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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Drama at Charlotte

This year's #NASCAR Chase for the Championship certainly does seem to be jam-packed with drama.

Saturday's night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which started out with a dud, certainly picked up during the night, and ended with a crescendo that has kept people talking. I wonder if those who watched Matt Kenseth do his ninja move on Brad Keselowski between the haulers even remembered the aggravation of missing the green flag.

Brad Keslowski before a race.
NASCAR driver Brad Keslowski. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bristol Motor Speedway August 2009
NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such a pathetic start to the race 
The fact that the beginning of the race wasn't seen by the millions of viewers when and where it was supposed to be broadcast, is inexcusable.

Race fans tuned into ABC which was airing a college football game. The race coverage started just as NASCAR instituted its first competition caution more than twenty laps into the race. NASCAR brass mouth off continuously about the fans, but the fans who were missing the start of the race were furious, and rightly so. For a sport that likes to reward consistency, NASCAR needs to rethink its own playbook.

Practically speaking, how does it benefit the viewing public to start a race that millions can't see? Oh, how I miss Speed TV! Fox Sports I and ESPN puts auto racing into the pot with every other sport known to man. It was so nice to be able to tune into the Speed Channel and know it was dedicated to what NASCAR fans cared about--racing!

This is the final year for ESPN, and there will be big changes next year, so hopefully, this kind of thing won't happen again. I just wonder how many NASCAR fans have been permanently lost by an inability to even figure out when a race will be run and where it can be viewed. The times and networks are all over the field, and are subject to change. Where is the consistency in that?

Then there is Race Day which is a great setup before a race, except whoever knows when it will be on and where to watch it. I used to be a dedicated Race Day fan, but no more. It just isn't worth the aggravation. Thank goodness for the internet. NASCAR.com has proven to be an invaluable tool for finding where the race will be broadcast. And even that can be cumbersome. There is always Twitter! Who isn't thankful for Twitter?

While on this subject of fans being able to watch the races, what about the fans who can't afford cable or satellite service, or who live in an area where those aren't available? I wonder how many of those fans have lost interest and won't return once a more reasonable schedule exists.

The ending may have made up for the pathetic beginning
The ending to Saturday's race was, at the very least, interesting. I have to wonder what made Brad Keselowski turn into some kind of mad man. I'm sure we don't know the whole story. We have seen Denny Hamlin ticked off, numerous times, but rarely does Matt Kenseth go after someone like that. And then there were the team members...Oh, I suppose this was just the boys having at it. Too bad NASCAR never really defined what that meant. If they really want to let 'the boys have at it,' why do they employ all those officials to stop them from going after one another. It isn't like they will fight to the death. But, perhaps some of these hot heads need their clocks cleaned once and for all. A couple thousand dollars in fines obviously doesn't have much of an effect.

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with violence. Nor do I even understand the need to retaliate or react in the way we saw Saturday night. I believe in keeping a cool head.

Perhaps that is why I am a Ryan Newman fan. Ryan isn't a hot head. He uses his head for problem solving, rather than intentionally destroying a 3,000 lb. race car or swinging his fists.

Speaking of Ryan Newman, how about that consistency
There is nothing I'd like more than to see Ryan Newman win a championship. Not only is he deserving, but the reaction that NASCAR would have to such an event would be priceless.

Ryan gets so little respect as it is. Personally, I think his intellect and sense of humor is way over their heads. If he were to become champion by the rules they set up, NASCAR would have to respect him. Pundits would have to interview him. Newman would be an excellent spokesperson for the sport he loves,. He'd be a great champion.