Race Weekend Central

Waiting For The NASCAR Season To Start? So Am I

Editor’s Note: S.D. Grady runs her weekly, Tuesday Fan’s View column inside our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter. Her latest edition of 2015 is a special preview we’ve also posted on the website.

Harvick won Vegas. It’s about time! While he is our reigning champ, he still doesn’t appear in Victory Lane often enough for us to be tired of it. In fact, reigning champ? When did that happen? Oh yes, there was a Chase or some such shenanigans in the fall. Harvick played the lottery and did well.

Such is my excitement level these days when the Cup Series comes to town. I sit in my living room with the race on and wonder why is it I can’t stay focused on the lap by lap unfolding before me. Is it me? Am I old? Or is it the Millennial TV production values that change camera angles every two seconds? Is it a long-abiding dislike of DW ‘splainin things to me?

While I am no longer in the target demographic of 17-35 that entertainment moguls worry so much about, I don’t think I’ve permanently settled into my rocking chair. There is a tendency to watch Sunday Morning on CBS that feels a little dowdy, but I know how to tweet, Facebook, Pinterest and operate computers. My new car came with a touchscreen system I have not shied away from. I listen to Top 40 and replace my wardrobe on a regular basis. No, I’m not stuck Back in the Day.

So, why did Sunday’s presentation of the Kobalt Tools 400 result in a much cleaner house? I looked up somewhere around the second load of laundry, discovered there were 34 laps left and thought hey, I ought to pay attention to that now. 200 laps had passed, a few tires popped, some uneventful spin outs occurred, and by and large the leader was the leader. The usual cast of characters had filled the Top 10 for much of the afternoon. In short, it was just another day at the track.

And no, I don’t blame my ennui on the cookie-cutter location. I have fond memories of our trip to Las Vegas, watching the fighters take off behind the backstretch all week, shivering under the desert sun, appreciating the speeds and general celebratory atmosphere that Sin City shares with its racing venue.

I just might be bored while I wait for that new story to ignite.  After all, despite the new year, we haven’t had a whole lot of WOW to divert us. Three weeks into the season and we’ve got Jeff Gordon’s farewell tour that isn’t (He’s still not retiring, didn’t you know?) There’s the missing Busch Brothers, but with the amount of buzz either one is creating you could bring a library to town without a problem. Tony Stewart has found just enough speed to live nicely at the back of the pack. Kyle Larson still hasn’t notched his first win. Neither has Danica… holding your breath, aren’t you? NASCAR fixed its qualifying mess for a day. The new penalty system is working like a charm and if you want something completely different, we can talk about which driver hit a non-SAFER barrier this week. Yawn….

Well, that’s a whole lot of nothing. Do you feel better? I do. Apparently my dishes got done because there really wasn’t anything worth paying attention to this week. And sometimes, that’s just how it is. We can’t have edge of our seat excitement every day — can we?

Here’s hoping the series will rise out of the ashes soon. We are heading to Phoenix, after all.

Sonya’s Scrapbook

2007 Subway Fresh Fit 500


Jeff Gordon’s 76th win, tying him with Dale Earnhardt Sr. for all-time Cup wins. Gordon saluted Senior on the cool down lap, a move which was entirely fitting. Despite the fact Gordon and Senior fans hated one another for years and years, the two were in many ways responsible for the massive offerings of T-shirts and die-cast you can easily find at the track these days. The pair worked as business partners promoting souvenir sales.

Not only did this win place Gordon another spot up in the annals of racing history, it added to his personal record by knocking Phoenix off the “tracks I haven’t won at” list. And he did it in style…sort of. This year brought us the CoT. There was that ugly as sin wing on the back of the car. But Tony Stewart in the No. 20 and Gordon in his blue and red flame No. 24 entertained the crowd with some late-racing passes — the kind that make highlight reels.

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Ah…nice to hear the dig about the newest “Chase” a reset every 3 races, you don’t have to do anything spectacular, just not get it a wreck and finish o.k…..a win does help. Never mind what you did the 26 previous races..and once the farce of every 3 races is done, you get a winner take all between 4 drivers and one race. Never mind that the other 39 teams still can make your break you, meaning the other guys misfortune is your gain..even thought it has nothing to do with your season. You are the One Race Champ!!!!!!!!! Yeah, we have gone to season long champ to 10 races and now 1 race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry I cannot see how that is a milestone worthy based on the format. Never mind who was deserving, especially when others had wins, top 5’s, classic points, chase points etc. I see some wins in 2015 and I am sad saying it does it matter, it will be erased soon enough. Not a way to look at the season, but that is how my household and friends look at it. Well big whoop, it doesn’t mean squat if you are not super duper lucky the last race. The “Chase/New Chase” proved that and did a huge disservice to a couple of guys with bigger and better stats before Homestead. Hard to get excited when the last race is such a lottery, erases the season long struggle including gains and awards a very serious trophy to ONE race. Sad. The format represents a huge disservice to the hard working teams who despite the stupid points reset every 3 races deserved to be at Homestead fighting for what their season represented all 35/36 races..not 1.


Agree completely. One other thing. The new Chase format means the points at the end of the year are pretty meaningless for the first 20 positions or so. You really can’t use them to see who had a good or bad year. Larson would’ve finished 8th, if I recall correctly, under the old points system. Instead he shows 17th.


