I am sorry to say this, but the racing last Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, in California, was not good at all. If you are a die hard fan and follow some of the Twitter, and many different racing outlets, you continue to hear how the race was good and so on and so forth. Let’s take a moment and just think about how the race is called on the television broadcast. It has been my observation that those calling the race are interjecting more drama in their words and inflections than what is really happening on the track. Those covering the race in official capacities also attempt to create more drama, suspense, and positive spin within their coverage than what actually occurred in the race. NASCAR wonders why it continues to see lower numbers of people attending races and watching on TV. The answer is simply the racing is just not that good, especially what you are asked to spend monetarily wise to attend in person. Do not be fooled by the finish of the race either. Three or four cautions at the end of the race does not make the entire body of work for that particular race great.
Let’s take a look for a moment at the stages again. This is just in general. There have been a number of stages that the caution comes out perfectly to give us a couple lap shootout for the end of the stage. This ends up being very exciting. When there is no caution during a stage, the field is strung out. Key example this week, Fox cut to commercial at stage end before the top ten cars were shown crossing the line to end the stage. To me, it is pretty bad when the broadcaster does not even stick to a camera shot to give you the entire top ten crossing the start finish line to end stage one or two.
I realize that in racing there is going to be times a team hits the setup and runs away with the show. The problem though is that there is generally not even parity between 10th place back to 20th place. I am not going to pretend I know the answer to how to make the racing closer and better. I am not an engineer, nor am I am crew chief. I am a fan, but as a fan I can watch a race on TV and know when the race is good and when it is not. Generally what I have seen this year in five races is not good. That does not mean I am not going to watch. I am a die hard, I look forward to each race. As a blogger though, I can tell you that with the product on the track that we have seen so for, the product is not going to be bringing in huge amounts of new fans.
One thing that does stand out in NASCAR’s favor this season is the winners. There have been five races, and we have had five different race winners. Diversity in winning the races from week to week, will go a long way to keeping some interest from those who are not die hard fans.
This week the NASCAR party moves back to the East Coast, after spending three weekends out West, to Martinsville Speedway. NASCAR visits it’s shortest track on the circuit for the first time this season. Martinsville is not a down force track, therefore we should see some closer racing. We should also see a number of additional yellow flags throughout the race to keep things interesting. Let’s face it, 39 to 40 cars on a just over a half mile flat track, there will be some action. Also, it may be time for early season paybacks to come into play. Easy at Martinsville to make it appear that you were simply moving them out of the way. That is generally true unless you are Matt Kenseth taking out Joey Logano a few years ago.
Look at me go, I picked Kyle Larson to win last week and he got it done. This week I am going with Jimmie Johnson for the win. Johnson has been off the radar so far this year, but he is a strong contender to take home the grandfather clock this weekend. My like to see win the race this week is Jamie McMurray. When Martinsville comes to mind, McMurray does not come to mind for the most part. Watch for him though, he is 6th in points, a very quiet 6th. The dark horse to win this weekend, Danica Patrick. Danica has an up and down record at Martinsville, With that though, she has had success. Perhaps they hit the right setup and she could be a surprise.