NASCAR’S CHANGES BREAK WHAT NEEDS BREAKING

One man’s resolve is another man’s stubbornness. One company’s “Mustang” could become another company’s “Edsel.” There’s no guaranteeing an idea will work, but if there’s at least some rationale behind a change, why NOT try it? Like the businessman says in 12 Angry Men, “Let’s run it up the flagpole, and see who salutes it.”  

Concerning NASCAR’s points system, there’s no sense in getting all sacrosanct about a complex formula that was allowing far too many leaders to coast to a championship with a minimum of victories prior to the inception of the Chase. I remember watching a DVD of Dale Earnhardt’s victory at Talladega in 2000. There was eventual champion Bobby Labonte taking a Sunday cruise around the track, virtually invisible — in a multi-week racing version of the “prevent” defense. I’m not knocking the Labontes, the Kenseths and the Parsons of the world; they won fair and square. On the other hand, what if you think you can do better?  

I mean, I’m trying to sit here and come up with an effective argument to not go with the 43 to 1 scoring system, and I can’t think of one. It can’t be any worse than the fractional system they had for a while back in the early 70s. Seems from here, the “K.I.S.S.” principle has finally entered race scoring. 

As far as the Chase goes, I like the idea of two wild card entries based on wins outside tthe top 10. This eliminates one of my chief gripes with the Chase. I’ve always maintained that a driver with three wins and a lack of consistency was still having a better season than a driver who was consistently running top 15s with no wins. You get the best of both worlds — consistency AND winning. The one thing I wished they would do to make it better is offer some kind of reward for the points leader after 26 races. That SHOULD count for something.

Racing has enough of an element of luck in it without resorting to silly things like lotteries for qualifying order. I don’t know this was a “must-have” for race fans, but nonetheless, the changes made there at least offer some kind of reward for unloading a quality car, and using the practice speeds to set the field in the case of bad weather also seems fair enough.

Admittedly, NASCAR has had its share of “New Coke” moments over the years, but give them credit for this: they’re not afraid to try something new, and they’re not afraid to throw out something new if it truly isn’t working. Some of you will argue that’s not the case where the Chase and the CoT are concerned, but remember, those concepts, even if you think they were wrong-headed, were born out of an obvious need for change, and at least they’ve made a genuine effort to turn things in the right direction.

It’s better than Major League Baseball, where a blind eye was turned to the performance-enhancing deeds of an entire generation of players; or how about having one league where there’s a designated hitter for the pitcher, and then one where you still have the pitcher hitting?

You may say why make a change? I say, why not make a change- especially if the old way wasn’t great, or even original to begin with?