Race Weekend Central

4 Burning Questions: Will the New Rules Package Work Out for NASCAR?

A rare off-weekend is on tap for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and as the stars of NASCAR’s premier series enjoy some much-needed time off, observers of the sport have time to reflect on the season that’s been and make some predictions about what is still to come.

2015 has been a turbulent year for a sport that is in the midst of an identity crisis, with rules changes and general controversy unfortunately serving as the key storylines throughout much of the season. With this in mind, NASCAR is attempting to position itself for a better second half of the season, one that will feature lots of change and lots of unpredictability as a new aero package, a new broadcast partner and a still-fresh playoff system loom ahead for stock car racing’s top echelon.

Will the sport see the success it so desperately is trying to chase? That is the big question as we push on toward the rest of the season, a question that will end up shaping the future of the sport.

1. Will a new rules package inject life into NASCAR’s top series?

Perhaps the biggest story of the 2015 NASCAR season has been the sport’s ongoing battle against on-track aerodynamic issues. The dreaded aero push phenomenon has grown worse in 2015, and for the first time, major power players in the sport have decided to speak out against it. The result? A new rules package, one with less downforce and softer tires, is being fast-tracked for use in the July 11 Kentucky Speedway race.

The obvious hope with this new package is for aero issues to subside, as many garage area experts believe that a large reduction in downforce will be a suitable way to lessen aero issues on the sport’s fast intermediate tracks like Kentucky, Kansas, Charlotte and the like, and thus improve the competitiveness of Sprint Cup races at such facilities. Assuming all goes well in the Kentucky race, you can fully expect that package to be implemented for the rest of the season.

Will it actually work as intended? I’ll give it a 50-50 shot. I’m not an aero expert, but just looking at the sport’s history, large reductions in downforce have historically yielded mixed results. Some low downforce packages (like the 2005 package) worked splendidly well. Others, such as the 1998 and 2008 packages, have produced racing that was far worse than anything we’ve seen in 2015. My hunch is that the sanctioning body is on the right track with these changes, but like anything else, time will be necessary to truly work out the kinks that are inevitable with every set of rules changes in order to massage the package down to perfection.

If the fans are patient, this push to end aero issues could work, but they’re going to have to give the powers that be some time if they really want the results for which everyone is looking.

2. Will NBC truly present the sport in a new way?

NBC Sports made a big splash toward the end of 2013 when it announced the TV mega-deal it signed with NASCAR. NBC bought the rights to the last 20 races of the Cup season along with a bunch of ancillary content for a cool sum of $4.4 billion spread over 10 years. When you combine that with FOX’s $2.4 billion deal over that same timeframe, NASCAR’s TV contract is the third richest in American professional sports today, trailing only the NFL and MLB.

That’s all well and good for NASCAR, but what about TV viewers? What will NBC bring to the table with that kind of hefty financial commitment? Reinvigorated coverage, right?

That is what everyone who follows the sport is hoping for, especially in the wake of FOX’s ever-dwindling coverage quality and falling television ratings. NBC has stated that it plans to deliver the sport in a “new way.” What that means is anyone’s guess. Folks close to the situation at NBC have indicated that the network wants to cover the sport in a more technically-oriented, raw and “serious” way, much in the vein of how CBS covered the sport in the late ‘90s. No frills, no jokes, just a straight up focus on the racing. In essence, it wants to be what FOX is not.

If the grumblings of fans over the years are any indication of what the greater fan base is looking for in terms of television coverage of the sport, I’ll wager that NBC’s vision would be in line with what most fans seem to be looking for. But the network’s ability to execute is a total unknown for now. We’ll get our first taste of NBC’s treatment of NASCAR on July 5 at Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, a major race that NBC is promising to give “big-event style” treatment.

If the coverage for that race ends up matching the hype, the sport will benefit immensely. But if it falls flat? The fanbase will likely be quick to turn on NBC. These are NASCAR fans, after all, a group that is notoriously fickle and quick to criticize.

So, for the sake of the sport, let’s just hope NBC knocks its Daytona coverage out of the park.

3. Can Furniture Row Racing maintain its championship-caliber performance?

Over the last few weeks, Furniture Row Racing and driver Martin Truex Jr. have supplanted Kevin Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team as the top organization in NASCAR. In a year where negativity has permeated seemingly every aspect of the sport, the rise of a single-car team in the Denver-based Furniture Row outfit has been a welcome surprise that harkens back to the old days of the sport, a time when hard-working, independent teams found success on a regular basis.

The No. 78 car has led more laps and tallied a higher average finish than any other car in the field over the past two months. The team has emerged as a legitimate championship threat and Truex has grown into a top-tier driver. The No. 78 is for real and its success in the first half of the season has been incredible to watch, but with a litany of changes and general uncertainty being the hallmark of 2015’s second half, can a single car team like Furniture Row keep up?

