“Fixing” NASCAR: No Easy Task

We’ve watched NASCAR races turn into parades around the track which end in a last 20 lap sprint to try to win. When guys bump each other on lap 5, there’s complaints. When guys don’t race hard to the finish and win on gas mileage, there’s complaining.

The lack of sponsorship opportunities has lead to drivers racing to keep steady in the points, not to win the race. There’s nothing that can be done about the economy, and the point system is fairly new. So what can be changed?

New cars next year will bring a change to racing overall. If the points gave more for wins, the drivers would race harder. Truck races are exciting every weekend, because they have to be. They don’t win, they don’t get money (well, significantly less). Recent Nationwide races have mirrored the lack of competitiveness in order to keep their car on the track and remain in the top 20.

The top 35 in owners points has to be abolished. Qualifying exemptions should be given out in a way that forces people to race harder to win, not just keep on the track each week.

NASCAR will continue to be the same parade until the end for a while. But, here’s the real question, is the race boring, or is it the TV coverage?

It has to be the TV coverage. If you’ve been to a live race, there’s passing almost every lap, just not in the top 10. Networks would make the race more exciting by showing cars racing close in the 25th spot rather than continually showing the 5 second gap from 1st to 3rd. Radio broadcasts of the race always sound exciting. They give the listener the most exciting action throughout the race so that the channel doesn’t turn.

Are some races boring in person? Of course they are. Would many of the races we deem boring be improved by less concentration on the leader and more on the action? Of course it would.

NASCAR cannot be fixed, the rules change too often to follow, sometimes even from week to week. Racing is exciting, but watching the parade in the front isn’t. It’s time networks focus on the action, rather than the star out front. 10 laps of coverage of 3 guys vying for 18th is better than 10 laps of the leader pulling away.

The easy way to fix the perception of NASCAR would be to use split screens, ticker messages, and announcers to their advantage and promote action.

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