So Where Does NASCAR Go From Here?

With all the hype leading into this final race we certainly had an exciting finish. Who wasn’t on edge after Denny Hamlin spun, Jimmie Johnson’s crew (continually) screwed up, and Kevin Harvick got caught speeding on pit road? I was on the edge of my seat until the final laps.

And so after 36 races and thousands of miles we have our 2010 champion – the same champion we had in 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006. This is an accomplishment Jimmie Johnson and his crew should be proud of and something we all should be celebrating. But I suspect most of us aren’t.

The fact is, despite the hype, that end was kind of deflating.

I struggled after the race to find a way to think about this positively. It really is an extraordinary thing. But the truth is, I wasn’t really all that excited about it. The only thing I could think was, “NASCAR and ESPN thought the ratings were bad this season.”

I can’t tell you, over the past two and half years, how many people have e-mailed or commented at their waning interest in the sport over the #48′s dominance. I fear this will only make that worse. And I can’t really blame people – I’m getting bored. I say this too feeling bad for thinking Jimmie’s success is hurting the sport, but I honestly believe it is.

While they would never admit it, I think the folks at NASCAR see it too. The changes to the points that they’re considering have got to be, to some extent, as a result of what he’s been able to do – and even with today, we had a different path, but the exact same result.

I write this with no ill will toward Jimmie Johnson. I think Jimmie is a great guy and I think he and the #48 team are to be commended for all of their success. But this isn’t good for this sport. That said, I’m just not sure there is anything NASCAR or Jimmie’s fellow competitors can do about it.

With that, we’ll be off for the next week taking a little vacation (we’ll be moderating comments though). Check back next Monday for a new TNI post and our off-season schedule. We hope you all have safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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48 Responses to “So Where Does NASCAR Go From Here?”

  1. Doug in CA says:

    It’s a bit early to weigh in, but I have to say two things: first, I applaud the 48 team – they have done the job again and have proved their greatness. When the chance to beat them came, Harvick and Hamlin both hiccupped. Harvick had his penalty, Hamlin got too close to Biffle. (Sorry, Hamlin fans, that was at LEAST 50% Hamlin’s fault.)

    Second, screw the TV ratings and the empty seats. This has been a terrific season. Great racing, great chase (I hate to say it) and some great stories. From the drama at RPM to the crew swaps at Hendrick and RCR, the story of Kahne’s future, the journeys of Danica Patrick and Ricky Carmichael, the championship run of Todd Bodine, the all-around brilliance of Kyle Busch, owner/driver/jerk, and the future of Trevor Bayne: stories that have made this a great year, and stories that will have me anxiously waiting for Speed Weeks in February!

    Third, to TC and Journo: thanks, guys. It’s been a great year.

    Fourth, to Neon, Doug (the other one), Craig, Keith, and all of the other posters here at TNI: you guys keep me coming back every day to see what’s going on. As the drivers say, thanks to the fans – you make it all worth it!

    I’m a NASCAR fan and proud of it.

  2. Joe says:

    here’s a photo from the that’s racing site that totally sums it up:

    Jimmie holding trophy and nobody in the stands.

  3. John says:

    Really you think the main issue is JJ dominance
    Cant see the trees because of the forest
    Please lets be honest here, the fact is Brian France took
    the old Nascar and turned into what we have today.
    The old fans feel alienated sick of all the changes and have stop caring.

  4. Tad says:

    well, i’m certainly losing (have lost) interest! i was a fan of Jimmy’s (ALWAYS a fan of Jeff’s!), but this is rediculous!
    so, i have several questions: do you think NASCAR might go back to the old points system where the whole year counts? (they stole at least one championship from Gordon with this Chase thing), alter the way points are gained, or, seeing as how this was supposed to be a type of ‘play off’, take the rest of the field out of the racing once the Chase starts…so it might have more of a ‘play off’ feel?
    will Jeff’s pit crew get rings (and a part of the monetary split) for the championship win or only the original 48 crew? it WAS the 24′s crew that got them to the end!
    and, finally, even tho Jeff is half owner of the 48 car, how do you see the dynamics between Jimmy and Jeff in the future?
    i think we have seen Jeff about fed up with the “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy’ thing, and rightfully so, and with the conflicts between them this season and lack of acknowledgement from Jimmy to Jeff, do you think that relationship is more strained than what they are showing the public? i can’t blame Jeff if they are!
    Thanks for everything, guys! GREAT JOB! enjoy your well earned time off. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. john hickson says:

