Well, well, well- look what we have here, another scandal revolving around teams trying to gain track positions (equaling points) to make the Chase. If Ty Norris’ convo with Brian Vickers was enough to condemn Michael Waltrip Racing, then there’s little doubt the hammer is about to fall hard on the likes of Frank Kerr, Travis Geisler and the other players involved at Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing.
If Martin Truex Jr. gets docked points as a beneficiary of the chicanery, then a 50 point reduction is headed the way of Joey Logano, knocking him out of the Chase. Looks like Jeff Gordon is in after all.
Not only would that be welcome news for fans who feel the four-time champion got hosed, but it raises the underlying cause for all the on-track hanky-panky: trying to get in the Chase. With no Chase, there’s no deal making among back markers to help get a bubble boy into NASCAR’s “playoff.”
For a moment, we’ll forget in some vision of the future we have deal making that potentially alters a race outcome at the season finale to give one team an advantage over another. Before we assume eliminating the Chase is the silver bullet, that had better be considered.
With that said, the NASCAR Chase for the Championship is the “New Coke” of sports, something designed to attract a new fan base, but completely backfiring. Perhaps this gives the NASCAR brass- too proud to admit they goofed- an out. “Cheating teams made us do it” effectively speaking.
In the same way that harsh suspensions and penalties won’t completely end performance enhancing drug use in the stick and ball world, you will never completely do away with cheating in NASCAR, be it modified parts, or backroom deals. On the other hand, we have seen what the current Chase format has created, and you can bet you sweet petunias, it’s not the first time it’s happened either.
You have to imagine somewhere, a discussion is being had among powerful to put an end to the shenanigans we have just learned of this week. This has given NASCAR a big time black eye. They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. If you want to cut down on this kind of cheating, and if you want to extend an olive branch to a disaffected fan base, you get rid of this damnable pseudo-playoff system.