Fixing NASCAR – Part 3

This is the third part in my series on how to make NASCAR more exciting.  Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Car of Tomorrow….Today.

The COT has done exactly it’s primary purpose, and that’s increase the safety of the drivers.  Since it was introduced a couple years ago though, it hasn’t made racing any more exciting.  The new car and car rules take away some of the things that the teams used to do mechanically and body wise.  I’m hoping that will change as the teams learn more about the cars and try new things.  If NASCAR were to allow the teams more leeway, it certainly would allow a greater range of possibilities and the teams could set up their cars in more ways, meaning more variety on the track.

One of the problems with the new car is the common template.  Fan’s can’t relate to it.  It looks nothing like anything on the streets today, and certainly very little like the nameplates on the front from the four different manufacturers.  Only the front headlights area looks like the model.  They need to make changes over the next years so that fans can continue to get behind a particular manufacturer, or over time they will care less about it.  From the other side, you have the car manufacturers in financial trouble.  If they feel that NASCAR isn’t bringing them any new sales, they’ll be more likely to drop support for the series.  This may not hurt the bigger teams, but the smaller teams need the research that the manufacturers provide.

The Chase

I think the Chase has done a lot to make the final weeks of the season more interesting.  It’s not often we get the 1992 finish to a season, where six drivers were still mathematically within reach of the championship.  The Chase can help it come close year after year.  I think NASCAR did a great thing when they tweaked the rules each year to get to where they are now.  The best change is probably the way they seed the final twelve drivers.  Instead of giving them points on which position position they entered the final ten races, they are seeded based on how many wins they had in the first 26 races.  This change forces the drivers to go for the win when it’s within their grasp instead of just taking the lower risk option and going for the top five.  I can’t think of any way to change the points system to make it better, only that they should continue with this the way it is until it becomes stale or a situation arrives that warrants a change.

Cookie Cutter Tracks

Please, if you are building a new track, don’t make it a 1.5 mile like Atlanta Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway.  That’s nine races of the 36, a quarter of the season, that are mostly the same.  It gets boring.  Give us more short tracks or even a third road course.

I know some of the track owners want to buy other tracks to move those races to their newer 1.5 mile facilities.  Don’t let them do that.  If they want more races at their newer tracks, make them move one of their other track’s dates.  Or, an even better idea, rotate the dates each year.  One year, Texas has two races.  The next year, move one of them to Las Vegas so it gets two races.  The year after that, move one of those back to Texas.  International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports don’t have to limit their swapping to similar tracks, they can use it for all of them.  One way I see that this could help the sport is to control some of the saturation that NASCAR has into certain areas.  Instead of not selling out two races a year, don’t give the fans a choice between two races and sell out the one date that year.  They’ll be starved for racing the next year as well, and maybe you’ll get a second sellout out of it.  Rotate the track dates to get this effect in more than one area.