For the first time in a long time I was excited to hear NASCAR was making changes to their format. Yes, we’ve heard this song and dance before, but with the announcement last month of a new series sponsor my hope was this format change would be something significant…that would bring a competitive intensity back to the sport once again.
I will applaud NASCAR for the effort. I will also admit – I like the idea of segments. It does create urgency, kind of like what we see when drivers are racing the rain.
So what’s wrong SOZ?
Where NASCAR gets it wrong is they continue to throw money or points at the problem. I’m a simple man – if you want to improve NASCAR racing and you want to truly make it a fight to the end of each stage, NASCAR should only reward points to the leader.
The leader at the end of each stage gets 10 points. The format system implemented also rewards all drivers inside the Top 10 at the end of each stage. This is crazy. Have you heard of participation trophies? Well, this is participation points…plain and simple.
The second place driver at the end of each stage will get 9 points. Where is the incentive to race for the stage win? It’s one point!
Imagine this…if he or she got no points for finishing second, third or tenth. Do you think this would truly incentivize a driver to win the stage? Absolutely!
How did this happen?
I can only share my opinion and I believe NASCAR is scared to make a decision. Look at who was on the stage during the announcement – NASCAR and team management, retired drivers (broadcasters), drivers and track promoters. All had input with the new format.
Let me ask you – if your employer sat you down and asked you to write your performance review…to put measurements in place that would ensure your success, would you do it? Yes, yes you would. That’s happening in NASCAR. They’ve allowed drivers and owners the ability to influence competition. From the Top 35 qualifying rule to the overtime line – to dishing out more points under this crazy points give-a-way, I submit these things only set guarantees in place for those participating instead of rewarding performance.
The sell job! Most in the NASCAR media will ask you to give it time – just like everything else that came before this change. NASCAR will push it down our throats like a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. And every single driver will love this format because it gives them more opportunities to earn points.
What is your solution?
Have your stages NASCAR, but only reward the stage winners. Continue the Chase or Playoff – but as with all sports, a champion should be someone who has won. In NASCAR’s case, drop the Playoff rounds and allow all Playoff winners into the last race at Homestead-Miami. My concern is NASCAR will crown a champion who never won a race during the season because he or she benefited from a sport built on a flawed points system.
Go look at the new points chart. This format will give us points racing on steroids.
Follow SOZ on Twitter: @TheThunderCrew