Backseat Drivers Fan Council
All-Star queries, Kurt Busch's penalties and grading Darlington
By: Matt Taliaferro | 5/16/12, 7:55 PM EDT
Fans at Darlington, God love 'em. (ASP, Inc.)
Is NASCAR still on a high as Tony Stewart says? What should have been done to Kurt Busch and others for the incidents at Darlington? What about the All-Star Race? Are changes needed there?
Those were among the topics members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated this week. And some of their responses might surprise you. Check them out.
DO YOU AGREE WITH TONY STEWART’S COMMENTS ABOUT THE SEASON?
Asked if he was surprised that some people are questioning the racing in NASCAR after the high the sport experienced at the end of last season, Tony Stewart said at Darlington: "I still think it's on a high. The racing has been awesome this year. You look at the whole Richmond weekend, the whole Richmond weekend the races were great. I think it's proof that the sport is still on a high right now.''
Fan Council members were asked if they agreed with Stewart’s statement:
54.4 percent said Yes
45.6 percent said No
What Fan Council members said:
• NASCAR is on a possible competitive "high" but the competition is greater than it ever has been and it is very difficult to get a setup right to win. BUT, NASCAR fans want drama. The fuel-mileage strategies added drama. The Kurt Busch/Ryan Newman wreck with six laps ago was drama. The No. 39 gasman going after Busch added post-race drama. We as fans need more than great competition, we need some drama to stay interested.
• Stewart is NOT the one who are sitting at home watching the so-called "great racing" on TV. A lot of it has stunk worse than Pepe Le Pew.
• I'm not hard to please. If they are racing, I like it.
• I think the racing has been great. I'm a race fan though, not a crash fan. I don't go to the track or tune in on TV to see crashing. Personally I think the fans that do that should just go away.
• Most of what I've seen has been follow-the-leader racing where the only passing came on infrequent restarts or on pit road. That's not racing in my book — that's freeway driving.
• The racing is boring. Maybe you could ask Tony why, if the racing is so great, I changed the channel and watched the NBA playoffs half way through the Southern 500
• I agree with Smoke. The racing this year has been good despite many naysayers.
• It seems that, instead of enjoying our sport, everyone is analyzing it to death. On the broadcast at Darlington, during the long green flag, all that was talked about was the lack of cautions. During a 500-mile race the drivers are always laying back until the end. Are you new here? It got exciting at the end the way all the races do. Just watch the race and enjoy it and shut up!
• It's certainly not on the high it was at the end of last year, but it's still "up" from where it has been.
• I believe the drivers and even the media (to a degree) think the sport is "on a high". I went to the Bristol race and thought the racing was great … because I was there. I don't necessarily think the racing is bad, but FOX is doing a horrible job of capturing the race. Just look at Twitter during a race. FOX has a ton of commercials & the production of the race is poorly done. That gets fans into a negative mood and therefore they perceive the racing as bad.
• Was Stewart giving a sarcastic answer again? I'm not sure why, or what to change, but I don't seem to be as into NASCAR recently as I have been in the past. I still watch the races on a weekly basis, however, I'm not scouring the internet for news articles during the week as I would normally do.
• Yes we are blessed with the best racing in the world.
Kurt Busch (ASP, Inc.)
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IN REGARDS TO THE KURT BUSCH INCIDENT WITH RYAN NEWMAN AFTER THE DARLINGTON RACE?
NASCAR announced Tuesday it was fining Busch $50,000 and placing him on probation until July 25 for an incident on pit road late in the race and for running into Newman on pit road after the event. Fan Council members were asked what they would do if they were NASCAR:
38.0 percent said they would do Nothing
29.6 percent said they would place Busch on probation for the rest of the year and do nothing to Newman
25.6 percent said Other
6.8 percent said they would place both drivers on probation
What Fan Council members said:
• Unfortunately, I think Kurt is reverting to the "old" Kurt who cannot control his temper. Probation might be the best thing to keep him in check.
• I do have some issues with Kurt flying through the 39 pit box during the race, so I do think he needs to be spoken too in the hauler about that. But since we all know probation is somewhat of a joke, I'm opting for nothing.
• NASCAR set a precedent this year in Talladega of not parking Danica, so nothing should be done.
• I think he should be suspended for his outrage driving through Newman's pit.
• Boys have at it, end of story. If this were anyone but Kurt, this wouldn't even made news after it happened.