I think this will be a key question to ask as we push forward with the rest of the season. The No. 78 has been championship worthy with the current rules package, but if NASCAR ends up implementing the Kentucky package for the rest of the year, how will that affect a team that still relies on a larger organization (Richard Childress Racing) for most of its parts and data?

If FRR can maintain its current level of performance in the face of a new aero package, an unpredictable Chase format and the ever-increasing speed from better resourced teams like Hendrick, it would be an even more impressive display than that which we’ve seen from the team up to this point, and certainly something that everyone in the sport (especially other single-car teams) will be watching closely.

4. How will the elimination Chase format fare in year two?

When NASCAR institutued its polarizing new Chase format early last year, there was a great amount of trepidation emanating from every corner of the sport in terms of how the format would work in actual practice. As we saw late last year, those fears were largely unwarranted: the format helped produce one arguably the most exciting postseason in NASCAR history, leading to a large bump in both television ratings and general mainstream interest in the sport at a time NASCAR needed it most.

With the second-ever edition of the “new-look” Chase looming only two short months away, one has to wonder if the sport will have another success story on its hands by the time the series reaches Homestead. Another successful Chase would help validate the current format, and likely would bring another wave of mainstream interest back to the sport, especially with five of the 10 Chase races being on network TV courtesy of NBC (for comparison, only one Chase race, Charlotte, was on network TV in 2014).

However, if the 2015 Chase proves to be unsuccessful in some fashion, or if a champion is crowned that is deemed unworthy, it could be a death knell for a sport that is still on thin ice with its fan base in regards to acceptance of the Chase.

All told, another great Chase would go a long, long way in keeping the sport on the track for success, and truth be told, the industry might need it even more than it did one year ago.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

In regards to your point number 4. I found my “fears” warranted big time and so did the overwhelmingly majority of fans. Faux manufactured excitement. 35 races Joe Blo kicked it big time. Race 36 between 4 drivers his car blows up. Yup, the other idiot won the season long “Championship”, when in fact they are a ONE race chump out of 3 other drivers. Have you noticed the Ho-Hum feeling around the land and trepidation when someone’s “driver” wins to get crazy happy? I do, it really means nada, why expend the engery? I can understand a team getting excited, it is a monkey off their back..for the time being. “The Chase” does a disservice to teams who truly worked their asses off and are not rewarded for their season long effort. Shame on BZF.

Let us stroll down memory lane. Jeff Gordon—Classic Points Leader, Brad Keselowski—–Most wins (6) they were not invited to be part of “the best”, yet Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were allowed to the dance and their collective seasons were a horror show. Joey Logano was the 10 race “Chase” leader and would have been “Champ” if they didn’t change the format, he did lead over Harvick. Nope, hard to get excited about anything anymore, a season long effort and dang even a 10 race effort means squat. Now Nascar wants us to faint over a ONE RACE champ. Nope..never gonna happen.

I find it hard to understand that some people prefer manufactured excitement and contentment for 15 minutes and it means more to them than a person crowded a Champ because they are truly deserving. What a world we have become. 15 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And on to the next thing to satisfy ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do it dammit or I will take my social media..bad mouth you…. and move on….. :( :( :(


Well said, kb! first it was a full season championship, yeah, that meant you had to work hard all season. then it was 10 races, well that was kind of strange but when NASCAR said that Johnson’s 3 10 race championships equaled Cale’s 3 full season championships, well, they totally lost me. Now there’s a 10 race, no 4 race, no wait, 1 race will decide it all. Yippee?? Nope, not at all.

I used to watch the races because they were fun and I liked racing. Now I don’t like the racing but I’m still watching at least some part of each week’s race but I am not glued to the set.

Comment on the racing and NASCAR? You are darn right I will. You can say the fans are fickle but I disagree with that. The fans are tired of the crapola that has taken place ever since BZF (Brainless France) took over and made change after change after change, most of them gimmicky in order to try and hold the interest of the short attention span fan and wanted to drive off the long time fans. Be careful what you wish for, sometimes you get it. A lot of fans HAVE stopped following as evidenced by the constant drop in ratings, along with the rather impressive efforts the tracks have made to remove seats. Heck Daytona built a theme park to attract fans — once upon a time, the racing would have been sufficient to do that.

Gordon is retiring, Stewart is struggling, Dale Jr is TALKING about retirement — NASCAR should be shaking in its shoes because if Jr Nation opts out when he retires, they will be in a world of hurt because IMO there are not enough fans of the newer drivers to make up that difference.

