR, it’s possible the veterans could add a couple more years to their careers. But is that what’s good for the sport? Isn’t it better for NASCAR to competitors at or near the top of their game instead of people who’re more or less making long-term farewell tours?

It’s more likely, though, those rides could go to younger drivers. Three years ago, THAT was the problem everybody was complaining about. Everybody had a 15-year-old or six in a driver development program and each of them was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Some of them have made it and some more will, but some of them got washed out, too. If you’re as talented as guys like Joey Logano or Brad Coleman or Bobby Santos appear to be, somebody’s going to give you a shot.

That is, of course, unless the sport falls completely into the trap it seems to be flirting with more and more. That’s this business of giving rides in lower series not to drivers who’re talented, but to drivers whose fathers have more money (and ego) than sense or who’ve managed to find a sponsorship Sugar Daddy to bring with them to the table.

NASCAR rides should be based on a meritocracy. If it ever completely turns into an auction, that’s when people actually should be worried.

* * *

Myth No. 3.

3. The Chase for the Cup is killing the sport. I’ve said it before, but it absolutely amazes me how much some fans love the old Cup championship system now that it’s gone.

Back when I started this job in 1997, fans kept telling me how much they hated that system because it didn’t do enough to reward winning races. How could a driver who wins six races not win the championship when a driver who won just one race did?

Now, though, the old points system is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The Chase hasn’t been the rousing success that chairman Brian France and his minions hoped it would be when it was instituted in 2004. It hasn’t captured the fans’ hearts and, more to the point, it hasn’t done a whole lot to bring more attention to NASCAR in the September-November period each year when it’s competing against a lot of other sports for attention.

But there is not one scintilla of evidence that the sport would not be deeper in a slump from a television ratings or any other perspective if the Chase did not exist. The Chase is not the cause of that “lull,” there are dozens of things that have contributed to that.

But if there had been absolutely no championship drama to the final races of each of the past four NASCAR seasons, who knows how much deeper the dip the sport has suffered might be?

One complaint I keep hearing about the Chase, however, is complete hogwash. That’s this idea that because of the Chase the television networks and media focus too much on the people in the Chase at the expense of teams that don’t make it.

The simple way to defeat that notion is to use basic math. Under the Chase format as it now exists, 12 teams have a legitimate chance to win the championship with 10 races left. Never, ever, under the old system was that possible.

Under the old system, quite often it was down to three or four teams by that point and gradually got down to just two or even one with a few races to go.

As the championship became the sport’s be-all and end-all, those were the teams that got the focus as the season wound down. Now, that focus is diffused to at least 12 teams for the first few Chase races, and as the list of contenders dwindles it’s still broader than it otherwise would have been.

How much more attention did Clint Bowyer get by winning the first Chase race and staying toward the top of the standings in 2007 than he would have earned under the old championship season?

And, before you start, Jeff Gordon didn’t get jobbed out of the 2007 championship. Gordon DID NOT score the most points last season, either. Jimmie Johnson did, under the rules as they exist, and that’s why he got the big check and trophy.

I don’t care what would have happened under the old system, it’s not relevant. It’s like asking what would have happened in the Civil War if the South had access to nuclear weapons.

The New England Patriots won 16 regular-season games this year. But if they don’t win their playoff games, they’re not going to win the championship. That’s the Chase folks. Playoffs happen in every major sport except for college football and tennis.

Are you telling me the BCS mess is a better system? Please! And how’s tennis faring in the sports marketplace these days?

Don’t tell me that NASCAR can’t be compared to stick-and-ball sports. It is compared to those sports every minute of every day in terms of remaining a viable business.

You can’t “fix” what’s wrong with racing by ignoring the business aspects of keeping it alive.

NASCAR has to survive and, it hopes, flourish in the very real world that pits it against the NFL, NBA, baseball and other sports in competition for attention, coverage, television rights fees, advertising dollars and fans. The Chase is a part of NASCAR’s effort to do just that.

* * *

Myth No. 2.

2. The lack of personality among NASCAR drivers is killing the sport. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I get from fans complaining about television networks “wasting time” showing features about drivers and their wives, or their pets, or their hobbies, or their grandparents or anything else that’s not about what happens to them on the race track.

But then, in the same breath, you get this ridiculous idea that drivers in the sport are too bland or how they’re too robotic and scared to death to say anything controversial.

Let’s start with the controversy part. Look, you’re not being paranoid if everybody really is out to get you. Fans yammer about how they want drivers to show a little bit of emotion, but what happens to any driver who dares do that? Fans – and the media, in all honesty – jump on him like white on rice.

Carl Edwards blew his top for 30 seconds at teammate Matt Kenseth after the race at Martinsville last year and all of a sudden Edwards went from the nicest guy in the world to somebody who ought to be next in line for Dr. Phil after he gets through fixing up Brittney Spears.

Ask Tony Stewart how much good it has done him to show his emotions. Ask Kurt Busch. Ask Kyle Busch.

I have people telling me all of the time that NASCAR needs a “villain,” a bad guy that some fans would pull for and others would pull as passionately against. That’s fine, unless you’re that guy.

You live your life getting booed when you walk into restaurants and you’re supposed to smile and wave and act like you love it. You have people who actually stand up and cheer when you wreck, even before they know whether you’re hurt or not.

It’s crazy to ask a guy to endure all of that just for a fan’s amusement. It’s crazy to ask a guy to constantly be in a feud with NASCAR, his sponsor, his car owner and the media just to keep some kind of controversy going. Life’s too short for that.

I know just about everybody in the Cup Series and I promise you there are very few people in this sport who don’t have interesting stories to tell or thought-provoking opinions they’re willing to share. Most of them do work with their own foundations or other types of charities that distinguish them as outstanding human beings.

But that’s not enough. What some fans seem to want is for there to be a fist-fight after every race. Come on, be honest. It’s not about showing “personality,” it’s about showing your tail on national television.

Why do Brittney and Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton virtually have their own cable networks following their missteps? Americans can’t stop watching train wrecks, that’s why.

Some fans want to see somebody in NASCAR run off the tracks every week, and that’s just stupid. What’s wrong with somebody acting like an adult? What’s wrong with someone having a little sportsmanship?

Would it kill NASCAR for someone to actually say: “You know what? There may or may not be other guys in this sport who’re bending the rules, but my team and I have decided that we have too much integrity for that. We’d rather lose fair than win cheating.”

Actually, that’s precisely the kind of personality I think fans would want to get behind.

* * *

Myth No. 1

1. The top-35 rule is killing the sport’s smaller teams. The rule that guarantees the top-35 teams in car owner standings a spot in each week's starting field isn’t killing anything but time on talk shows.

Fans squawk constantly about how they want qualifying to be cut and dried. The fastest 43 cars in each week’s qualifying race on Sunday. That’s it, no provisionals and no nothing. Put it back like it used to be.

Well, it never used to be that the sport’s top teams lacked protection from missing races. Over the sport’s history, that safety net has been called several things. Sponsor exemptions, promoter’s options and provisionals have been used since the beginning of auto racing competition to make sure that the people the fans come to see are there when it’s time to race.

The biggest flaw in this myth is that putting the onus on qualifying would help teams that have less funding and fewer resources. That’s absurd.

The same teams beating their brains out on Sunday would just beat them on Friday. The reason teams aren’t in the top 35 is that their cars don’t run fast enough, and if you make it where the cars that do regularly run faster absolutely have to do that in qualifying, then those better cars are going to win that battle, too.

The last thing NASCAR needs to do to help smaller teams is make them spend more money on qualifying. They need to be spending the money they have on racing better so they can get into the top 35 and be on the other side of the equation.

If you turn qualifying into a money contest the smaller teams are just going to lose that battle, too.

The way it is now, at least those teams are competing to make races with other “go-or-go-home” cars who’re in the same boat, financially and competitively, that they’re in. If, as expected, NASCAR puts all of those cars together in the qualifying order this year it will be more fair than it has been.

If you did away with the top-35 rule, every once in a while a top-tier team would go home because a tire blew or a driver overdid it in a corner and spun out. But what purpose does that serve? Teams lower in the standings don’t get any sort of real, long-term help while the teams that are putting fans in the stands take an occasional kick in gut. How does that help the sport or its fans?

Yes, the teams who don’t make the show have sponsors and the drivers missing the show have fans, too. But if you’re going to have guaranteed spots, you have to draw lines somehow, some way.

I am not in love with 35 as the number of exemptions. I think 25 would be a great number, but I could live with 30, too.

Anyway, if you really want to help the teams with less funding and resources, limit the number of guaranteed spots any one car owner could have to three cars. A Jack Roush or a Rick Hendrick could field 10 cars if he wanted to, but only the three that are highest in owner standings would be guaranteed spots.

