NASCAR Screwed Up Again

NASCAR Screwed Up Again

Wednesday, 08 February 2017
Dennis Michelsen

NASCAR Screwed Up Again

Good, Bad and the Ugly: Preseason Edition

Over the years as a NASCAR fan I have gotten used to changes. The cars change, the driver lineups change and the rules change from year to year. But the changes before this upcoming season have been Silly Season on steroids! This year RaceTalkRadio is also undergoing plenty of changes and one of them is the return of the famous (Or is the right term “infamous”) “Good, Bad and the Ugly” feature.

Each week I will take a look back at what happened in NASCAR racing and give it my good, bad and ugly designation. Let’s start off by looking at the NASCAR rule changes and how they might affect the product we see on the track.

The Good

Thank you NASCAR for changing the rules and not allowing seriously damaged race cars back on the track. While you could have easily done this by making sure each car returning to the track was safe for competition, you at least understood the idea of not allowing damaged cars to ruin the flow of the race with too many debris cautions. Having a strict time requirement for repairs and requiring them to only be done on pit road might be overkill but this will cut down on the number of damaged cars limping around, getting in the way and dropping body parts.

The Bad

When a driver retires it always hurts NASCAR because that driver’s fan base might give up supporting the sport. But when a driver retires at a young age at the top of his game then the sport has a huge loss on its hands. When that driver gets replaced based more on who the sponsor wants in the seat than the best available driver that is an added loss to the sport. Losing Carl Edwards at age 37 at the same time the sport has lost past champions such as Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon in back to back years is going to sting both at the box office and on the television ratings.

The Ugly

How NASCAR has determined a champion has changed many times over the years. In the early days of the sport money won determined the overall champion. A points system was developed during the start of the so-called “Modern Era” of NASCAR and each race was scored with the same number of points from 1975 until 2004 when the Chase Era began. Just a few years ago the point system was changed to “Simplify” how the races are scored. This year NASCAR has not only changed the Chase for the sixth time in the last 12 years but now races will be stopped to award “Stage Points.” While I applaud NASCAR for trying to find a way to get drivers to race harder each and every lap why do you need to remove all of the strategy from a race by throwing a caution flag to award “Stage Points?”

What do you think about all of the off season changes? Don’t just sit there if you have a comment about what you just read then sound off on our message board after the article.


  1. rtr2016 says:

    I disagree about parking the cars with their entrails flapping all over the place. I want Bobby Backrunner to randomly bring out a caution instead of anticipating the 60 60 80 rule at the Daytona 500 for example.

    • Kenneth O. Masser says:

      Been with NASCAR since the 60s , met Richard Petty at the corner gas station and sat in the Super B in ’70. Thick and thin support local short track racing the whole spectrum of NASCAR. My driver retires and the horrendous rule changes have ended my interest in something that no longer resembles something I enjoy.Don’t even get me started on the godawful Monster Energy stupidity , but as always NASCAR will take money from anyone willing to give it to them. No longer getting any of mine and will not be watching on TV .

  2. Joe Jacalone says:

    It is surprising to me that NASCAR and everyone else has missed what I think is one of the main missing ingredients in today’s racing. DRAMA. Good racing isn’t watching 40 cars drone around at the same speed. It is real racing coupled with intrigue and excitement. I believe the racing was more ENTERTAINING years ago. You don’t see a guy chasing another guy down from 5 seconds back nowadays. That was fun to watch! The cars are all the same now, and the only way they pass is if they get a jump on the restarts. Also, the cars are better now. They don’t break down. That was part of the anticipation, to see if your guy could make it to the end. Look at some old results. Yes, Petty, Pearson, the Allisons and Yarborough won most of the races, but look at the top 5. You would see a Buddy Arrington or Tighe Scott or someone like that finish up there quite often. It wasn’t a lock that the top 10 was almost always the big hitters. I am not sure anything can be done about that. I think the genie is out of the bottle, and no amount of trying to contrive a desired result can put it back in.

    • dmic says:

      They need to open the box on the rules a bit, dirty up the aero, and bring a nice soft tire that wears out and you would be more likely to have “Comers” and “Goers” again. Thanks for adding to the discussion Joe!

  3. Brian says:

    I am confused why the 5 minute clock starts at pit in and ends at pit exit. Depending on the track the teams lost 30-45 seconds of repair time. Start he clock when the car gets to its pit stall. Also depending on the track a team might not be able to get up to minimum speed due to the no passing under caution rule. Cars at Martinsville and Bristol are essentially rolling around the entire length of the track thus making it near impossible for a repaired car to hit minimum speed during caution to get a new 5 minutes.

    The other aspect it would be nice to see actual stats behind some of these reasonings. Been watching races for almost 40 years and while it does happen where damaged cars cause debris cautions is it enough to justify screwing up teams ability to finish as high as possible? Interesting also that NASCAR changed the points system at the tail end which in theory was also to discourage significantly damaged cars from returning to the track to pickup, 1-4 positions then NASCAR added this load of b.s. I agree with one of the other posters, have it maybe be a 10 or 15 minute clock but do it in the garage area. If time passes then out of race. This would actually be safer and allows the crew to have access to more appropriate tools and other safety equipment to fix the car. Plus it would avoid a puddle of fluid on pit road that other teams would have to navigate around. Also still limit the team members to the pit road 6 number and the driver if and only if he is working in the cockpit of the car.
    I can see this completely backfiring on NASCAR especially with TV ratings toward the end of some races. Depending on how things play out who will stay tuned into the race if “their” driver is out of the running with no chance to mount a comeback? part of the strategy before was to try and get the car back to track and running as fast as possible in case there was another event on track. Daytona and Talladega especially. This is now pretty much out of play so see first sentence in paragraph.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the first few races and if there are “revisions” to the rule due to NASCAR’s knee jerk reactions to unintended consequences of rules perceived to be not fully thought out.
    Also if safety and such were truly main reasons, many journalists, bloggers and the like have been saying this same thing for 10+ years. So now they make the change? with safety and competition as the why. REALLY?

    As I have stated in other posts NASCAR has officially “jumped the shark” Thanks, BZF for screwing up the family’s business. p.s. if the title sponsorship purchase amount is true there is a great indication of how far NASCAR leadership has caused the sport to fall. Monster Energy got a great deal if the 20-25 million guess is true as they get mentioned pretty much every single time in most any article, news releases,etc. for the same cost as some sponsors are paying for a single team for the year.
    Seems only winner here is Monster Energy. Well played.

    • dmic says:

      Brian…if you ever do start feeling like you understand the moves by NASCAR I would suggest the time was right for psychological treatment!! It just seems someone who has never been a Crew Chief or team owner thinks they can out smart the Crew Chiefs and Team Owners. All that will happen is Crew Chiefs will beat the clock and need to be black flagged by NASCAR. Thanks for adding to the discussion

  4. Overra88ted says:

    Dale Jr. will always get a few extra minutes.

  5. victor bockholt says:


  6. monte says:

    ESPN treated Nascar like a sport and people went to the races because they didn’t have the channel. Then Nascar says we need more money so lets sell out to local tv and turn it into a reality show, everyone likes reality. Start of down fall.

  7. Alan says:

    Seems that the points system changes coincide with JJ winning championships. I thought the ‘excuse’ for the rules changes was to simplify it for the viewer. The current points systems with stage points(and God forbid stopping mid-race) is a lot more confusing than the original points system. Every other motorsport has kept their basic scoring structure. Why is it NASCAR that has fumbled around for the past decade and half trying to ‘fix’ something that wasn’t broke. Oh, that’s right, Jimmie Johnson. Go, JJ, let’s make it 8-time or even more!

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