The past few seasons have been marred with knee jerk reactions to knee jerk fan reaction. Super speedway races bought us a two car draft which saw drivers go from 43rd to 1st in 2 laps, but that was “boring” because people didn’t wreck as badly. So what does NASCAR do?
Nothing, well that’s what they should do. Instead they did and have done everything possible to change the way the cars work in order to bring back a style of racing that is the perfect breeding ground for a major wreck or “The Big One”. This morning I even saw a sign on the Speed Network a fan had which read “Let’s go wreckin‘ boys.”
This idiotic way of thinking is sadly all too common. This weekend we witnessed a horrible accident in the Nationwide series where Eric McClure had to get cut out of his car and air lifted to a hospital. After the death of Dan Wheldon last year I’ve had enough with serious accidents causing these people to hurt themselves just so the promotions can sell more tickets.
“Pack Racing” is not safer for the drivers so why is it mandated? If anything in the age where NASCAR preaches driver safety the right thing to do would be to let the guys race in the two car system in order to retain safety. It’s not a hard thing to figure out but I’ll explain it anyway, if everyone is hurt, nobody is left to drive. That’s the very real risk we face each time the races which include “Pack Racing” start. Not only are the guys in danger their cars are overheating and the owners, many of who already struggle are losing more money on blown engines and new cars due to wrecks.
Bristol had low ticket sales and a race that was mediocre compared to previous years and the reaction was to change the track. Maybe it should be drop the ticket prices a little, or work with slightly out of town hotels to get lower rates that weekend since the ones in town won’t do it. But Bruton Smith’s job is to do what he feels he needs to do to his track to draw people in. He’s a promoter.
NASCAR has a job to keep their drivers safe. They’re not doing it by making the cars overheat when they try to drive away and get this WIN THE RACE. That’s what they are trying to do, but instead they want a giant pack where on the last lap anyone can win it as long as they’re on the lead lap. NASCAR has gone through natural stages of evolution, and the new cars bought new styles of racing at different tracks; the new version of cars will bring more changes. If NASCAR wants more viewers and better attendance then go to more a more diverse set of tracks.
Fans cry, and NASCAR reacts. It’s not a good pattern to set and in the case of super speedway racing it’s actually making the sport more dangerous. If the NFL hears that there’s too much passing they don’t make a rule limiting the amount of passes allowed per game, they do nothing! Why? Because they are a professional league that knows that fans will either get over it or they won’t, but they rarely change rules that don’t help safety and certainly don’t change rules because fans complained after one instance.
Eric McClure might be seriously injured, we still don’t know yet. However the chances of him getting seriously injured would have been dramatically reduced had NASCAR not changed the way the cars naturally race in order to try to please the fans, which surprise surprise weren’t really there on Saturday anyway. If your ratings drop so significantly that you can no longer sustain your company at the same rate that you did before then look for a change.
It’s time for NASCAR officials to stop listening to the fans before they end up sitting with the fans.