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Las Vegas partying! But next? How about the Bests & Worsts of 2010, and then ponder what to do for 2011

  Jimmie Johnson celebrates his fifth NASCAR championship with a victory burnout on Las Vegas Blvd. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

    After all the raucous parties out in Las Vegas are finally over, and the tuxedoes carefully packed away for next fall, and the trophies and awards all shipped back to North Carolina, there will still be a little more to the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season to ponder:
    And among the many issues NASCAR men need to be dealing with during the short off-season: TV.
    Broken record here. Yes, but as George Santayana once pointed out 'Those who ignore history...'  
    When NASCAR CEO Brian France, at Homestead two weeks ago, insisted everything was moving along just fine, and preaching patience, you could hear the jaws dropping.

     The racing out on these NASCAR tracks may be better than it's been in years.....but the blunt fact is NASCAR's television numbers have been plummeting for several years now.
     And so far NASCAR and its TV partners haven't offered any reasons or any new possible solutions. Heck, they haven't even laid out all the U.S. market figures for the rest of us to review and consider.
     The 2010 season was the fourth year of NASCAR's second big network TV package, and by all the numbers, things are not going well, for whatever reason. 
    NASCAR and its member tracks and various team owners are sharing in a huge $4.5 billion package with Fox, Turner and ABC-ESPN.
    However during 2010 TV ratings were down for 26 of the tour's 34 regularly scheduled events (not counting the two Monday postponements).
    This year's playoffs were off about 25 percent from the 2009 playoffs, despite one of the best chase races ever.
    To put some of this in perspective: the last year of the original NASCAR TV package, with NBC covering the fall part of the schedule, instead of ABC-ESPN, Cup events averaged nearly eight million viewers each race day. But now Cup events are averaging less than six million viewers.
    Bluntly, that's some two million viewers that NASCAR has lost during the new TV package.
    Is it because TV execs themselves have gotten bored or disinterested with NASCAR? Is it because NASCAR, on ESPN for example, is simply getting lost in the mix of so many other sports events?
   Is it because NASCAR and its TV partners have not adequately exploited one of the country's big sport's marketing venues – the thousands of sports bars, with so many TV sets? How many of all those TV sets are set to NASCAR? Why don't Budweiser and Miller, and the other NASCAR sponsors, heck, even Fox and ABC-ESPN, pay up and lock in a couple of TV sets in every sports bar in the country to NASCAR?
    Or are all these people just too fat and happy to be worried about things?
    And maybe we, in considering the NASCAR-TV issue, start focusing on Mondays, not just Sundays. Why not a 6 p.m. NASCAR newscast Monday through Thursdays....when businessmen and women are stopping by on the way home, for example. This 7:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. or whenever might not be the right time slot for NASCAR?
    And what is missing in these spartan TV ratings numbers are the specifics – what part of the country is NASCAR working best, what part of the country is NASCAR the weakest and needs shoring up, what demographics are NASCAR attracting...and turning off?
    Are NASCAR, Fox, Turner and ABC-ESPN afraid to lay out the real, hard numbers>
    NASCAR and its TV partners have continued to decline to offer any of those specifics.
    But Fox' David Hill has expressed considerable alarm at the precipitous decline in young males, 18-34. Hill, whose network cover the opening four months of the season, when NASCAR racing has little competition and is thus strongest, says Fox saw a 30 percent decline in that 18-34 this year alone, on top of a significant decline in that demo last year too. Now, according to one report ABC-ESPN has seen a nearly 20 percent decline in that demographic this season, during its July-November segment of the tour.
    In the face of record TV ratings by the National Football League, and in light of the red-hot quality of action out on the tracks this NASCAR season, there are few clear answers.
    -- One thing is clear, though: NBC did a heck of a lot better with NASCAR than ABC-ESPN has done.
    -- Another thing: The ESPN-ABC productions themselves have been heavily criticized, not only for too many commercials, and at the wrong moments, and for too many on-camera personalities, and for frequent lack of cohesion overall. And Fox' Speed subsidiary has done little to add to the TV puzzle; odd shows, weak impact, and way too much NASCAR in-house politically-correct coverage.
    If NASCAR execs and TV officials don't think NASCAR fans can see through the PC talk, they must have blinders on.
    Plus, there is simply too much NASCAR on TV, too much pre-race talk-talk, little insightful production.
    And the timing:
    Did NASCAR moving TV starting times this past season help or hurt?
    And during the week, whatever happened to the 6 p.m. weekday time slot for NASCAR news? Maybe NASCAR TV men should try to hire Jim Cramer to put some weeknight punch into this thing. The whole weekly NASCAR TV game plan needs rethinking.
    On Sundays:  Fewer commercials, better TV production, more pointed interviews, cut the rah-rah stuff, and give us the raw meat.
    There is a lot TV could do to put on a better product. But TV execs and on-air talent appear way too constrained to be politically correct and not rock the boat. Fans certainly can see this. 
    And then there are the bigger picture issues here:
    -- Is the sometimes angry fan reaction to NASCAR's odd-shaped car-of-tomorrow, in play the last two years, a major piece of the puzzle? Did that whole thing finally reach a tipping point among fans, who so tired of these common-template cars that they've simply tuned out?
    -- Did the opening weeks of the 2010 season – with Daytona's pot hole and the two-hour mid-race repairs, and the Winter Olympics – hurt NASCAR? Of course. But whose fault is that – Daytona should have been repaved long ago; after 32 years, any stretch of highway is going to develop problems.
    -- Clearly the NFL is dominating the fall part of the sports season, as usual, but NASCAR's continued weakening position in September, October and November has to be major cause for concern. NASCAR should at least be holding its own. If it's not, then some changes should certainly be made before 2011 – but what? The competition was great this fall, the title chase with high drama...but it simply didn't resonate among TV viewers: and it's not just a two or three week issue, but a three-month issue that NASCAR has faced. So what does NASCAR have planned to change the TV dynamic next fall?
    -- NASCAR executives promised a return to 'roots,' but maybe Daytona underestimated the visceral impact of the loss of Rockingham and North Wilkesboro from the stock car racing psyche, regardless of the size of crowds at those legendary tracks.
    -- Maybe the issue should be considered market by market:
   First, NASCAR needs to repair the Southern California market.
   Second, NASCAR needs to get the Chicago market in gear.
   Third, NASCAR needs to do something better in the New York market.
   Fourth, NASCAR needs to solve the debilitating Indianapolis Motor Speedway situation, which, from a look at July's painfully weak crowd, certainly needs shoring up.
   And there is much, much more to be considered.
   Will simple patience prove the cure?
   Or will we be sitting here this time a year from now debating this entire situation again?


