NASCAR is that one sport we have in America that has just as many pros as it has cons, but the cons unfortunately outweigh the pros. What it is going to take for NASCAR to grow a pair and make the right calls? What is it going to take for NASCAR to realize that their stupidity doesn’t bring more fans to the track? As a journalist, I’ve become increasingly frustrated making articles like these and seeing no action from Brian France. I tried very hard not to make this article, but my anger has taken control of me on this one. Brian France has taken action, but action that damages the reputation of the sport further.
It all started in 2004 when France took over as CEO and Chairman in NASCAR and created the Chase for the Cup. The goal for France was to create more “Game 7 moments” in the sport. NASCAR is a sport, but it’s not a sport like basketball, hockey, or football. Playoffs and auto racing just does not mix. The original Chase started with just 10 drivers and any drivers within 400 points of the leaders, but that never came close to happening. The closest to get to the -400 point margin was Jamie McMurray in 2004, who was 431 points behind then points leader Jeff Gordon.
As a result, France decided just to make the Chase a 12 man championship in 2007 with the addition of a seed system. The driver with the most wins would start the Chase with the points lead. And each win earned you 10 bonus points. For example, Jimmie Johnson had 6 wins coming into the Chase compared to Jeff Gordon’s four, so Johnson had a 20 point advantage entering the Chase in 2007. How unjust is this system? Jeff Gordon would have entered the final ten races with a 312 point advantage over Tony Stewart, but instead found himself trailing. Jimmie Johnson would have started the final ten races in 4th and back 410 points.
The system stayed the same until 2011 when France added the wildcard. The top-10 automatically get in, but the final two Chase drivers are determined by who has the most wins out of 11-20. France’s version of NASCAR is like one big government program that just doesn’t and will never work. NASCAR everybody to have a shot at winning the race. That is not a sport. That is welfare going 200 mph.
NASCAR should do the right thing and get the hell out of the way and let the teams do what they have to do to ensure success. Like in real life, the people who accept welfare from the federal government will never make it to the top. Therefore, teams like Front Row Motorsports and Tommy Baldwin Racing will always suck until NASCAR stops treating them like they are a bunch of imbeciles who can’t do things on their own. If you want a shot in NASCAR, you’re going to have to prove to me that you can race. As a result, the Drive for Diversity program needs to go. If you are Vietnamese and can really drive a race car, you’ll get the shot. You’re not going to race in the big leagues for me just because you are from another country or province.
And what about the inconsistency? NASCAR has been more familiar with that term in recent years and it’s well deserved. Brian France went on Fox News stating that Denny Hamlin was fined for criticizing the racing product, but you can always criticize NASCAR’s decisions. That has not always been the case and France knows that. In fact, it blew up in his face once again at Talladega. Ryan Newman CLEARLY criticized NASCAR’s decision to continue on with the race, but criticized NASCAR’s inability to keep the cars on the ground which CLEARLY implies the racing product. Therefore, Ryan Newman should have been fined under France’s explanation, but he was not.
As I stated before, NASCAR should allow teams to do what they have to do to make their cars go faster. Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski shouldn’t have been fined for what happened with their cars. Kenseth had a bigger penalty than Keselowski at first, but then later had his reduced even further than Keselowski’s at their respective appeals? What’s up with that? If you are going to do that then just don’t penalize them at all. I want this sport to survive, but at this rate we are facing some major cliffs.