Monday, February 25, 2008

Some thoughts on California

Photo Credit: Harry How/ Gety AFP

Congratulations to Carl Edwards on his win in today's race, which started yesterday. Carl had by far the fastest car, and passed Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon with ease to win the Auto Club 500 at Fontana, California. The race track, by the way, is now called the Auto Club Raceway. I guess that's fine, since what used to be the Charlotte Motor Speedway has been called the Lowes Motor Speedway for years. I really hope that this isn't a developing trend, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it were. Baseball and football stadiums have long been naming themselves after their corporate sponsors, so I suppose we will be seeing more and more of this in Nascar as well.

Congratulations also to Kyle Busch for winning the Trucks race on Saturday, and to Tony Stewart for winning the Nationwide race today after the Sprint Cup race. All 3 drivers dominated in their respective races, and I guess that is one of the problems I've had with the quality of racing in general this weekend. Not that there was no good racing, but there wasn't a lot of it. I read in a column by David Poole today that stated that California is experiencing the exact same problems that prompted Nascar to take away the race dates from Rockingham altogether. I tend to agree with him. Basically Rockingham lost it's February race date because of the weather, and because they couldn't fill the stands. I know that California was a victim of some very atypical weather, but even bad luck is something that Nascar can't fix sometimes.

The main problem with the track was the fact that even when it wasn't raining, the track would never totally dry because water would weep up through seams in the asphalt, and the wet spots could never be totally dried, even when track personnel did some late night emergency drilling and cutting to dry to allow the water to drain. This problem will hopefully be corrected before Nascar visits the track again this September. And don't get me started about the other date that California took away from one of my favorite tracks, that track being Darlington.

I'm hoping and praying that the new car will indeed lead to better racing. I think on some tracks it will. Darrell Waltrip mentioned today during the broadcast that he couldn't wait to get to, funny he should mention it, Darlington. I agree. I think the racing will be very good there, even with the new surface and with the new car.

Which leads to an obvious question. Should Nascar be more worried about building mega tracks in new markets that potentially they cannot fill, or should they be concentrating on making the actual racing better? Declining race attendance and lower television ratings last year leads me to believe that Nascar needs to make sure that the fans get what they want: Really great racing.

If Nascar takes measures that will practically guarantee great racing virtually every week, I think the ticket sales and tv ratings will rise accordingly. I think the drivers will have a lot more fun too. Even when a driver doesn't win a race, it's refreshing to hear him get out of the car and say "That was fun!" Chances are, if the driver is having fun, so will the fans, and in the end, so will Nascar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave comments. All I ask is that you keep it clean here.