The race season has arrived and I'm sitting here in my den watching "The Clash" on the TV. I see the new teams and paint schemes; and, I hear about the changes for this season, but I can't help but think, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." When they came up with the playoffs, and declared the last ten races "The Chase," this seemed to be NASCAR's desperate attempt to save their sport. This was a "big change", be it good or bad, and we continued to follow the series each week. At first it was entertaining. Some drivers made unorthodox moves in order to stay in "The Chase", but as years passed by, new tweaks to the rules came from NASCAR. More and more changes followed and eventually led them to tweak their rules week to week. Where some got away with innovation or a creative move on the track , others would be punished in the weeks that followed. This became more and more aggravating for the race fan.
As I write this, a big wreck and rain once again put Jimmy Johnson in victory lane. Something is missing. I just can't get excited over NASCAR as I once did. The time has come to make NASCAR more entertaining and here are some "big changes" I would like to see:
1. Make the car bodies different depending on the manufacturer. Aerodynamics are important, but different makes should have their own unique body lines. Currently, they all look the same. This would help promote car sales (People don't even buy cars anymore, they all drive mini station wagons).
2. Have the drivers compete in pre-main-event heats (maybe four 20 lap heats) the same day as the big race. Fans like to see drivers race their way into the feature. And then shorten the main events to 2 hours of racing. Track vendors will make more with short breaks in between races.
3. Schedule one weekend to rotate between four different venues year to year, meaning NASCAR returns there every four years. This would give an advantage to the more experienced drivers where rookies would be rookies for four years on this race weekend.
4. Dirt tracks are where many of the drivers make their start in racing. Let's look at a dirt track event for the Cup Series. They did it for the trucks, why not try it for the big boys. Again, heats and shorter races would be way to go.
What changes might you suggest?
So I'm sitting here waiting for spring and getting antsy to head on out to my local tracks. Asphalt or dirt, late models or sprint cars, legends or street stocks. I'm ready for the 2019 race season to begin. I'll be at some track, sometime in April, with my winter coat on if need be. Let's all be thankful we have an alternative to sitting at home staring at the TV. Join me in supporting our local tracks early this year