It seems like every year, the INDYCAR Championship comes down to the final race. The winning margins have been incredibly close over the last handful of years. Perhaps NASCAR is considering making changes to its points system after Jimmie Johnson won his fifth consecutive Championship last year.
Just another reason why INDYCAR is better than NASCAR.
In the late '90s, the sport of NASCAR was gaining serious momentum. Guys like Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon were going toe to toe, and the races were always intense. A big wreck could cause mass destruction, yet there was still a race back to the yellow flag to see who won. Now it seems if a feather from a pillow gets within 200 yards of the race track, they will throw a caution flag.
Guys used to be able to bag, rub, knock each other around and police themselves. They could settle things on the track, or off it, and still hold each other accountable for their actions.
Now if another driver flips another driver the middle finger during the race, he gets called back to the NASCAR trailer and is put on probation.
Today, you have things like "boogity, boogity, boogity" and "Lucky Dogs" that just make it a joke. Awarding points to someone for leading a single lap has completely messed up any racing strategies that were out there.
Really NASCAR, a "Lucky Dog?"
Perhaps the thing that gets to me most is the sponsors and PR that gets put in front of everything. After the race, when the "interview" is started, the driver will talk about his sponsors for seven minutes before he even begins to address the race. Other drivers will always find a way to incorporate their sponsor's product in their "interview" in a cute/lame sort of way.
The best, though, has to be the "drink of choice" the driver has, with the label facing the camera perfectly. As soon as the reporter begins to speak and the camera lights up, the driver is right one cue with a sip of the beverage.
Don't get me wrong, the sport isn't all that bad, but they are making decisions that really make you question their judgement. It seems like every three years they are making some sort of a change to the points system, or to some of the major rules. It's hard for fans, and even the teams, to keep track of the new changes and doesn't allow them to really get comfortable with things.
Qualifying isn't really as big of a deal because even if you are in the top 20, you have a shot, especially with the "Lucky Dog" and all of the chaos that can come from the restrictor plate races.
In INDYCAR, drivers and teams are awarded points for getting the pole position. It may not seem like much, but those points can really add up during the course of the season.
Another reason fans should make the swap from the stock cars is the exciting new youth that has been added to the sport. For a long time it was all about Helio, Kanaan, Dixon and Franchitti. Now we have guys like Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, J.R. Hildebrand, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Danica Patrick and Simona De Selvestro, among others.
Add in the veterans and the talent has never been deeper across the board.
Yes, there are more American drivers this year, because some people care about that. I don't really care how many of them are in the field, but some people are really drawn to the sport by that. The schedule needs more ovals, of course, and the series is working on that, but hopefully we will see more next year.
The speeds are up and the new engines and chassis will be on display next year. It is the centennial era at Indianapolis, home of the greatest auto race in the world. The excitement has been mounting for quite some time now, while NASCAR has seen some decline in their fan base.
Both sports are going to have their "true fans" and they will never waiver. There are some fans that might be relatively new to auto racing that aren't really sure what they prefer. Granted NASCAR has a longer season with more than double the amount of oval races, but the INDYCAR season is full of the unexpected. With so many turns, and so much talent spread out, it's really up in the air as to who will grab the crown.
Even when you compare both series' biggest events—the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500—the INDYCAR Series appears to have the edge.
The Greatest Spectacle in Racing began 100 years ago this coming May. Winning this race and getting your face put on the Borg Warner Trophy is more coveted than winning the Series Championship.
The stock cars finally made their way to IMS in the '90s, but it has been going downhill for the last five or six years. Comparing these cars to the ones that zip around the speedway in May, it is no contest. They are nearly 60 mph slower, they are all in a pack and up against the wall 90% of the time.
It can be a boring race to watch, especially if you are suffering through the intense heat.
The INDYCARS don't race at many of the same tracks as the stock cars. There are a combination of reasons why, but can you just imagine the cars flying around Daytona International Speedway? There would be multiple deaths before they could even get a race in. When they used to race at Texas, drivers were blacking out because of the intense G-forces. They didn't even have the cars going full-throttle.
In the end, fans will choose where their hearts will take them. But if you really look at the two closely, you could easily see why many people would start to move over to the INDYCAR Series. They are on a big upswing and the future is looking good.
You can't go wrong with either, but I think you know where my heart lies.