Monday, December 12, 2016
Okay, I've been snowed in for the last couple of days with no race to fill the monotony so I've had a lot of time to think and here's what I've decided - when Brian France finally gives it up and names me Dictator of NASCAR, I'm going to make some radical changes for the sake of alleviating the suffering of those of us with NOD.
I'm going to break the Cup teams up into two divisions, call them Group A and Group B. Each group with have 25 teams and they'll each race every other weekend. The only weeks off will be Christmas week and the first week in January. The banquet will be held in Las Vegas on that week.
The first year, we'll draw straws to see who gets to start the season in Daytona. then after that Group A and Group B will take their turn by week. The next year, we'll switch who gets to begin the season so that every driver has the opportunity to drive in all the premiere races every other year - the Daytona 500, the Brickyard, the Coca Cola 600.
Each division can have its own All-Star Race. Maybe some week night, we'll have a 20-lap rubber match between the winners.
Each team will be in 23 races. The regular season will consist of 15 races, followed by a Chase of 8 races. The next-to-last race will pit the highest two scorers from each group against one another. The championship race will narrow it down to the highest two in points in each group.
Of course, this is more races than we have now, which is the point really, so avid NASCAR fans don't have to face more than two weeks in any year without a race.No more NOD! (I'm surprised NASCAR didn't think of this already if they really care about their fans!) So, naturally, we'll need more more tracks. I suggest adding Iowa to Cup's schedule and adding in another road course, perhaps Mid-America (though going back to Montreal would be even better). Maybe some of you have some other ideas.
To decide who is in Group A and Group B, we'll take the prior year and the champion would be the first team into Group A, then the runner up into Group B and so on down the line so each division would have an equal number of top teams versus small, less well-funded teams.
And we'll need more teams to make up 50. I will allow each owner to have 5 teams, provided their fifth driver has been in Cup less than five years. This will encourage team owners to create more slots for up and coming young drivers.
We should start a grant fund to help new teams who want to join NASCAR with seed money and sponsorship, just to give them an initial boost and expand the pool.
Cup drivers will only be allowed to race in the Camping World Truck or Xfinity series on their off-weeks.
Okay, my plan is almost perfected. I'll be ready by the time I get my opportunity.
Once that happens, NOD will be a thing of the past!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Some people don't like the present and dread the future. They yearn for things to be the way they used to be. Personally, I think they see the past through rose-colored glasses. There is no fantasy America where every family was like Father Knows Best. And the Golden Era of NASCAR (whenever you think that was), was no more golden than it is now.
I think NASCAR does its best to please its fans, its owners and its sponsors but, of course, it is impossible to please everyone. A fan has only two options, really. They can love the sport as it is or they can go find something they like better. Staying doesn't preclude bitching, that's is our constitutional right as fans. But the nonsense we read after practically every race about leaving NASCAR forever. Well, either put up or shut up and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
We were talking about this subject on NASCAR Nation this week. The very things I like (the Chase), others hated. The very things I don't like (the elimination part of the Chase) others thought were exciting. The group of us who were talking agreed on almost nothing, so there you go.
Of course, some things never change. Mr. Hendrick at the front table of the banquet is a sight we're used to seeing. Junior being the Most Popular Driver is another. But some things do inevitably change. Not following two of our greats, Jeff and Smoke, on the track is one big change.
So, what will the future bring to NASCAR in 2017? Well, we know the Sprint Cup Series will now be the Monster (Energy Drink) series. I don't drink any energy drink but I might have to buy a Monster now and then, even if I just pour it down the sink. The company has thrown in with NASCAR in a big way and that is thanks in no small part to Kyle Busch. They've gone from sponsoring a single Xfinity car to becoming the premiere series sponsor. That suggests they have great faith in the sport and what it will do for their brand.
It will be interesting to see what the new championship trophy will look like. Jimmie has to win his 8th championship now just so he can say he's won trophies under two different sponsors.
We know that Jack Roush will only field two cars in 2017. And didn't we all sort of see this coming? Roush fell on hard times a few years ago and just hasn't been able to pull themselves out of their slump. Sad to see. We know it's not for lack of trying on Jack's part. Biffle will be gone from the team. I don't know if he will land a spot or not. I've heard rumors but nothing for sure.
He might find a team to take him on for a few more years but face it, the future is beginning to look more and more like it will belong to the kids - Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman - they are already competitive in Cup and I expect them all to win races next year. And there are several more coming up through the ranks of the Truck Series and Xfinity. I won't try to name them all because I don't want to leave anyone out but any older driver who isn't looking over his shoulder, isn't facing reality.
Another rumor I've heard is that Dodge may be coming back to NASCAR and oh, I so hope they do. Their cars are beautiful and it would be great to have three American manufacturer's in the sport again.
It will be curious to see Clint Bowyer at Stewart-Haas in 2017. He sort of fell off the radar screen in 2016, which shows you how important it is to be part of a competitive team. He will be with one of the powerhouses next year. They made a seamless transition when Tony came on board and won championships early on. It will be fun to see if they can do the same when they give up Hendricks' engines and chassis and switch to Ford.
There hasn't been as much Silly Season talk as there is some years....just minor changes around the edges. Most drivers and crew chiefs seem to be staying put although we may have some surprises in store.