    'Tis the season for giving, and Tony Stewart is giving out his own 'awards' for some of the most interesting moments of the 2010 NASCAR season.      
    Among Stewart's picks:
    -- Best original drama, Clint Bowyer winning the championship playoff opener in September at Loudon, and then three days later having NASCAR declare his car illegal.
    -- Best stunt sequence (which Stewart calls the Hal Needham award, for the Hollywood producer), Elliott Sadler nose-first into the inside wall at Pocono, one of the nastiest crashes in recent NASCAR history.
    -- Best original comedy, Joey Logano ripping Kevin Harvick, after a crash at Pocono, saying 'His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do." (Delana Harvick turned the tables on the rip, by selling tee-shirts on the midway the rest of the month.)
    -- Bonehead move of the year, Denny Hamlin for crashing his car during a Pocono victory burnout.
    -- Most notable 'first,' Chip Ganassi, for winning the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 all in the same season.
    -- Boys, have at it, Carl Edwards for flipping Brad Keselowski at Atlanta in March in a payback.

   Here are some other 'awards' we might want to consider:

   Wildest finish:
   -- Daytona 500;
   -- Pocono 500 in June.
   Most devastating pit road call by a crew chief:
   -- Mike Ford not correctly gauging the fuel mileage end-game at Phoenix, which may have cost Denny Hamlin the championship.

   Strangest call by a driver:
   -- Denny Hamlin, just days after major knee surgery, racing at Phoenix.

   Most childish antics by a driver:
   -- Kyle Busch, numerous times.

   Hottest runs by a driver:
   -- Kevin Harvick, over the full 36- race season;
   -- Denny Hamlin, five-for-10 in the spring;
   -- Carl Edwards, red-hot over a two-month summer stretch.

   Best call by NASCAR officials:
   -- 'Boys, have at it;'
   -- Triple green-white-checkereds;
   -- Getting rid of the rear wing spoiler;
   -- Moving toward more character lines on race cars in the Nationwide series;

   Saddest days:
   -- the loss of major stock car racing figures Jake Elder, Les Richter, Jeff Byrd, Ed Shull, and Jim Hunter.