But the idea of not having any provisional spots to make sure that the sport’s marquee names race every week is just dumb.

I know that some of you are screaming John Force’s name at me right now. Yes, I know the legendary National Hot Rod Association funny car champion failed to qualify for a race at Las Vegas and went home.

For one thing, drag racers make multiple qualifying runs down the strip. You get more than one chance to be in the top 16 and make the eliminations. If you have a mechanical issue or if a tire goes south, you get a chance to recover from that. The way NASCAR qualifying is set up right now, it’s one shot and you’re done. When Force missed the show at Vegas his team had several chances to get the job done.

But they didn’t and Force didn’t race.

I’ve had people tell me that didn’t hurt the NHRA, and I disagree. I feel confident there were people who came to Vegas for eliminations on Sunday who went home disappointed they didn’t get to see Force race, and I just don’t see where it’s good business practice to disappoint your customers.


Anonymous said...

Regarding myth #1, the top-35 myth, I couldn't disagree with you more, David. Case in point: Talladega. The teams in the top 35 lay back with their race set-up, letting the non-top 35-ers beat each of them on time. This practice almost assures the 36 and back group to fall back in the race due to the fact that they still have a qualifying set-up in their cars and not a race set-up--this is due to the fact that it's an impound race. Where's the competition in that? Then that whole debacle last season when the top 10 or so in qualifying were among the 36 and back group all to be denied because of rain. The top-35 rule is absolutely absurd and needs to be done away with.

Anonymous said...

If you post anything with regards to "Talladega" and "qualfying" in the same post, You've ALREADY lost the agrument...

Anonymous said...

Jeff Gordon DID NOT score the most points last season?

Uh, yes he did, Dave. That's precisely the problem people have with the Chase. Jimmie was better in the last ten, but Gordon was better...300 points better...overall.

Using your argument that the Chase added excitement to the end of the season, let's put 20 drivers in the Chase and make it the last five races instead of ten. That will REALLY be exciting!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Myth #2, I assume I'm like most fans. I love to see the personal stories about the drivers, their families and pets. But I don't want to see them DURING THE RACE!! Also, I'm one of the fans who like to see personalty from the drivers. What I don't like is fake personalities, ie Carl Edwards. At lease Kyle, Kurt and Tony are honest. They show their true selves all the time, good or bad.

Unknown said...

I couldn't disagree with you more about Myth #1, David.

When teams outside of the top 35 are sitting in four of the top five qualifying positions, including the pole position; and then end up missing the race because of rain at the end of qualifying, we have a problem.

Boris Said was dealt that blow twice this past season. At Daytona and Watkins Glen, if I'm not mistaken.

Something has to be done to protect these teams that come out and put an emphasis on qualifying. Teams in the top 35 can skip qualifying each week if they want, and will still make the race. There must be something done to level out the qualifying field. Everyone should either run their hardest to make the race, or we might as well just start drawing numbers for starting positions like they do for the Bud Shootout.

Anonymous said...

Reguarding myth number 4, Joe Nemechek does have a FULL time ride with Furniture Row Racing. He signed a three year deal at teh end of the season with them. Furniture Row Racing is gaining ground everyday. Enginges and chassis's provided by Hendrick Motorsports. I see this team in the top 35 by mid season.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps your best post ever! Thanks...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on every myth you talked about. I also disagree with you on every myth you talked about. Guess that makes me a presidential candidate. There is something about each myth that I like and dislike. I get tired of the TV coverage treating us like first time fans each and every week. How about a web site that discribes "loose and Tight" and "wedge" and other jargon and refure new fans to that to explain those terms. Stick and ball coverage doesn't explain balls and strikes or firstdowns and offsides each game, why should NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

This is David Poole. The poster is right about Joe Nemechek. I read something the other day about a Nationwide deal and got confused. My mistake. That's good for Joe.

Anonymous said...

Why do you equate "personality" with being angry or pissy? I just want a driver who will speak like a normal human being and not some corporate sponsor spouting robot.

Bobby said...

The Top 35 rule is a byproduct of a 2004 incident in Atlanta when many full-time teams failed to make the race when many part-time teams made the race, but a few Top 25 teams failed to make the race.

NASCAR decided to follow the path of many sports (golf, bowling) with the All Exempt Tour. Unlike golf's all-exempt tour, however, you must actively race into the Top 35 to keep your exemption. The All Exempt Tour also is designed to prevent "field fillers" from taking spots from regulars intending to run just 2-3 laps and calling it a race for money.

The NHRA has a Top 10 and a Top 4 rule in qualifying.

Top 10: If only one round of qualifying is conducted, the top ten in Powerade points are automatically admitted to the race. At Seattle in July, the first two rounds of qualifying were rained out, and so they tried to qualify two rounds on Saturday. Saturday morning qualifying went off, but Saturday afternoon qualifying was canned in the middle of the Pro Stock field. With no nitro qualifying on Saturdy afternoon, four Funny Cars and one Top Fuel car were bumped from the field after one round because the four of the top ten drivers were not in the field in Funny Car, and one of the top ten not in the Top Fuel field.

Top Four: During the final two races, if one round of qualifying is rained out or called for curfew, the four drivers and riders in the Countdown to One are automatically admitted to the eliminations.

What NASCAR could do is to adopt Saturday qualifying if Friday is rained out. The practices would still take place as normal, but qualifying for Cup would be the last event of the day, after the Nationwide or Truck race.

Anonymous said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head, David, especially about myth #1 - some kind of exemption is needed, but 35 is too many.

If we want to stop the drivers from seeming like such corporate robots, the finances of the sport would have to be rearranged so that owners don't need 8 figure subsidies per car to be competitive. For that kind of money, the sponsors are sure not going to want to run the risk of being associated with one of the wrestling-type heels people talk about wanting.

Anonymous said...

You still have to relieve yourself in a trough against the wall at Daytona - and this is for the seating in the Robert's Tower, not exactly the cheap seats. The France family is too cheap to make the experience at Daytona fan friendly (unlike the Speedway Motorsports tracks.) The France family is too busy hyping the fan zones and other such nonsense designed to get more money out of the fan's pocket.

Anonymous said...

Well you're right about at least one thing , you are certainly a NASCAR apologist and obviously on their payroll .
Thanks for letting us all know that we really don't know what we're talking about _ that it takes an expert on racing , sponsorship , marketing , sociology, and journalism, like you, to step in and help us stupid fans to see the light . I'd say that a majority of fans know as much or more than you do about the current state of racing . More so actually , because you have no idea what the average fan goes through with buying overpriced tickets , sky high gasoline , high priced and barely edible concession food , and quadruple the normal room rates . You show up on an expense account , eat food provided by the track and get in free .
We will all shut up from now on and just take the word of NASCAR and Poole that everything is fine .

Anonymous said...

Amen - the Speedway Motorsports Tracks facilities rise far and above those of the ISC Tracks.
ISC seems very "cheap" in adding fan amenities in comparison to SMI.
David - are you now on NASCAR'S payroll? I always thought you were old school?

Anonymous said...

Regarding your statement... "Would it kill NASCAR for someone to actually say: “You know what? There may or may not be other guys in this sport who’re bending the rules, but my team and I have decided that we have too much integrity for that. We’d rather lose fair than win cheating.”"

I believe that Jeff Burton has said basically the same thing on many occasions, over the past 10 years or so...and he's only regarded as everyone's second favorite driver.

and your #1 myth.....personally I liked the previous system of "provisionals" way better than the present system....if a driver/team runs well then he will have a provisional handy if he needs one because of a lousy qualifying one was "locked in" excepting the most recent past champion.

Anonymous said...

If David Poole is guilty of anything other than being an astute and good scribe, it is casting the ol' pearls before swine.

Anonymous said...

On myth #6, I agree. Years ago you were lucky to get three cars on the lead lap at the end of a race. Now there are twenty. Sure it hard to pass, but the reason is that the cars are all capable of running fairly close to the same speed so passing is difficult.

Anonymous said...

Two problems with Myth #1, impound races and rain outs.

Impound races cause the go or go home guys to start the race with a qualifying set-up which undermines the whole "they have to go fast in the race" argument. They start with a bad set-up while the top 35ers all start with the cars tuned in race trim.

The other issue is the qualifying rain-outs that can cause drivers qualifying in the top 10 or even on the provisional pole to miss the race.

Fix these two issues and the top 35 might work better.

Anonymous said...

David i think that nascar should make the top 30 drivers in owners points gaurenteed a spot in the field, do away with the past champion provisional and make a gaurented starting spot for every single car teams that have been in nascar for a minimun of 10 years, but if the go to a 2 car team they are no longer eledgible for this
well thats my thoughts jae in florida

Anonymous said...