    you got it right.watching the same guy win it every year is sucking the life out of the sport.i’m not hating on jimmie because i loved watching lance win 7 straight tours but this is different.Maybe its because i was a nascar fan for a long time with the old points system and the chase just seems like a much longer do we have to watch the 48 ride around in the summer,not trying to win but trying stuff ,preparing for the chase instead of…… what they do.race hard the first 8-10 races,get firmly in the top 12 then every sunday is a test session,thats not what i spend my ticket money to see.see ya in daytona

  6. P.J. says:

    I lost my intrest 10 years ago I would not have missed a practice, a watched daily read everything I could ,but now I could care less.

  7. kathycalculates says:

    As much as I admire the 48 team, I was truly hoping for a Harvick or Hamlin win yesterday and could not share in the excitement Johnson was displaying at the end of the race. Having said that, I really enjoyed the race and the fact that there were three different people who could have walked off with the Championship.

  8. Mike says:

    I’m a big 48 fan and have been since he started his first year in Cup racing. I’ll be honest, the ending yesterday was more of a “Cool, they did it again.” feeling than a “Hell Yeah!”

    I think I’ll feel more satisfied if they have to really struggle and claw their way to the next one. And there will be a next one. : )

    I would have also liked the TV peoples to talk about the rookie of the year award. I haven’t heard a thing about it. Was an award even given this year? You wouldn’t know from just watching TV.

  9. Joe from Pittsburgh says:

    Seeing as am one of those fans that quit watching a few years back but still follow the sport on web sites such as this,allow me to point out that although interest,attendance,and TV ratings will surely fall some more (which is seemingly harder to do each year),just think of the increased hits for your web sites! Surely Brian France must be happy for that since “all those fans get their NASCAR info from other platforms” !!!! Enjoy the offseason (or should I say enjoy the breaks between Jimmies’s titles). I look forward to 2011 and another year of just reading about what used to be a fine sport!! Cheers!

  10. Justin Childs says:

    If it was’t for the chase there would not be a 5 time winner. Johnson is the winner of a 10 race schedule and Harvick is the winner of a 26 race schedule. Who has accomplished more? If they took a vote from the fans the race to the chase would be gone.

  11. Rick says:

    It is a shame,In this country,When being a winner is a bad thing.I like the fact that Jimmie,Chad and their team are winners.Congrats on this win and many more to come.Got five,Go for six!

  12. graceann says:

    I agree with you on this one. I was really let down yesterday. I was pulling for both Harvick & Hamlin. LOL That’s pretty sad. I guess what the #48 team has done should amaze me, being a die-hard NASCAR fan but it just leaves me feeling like walking away. Although I know I won’t. I can say I don’t watch as much as I used to. The DVR comes in quite handy & if I know JJ has won before I watch I don’t bother. Sad!

  13. wendal of the north woods says:

    NASCAR ranks right up there with the WWF. It looks good, but everyone knows it is fake.

  14. Zieke says:

    My waning interest from NASCAR doesn’t come from JJ winning the 5 championships. Heck, Gordon won 4, Earnhardt won 7. But it won’t last forever. JJ is at the top of his game, and that is very commendable. I have lost some interest because of the lousy TV broadcasts (mostly) and NASCAR’s making the cars “cookie cutter” racers. F-1 doesn’t do that, and their sport is as healthy as most. Neither does the NFL. A little variety in the cars would greatly help.

  15. Craig says:

    I don’t know what NASCAR can do, or what they’re willing to do. If you ask most fans they would probably want the Chase gone and a revamped driver’s point system (looking at the F-1 and Indy points systems as potential models). It sounds like B. France and co. are out of touch, and it looks like we are at least getting 15 drivers and a second points reset in the Chase next year. Both changes are just horrible: most people believe 12 drivers is too many and if we think the regular season champ gets hosed now, imaging a guy with a 100 points lead and 2 to go getting the reset.

    Congrats to Jimmie, he is the perfected version of Jeff Gordon. It always seems when he needs a break in the Chase he gets it. This year it was fuel mileage at Phoenix/the Hamlin choke. He won’t go away unless Chad decides to channel Ray Evernham and leaves, or they get rid of the Chase and let us see if he can win under he old system. Looking forward to 2011, I’m headed to the Daytona 500 for the first time.

