Sunday, October 12, 2014
Well, it's official.....I hate this format. I ask myself if I would feel the same if Jimmie and Junior weren't on the outside looking in with only Talladega to save them (Talladega!) and my answer is yes, I would.
Any time you have a championship play-off that probably won't include several of the top players from the entire year, that's a disappointment and I'd think that if it was Jeff and Joey and Kevin instead of Jimmie and Junior and Brad. (And please don't tell me - football, baseball, basketball - because I don't care about football, baseball and basketball and in fact, after last night's hour-long delay to start the race, I'm pretty pissed off at football!)
I'm fine with the Chase itself. Twenty-six races in the regular season is time enough for the cream to rise to the top. By its end, you can predict who most of the contenders will be because of how long they've performed at a superlative level. Then those drivers go on to a ten-race run. Once again, that's enough that more that likely one of the teams that have excelled all year, will end up winning. It does allow for someone to go on a tear at the last, like Tony Stewart did (but he had done well enough to be part of the twelve finalists). Even at that, I disliked how a driver could have one terrible race and be put out early on, as happened with Junior last year. Over all though, the old way, we got to see all the best cars compete to a conclusion that resulted in a worthy champion.
Not so with this new way of doing things. I don't care for "win and you're in". Just because they won a single race does not mean that the 43 and the 47 were in the same league as the rest as far as a possible championship was concerned. They were just placeholders to make up the 16-car field.
On the other hand, if your driver won a race early on, then the season lost much of its suspense and tension, which is what make sports so compelling. I watched all the races after Jimmie won the first time but surely not with intensity of knowing he needed to keep accumulating points to get in the Chase.
After next week we'll be down to four, determined by the crap shoot that is Talladega. And that may not include Brad, who has had a terrific year, and Junior and Jimmie and Matt, who were all always near the top of the points going into the Chase.
If there is any justice, of the teams that are in right now, those four should be Joey, Kevin, Jeff and Kyle but with only three deciding races, if any of them have bad luck, there won't be time to come back. It will simply be "too bad, so sad".
But heck, there were fights all over the place after Charlotte, thanks to drivers stressed to the max about possibly losing their chance to move on. And NASCAR fans love their fights...and if fans love them, then NASCAR loves them too (even if the sanctioning body does say, "tut tut" and give them a little slap on the wrist), so I expect we're stuck with this format.
And besides all that, Danica was running so well and then she got wrecked. And Kyle Larson drove up the lead until a caution shuffled him back. And a Sprint Cup driver (Keselowski) won the Nationwide race.
If I sound like I'm grumpy, I am. That's just how I feel this Sunday after Charlotte.