Regarding myth #1, rain outs are a completely separate issue from the top 35 rule. When qualifying gets rained out you have to have some sort of mechanism to seed the field, and I think the way NASCAR handles it is perfectly fine. I'm a fan of Boris Said, but I don't think he deserves to get in over someone who attempts every race. The only possible change I could see making would be to lump the non-exempt teams together at the beginning of qualifying, and if it gets rained out after they've all run use their times to seed them after the top 35 teams.

Anonymous said...

David - Enough writing - You'll be late picking up Mr France's car. It needs washed again. Oh, and this time, please use two coats of wax.

Anonymous said...

To Bristol: I think the argument was made explicitly clear and was even referred to by another blogger. Did you even see the race being referred to? Tell me why the top 35 should be able to run race set up all weekend, focus on race set up all weekend and worry about just the race--all weekend. Oh wait, I remember why, because it means the big name sponsors with the big name dollars are always going to be on the track, regardless if their mediocre driver lays an egg on Friday. The point is, it doesn't matter if it's at Martinsville or Talladega, the argument is the same: a low budget team that builds a car to NASCAR specifications and rules should have the same chance at making the race as do the big budget teams, the end!

Anonymous said...

Now this guy knows what he's talking about......

"Anonymous said...
Well you're right about at least one thing , you are certainly a NASCAR apologist and obviously on their payroll .
Thanks for letting us all know that we really don't know what we're talking about _ that it takes an expert on racing , sponsorship , marketing , sociology, and journalism, like you, to step in and help us stupid fans to see the light . I'd say that a majority of fans know as much or more than you do about the current state of racing . More so actually , because you have no idea what the average fan goes through with buying overpriced tickets , sky high gasoline , high priced and barely edible concession food , and quadruple the normal room rates . You show up on an expense account , eat food provided by the track and get in free .
We will all shut up from now on and just take the word of NASCAR and Poole that everything is fine ."

Anonymous said...

I don't like the Chase for one reason. It takes 24 races and wipes out everything that the top 12 drivers have done and basically starts over. I think that a modified points system works best (the old points system was crazy and it never made sense to me). My recommendation on a modified points system? 43 for 1st, 42 for second and so on... then some bonus points 10 for a win maybe, 5 for most laps led maybe? Now we've got a chase... but it's a 36 race chase instead.

Mike said...

If there wasn't a Chase the #48 team probably would have played things differently. Since there is a Chase they took more chances during the regular season to go for wins. They played the game right and won. It's impossible to say Gordon deserved to win based on the old system. It's apples and oranges.

Great post David.

Anonymous said...

"The Chase was the beginning of the end for most long time fans,it was like a slap in the face of all champions before.The endless rule changes,horrible T.V. coverage,ever higher prices at the track(and yes Dega still has troffs in the restrooms also)all of these things are killing the sport.I hate to say that as i have been a fan for 30 yrs now.We the fans didnt want the CHASE we just wanted more points to the winner,not that hard to fix.THANKS "BRAIN" FRANCE

I Am tired of the the media coming up for reasons why the fans are leaving in droves all they have to do is listen to us.

Unknown said...

You say that NASCAR is more competitive than ever, but not if you smiply go by TEAM wins. Hendrick winning 50% of the COT races? You call THAT competitive?

Anonymous said...

The biggest myth doesn't seem to have been included. And that's one regarding Brian France knowing what's best for the sport.

In a true play-off system, teams are eliminated along the way. That's not the case here. This was a system that was cherrypicked from what the Hooters Pro Cup Series has and we're seeing the results of it.

The Top 35 rules is little more than a form of franchising. It's not a total frnachising deal, but it sure works like it in a lot of respects.

While a number of points systems have been used since the beginning of the sport, the one which fans have understood the least and disliked the most is the current one. At least with the previous points system, it was a lot easier to understand and figure out.

As to the drivers, well, on camera, the bulk of them sure seem pretty vanilla flavored. Sure, we see the occasional hiccup when a driver is upset, but if you took out the sponsors names and car manufacturers brands from a lot of the interviews we see, they all sound the same. Another cause and effect of the PC movement and Brian France trying to make the sport marketable in a PC world. Give me a Soapy Castles or an AJ Foyt anytime. They may not be PC, but they do say what's on their minds.

DocMtCat said...


You have some good points but I must take issue with the top 35 issue. Several others have explained it well but I would include that until you take away the past champions provisional (Richard Petty rule) and have the car owner points STAY with EXACT same # on the side of the car and with the same car owner that the top 35 will be a joke.

-Shane (doc)

DocMtCat said...

Oh and Jeff Gordon DID score the most points last season - He just didn't win the chase...


Anonymous said...

Suggesting David is on NASCAR's payroll is complete jack-assery.

He just calls it like he sees it - what everyone in the media should try doing. David's been known to ruffle a few feathers, but how quickly some of us forget.

Every one of David's points make absolute sense if you have the ability to look at things objectively. That doesn't mean you have to agree with all of his supporting details or examples, but the underlying points are solid.

By-the-way, if NASCAR sucks so bad, go watch the IRL and stop reading David's columns.

Anonymous said...

The only feathers David's ever ruffled were on the chickens behind KFC.

I think he has a lot of nerve debunking myths that he himself is guilty of perpetuating. I can pull articles on every one of these so called myths where he has fed fan paranoia and expressed misinformation as fact. Now he has the gall to belittle popular opinion made fact by he and his fellow writers?

Come on Dave, you can't create the problem then insult fans by making them appear silly for buying your BS.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to David Poole to find the ultimate rule change to the Top 35 that makes sense. Limiting each team owner to just three automatic starting spots every week is great! My suggestion would be to ONLY allow a team to take six of those Top 35 Provisionals in one year, just like a past champion.

Join us on Weds night at 9pm ET for more ideas


Anonymous said...

Usually enjoy your posts.

Provide all the statistics you want BUT the races are NOT as interesting as they once were.

The stat that the sport has smaller viewing audience is an indicator that I'm not alone.

Maybe instead of listing statistics to prove me wrong, you ought to be looking for the right stats to monitor to get it right.

After all, bottom line, if people find races boring, the won't come.

Anonymous said...

I don't find it necessary to argue with anyone about their opinions. I have mine, everyone else has their own. I don't need to find a certain number of people that agree with me in order to validate my own opinions. However I do have the urge to express my opinion on one issue..I think that a big time journalist should at least spell "trough" correctly. I doubt that any of you have ever peed on a "troff".

Anonymous said...

Lets face it and be honest. It has gottent to be pretty boring since NASCAR did the Chase and made every driver act perfect. I dont care what the data shows. If the fans are not happy and find the racing exciting then who cares what the data shows. Look at all the empty sits at the tracks. It clearly shows we are losing momentum. We need two things. NASCAR to back off and a replacement for Dale Earnhardt not to mentions we need some real hard racing.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, I have never seen such a bunch of whining and illogical arguments.

David is right on, and its great that someone finally stood up and told the truth. You may not agree with him, but that doesnt mean he is wrong!

For starters, the Chase... if you were to use the old system in the NFL, the Patriots are now the champions. No playoffs, no superbowl. If they should not win the Superbowl this year, is anyone going to get on an NFL blog and whine that they were the real champions and were screwed 'just like jeff Gordon was'? I doubt it.

The fact is competetors ARE eliminated as the chase goes on, whoever suggested otherwise probably hasnt completed 3rd grade math... ask Martin Truex Jr what his chances were after 5 races. Once we hit the last race, there were only 3 drivers 'mathematically' in contention, and in reality, there were only 2 - the 2 that were by far the class of the field this year.

To say Gordon scored the most points? Under the old system, sure... BUT THE OLD SYSTEM NO LONGER EXISTS! David is quite clear in his post that JJ won the championship under the current rules package, which is what every driver competed under. You may not like it, but the rules are the rules and Johnson is champion. BTW - the poster who wrote who JJ had the best strategy under the current system was right on - great point!

Top 35 - I think we all agree that it needs tweaking, but imagine the number of beer cans flying if Jr cuts a tire at Talladega and doesnt race. 35 is indeed too much, 25 may be better, but I like Dave Moodys idea that its top 43 on speed, however with 6 available provisionals, given out based on points standings in case Jr or Gordon or Stewart cuts a tire or blows an engine. Sponsors/popular drivers are protected, while everyone still qualifies on speed. BTW David is right on with what would happen if the top 35 went away completely - Hendrick, Roush, JGR and the other high dollar teams would put way more money into qualifying and would smoke the low budget teams.

As far as NASCARs popularity dwindling? They are still the #2 sport in the nation. They peaked a few years ago, and with every peak comes a valley. But is it just NASCAR? Look at the other sports - ratings and attendance are down there too.

