Can I make a confession? I watched about 40 laps of the race, and packed it in for a nap and the NFL. I know this is journalistic sacrilege, but remember, in this role, I am a commentator and not a reporter. If you ask me, what I learned from that mid-race stretch told me all I needed to know about Sunday’s race at New Hampshire anyway.
You’d think a fierce battle featuring a five-time champion and a couple of young upstarts would be enough to keep a person glued to the screen, but there’s just not enough “there” there to make a person justify dedicating a Sunday afternoon to a full serving of it, especially when there are eight more races to go- some of which will offer the same bland fare as New Hampshire. It's a tough thing to admit to when you try to look at the positive side of things, but there comes a point you just have to be intellectually honest. Enough of this and it would turn Norman Vincent Peale into Oscar The Grouch.
Any fellow race who has known yours truly for any length of time knows that this is not a down-on-NASCAR-in-all-ways curmudgeon. There are tracks where the racing is good, the drivers offer up a variety of different backgrounds and personalities, enough to satisfy the needs of just about any race fan, and there is no problems in this opinion about the current point system. The problem is, it is, by NASCAR’s design, “playoff time.” It’s showtime, at least it’s supposed to be. The problem is that the fans are promised prime rib, and too often they get frozen pizza.
This race may have been halfway tolerable if it had not been for another borefest at Chicago. There’s mistake number one, an error compounded by a steady diet of tracks not known for spectacular races. Dover? Oh, they have moments, but not too many instant classics there. Texas? Oh, you just watch: “so and so” is catching up on the first place car and will pass him in about five laps; and then it happens. Talladega reminds me of the Civil War, hours of boredom followed by seconds of sheer terror!
Why for the love of Mike is there not a chase race at Bristol? Why is there not a chase race at a road course? A second date at Darlington? Sorry, I just opened an old wound there. A Cup race at Iowa? Build more seats! That’s no excuse for a track that has not ceased to deliver any less than an enjoyable night of racing.
Change the tracks, change the schedule, change the car, do something! There has been good racing this year, but the problem is not one of those times. NASCAR will never be the NFL,and the average fan gets that. What NASCAR can’t have is a product so devoid of real racing drama that turning sideways on the sofa, or turning the channel begins to look more attractive.
Dedicated fans will stick around and they will make NASCAR appointment television if given sufficient reasons to do so. There’s just too much else to do if it doesn’t measure. It’s hard to compete with what the Lions and Titans and the Raiders and the Steelers, when you have Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson boat racing the field with only a few dubious debris cautions to bunch up the field.
Some say “if you don’t like the racing, change the channel.” OK, I just voted with my remote yesterday and don’t regret it. Much more of this, and NASCAR may regret they didn’t listen sooner.
Other Stories by Jim McCoy include........
A New Chapter Begins In The Story of AJ Allmendinger
Ten Weeks Of Intrigue
Grubb The Game Changer
Jim McCoy is a radio and television sports reporter and producer in Southern Oregon, where he makes his home with his wife and three children. Jim is also a radio play-by-play announcer for high school football, baseball and basketball. He was recently named Oregon Association of Broadcasters 2012 Sports Announcer of The Year- Non-commercial Division