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Sunday, August 7, 2016

NASCAR running on fumes

What has happened to racing?

Truth is, the races this year have not inspired a great enthusiasm for me. I'm apparently not the only one, since the stands seem less than filled at so many of the various tracks. The writing is on the wall, NASCAR. There had better be some changes made or this uninspired enthusiasm will just fade into complete oblivion. So many who have watched racing for years now find better things to do on Sunday afternoon.

Some of us have even taken to dozing during races that are sometimes just tedious. There is no way drivers can be on the edge for 500 miles. Often times, the only laps worth watching are those in the beginning and those at the end.

Races are just not as exciting as they used to be because so seldom do they even resemble races. With so much being dictated by NASCAR, race cars equalized, and racing manipulated, the outcome of races have just become predictable. That doesn't make for a good show, not that racing should even be a show. Perhaps that is where you miss the point. A good race is something folks want to watch. Racing is a spectator sport, not an entertainment venue. And, shouldn't it be somewhat affordable? Should there be commercials every few minutes? NASCAR is a commercial, with the cars covered in decals, drivers wearing fire suits with brand labels, and announcers decrying filling up with Sunoco fuel and driving on their Goodyears, like there is any other. The marketing insanity is becoming annoying.

We all have our favorite drivers, and we like to see them compete with one another, using their driving skills. When all the cars are carbon copies of NASCAR's idea of perfection, drivers have much less to do with it than they should. Oh, they still have to give it their all, and sometimes, they do come up with some genius moves, but it is mostly all about strategy--managing tires, fuel mileage, or which team can spend the most money on creative engineering hoping they won't get caught.

And why all the rules? More than once I've shook my head, wondering what the heck just happened and why? There needs to be some simplification. When someone has to explain why things happen on the track, it loses a little luster for fans trying to follow the action. For that matter, announcers with their favorite drivers who totally ignore others on the track really is annoying.

Why can't a driver go a little quicker on pit road to make it out first?

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned racing, the kind where the race was in the drivers' hands?

What would it be like to watch the best in the world race stock cars again--cars sold by dealerships all across the country, tweaked by the best mechanics and engineers. Imagine using a Firestone, Hoosier, or Bridgestone tire for a change.

Maybe the first thing that should happen is NASCAR should change its name, since there is nothing stock about NASCAR at all.