And drivers being too 'boring'? Well if I am a corporation paying MILLIONS of dollars each year, I want to make damn sure that he doesnt rub someone the wrong way and I suddenly have a huge PR nightmare on my hands. This folks is NOT Brian France, this is the sponsors speaking. Does Brian France support that? Of course, its where EVERONES bread and butter is. Too many drivers acting like a jackass and then you can really watch attendance and viewership decline.

I do love how anyone who disagrees with a bunch of whiney fans must be a NASCAR apologist and on Brian Frances payroll. Hey, did any of you ever think that maybe YOU are wrong? No, I know, not possible...

What I really dont understand is why you people keep watching and going to races and reading/commenting on this blog. I know, everyone else is leaving, but you will be next... just get it over with and go for petes sake. If its as bad as you say, NASCAR will be gone in 2 years and you can have the last laugh and say 'I told you so'.

Monkeesfan said...

Myth #6 - David, if you counted lead changes, then the "myth" that the racing is nowhere close to as good as it used to be is in fact the truth. The one track where this isn't the case is Talladega, and as is so often the case it's the exception that proves the rule.
As for the variables involved in Myth #6, you forget that 30 years ago people could better afford to go to races because comparative costs weren't quite as high; also the quality of food wasn't worse back then (I don't know where you came up with that).

Myth #5 - there is in fact some truth here, in that the pinkhat crowd is hurting the sport by simply being fair-weather fans and crowding out the real fans. As for how to handle your business, your most important customers are your present ones; you have to keep them, not alienate them.

Myth #4 - Juan Montoya has not shown he can be that good in a stock car, and there is no evidence he is bringing in any new fans to the sport. In fact, the experience of Dario Franchitti and company in Indycar racing shows they alienate the American fanbase. No one in the fanbase has seen them rise up through the ranks; they see them jump into good cars while the short track veterans who are trying to earn their way forward get shut out. Why would the sport not be better off with drivers like Ted Christopher and Brad Leighton instead of Mr. Ashley Judd and Jerk Villeueve? I follow several kinds of racing and am familiar with Villeneuve and Franchitti from Indycars and they offer nothing to the sport.

On the issue of some of these veteran drivers staying too long, they are preferable to watch than the F1 rejects like Villeneuve.

Myth #3 - I don't understand the false dichotomy you bring to discussing the playoff format and how fans hate it, and the older point system. You keep ignoring that fans disliked that old system but that this new system, far from being an improvement, has worsened the worst aspects of the old system, not least because it arbitrarily shuts out 3/4 of the field from any chance of improving in points beyond 13th. That is never supposed to be that way. Clint Bowyer didn't get more attention by being in the Chase than he would have in the older system.

What people want in the point system is to reward winning races, and reward them to where drivers have no choice but to win the races to win the championship, with no shutout of drivers unless mathematically eliminated from title contention.

The Chase is a contrivance and an insult to competition.

Myth #2 - this sport doesn't need personality because it's choking on flamboyance and people desperately trying to prove they aren't "vanilla." Vanilla is better than chocolate; Alan Kulwicki is preferable to Kevin Harvick or Jeff Gordon; Richard Petty (dull by today's standards) is preferable to Darrell Waltrip; Barry Sanders (the ultimate non-taunter) is much preferable to Deion Sanders. The sport doesn't need personality, it needs professionalism.

The panoply of TV features on drivers' relatives, pets, etc. is indeed unbearable.

Myth #1 - the Top 35 rule is actually a good thing for the sport; it just doesn't go far enough. There should be NO send-homes; qualifying should determine where you start, not whether you start. The sport can figure out how to accomodate 50-car fields; 50-car fields is better for the sport.

Anonymous said...

David Poole, "Tells it like it is?" Don't make me laugh. He never criticizes NASCAR. Just like the rest of the press he overinflates and beats into the ground stories like open wheel drivers, Jr.'s importance to the sport, the COT, fan behavior, etc. etc. He only takes on safe topics and then he talks out of both sides fo his face. But he has NEVER said NASCAR blew a call or was wrong.

His last article before this one was to point out that NASCAR drivers rank lower than other drivers in an article and he specifically points out the open wheel drivers who placed higher than Cup drivers. Without taking a stand he flames the fires of mistrust over open wheeel drivers.

Then he has the nerve in this article to say fans hostiltity towards open wheel drivers is misplaced.

Wake up folks. He knows which side of his bread is buttered on (insert your own joke here).

Anonymous said...

One of your best blogs ever David! I think you hit every point right on the money.

I also read the comments and I'm still trying to figure out how Nascar is to blame for higher gas prices and higher hotel rates. Gas prices have more to do with the oil investors, taxes and free enterprise and that same free enterprise is what jacks up hotel prices in any area where a large event is going on. Same thing that makes a hotel on the beach cost more during tourist season than the off season. None of that is Nascar's nor the France family's fault.

Higher ticket prices? Nothing ever goes down in price; not sure why people would think race track tickets would be any different. Now at some tracks I'll agree with bad food and overpriced food and drinks. My answer to that; bring your own or write to the track and complain. Still not Nascar's fault.

As for top 35 rule; could stand to be maybe only 25 or 30 I'll agree; but complaining about if there's a rainout? Come on! Do fans really think Brian France is so powerful that he can control the weather now too? True in 07 we probably had more rainy weekends than we'd seen for a while but normally it's not that much of an issue.

Chase haters; get over it! I can guarantee that no matter what you say now; if the Chase format helps your driver some day, you will not complain one bit.

And if you find yourself complaining about how bad things are now compared to how everything "used to be in the good old days" then I have a news flash for you: You are getting old! (and yeah, I'm one of those whose getting older too; just ask my grown children)

To the fans who say the changes in the sport have driven them or are driving them away; well looks to me like you are still here since you read an article about the sport and care enough to still complain about it. Bet most of you will be watching and following all year too.

Anonymous said...

Myth #7. Poole is as important as he thinks he is. It's pretty dumb to call your readers dumb because they have opinions. Some months ago saying that Obama or McCain could win was "dumb" but look where they are now. What is dumb or "absurd" as you call it, about having the fastest 43 make a race? Seems pretty clear to me. If Kirk Shelmerdine can out qualify Tony Stewart then what a story! carl Long out qualified Darrell Waltrip at Charlotte. It was a great story. Darrell had to buy his way in. Shows you what can happen when someone dares to dream and then make it a reality. It's absurd for you to make the call that people are absurd over their beliefs. What? Are you the Grand Pu-Bah?

I tell ya what's absurd is that the Observer didn't put a man in that slot with the same qualities as Tom Higgins. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you David.

I do have one suggestion. I think that the Nationwide Series should go to a top-35 set up. It would keep the top Sprint Cup drivers from over running the series and let new up-and-comers who race each week get a chance to win races, championships and score points. If you look at the Nationwide Series standings last year (the former Busch Series), it was mostly over ran by Sprint Series Drivers who did not race every week.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster about NASCAR needing someone to fill Dale Sr.'s Shoes.He was the leader for the drivers and fans need a villian and most saw Dale in that role ( Not Me )Also JG had a 300 point lead going into the chase because Knaus wanted it that way.Jimmie raced as hard as he had to before the Chase and nothing more.He just sucked Jeff in.

Anonymous said...

Here is the only thing that I know, I dont call 2 or 3 race teams dominating the track better racing. The best racing IMO that NA$CAR had was through the 90's.

None of the points that you made is what is driving me away from the sport.

# 6 - I made my point above.
# 5 - I personally have never heard that one before. I think it's great that new fans are coming aboard. It's just sad that us ol school fans are leaving.
# 4 - I dont care about the back round of a racer as long as he comes in and does a good job. Again, this is another "myth" I've never heard.
# 3 - The Chase for the Cup is killing the sport. The Chase only rewards who is the best in the final 10 races, not who is the best all year long and comparing RACING AND FOOTBALL IS THE STUPIDEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD. You might as well compare Baseball with the UFC. For petes sake, Brian blames the poor chase rating on Dale Jr not being in it, how freaking low can you go? What about 2005 and 2006?
# 2 - Never heard lack of personality is killing the sport, but the lack of letting the drivers just be drivers is. I dont like Kyle B, but you know what, I do like that he is himself.
# 1 - 43 fastest race period!!!! If there's a rain out, set the field exactly how they do it now.

To the poster that said they never saw so much whining, these folks arent whining, we are just sick of standing here watching our sport being destroyed by Brian France.

I've been a fan for almost 20 years now, I understand that things change, and I'm OK with that, my problem with NA$CAR isnt that is changes, it's that it changes and each time it does, a little piece of TRADITION goes with it.

My problem is that the COT is a piece of, well you know. I'm all for driver safety, but all the changes could have been done with the old car. They just as well call it the IROC SPRINT CUP. (WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPEN TO IROC)

My problem is that NA$CAR does NOT listen to it's fan base anymore. The more the old fans leaves the weaker the base becomes. One day, the base will no longer be there and NA$CAR will be scrambling to get it back.