You may not like our opinions, Matt, that’s too bad, but it is never a good choice to insult the people who read your column.


Thanks…seems to me rather than attack the problem it is now the “new normal” to attack people that actually have a brain and a big clue and are not afraid to say it. Demonizing is all the rage…sadly.


kb my friend I find myself not offended but rather amused when some no talent internet hack tells me what a bad fan I am because I think what I think not what the tame racing press tells me I should think. It is almost like the racing press has joined with NASCAR to chase (pun intended) away what remains of the ever dwindling fan base. I don’t know about you but I’m halfway gone.


Thanks John, I am half way out the door. As many have stated before me. The weekend used to revolve around races..and well if there was a social event, the car and family would go without me, I would catch up with them later. No more. I actually try and watch, I just can’t for all the reasons mentioned and more. I tune in, in pieces..no longer is my butt glue to the Lazyboy. Sadly. We would be at the family vacation spot, the radio would be at the beach with me. Nope, the state of affairs regarding Nascar doesn’t deserve all of my time the way they used too. And where I live now it is not possible to go to any Xfinity or Cup race, I used to love going to them. I will not put in that kind of time or expense.

I also just find this trend of anybody on the internet if you do not agree you are automatically the wacko-a-doo..who just DOESN”T GET it..despite the common sense to the contrary. Tis a very telling state of human affairs, imo.

Bill B

1) Will the new rules package work? Who the hell knows. It certain that it won’t fix everything but something has to be tried. The most important thing is that NASCAR keeps trying things until it does get better. They should never stop trying things to make the on track product excellent. It’s complacency that bothers me most. Avoid making any effort and instead just tell everyone how great the racing is (like we’re too stupid to come to our own conclusion) or changing rules to manufacture excitement rather than fix the product.

2) Will NBC coverage be better? Well, it can’t get much worse than Fox and the Waltrips. Unfortunately I have little hope that it will be better. We’ll just have to wait and see.

3) Can FR continue it’s success? I don’t see why not. They may not win the championship or another race but they have been running up front and contending and IMO that is success.

4) How will the new chase fare in year 2? It will suck balls just like it did last year. And it will be the same in years 3, 4 and 5. Simply put it is not a legitimate was to award the championship in this sport and it never will be. It is a farce that was put in place to manufacture excitement at the expense of legitimacy and that will never change.


Point #4: “Another successful Chase would help validate the current format”

I wasn’t aware that there had been a successful Chase using the new format.

As I write this I am watching the 1989 Goody’s 500 (Martinsville) on Youtube which should be required watching for anyone that has only followed NASCAR since around 2000 or so. I’ve been watching older races lately to see what the coverage was like then verses now in order to see if I’m remembering things with rose colored glasses (as some writers seem to feel us older fans do). Admittedly the technology is much different due to the fact that we are talking 1989 here but actually it’s quite refreshing. The only thing would’ve been nice is if they had a continuous ticker tape scrolling across the top but listening to the announcers, (Ned Jarret, Benny Parsons and Bob Jenkins) is just great. They actually cover the entire race and give updates throughout the field. I didn’t hear one nickname such as Junebug, Rowdy or Smoke. I didn’t hear the phrase “Sunoco fuel” or “Four fresh Goodyears”. What is also nice and I assume is due to the crude technology at the time is that more of the track is shown, not just a bunch of tight shots or just a shot of the leaders car.

Additionally there was a lot of passing throughout the race and even though there were quite a few cars a lap or two down you wouldn’t know it by the way that they were racing one another. You didn’t here the phrase “aero-push” once as we did at the last race at Martinsville. Drivers were not giving quarter to each other as they do now tip-toeing around one another. I know that NASCAR has added a lot of safety features throughout the last 10-15 or so years but I have to say that it was kind of neat to see cars flying into the pits (for their 20 second pit stops).

I know that we can’t stop the “progress” that has been made over the years but I have to say after watching some of the older races (pre-95, before all the big teams showed up and NASCAR went all corporate killing off small teams just like big corporations killing small businesses) the races sure did seem a lot more exciting to me.

Matt Stallknecht

“I wasn’t aware that there had been a successful Chase using the new format.”

Yup. It happened in 2014. Crazy stuff, I know.


Nice reply Matt, incorrect but I guess your bar is a bit lower than mine.


What a sock puppet! I wonder if Brian tosses him a treat when he performs on que.

Bill B

That is your opinion Matt and you are entitled to it, however the only way anyone can say it was successful is because a champion was crowned. So yeah, it was successful but a champion would be crowned under any system no matter how stupid. By your reasoning if NASCAR said starting in 2016 the champion will be picked out of hat randomly, then technically it would be successful.

