Jimmie Johnson Is Right About NASCAR Rulebook



Did you hear what Jimmie Johnson said the other night? The seven-time champion says the NASCAR rulebook is “too damn thick.” Some say he’s been a beneficiary. So if you think about that- and you buy it- then it’s quite an admission.

From Johnson’s point of view, the problem is everyone is running the same speed. Think about it: when was the last time one car just lambasted the field? We’re not talking about 3-4 seconds, we’re talking one car on the lead lap fast! It’s been a long time. A very long time.

Do we really want that? Not every race. If Alabama spanked the NCAA every single year, we’d hate it. As good as they are, a Clemson or an Auburn sneaks in. No one dominates forever, and don’t we get the idea that if someone is THAT GOOD, either they’ve truly earned it, or they cheated. Sooner or later cheaters get caught.

Competition aside, what would happen if the NASCAR rulebook had less in it? The thing that was cool about NASCAR back in the day is to see what innovations the Pettys, Junior Johnson or Smokey Yunick would come up with. From that era came innovation from the teams.

As it is now, it’s like racing go-karts at the local amusement center. If the driver is clever, he or she will parlay an advantage into a win. Otherwise, except for a crappy kart or two, everyone’s all jammed together if the drivers are decent. Give the teams some latitude and it could be a lot of fun, especially for the gearheads.

Shouldn’t racing be simple? The fastest and/or the most durable win. The NASCAR rulebook in it’s current form throw too many wrenches in the works….literally. It’s not hard to understand the logic behind them, but a lot of the rules aren’t easy to understand. The condition is exacerbated but the fact they seem to change constantly. Only a diehard could keep up with the ever changing NASCAR rulebook.

We can’t take the car back to NASCAR’s heyday. You can’t roll back innovation. You can, however, make things simpler, loosen them up, and see what happens.

It’s an idea worthy of consideration.