   Longest running strange saga:
   -- the decline and fall and rebound of Richard Petty Motorsports;
   -- Brian Vickers' medical dilemma.

   Weakest call by NASCAR officials:
   -- Ignoring for years and years the dangerous track walls at Pocono Raceway, until Elliott Sadler's savage crash;
   -- Brushing off that potentially devastating crash at Atlanta in March, when Carl Edwards, many laps down, deliberately crashed Brad Keselowski and nearly sent him flying into the grandstands; and brushing off that Edwards-Keselowski run-in in a Nationwide race in St. Louis;
   -- Allowing Denny Hamlin to race at Phoenix in the spring, just days after major surgery (what, no worries about potential risks to other drivers on the track?);
   -- Not pressuring Chevrolet to put its Camaro in the Nationwide series against the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger;
   -- Not allowing Detroit to put more character lines into its race cars;
   -- Not scrapping the common template concept, which makes every NASCAR race car essentially identical, regardless of make;
   -- Limiting its new Charlotte Hall of Fame to just five men a season, and ignoring again the 85 NASCAR Hall of Famers inducted since 1965 into the Darlington-based Hall;
   -- Not only brushing off overtures from the new Indy Racing League boss Randy Bernard for some NASCAR-Indy-car double-headers but scrapping all Indy-car races at the family's International Speedway Corp. tracks;
   -- Penalizing Marcos Ambrose for stalling out under caution while leading in the final miles at Sonoma, giving the victory to Jimmie Johnson;
   -- And that pit road speeding by Kevin Harvick at Homestead, essentially taking him out of the championship....while ignoring Harvick hitting a crewman on pit road. Remember, as NASCAR should, that the point of pit road safety rules is to protect crewmen. NASCAR execs should well remember what happened at Homestead just a few years ago.....

   Dumbest call by NASCAR officials:
   -- Secret $50,000 penalties on Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin for criticism NASCAR execs didn't like. Newman, for complaining – rightly so – about safety issues at Talladega. Hamlin, for 'politically incorrect Twitters,' complaining about curious late-race yellows;
   -- Not pushing Daytona track owners to repave that speedway until a huge pot hole developed midway through the season opener and turned the sport's biggest event into a two-hour asphalt repair job;
   -- Taking three days after the race to decide that Clint Bowyer's Loudon-winning car wasn't legal...and then not revealing what precisely was illegal about it;
   -- Dumping a Cup race in Los Angeles and moving it to Kansas City;
   -- NASCAR's continued testing ban, and the under-the-table testing allowed at Goodyear tire tests for those chosen few.

   Weakest overall season performance by a NASCAR star:
   -- Again, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

   Worst move in the clutch:
   -- Denny Hamlin, after qualifying poorly, bouncing off Greg Biffle early in the championship finale, damaging his car and essentially losing the title.

   Best victories:
   -- Jamie McMurray, at Daytona and again at Indianapolis;
   -- Carl Edwards, at Phoenix;
   -- David Reutimann, at Chicago;
   -- Juan Pablo Montoya, at Watkins Glen;
   -- Clint Bowyer, at Loudon.

   Most eagerly awaited victory:
   -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning at Daytona in July in a Richard Childress number three, in a Nationwide race.

  Best comeback by a team:
   -- the Richard Childress operation, with Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer;
   -- the Chip Ganassi operation, with Jamie McMurray;

   Best comeback by a team owner:
   -- Jack Roush, for surviving another plane crash.

   Most disappointing season:
   -- Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Mark Martin.

   Most surprising late-season collapse:
   -- Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton.

   And your's?