• I have a serious issue with driver(s) carrying over frustration and anger on to pit road: it is simply too crowded with people, both during the race and after. Keep that crap on the track, where it belongs. As for this incident: Busch claims it was an accident, Newman says it was intentional. Given that Newman apparently did nothing to precipitate Busch's action (other than be pitted next to him, I guess), the punishment should be handed out solely to Busch. However, probation is useless so I suggest a massive fine and points.
• This is a professional sport and they need to act like professionals especially when innocent bystanders can get injured.
• Kurt should be parked indefinitely. How many times is this going to happen? Until he hurts an innocent person?
Judging from what Newman said about Kurt, there is something more to Kurt's story that we don't know about. Maybe we'll hear more in the coming weeks.
IS THE ALL-STAR RACE WORTH HAVING OR SHOULD IT BE MADE INTO A POINTS-PAYING EVENT?
90.3 percent said keep the All-Star Race as is
9.7 percent said make the All-Star Race a points-paying race
What Fan Council members said:
• Keep the All-Star Race. Move it around to other tracks. And invert the field!
• The All-Star race is one of the better races all year because drivers and teams put everything they have into this race. Winning is definitely all that matters. If you can't win, bring it back wadded up after you tried something crazy to win.
• Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.
• It’s a tradition, but maybe keep playing with the format to keep it intriguing (No figure 8's).
• I guess I am one of a minority. I have been a dedicated NASCAR fan since the late ‘70s and I have never been much of a fan of the "All-Star Race". It is exciting to watch, but in the end it is just a bunch of wrecked racecars and nothing has been gained.
• Keep the All-Star but make it Wednesday or Thursday night the week of the Coke 600 in primetime. They all have separate cars for both races anyway ...
• It shouldn't be a full points race. HOWEVER, it would be cool if it were somehow linked to the Chase. I would like to see the winner maybe get five bonus points when Chase time arrives. Even better, have a guaranteed Chase spot on the line. THAT would shake things up, especially if a guy like Jeff Gordon would pull it off.
• My choice would be do away with the All-Star Race completely and give the teams another off weekend. But since NASCAR wants to keep it, I think it should be a points race of some kind. I'm getting tired of it being at Charlotte every year.
• This race is so worth looking forward too! I love it with no points on the line. This is really boys have at it at its best. Truly exciting!
• Definitely keep the All-Star Race as it is. No other sport has such an event that their athletes participate in with such intensity. It's no-hold barred racing, with not having to worry about losing points to go for the win!
GRADE SATURDAY NIGHT’S CUP RACE AT DARLINGTON
55.4 percent said it was Good
22.3 percent said it was Fair
19.9 percent said it was Great
2.4 percent said it was Poor
What Fan Council members said:
• The first half of the Southern 500 was just basic racing. The second half of the race had more cautions, fuel strategies, a G-W-C finish and a massive gasman coming after a much smaller driver with an attitude. This was good overall, but not great.
• I thought it was a rather boring race for Darlington until the last 100 laps. The way it has been going, there is no reason to watch the first half of any race any more.
• Darlington is an awesome place to have a race! Everyone always talks about more short tracks, I say more tracks like Darlington where the track can get a little nasty, and the driver has to stay on his or her A-game to get the job done.
• OK, I struggled with this answer and landed on "Good". The first half was a snoozefest. Everyone was so stretched out with so few cars on the lead lap, it was really boring. The last half of the race made up for it and catapulted the rating to "Good". Crews were able to work on their cars and get back on the lead lap and start racing each other.
• Racing was everywhere! Drama in the end. Good stuff.
• Good, solid action on the track (I was there so I didn't have to deal with TV). Pretty amazing to go 172 laps without a caution. It was fun to watch the good drivers really work the track and pass.
• Darlington is never going to be a track that produces great side-by-side racing. It's one of those tracks where you like to have the drivers have to drive. Having said that, I thought it was a good race for Darlington.
• Having so few cars on the lead lap is never exciting to me. Add the lack of passing for position as well as the near elimination of the crossover pass took a lot of the fun away. Even the wrecks didn't come from tight, hard racing. I'm not a member of the "wrecking is always good" club. If they're a by-product of very hard racing, that's where the excitement is.
• Boring first half. AMAZING race after the first caution.
The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at email@example.com.
Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.
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