Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NASCAR, NFL and more

Been too long, but have some thoughts here, starting with NASCAR.

Yes, the Daytona 500 is just about 3 weeks away, but on Wednesday night, NASCAR unveiled their new points payout system for all 3 of their national series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks.

First place earns 43 points, 2nd place 42, 3rd place 41, and so on, down to 1. Win the race, get 3 bonus points. Lead a lap, get 1 bonus point. Lead the most laps, get 1 bonus point.

The Chase remains, as well, with the top 10 drivers in points earning a berth, and then 2 wildcards will be handed out to the drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins.

NASCAR tried to place more emphasis on winning, and while they did, they didn't go far enough. 3 points for a win, on a graded 43 points scale is a mere pat on the back. Make a win significant. Make a win bonus 5 or even 10. Keep the laps lead, and most laps lead at 1, but the goal should be to collect checkered flags. It's virtually the same as the 5 point bonus that was given to the winner under the old system. It's nice, but it's not enough.

Now, I don't have all the answers, and I do know the NASCAR simply can't win no matter what they do. I admire that they are trying to make things better, easier to understand, and they should be applauded for their efforts, but I had a hard time following the explanations coming from NASCAR CEO Brian France on Wednesday night. It almost seemed that even he didn't believe the changes would work.

Time will tell how these changes work out, if they make things better, or produce those "Game 7" moments the series longed for last year. You just don't know until you give it a try.

I do like the Chase changes, and I like that they didn't add a "knockout stage" to eliminate drivers that aren't keeping up, I like the notion of being in, and staying in. The points payouts being what they are, things could be a little more interesting, but as always, the cream will rise to the top.

OK, Super Bowl 45 is 11 days away, and while the Pro Bowl is actually this Sunday, that game doesn't really count. I could be wrong, but I think it was Jack Youngblood who said he got hit harder on Bourbon Street on vacation, than he ever did in a Pro Bowl. That in mind, football fans have just 4 quarters (barring overtime) of football left for the foreseeable future.

Not getting into the CBA discussions (of which there have been none by all accounts), I had the conference champions picked, and now that it is Green Bay and Pittsburgh, I am still taking the Steelers, and I have ti being a tight game. Pittsburgh doesn't generally blow teams away, and even thought they got out to a 24-0 lead on the NY Jets, they didn't stretch it any further. Green Bay has played some fine football in the last 2 months, and they will be the sentimental pick, simply because the Steelers won it all just 2 years ago.

My Chicago roots will have me rooting for the Steelers on February 6th. My game opinion also leans towards Pittsburgh, but if you are looking for a rout, look someplace else. This one could go down as one of the great title games ever. So many weapons on both offenses, and both defenses can make the big play when needed.

11 days out, I have it Steelers 20-17 over the Packers.

I, do, however, reserve the right to change my mind.

Mike Solarte

1 comment: said...

About NASCAR, the new points system sounds interesting! I am just a casual fan of NASCAR but intend on following it a little more closely this year. It sounds like there is a strong commitment from the governing body to attract more fans. I hope it works!