  16. End of the season – I bid NASCAR farewell – I will NOT be watching next year – First of all, I am a fan of MANY drivers, but the BS speeding call on Harvick, and NOT the OTHER CARS WITH HIM, DOING THE SAME SPEED – welcome to the WWF of Racing.

  17. steve says:

    “waning interest in the sport over the #48′s dominance”

    I think that’s more a symptom than the underlying cause. People watch racing (as they do with any sport) because they want excitement. In racing, excitement from (not necessarily in order): big crashes, fights between drivers and/or crew, suspense in the outcome of the individual race as well as the overall championship, watching their favorite driver win and whatever else it is that causes viewers to sit on the edge of their seat.

    And right now, there aren’t enough of these ‘watercooler’ events. JJ seemingly winning all of the races doesn’t help, but it isn’t the only thing and would be less of a problem if there was more going on and off the track on any given weekend. In fact, I’d reckon JR losing every week hurts the sport more than JJ winning 5 in a row.

  18. steve says:

    And I forgot to mention, how cool would it have been if ESPN had known of and followed Logano as he went after Montoya? If they covered it all, I missed it, didn’t learn about it until reading the web this morning. Lots of little subplots can sure help the overall production.

  19. JT says:

    Funny, but I watched the entire Homestead qualifying. When the field was set with Johnson near the front, Harvick in the middle of the pack and Hamlin mired back with the start-and-park crowd, I had a sinking feeling that the die was cast for another Johnson win.

    Predictably, Johnson had the simpler mission of just having to run a clean race. Harvick was just too far back in the (chase) points to win. And after qualifying poorly, I was not surprised to see Hamlin find the grass trying to race his way up to the front.

    I really did not have a favorite, although it would have been nice to see a rising star like Hamlin get his first Cup. But what could of happened, did. So, congrats to the Champ!

  20. Carrie says:

    So, Journo, how about getting your butts in gear and actually doing your jobs and beating the #48? Everyone (other drivers, crew members, team owners) wants to claim that the #48 kicking the stuffing out of other teams is bad for the sport and, yet, none of you are doing anything to stop him.

    Hell, Hamlin had it well in hand until he choked. Same with Harvick. God, it’s such an American thing, isn’t it? Instead of telling off someone for not doing their job, people get mad at the guy who is doing his. It’s pathetic.

    Hell, I’m bored and I’m a #48 fan. But you know why I’m bored? No freakin’ competition because no one wants to shut up and put up.

    The fact that Harvick & Hamlin were still jawing at each other while Jimmie & Co. were celebrating their fifth consecutive title was pretty telling about what’s wrong with the sport and it’s not Jimmie or the #48.

  21. windowlicker says:

    I am in no way comparing NASCAR to professional wrestling (as others have on here) but listening to Brian France on the pre-race Speed Channel show & his speech at the trophy presentation, I just couldn’t get Vince McMahon out of my mind. I haven’t heard France speak a lot & like I said, I’m not at all trying to imply that NASCAR is scripted, but these two guys really reminded me of each other. Just an observation.

  22. windowlicker says:

    I just read Tad’s comment (#4) & realized that I didn’t see Jeff up on the stage during the trophy presentation. Rick Hendrick was there. Why wasn’t Jeff I wonder?

  23. John says:

    If NA$CAR thinks 2010 was a bad year wait until they see what happens next year! This self inflicted apathy is here and what happened yesterday just sucked what remaining interest there was out of the few remaining fans they had.

  24. Pamala says:

    Is it just that people are angry their guys aren’t half as good as Jimmie? I mean seriously, I honestly don’t care who wins the championship. I watch the race, follow my favorite driver, and if he happens to win that’s just a perk on the side of the coolness of the racing. I think it’s sad the people get bored if their guy isn’t winning. I think it’s great and shows you how great Jimmie is that he’s won so much. He’s the only person I truly believe can touch Dale Earnhardt in any sort of manner. What’s the problem with having someone truly great in the sport?

