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Saturday, October 24, 2009

NASCAR should inspire competition

I know, I know. I haven't written anything for a while--not since the Fontana, CA or Charlotte, NC races. But I'm not just a NASCAR fan, I'm a writer too. I write when I'm inspired. And frankly, there just wasn't much to say about those two races. They were not only boring, but they were predictable. Those are two words that should never be uttered about a competitive endeavor like a race.

It is somewhat sad that two wins by the three-time champion doesn't invoke enough desire to write about the results of two consecutive races. But that is just the way it is. Blame it on Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson's crew chief.

Chad Knaus is perhaps too good at his job. He figures out just what Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy needs for optimum speed and handling. This allows Johnson to wheel it across the finish line while everyone else in the field struggles with the car's balance that ultimately affects its handling and thus its speed.

Perhaps it is Chad Knaus and the job he does that has contributed to NASCAR losing its luster. The empty seats at several tracks are not lost on the fans. And I doubt the only factor is the economy. Someone should do a study to determine how many NASCAR fans watch only the last 100 laps of a race. I bet the ratings would look better than for those who tune in for the entire event.

I personally don't want to miss one lap. I time bathroom trips to the commercials. And God knows there are enough of those--commercials, not bathroom trips.

Since the NASCAR-controlled COT (car of tomorrow) as it was called prior to today, came onto the scene full time, racing has lost some of its competitive edge that made it the most fun to watch. It is sad when fans have to rely on poorly designed tires, dangerous wrecks, or stupid rookie mistakes to make the races exciting.

The outcome of the races no longer seem to be reliant on the drivers, especially on the cookie-cutter tracks. Now they are reliant on who can tweak the COT the best. Knaus obviously wins that race hands down. But is it right?

This will likely not be the case this weekend at Martinsville, VA. Here, we will likely see a great race where drivers' skill comes into play, as it should.

I can't help but add that since Ryan Newman won the pole in qualifying Friday, I can't wait to tune in to watch every lap of this one.