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Monday, February 18, 2008

What is 'Racing'?

After watching yesterday's Daytona 500 and then reading some of the blogs and comments concerning this race, I have come to the conclusion that many Nascar fans don't understand what 'racing' truly is.

Webster's Dictionary defines 'racing' as: "to engage in a contest of speed"

based upon that definition lets take a quick look at yesterday's race and some of the comments made.

'It was a boring race'

How can a race that offers 42 lead changes (out of a possible 200) be 'boring' in the first place. There is a bit of irony in calling this race 'boring' when they use the lack of cautions as a justification. Maybe these fans would prefer demo derbys to racing. The first caution flew 80 laps into the race. In those 80 laps, the field spread out and covered almost the entire track even to the point where a handful of cars were in danger of going a lap down. (something almost unheard of in previous plate races) The reason for this was simply because many cars were struggling with handling and could not maintain the lead draft. Now some might say that because of this fact, it just exposes the flaws in the C.O.T. but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Elliott Sadler's 19 car was one of those cars that was in jeopardy of going a lap down and one only had to hear his scanner chat to know that he could not maintain the corner speed needed to keep up. BUT because of a timely caution and a car that was tweakable, the 19 was able to turn around what could have been an awful showing and finished 6th and even flirted in the final laps with winning the coveted trophy. This example is just what Nascar was wanting in the C.O.T. and the C.O.T. delivered. (as well as the 19 team)

This fact also put a different strategy in plate racing that has not been seen in decades. Green flag pit stops that actually had significant chassis changes as opposed to the 'normal' 4 new Goodyears and two fuel cans. In the past, pretty much once the plate car was rolled off the hauler, not much was done to it in terms of making the car 'handle' better. It simply was needed for that style of racing. Now that 'style' of racing with the C.O.T. seems to have taken a turn. A turn that makes more use of driver skills and less of making 'chess like' moves on the track.

Now those 'chess like' moves still come into play as seen in the final few laps, but for the fans that want to see 'racing' and driver's skill, it could be seen in all of the 200 laps yesterday. I have said for years that one of the primary reasons why Bristol is a fan favorite has little to do with driver skill, but more to do with cautions, re-starts and a wreckfest. Now that a Daytona race has come and gone without a 'big one', and without countless laps of a 'traffic jam' where cars had no room to pass and played 'follow the leader', the words 'BORING RACE' are being used.

BORING? I'll take a 'BORING' Daytona 500 like yesterday's anytime then. To be honest, the 50th Daytona race reminded me more of how racing at Daytona was back in the 'good ole days'.


MArc said...

Anyone but me notice those that sufferers for France derangement syndrome (FDS) have added a new complaint?

Now they are all crying about teammates helping each other to a win. The NASCAR’s "remember-your-roots" crowd are wailing about team-against-team strategy as if that never happened before.

Frankly I'm sick of it. The revisionist history some of these people live with is amazing.

Anonymous said...

You are so right !
The 2008 Daytona 500 was one of the best races in recent NASCAR history.
If yesterday was boring, let's hope the rest of the season is even more boring.

I loved every minute and can't wait for California.

Ignore the naysayers.....and rejoice!

Vroom said...

Howdy Boomer...I was there, it was a fun day and exciting race. Sadler's new vroom looks good on the track too.

Trixie said...

This year's race was defintely worth the wait. There was quite a bit of racing. I don't like races that have lots of yellows. I think the new car has delivered on what NASCAR wanted.

And the end of the race wasn't too shabby either. Unfortunately Tony didn't win, but it was great to see Penske and Newman get their first 500.