 Las Vegas Blvd. Just the place for NASCAR to celebrate. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


I would be willing to bet

I would be willing to bet that most Nascar fans inherited their love of racing from family members or friends. When the hard core long time fans stop attending/watching races, you lose the potential fans they would have brought into the sport. That's another reason that alienating your core fans isn't a good move, Racing appealed to many people because it was NOT like all the other sports. In his rush to make Nascar mainstream, BZF has taken away one of the reasons many fans loved it. Unlike mainstream sports, Nascar used to honor the traditions of where they came from. Instead, they are now ignoring it, going instead for the smoke and mirrors of 'fan zones' and fancy infield restaurants (which all cost extra) instead of worrying about what happens on the track. The phoney 10 race 'not-a-playoff' just doesn't work for a sport where all the drivers compete against each other every week. I'd say the ratings during the 'chase' back that up. Television hasn't helped, either. By concentrating on certain drivers and their 'script', fans of many drivers are left squinting at a crawler (among the rest of the on screen clutter), trying to find where their favorite driver is running. The final 10 races were the epitome of this problem, only 3 drivers being the total focus of the broadcast. When you watch on TV and can't make any sense of what is happening on the track, the ebb and flow of the race, it's hard to sit through an entire race. Then, take away the 'innovation' that good crew chiefs used to have, isolate the drivers from the 'common' fans, make the cars not only identical, but 'manufactured' by Nascar, and you have removed most of what drew people to the sport to begin with. Being a Nascar fan used to feel almost like being in a secret society, knowing that you were in on one of the most exciting sports available. If others didn't understand, so what? You could introduce friends to it with stories of the people and families involved, the history and legacies passed down from generation to generation. That's basically gone now. I don't know if it's possible to get it back.

I think you list looks pretty

I think you list looks pretty good. The things in a clutch is what wins or loses championships. Hamilin's team performed great all season but just lost the very few and very slight clutch moments, which in this year's battle was the difference. Johnson was vulnerable but teams have to perform beyond their normal capabilities to beat this guy in a clutch. And Jeff Gordon had it in his day. Race going along and something happens and they are 20th midway thru the event and come back to win, finish 5th, 8th, whatever the case may be and may a decent day out of a bad day. Harvick to me is the team that did that the most, especially the last 10-12 races. They couldn't qualify well and spent a lot of the race moving to the front, which in and of itself was a championship run--especially since in 09, when they qualified 28th and finished 26th a lot of the time. So the 29 team and all of RCR was as good a sports story in 2010 as their is...Maybe as good as USC-Carolina--beating 2 #1 teams in 2010--ha ha hasn't happened yet--but, wait for it!

I really like your "dumb" and "weak" est calls by nascar choices. when you look back at it the really really do make stupid calls or no calls. I have always said that these guys covet the NFL and other pro sports so bad but NASCAR officiates in a little league way. Everyone has trouble with pro-sports officiating from time-to-time. But NASCAR takes it to another level. Bowyer's NH race was a key one and fining Hamlin and Newman and a lot of the other things you mention...Well that sh.t just doesn't belong in pro sports. Yet NASCAR does it over and over. I say it again, the more NASCAR legislates, the more they monkey in this pie, the further away the goal line gets. This is not the only reason behind declining TV ratings, but it is a substantial one.

I would disagree on the common template point to some degree. I hate the CoT but if it is safer then it's worth it as long AS LONG as they take the wing off and they did and massage the front splitter and they did and the teams make it more race worthy and they did. So after 2 hard years or more the CoT car may be the trick. If you look at the old Nationwide car this year, which was the look of the old Twisted Sister Cup car (a debate there in itself), I actually hated it. They all looked like Cup Monte Carlos with manufacturer stickers and twisted all to hell. These were all look a likes too. The media and fans wants to ignore that little fact but it's true. NASCAR was moving to common templates and aero matching long before the CoT and you know it and wrote about it. So glossing over the "generic" look of the Twisted Sister v the CoT is slack.

But what all that CoT debate did maybe was to awaken NASCAR to the point that YES, true fans want to see the curves of these specific brands and in addition to "boys have at it" we also have to have "cars have at it" too. And they must see that now with the enthusiastic acceptance of the Nationwide CoT. Those cars are BEAUTIFUL compared to the old Nationwide ney Cup look. Even the friggin Impala Nationwide CoT looks way better than the 2010 Cup Impala by far! So maybe 2011 Cup CoTs will get closer to that with the new nose. And my final point, if NASCAR was worried about American car makers spending their ass off chasing the perfect aero game in NASCAR and that's one of the reason they went CoT...hey that argument is over. American car makers spent themselves out of business (really except for Ford) anyway and needed a tax-payer bailout. That was over mismanagement high wages bad decisions waste overpaying and a whole lotta oddur sh.t. So spending a few more million in the design and wind tunnels for marketing/sales look in NASCAR ain't gonna break them. They broke themselves.

