I am very annoyed that I am writing this, but NASCAR was better when I was younger. Only, it wasn’t really.
Nostalgia reminds me how much I loved watching the machines that looked like actual cars on the road zooming around the track on the edge of disaster.
There are two major problems with this memory.
First, even then, the cars had little to do with their road-going counterparts. Second, disaster’s edge was way too close. Too many people died. No matter how exciting, I don’t really want people getting hurt.
So, forgiving the changes to the cars in the name of safety, what’s left of my memory? Was the racing really better? I have to admit it was. In those days the tracks were independent. The drivers were independent and just drove where the money was best. It had much more of a barnstorming feel.
NASCAR just sanctioned the championship. And, the driver that won the most races won the championship. There were no segments, playoff points, double secret reward points, competition cautions or anything like that. It didn’t take the announcer ten minutes to explain each week’s rule changes.
They also had what is sorely missing these days, disqualifications. No structure of fines, point reductions, ejecting tire changers. If you got caught cheating, you were out.
These days NASCAR is a corporate giant. They own the tracks. They design the cars. They control the drivers, the teams, the sponsors. All individuality had been squeezed out. Every decision is made for the corporate good.
That’s why I’ve switched to watching racing on the net. Short track races full of prize money bounty hunters. Maybe not as professional, but way more fun.