  25. benny says:

    first of all congrats to the 48 team, they got the job done . . .

    harvick was to far away in the points and hamlin simply blowed away a good points lead.

    it makes me feel that the 48 is just that good.
    they have to build cars like anyone else and they have to practice, qualify and race than all the other teams and the 48 do it better than them

    jorno, t c, thank you very much for your work suring the season and take a much deserved vacation

    happy thanksgiving to everyone

  26. Kevin says:

    Jimmie Johnson will win #6 in 2011. There, I said it. Bush owns/drives Trucks & Nationwide. Harvick as well. Hamlin drives Nationwide also. Johnson drives Cup, only Cup.

  27. Ross says:

    They’ll do what other sports have done to break up dynasties and ensure parity: Salary caps (or the equivalent of for NASCAR.)

  28. jamie says:


    there is a vast difference between vince mcmahon and brian france. both stand there and lie to you right in your face. but vince informed you years ago he was lying. france and helton lie and expect you to believe them.

    this was actually the first cup race i watched all year start to finish. i never go out of my way to watch a race. i listen to sirius speedway replays every night. if i missed something, it will be brought up on the show and if i desire i can seek it out on youtube.

  29. Ryan says:

    I’ve become intrigued by the new rules for IndyCar….could that series finally make a comeback? History repeats itself, open wheel racing will become relevant again in a few years, NASCAR will become irrelevant, except to the Southeast. Then, the cycle will repeat, just like history.

  30. Bryan says:

    PLEASE GET RID OF THE CHASE!!!!! This is a made for TV points system. While I applaud JJ and Chad Knaus for what they’ve done, I can’t look at these championships the same way I look at the championships that drivers like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and all of the other pre-chase drivers have won.

    Had we been under the old points system, Kevin Harvick would be the champion right now. Yes, he may have clinched the championship at Phoenix or been in a position where all he had to do was take the green flag, but I think that would have been better for NASCAR than Jimmy winning a 5th championship.

    I really hope that someone will get in Brian France’s ear and make him realize that the chase is a flop. I get the impression, though, that he’s way too cocky and arrogant to admit that “his baby” was a mistake. On the other hand, he did allow the change from the wing back to the spoiler after saying in the beginning that the COT wouldn’t change. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  31. Savannah says:

    I became a disgusted fan after the third Jimmie Johnson championship. Yes, it is an accomplishment for a person to win five championships in a row. However, watching a race has started to resemble watching paint dry… you know that the same team will win.

    What would happen if there were three different types of race tracks chosen for a playoff type of race for only Chase drivers? Only Chase drivers would be eligible to be in the field and the races would be impound races. To bring consistency, NASCAR would supply the 12 cars for the race and all would be set-up the same way, similar to the IROC races. Then, the playoff would be more about driver talent than sitting at the rear of the field playing it safe. As a fan, I would not miss one of these races!

  32. Jonathan says:

    Well I have to say last night the party didnt stop till 2am! We were partying and showing some love for JJ! Im not a big JJ fan but man was I happy last night maybe cause I hate Denny and Kevin but you have to respect what Jimmie is doing! Yesterday was history in the making and if you didnt like that race you just flat out dont like Nascar! Did you see how packed the stands were and yes that pic of JJ holding the trophy is about 30 minutes after the race and yes most have left by then…. Unless maybe Dale Jr wins a title the stands will look like that after a race!!!! Awsome Awsome AWSOME season this year wow is all I have to say! Theres nothing like Nascar and if you think different go ahead go watch men tackling each other in tights, grown men hitting a ball with a stick, or even monkeys throw a ball in a basket sounds like some great sports to me! HA Nascar love so pround to be a Nascar FAN 2011 here we come

  33. Dan says:

    Is it just me, or does Jimmy get an asterisk with this win? The whole switch of pit crews doesn’t sit well with me, especially in the middle of the race. This wasn’t like bringing in someone off the bench. It’s bringing in the lineup from another team. Imagine the Yankees bringing in another team’s bullpen after the 3rd game of the World Series. Just because they have the same owner doesn’t excuse it. You are a race team. You race as a team. You win as a team. You lose as a team. The 48 team did not win the championship. The 48 team and the 24 team together won the championship. It should be against the rules.

  34. Neon says:

    OK so the #48 won the Chase and the Cup….again. Hats off to them for getting the job done and all that.

    But really folks, do we really need to lose any sleep over who wins, or doesn’t, win the Cup?

    Now, your probably thinking “isn’t that why we watch these races anyhow?” I’m confused, right?

