Should NASCAR hire a VP of Common Sense?

Should NASCAR hire a VP of Common Sense?

Tuesday, 07 March 2017
Mike Harper - SOZ

Have you found yourself over the past few years, especially this season, shaking your head at some of the decisions being made by NASCAR and their driver and owner counsels? I have and even though some NASCAR insiders and media like to paint a rosy picture of the sport, we know if you’re being honest with yourself, it’s certainly not rosy. It’s not the end of the sport – but rosy it’s not.

Colin Cowherd, host of The Herd on FS1 mentioned a few weeks ago on air that in sports we need a Vice President of Common Sense – using several examples of poor decisions being made in the NBA and NFL. In his comments, he stresses “desperate people and desperate teams do desperate things.” This statement, which I’ll relate to NASCAR, is in my opinion the truth of what’s happening in the sport today – desperate people, doing desperate things.

Here’s an example…NASCAR had multiple years to secure a sponsor for the Cup Series. One month prior to the end of the 2016 season they still didn’t have a sponsor.  Desperate NASCAR did a desperate thing by signing Monster Energy just prior to the 2017 season – for what was reported less than half of the sponsorship money received from Sprint.

I’m not saying the Monster Energy deal is bad…actually they got a steal of a deal from desperate people. I’m saying NASCAR put themselves into a situation where Brian France admittedly said he made the sales call to secure the deal…in late 2016…meaning NASCAR had to make a deal – a desperate move to secure a sponsor.

Colin continued with his description of the VP of Common Sense position by saying, “I wouldn’t have him in the building. He would not work in the building. He would not be compromised by relationships.” He continued, “When you’re in the building you get compromised, you have friends, you get emotional, you overvalue your own people and you don’t take a deep breath,” ultimately this causes you not to make awesome deals or decisions.

With his comments in mind, which I agree, I’d like to expand this topic to NASCAR and examine weekly, their decisions and we’ll look ahead at those yet to be made. And yes, I’m self-appointing myself as the unofficial VP of Common Sense for NASCAR. I’m not compromised or funded by NASCAR. I’m not in their building or care if I have a relationship with an insider.  I’m not an autograph seeker or friends with the drivers. It should be an interesting ride and I hope we’ll get plenty of comments – because I want to hear from you too. Maybe together, our common sense can help improve a sport in need of improvement.

First, I want to address stage racing. After the NASCAR announcement introducing stage racing, in my column “NASCAR’s New Format is Points Racing on Steroids” I praised NASCAR for their out of the box thinking. My only problem was the give-a-way of points, which I believe ONLY the stage winners should be awarded points.

If 10 drivers receive points at the end of the stage – where is the incentive? If NASCAR truly wants to promote hard racing they would only give a stage winner the reward. But they can’t because it’s not about hard racing. It’s about making the drivers happy.

During the pre-race show at Atlanta, Darrell Waltrip speaking about stage racing said, “Without the stages you go home empty handed…it’s just no reward there. The drivers wanted something that would reward them for driving hard – trying to win those stages and not go home with nothing.”

But wait a minute! Have we been told the truth all of these years? I thought the drivers always raced hard – that’s what we’ve been told. Now they need stage points to reward them for hard driving? This doesn’t pass the smell test and I believe the current format will not encourage the drivers to race any harder than they did before. This is a silly attempt by the drivers to take and put points in their piggy banks.

Look, I’m a believer in hard work and being rewarded for your efforts. I believe in winners and losers. I’m not into tenure or participation trophies like so many are in our society. Unfortunately NASCAR has made the decision to follow, who I believe, is a loud minority wanting the sport to look more and more like today’s safe place society.

As the VP of Common Sense, I say the stage winners get the points and the losers get squat. Stop with the participation points for stage racing and let them fight for stage wins – period.

Encumbered Finish

Encumbered is the term NASCAR uses when a car wins the race but fails post-race inspection. Any other definition is an attempt to divert your attention away from the fact…a driver won the race but did it by breaking a rule.

We can debate any post-race rule for hours…in fact, we as fans would most likely end the debate by agreeing that NASCAR is too aggressive with their rules. But let’s be honest – if any rule is broken shouldn’t the win be stripped away and given to the second place finisher? That’s how life operates. If you win by breaking a rule, you forfeit the win. Just look to your local race track as the example or ask Lance Armstrong.

When you listen to ideas of how to penalize an encumbered finish you’ll hear insiders say take money – but this is easy, the winners have money and most likely budgeted for paying annual penalties. Some insiders say suspend the crew chief and take points away, but wait – they still win. That makes no sense.

As the VP of Common Sense, I say NASCAR should revisit the inspection rules and set better guidelines. Then after implementation take the win away from rule breakers – it’s the only way to stop it.

Quiet Cars

A report this week from the Sports Business Daily said “sources” tell them NASCAR is considering using quieter cars to “make it easier for fans to talk to each other during races and engage more socially.” Well…just when we thought we heard it all.

At first I thought it was a joke, but then I see major NASCAR media outlets picking up on the story and some who rarely give an opinion, are giving an opinion. Am I the only one to find this strange?

Honestly people, is this some asinine story thought up by some PR person buried within the bowels of NASCAR, to give the soft NASCAR media an opportunity to go against the sport? Seriously, it’s that idiotic of a story. One of the greatest aspects of the sport is the noise – I’m dumbfounded why NASCAR, if true, would even entertain this change.

If this is true, I proclaim this sport is in serious trouble. If this is true, NASCAR is without a doubt desperate and based on this story doing desperate things. But I don’t think it’s true – my gut tells me this fake news – to divert attention from a struggling Brian France, poor NASCAR decisions and to give the NASCAR paid media an opportunity to criticize an initiative that will never see the light of day.

As VP of Common Sense – I will not fall hook, line and sinker for a story this crazy.

Until next week, VP SOZ out!


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Want more SOZ? Check out his last column–> SHOULD DANICA AND NASCAR BE NERVOUS?

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  1. Joe Jacalone says:

    I am afraid you may be wrong about the crazy noise reduction idea. Yesterday on Are-U-Sirius-NASCAR radio, Mr. Moody was going berserk defending the idea of reducing noise form the cars. It is getting more and more crazy!

  2. Bill B says:

    I am with you on all three points Mike.
    The noise deal is the most ridiculous of them all. Is it too dark in a movie theater? Is it too loud at a rock concert? Is it too cold at an skating rink? If the answer is yes then you don’t belong there.

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