The importance of fast starts, the real Carl Edwards, more mail topics
After just 93 races, the "great wing experiment" in NASCAR has reached an end. And you know what I have to say about it all?
Ditched in favor of the traditional spoiler, starting at Martinsville this weekend, these ugly contraptions that were a Car of Tomorrow staple will be remembered for three things:
• Dominance by one car and team (
• Sending multiple cars up in the air (
• Making the cars look like some kind of reject from a 10th grade science fair on the future of automobiles.
You might notice zero positives in that list. Well, it's because I have yet to find one. So if you can enlighten me on why this now-worthless piece of sheet metal was good for the sport, or simply have a question/comment for the mailbag, don't forget how to reach me! It's
We'll start with a question/comment that's perfect for this time in the year...
Let's first talk about getting off to a good start. I took a look at the top 12 drivers five races into each year of NASCAR's playoff format, and then examined how many of them actually went on to make the Chase. The results are startling:
Those numbers add up to a startling 71.2 percent of drivers in the top 12 this early in the season going on to make the playoffs. So if there are 31 drivers outside of the top 12 right now, 26 of them know that their chances of making the Chase are on life support.
But at the same time, just because a driver struggles through four or five races doesn't mean he can't rebound. Take a look at
So all hope is not lost. But with so many other big names also sitting just outside the top 12 (
Lots to get through here. Let's start with Edwards: that's exactly what
My take? I think it's hard to typecast Edwards as anything in the public eye because the snapshots are few and far between. As we saw with
As for IndyCar and Formula 1: I agree. There's so much "woe is me" talk in NASCAR these days, and believe me, there's plenty to be concerned about. But stock cars still boast the closest racing competition in the world today. The last two F-1 and IndyCar races had a total of nine lead changes combined; Bristol on Sunday had 29. What ails those series is a topic for another day, but rest assured, no matter how big a ratings decline NASCAR suffers, it's in light years better the other two series.
I agree that the GWC may need to be tweaked a bit over time. It's been a hot topic around the garage area the last few weeks after several drivers lost a ton of positions in a frantic Atlanta finish. There, it took two double-file restarts to get the job done, one of which resulted in a wreck that took out a half-dozen cars.
But your plan not to count caution laps still wouldn't remove that danger. Heck, if the cars keep wrecking with two laps to go, none of those laps would count and we could end up with nine or 10 "GWC-like" attempts! I think the answer to drivers' concerns may be to make the GWC single-file with 10 laps or fewer to go. Sure, it's a little less exciting, but
That's actually a common misconception.