Parity…….Not These DaysBy Ron Fleshman
Want to know what’s killing NASCAR? Maybe is the lack of parity. It isn’t talked about much these days, but years ago it was a topic of conversation. If one team for one brand became dominant, the sanctioning body would step in to make thing equal. In those days, it was important to level the playing field for all brands. You see brand was important. I thought it had come full circle by now, but I was wrong.
Today, Chevrolets led 135 of the 160 laps in the race at Pocono Raceway. One team dominated and that was Hendrick Motorsports, who led more than 100 laps of the 135. In the end Hendrick finished 1-2 and Jimmie Johnson led another 40+ laps until his unfortunate brush with the wall. It’s almost like the HMS drivers have an unfair advantage. For the record, Ford drivers led 18 laps and Toyota driver led only nine laps.
The great argument is that the other teams need to catch up, and I’ve been a proponent of that argument, but from the start, it was obvious that Johnson was far superior to anyone else in the field. Once he was out of contention (and to note that he continued on to finish 13th when it was all over even after suffering much damage to his car), It was Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, not to mention Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who took up the company banner. Yes, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex led, but it was futile. The class of the field was the HMS cars. It was like they were only teasing Roush-Fenway, Richard Childress Racing, and the various Toyota teams.
Yes, the racing was good. Keselowski made a dynamic run to the front, but finished sixth. The battle between the 2012 champ and Kahne was entertaining, but in the end it was Hendrick vs. Hendrick. Even when Richard Petty won 27 races so long ago, there was a chance that your favorite drive might have a chance. That’s not the case anymore. Is that something that would encourage fans to come to races and watch on television? I think now.
Is there a solution? No, but it speaks volumes about the state of the sport when longtime fans turn the TV off or watch MLB when it becomes obvious what the outcome is going to be. It’s not parity, it’s more like domination. It is what it is. When Bill Elliott did it in 1985, it was said that it would surely end. And it did. I see no end to this now. And it is something that will go on for many years. I do think it has a lot to do with the lack of attendance. My only wish is that when the analysts continue to harp on why the sport and cite the economy, they might look at the competition. Of course they won’t.