    The Champ may get a $5+mil bonus after its over and sit on stage, but all of us fans should really get excited about is the competition actually on-the-track starting at Daytona and ending at Homestead. I get much more excited about the racing action at Daytona, Darlington, Martinsville, Richmond and of course the road courses than I do about the Cup and the last day.

    Unless the day comes where the newly crowned Champ cuts me a personal check for a portion of his winfall, I care only a little bit who wins the Cup. The races are more fun….sometimes!

    Oh and btw, Denny choked and then tried to blame Biffle for doing nothing. And what was up w/ Mike Ford not actually fixing the splitter properly for fear of losing track position in the first (what?) quarter of the race? With all of the free lap back handouts NASCAR awards nowadays, you’re crazy for not getting your piece right for a run when it counts 2 hours later.

    How about the #9 car yesterday? Not bad for a team on the ropes.

    Thanks Batman and Robin for another fun TNI season!

  35. Ric says:

    Personally I like the chase. I think over all it is doing what NASCAR / France / Etc intended it to do, group the top drivers up and make the ending races a little more exciting. Yes Johnson ran away with it a few years, but those years were still not as a big as an advantage in the pre-chase years.

    Yes JJ is only doing well enough in the first part of the season to get them up there in points, then experimenting with other setups that might help them later in the Chase races. And there is a rule against this? None that I know of!! SO what your complaining about is that your team is not smart enough to have figured this out! Granted they are not trying to win every race (some of you should be happy about that), but here is a news flash for you, many /most teams put more effort into doing better in some races than in other races for various reasons.

    You can not compare the pre-chase points to the chase points. The whole strategy is going to be different. Teams may / may not take chances because of where they are at in the points. They may take no tires / two tires / 4 tires / not pit. If you are going to compare old irreverent point systems, then lets compare the points system like they had back in 1950’s. Then we can compare apples to oranges to lemons. Might as well have a fruit basket.

    As much as the media is better then 10-20-30 years ago, there is still a lot to be desired. Where was the coverage of Logano taking out Montoya during a YELLOW. Where was the coverage of them in the garage. I first thought I missed it (my fault) then I find out NOTHING was said / shown about it. I can see nothing was caught on camera, but the announcers said nothing. The cameras could have caught some things in the garage, but there was nothing. 2 main drivers are now out of the race and NOTHING is said!! I’m sorry but that is the media’s fault, period.

    OK I will get off my soap box.

  36. Tod says:

    Im not a huge 48 fan, but not a hater either. I think what we have now is more a product of the COT, which sucks, and the chase, which also sucks. I started watching Nascar in the early 80′s, and yes I remember plenty of races where there were just a few cars on the lead lap at the end, but, the cars that were on the lead lap were racing hard for the win. Nowadays, whichever car is out front, either by a restart or pit stops, simply drives away from the rest of the field and cars behind cant catch up, no matter who is behind the wheel, and that is boring. Nascar needs to forget the “spec race cars”and get some manufacturer individuality back.

  37. Woogeroo says:

    NASCAR can tweak all they want… then Chad, Jimmie and crew will gather around the table and start plotting and planning.

    I’m not a Jimmie Johnson fan… but I’m glad he drives a Chevy.

    He gets up on the wheel… when they screw up, when he screws up… he doesn’t go all to pieces… he keeps digging. He tells ‘em what the car is doing… they do everything they can to adjust on it… he drives it sideways, he drives it wrecked… he keeps at it.

    They are the package… he is what Darrell Waltrip might have been had he stayed with Junior Johnson a few more seasons… or… for that matter if Cale Yarbrough had stuck around.

    Junior Johnson always said that if him and Bobby Allison coulda seen more eye to eye there is no telling how many races they woulda won.

    They got that chemistry… they do not take it for granted. Chad has no qualms dropping folks who are not getting it done. On race day or in the shop, as I understand it.

    They want to win and they don’t mind working hard to go fast and faster.

    The only thing that is going to stop them is for the rest of the field to take their man pills and get after it.

    I think Denny mighta had a shot but I think he pushed himself too hard, too fast and around she went.

    That’s racin’.

    Congrats to Jimmie and the 48… ya’ll is bad ass.

    Now… everyone else needs to man up and catch up.

    That’s racin’.


