NASCAR could learn something from Major League Baseball …

Unfair. Ridiculous. Awful.

Those were some of the phrases espoused on social media Tuesday night when the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates played one game to determine who would advance to the next round of the Major League Baseball playoffs. The cry was how could baseball have its teams play 162 regular-season games and then have one game determine who advances in the playoffs where chance can have such a significant role in the outcome.

I love it.

Matter of fact, I wish they’d shorten the Chase to four races. Let them run at a short track, 1.5-mile track, 1-mile track and either a road course or restrictor-plate track. Or add both and make the Chase a five-race event. I’m flexible.

Yes, chance would play a greater role. What I like about a shorter Chase is that it increases the intensity. I want teams to sprint to a title, not run a marathon. Look, everybody seems to think the NFL playoffs are fine. After a 16-game season, the San Francisco 49ers needed to win only two games to get to last year’s Super Bowl. Two games.

So, why is it OK in the NFL to have a short playoff path to the title? Yes, I get the point that in the NFL it’s only two teams and in NASCAR there are 43 cars out there together. Still, I don’t have a problem with that.

You want to put emphasis on winning? Well, you better win one of those four or five races in the Chase or you might not win the title. Yes, a team could get hot in a shortened Chase and steal the title. Guess what? That happens all the time in sports.

Hey, if NASCAR can increase the Chase field this year, why not shorten the Chase and learn something from Major League Baseball.




3 thoughts on “NASCAR could learn something from Major League Baseball …

  1. Allison

    My thoughts about the Chase, since the beginning, have been that NASCAR sold out on the credibility of the championship for the manufactured excitement of an artificially close finish to the season. One thing that could not be argued about the Latford point system was that the champion would always be the one who scored the most points for the entire year. In other words, you ended up with the champion being the driver with the BEST record, even if the outcome was determined prior to the last race.

    Sports that play team vs. team by their very nature had to come up with a playoff system, and a lot of the argument for the credibility of a Chase champion who might not have been the champion under the old system lies with the example of the Patriots’ perfect season up until they lost the Super Bowl to (I think) the Giants. But in that case, the Patriots did not play against the Giants every week of the season. NASCAR drivers compete against ALL of their opponents EVERY week. So if someone who has only had a season good enough for 10th place so far comes along and has a great run of 10 races and wins the Chase, that championship does not carry the same credibility as those that were won based on a season long point total. In my mind, they were the best only in the last 10 not for the whole season.

    Credibility vs. Excitement. They are not mutually exclusive. The old point system showed us you could have a close battle down to the last race. Its only when you try to GUARANTEE that by favoring some drivers and handicapping others, that you lose credibility.

    1. Rhonda

      Agree 10000% Allison. Very well said and my feelings exactly. I wish NASCAR would just get rid of the chase. I don’t want nor need “manufactured” excitement. I prefer RACING and a champion that raced his best for the entire year.

    2. Judy B

      You’re preaching to the choir here Allison! I’ve been saying the same thing since the day this stupid format was announced. I am so incredibly tired of BZF trying to make something he tolerates (racing) into something he loves (every other sport) at the expense of the fans who made NASCAR what it was before he ruined it. Racing is not and cannot be anything like any other sport. As my sister-from-another-mister PattyKay Lilley has said it’s like comparing oranges & zebras!

      If this stupid chase (lower case intended, I refuse to capitalize it) is to continue, I think Dustin has one of the best ideas on it yet. One of the biggest peeves I’ve had is that not every track type is included. His idea at least fixes that part.

      By the way, you are right about the Giants beating the supposedly unbeatable Patriots. One of the best games ever! Of course as a Giants fan, I might be a teensy bit biased 😉


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