Wow, what a Super Bowl. Congratulations to Green Bay Packers and their victory. Now that the NFL season is officially over, racing season is just about to start. We are actually less than a week away from the big boys being on the track on the new surface at the Daytona International Speedway. While the talk of the NFL will undoubtedly be whether or not a collective bargaining agreement can be reached, race fans know that their favorite drivers will be back behind the wheel of their chariots. How do we know this? Race fans do not have to worry about collective bargaining agreements getting in the way of racing.
Let’s start with some recent news that came out this week. Brain France and his soon to be ex-wife attempted to subvert the legal process we have here in our country by attempting to have divorce proceedings kept secret and out of the public view. This request was denied by the North Carolina courts, and rightfully so. Just because they are rich, they should not be afforded secrecy in what is a public domain. So why is this important to race fans? The reason this is important is because of money. NASCAR never divulges how much money it makes, or what it is worth. With the France divorce being public, race fans will get some type of glimpse into the money that is involved in NASCAR. Race fans may just revolt if they find out they are being taken advantage of financially when visiting the track. Time will tell on this issue. Note as well, major media outlets covering this story have not divulged the money link at this point.
On to the point system and the changes that NASCAR has made to that system. There have been a lot of articles out on the internet on how NASCAR screwed this up and do not reward drivers enough for winning the race. I have to say that NASCAR got this one right. In my own opinion, NASCAR does not need to reward drivers any more for winning a race. NASCAR also does not to do anything more to encourage the drivers go fight for a win. Look at the intensity in each driver’s face after a race or after they crash their car. Each and every driver who takes to the track wants to bring their machine home in first place. NASCAR made the right call by how points will now be awarded with the winner getting 43 points, and each position getting one less point all the way to position 43 getting only one point. Drivers will still get a one point bonus for leading a lap, another one point bonus for leading the most laps, and the winner also gets a three point bonus as well. Again in my own opinion, I would have taken away the point bonus for leading a lap. With only one point for a position now, it seems that a full point for leading a lap is extremely valuable for something as trivial as leading one lap of a race (I know, leading the last lap is the most important lap to lead). I am okay with the point for leading a lap, but I would have probably gotten rid of it if I were constructing the new point system. In the end, NASCAR did the right thing. The points are now easy to understand for even a casual fan of the sport. Heck, even the old points system I could not readily tell you have money points per position were given out. The only other thing we will have to endure is the announcers on Fox, especially Darrell Waltrip, explaining to us over and over how the new points system works.
Well, Saturday night we get the sample to start the season in the Budweiser Shootout. Qualifying will be on Sunday for the Great American Race. Keep in mind that we will also get our first look of her second season in the Nationwide Series when her Danicaship (A.K.A. Danica Patrick) races a week from Saturday. Don’t forget to catch the ARCA race as well next weekend so we can watch Milka Duno destroy a perfectly good race car. The roar of cars on the track is coming; its Speed Weeks is almost upon us.
Mark, we know you are smiling with the Pack win. We miss you.