But something personally historical happened for me.
I was on the road Sunday morning headed to a quick business meeting with my competitive disc dog club and I had Sirius Satellite Radio tuned to the NASCAR channel.
My tuner has NEVER left the NASCAR channel in 10 years, except to retune in to any new channel number they give the network. Until yesterday.
I think for the moment, I'm disillusioned.
On MOST Sirius channels you don't really have ads. You pay for the service and you get the music. But the NASCAR channel has "I hate blah blah blah" crap and other questionable marketers advertising their wares. And advertising them rather frequently. I can save my computer, have sex longer, and become a corporation while doing all that. Meh.
And in my short drive to work, sometimes my 15 minutes in the truck gets me about 5 minutes of programming and the rest ads.
But I've tolerated the rampant ads because the content on the channel is irreplaceable, with various talent and angles that cover the sport. And now with SPEED channel's 24-hour coverage gone in favor of Fox's catch-all programming, Sirius as the go-to NASCAR coverage.
But come Sunday, I tuned in and listend to an old race replay wrap up and they went into coverage of the upcoming Phoenix race.
And I picked up the remote and flipped to classic rock music. And thought to myself, "Wow, for the first time in 10 years, I just pulled my Sirius satellite receiver off of my NASCAR channel. And why am I not enthused any more?"
After pondering it for a while, I came up with what's the point of listening to a NASCAR race these days?
Except for one almost "Wildcard" position, all contenders that will contend in the Chase will be race winners. So to listen and worry about various drivers and where they stand in the points standings, means very little to me any more.
There's no more excitement that someone is in the top-12 or 15 or whatever in points. It's moot. All I need to do is tune in for the last few laps, watch the race finish, and see the next Chase competitor earn his berth into the year-ending Chase and move on.
I can tune in to any race recap or online entity to see the first name at the top of the finishers list to see who will probably be in the Chase after Richmond.... heck, now that I think about it, Richmond is no longer the exciting, last-ditch effort race it used to be because of the new points structure.
I have no dramatic compulsion to follow the race in any telecast. It's all about who wins, and that's that. The tactics of a good chess match are gone.
Now if you still have a personal stake in any one driver, it's going to be worth watching races until your guy wins. Or just to watch your driver do what he does best in the Sprint Cup series.
But if you're a Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Kevin Harvick fan, you can sit back, relax, and and wait until the Chase starts up to start rooting at the TV or radio again.
Another thing I'm worried for, in the impact this new win/elimination process has, is its effect on the many cookie-cutter D-oval races. Folks were already a bit tired of seeing the same shaped tracks being competed on. I now have to wonder if this new set of rules will have any impact there?
And I also worry if someone like Danica Patrick or Bobby Labonte wins a race. There goes another spot to someone who is not a race contender, taking it away from someone who probably is a more worthy contender. Thus, lady luck could have a hand in this process, not consistent, winning performances.
(PLEASE do not read into my examples as distaste for those drivers. I root for Danica to improve. EVERY season that she's competed in whatever league. Even if she doesn't. And I'm a huge Bobby Labonte supporter.)
So there's that.
Now for NASCAR, the best of all worlds has already happened at the Daytona 500, where Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race for a second time and got himself into the Chase. Or at least, more than likely he did, unless they have more winners than spots left in the Chase field.
And in one of their sales pitches about this new winner/elimination structure, they pointed out Dale Jr. would have won last year. Which for an organization that focuses on the changes and looking forward, was an odd, or unique moment where thy pointed to historical data and said, "See!!!???" Which is rather telling and not surprising to many.
But as it stands, winning is all it's about. Not top-3, 5 or 10th place finishes. Just winning. Unless there are too many or too few winners. Then and only then will points be any kind of a factor about getting into the Chase, with the exception of that one spot.
And when points become the more important aspect of competing, then, I'll be interested.
Let's face it, how would you, the NBA or NFL fan feel about a team winning a game just by the number of times the ball went through a hoop or crossed the scoring plane? Forget 2 and 3-point baskets or 6-point touchdowns and 1-point extra points or 3-point field goals. Just the number of times the ball scored.
Or if you're a bowling fan of the PBA, would the number of strikes determining the winner feel right to you?
OK, I can see the excitement of worrying about getting more hoops than the next guy, or getting the pigskin over that scoring plane, or seeing who buckles under stress and does not bowl a strike. But I also see those sports changing their processes and venues to support one extreme or another to help that goal. thus, changing the entire game.
And maybe change is what's needed here in NASCAR. So much so that they're driven by TV networks to make these changes.
I'm not sure why, in the process of making winning more important, they just did not jack up the number of points for a win. But they did not.
At this point, I have to wonder, since consistent performance no longer matters at the end of the year, if other old-school fans feel the same way. That this new system completely devalues the historical structure of the sport? That now, it's up to near crap-shoot plate races, surviving anger spewing short-track events, and then the rest just stomping on each other at D-oval racing. OK, now, we need more road course racing!
But that's just me. I could be wrong and in the end of the season, we'll see how it goes. Which, by the way, is the most disconcerting of all the changes, that last race, "winner take all" process they've set up for Homestead.
Again, it's just me.
According to NASCAR, the fans wanted an elimination process. And for those few who voiced their opinions, I bet they're jazzed. Me? I'm only tuning in to the tracks and the type of racing I enjoy and have more free weekends this year to do other things.
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