LONDON: What If I Ran NASCAR?
VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. — In recent years I have had plenty to say about the way NASCAR conducts its business. There are have some suggestions that I take over the sanctioning body. I’ve been waiting by the phone for the call from Daytona, but it hasn’t happened yet.
It certainly is easy to complain, but I also believe that in doing so one should make suggestions of how to make things better.
Therefore, if I ran NASCAR, this is what I would do:
— Get rid of the CoT car. How come 20 years ago drivers used to race on the same tracks they do now, but there was no such thing as “aero push?”
Cars cannot follow another, or run side by side without causing problems. So there is no actual jockeying for position in NASCAR anymore. I would ask all crew chiefs to come up with an alternative design for Cup cars.
—Throw out the rulebook. The NASCAR regulations are far too strident. The problem lies in the insistence in calling these cars “stock cars.” They aren’t even close. Not of the Cup vehicles are actual two door sedans powered by carbureted V-8 engines and are rear-wheel drive. They are cars built for racing.
Keep the rules simple with specs for engine size, wheelbase, height, weight and track. Fining and suspending teams for improper duct tape is ridiculous.
If a team fails inspection, they should be given a chance to correct it instead of being fined, suspended and called cheaters. If they failed a second time, I would have them run the non-qualifiers race which you’ll read about in a minute. Post race is the time to be strict.
—Get rid of the top 35 rule: Guaranteeing sports in each races is unfair to new teams and takes away part of the competition. I’d change the qualifying procedure. The fastest 36 cars are locked in. The others would run in a short non-qualifiers race. Everyone would get to fair chances to race. The non-qualifiers race would give the newer teams track time. At this year’s Daytona 500, Rusty Wallace bought his way into the field for his son (Steven) — a rookie.
NASCAR is too eager to cancel qualifying. If a bird flies over the track, time trials get canceled and the top 35 get their free ride. There was a time when trials were run the day of the race. With transponders, more than one car could take time if the trials had to be held race day. The non-qualifiers race would only take a few minutes.
—As far as race management. The Lucky Dog is silly. Why should one driver be awarded for being a lap down? The wave around rule makes sense since many of those are disadvantaged because they pitted under green. I’d let them pit also.
I’d love to see a race with no pitting under caution. It would add to the intrigue of the race. Also, there’d be less congestion in the pits. NASCAR’s favorite bedfellow Goodyear wouldn’t like the idea. It would sell fewer tires.
The green-white-checkered finish was a good idea, so fans could see the winner deserve his prize. They dropped the ball on this one, too.
I’d have all cars off the lead lap leave the track. The GWC is to determine the winner. No one cares, who is 21st. If there wasn’t a GWC, that’s where they would finish anyway. With fewer cars, a crash is less likely.
I would allow the others to pit for fuel, since the race is being extended. They would stop for fuel only and return to their previous spot. If there are three GWC’s this means the race is decided by an official putting on the caution light. This defeats the purpose.
Not only do fans not see the finish, someone can handpick the winner.
—By all means no more Chase. This is one of the dumbest ideas in racing. They tried to turn it into a “playoff” like team sports. In these sports, non-playoff teams can’t compete.
All the Chase does is eliminate competitors. The champion should be determined by 36 races, not 10.
-The point system is no good. I came up with one a few years ago that seemed to work fine. First of all, I’d reward points so 34-43 got five points and 16-33 got ten. This way someone with a wrecked car can park it instead of being a hazard. I awarded 25 more points to the winner than second so winning is rewarded. The bonus points for leaders should be changed. I’d only give points to someone who led two straight green-flag laps or more. I gave five points to the pole winner and two for second. It makes qualifying more interesting.
—The biggest change I’d make, is schedule two more races during the season. Is this guy crazy? No, they’d be at smaller tracks, run on a Wednesday with everything on one day. The races would be short, but full points would be paid. Every year they would go to two new places. Imagine a Cup race at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway or Thompson (Conn.) Int’l Speedway, or better yet, the dirt at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway or Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.
A return to North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway or Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway would be possible. The purses could be bolstered by taking a small amount from the 36 other races. It would put NASCAR in new venues and would boost weekly tracks which need it.
—As far as the Nationwide Series goes, I would add that no one could compete in more than 20 races a season and not win more than four races.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for these changes to happen until I’m running things!
I wonder if Donald Trump will be making deals and firing people while he’s on his cell phone pacing the Indy 500? I can imagine a yellow for debris on the track and it turns out to be his hairpiece.
My thanks for all the kind words sent to me regarding my stint with www.nationalspeedsportnews.com. I’m still getting used to it.
The address is 25 Emerson Place Valley Stream, N.Y., 11580. E-mail to Racewriter [email protected]