Saturday’s All-Star Race was certainly entertaining; there were thrills and spills aplenty, and Joey Logano hunted down and passed Kyle Larson for the million dollar prize. It was also entertaining to watch the TV commentators try to make rhyme and reason out of the format. It was so convoluted, not even Bill Clinton could have spun his way out of the confusion.
Perhaps the most impressive thing this fan heard was something that Darrell Waltrip said that he actually agreed with: if you want a good race, let it be because of the racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. as much as said the same thing. Get the cars to where they will race well, and you don’t need the game show gimmicks. The funny part is that all the racers that tried to play the system (Jimmie Johnson sandbagging for position) ended up being victims of the system.
This is not to say yours truly faults NASCAR for trying to make for better racing. We haven’t had a memorable all-star race in years. This is supposed to be for the fans, and while all the prelims and the fan vote all add a little drama, the main event has largely been a bomb. This race was definitely memorable in a good sort of way with the finish the fans were treated to. The cars did their part.
All-Star events- no matter which sport you’re talking about- are a different breed of cat. The Pro Bowl more closely resembles a flag football game, the NBA All-Star game looks more like a Harlem Globetrotters performance, and the Major League Baseball All-Star game looks more like a glorified spring training workout. All have gimmicks of their own, so it’s not like NASCAR is out on that limb by themselves.
Which brings back to what we said earlier: if you build cars that will race, the rest will take care of itself as far as the racing goes. Do you wonder what the all-star race would have been like without all the other rules? The aerodynamic rules were right on the car, the tire compounds were right, so there were a few good things to take away from the all-star race.
At least we saw a good finish, and Kyle Larson almost gave us a Cinderella story for good measure. For that, I can at least walk away feeling like some good racing after spraining my brain for most of the night trying to figure out what the heck was going on.
For NASCAR, it’s back to the drawing board.