What is Good Racing?
What exactly is considered good racing? That seems like a simple question but lately, the line between good racing and bad racing in my eyes has become very cloudy. There is a problem with NASCAR today. You have 43 of the best drivers in the world run a near perfect race at Texas and Kansas with no major incidents racing far past break neck speed. We should all be impressed and yet, the races end and the Internet is immediately consumed with hate posts and articles bashing the race.
Yes, Texas got dull but you are going to have races like that. At Kansas, I can honestly say that I was never bored with it. I thought it was a fantastic race with plenty of action and I was shocked to see people complaining after the race.
What Kind of Fan Are You?
There is a question each fan has to ask themselves. Why did it get boring to you? Was it because there wasn't much side-by-side action or was it because cars weren't flying through the air with a brawl on the backstretch. I didn't like Texas because there wasn't much racing. At Kansas, there was plenty of side-by-side action and a great finish. So why were people so upset with the race? There can only be one other answer.
Sadly, a lot of fans today aren't happy unless they see a lot of wrecks and multiple cars destroyed. They aren't satisfied with good, hard, clean racing. Does everyone remember the Indycar race at Las Vegas last year? Be careful what you wish for people. Okay, I know that these NASCAR drivers are extremely safe and that something strange would have to happen for any of them to get hurt. I know you fans that just want to see wrecks don't want to see people get hurt and I'm not accusing you of that. I'm just saying, don't forget, these guys are going at very deadly speeds.
The Difference With NASCAR Fans Today
I don't see all the F1 fans complaining about their races. If F1 had a finish like Kansas then everyone would be going crazy. A caution in F1 is rare. A red flag happens once in a blue moon. So what is wrong, if anything with NASCAR fans? The racing is closer than it ever was back in the 70's and 80's and yet, fans are disappointed while back then they loved it. The answer is pretty simple actually. Fan expectations in NASCAR have dramatically changed.
In an age where you have access to virtually whatever you want whenever you want it, people get bored easy. We are used to constant stimulation of our eyes and ears and need things to happen or we will get disinterested fairly quickly no matter what it is. Talladega and Daytona are able to hold peoples attention because the whole field is on top of each other and something is always going on.
The fans of today need to hear Rick Allen yell trouble in turn four or see cars crashing into the wall in order to stay interested. Do I think this is right. No, but this is the world we live in. Now I know what most of you are thinking. "This is some 80 year old guy that is still living in the 1950's." Well actually, I'm an 18 year kid who uses his cell phone and Ipod as much as if not more than any other teenager.
What, if Anything Can be Done?
So, what should NASCAR do to make fans happy. Well, Bristol is being torn apart because there aren't 25 cautions a race anymore so apparently, they are listening to the fans that want wrecking. I liked the old Bristol too guys but this new Bristol has had good races. It just seems that we aren't judging races by the quality of the racing anymore. It seems that how good the race is determined by how much carnage and controversy there was.
I think NASCAR can do something though without turning itself into a demolition derby in order to please fans. Goodyear needs to have more degradation with their tires. There will be more racing and more comers and goers. That will make a lot of side-by-side racing and hopefully will please some of these disappointed fans.
The purists out there like myself are able to look past long green flag runs and are able to enjoy and appreciate the actual racing instead of just waiting for the next crash. This kind of caution-less racing also has to do with the tracks. We are racing on a bunch of large 100 foot wide tracks with plenty of room for error. You can't have good racing without a good track. Martinsville was a great race and still would of been even without that last yellow.
The next few races are Richmond, Talladega, Dover and the All-Star Race and all those tracks guarantee carnage. The casual, wreck-feast loving fans will stop complaining for now but this argument will come back again. Lastly, I just want to say enjoy the racing people and stop wishing for everybody to crash. That isn't fair to wish that on any driver and it isn't what a true fan would or should want.