Saw a story the other day titled, “Should Talladega be in the Chase?” Being from the South, of course, I thought why not?
The argument against ’Dega is that it’s too much of a crapshoot and that innocent drivers often are caught up in others’ accidents and therefore can’t control their own destinies. OK, so this is a bad thing?
Sure, you wouldn’t want 10 races at “wild card” tracks like Talladega, but it would be a perfect fit in NASCAR’s playoff run. Fans are tired of watching races where the only drama occurs in the final few laps. And, let’s face it, any championship run in any sport involves some luck.
The article got me thinking about the Chase and the tracks that are in it (it’s an annual thing), and it’s time a few tweaks are made. The Chase should be a reflection of the regular season as much as it can. There needs to be big tracks, short tracks and intermediate tracks. We need to race on the East Coast and the West Coast, in the North and the South.
That being said, there also needs to be more punch in the Chase — i.e., tracks with a little more of a surprise factor. Why not start the Chase at Bristol? As it is, NASCAR’s premier short track is stuck in a poor spot just before the Chase. It’s a race where top teams now are working harder to stay out of trouble than win, and you can’t blame them.
Put Bristol in the Chase and careful goes out the window.
While we’re at it, there should be a place for Darlington in the Chase. Great racing, tradition and the fact the sport’s best drivers seem to thrive there are enough reasons. Quick, Darlington or Kansas?
Want a show? How about Las Vegas in the Chase? It’s time the track got a second date, and since attendance always is a factor when football season begins, Vegas would be perfect as a replacement for, say, Dover.
I’ve always been in favor of ending the season at Daytona instead of Homestead, though having Daytona in the Chase would likely mean Talladega would have to move out. You can’t put two restrictor-plate races in the Chase. Still, ending at Homestead will always leave an empty feeling.
Speaking of empty, why is Fontana still in the Chase? Yes, it’s a huge TV market, but why does having a race in California equal better ratings? You could insert any track in America here and I would be happy.
What do you think? Hey, NASCAR officials have at least shown they are listening to what fans say, especially as the economic downturn started to hit the Sprint Cup Series. Let them know which tracks you think should be in and which should go.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...