  38. Bobby#7Fan says:

    I don’t comment much anymore simply because I don’t watch racing as much as I used to. While I am not a Jimmy Johnson fan my biggest isue with Nascar is Brian France. He has turned the sport I loved into a joke. Listening to him on the prerace say how the “fans” wanted another reset of points and more chase drivers made my literally scream at the TV.

    If you look at any Nascar fanboard, the comments here, and talk on the street overwhelmingly Nascar fans want the chase to go away altogether. Not expanded, not another points reset, they want the old system back. I am a member of the Nascar fan council, my recommendation every week is to fire Brian France, I hope more people suggest that, it’s the ONLY way to save Nascar.

    I don’t believe Harvick was speeding, accuse me of black helicoptors all you want. The other cars surrounding him were not, how could he have been? I am tired of the races being manipulated, tired of the rules being enforced on a “who they are” basis.

    Look at Phoenix, McMurray needs a caution and tosses a bottle of water, no penalty, it’s barely mentioned at all even though it was replayed over and over. Few years back my boy Robby needs a caution and toses a piece of roll bar padding and you’d have thought he murdered the Pope.

    As for Johnson I will say again that Nascar fans are all hypocrits. If our favorite driver was dominating like the 48 we would be extatic. When #3 was dominating I was in heaven, but it was a different time, a different Nascar, and a real race man was runing the show. God how I wish The Intimidator was here to talk to Brian France, I guarantee Nascar would be better off if he were.

  39. Brandon S says:

    I’m currently a little torn about NASCAR at this point. Like Dale Jr (I had to go here), NASCAR doesn’t have one thing I can point to and say, “that’s the issue that needs to be fixed.” I’m not a #48 fan, but I think you have to respect it. I don’t believe that’s the reason NASCAR is falling. To me, this is a shift in the demographics of the NASCAR fan. I am 26 years old, and my father is the reason I started watching NASCAR. Now, I have to try and keep him and my 23 year old brother interested. Even my friends 10 years or so older are losing interest and focusing on NHRA or something else. The key point is that NONE of my friends watch NASCAR. NASCAR has been growing for quite some time, but in it’s growth it has certainly changed and the fans of the Petty/Earnhardt generation have starting filing out of the stands. The key issue is that NASCAR has not replaced those fans with younger ones. If anything I believe they’ve been too slow at adapting and fallen into a sucker hole between what appeals to the older generation and the new. The races are too long and the season is too. Too many trips to the same track twice. The rules change what seems like every week, and it’s really weakened their brand. I mean they’ve changed about 30 different rules in 5 years (not all bad changes), but they want to act like it’s still the same NASCAR. These cars look ridiculous. The Nationwide Series should logically use these Sedans, and actually develope younger drivers. Cup drivers need to be restricted to “X” amount of Grand National Races each year. The Cup should use Camaros, Challengers, Mustangs, and Supras. Yes Toyota, you and anyone else who wants to race cup better actually produce a performance car. Fuel injection should have been in the cars years ago, and personally I do not care if the cars are completely different. I mean look at it now. Chevy AND Jimmie dominate. Let the teams get scrappy and work on cars that are different like the rest of us. They don’t all have to be identical. They need to be safe and fairly similar. People think NASCAR is dumb. It’s ridiculous to slap stickers on one car and call it a Camry and the other an Impala. They need to make the track experience better and it should be known that NASCAR is a spectacle to be seen. If you want a show: shorten the season and the races, makes the cars look like modified showroom counterparts, bring back testing so they can still FIND ways to compete and get better throughout the season, eliminate all repeats except Lowes, Talladega, & Daytona. They’re missing the younger crowd by a mile, and the older crowd is getting confused and fed up. If anything the change is too slow and not very decisive. NASCAR needs to accelerate it’s transition to a modern racing series, and these teams better figure out how to make it work financially. They’ve all been taking our money long enough and it’s time to give us what we want in return, or we will continue to leave one fan at a time.

  40. Ray says:

    What would I do to fix Sprint Cup?

    500 points for a win. (or maybe even 1000?)
    250 points for second.
    200 points for third.
    Leave the rest of the scoring the same.
    That way the champion will be the one who wins the most races and/or finishes in the top 5 the most.
    It also means that if you have a hot streak and win 3 races in a row, you can “come back” even late in the season instead of being “stuck” and only able to make up 20 points a race…. you won’t need a chase if there’s still 5 guys that can win the championship on the last race if they WIN the race. It means riding around in 40th place all day long means NOTHING, Winning means EVERYTHING.