I love racing, all kinds, and although I have a ton of other beefs with NA$CAR, none of them pertain to the article, so I'll leave it at that.

To the writer, most of your myths are not myths, they are really how the fans feel. At the end of the day, the sport needs to understand how the fans feel, we are the heart and soul of it. If the majority of us are not happy with it, and by reading the post here, I think that is a fair statement, then it's "HOUSTON, WE HAE A PROBELM!". WAKE UP NA$CAR, THIS IS YOU LAST YEAR TO WIN MANY OF US OVER!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I didn't think someone could be that stupid. You may have just killed my hope for humanity as a whole.

In your "it was better back in the good old days" argument you compaired current day to 1970-early 80's. But, past that your argument doesn't hold water. It WAS better back in the late 80's and early to mid 90's. It was on TV live, there were in-car cameras, the seats were not wood benches, there were replays, you could see the highlights on ESPN. Your argument is flawed at best!

It has been pointed out several times by previous posters that your argument on the top 35 qualifying rule is bogus because at Talledega and 32 other races last season that a driver with a fast qualifying speed went home to let a slower "top 35er" start the race.

The old point system was better because the season is 36 races long. This is not a sprint, it's a marathon. You have to be the best over 36 races, not just 10.

The real problem with NASCAR and I believe the reason they are loosing viewers is the fact that they stretch out a race into a 10 hour event. 4 hours of pre-race?? Not to mention the late starts. Remember when all races started at 12:30 or 1:00?? And the live coverage started 30 minutes before the start. Today, if the "start time" is 2:00 the race won't go green til 3:15. Now the races themselves are 5 hours long!! It's just too long!!

Just my opinion.. it does happen to be right... but I digress...

Anonymous said...

Myth #1 Wanna fix qualifying? Do what Formula 1 has done. They have turned a boring qualifying session into a three round knock-out session that has you on the edge of your seat. Check out this year's F1 qualify format and you will se they have the best format.

Anonymous said...

Regarding myth #6. Inflation went WAY,WAY higher than our salaries. Not even close.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not going to disagree with any one myth in particular, but would like to put in my two cents worth. First, I have been a NASCAR fan for 35 years, and if my making that claim makes me a blow hard, then so be it. But it was this blow hard's money who supported NASCAR long before it hit the big time and became the in thing to do. I think veteran fans have somewhat of a legitimate claim in that they sat on those splintery seats, at the bad food, had no replays, and parked in mudholes for a long time, simply because they loved the sport. Not that this makes them better than a new fan or gives them more rights, but there is something to be said for "I was NASCAR when NASCAR wasn't cool." Another case in point. Up until the early 1980's the state of Texas had a speedway in College Station, TX. It died a slow, painful death due to low attendance. I was stationed in Ft.Worth, TX 1985-1990. And just the opposite of the early days, it was a good thing the races were on ESPN TV, because not one radio station in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex cared enough about NASCAR to broadcast the races (despite the fact that 7-11, Kyle Petty's sponsor at that time, was headquarted in Dallas). Then NASCAR takes off and is the hot ticket of American culture. A track is built in Ft. Worth and they actually sue for a second date. My take....too bad, you had your chance and blew it. You should have never been given a first date, we saw your true colors 25 years ago. Sorry Texans, facts are facts.

Now, let's see if I understand what NASCAR stands for...National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing....or is that Spec Car Automobile racing? True, stock cars haven't been stock in quite some time, but certain rules concerning the bodies were the last ones to be tweaked. I always thought that part of the draw to NASCAR was for fans to sit in the stands, point to a car on the track, and say "I've got one of those". NASCAR stepped on it 15 years ago when it gave its first concession to some manufacturer because its model was not competitive. Hey, sucks to be you. You want to be competitive, then build a competitive car that's offered to the masses. Where do you think all the cool cars such as Daytonas, Superbirds, Monte Carlo SS's, etc. came from? From car companies wanting to be competitive in NASCAR and knowing there would be no concessions if they put a brick on the track. It's a crying shame that the sportiest car Ford Motor Company can put on the track is a Fusion or Taurus and NASCAR allows enough modifications to make such vehicles competitive. Note that the IROC series, too, is a spec car series, and it couldn't even attract a title sponsor this year. Is there a lesson to be learned here? I think so.

As for the comparison to a small business, let's look at what really happened with NASCAR as, say, a barber shop. Back in the day NASCAR was a small shop with loyal customers who appreciated NASCAR for what it was...a good haricut at a fair price. Then word got around town about how good the haircuts were at the NASCAR barber shop and the little shop began to fill up, and got crowded. In an effort to accomodate the new customers, NASCAR built big new shops around town, but also had to charge more to pay for the fancy new buildings. Soon rich and famous people wanted haircuts at the NASCAR barber shop, so NASCAR let them buy special parking spaces near the shop, and also purchase access to a fancy waiting room, far away from the old regular customers. Before long employees at the NASCAR Barber shop had no interest in giving good haircuts, as long as the parking spaces, special waiting room passes, and NASCAR Barber Shop souviners were selling. Before long the old loyal customers quit going to the shop, as what they were there for to begin with, a good haircut, had gone by the wayside. New fancy customers, first swayed by new customer coupons, calendars, etc. soon figured out that the NASCAR Barber Shop only wanted their money, and they too lost interest, switching to the next, trendy salon.

In closing, has Toyota ever mass manufactured a push rod, V-8 engine, or have they all been overhead cam? If so, I stand corrected. If not, it shows just how far NASCAR has ventured from its successful roots.

Thanks for reading

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous #44, Dale Earnhardt was never a leader, he was a driver and a bully. People talk about how "the sprot needs a villian." No, it doesn't, it needs professionals.

carolinanascar - what happened 15 years ago regarding "concessions" was exactly the same as 15 years before that, and 15 years before that, and so forth. You talk about "the cool cars such as Daytonas, Superbirds, Monte Carlo SS's." They were only "cool" as long as the racing was good. The racing in 1970 with the Daytona and Superbird wasn't that good; when NASCAR legislated them out of competition the racing became far better. "Cool cars" only go so far; you need competitive racing even more. If the cars have a blade sticking up from the roof and the racing is tremendous, it won't matter if that blade isn't "stock." Stock cars died before the sanctioning body was even formed.

Comparison to IROC doesn't work because IROC never involved more than 12 drivers and was never properly promoted. The racing was usually good; one of their last races, at Atlanta, saw four-wide fighting for the lead. Winston Cup is in desperate need of that kind of racing there and everywhere else.

The comparison with a barber shop is interesting, but a better comparison is with Indycar racing, which went a route similar to that but with additional problems stemming from greedy money-guy team owners, excessive technology, weak leadership, and an influx of foreign drivers who drew virtually no fanbase. Indycar racing paid dearly with declining popularity for decades and eventually to civil war.

Anonymous said...


IROC wasn't promoted? Of course it was. It was ran in conjunction right before or right after some of the biggest races on the NASCAR circuit! Bottom line, even the lamest fans knew that it was impossible for all 12 cars to be "identically prepared". Finding an edge (some call it cheating) is as much NASCAR as oil and gasoline.

As for concessions, I'm not following you. I only mentioned bad food because Mr. Poole referenced it in his blog. OK the food hasn't gotten any better. But what about parking, replays, in-car cameras and audio, etc? Old school fans never had that and it didn't deter them. Sure it's better, but give credit where its due. We went for the racing. And didn't whine and throw beer cans if our favorite driver didn't win or a race ended under caution. We knew when we laid down our money a race could end under caution...that was the rules. To me, green, white, checkered is a joke and it's dangerous. We've gone to the COT in the name of safety, but how many times in a green, white, checkered was the caution visibly needed and not thrown? Safety?...sure as long as it doesn't screw up the racing.

I agree, CART and IRL screwed the pooch....for greed and money. Does one not think NASCAR is headed in exactly the same direction?

As for racing not being good in the '70's. Well, the Superbird and Daytona did have to be outlawed. I'll give you that. But those are only two out of many fine examples of cars that were born out necessity to compete in NASCAR. True there may have only been 5 cars on the lead lap at the end of a race. Now there's 25 or 30. Maybe. But being on the lead lap doesn't mean contending for the win. The Petty-Pearson, or Petty-Allison, or Yarborough-Allison duels at the end of races back then were far more common and far more exciting than most of the racing I've seen lately.

I'm not totally down on NASCAR at all. It's still a great sport. Far better than other sports, but right now that may not be saying too much. It's just frustrating to see money and greed ruin such a good thing.

Anonymous said...

And Monkeesfan...

