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NASCAR's own Darrell Waltrip has a terrific post up at Foxsports.com today that addresses several 2008 stories and focuses pressure where Jaws thinks it ought to be going into the new season.
Waltrip calls out several NASCAR teams, the Nationwide Series, television and racetracks in general. It's pretty good stuff. I do have one bone to pick with him however.
DW also calls out NASCAR for it's Chase to the Championship format. It's not that he's alone as a critic of the Chase, as it currently exists. Lots of NASCAR folk think the thing is boring, fixed, a rape of tradition, etc. Darrell thinks lacks excitement. Here's his solution...
Shorten the Chase: NASCAR's playoff is too long. Ten races allows a couple of guys to separate themselves from the pack, especially if you continue to use the same point system that rewards consistency. Make the Chase five races long, that way you increase the intensity. If you mess up one of those, you are in deep trouble. Create a separate point system: Make the points system simple to follow. If we keep 12 drivers like have now, I'd give 12 points to the top finishing Chase driver, 11 for second, etc.
I don't care about the number on races in the Chase. If you want to shorten the thing - fine - that might just ramp up the excitement some. But I am against all of these proposals that put the Chase competitors on a separate point system. If you do that, it changes the fundamental nature of NASCAR stock car racing.
A cup race is supposed to be 43 cars battling it out over 250 to 600 miles. If you give the Chasers their own 12 point system, as Waltrip proposes, you make it a twelve car race. Admittedly you'd have 31, expensive, highly paid, moving chicanes for the Chase competitors to maneuver around. Those other 31 cars would become even less significant than now. Their sponsors will love that. And what motivation would the 12th place Chaser - in a given race - have to pass, say ten cars at the end of a race, in order to catch the 11th place Chaser?
To me, this kind of solution is akin to making the Super Bowl - the football one - a seven on seven contest because - " nobody cares about the play of the guards and tackles anyway!"
If you want to race twelve on twelve, bring back the IROC Series.