The bottom line was that neither the driver who scored the most wins nor the driver who scored the most points over the season was crowned champion. In fact, NASCAR got lucky because the one driver that was left out the four drivers in the running at Homestead had a good enough year where a case could be made that they deserved the championship. If anyone of the other three drivers would have finished ahead of Harvick it would be much harder to defend the championship.


Actually Bill, statistically before Homestead…Logano was ahead of Harvick in wins and points. Logano at the end of Homestead was still ahead of him in points Harvick then tied Logano for wins, 5 apiece. The old “Chase” format Logano would be the “Champ”, not Harvick.

Capt Spaulding

David Pearson would of loved this format, easily with the # of events he entered he would of fallen inside the top 30 in points, and I’m sure he would of had a couple of wins along the way…….and without a doubt would have been a prime contender in a one race shoot-out. Too bad none of today’s current top drivers would play the part time game after an early win, and upset NASCAR’s faux championship.


Gee, I hope Matt is kidding but I fear he isn’t. I guess like everything else in today’s world the bar must be reset and redefined as to what “success” is. Dumbing down everything including a great and powerful word like “success” is the norm. How sad. “The Chase” by the correct meaning of success, was NOT A SUCCESS. A abject and shameful disaster it was and will continue to be until it is laughed out of existence. Yes the correct word is “disaster”.


Oh, forgot to add that there were no fake debris calls to bunch up the field.


4 votes to 1, (and the one is the guy that wrote the article).

Last years chase sucked….

All the “chases” have sucked in my opinion, but last year really left me feeling empty.

They took a sport (I’m taking the liberty of calling it a “sport”) that had 30 something exciting
things happen per year… Each weekend was an event…

Now for the first 26 races, its all chase chase chase… Then its all championship championship

You can’t watch the “championship” on the tube on Sunday afternoon..

You have people saying “if my driver can’t win the championship, I’m not watching”
That used to never be the case, people didn’t watch, or go to the track for the
“championship”, they went for the racing (at the track, I always thought the race
was a let down, everything else, practices, support races, atmosphere, beer, made
the weekend)…

Success!!! 3 races with a small ratings increase… And 2 of those I think can be attributed
to the slap and tickle fight between Gordon and BSki, that actually made the real news.
People tuned in, realized watching traffic on the freeway was more exciting and tuned
right back out.

4 million people tuned in for the “GRAND FINALE”… A re run of the Big Bang Theory has
more viewers than that… And that was supposed to be the “BIG” moment…
120 million people watched the Super Bowl.

Bloated Vodka faced (delusional) France claims Nascar has 70 million fans… So 1 out of
17 fans actually bothered to watch the big finale… If we use those #’s for the
Super Bowl.. The NFL has 2 billion fans in this country… I know that is approx 6 times
the population of the country…

Last years chase made me care even less, and I didn’t think that was possible…

And yes, I will complain.. I used to enjoy Nascar, a lot… They made the racing blow,
going to the track is a joke now, it used to be a packed weekend, now its a few hours
here and few hours there… They sucked ALL the FUN out of it. They took something
away that I used to really enjoy…

Matt Stallknecht

Every year since the Chase was instituted, fans like those who have commented here on this article have come rushing to message boards proclaiming how much they hate the Chase and how (insert year here)’s edition of the Chase “killed their interest”, “sucked”, “made them not watch anymore”, etc.

Yet, here they all are, still watching the sport and still commenting on it. Generally speaking, if I think something is a farce, I don’t watch it and I don’t comment on it either.

Clearly a large portion of the fan base doesn’t feel the same way you all feel, considering the final 3 Chase races last year all hit multi year highs in viewership. Yeah, total farce y’all.


Matt, the issue is that all of us, (you included I would assume) like racing and if there was only two cars on the track we’d all be watching. We don’t need any manufactured championship format or any other gimmicks to get us interested…just two cars trying to out race each other. That is what you need to take away from this. We watch because it’s racing. If I am visiting another part of the country and I go to a local short track I don’t know one driver from another but what is keeping me there? Good racing and that is what fans want; good racing. If along the way NASCAR, (or whoever is the sanctioning body for whatever racing series one finds interesting) wants to determine who is the champion please at least have the decency to at least do it in a way that doesn’t come across as a lottery system.

You say that the last three races hit multi-year highs how does this explain the drop in ratings this year which is true but how has this translated to this year? Apparently the casual fans that brought about the uptick in numbers haven’t stuck around. Do we attribute this to the racing? Short-attention spans? Bad marketing? Races on lower-tiered cable channels? There must be something that is causing NASCAR numbers to be low. What do you attribute it to?