I beg to differ....Indycar racing is not a better example than my barber shop analogy. Not even close. At the risk of sounding arrogant, which I'm not, I hit the nail exactly on the head.....

Monkeesfan said...

No, IROC was never promoted, getting no live TV time until maybe the late 1990s and no prerace promotion by anyone. And racing is not about finding an edge, it's about passing.

Concessions was not about the food, it was about NASCAR granting concessions to manufacturers. You were basically saying NASCAR should never have granted any concessions to any manufacturer; that's wrong, they had to because they needed to keep a balance in the competition.

I didn;'t say the racing wasn;t good in the 1970s; I said that the cars built for racing didn't necessarily make the racing better. The Daytona and Superbird didn't make the racing better; the Monte Carlo SS didn't make the racing better. But at the same time there weren't big changes needed that would have made the racing better. The point remains that it's the racing more than just the coolness of the cars that matters.

Anonymous said...

Poole has made the same mistake NASCAR has....Not recognizing the fact that it is the fan who pays the bills. And the fans are NOT happy! It isn't the sponsors. See how long they stick around after the fans are gone. And after the fans and the sponsors are gone, does he really think there will be a place for him on the staff of the Observer? I guess he and Sir Brian can sit and drink their Mint Julups and talk about how dumb the fans were...Back in the Good Old Days!!

RevJim said...

David, you have written what has needed to be written. I have been arguing these points in the same way you have for over a year now, but it is like beating my head against a wall. The absence of common sense is rampant.
Except for the top 35 provisional rule, I feel you have hit the nail on the head with these myths, and even in your argument about the rule, I agree that I would be happier if it were only 25 teams.

Anonymous said...

To Monkeesfan, You ask ANY! driver in the garage who they went to with a problem to help get ironed out with France and they'll all tell you it was Dale Sr.There is no leader among todays drivers with NASCAR

Anonymous said...

Myth number 7:
David Pool was once so hungery he ate Tony Stewart during an interview.

Unknown said...

Myth #1 *is* problematic because of Talladega. There's not a qualifying setup at a track where you hold it wide open. Cars run as fast as they can - qualifying is moot because the cars run differently in a pack and it's about position during the race. BUT the fact is, when the "field fillers" (a misnomer in today's NASCAR with Toyota now in the game) actually qualify on speed and don't get in even though they have faster cars, that's wrong. I don't care how it was done in the past when NASCAR now is a different sport from the past (like was stated all through the article).

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, you are right. Cool cars alone did not make for better racing. That was not my point. I guess my point is that it's not NASCAR's job to set a competitive balance. The manufacturers themselves should do that by competing to produce cars that will be competitive in NASCAR, and not banking on the fact that if we put a brick on the track NASCAR will let us massage it into something competitive. Giving concessions to uncompetitive automobiles is exactly what got us into the "aero wars". It progressed to the point that nothing on the track remotely resembled the car on the showroom floor. A lot of people may not have a problem with that, but I still say a "stock" looking car is what NASCAR was founded on.

And I do agree with you wholeheartedly that technology and foreign drivers with no fan base ruined Indycar racing.

Not that there's a way to keep foreign drivers out of that sport (talk about killing the PC trend) but let NASCAR go ahead and present a field of Montoyas and the like and see what happens. The golden egg laying goose will be deader than a doornail.

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous #56 - that is flat not believable. I'm sorry, but Earnhardt never won a single policy battle with NASCAR and that story about drivers going to Sr. to help out with problems with France Jr. lacks any believability.

carolinanascar, the problem is the sport can't put the onus of change onto the manufacturers because it doesn't work. It found that out with the factory wars of the 1960s and having to race without factory involvement for over ten years; the irony is the sport got better and more popular when the factories were not there. The aero-wars began because the technology arms race was escalated; NASCAR simply tried to keep it in check.

Anonymous said...

David, What made this sport what it is today ? Not you and other media outlets, Not Fox or NBC. It was die hard fans that love stock car racing filling the tracks they raced at. The only media was ESPN to watch the races. I don't think you will bite the handthat feeds you.

ESPN brought NASCAR to a top dollor sport and NASCAR turn their noses up at ESPN by offering big dollors for it. Fox/NBC jump on the band wagon with promisses of a never endding growing sport. WRONG!! They complain to NASCAR and the chase was put in. Money again was the factor, Not what the fans wanted.

I know cause I use to cover NHIS in 1997 to 2000. My local cable show on stock car racing was the only TV camera in Victor lane on Saturday Busch North race. Then the band started to play and everyone wanted on the band wagon. Boston TV stations and news station from the state of Maine started coming and coming. I used to get 6 passes 2 of them cup garage for my crew to cover the hole weekend. Each year it was harder to get them cause they had to hand out more to the big stations and the small guys who beleaved in the sport for what it was, not what it can do for us. Got pushed aside like scrap.

So yes a few of your points are very great, but don't hide under the hay while on your band wagon ride and say everything is just great the way it is. True NASCAR fans can tell if the sport is at a low, and don't need someone who gets free food in an aircondition media room and other outlets. I know its not the greatest layout, but it is free compaired to what the fans have to swallow from their wallets.

Just look at the comments and they bring alot of things to the table that get over looked in the eyes of NASCAR. Yes NASCAR has the right to change as they wish, as do the fans who made it what itis today.

Just check out FOX Sport Nascar blogging community web site and see how all 5 have been brought to the table for NASCAR to see. If they choose to keep out who put them were they are today, tomarrow will come but not the fans.

Anonymous said...

First of all, great article and I enjoyed it! I have to disagree with the comment that NHRA teams get "multiple tries to qualify". It is like saying all NASCAR teams get to qualify under equal weather conditions because they qualify on the same day. In the NHRA, if a lower team hits the setup during more ideal weather conditions they can beat the higher team who could only sit the setup during non-ideal weather conditions. That's what happened to Force in Vegas. He had a bad night run when all the other teams had great night runs. However, he had great day runs the next day but not enough to beat those night runs.

I also have to disagree with the analysis that it isn't fair to punish a top-driver for a qualifying mistake. It would then likewise be unfair to punish the non-top-35 driver for pushing too hard on a qual lap, which he or she is doing every week.

I also have to point out that it is more difficult for the non-top-35 to focus on making their cars faster in race trim because they spend all their time in the first two practices on qualifying. It is widely admitted by top-35 teams that they spend those first 2 practices on race setups and very little time on a qual setup. This isn't 100% true, but I believe more so than not. (Post qual interviews typically have a driver saying "it didn't qualify well, but it will race good.)

Anonymous said...

DAVID- I often disagree with your opinions, but I almost always enjoy reading your writings. You are one of only 4 writers I look for each day. Whether I agree with your points or not, you clearly are a fine writer. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

God must be fed up with NASCAR, how many times have you seen it rain in one season?

Anonymous said...

I think Poole is kinda missing the point of the statement many fans make about "catering to new fans". As I was growing up, commentators of football games NEVER spoon fed the rules to educate any new fans of football. I pretty much had to watch, catch on, and figure it out for myself. I think those of us that already know what "push" and "loose" mean are tired of having it explained each and every week in an attempt to educate the few new fans that watching for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Regarding myth#6 you may be right, but as a 40 year fan it used to be I couldn't stand missing a race, now other than a few select races I don't bother to watch and that actually hurts. I used to think of it as the "Great American Races", thats now out the window and that stupid looking Car of Tomorrow looks more like something that belongs on the Flintstones.

Monkeesfan said...

Call this Myth #7 - ESPN was rsponsible for the sport's surge in popularity

I can't believe people still buy that without ESPN, the sport would never have grown. ESPN didn't bring the sport to a top-dollar level, the sport's own strengths did that; ESPN latched onto something they knew was good and were grown in stature because of it. Moreover, they were not the only media covering it before it was "cool," because you had MIZLOU and TBS getting in to races CBS and ABC didn't have in the early 1980s. ESPN got lucky in how many tracks they were able to sign for broadcast deals (at absurdly cheap rights fees, BTW) but when TNN became a power in the late 1980s they got BGN tracks ignored by ESPN and then started getting WC tracks because they were paying better rights fees. FOX and NBC then outbid ESPN in rights fees and ESPN wilted. Granted, the fees they had to pay were grotesquely inflated, but ESPN had a competitive opportunity to keep races and they refused.

It's certainly true that NASCAR sold NBC and FOX a bill of goods (which is what Brian France is best at) and NASCAR continues to do that, and the sport will suffer more than it presently is suffering right now until we get a ledershiip change in the sport.

Anonymous said...

NBC is owned by GE. As a GE shareholder I can say that NBC screwed up NASCAR broadcasting and the damage continues to today - in spite of all the GOOD work Benny did. Bill Weber drove viewers away in droves and the last year of its contract the so-called NBC sports dept. cared nothing about NASCAR except for overloading races with commercials to try to offset its own ineptitude.

