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Last year had some of the best racing in NASCAR that I've seen in a long time. The race-starts were fun, the many restarts, though begrudged by many, were also fun. And there were quite a few exciting finishes last year. The only dark mark on the television viewing experience is what TV fans call the snoozer middle section of most races, yet overall it was a fun 2011 season.
One of the fun factors for the season was that NASCAR went to a new points system last year. And I presume, the new system did the job it was intended to do and that's give fans a very exciting season ending fight, with what appeared to be tighter appearing point spreads.
And yes, the Sprint Cup Series season ended needing a tie-breaker. Admittedly, the sleeping giant called Stewart-Haas Racing woke up and pile-drove to the front of the charts and that's what made it incredibly exciting. They were the true star of this action-adventure points race.
But aside from that awesome media frenzy of fun, there was something that nagged at the back of my mind to the point of worry.
In the Nationwide Series, there was a 45-point difference between 1st and 2nd. Then 117 point spread between the points leader and third place.
In the Camping World Truck Series, there was a 6-point difference between 1st and 2nd... and 29 points between 1st and third. (OK, that wasn't so bad.)
But once we were done hooting and hollering for the season-closer in the Sprint Cup Series, there was something that was lurking in the background there too.
I don't mean to take away from what was an incredible season-ender, but had Tony Stewart not put on that drive he did last year, would the points race have been that exciting?
After Tony And Carl Edwards tied for first, the next guy back, Kevin Harvick, was 58 points behind them.
With a 58 point spread in Cup, 45 in Nationwide I am wondering what will happen this year.
What I'm sure most fans and the business owners of NASCAR are hoping for is that we will again have at least a few folk so close in parity through the last 10 races that it's once again a very exciting season closer... because if we don't see that, those 50 to 70 point position differences would have wrapped up the season the race before Homestead. As far as I can tell, that's not optimal for our beloved sport of auto racing, NASCAR. That would not have made Homestead the heart-attack drama fest it was.
Here's hoping gang!