NASCAR instituted a new points system at season’s beginning in an effort to make it easier for the average fan to understand and in theory increase viewership. For those of you who read my thoughts on the change at the beginning of the season, you know that I was not a fan of the change, but I didn’t think it would make much of a difference. On that point I could not have been more wrong. While I still say it wasn’t needed, I now believe the change is a pure detriment to the sport that I so enjoyed watching and following each week.
Allow me to explain, I don’t think I am that much of an anomaly among fellow racing fans in that I have a favorite driver that I follow and root for. While I may like most of the drivers, on race day there is only one driver I am thinking about. Well, unfortunately this season has not gone so well for my driver and each week he seems to get mired further and further down the points standings. Under this new, but definitely not improved system, with each mediocre or, heaven forbid, bad week that transpires my hopes for him to pull himself out of the muck and mire of this points abyss dim.
OK, so maybe you’re saying, “well that’s how it goes”, and I bet if you are your driver is in the top 10. Am I right? But, I digress…
Under this new points system watching races and following a driver stuck in a points deficit becomes sheer frustration. When I see a twenty point separation between my driver and the next position in the standings I feel hopeless, understanding that he’ll need to finish twenty spots ahead of that guy in the next race to catch up. This hopelessness leaves me feeling like a frustrated vulture, hoping the drivers above him suffer calamities of all sorts. It has taken a sport I loved to watch and turned it into something I dread. I want to say, wake me when the Chase starts and hope that my driver is still lucky enough to have a shot at the wild card position for the Chase. Now, I won’t do that (just yet), so for now I watch and hope and prey for calamity and pray for success, but with each week my enthusiasm is giving way to despair and hopelessness. Watching is no longer fun but perfunctory at this point.
I am sure NASCAR’s decision to change the points so that “average” fans could understand wasn’t meant to dim the enthusiasm and support of the fervent fan, but it has for me.
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