Once the season starts, throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy.
If you haven't looked at a calendar, you've got two more NASCAR-free weekends. How scary is that? Pretty soon we're going to have cars on the track every weekend until Thanksgiving. Hope you're ready.
We solicited your reaction after reports of NASCAR's Chase changes emerged and now that those changes are official, it's time for more reaction. We got so much that many of the emails are edited to hit the key points. Let's get this party started.
@NickBromberg Winner take all last race is bad. You win 5 or 6 races, and it means NOTHING. So basically it's TV/Sponsor driven not fan.
— Chris (@AllMilitaryNews) January 30, 2014
In a winner-take-all playoff format, except for the Super Bowl and the Final Four, there's some sort of inherent advantage for the team that has had the better season. NASCAR has moved strictly to the Super Bowl and Final Four scenario.
With the Chase being the sample size it's been relative to the rest of the season, a champion hasn't had the opportunity to be exceptionally fluky. In this system, a driver can sneak into fourth before Homestead and voila, be winning the title.
The NEW way the champion will be determined, is like golf waiting for the last hole to decide who wins. In the old days the Champion was for racing hard all season. So what if the championship could be won before the last race. - L.
In this analogy, the current Chase would have been the last five holes of a golf tournament. And hey, golf now has the FedEx Cup which is a Chase-type system. And the NHRA has the Countdown. Side note: can you imagine NHRA settling the title with one weekend? Losing on a holeshot would be horrible.
Nascar’s decision to change the chase is absolutely ridiculous. Only ONE major sport is decided by a single, final event, and it goes by the name NFL. The new changes remind me of the movie BASEketball. How much more confusing can one sport’s qualifications for their “playoffs?” I picture poor DW sitting in the booth needing a shot of whiskey to keep himself sane trying to explain the rule changes to the viewers. No wait, that’s what I need to stay awake watching the races. - Armand
The problem with NASCAR is not the chase, it is the mile and a half ovals with no passing. It is the product. But, bury their heads they will. Not adding new tracks or raod courses to the chase. - Dean
Armand and Dean address the key point here. This is manufactured excitement. If the sport had organic excitement, or a good likelihood of organic excitement, then the manufactured excitement wouldn't be necessary.
It's going to be a situation that does have some short-term benefit for NASCAR. The series will likely see a ratings bump, especially for the last couple races. ESPN has to be happy about that in the last year of their contract. However, is it a bump that's sustainable? It's the ultimate question.
Right now, I'd lean to no. Simply because the on-track product hasn't changed. The format may have, but the format isn't going to make cars magically be able to pass each other or eliminate "aero push." Those are things NASCAR is addressing, but they're not as easily fixed than with a simple format change.
A driver could totally dominate a season, have 8-10 wins, then be taken out by someone with a grudge in the final race. Not the champ? Wow, that just sucks! - Steve
This is where I think the unwritten code of conduct comes into play. No one wants to be the guy who crashes his way to a title and no one wants to be the guy who ruins a title via a purposeful crash. There have been ample opportunities under the previous Chase and it hasn't happened. Why would it happen now?
The new chase formula is awful. A driver could win 5 races in the regular season and still be eliminated in the "chase" if he doesn't win a race in the 3 race section and is last in points. Even after having a BIG lead in the first 26 races. NASCAR is alienating its core fans. And will never have the popularity of the NFL. - Judy
Eliminations were already happening. If a driver was in the bottom quarter of the standings throughout the first three Chase races, a title was a longshot. You've got to avoid a bad finish or make up for it strongly right away.
Like the idea of an elimination process and the final race for the money. However, there is one line in there about Dale Jr. and how he could have been champion without winning. This is something that needs to be addressed and the potential eliminated from the process especially with the emphasis on winners being the ones in the contention to begin with. The field needs to be set at a maximum of sixteen with the possibility of sixteen different winners but if there are only twelve winners then the field should be limited to twelve. In every other sport out there, team and individual, championships are won by ( wow you guessed it) WINNING and the right to play for that championship comes by.... winning. I have never seen a winless team play a world series or super bowl or anything else and NASCAR should not be any different no matter how badly they want Jr. to win a cup title. - Charles
The ultimate irony is Junior's winless championship last year under this format. However, do you really think that it's for him? And it's also not an anti-Jimmie Johnson format either. If there's one NASCAR race to win it all, which team and driver are you taking? Yeah, you're choosing the No. 48. Don't lie.
First of all, I can understand all of the negative thoughts and comments on this change. There are some very valid arguments against this. In particular, the thought that a driver could have a dominant season ruined by a flat tire in the final race. That would suck. With that being said, I think this new format could be quite interesting. I don't want to sit through another boring chase.
I want to be able to look forward to an exciting end to the season. Isn't the point of racing to WIN? Isn't that why we watch? With this format, imperfect as it may be, winning is everything. Maybe not for every driver in every race, but every race will be important. - David
There's no guarantee that the Chase will be exciting, through the first nine races anyway. Will the final race be exciting? Hell yeah. But right now, it has that vibe of being a completely forced excitement, not an excitement that was around when Stewart and Edwards were battling in 2011. The 2011 feeling is what NASCAR wants. And what it's trying to guarantee every year. But the product needs to match it.
And who says every race wasn't important before? With the emergence of the Wild Card, drivers who had a win in 11th-20th had a shot at the Chase. It's not like it's completely different than it has been previously.
We have to end positively. And honestly, this column is a pretty accurate representation of the comments that came through via Twitter or email. I can count on one hand the number of positive reactions. NASCAR said that it's done its due diligence in researching the new format and that it received positive reaction. If the format and/or points end up changing at some point in the next five years, let's remember that.
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