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Ryan Craig

Shame on you, NASCAR

Posted February 15, 2009

Other than the friends, family and fans of Matt Kenseth, can anyone say they were satisfied with the end to Sunday’s Daytona 500?

After 152 laps of paint-scraping, trash-talking, tire-wearing action, we were primed for a seriously fun finish to the sport’s greatest race.

And then came the rains – and NASCAR’s pathetically impatient approach toward trying to run the race’s last 48 laps.

Would the Super Bowl end after three quarters because of rain? Would a golf tournament be cut short without trying to play the last round? What about tennis? There’s no way baseball would award a World Series championship to a team in the seventh inning of game seven would they?

Of course not.

In those sports, the governing bodies either allow the contestants play through the conditions, or wait around long as long as possible to see the championship through.

Tennis waits until Monday to play the final of a Grand Slam if Sunday’s weather isn’t cooperative, and golf does the same.

This year’s World Series saw the Phillies and Rays take three days to finish game five, just to make sure each time got a fair shot at the title.

When it comes to auto racing, however, apparently one look at the Doppler radar is all the drivers, fans in attendance and viewers at home get from the big wigs with NASCAR.

I fully understand that safety and pragmatism don’t allow for the drivers to operate their four-digit horsepower cars on a wet track, but why not wait for the rain to pass? Why not hang around until Monday, or Tuesday if necessary to make sure the right driver cruises down victory lane?

Sure, it may put teams behind in their preparations for the next race, but how is that different than a golfer having to fly to a tournament a day later, or a tennis player getting one less day to practice for their next event.

Is it ideal? No.

But neither is crowning a champion at the British Open after the tenth hole on Sunday, a winner at Wimbledon after the quarterfinals, or the king of the Fall Classic after game three.

Just show an effort - that's all I ask. I know I work at a television station, but even I can admit that the meterologists are sometimes wrong.

Who knows? Maybe a few-hour window will open up and you can give everyone the race finish they deserve.

Like so many other organizations, NASCAR is struggling mightily with the nation’s economic downturn, especially considering its close relationship with the auto industry, arguably the most adversely affected sector in the entire nation. It needed a thrilling Daytona 500 to generate momentum and buzz for the entire season.

Instead, with the uninspired effort it put forth on Sunday, the organization not only made a poor public relations choice, but a bad business one as well.

Sure the people at Dewalt are happy – their man in the 17 car won the race.

Unfortunately for the series' governing body, the sport  lost the respect of at least one person in the process.

11 Comments

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  • KEB59 Feb 17, 12:06 p.m.

    Starting the race at noon to avoid rain is on par w/ stating that Dale Jr. has angel wings, or that Keith Urban sang too long. Geez!

    On the flips side, shrub wrecked and I was there to see it, so it was a great day at the track!

  • RochesterRedWolf Feb 17, 10:27 a.m.

    i'm a little biased, i've never seen the appeal of nascar, but yeah, what they did was odd

  • jam3 Feb 16, 11:18 p.m.

    Nascar is no longer fan friendly and hasn't been for many years now. They started letting the money control the sport 8-10 years ago and they'll put the final nail in the coffin within another 10 years. I love the sport and always have,but letting TV and track owners decide when and where you race has led Nascar away from it's true fans. If Nascar was still in control of Nascar, the races would start in time to survive an hour or two of rain and still finish the race,the traditional tracks would all still have their races, and plenty of money would still be made by all. I guess the traditional fans, who actually care about the sport the most would just be too happy and attend too many races. Wondering when they'll take a Martinsville race or the lone Darlington race away.

  • heelsqtpie Feb 16, 3:58 p.m.

    ... write about tires, the monopoly... what if perelli or toyo came on board? might prevent blow ups and blow outs, no? (it would never happen) ... sadly.

  • AlleyOops Feb 16, 1:33 p.m.

    Ryan, you can write a weekly "shame on you, NASCAR" column if you want. They aren't doing much right these days in any part of their sport. Don't let me start talking about THE ROCK

  • LMRA Feb 16, 12:13 p.m.

    I think the person who should be mad about this whole thing is Elliott Sadler! 2 laps earlier and the win would have been his! AND if they had the chance to go out and actually finish the race, who knows who would have won. How about some rain tires? How about less greed on the part of the NASCAR executives and starting the race earlier? OR waiting to end it later that evening or the next day? I was frustrated with the ending . . . and hope it never happends again!!

  • heelsqtpie Feb 16, 12:00 p.m.

    not even... The biggest stories will happen this season, watch!! Bill France is the man, but he can't control the weather! cmon fellas, even this girl can see that a 2pm start was good for the auto industry! *I Miss Rockingham too-- that one way in, one way out was a classic nightmare!! =)

  • BryanNC Feb 16, 11:59 a.m.

    had they started at 2:00 instead of 90 minutes of "fluff" with a rock show the race would have finished well before any rain was involved.

  • BIGDAWGShouse Feb 16, 10:00 a.m.

    Well put..Nascar is now officially a JOKE!!!!

  • gt_football Feb 16, 9:59 a.m.

    Should have started the race like they use to in the good old days of NASCAR at 12:00 noon. They would not have had the problem if NASCAR was not so greedy! Bring back the ROCK!

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