Gentleman, Relax. NASCAR rules have always been more flexible guideline than actual enforced rules. The Chase changes constantly. I’m predicting that the Chase format will change at the midpoint of the last race and then again after the “unapproved leader in turn two” caution with 10 laps to go. It should be especially exciting as the format changes with each of the final six GWCs. Round and round we go. Who’s the Champ? Nobody knows.


It is like the “pirate code” LOL


Am I the only one who is tired of the incessant carping about the “chase”?
Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man but I don’t give a darn if they award it to the guy who has has the most commercials. Don’t think I have ever attended, or watched a race to see who was the points leader.

Excuse the rant.


Yeah…the carping is tiresome as are the conspiracy theories. Focus on the racing, the drivers, the bun fights and pissing contests but man, complaining constantly about the product because you don’t like the product means go find a new product and move on. I hear cricket is popular.

If you hate Dodge, bitch about Dodge, and swear you’ll never drive a Dodge again…and the go out and buy a Dodge, well, we all know the definition of insane.


People that having been doing that for a long time. Check the grandstands from 10 years ago and compare them to today if you don’t know what I mean. Be careful what you wish for.


Oh I recall the hey days of the 250,000 plus crowds. You don’t like the product? Change it not by complaining on a message board because that means you are still consuimng the product in some way. Nope, walk away, don’t talk about it and if enough people do it, then change may occur.


and your complaining about fans complaining about what they don’t like about the current iteration of NASCAR on this message board is just as annoying as what you are complaining about.

If you don’t like what you see here, you can follow your own advice and not read or comment as well.


Kyle got slammed by the media for saying the COT sucked. He embarrassed Nascar, who forced the car on the teams, and Hendrick fired him because of the PR. Yet Kyle was right. Get well soon Kyle!

I think it’s safe to say that Brian’s Chase has cost Gordon another championship, maybe two. And almost his life by stubbornly not having the SAFER barrier on all walls at every track. It’s Brian France who should be retiring, not Gordon.


Most boring beginning of the season I can remember. It seems like the season will last forever and we will be forced to suffer through it. Looking forward to good weather so I can do something else.


Your column pretty much hit all the low points about NASCAR racing these days and I agree with you. Yawn. I was outside trying to get the ice off of the driveway so that it was safe to walk so I came in and out of the house to check and pretty much realized I hadn’t missed anything by doing something useful with my time.

The chase? Oh you mean the crapshoot. Right, the newest format that makes it possible to get 1 win and then just mark time and/or test until the last 10 races, when they play spin the wheel and see who moves on.

3 races in, wouldn’t it be nice if we were talking about how great the racing is instead of something that will happen in September? Oh that would mean there would have to be something worth talking about on the track, but there isn’t.


I only cried conspiracy once in my years as a race fan. My theory existed from August to Veteran’s Day


I’ve been a race fan since I was in elementary school, though there was a ten year gap age 11-21, due to inability to access, so three months is a small time span of that.


Conspiracy theories about NASCAR fixing…with umpteen millions spent by independent sponsers, teams, and fans…is ridiculous. If it was the Hendrick love-in that all the haters claim, Childress, Penske, Petty, Gibbs and everyone else would by crying foul ansd busting it wide open and sponsors would find something else to spend their millions on.


I REALLY want to like NASCAR, but with each passing year I find it harder to pretend that whatever this is bears more than a passing resemblance to racing let alone STOCK car racing. To those that enjoy it great, enjoy it. But please, do not begrudge people an outlet to complain about what they see as the steady decline of a product they really want to like. The insanity probably lies in the fact that many of us continue to delude ourselves into believing the product will improve.


John Q, I share most complaints about Nascar. And take a good deal of satisfaction from valid criticism, which is easy to do. What I do do get tired of is the incessant whining about the “Chase ” and about Danica. Get over it folks, the Chase isn’t going away, and Danica is no worse, or better, thanks a long line of males who have done no better.


Russ, sorry fans of stock car racing bother you in regards to “The Chase”. I suggest you save yourself your obvious disgust and indigestion and don’t read. Racing is about hard fought everything, every race..Nascar punishes the teams who excelled the first 26 races, for over a decade making all equal (when most were not) and now the sickness of a one race champ, based on the current format. Sorry if you are easy to appease, Nascar likes you…but you viewing it as whining is YOUR opinion and most of us love (or used to love) Nascar and want some sanity and common sense back. It is not what it used to be, but it can be again. We can hope. Your opinion is your opinion but don’t give these blanket comments out there for those of us who view it as something different from what you do, because it annoys you..sssoooo sorry. Your logic dictates that if I have a-hole neighbor who runs machine equipment 24/7 next to my bedroom window, it defies respect and common sense, but hey…he is doing it so just shutup and take it. It is interesting what YOU deem valid and invalid “criticism” ….ah it is good to be King.


Speaking of a bunch of blanket comments…and needing not to read what bothers you.

Your blanket comment about fans and the Chase is just that.


M, old Russ is a freaking broken record about his “dislike” of anyone who is concerned (to Russ, “complains”) about the state of Nascar. It appears from my side of the screen to be a major putdown to many on here.

Ron Schwalbe

I think this new “musical chairs” method of constantly changing everyone’s scores and points, and then —annointing— a TRUE –SEASON LONG- Champion based on one “race” — is WONDERFUL !!!
Just think of the possibilities for “DRAMA”
In this –well though out system – – A driver could win EVERY SINGLE one of the first THIRTY FIVE races, — and finish Second at Homstead and yet – – Not–NOT — be the Champion !!!!!
Isn’t that the kind of system we all WANT ????
Yup–“Winning is EVERYTHING” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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