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.