When NASCAR Goes From Racing to a Well Orchestrated Ballet

Brent FarleyContributor IDecember 3, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  Michael Waltrip driver of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2009 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Recently my wife and I enjoyed watching the Phantom of the Opera in person at the Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University.  As I watched an impressive play, I was thinking about racing.  (My doctor says I'm addicted)  As the actors danced across the stage, going where the director has told them previously to go, I was reminded on how the suits in NASCAR have turned my favorite sport into a ballet.

Gone are the days of drivers handling disputes on their own.  If a driver gets out of his car and approaches another driver, the suits start tallying up fines.  Gone are the days when drivers would work out their difference on the track.  Driver A does something stupid, ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY as he is getting spun out and the problem has been solved.  Today, NASCAR races to babysit any dispute.

As the drivers prepare to race, NASCAR calls them into a meeting and sets the rules for that particular race.  Much like the director of the Phantom play, telling the actors what they need to do. 

A few areas of NASCAR ballet have been productive.  Drivers being safer is always a welcomed change.  But I don't want to watch a ballet.  I want to watch 43 drivers work out their differences and race.

Peddle to the metal, chest thrown back into the seat and knuckles turning white as they reach crazy speeds. What racing used to be!  Remove the drama, rev up the RPM's and let's go racing boys!

By the way, Phantom was excellent.