I respect the fact that you take the time to write this article regardless of whether or not you an I agree on the topics you covered. Please try to respect the people that take the time to respond to your article, regardless of how you feel about their views.


Well said Chris. I thought I was reading a Jerry Jordon article, as I vowed never to read one again. Somebody pissed in Matt’s Wheaties and shamefully he has insulted his readers in his anger. A big no-no in my book.

Bill B

“Clearly a large portion of the fan base doesn’t feel the same way you all feel, considering the final 3 Chase races last year all hit multi year highs in viewership. ”

I guess that all depends on when you start measuring. If you compare the ratings from last year’s chase to the ratings in 2003 (before BF took over and ripped the guts out of the sport) then you could make the case that a larger part of the fan base has already walked away. Those of us that are left could be considered racing addicts. And you know how addicts are, no matter how much you dilute the product they still want it, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to complain that the quality of the product sucks if it isn’t releasing those endorphins.


Exactly, The remaining fan base just doesn’t buy the racing press spoon fed BS about how much they love the Chase. It’s a farce and I tend to agree with Russ many if not most of us just don’t care about it. As to the new rules package, NASCAR seems to change the rules randomly and enforce them the same way. As long as the rules change every time a favored organization whines there is not much chance these rules will be the same two weeks from now. Brian France is the confused Captain of a rudderless ship. He, and therefore we, just drift with the tides. We could end up anywhere.


…And Matt, it was something new..then when folks got the real gist that their driver who won the most points, won the most races got shut out and they saw how dumb and contrived the final race was at Homestead, people were pissed. Did you not find it interesting that Hamlin and Newman who rarely if ever last year saw the front of the field were actually “racing” with Logano and Harvick…come on!!!!! WWE!!!! That was a shameful display.


Why do writers get mad when people say “The Chase” sucks and “racing” sucks? Why is that not o.k.? We love this sport (or used to, maybe now like) so why not let BZF know he has gone astray? There must be a lot of us out there cause all you need to look at weekly is the large amount of empty seat and large advertising tarps to cover the empty seats! It is not just people on the internet, it is a real problem. So we are not the only one’s, just look
at the current races and then go to Youtube and look at how much more people were there.


Same reason that the guys on Sirius radio get mad. they get paid to promote NASCAR. The rest of us spend $ to either watch it or go to the races.

Tim S.

Ooh, lookie, Mr. Writer Man dropped down a few levels and interacted with the commoners. You’re not breaking new ground here. People can tune in to any radio or tv broadcast if they want to hear how wrong they are about modern NASCAR.


Agreed, Tim. I used to pay for a Sirius radio subscription. Dropped that 7 or 8 years ago, whenever it was that any caller who didn’t agree with Moody and the rest of the bullies was castigated and then hung up on.

The tv and radio personalities (and writers on blogs like this, too) can pound their chests and proclaim that the fans are ALL wrong as much as they like, but unless we are tuning in or going to the races, it is NASCAR and those same media people who NEED to convince us to watch, not work to drive more fans away.


an uptick for the last 3 races in 2014? Wow, yeah a few points up for 3 races when NASCAR racing used to draw a huge audience over its full season, both in person & those watching on TV.


For the life of me I can’t understand the fixation with the Chase for the fan Each week we watch, presumably, a race. I suppose that far and away the most people aren’t watching to see whether the driver thats 17th in points can make up a few points. If they are they really need to get out more.
Now I understand that to Nascar, the teams and sponsors it matters because there are millions of dollars at stake. But for the average fan who cares? We weren’t worrying about it in ’67, or 77, etc. Most people didn’t give a rats butt. So why now? Maybe its the “in thing”.
For myself I will watch the race each week if I feel like if not, I won’t. But the Chase will have nothing to do with it either way.


Matt, I’ll chime in here to disagree that the 2014 “chase” was successful. Harvick had a great season and NASCAR was lucky he was the winner rather than either Newman or Hamlin, who at best had mediocre seasons and yet managed to be a part of the “final four”.

Telling the fans that they are “fickle” and saying that while we protest that we don’t like the chase yet are still here is disingenuous at best. I’ve put this out there before and I get smacked around by various Gordon haters, but tough noogies. The one and only reason I have continued to watch these past few years, even though I have hated the Chase since its inception and truly dislike the way NASCAR has turned to gimmicks in place of racing has been because Gordon is still racing. That reason goes away for me at the end of the season and unless the racing and the broadcasting improves spectacularly with the “new” rules (how many times have NASCAR fans heard that it will “make the racing great”?) and NBC coming on board, there will be NO reason for me to bother with what has become a waste of time and $.

It is time for the various writers & media to get a freakin grip on themselves and understand that they need the fans, the fans don’t need you.

