Welcome to Warped Wednesday. On this, we'll put out the rush to judgment mat, go a little too far and have a little fun. Will it be funny? Sometimes. Will it be crazy and largely unbelievable? Probably. Will not everyone get it? Definitely.
One of the selling points of NASCAR has been that it's the only sport that has its major stars face each other every week. Yet, despite that, it has an All-Star Race. Isn't every race an all-star race?
Yes, the All-Star Race provides a nice, low-pressure break for the drivers and teams that traverse the country for 34 races a year. Having a third race in their backyards is a nice reward. But would an off-week be a better idea?
The prospect of $2 million to the winning team is nice too, but this is a multi-billion dollar industry. And sorry David Ragan, but it would be an absolute miracle if you and Front Row Motorsports won the race. It'll likely go to a team that has more resources.
Do we really need these contrived formats too? The running order leading into the mandatory pit stop before the final 10 lap sequence will be determined by average finishing position in the first three segments. Math can be hard for some folks; it will be fun to see people try to determine on their own who is going to line up where.
Why is it like that? Well, because Jimmie Johnson and company played last year's rules perfectly, winning the first segment and then laying back, carefully prepping the car for the final sprint to the finish. It was incredibly played, and well within the rules -- rules that were changed for this year.
But before I reminded you that Johnson won last year's race, could you have recalled his name immediately if I had asked you who won? Because of the glut of intermediate track races and night races (and intermediate track races at night!), the bright lights of the All-Star Race don't stand out as much. Well, maybe the driver introductions do, but that's because they're interminably long and not because they're enjoyable.
Maybe Saturday night will be epic. Maybe it will have a four-wide finish. Maybe we'll have a moment that takes our collective breath away and dominates the racing discussion leading up to Memorial Day weekend. Or maybe we'll have another race that's indistinguishable from the rest and becomes a distant memory as the summer rolls on. After all, these drivers will be facing each other (for points) 25 more times this season.