    I’m not looking for more crashing, but more guys who are fighting for the lead instead of accepting a “good points day” in 7th. 7th place sucks. A 4 hour points race is boring.

    And either
    a) go stock. No spoiler unless your Camry comes with a spoiler. Hell, I’d buy a V8 camry with a 4 speed stick and rear wheel drive!
    b) throw the rules out the window and allow the teams some creativity – then the cars will look different and perform different. 2 or 3 tire compounds. Different spoilers. Heck, take the badges off and allow any body style they want. I’d like to see a supercharged big block versus a turbo V6 that gets better gas mileage but is slower.

    “Crew chiefs: Have at ‘er”

    How about a claimer rule for the winning car? Sell it to the other teams? Pick a dollar figure, and if you want to spend a million bucks on your car… you’ll get $200k from nascar when they sell it to the competition. Allow innovation without an unlimited budget.

    Those are things I’d consider doing to make Sprint Cup a better show for the fans.

  41. Joey Davis says:

    I totally agree. It seems, in sports, that there are some heroes that need a villain. NASCAR needs someone to beat Johnson. And soon! They definitely have figured the chase out. That coupled with the anger by many that the regular season doesn’t count should spur NASCAR to give more points to the leader going into the chase. And maybe another 5-10 points for winning a race. Maybe that would stop some of the holding back we see in the summer once people feel secure in their chase spot.

  42. MS says:

    First off congrats to the 48 team, I suppose it was inevitable (even though I declared them done after the crew swap debacle). Gotta hand it to them, whatever game the dealer deals, they figure out a way to win it. And you gotta admit, NASCAR is drawing about like professional poker these days, so at least it sort of fits.

    As for Hamlin, poor kid “did it to himself” just like he says about Kyle. Had it all right there in the palm of his hand at let it slip away. What the heck was he thinking when he clobbered Biffle??? Sorry, but nobody takes out anyone with their back bumper or rear quarter panel, so sorry, we can’t blame 16 for anything. Hopefully he learns from it and the taste is so bitter he will not allow himself to loose it next year.

    As for Harvick…even though he didn’t win the cup…he probably *will* get nominated for the Nobel prize in physics for the way he warped the space/time continuum by driving measurably faster than the cars around him without perceptibly changing his spatial relationship with them. That’s some pretty heavy duty stuff for all those physics dudes so my bet is he wins the Nobel for doing it. And who cares about a stupid cup anyway if you have a Nobel, right?

    And France seems to be trying some physics of his own…apparently sending large numbers of fans thru cosmic worm holes, never to be seen again. I can sort of understand a rich hillbilly wanting to hang with the kind of stuff Harvick’s doing in the world of physics (see above), but this isn’t the Beverly Hillbillies, so he really needs to just focus on how to make the races good. Hint: your little 5’8″ guys in their colored suits climbing out of their smouldering wrecks and trying to compete with cage fighting in the middle of turn 3 is not the answer…(and no, teaching them how to actully throw a punch isn’t the answer either)

  43. Doug in CA says:

    Ray, you come close to a system where the team with the most wins is the champ. I prefer a consistency-based system, but I think that my system and yours are the two best, although they’re very different.

    How about this? Abolish the championship altogether. Run 36 races, increasing purses by what is now the championship purse money. Once all 36 races are run, let the writers (or drivers, or crew chiefs, but NOT the fans) vote for “Team of the Year” and give those guys a check for half a mil and a shiny trophy.

  44. Carrie says:


    Imagine the Yankees bringing in another team’s bullpen after the 3rd game of the World Series. Just because they have the same owner doesn’t excuse it. You are a race team. You race as a team. You win as a team. You lose as a team. The 48 team did not win the championship. The 48 team and the 24 team together won the championship. It should be against the rules.

    Richard Childress benched the real #29 crew and brought in the #33 crew after race six. So, surely you’d be saying the same had Harvick won the championship, right?