Capt Spaulding

Well said,,,,all one has to do is look at the number of NASCAR articles posted on the Jayski website as compared to 10 years ago. After the last couple of weeks, it looks like Matt M is trying to be the last man standing at Frontstretch, and even he seems to be relegated to part-time status (might be on his choosing). It also seems like Amy and Matt S are competing with Jerry J. for a possible open position at NASCAR.com as kool aid server.

Tim S.

Jayski’s article links page used to be the place to go for all kinds of different views and writing styles. Now it’s a place were the occasional differing view is accidentally posted among the rewritten talking points. It’s a shame that the name “NASCAR Wire Service” is taken, because that would be a fitting title for the page.


Sing it sister!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt Stallknecht

I’m always amused by how pledging support for the Chase is seen as a form of “kool-aid” drinking on the part of some fans. Perhaps some of us just happen to like what a playoff format can bring to the table? I struggle to see what is so difficult to understand about that. An expanded worldview beyond that of NASCAR circa 1997 might at least help some fans understand why others enjoy the Chase.

I’ve also been pretty open about my distaste for NASCAR’s subpar intermediate track racing over the past few years, but I suppose liking the Chase automatically earns me a spot on the NASCAR Conspiracy Watch’s hit list.

For the record, I’ll pass on the kool-aid in favor of a beer or water, thanks. :)


Actually Matt most of the commentators here have a pretty good view of NASCAR post-1997. Perhaps you should take a look at the history of NASCAR prior to 1997 and then you might not find yourself struggling so much. Please explain to us; the ones you feel have difficulty understanding, what this new playoff system brings to the table and how it rewards either consistency or having the most wins? Let’s put it this way; if you were to design a playoff system for NASCAR what exactly would it look like?


I’ve sure when we have another great Chase this year, all the tarps covering seats will be removed, all the removed seats will be returned, and on and on.
Funny the ratings for Cup races now are approaching the ratings that Busch Series (if we’re still allowed to call the second-level Series’ races from that era as such) races drew in the pre-Chase era. Compared to 2014, about twice as many people watched the 2003 Homestead finale in spite of Matt Kenseth committing the unpardonable sin and clinching the championship the week before.
Matt, at least the people on here care enough about the sport that once was great in hopes that it would be great again. Each year, each week that hope fades. I’ve missed three or four races by choice this year. How many people have missed every race by choice not only this year but each year in the Chase era?
No one here was fooled by Newman and Hamlin suddenly finding speed that was seemingly kept under wraps for 35 weeks.


Dave Moody can be the worst when it comes to carrying nascar’s buckets of water. I don’t know how making cars harder to drive with less downforce is going to encourage drivers to be more aggressive . They are not likely to stick their nose inside of the guy ahead of him if he’s half out of control. Never been a fan of the chase. Didn’t understand the reasoning for changing the rules package, setting the chase aside, I thought last year was better than 2013 and 2012 and much better than this year. About three weeks ago Moody had to admit that these rules didnt improve on track racing. I used to listen to Sirius NASCAR radio everyday but it gets old when they tell me what I’m seeing is fantastic when its a snooze fest. On TV I can’t wait for DW to stop with the dumb boogity call. The drop of the green flag to start a race is one of the most anticipated moments of the whole weekend and that moron shouts that dumb stuff out. I had to explain to a friend who stopped by at the start of the race that its not normal, it was actually embarresing to me. He had never watched NASCAR before but I can image later on when he’s shooting the bull with his friends about how dumb NASCAR is just hearing DW. Anyways just a rant. I feel sorry for a lot of the people that aren’t able to get FS1 or NBCSN or can’t afford to upgrade. Oh and one more thing, I hate the spacers in the engines. When Jr does retire its going to leave a big void. If he races in the xfinity series full time when he stops driving cup, can you image the embarresment if xfinity ratings top the Cup race. That would be something. I am glad people are able to voice their thoughts in the comment section, I enjoy reading all your thoughts even if I don’t agree with them. Good Day.

Matt Stallknecht

“I also just find this trend of anybody on the internet if you do not agree you are automatically the wacko-a-doo..who just DOESN”T GET it..despite the common sense to the contrary. Tis a very telling state of human affairs, imo.”

That’s a rather interesting point there, kb. It would seem that you and everyone else who has referred to me and other Chase supporters on this site as “kool aid drinkers” or “sock puppets” (lol) would be guilty of the same crime, no? :) And I also recall a few instances in this discussion where you essentially stated that you find it impossible for anyone else to like the Chase. A bit hypocritical, are we?