The downward slide in ratings has been continued by TNT's ineptitude and by the arrogance and ineptitude of those at ESPN. Despite what is becoming all too common at ESPN, the "star" of the show is the sporting event, not the ESPN talking heads.

Anonymous said...

You missed one myth...Would the Nationwide series (Busch series) be better served if Cup drivers where not allowed or if they were given some kind of disadvantage. such as only allowing them to race a limited number of races or having to start from the rear of the field. That series is suppose to be a proving ground for up and comers. But instead you have cup drivers leading the points. Its like me going back to little league and hitting homeruns all the time. I agree that it is good business to have the big names racing with the new guys but why let them dominate????????

Monkeesfan said...

NBC screwed up NASCAR coverage? What are you talking about? There was nothing different or paritcularly disagreeable about their coverage. They "overloaded" on commercials because that was how they could recoup the rights fees they paid; it had NOTHING to do with who was part of their on-air talent.

BTW, Benny Parsons had degenerated into a buffoon by then.

The downward slide in ratings is entirely because of a weak on-track product, not because of the broadcasts. There is no such thing as a sport with a compelling product that loses audience because of how TV covers it.

RevJim said...

Richard in NC makes a very good point. I ran an experament once during an ESPN broadcast and kept count of how much of the broadcast was about the race, and how much was about ESPN and their high tech, state-of-the art broadcasting abilities and their celebraties in the both. Often, the producers skipped the race coverage to re-air part of the pre-race show, or to their much balyhooed tech center, so we could hear about bent valves again. Andy Petree often talked just to talk, making irrelevant "what if" comments, and Rusty often sounded as though he was reading from a script and was several pages behind. ESPN was definitely covering the booth bunnies more than they were the race. As David Poole has pointed out himself, this poor excuse for sports broadcasting is often the fault of the producers, in their highly touted ESPN hauler, feeding the lines to the booth bunnies. ESPN seemed to care very little about the action on the track.

Anonymous said...

6. Its more about feelings than facts? At least he got one thing right there. It IS about how the race/event makes you feel. No one has to jump back to Pre-Richard Nixon days to compare today’s racing to "the past". While I doubt anyone would be dumping 5+ laps on the field, the truth is the large number of lead lap cars in today’s events are a by-product of NASCAR free flying yellow flags. And it’s amazing how so many events just so happen to have yellow flags within the length of a green flag from the finish. Yeah, that doesn't have anything to do with closer finishes. And since when is the margin of victory the absolute measure of the competitiveness of a race? It isn't. I just don’t understand how someone can watch a 2005-2007 Cup race and compare it to events from just ten years prior and not take notice of the palpable difference in what a NASCAR Cup race has become. The lack of fire, the vanilla spirit of just go out and try not to do anything stupid for 95% of the race and then see how good you can finish without scratching the car! What’s happening on the track in Cup today lacks something.

5. NASCAR doesn’t care about new or longtime fans. They care about paying fans. I think it’s foolish to abandon a loyal fan base in favor of a group of yuppies that are fair weather fans. Wasn’t the NHL booming 15 years ago when they made that mistake? There has to be a reasonable compromise here. Personally I never cease to be amused by “fans” that validate their stance in any discussion by proclaiming their longevity as a fan. Everyone is allowed to comment on NASCAR as they see fit, and the great irony of this is how this truth slaps this entire list of six right in the face. But what do I know, I’m sure I haven’t been a fan as long as David Poole.

4. I couldn’t agree more! Look what Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jason Leffler, JJ Yeley, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Casey Mears and their ilk have done to our precious sport! Oh wait, I’m an open-wheel fan! There is no traditional path to NASCAR Cup anymore. And get used to drivers coming from “other” paths so long as NASCAR does nothing to nurture the Busch/Nationwide series, and the Truck series is a retirement ground not a grooming ground. Where do you expect them to come from, the NASCAR Regional touring series? They’re not going to be making the jump straight from there to Cup. How do F1 stars, IndyCar and ChampCar champions not qualify for a shot in Cup? Its so hard for a team to run up front and attract dedicated sponsors, they have to take a chance on drivers. Most of these guys coming in have proven talent, proven they can win on the big stage against great talent, and can attract sponsors.

3. The Chase isn’t killing the sport. It’s just choking off the airway while the poison of the Top 35 rule is being injected into the sports veins. When the autopsy is performed, there will be multiple causes of death announced and The Chase can’t possibly take full credit/blame. The Chase is awful. Period. It kills everything the sport is about. It doesn’t increase the importance of the last ten races, it negates the importance of the first twenty-six. Everyone was clamoring for a change in the points, myself included. And well, as the old saying goes, be careful what you ask for, NASCAR just might misinterpret it. We wanted a change, not a poor modification. No one wanted a “playoff”. No one wants a playoff now. We wanted a change! We wanted individual races to mean more. Not just the last ten, but all of them. We wanted the driver who went for the most to be rewarded, not the driver who survived the most through cautious actions. People wanted a revision, we got a bad modification. No one wanted NASCAR Cup to become more like “stick and ball” sports. We loved it because it was different from that damn “stick and ball” sports. We love and celebrate that difference and anything designed to make it more like “stick and ball” sports can’t be good.

2. This is pretty funny. Every time a driver someone doesn’t like shows personality, the fans scream that this driver (usually Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kurt Bush or Carl Edwards) should be fined/parked/banned/etc. This is just something fans attach to, regarding drivers they already don’t like. If they’re a Jeff Gordon/Jimmie Johnson/Kasey Kahne fan, then of course they’re going to hate on drivers like Robby, Tony and Kurt. If a person is a fan of Robby, Kurt and/or Tony (cause no one actually likes all three of those guys, right?) then they’re not going to like the plain jane vanilla approach to everything that the Jeff Gordons, Kasey Kahnes and Jimmie Johnsons take. The only catch is you see a lot more of the vanilla brothers in commercials, in interviews, and in the media in general, so that’s the kind of drivers that the sponsors go after. That was until they went after any formula-style openwheeler that was available….

1. The Top35 is the worst rule in the history of any type of organized sport. Its not that it feeds the rich (it does, but that’s not the worst part of it), its that it fees the mediocrity. Look, it really should be the top 43 on speed that get into the race. Comparing it to the NHRA is silly because in the NHRA no one compares to John Force (and the NHRA did survive just fine when Force missed out on the event). NASCAR Cup would have to have Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kevin Harvick all fail to qualify for the same event for this perceived meltdown to happen, and that’s not going to happen. Regardless, the easy way to resolve this issue would be to bring back a second day of qualifying. Two days of qualifying, none of the top teams should ever miss out due to something silly like a blown motor in qualifying. And if they do fail to make it in the race with two sessions, then they simply don’t deserve to be there. And back to the real issue of mediocrity. Having this system that locks in Hall Of Fame racing while locking out Team Red Bull, simply can be what anyone had in mind in preserving the “important” teams in Cup events. All the rhetoric I heard when this abomination was introduced, was about protecting sponsors, not drivers. After Red Bull, NAPA, UPS, Dominos and so many other sponsors were hurt by this rule, the rhetoric changed to drivers. OH MY GOD, WE HAVE TO SAVE JUNIOR AND JEFF GORDON! Yeah, those two guys really need more help. This rule doesn’t protect Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr, it protects guys like Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, and David Gilliland. Guys who may or may not be teetering on the edge of falling out of one the precious locked positions at any point during the season. And it does so at the expense of guys of like AJ Almendinger, Sam Hornish Jr., and Boris Said. And what’s even more ridiculous, is how these points can be shuffled around? Now Sam Hornish Jr. is suddenly locked into the top 35! If that move alone doesn’t highlight the absurdity of this pathetic rule, nothing else will. Go back to two sessions, and put the fastest cars in the race. I think NASCAR can survive one big name driver missing a race a lot better than it can survive locking out major sponsors, cutting off the path for new blood to come into the sport and insulting the intelligence of their fans. But again, what do I know, I’m sure David Poole has been a fan longer than I!

Anonymous said...

GrayAntiMatter said...
"6. Its more about feelings than facts? At least he got one thing right there. It IS about how the race/event makes you feel. No one has to jump back to Pre-Richard Nixon days to compare today’s racing..."

