Was it truly, only a week ago last night that NASCAR held its famous press conference in which several new rules (and words) were set forth? Words such as "incentivize" "enhancement" and "segment racing"? Yep, it sure was although it seems like much longer than that.
I must admit that while listening to the "experts" and "know it alls" express their opinions, I was less than impressed. That was the old me disliking anything that is different from the racing with which I grew up. However, after a lengthy telephone conversation with my brother Richard, and emails and texts with several others, I began to see all of this from a different point of view. We want to be rid of "The Chase", right? It's gone. It's now being called what it really was all along although I never understood how stock car racing could have a "playoff". What my brother pointed out was that we would be seeing pretty much the same thing we used to cheer on at all the half-mile and quarter-mile tracks were we learned of the sport. Literally, two "heat races" and the main event, although NASCAR is now calling these "Stages 1 and 2" and then the race to the finish. I won't even try to go into the convoluted way points are going to be awarded for these stages and the overall race winner. In addition to all that, the Twin 150s in Daytona, soon to be on our TV, will award points for the first ten positions. Those points will count toward the playoff seeding. Again, I've never been good with math so I won't pretend to try to predict what it's going to take to make these playoff rounds, but the bottom line is that ONLY four guys will be running for the Championship at Homestead in November.
But wait!!! Hold the presses!!! There was a statement made that there is going to be a "regular season Champion" crowned after the first 26 races. Not quite sure I got the full details of that other than it appears to be an appeasement to fans not satisfied with the playoff winner. I am very interested to see how that works and how many extra points the regular season winner will receive toward the playoff championship.
Will the racing be better? As my brother said, racing for points in the segments should cease this running in the back most of the Daytona and Talladega races and may return to some really competitive racing. That remains to be seen, but I can definitely see that happening. That "win and you're in" rule is gone. It's now done all on points earned in several different ways. Overall, I think that is a good thing.
I also heard it said that putting the races in segments would give television viewers more green flag racing as the networks can schedule commercials in segment breaks. I have my doubts that NBC or FOX will buy that for a minute but we shall see. I do have a problem with the statement that this type racing is going to "enhance the fan experience at the track". I fail to see, under what circumstances, the "fan experience" is enhanced with the sole exception that fans may choose to make their concession and bathroom breaks during the segment separating yellow flags. Can you just imagine the lines?
I noticed all the folks on that panel sitting on the stage had these looks on their faces as if they were having gas pains and couldn't release the gas. Even steady Jeff Gordon appeared as though he was slightly drugged and trying to remember the lines he was supposed to say. I also thought it odd that the guy calling on the press for questions had his list of exactly who was going to be called and when. To me that seemed way out of line.
While we still face the ever changing and fluid rule making of NASCAR, depending upon what Brian France may deem appropriate today, I am looking forward to seeing that is going to happen in 2017. This is a new challenge for teams, drivers, and fans. All the rumors and backroom innuendoes I have heard since last Monday leave plenty of questions for all of us. I do think, however, that I am going to proceed on a positive note that this is going to be a unique season with different challenges and a different experience for all of us. "Give it a chance" has been repeated over and over by my acquaintances, friends (and probably some enemies too) and that is my position on it as well.
Excuse me now while I go compute how many points I earned for keeping this Legendtorial under two pages. Did that "enhance" your fan experience? I hope so. I strive to give fans my very best "on keyboard product". And, I do it all without the benefit of a Monster Energy drink.