For what it’s worth, I never said anyone was inherently wrong for disliking the Chase. I was simply advocating the notion of giving it a chance from a fresh perspective. In fact, my main argument in the article was that I felt it was successful, not necessarily that other people should or shouldn’t like it.

Charles Jenkins

John Q, Bill B, KB, Gina, Tim, everybody, read Matt’s bio. He is a senior in college!!.. Not taking up for him…. we were all young once. Wrong about many things. Not bad, just mistaken. Matt, nothing personal, but you do not have the pedigree of race watching experience to tell me what is good racing.. I watched the 1979 Daytona 500… I watched Bill Elliot make up 2 laps under green at Talledega with no wave around or lucky dog… I watched the pass in the grass (i know it was not really that)… I watched the 1992 Atlanta season ending race… I watched Ned, Benny, and Bob… I watched Eli and Buddy… I watched Bristol when the only way to get a ticket was to steal one… I watched when the first few all star races with the great paint schemes were some thing to behold… I watched the day that racing changed forever in 2001…. I watched when tracks could not build enough seats fast enough because the racing was that good.. I watched when it was hard to take a bathroom break or get a snack because you were afraid you might miss something on the track.. I could go on and on but I think you get my drift… Today we have the chase… the wave around… the lucky dog…. the green, white, checkers…. the spec cars… and most of all lately the single file parades that are called racing… Well, you may like it. That’s ok… But tv ratings, butts in the seats, grandstand removal… tarps on entire sections tell me that all is not well… No doubt that Mr France (third generation) is a spectacular success with the revenue he has brought to the family but as the head of a racing body, he is a spectacular failure, imo. So call me old… call me the wrong demo… call me a tin foil hat wearing nut… Just don’t think you can tell me what good racing is… Today’s motor sports entertainment (the product) is not racing. As others have said, I watch because it has been a part of me for so long. I keep thinking maybe it will get better… But like millions of others, I think now that it will not… In closing, there was a time when NA$CAR was second only to the NFL, according to some,….. That sadly is not the case any longer. Matt, I am glad you like todays racing… I have my memories and you tube (SP ?)

Matt Stallknecht

And the winner for most ridiculous comment of the discussion goes to….!

The classic “you’re too young thus you just don’t know about the good ol days” argument. I’ve been waiting a long time for this one to show up.

Just so ya know, I’ve been watching the sport religiously since 1997. As in, haven’t missed a race. I’ve seen the sport grow, reach it’s height, and decline to where it is now.

I’ve seen plenty of races from the 70s and 80s. There’s this thing us young people use call YouTube and I can watch old races on it, it’s really cool. The racing had it’s advantages back then. It also had it’s disadvantages. Good racing has been seen throughout many of NASCAR’s many eras.

I really do find it hilarious that you felt the need to stoop to such a ridiculous argument.

Charles Jenkins

Matt, It is not nice to laugh too much at us old folks… As I said, nothing personal… We can agree to disagree on this one… I wish you nothing but the best now and in the future.. Now if i can just remember where I laid my teeth, I am going to bed… Good night.


Charles, Thank you for that. Like many of us when I was 20 I knew EVERYTHING. I’ll keep that in mind and give the kid a break. When he hits 40 he’ll laugh at his 20 year old self just like we all did.

Capt Spaulding

This from the “young gun racing expert,” give me a break!


Thanks Charles, I never looked at his bio, I just did. That explains a lot. (They know it all at that age)…and I am not even “old”, but dang. I think I need to look at the bio’s before I could hope for something meaningful and waste time typing..they ain’t gonna get it.

Matt Stallknecht

Yup, clearly my lack of age prevents me from anything resembling logical thought. I’ll get back to y’all when I’m 67 and have plenty of “racing experience”.

In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy racing as you all do, with both it’s high points and it’s flaws.

Agree to disagree? I think that’s the best way to settle this discussion. :)


Matt, I am not sure exactly what your point is so let me explain mine again. People like you seem to want us to buy what you are selling, and at the Frontstretch, your “customers” aren’t buying the grape Kool-Aid regarding this article and others. Demonizing has been going on in the Nascar press corps for some time. More recently with the “new” fantastic WWE Chase format, anybody who doesn’t like it..”well there is something wrong with them”. If you have access (I don’t) to the old Racehub shows, or even re-watching last years “Chase” races, these professional people were actually saying the likes of most of us were nuts because we did not like it, and do not like it! These are professional people, yourself included to a lesser degree, demonizing publically the fan base who doesn’t agree with the “product”, what the hell is that? That is like me walking into a store and some butcher is trying to sell me some rancid meat insisting it is fresh when I know better. I tell him he is full of it and berates me and kicks me out of his store telling me I don’t know what I am talking about. Clearly this man and NASCAR do not agree the customer is always right.

