Auto racing has been around since the second automobile was produced, and there have constantly been contests between owners of different vehicles to see which one is the fastest. Whether it is in a straight line, a circle, windy roads or backward, people are always going to race each other.
As fans of auto racing, we enjoy seeing people with greater ability than ours pushing their vehicles to the limit to find out which is the absolute best on any given day. Unfortunately, around the time the third automobile was produced, one of the owners of the three autos in the world figured out that if he put some extra alcohol in his fuel, he would run faster. The end result is that we have to have sanctioning bodies and rules to keep people from trying to gain an unfair advantage.
NASCAR is one of those sanctioning bodies, and it does a pretty good job of trying to rein in the creativity of some of the brightest minds in the automotive world. Unfortunately that has resulted in a rulebook that is as thick as the New York phonebook used to be.
The rulebook has become unwieldy, and we are starting to see some nitpick-y rules as a result. With that said, we have a brand new aero package that the teams are in the early stages of dissecting. The end result is that these first few races may be barnburners or they may suck.
Whatever the case, shut up and watch. Enjoy common men doing uncommon things, as Ken Squier used to say.
There is a closet group of NASCAR fans, followers, hangers-on, general pains in the ass, who spend the vast majority of their time complaining about everything under the sun pertaining to the sport we love. You have a Daytona 500 finish where the two cars are separated by inches, but another car crosses the finish line upside down and on fire and the first thing you hear from this contingent is that the caution flag should have been thrown.
Guess what, it wasn’t, move on.
NASCAR is at a crossroads, which seems like something we’ve said every year for the last 20 years, but it has generally been true.
Luckily for those of us who are fans of the sport, real change is on the horizon. And we’re not talking about inches on spoilers or radiator pans or changing the way the air flows into the engine. NASCAR is about to go through a very real change to its car, its schedule and even the tire used to run the sport.
Fans have asked for short tracks to be added to the schedule in place of the quite similar mile-and-a-half tracks. Apparently NASCAR has listened; the schedule is reportedly about to be revamped and is supposedly going to see a significant increase in the number of short tracks. The proof will be in the pudding, but it sounds like it is coming soon.
In the meantime, let’s just enjoy racing for what it is. There are people who push themselves and their equipment to the limit for our entertainment every single weekend. They give us an honest effort for our entertainment dollar, and in the end, we are entertained.
So until the entire sport is turned on its head by the changes that are right around the corner, please just sit back and enjoy common men doing uncommon things.
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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