Author Topic: NOT California Dreaming  (Read 2449 times)


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NOT California Dreaming
« on: September 02, 2007, 05:12:42 PM »
It's wrong.  Just plain *&#^@!* wrong.  Racing in California on Labor Day Weekend is *the* single-most screwed up thing NASCAR has -ever- done to its schedule.  The track is excellent.  The market, in terms of potential, is excellent.  The ticket sales?  Abysmal.  I'm sorry, but if you can't even sell out one race weekend, let alone two, you don't even deserve a damn shot at having a second weekend!

Bottom line: We should be in Darlington, SC this weekend, where the real Labor Day Sunday race has always been.

Okay, now that I'm off of that soap box (momentarily), let's get on with it...

Brian France, in all of his "wisdom", decided that this year "The Chase" needed to be expanded to 12 drivers.  Why?  That's easy to answer: Because in the two previous years, three of the sport's "Top 5" (and arguably the Top 3) drivers missed The Chase.  In 2005, both Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon missed it.  Then, as an encore in 2006, Tony Stewart missed it.  So, Brian expanded The Chase to 12 drivers, figuring that there's no chance any of those three would be farther down than 12th in the standings.

I have to laugh at the decision though, because not only does it further water down the legitimacy of the sport, it also has proven itself to be a disastrous decision in terms of the "drama" that the TV networks (and Mr. France) so desperately desire.  There is a whopping 158 points that separates 12th place from 13th place in the standings, which means that in all reality, the Top 12 drivers are already set.

Oh yeah, and because the marketing Golden Boy, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is out - again.  (That's a dig at the point system, not at a driver.  Settle down Jr. Nation.)

While it is theoretically possible that Kurt Busch's engine could detonate early in the race resulting in a 43rd place finish as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. goes on to lead the most laps and win the race, the odds of that happening are infinitesimal to the point that you'd have to be an absolute idiot to think there's -any- chance of such a thing occurring.  Besides, in order for Junior to have any realistic shot of making The Chase, he has to win both of the next two races.  Junior pulling into Victory Lane at Richmond next week is a distinct possibility.  This weekend at California?  Not going to happen.

Pat Tryson (Busch's crew chief) almost assuredly has detuned the engine in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, playing it safe at a track that is known to be hard on engines.  You can bet your sweet ass that those guys are *not* taking any chances this weekend.  Why?  Simple.  All Kurt Busch needs to do to secure his place in The Chase is:

  • outscore Dale Jr. by 3 points in California, and
  • not give up more than 14 points to Ryan Newman

Task #1 on his list is easy: finish one position ahead of Earnhardt, and it's mission accomplished.  As for Newman, that task is arguably even easier, since Busch can actually finish behind Newman and still lock himself in.

Here are a couple of scenarios for Kurt to get himself locked-in to The Chase...

Go For The Kill
The spectacular option would be to lead the most laps and win at California.  If he does that, it's over.

Play It Safe
Two 15th place finishes in the next two weeks, and Busch is in - no matter what Earnhardt or Newman do.  You can detune an engine and easily accomplish that task.

I personally think that the Blue Deuce will be utilizing a strategy that combines the above two options.  I think they're willing to give up the 'W', so they'll detune the engine a bit to play it safe.  However, I think that they won't be giving up that much horsepower, and they'll still finish well inside the Top 10.

By the way, this is *not* an article about Kurt Busch.  Nor is it about Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Ryan Newman.  I'm simply pointing out that what Brian France has done with the rules for making The Chase this year has really turned into a pile of dung.

So, what if the rules had not been tampered with?  Well, if it was still the Top 10 positions, we'd have a serious dogfight on our hands - one that would likely last right up until the very last lap at Richmond.  Check these stats out:

  • Fewer points separate Kyle Busch in 8th place and Kurt Busch in 12th place (145 points) than do 12th and 13th place.  Five drivers and 145 points vs. two drivers and 158 points.
  • Clint Bowyer (9th Place) is only 65 points ahead of Busch (12th)
  • Kevin Harvich (10th Place) is only 1 point ahead of Martin Truex, Jr. (11th), only 9 points ahead of Busch.  That's a measly 9 points separating the 10th, 11th, and 12th place drivers.

If you look at the stats since The Chase was instituted, each year there have been fewer drivers in contention by the time the series got to Richmond.  Why is that?  Because more and more teams have figured out how to play the game.  The game is simple: play it safe, score the points.  The Chase has done -nothing- to eliminate that fact, but rather has amplified it.  So now, instead of crowning a Champion who was the most consistent over the course of an entire season, NASCAR now crowns a Champion who is "consistent enough" for 26 races, and then is the most consistent for only 10 races.

You know, the more I look at the statistics - and make no mistake about it, I'm a stats man - the more pissed off I get about the existence of The Chase.  If you want a Champion to be determined by consistency, the "old" points system wasn't broken, and The Chase clearly makes a mockery out of things.  If on the other hand you want a Champion that is based on finishing 1st, then let's make a frequin points system that actually rewards that - which The Chase clearly does not do.  Either way, The Chase is a frequin joke, and it needs to be gotten rid of.

Who to Watch
Who? #2, Kurt Busch
Why? See above.  Look for Pat Tryson and Company to get the job done this weekend.  I'll be surprised if they go to Richmond without being locked-in.

Who? #22, Dave Blaney
Why? A couple of weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway, a sister track to California Speedway, Blaney scored his first (and only) Top 10 finish of the season.  Toyota has made major improvements in their engine department in the last few months, and there's no reason to believe that this weekend should be any different.

Who? #83, Brian Vickers
Why? Like Blaney, Vickers also scored a Top 10 finish two weeks ago at Michigan.  That was Vickers' third Top 10 of the year.  Where did his first one come?  California Speedway, way back in February at the second race of the season.  I think he picks up Top 10 #4 this weekend.

Who? #8, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Why? Junior has to make up 158 points in the next two weeks.  With five finishes of 32nd or worse and an average finish of just 21.2, in 11 career starts, California is one of Earnhardt's weakest links.  Even though he finished 12th at Michigan two weeks ago, things don't look very good for a Chase appearance this year.

Who's Going to Win
I have no clue.  Johnson?  Burton?  Kenseth?  Edwards?  Honestly, who really cares?  It's California on Labor Day Sunday.  I sure don't give a damn.  Kurt Busch is the guy that I'll be watching this weekend.

Happy racing.


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Re: NOT California Dreaming
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2007, 09:45:35 PM »
Another reason for 12 cars in the chase, is because of last year. Stewart didnt make the chase, but was in 11th, and the way he ran the last 10 races, he would have won the championship if it were 12 cars last year.


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NOT California Dreaming
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 09:41:03 AM »
Can anyone direct me to information on getting licensed or racing like Wera, or CCS in Southern California. I have no idea where to start? thanks


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NOT California Dreaming
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 03:19:05 AM »
I am so tired of karaoke tracks that are not the orginal tracks but poorly redone dupes. How can I get only original music?


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