NASCAR is back, but I won’t be watching

Anyone who has followed my column over the years knows that I was an avid NASCAR fan.

I started following racing and Dale Earnhardt and then switched over to following Dale Earnhardt Jr. following his father’s death.

For years I put up with NASCAR tinkering with the rules not only in the off season, but during the year.

But that all came to an end last year when NASCAR’s governing body decided to change the format of the final race of the second round of its “playoffs.”

That was all I could take because it affected the outcome of the race that whittled down the number of competitors to NASCAR’s “Final Four.”

I could not believe that any sport would change its rules not only in the middle of its season, but in the playoffs.

It would be like the National Football League changing a key rule following the championship games and before the Super Bowl.

That was it for me. I could not take it any more, so I did not watch the end of the season.

So when NASCAR opened its racing season with the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night, I thought I would pop in and see how it was going.

I did not have the race on 30 seconds before Brian Vickers wrecked and took out several of the best cars in the field.

Any thoughts I had of coming back to NASCAR were gone in a flash.

For years I have said the field is too big and that drivers and teams that have no business in the sport are being allowed to ruin racing for others.

I had read earlier in the week that NASCAR had trimmed the field to 40 cars. There are 36 “charter” teams, ones who race full-time and have done so for many years, and four “open” teams, who could qualify their way into races.

That is a good start, but let’s face the fact that NASCAR could trim the field down even further and improve the racing.

There are teams that come to track, qualify, start the race and then park the cars to collect the prize money.

Those teams are taking up valuable time at the track for the teams that are serious about winning championships.

I will follow NASCAR this season by reading about the outcomes of the races, but I am still serious about not watching another race on television until they decide to fix the sport and stop tinkering with the rules during the season.

 

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publiccations. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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