Main reasons NASCAR lost viewers:

1. Aero matching racing (call it what you will...no passing)
2. Ticket and trinket prices astronomical...(hey PSLs, requiring a Nationwide ticket buy to get a Cup ticket, 2 day requirements, parking prices, food prices, suite prices, hospitality prices...and on and on..,Good idea now? How did that work out? Great while it lasted huh? But the depths which followed couldn't have made those decision right...$365 million for New Hampshire has to be recouped somewhere and I like Bruton Smith for racing...But geezuz does anyone get it? $1000 (conservative) for a family of four for a racing weekend just doesn't compute.
3. Chasing Hollywood instead of Dollywood. Hey I am not a country music fan but goes to the core, is this sport for the Wine & Cheese set or for the KFC set? Well to some degree it's both but don't chase wine & cheese set while ignoring the KFC set. NASCAR must be insecure about its roots. Because instead of embracing their core audience they wanted to put them in the back of the bus.
4. Expansion beyond good sense. Long season long races long long long. How is that working out fer ye? Anyone still think the NYC and Denver and Seattle a good market? If they do they vote for legalizing mare a gee wanna (not a bad thing I think but they were smoking it). Enough said.
5. And by the way your point Mike about NBC doing a good job is ABSOLUTELY ON. I am not necessarily a NBC fan but they promoted the hell out of the sport. And Brian (France not Williams) thru them under the bus at the end. I can only assume it's because NBC didn't want to get strong armed by NASCAR and pay their extreme fees. Looks like they have the last laugh on that one. And ABC hasn't been the most watched network in the USA for a while. That's got to be a part of it too.
6. And finally the TV thing has just lost something to it, in the team they have and other things. I can't help but be nostalgic but lemme tellya Benny Ned and Bob told the story, let the race play out, and it was an enjoyable afternoon. Now we got boozos screaming thru the microphone with all these draft trackers and bells & whistles telling us how great it is. Are the producers/TV execs just plain stupid or what? I do like Marty Dale and Andy and most of the pit people but they can throw away Alan (nice guy I guess but a control freak and a robot), Rusty is 7000% better in a race car than in a microphone (although he has improved), Brad seems to be a good guy but he is screaming in the phone now and interrupting. The weird thing is that the greasy old crew chief (Ray E) is the best of the bunch, knowledgeable, articulate and even. How did TV get so far off base? Just show the dam race and keep up with the pits drama and leave all that other crap on the cutting floor. Gawd!

At Las Vegas

The problem isn't as much Vegas as it is the organizing of the event.

We decided to go this year instead of our usual winter trip to Europe. There was soooo much wrong I would need a novel length book to list them all.

We could start with the fact that most of the cars were NOT chase or even Sprint cup cars. Hell one stop had a regular 4 door sedan(???). By the Phoenix race they knew who was going to be in the chase ......leave the 12 cars there and take them to Vegas. Save gas!!!

It was a pretty good idea to put the cars along the strip but I gave up walking to the #48's spot by the Vegas sign after about a 3 mile walk. Seriously who's bright idea was that?

Never mind that NASCAR only put out a schedual of events a couple weeks before the event. We planned our schedual on last years schedual and hoped we got close.

I understand the Trophy is somewhere in the Wynn's. I couldn't find it. There were no signs anywhere to be found. Maybe someone should lend NASCAR some cardboard and a magic marker next year?

A rolling roadblock??? New York City and Chicago can shut down their streets on Thanksgiving but Vegas can't shut down the strip for an hour??? Ohhhh I forgot they can ... and they will... Sunday for the Marathon. I finally found a missed nook on the Ceasar's overpass to get a decent video of the parade.

What about giving recognition to a real sprint cup pit crew instead of insulting the intelligence of the fans that did show up with STUDENT pit crews.

I saw three or four people with press credentials having problems getting access because they didn't have OFFICIAL Nascar credentials. Hey NASCAR ..... stop whining about wider recognition. Your doing a good job of insulting people that could help spread the word.

The whole event was amateur. The event planner needs to be hung by their thumbs till they promise to leave the profession forever. If your going to do it on the cheap...be cheap. Hold it at Homestead with the other two.....Heck Nascar already paid for the hall.

