When They Use To Earn It
Most of you have seen in print that I've only been a fan of NASCAR for about the last 12 years. It hasn't been until the last 10 of those 12 that I've put my nose to the grindstone in an attempt to learn as much about what makes the sport tick as possible. Until Speed came along, it was difficult to gain much knowledge about the innerworkings. ESPN was out, and fans were only interested in racing then. As time progressed, networks began showing qualifying on sister stations, and shows such as "Race Day", "NASCAR Now", and others, began popping up everywhere. Before we knew it, the thirst for NASCAR knowledge could be quenched by simply turning on the television, or sitting down at the computer.
One of the fond memories I have from those educational early days was watching drivers RACE their way into an event. Every inch of asphalt or concrete was hard fought, and if the waged battle wasn't enough, you were either fortunate enough use a provisional if available, or you simply didn't get in. If your driver started at the back, or had to pack it in, you, as a fan, learned to live with it. "We'll get 'em next week!"
Though I have no facts to back this up, yet simply an opinion, NASCAR eventually caved to corporate sponsorship pressure. They all whined because their billboards might not make a race. So, the France family gave all the sponsors a huge baby binky and invented the top 35 rule. This, folks, its the biggest pile of shit this side of a holstein cow. (working a year on a dairy farm, I learned that an average, milk-producing holstein, shits an average of 60 lbs per day!) The rule opened up the flood gates for conflict, disappointment, and in many ways, backfiring. There should be no sense of safety on qualifying day people! Yet now, a car who is safely within the top 35 in points, can rest assure, that even on a bad qualifying run, they'll be in the race while sending a possibly better, though under dog, car back to the hauler. The first name that comes to mind is Boris Said. 'Hey Boris, we know you're struggling for sponsorship dollars, and even though you are on the provisional pole after 24 cars, you're not going to be in the race due to the new rule'. HOW in the HELL can NASCAR look a driver in the face when a low-end team outruns one of the top 35, telling them they have to go home?
Sure, it might cheat fans, but if that's the case, fans had been cheated for years under the "old way" of qualifying. Then, the sponsors that do take a shot on the low-enders are out of a race, with a good car, a good driver, and nothing to show for it. So, do or die, you're turning your back on sponsorship dollars. It's a pharse, and in the end, fans are still getting cheated out of the best race that NASCAR can give them. Currently, Mr. France has no intention of looking into the top 35 rule. Imagine that!
A suggestion to throw out. Either expand the starting field so there are more opprotunities, or do away with this hideous rule.
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