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Thanks to the two-by-two style of racing, the action at Daytona and Talladega has been reduced from scintillating, edge-of-your-seat excitement to simply counting down the laps until 10 to go.
Sure, the last few laps are as exciting as anywhere. But that doesn't make up for three hours of boredom.
In previous years during restrictor plate events, fans never knew when the "Big One" was going to happen, as the cars roared around the track in massive packs throughout the race. With the advent of the new style of restrictor-plate racing, the most common wreck is one driver inadvertently dumping the car he's blindly pushing around the track.
Commentators and NASCAR public relations personnel can try to advertise the racing as more exciting than ever, with more leaders and more passes for the lead. But is that what fans want? Parity to the point where taking the lead is virtually meaningless?
I don't think so, and unless something creative can be done (Hint: That means simply ordering the drivers not to bump-draft isn't an option, as NASCAR found out a couple of seasons ago), the ratings will reflect a disillusionment with racing at Daytona and Talladega.