Man you got that one correct. I have looked back at the 'good ole days,' and even though I am a fan of those days there were many races over many seasons where only 2 cars finished in the same lap, and other similar finishes. But there was a strong character about those years that will never come around again. And you cannot deny that the sport has lost great great characters through either retirement or death. I still long and wish for the years that we could have seen in their prime at the same time: Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Tim Richmond and others. When we lost Fred Lorenzen Curtis Turner Bobby Allison Cale Yarborough LeeRoy Yarbrough David Pearson Harry Gant Dale Earnhardt Fireball Roberts Joe Weatherly, man we lost some great talented and mild to wildly eccentric characters that propelled this sport to greatness. The issue of Luck Dawg and liberal use of yellow flags would make these guys through up. No one can deny that in the last 5 years that yellow flag has saved many many races from having a runaway winner with a lap on the field. That artificial altering of race endings is just wrong and it flies in the face of the foundation of this sport. And if NASCAR doesn't see that the fans see that manipulation then they are much more dense than I thought. If you relive that race in 2006 where Jeff Burton was the leader and Robbie Gordon threw a piece of rubber out to cause a caution flag, that day to me was the beginning of the end. Sure, I know drivers have done that for eons. Hey, I ought to know, there is a current Cup driver on the circuit now who did it for the team I was on in 1984. But that NASCAR threw that caution for a little piece well off of the racing groove was just amazing. Changed the outcome of the race. Hey and go back to 1998 when Dale Jarret was blacked flagged at Watkins Glen for oil on the back of his car. He wasn't dumping oil it was NASCAR's way of altering race and championship outcomes. If any doubt see Bill Gazaway years. Hey maybe it's gone on much longer. Or ask Ron Bouchard what it cost him to not move to the Carolinas when he was driving. Ask him what a late but great racing official said to him about that. So the yellow flag thing is real but it's just the tip of the iceburg.

Anonymous said...


Do me a favor and spare me the "myth" that the fans and the media agree about anything when it comes to NASCAR. All of you media guys ( my apologies to the female media personnel), who keep cowtowing to NASCAR so you wont get cut off from your information sources is nothing more than your trying to keep your job. The fans have been completely adamant about
NASCAR and their "policing" of the driver sentiments, emotions, and comments to you folks who seem to care less. There are arguments for both sides of this cause, but dont try to soften the blow by claiming that the fans are responsible for the shoddy journalism that is protrayed when one of you decides to pick out a target in the driver ranks and hammer on them until they break.

This is just another example of you folks not having enough to do with your spare time. Or at least I hope it is, because if you are getting paid to blame the fans for your "profession's" lack of creativity, shame on you.

Michael said...

Re: Myth #5. It's not the new fans that are killing NASCAR, it's the "Fans" that corporations allow into the pits and garage area with open-toed shoes and halter tops and not a clue what the heck is going on around them! (Wine coolers?) Sponsors give out passes to the folks who help them move product or otherwise line their pockets - it's a circus to them. Joe six-pack might save up all year to afford a chicken bone seat and never set foot in the pits - even though he knows more about compression ratios, rookie points and proper attire (like earplugs). Just my $00.02 worth. Oh, and if NASCAR was still the way it was "back in the day" Tony Stewart's teeth would have been knocked out a long time ago!

Anonymous said...

The TV ratings were down for 2007 & we all look for who or what is to blame. But how to get them back up? How about Jeff Gordon trying to tie Richard Petty & Dale Earnhardt with 7 championships? Since he already has 6....oh wait, the Chase has taken away 2 of them. Oh well, maybe next generation.

RevJim said...

I feel sad for the Jeff Gordon fans who have given up any hope for the ability of their driver to win a championship under the Chase Championship rules. I feel he is still one of the best drivers in the field, and he has the drive, talent, and determination to win another championship. I don't think he sees the playoff system as being a hinderence to winning his next Cup Championship.
Dave, do the guys with the tinfoil hats follow you around everywhere?

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight man! Jeff Gordon DID score the most points last season. If he didn't, explain to me why the NASCAR fantasy league has him ranked as #1!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

David, I sure am glad that someone had the guts to speak up for once about things that are and things that are not. I worked at the Daytona Airport(not saying for who) 25 years and have seen the titness of most of the France family. Bill France was not. He really believed in racing and loved the sport so much. I had 4 reserved seats for many years until the price got so over priced that I had to give them up. That broke my heart. I have posted many comments that went by the wayside. Thank you very much for speaking up. Most of the remarks are really true. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

'Get your facts straight man! Jeff Gordon DID score the most points last season. If he didn't, explain to me why the NASCAR fantasy league has him ranked as #1!!!!!!!'

Yes, during the 'regular season' he did. But during the playoffs he didnt. Those are the rules, everyone played by them, and Jimmy Johnson won the championship. Case closed - stop whining and stop living in a fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

the whole thing in a nutshell is money, let 1 man or woman have 1 car,factory sheet metal,and less spoiler an airdam.let the engine specs stay the same,no plates.then let all qualify,the fastest 43 race, the way it used to be.

Anonymous said...

From watching races now to watching my tapes of races from over ten years ago, a person can see a big difference from a competition stand point. The racers from back in the day had to earn there way into the sport. They had experience racing and then had to start off with a lower funded team to make an impression and then slowly prove themselves to work their way up. With their trying to prove themselves and being noticed they created exciting racing. Now teams have developemental drivers that get trained how to drive instead of proving they can drive. There is no need to work their way up they just drive the car and the competition has suffered from it. Look at the Life of Dale Earnhardt and compare it to a driver like Kyle Busch or JJ Yaley.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm glad you support Evolution instead of Intelligent Design.

Anonymous said...

The facts are that NASCAR is losing ratings, I don't think it has anything to do with the aforementioned "myths". Google it, I'm not kidding. This may be overly simplistic but I don't think Poole even addressed what is really killing racing, the fact that NASCAR sees fit to alienate their Southern base. When we are gone (and we are leaving)Nascar is in trouble. How are Nevada and California gonna support what we have for 50 years?

Monkeesfan said...

nh_nascarfan, anonymous #78 did get the facts straight. The rules that won Jimmie Johnson the title have no credibility and people see through it.

Anonymous #84 hits a good point by noting NASCAR's alienation of its real demographic in its mad pursuit of mythical "new markets," never mind that those "new markets" don't want NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

@ca.rr.comTV commercials are taking the fun out of watching a race on tv. Way too many. This last season channel 7 was the worst. They had just as many commercials as any other tv show. Other sports have timeouts, even hockey calls "tv timeouts"! Don't interupt the race! throw a "tv yellow", but don't take away the thrill of seeing Tony Stewart crash live and then throw his little hissyfit. go # 17

Anonymous said...

A little bit of information is a dangerous thing.

While it is true that ratings are down almost across the board from last years races to the previous years, the overall trend is still one of growth. The overall viewership, product sales, subscriptions, ad revenues and total audience is continuing to grow.

Also, the demographics have improved across the board and are at their highest levels ever. The average NASCAR viewer has a higher education level and more disposable income than ever. That translates into revenue.

Other parts of the country do want NASCAR, the numbers support it. Any place in the northeast where they couldn't get a track built was because the real estate is too valuable and NASCRAR wanted insane amounts of money.

It's a business, get over it. Whatever they lose in their "original face base" is not hurting them at all.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan - 'nh_nascarfan, anonymous #78 did get the facts straight. The rules that won Jimmie Johnson the title have no credibility and people see through it.'

Again, complete proof that you have no concept of what FACT actually is. The rules that won JJ the championship in 2006 & 2007 are just that - the rules. Its what they are now, now what you wish they were.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. France family butt kisser,
Time will prove that you are basically wrong in every aspect of the situation presently presenting it self with Nascar.
Brian France the idiot grandson will run a great motor sport organization to the ground, just as Tony George has done with open wheel and that moron Bill Ford did with the company his ancestor created and at one time was the largest in the world. I find it ironic that Toyota is going to become a power house in Nascar at the same time the fan base is bailing out on it. Will you and the lame brains managing Nascar get a clue when Nascar races start looking like IRL races (empty grandstands)? I give it 5 years at the most.

Anonymous said...

Most of the problems NASCAR has are due to one person, Brian France. We the fans don't like the chase, cot, train races (restrictor plates)and the way top 35 get in and others who show up on a regular basis and miss the race by a eyelash. Announcers stink, hotels rip you off as well as NASCAR.

Monkeesfan said...

nh_nascarfan, the rules of 2006 and 2007 have no credibility. "They're the rules." No, they aren't, they're a fraud and people see through it.

toyphd, the trend is not one of growth. The numbers don't support your assertions about the sport's demographics, otherwise there would be no opposition to tracks in NYC or Seattle and no controversy over speedway fratricide. A speedway could get built in these demographics if they actually wanted one.

It is not a business, it is a sport.

Anonymous said...

If we get rid of Brian France there will be no more questioning whether the sport is dying or not. He is the 'thing' that is killing the sport. The question really is 'how do we get rid of him'?

Anonymous said...

Where have the Independents gone? The top 35 cooked their goose but at least it kept Toyota outside looking in for a while. The only place you'll see independents any more is your local short track graveyard.

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