Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NASCAR: Changing the All-Star race format doesn’t guarantee excitement, but I would support changes including an elimination format anyway.

Since last Saturday night’s NASCAR All-Star race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, some of the fans and the media have been debating whether or not the All-Star race format needs to be changed again to make the race more exciting and intense to watch.

One article that really caught my attention was Dustin Long’s last column.

In the article he discusses the All-Star race including Dale Jr. saying last week that he’d like to see the all-star race shortened from its 100 laps of racing to “make it a little more about the fireworks,’’

And he included comments back from the Fan Council Members, two of which nailed it by saying “Doesn’t matter how long the race is we all want some action” and “I’m not sure what would make it better. Sometimes events, games, etc, are exciting and sometime they're not. There is no guarantee no matter what you change it would improve it.”

But personally for me, a NASCAR fan who has been watching NASCAR for around the past two decades, I have to say that it really doesn’t matter how many laps the All-Star race is from 70 laps to 100 laps, there is simply no guarantee’s that the racing will be exciting and intense to watch, sorry to say it like that, but its 100% true.

However if NASCAR wants to continue to evolve the All-Star race, I do have a few suggestions. 

1. Keep the All-Star race between 70 to 100 laps, anything less or more would just be terrible. This distance already works for me.

2. How about going back to 3 segments that includes a green flag pit stop. Nothing challenging for drivers, media members and fans to remember mind you, but 3 segments is better, less caution flags for one. For example, 40 laps, 30 laps, 15 laps, total of 85 laps. You can include a mandatory pit stop before the final 15 lap segment like in the current 2011 format.

3. How about going back to a random inversion (6-12) before the second to last segment and mandatory pit stop.

4. How about adding a little bit more drama to the event with the art of an elimination format before the final segment. For example, only the top 12 or 15 drivers can race for the win in the final segment. That move would match what’s happening in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If drivers can’t get themselves into the top 15 let’s say in 70 laps, they aren’t going to win the All-Star race period, its just not going to happen.

There is one more advantage to having an elimination format, this will either wake up or get rid of several teams that are using the All-Star race as a test session, instead of going all out. Several drivers last Saturday night in the All-Star race looked like they were testing flat out.

My favorite All-Star race format with or without eliminations:

I prefer have a 3 segments All-Star race that consists of 40 laps, 30 laps, and green flag 15 laps. The race would include a random inversion (6-12) before the 2rd segment and a mandatory pit stop before the final 15 laps. 15 laps gives somebody a chance to chase down a leader from a top 5 starting spot in segment 3. The Elimination is optional, but could be added after the 2nd segment leaving 12-15 drivers to race for the win.

But at the end of the day, nothing guarantee’s an exciting and intense race period, now its up to NASCAR.

Full Disclosure: This article was originally published on Brian Vermette's former blog called BVinsight, however once RaceDriven.com was re-launched and rebrand, BVinsight was renamed BVDaily with 33 of 44 articles being published here on RaceDriven due to subject.