  45. Kenn Fong says:

    T.C. –

    I’ve read the reports of the big changes at Hendrick Motorsports. I’m wondering if the crew chief/garage swap also includes the whole team who works as part of the two cars which got swapped. I mean, do all the people who worked on #88 take the place of the people who worked on the #24 and vice versa? Or do they remain in the same garage and it’s just the cars and crew chiefs. Steve Letarte doesn’t change garages, so I’m wondering if he keeps his entire work-group intact to work on the #24.


  46. strokerace37 says:

    I have been fortunate to have experienced racing from the big block days of the 70′s until now. I have also been able to spend time with three different hall of fame drivers, either working with them or driving for them. From my experience, in the car and out, I can tell you that many things have to change in order to win back the fans and the sponsors.
    Many comments here are correct, the politics, the strategy, the agenda of NASCAR are all factors of their downturn. Even the NFL has the same issues, but they still know that fans equal money. For example, you would never see the NFL allowing the top draft pick QB to go back and play for his old college team. Why then does the top racing series? With that in mind, NASCAR has lost its way, the NFL has remained consistent with its policies regarding competition. You will never see any team dominate for very long because the fans will leave.
    Politics aside, why was there no prior 5 in a row champion in racing? Simple, the one common thread….the race car itself. Ask any driver, and they will tell you that its all the car. When the COT came out, the drivers were begging for more of the success to be in their hands. Instead, the ratio of driver to car went from 95% to 90%. The great experiment failed, except for one thing…they are safer. Hitting the wall today is like getting hit by a 2×4 instead of a truck carrying 2×4′s.
    There is very little “driver” involved in racing these days. Hence the presence of such extremely young, inexperienced drivers. No significant time in the lower leagues, heck in NASCAR its on the job training. I wonder if Tom Brady would have been afforded such a luxury as some of NASCAR’s recent top “draft-picks”.
    This limited business strategy results in just a few high level sponsors, with a ton of exposure, instead of a field of full time sponsors with equal exposure.
    What must be done:

    1. Increase the weight of the cars to at least 3600 pounds.
    2. Remove the splitter and front air dam…replace with standard front spoiler.
    3. No coil binding.
    4. No side skirting…if stock bodies, then standard rocker panels required.
    5. Softer tires.
    6. Pre 1985 points system.
    7. Kill the lucky dog, with prejudice.
    8. No 5 mph margin of error on pit road speed.
    9. Lap down penalty for being in the pits during caution
    10. Lap down penalty for any equipment leaving pit box, no exceptions.
    11. No cup drivers in any other NASCAR sanctioned event.
    12. No testing, at all.
    13. Higher minimum age and higher experience requirements for drivers in the Cup series.

    There may be a few other suggestions, but these are quick fixes that will fill the stands, produce much better racing, open the possibilities for anyone to win, and attract more sponsors.
    In addition, these changes will ensure that the lower series are affordable and definitive proving grounds for the Cup series.
    The by-product is that the real drivers will surface and the competition will adapt or be replaced by the developing drivers in the other series. Sounds like a sport to me.
    Under the current system, NASCAR will continue to decline into mediocrity.

  47. Matt says:

    Problem is, I think the chase has cheated Jimmie Johnson out of more than any of us can immagine. Was it harder to win under the old format? General concensus ammong the NASCAR fanbase is yes, and I can’t say I disagree. Would the results have been the same the last 7 years if we had been under the old points system? I’m not sure, there is no way to tell if people adjusting strategy would have made that much of a diference in the final numbers, and thats the problem. I have a feeling that, if the points system had remained unmolested and Jimmy would have won even just 4 titles so far under the old system (and is there even any doubt that he would have done at least that by now?), he would be recieving more of the respect he and his team so richly deserve. Instead, his achievements will be always questioned, and he will never be accepted in the same vein as Earnhardt, Petty, or even Gordon. The contrived chase has robbed us of a 5th Gordon Cup (I think for sure that the first chase cup would have gone to Gordon, the regular season champ that year,) and possibly a 6th one as well ( can you immagine the excitement and publicity the sport would be getting if we were going into the next season with Gordon just one cup away from taking his rightfull place ammong Petty and Earnhardt?)
    ButIi think the worst thing that the chase has done is to rob us of the legitimately deserved legacy of Jimmy Johnson and the 48 team.

  48. 24 fan says:

    What a joke nascar is making of the sport!! It is to bad that a team has to junk the first 26 races to step aside for the 48 team to walk away with the last 10 races!! He would have never survived with the old points system!!

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