Is there any better way to spend a late summer Sunday afternoon that devoting four hours of the rapidly dwindling sunlit hours watching an event you know will most likely leave you alternatively bored and angry? But in contemporary NASCAR racing there’s still always room for an occasional surprise. Even given my cynical nature, I wasn’t prepared to have Sunday’s race leave me alternatively stuporous and furious. Like a lot of you when that now infamous final and completely unnecessary caution came out, setting up a five-lap shootout, I had mixed emotions. I couldn’t believe it. Then I remembered who was sanctioning the race and I could believe it. In fact, I should have expected it. The same thing happened at Fontana with the same driver leading, didn’t it?
NASCAR has grown fond of their built-for-TV-networks “competition cautions”, originally used only when there had been heavy overnight rains the evening prior to the event, but now used if a track worker has to mop up some catsup a slovenly fan dripped onto the track surface crossing back to the infield. So why not just announce there’s going to be a “competition caution” with 10 laps to go every week? I mean they had to do something, right? At the mid-stages of the race there was a three-second gap between first and second place and the top 10 were neatly spaced out, with the 10th-place runner 28 seconds behind. The FAA air traffic controllers only wish they could maintain that sort of gaps between planes in the O’Hare traffic flight pattern.
NBCSN did the best they could to disguise the fact. Rather than the traditional “intervals” beneath the drivers names they were using those colored tiles to remind fans who was in the Chase. They showed the infamous “points if the race were to end right now” numbers with the ticker, or how many laps it had been since a driver pitted, or the number of Twitter followers those drivers had or just about anything to help disguise the race had become a rout. But the blatant attempt to spice things up at the end had my Irish up to the point I was whistling “Danny Boy” with blood spurting out my ears. I forget if it was cardiologist or Elvis Costello who tried to get me to adopt a “I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused….” Mindset. So, I reckon if we’re going to toss aside rules and fairness to enhance the Chase why not go whole hog?
If I Ran The Chase – Dr. Confused
If I ran the chase,
What a sight it would be;
We’d knock the NFL ratings off the roost
In a year, certainly two, or maybe three.
Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters,
Your heads would quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!
Oh how the fussy drivers complain
About tracks with dips and bumps
Their heads are going to explode
When I start adding jumps.
So what if all 43 cars end up in the garage?
Yes, that would be quite the mess,
So in that likely eventuality,
We’ll just ask Miss Sprint Cup to slowly undress.
In a sport borne of moonshiners,
What could it hurt
If we tear up paved pit roads,
And replace them with dirt?
We bought all of ’em up,
Though some had to be towed,
Wait’ll the fans get a look at the drivers
Wheeling refugees from Mad Max: Fury Road
Throwing cautions for no reason
Makes the fans outright abhor us,
So we’re having Microsoft work on a robot
That henceforth will do it for us.
Sensors will tell the computers when the cars get spaced out,
And aren’t running three wide or in tandem,
Then our new robot will throw cautions seemingly at random
The drivers are too generic and vanilla,
Some internet hack writer claims.
Perhaps it will help
If we rearrange their faces and give them all new names.
“Call me Six-Time!” he insists,
But that’s the lamest of names,
So instead Jimmie Johnson
Will race as Jesse James.
The Boss has been popular for decades;
We’re not sure what to make of that,
But given his record and facial expressions,
KyBu will race under the moniker of “The Magic Rat.”
Fans will get to rename the other drivers,
Because we love em all to death and then some.
What we love about the fans the most
Is grabbing hold of their incomes.
Yeah, the drivers all fight like girls now,
As if afraid to mess up their hairs.
Wait until the drivers face off in a Thunderdome,
Equipped with staplers, branding irons and folding chairs.
Winners are going to win,
There’s just no way around it.
But if we don’t like that driver,
We’ll do our best to confound it.
So from now on the second-place finisher,
According to the rules we just wrote,
Will be decided by an internet popularity vote.
Fans will still be talking about what happened,
At their Sunday green eggs and ham dinners,
When we tell them that second-place finishers
Get 50 points more than the winners.
We’ve got to admit here,
Talladega’s an issue.
When drivers bob, juke and list like drunken sailors,
Wait’ll you see them racing towing 20-foot
We’re charting new paths here and we’re terribly confused,
We thought our fans were all drunken Bubba morons
Who were easily amused.
They keep talking about the rulebook,
On their Twitter accounts they scream and shout,
So the heck with that thing,
We’ll just go ahead and toss the cursed thing out,
They’ll then learn to listen,
When we grace them to speak.
That rule only applies on even numbered days,
So it will be back in place next week,
One of our chosen ones eliminated?
How can that be?
So we’ll just wait a week and bring em back,
It worked for Bobby on Dallas on TV,
They’ll be an adjustment period,
We know that to be true.
It’ll be especially hard for us,
To find something useful for Brian France to do.
It’ll be a big challenge,
But sacrifices must be made;
Perhaps BZF can help Mr. Sneelock serve up
Five hundred gallons of lemonade?
He’s likely to holler
And claim I’m screwing things up
Until I tell my long-time buddy, lemonade is ten bucks a cup.
Starting next weekend
All sponsors must be preapproved.
We like ’em all just fine,
But there’s palms that need to be lubed.
We’re going to work on booking bigger celebrities:
We’ll get Trump, the Pope and Santa Claus too.
Cause if the fans aren’t cheering,
They damn well better boo.
Yeah, if I ran the Chase,
What a sight it would be.
We’d knock the NFL off the ratings roost,
In a year, certainly two, maybe three.
Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters,
your heads would quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!
About the author
Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.
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