Least surprising comment

Your continuing bashing of NASCAR's most talented and entertaining driver, Kyle Busch. Winning 3 Cup races and just about every truck and Nationwide race he entered does not a "disappointing season" make. Neither does finishing 8th in the points, when second is truly the "first loser," and with a much more troubling disintegration by teammate Denny Hamlin. Let us not forget that Kyle had an engine failure and was victimized by previously classy David Reutimann and never classy Kevin Harvick. In retrospect, the high point of the Chase was the "Texas finger" that every driver wants to use, but only Kyle actually did.

Oddly, you will consider Reutimann's actions reasonable and not tarnish his image (if he has one) in any way. Fact is, what David did was stupid, unsportsmanlike, and dangerous. And whether or not Kyle deserved it is irrelevant. Did Brad K. deserve to face serious injury or death for his pervious encounters with Carl (the phony) Edwards? Two wrongs don't make a right, unless you are a NASCAR writer who hates Kyle Busch as a reflexive action.

Kyle is indeed one of this

Kyle is indeed one of this sport's most talented and entertaining drivers...but he got in some jams, like that deal with DR, that he could easily have avoided. And I'm still not sure what KB was thinking at Homestead while racing KH like that. Texas, KB got a cheap call, and I called it. But what KB needs most -- and what KH finally found this season, his 10th in Cup -- is that championship maturity.

Address what Fans want

1 Why does nascar not have a fan pole asking the question, Do they want to go back to the old point system or the new Chase and truly listen and make the change instead of buring there head in the sand.

2 If they still want a Chase, Race the first 32 Races for the Nascar Championship Cup(Consistency) then have a 4 race Chase Championship for the top 20 cars, for the Chase Cup.

This may satisy all fans.

Bests And Worsts Of 2010

BEST RACE #1 - Winston 500
BEST RACE #2 - Diehard 500
BEST RACE #3 - Daytona 500 - the pothole was certainly embarassing but it didn't ruin the racing.
BEST RACE #4 - Firecracker 400
HONORABLE MENTION #1 - Both Pocono races - Pocono began getting back some of the five-abreast crossover-passing vinegar of yore.
HONORABLE MENTION #2 - LA 400 Fontana - three-wide racing to an extent not seen since September 2007.

BEST RACE WITH WORST ENDING - Gateway; the multilap Edwards-Keselowski sidedraft up front was terrific - until Edwards went Jack Tatum on Keselowski and Brad was T-boned by two cars at the stripe.

BIGGEST LETDOWN - Chaos and struggle at Richard Petty Motorsports.
BIGGEST SURPRISE - Jamie McMurray's success.
BIGGEST FRAUD - Junior becoming unpassable in the Firecracker 250; the new Busch-Nationwide car and Junior is unpassable?
BIGGEST BACKFIRE - Boys Have At It - the racing did not get better; all that happened was more crashes.
WORST CONTINUING TREND - Lack of new winning teams and lack of comeback teams (EGR doesn't qualify)
WORST CONTINUING TREND #2 - The Chase. It has chased off fans by corrupting the integrity of the championship.


The title chase didn't resonate because everyone knows it's forced. Even "casual" fans who know that points get reset after 26 races know that of course there are going to be some close battles.

NASCAR events have always had a lot of commercials, and they've had generally template cars for years. What is killing NASCAR is a contrived playoff and the most popular driver's continued failure to make it...and the endless tweaks to help make it happen without any regard for respecting competition and merit. What's the point of watching races when you know that the team that is 12th will be equal to the team that is first? Why should drivers who are comfortably in the playoffs--and thus likely to be having a good year--bother making that pass, or qualifying better? If you want to know why NASCAR is tanking, look no further than its championship system.

You are right in the sense that with all of the shows and commentary, no one will say NASCAR makes bad decisions. NASCAR could get away with that before the Internet. But I and many others read your columns and Richard Allen and the Frontstretch more than anything else when it comes to NASCAR. I don't even bother with the shills at NASCAR.com or ESPN.

Laziness of Nascar

Nascar has been lazy and too old fashioned to realize that they are not mixing it up enough to try new things that could potentially help reignite the sport and send the ratings trending upward. it's going to continue to go downhill unless something changes starting with templates and even the chase format. We still need a road course in the chase for competition purpose even though it might not help ratings. Also Nascar needs to pressure ESPN to get rid of the lead commentator guy for espn. HE is absolute garbage! But i agree with you mike on most of your points. Nascar needs to do something soon and get their butts in gear! Starting with Rockingham!

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