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Splash & Go writes:
"Show vs. Go Part Two"
Posted by Uptight Motorsports Nerd on April 29, 2010
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Previously I covered the entertainment aspect of sports and the responsibilities of track owners and promoters, but now I will focus on the sanctioning body.

The phantom yellow has become such a nuisance that I feel it is time to call the Ghostbusters. I understand that racecar drivers do risk their lives. I do not want to see someone crash because of a piece of debris. The ideal solution would be to not have to worry about metal on the track. Where is all of this metal coming from anyway? If it all comes from the cars, someone should have finished underweight by now.

So now we come back to the green-white-checkered finish. Watching the spring Talladega Sprint Cup race this year, we saw several green-white-checkered attempts that were marred by crashes, but all of these crashes happened in the vicinity of turns three and four. A lap of Talladega Superspeedway takes about forty-five seconds. Assuming the leader to be five seconds ahead of the crash, the yellow flag will not be needed for another thirty seconds. Once the leader has taken the white flag, then we can throw the yellow. But instead we keep throwing the yellow flag as soon as trouble strikes for the hyperbole that comes with another attempt; it is good for the show.

The sanctioning body also has another issue to address off track: parity. I remember a time when NASCAR would allow differently shaped cars to race and impose aerodynamic changes to prevent manufacturer dominance. I miss the politics and sandbagging. Now I am some sort of C-SPAN junkie who occasionally watches racing.

It sounds nice to remove "gray area" because the equipment of small teams is closer to identical to that of large teams. This is reinforced by the observation that the gap between the fastest qualifier and slowest qualifier has been greatly reduced. A different trend appears to be forming during races. Astute observes have noted that as the difference is speed is reduced, the outcome of the race becomes more predictable. Theoretically, the reduction in gray area should make racing more competitive; however, there are really fewer opportunities for a small team to out think a large team. Of course you can still commit to the IROC model and have all cars supplied by one sanctioning body, but that severely limits car count.

P.T. Barnum's circus was a great success because it offered something different for everyone. If you did not like the clowns, you could look at the elephants, the acrobats, or the freaks. When promoters, track owners, and sanctioning bodies try to manufacture the spectacle of a big finish with fiery wrecks, we all have to watch a few hundred miles of parade followed by the demolition of a catch fence. When we allow the teams to innovate, and we stop molesting the races with unnecessary yellows; we can watch a real race. Then we who dislike the fiery wrecks can pay attention to the strategies playing out, the radically different designs of cars, the technology, or the fact that someone is going two hundred miles per hour just for our amusement.


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