Listen up, NASCAR. This is directed right to you.
This weekend at Texas, there were two instances where media members and fans believed that the two championship contenders, Johnson and Keselowski, jumped separate restarts. It took NASCAR a day to state that they saw nothing wrong with either coming-to-the-green instances.
Well, if there was nothing wrong, why did it take you a day to speak up?
Many figures -whether it be the President of Competition, track owners, or the NASCAR media- like to criticize harshly on issues and blow them out of proportion. Sadly, it’s to drum up excitement.
Take A.J. Allmendinger’s fiasco for example. NASCAR addressed the situation right before the July Daytona race was about to go underway. In what seemed a short time later, he had already completed the Road To Recovery program. As officials stated, once he finished rehab, he was fit to go back into NASCAR competition if he could find a team.
I’m not going to deny it, I was adamant that IndyCar would be the best route. My common sense told me he would be blackballed by the teams because of his situation and the image it would portray. But, I was proven wrong; photos of Allmendinger with James Finch surfaced, then the deal came out. He is racking up good finishes, too.
But, I think about the races before that July race in Florida. How the announcers boasted about him. He was knocking off top tens, so it was well-deserved. Then, NASCAR Now gave him that segment and ran his image of the fun-loving, crazy guy into the ground until they yanked it. Then, after the stimulant scandal broke, nothing positive was said. Reputation, gone.
Was it right to judge A.J. and attempt to ruin his chance in the sport he loves? Or did he bring it on himself?
Maybe that was a bad example. How about the recent scuffle between Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon? Denny got into Austin coming onto pit road after the NNS race because of how he raced on track. Why endanger people on pit road when you could’ve settled it during the race? Because Dillon’s in the championship run, right? Well, to be honest, if Dillon was racing him dirty, he doesn’t deserve the chance to be the champion. On the other hand, Hamlin shouldn’t have been in the race anyway (going back to my many rants of Cup guys poisoning the Nationwide Series).
NASCAR and SPEED both blew this out of proportion, tweeting and wondering if fans were on #TeamHamlin or #TeamDillon. Really? Are we going to make this into a Twilight deal? Oh, please.
Wayward opinions and over-promotion are becoming a crutch for NASCAR, sadly.
Remember 2010, the ‘Boys Have At It’ era? Well, that was going good until Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton had that scuffle at Texas. In just two short years, the façade has changed many times. It’s like that high school girl who wants to fit in with the popular crowd. You many not know the real her at a glance, but, if you find her old school pictures, that’s a different story.
Back when NASCAR was that brace-faced, pigtail-wearing little girl, it was innocent. It cherished the racing and fans. The drivers shaped the sport themselves, with the hard racing and nail-like personas.
Now the sport has grown up. Owners are talking about throwing mandatory cautions, they’re stretching the truth to make their races seem grand, and media members are making stories out of the smallest incidents.
Yes, that’s their jobs. But you got to be realistic. Not every race will be a wreckfest or a Primetime Daytona 500 experience. The sport needs to take off the makeup and let it shine for what it is. Those in it need to cut the crap and endorse it no matter what. If you can’t do that, get out.
Trust me, I love this sport to death, but gimmicks and weak campaigning can only be it’s crutch for so long. Hopefully, someone comes to their senses and realizes what us fans already see: racing that is coming off as over-processed and plastic.