What Is Wrong With NASCAR From the Eyes of an Old Fart/Fan
By: Randy Myers
I want to start this piece by congratulating Ryan Preece because in a round-about way, he is the reason for my comments. More on Preece later.
Being an old fart with too much time on my hands, I spend way too much time looking at stories on Facebook, Jayski and countless other racing related sites about the demise of NASCAR and short track racing. Pundits, and I use that term loosely, have voiced their opinions in article after article, blog after blog and opinion after opinion. According to them NASCAR is on its last legs and may not last the decade.
I don't believe that for one minute so here is my opinion about what is wrong with our sport in two words. Jeff Gordon!
Of course I don't really blame Jeff Gordon for the problem. I just didn't want to say Brian France or NASCAR because that is what most of those posting comments say lies at the root of the problem. While Mr. France and his team do shoulder much of the responsibility, and they are certainly a big part of the problem, there is more than enough blame to go around.
Much of what I read concerns how NASCAR has lost its base by changing the rules and inventing gimmicks to create excitement. I do think the old point system that we old-timers grew up with is a better way to reward a team for their season-long efforts and while I am not a big fan of the Chase, that is not something that is a deal-breaker for me. So long as the competitors know what they are dealing with, it's ok by me. Same goes for "Lucky Dogs", wave-arounds and even stages. Those things were created by the product (racing) and NASCAR seems to react only to the problems created by the product. So fix the product!
The root cause of the problems with the racing has been created by the teams themselves. The hiring of the first engineer was the beginning of the end of old style racing. When the engineers started to find ways around the rule book, NASCAR became reactive instead of proactive. They had to have a team of lawyers to write the damn rule book and they are still rewriting rules today that were approved in January (can you say overtime line?). That's where we miss the iron fist of "Big Bill" and to a lesser degree, Bill, Jr.
Whether the blame lies with the current administration or not, it seems that their theory that everyone must have the same thing and be equally competitive, isn"t working out too well. I mean, the money teams still rule the roost so let's leave a little room for creativity in the rule book and fix the product. Get the damn cars off the ground and let's race. Owners and drivers can get their participation trophies elsewhere.
Stop listening to the team owners and the engineers. The owners would probably be able to cut their payroll by millions. And while we are on that subject, when I got my first NASCAR Rule Book, the list of NASCAR Officers took a few lines and now it takes a couple of pages. There are vice-presidents for positions that "Big Bill" couldn't dream up. Hacking a few of them off might save Brian a couple of hot dogs in the process and I can assure you, the product won't be any worse. It won't happen overnight but we didn't get to this point overnight either. Like Keselowski said, fix the car. The rest will take care of itself.
More on that in part 2.Â