Race Weekend Central

Fixing NASCAR’s Product Is Simple, Yet Impossible

If you haven’t read “Friday’s column”:https://frontstretch.com/ahenderson/42053/ written by my esteemed, award-winning colleague Amy Henderson, you should.

In it, Amy eloquently explains, in a much nicer and less crude way than I do, the many points that are making NASCAR just another channel to surf over on a Sunday afternoon. While I agree with Amy on almost every point, a very rare occasion indeed, I do disagree that the way to “fix” NASCAR is not simple but actually quite the opposite. To put it mildly, the fixes are no brainers; they’re just choices NASCAR simply does not have the balls to make.

Brian France, ex-CEO? As of now, it’s not happening anytime soon… would that move be enough to win back fans?

First and foremost, get rid of Brian France. France may be a “marketing genius” but let’s be honest, he has no business running the whole sanctioning body. There needs to be some sort of coup amidst the France family where Brian is removed as CEO and sent to do what he does best, marketing!

Once Brian is removed, NASCAR must then “undo” almost every crazy gimmick that he implemented. Heck, just the news of his removal would bring back, or at least perk the interest of many once die-hard fans that have since become “very casual” over the last decade. It would signify to millions that NASCAR is at least trying to right a ship that has been floundering.

The next, most effective move the sanctioning body could do is get rid of the Chase and go back to the traditional points system with one simple yet profound little modification… a win scores 50 (maybe 75) points more than second place. This minor adjustment would placate millions more, including those who hate the Chase, those who despise “points racing” and those who have come to feel that the races are “contrived,” just to name a few.

Don’t tell me this can’t be done in one fell swoop! If you remember correctly, the Chase was created in one fell swoop at the end of 2003 when it appeared unfair that Matt Kenseth won the Cup with one single victory compared to Ryan Newman’s eight! “As I wrote way back then,”:https://frontstretch.com/myer/2004myer/040325.htm if you go back and give Newman 50 extra points for each win, Kenseth still takes the title!

In fact, now that I go back and read that article, I have to chuckle! Instead of writing all this new material, for you now I probably should have just had the editors re-run that one! Funny how the same solutions I proposed back then are _still_ the ones needed today!

One area that I didn’t touch on back then was integrity and that is one thing that NASCAR could use a good dose of. At the very least, even if they are not an integrious bunch (yes, I just made that word up, but you know what I mean!) they need to appear to be!

Be up front with penalties and the reasons for them. Don’t fine the drivers in secret when they say negative things about NASCAR. For goodness’ sake, have some balls and shrug it off! Be up front with drug testing. Fans don’t want all the drama of trying to guess what the latest driver is being suspended for. Here’s a good one… have the common sense to _admit_ that something is wrong, that they (NASCAR) made a mistake.

Take, for example, the “wing” that replace the rear spoiler for a few years. After several nasty wrecks, NASCAR insisted that the wing was _not_ the reason the cars were going airborne when turned backwards at speed; yet suddenly, just as fast as they appeared, the wings disappeared! To this day, NASCAR will not admit that they were wrong on that one.

On a positive note, and perhaps a start of things to come, NASCAR has done a thing or two right over the last 10 years and another big mistake is being fixed going into next year. I speak of none other than green-white-checkered race finishes, double-file restarts and essentially going back to old school qualifying and doing away with the ridiculous Top 35 rule.

Oddly enough, some people claim that double-file restarts are simply a gimmick but they couldn’t be more wrong. Think about it… it’s called a “re-start.” You start the race in double file so why, for the love of Bob, would you not “re-start” double file as well?

At any rate, these “fixes” ARE simple and could be done as soon as next year but bear in mind that they are not magical. It has taken NASCAR ten years to drive away its “hard core” fan base. It will take years to win them back; but of course, the first step is to show they _want_ them! Unfortunately, I still don’t think they got the lugnuts to do it!

Of course, the above solutions are only the tip of the iceberg. While I feel that they would be the most effective for showing that NASCAR seriously wants to turn things around, they are by no means the only “fixes” that should be considered.

Tune in next week and I will regale you with more of those finely-tuned tweaks! In the meantime…

Stay off the wall,
Jeff Meyer

“Contact Jeff Meyer”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/14350/

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