After sampling a few online articles following Sunday’s Chase opener at Loudon, I find it interesting that most members of the NASCAR media (i.e., anyone with access to a blog) still find the Chase boring.
Most of these bloggers must remember the good old days when Richard Petty would win races by two laps or when only four or five drivers had legitimate shots at winning on any given week. The truth is, today’s racing could be better, but it could be much worse as well.
NASCAR is, at the very least, trying to keep things interesting. The Chase will forever have its detractors, but if it weren’t for the Chase these final couple of months would be an afterthought as we wait to crown Tony Stewart.
By implementing a playoff system there is a greater chance of having a dramatic end to the season. It may not happen (see the past couple of seasons), but there’s a better chance of the title coming down to the final race than before.
Also, implementing double-file restarts has helped (just ask Juan Pablo Montoya). Instead of someone grabbing a lead and just riding there with a car that’s hard to pass, the new restarts have thrown in a bit of intrigue.
“There’s a lot more risk for everybody, really, not just the guys starting up front,” Jimmie Johnson said. “In the past, as you worked your way to the front, you always felt a little more secure, especially if you got to second. Third over second was much better. Now it depends on which lane is working, and you’re not really sure where you need to be and how the restart is going to go.
“So from a driver’s standpoint it’s more stressful. There is a lot more risk involved, but I think it’s putting on a better show.”
While Sprint Cup racing might not be perfect, it’s appreciably better than in recent seasons.
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 ...