Everybody knows NASCAR fans are passionate about their racing and have lots of opinions regarding the way things should be. That's a wonderful thing, but it is also a known fact that not everyone will agree which way is the right one. A major topic for these past couple weeks is the new Gen 6 car and the form of restrictor plate racing as it is now.
Some fans love the huge packs of cars running inches from each other while others think tandem drafts was better. Once restrictor plate racing started transitioning to two-by-two packs, it seems a large amount of fans longed for the days of big packs again, despite the large amount of lead changes. Those 'two car tangoes' could turn into big pack racing in a possibly more risky way than everybody just being out there for themselves. The most impressive finish during the tandem draft days was easily at Talladega in April of 2011 when they came across the line 4 wide - and none of the drivers wrecked after the line!
But with NASCAR's recent desire to follow more of what the fans want, they started making it harder and harder for two drivers to stay hooked up without their cars overheating. And now we have a new car that doesn't seem to get as much benefit from being directly nose to tail and, in theory, pack racing is back. I think a lot of people forget what used to happen in the middle of those races. There have always been drivers who hung at the back of the field waiting until the end of the race before moving to the front in an effort to avoid getting wrecked. They've taken that to another level with the single-file racing we saw on Sunday. Was it the most exciting thing to watch? Absolutely not, but we asked for it.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil and those who aren't happy tend to speak the loudest - and NASCAR listened. No matter what kind of racing there is, people are going to complain. We shouldn't really be pleased with the single file racing that filled the first 100 laps, but you can't really blame the drivers for wanting to 'survive' to the end. How many times did we hear the phrase 'to finish first, first you must finish' last weekend?
Truthfully though, the Daytona 500 could have been the most amazing race ever and there would still be complaints. Social media makes it a lot easier for everyone to share their opinions and often times it is done without too much thinking - it seems that way anyhow. I read one comment where someone said he wishes things could go back to where 'they could just race and not worry about getting hung out to dry'. I'm sorry, but for all the years I've been watching, they have always had to worry about that. The only exception being the tandem drafting when there was one driver looking out for one other, regardless of what everybody else did. Therefore, it was rare for someone to be dropped from the draft.
There were several fans' comments about tandem racing being 'boring' and I just don't understand that. Was it more 'boring' than what we saw on Sunday? I couldn't help but think about how many lead changes there might have been if we'd had the previous style of racing. There was normally passing going on all over the place, not just for the lead - and over half the field wound up in front most races.
The Daytona 500 more resembled the ARCA race than anything else, but we saw all different types of racing over Speedweeks. The Trucks put on an amazing show with pack racing while the Nationwide series was a mix of tandem and pack racing. Both of those races were absolutely thrilling and breathtaking.
I personally love the tandem racing, but I'll take anything as long as the drivers (and fans) stay safe and the cars stay where they are supposed to. The Gen 6 car has taken a lot of heat for Sunday's show, but it is undeniably a lot better looking than the COT. And don't forget, we haven't seen the Gen 6 body in action on the 'normal' speedways (in race conditions) yet, so try and withhold judging harshly if you can! This is going to be an amazing season and the greatest sport in the world deserves to show it can bring an entertaining product to our TVs!
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