April 27, 2010 7:15 AM
by Micah Roberts
Stop those green/white checked flags
We’re nine races into the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and we’ve already seen five green-white-checkered finishes. If you are a betting person who does lots of hard work and analysis on finding the best car before wagering, you might be at the point right now where you’ve seen enough of the green-white-checkers already.
The finishes have been exciting thus far and maybe that is what America wants overall, but having a double-file restart putting everyone closer together for a mad dash, thus giving more candidates a chance to win a race that they likely wouldn’t have, isn’t what NASCAR should be.
Jeff Gordon has been a recent recipient of getting hosed by the new rules as he likely would have won races at Martinsville and Phoenix under the older rules, but under the current set up he gave way to Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.
In fact, we have all kinds of new rules made on a whim in an attempt to satisfy the fans, because this is what they want, or least that’s the line NASCAR is feeding us.
The reality is that NASCAR’s ratings are falling like never before and they’re trying to create more excitement. Its popularity rose to levels that may never be reached again, they peaked, and the windfall of all this is the advertising and network money which will be much less when the current contract expires.
If NASCAR can’t show increases in the ratings, why would network television increase their deal?
With all the new rules, the ratings haven’t increased. True, we’ve had rainouts and Monday races where the viewership is smaller, but overall, the ratings are not coming close to matching what they were in 2008.
Is it possible through all their attempts of, as they say, listening to the fans that they have really alienated some of their original core fans? Between changing the points system, double-file restarts, and at least three attempts to a green-white-checkered, NASCAR looks nothing like it did when the sport was peaking.
Most people like stability in life, with little change, especially with their sports.
This week we’re off to Richmond, Virginia for some old fashioned Southern racing where hopefully we get to see some of NASCAR’s new policies come into play regarding driver’s personality outbursts. We haven’t really seen any drivers mix it up yet, but the short track under the lights could bring out a few this week.
If we’re real lucky, we could see two of the best drivers on tour go at it. Despite being teammates, and despite Jeff Gordon owning Jimmie Johnson’s car, these two are getting after it. It looks like the rivalry was brewing for years, especially with Gordon. How can he just sit there and watch Johnson win all these races and not have any pent-up anger? The last two weeks at Texas and Talladega have brought it to the public forum and all love it.
Hopefully, this feud is the real deal and not something conjured up by NASCAR to create more ratings. But having teammates, a boss, and jealousy all intertwined in a feud is classic Hollywood soap opera stuff. I think I even saw that episode of "Dallas."
This week we’re going to take a strong look at all the top cars at Phoenix from a few weeks ago. Many of the crew chiefs that had success at Phoenix will be bringing the same chassis to Richmond this week.
Jimmie Johnson led the most laps at Phoenix and battled with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Juan Montoya. Ryan Newman ran a solid race, but won the final drag race with Gordon to win. I’ll look for Kyle to be the one racing strong at the end this week.