I and others around here want the sport to be better, you want to basically tell us we are full of shit and to quit complaining. You and others come off so robust and enthused with this nonsense it is hard to swallow by anybody of sane means. I DO QUESTION your sincerity in your delivery regarding this farce, so if that makes me hypocritical, sign me up! And I do believe the people who were jazzed about this (the few) are newbies and left after their fifteen minute attention span expired. I will not waiver in that belief.

The overwhelming majority of fans (if you care to look) are a lot smarter than the likes of you and BZF give them credit for. I am grateful for this website to allow this dialogue, but lately it is looking like a episode during Shark Week, “When Writers Attack Their Readers!” Are you biting the hand that feeds you? I have no gain or loss in this battle and I will continue here or elsewhere to speak my mind regarding the sad state of affairs this sport has become. Clearly NASCAR unlike you might be a little worried, hence some changes come Kentucky. And please don’t tell us those thousands of empty seats/torn down seats across the lower 48 are a causality of the economy, but I suspect you might.


Oh and Matt, my logical mind does not allow me to look at “The Chase” from a fresh “perspective”. You have the “classic point” leader shut out of the one race shootout, you have the guy with the most wins shut out of the one race shootout, you have Hamlin and Newman touted as the best, when their stats told a completely different story. I don’t understand how anybody could say that is a logical and fair way to crown a winner. Did you not notice how all of a sudden for that one race Newman and Hamlin were running up front? I didn’t even have to put my tin foil hat on for that one, even Stevie Wonder was questioning it. Why support that illogical method? Hard work and effort for many teams were wipped out. You also might want to take a listen to some in car audio, many drivers did not like it. Justifiably so. I don’t need to eat rancid meat to know that it tastes bad, despite what the butcher is trying to sell me. The same logic applies with the “pushers” and NASCAR apologists.


While I really don’t care 1 way or the other related the Chase, I do find the elimination format interesting. But if wish they had taken the idea all the way. Make it a true elimination series, only include the Chase participants, the rest are really not involved anyway.
But I recognize that’s never going to happen.


Gang, Matt has unwittingly taught us a lesson through his article which is that this isn’t our NASCAR anymore (whatever we; as individuals, define as what NASCAR should or shouldn’t be). The new NASCAR, which has been in the works for some years now has been catering to a younger demographic by means which many of us older fans don’t agree with. NASCAR has design the product to attract new fans; even if it means that racing 10-15 years from now resembles a cross between “Survivor” and “Death Race”. Each one of us here has said at one time or another that NASCAR’s sole goal is about making money, not the purity of the sport and as such I believe that we will see changes that will drive the bottom line at the expense of the sport.

The issue that I believe NASCAR has is that they need the older fan base as they aren’t attracting as many new, younger fans at a rate as fast as older fans that are leaving the sport. Basically NASCAR needs the older demographic but at the same time NASCAR doesn’t really want to hear what the older fans think. If NASCAR did listen to older fans the splitters would be gone and the spoiler would be about 3” high.

If you have followed Frontstretch for any amount of time you probably have noted the generational difference between writers. Please don’t misunderstand me as I don’t see that as a bad thing but it does bring my original point home as to how each of us, (individually or generationally) view NASCAR. Years from now Matt may very well be where we older fans are shaking his head at the views a younger fan. I will note that of the 46-47 comments that this article generated only Matt’s supported the current Chase format. Statistically this does not bode well in support of the new Chase format as there are 3,000+ people that follow Frontstretch that could’ve responded to this article in support of the new Chase format. Personally I had hoped that Matt had actually addressed the views and questions posed by some of the commentators in a more professional manner but it’s his column so in the end it’s his call on how he responds.

Bottom line is that I will still follow racing as I’ve always been a racer and always will be. I’ve never been into baseball, football, or golf and that isn’t about to change. Put two cars on a track and I’ll watch. This, however doesn’t mean that I endorse what NASCAR currently is and nor does it mean that I should be out there singing the praises of NASCAR to the unwashed masses.


At age 65, and having watched this sport since 1963, I doubt that what happens in 10-15 years will matter to me. However I expect that the same arguments will be going on in 2025.

Capt Spaulding

Just noticed that Fox has exclusive coverage for the US Open Golf coverage, and this would be an ideal time to shift the entire FOX Nascar booth over to golf so they could also enjoy the expertise they have been provided us racing fans over the years. Imagine the marketing, with Larry Mac providing new sponsors name recognition with each stroke, and Mikey doing a fairway walk asking if anyone rents their clubs from Aarons. Finally, I’m not sure what would be DW’s signature line at the start of the event, but I am sure it wouldn’t take long to annoy the golf fans.

Share via