Hi, my name is Tony, and I used to watch NASCAR.
It’s taken a long time, but the first step is admitting your mistakes.
My father was a gear-head, and the one sport he would watch outside of football was NASCAR. This was back when it was still popular for men to wear cut-off jean shorts.
This was amid my childhood when I was beginning to like sports, and I made the mistake of latching on to the numerous races that took place for hours on end.
What I learned over that period of time was this: All that matters is the last 50 laps.
None of the pit stops, none of the spin outs, none of the hand-to-hand fights drivers sometimes found themselves in could ever come close to what I heard from Sunday’s race.
For those who are unfamiliar with the “sport,” NASCAR implemented a sort of playoff series where the last 10 races on the schedule are deemed “the Chase.”
A driver’s goal in the season is to stay in the Top 10 standings, with room for two wild card spots. Here, they compete to see who is the most successful in the last portion of the race series, which leads to the eventual crowning of a champion.
The most recent race this weekend, the last one before “the Chase,” included a bit of controversy among drivers attempting to qualify for the last remaining spot among contention.
It first kicked off when Clint Bowyer “intentionally” spun out, with Brian Vickers making an unorthodox green flag pit stop, which eventually allowed their teammate Martin Truex Jr. to qualify.
This kept Ryan Newman from winning the race with seven laps left to secure the final wild card spot.
However, NASCAR officials fined the racing team that coordinated the coup de ta, along with docking Bowyer, Vickers and Truex Jr. 50 points, giving Newman the final spot for “the Chase.”
In all sincerity, this brash of controversy hasn’t sparked my interest in NASCAR. In fact, it only made me wonder why I watched it in the first place.
When a sports only coverage on ESPN comes from altering a race’s results, that’s when you know the sport can use a massive change to garner more attention.
Maybe I’ll watch a race again if cut-off jean shorts make a comeback.