Friday, August 8, 2008

Road course to the Cup

When is Watkins Glen or Sonoma going to be included in the Chase? These orphaned races are plopped in the middle of the dog days of summer and little is thought of them. Sure, they’re not the most exciting races of the year, but they are an important part in NASCAR history and should be given greater importance in deciding the champion. The playoffs are already too bland right now with three 1.5-mile cookie cutter tracks. Here’s the current Chase tracks.

New Hampshire
Dover
Kansas
Talladega
Charlotte
Martinsville
Atlanta
Texas
Phoenix
Miami

It’s time to throw some spice in there and really get the full spectrum of tracks. Isn’t that what the Chase is all about anyway? The first task would be to toss out either Charlotte, Texas or Atlanta because they’re basically the same track. True, each has its own quirks, but they all require the same driving style. Axe one of those and insert the old school version of Sonoma: You know, the one with the hairpin corner before Bruton Smith reconfigured it to make it easier for the non-road racers.

And while we’re at it, why not toss in Michigan or Darlington? Could you imagine the diversity if NASCAR shook things up a bit? If I had my way – and we’ve known for a while I don’t – here’s what my Chase for the Cup would look like. Each would be challenging in its own way. And, more importantly, each would be different.

Darlington
Sonoma
New Hampshire
Talladega
Kansas
Martinsville
Michigan
Charlotte
Phoenix
Miami

2 comments:

Roger said...

I am not seeing the value of The Chase, other than create hype where none exists. NASCAR is trying to make two seasons out of one -- those reaching some milestone by some point in the season. I think it adds nothing to the outcome, despite so much talk. They added two more slots a couple of years ago, but to what end? Now, the Chase talk can be diluted for 12 drivers/teams, not just 10 as before.

By the time The Chase begins, there isn't much to wonder about for the top 10 teams, perhaps even the top 5, 6, or 8 teams. How much shuffling has there been in the top five during the years The Chase has been in effect? Any team down the list, say sixth and beyond, has little chance in reaching the top over the last set of races. The top few have solidified their position, and have some kind of race-within-a-race at the end of the season seems useless. It is just a gimmick.

Mike Jones said...

Gimmick is right, Roger. You could argue that by having two seasons out of one that NASCAR is actually putting less emphasis on the first 26 races. Honestly, does anyone really care about what Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhadt do these last few races before the chase? Of course not because they're locked in. If they don't win, it doesn't really matter if they finished second or 43rd. It has devalued the first half of the schedule and jumbled the standings to have a crapshoot for a championship.

The funny thing is, though, that Jeff Gordon would be a 6-time champion if we were in the old points format. It's a shame because he has proven to be one of the greatest drivers - if not THE greatest - in NASCAR history, even if the history books/stats won't show it.