NASCAR: The 10 Things That We Have Grown Tired of

Paul Carreau@@PaulCarreauAnalyst IMay 5, 2011

NASCAR: The 10 Things That We Have Grown Tired of

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    RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 30:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011 in Richmond, Virgi
    Pool/Getty Images

    Everybody that's a fan of NASCAR has things that they love about the sport, and things that really don't like about it as well.

    For some it may be that there favorite driver doesn't get the same amount of coverage as some of the other drivers, or it may be a particular announcer that just rubs you the wrong way every time they make a comment.

    Whatever it is, there are things that all of us just flat out don't like.

    I am going to count down 10 things, that I know I am sick of in the world of NASCAR, and have a feeling that I am not the only one. Keep in mind that these are in no particular order, and are just stories that I feel are covered way too much, or just things in general that I wish would leave NASCAR for good.

1. Digger

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    In FOX's defense, this little rascal doesn't show up nearly as frequently as he used to. But, even the few times he does make an appearance during their telecasts it's already one too many.

    When they first introduced their new NASCAR mascot, it was a cute concept that added a new color to the broadcasts, but enough is enough. Now they have t-shirts, and comic books, and have even given the little furball his own webshow. Seriously FOX, is it really necessary?

    The "digger cam" is a fun camera angle, especially when the cars drive right over the top of it, but to have it aided by a cartoon gopher is one step too many.

    It would not hurt my feelings one bit to see this rodent go into permanent hibernation, as it would certainly not take anything away from the television broadcasts.

2. TNT's Race Coverage

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    There are three major networks that broadcast the NASCAR races throughout the course of the season. FOX gets the first half of the season, TNT has six races in the middle of the year, and then ABC/ESPN finish out the year.

    Every fan has their own opinions about which stations do the best and which ones do the worst in terms of coverage. For me personally, TNT is by far and away the worst of the bunch, and I count my lucky stars that they are only around for a small handful of the races.

    I know that each network has their flaws in terms of coverage, but there is just something about TNT that drives me up a wall. I have no problems with Kyle Petty, and for the most part find his insight to be knowledgeable and nice to listen to.

    Then there is Wally Dallenbach. I don't know why, but every time he makes a comment, I am tempted to just smash my head into the nearest wall. Maybe that's just me though. I am not a huge fan of ESPN's race coverage either, but whenever I have to tune in to TNT's coverage I begin counting down the days until ESPN takes over the coverage.

3. Inconsistent Penalties

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    RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 30:  Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet, spins off of turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011 in
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The picture above is from this past weekend in Richmond. Early in the race, Ryan Newman got into the back of Juan Pablo Montoya and as a result Montoya made contact with the wall.

    Montoya spent some time on pit road fixing the damage, and as a result saw his chances for a strong finish come to an end. The contact that Newman made with Montoya however was what they call a racing incident.

    Apparently that was no consolation to Montoya, who later in the event took it upon himself to ruin Newman's evening by intentionally spinning Newman out and costing Newman a good finish as well. Montoya's penalty for his actions: absolutely nothing. Even though a few laps earlier, Newman came across his radio and said that Montoya was trying to wreck them, and still NASCAR did nothing.

    The problem I have is that NASCAR has an inconsistent set of penalties. Sometimes in a situation like this, they hold a driver for a certain amount of laps, while other times, like Saturday night, nothing is done.

    Earlier in the season Kyle Busch was given a two lap penalty for an inappropriate hand gesture made toward an official. Yet when one driver intentionally takes out a competitor nothing is done. NASCAR needs to get more consistent with its in race penalty procedures.

4. Nationwide Series Point Standings

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 16:  Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet, leads Elliott Sadler, driver of the #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    A few weeks ago, I wrote an article talking about the unimportance of winning the Nationwide Series championship with the new rules being put into place. While it will be nice for whichever driver ends up taking home the title, at the same time it will almost be a tainted championship because the drivers that are constantly winning races are ineligible to earn points in the series.

    Obviously with the new rules package the points battle is going to be extremely close all through the season, but at the end of the year, there is a very good possibility that the Nationwide Series champion will have a total of zero wins and a very minimal amount of laps led for the entire year.

    While a series championship will look good on any drivers resume, how fulfilling will that championship be when in reality had every driver been able to accumulate points, the driver that ends up winning the title will realistically only have finished fifth or sixth in the standings?

5. Danica Patrick

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    BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 18:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18, 2011 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jo
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    I understand that Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR was and still is a big deal. I have no problem with that. I will go one step further and say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for her, and what she is attempting to accomplish, but the amount of coverage that she receives during a race broadcast is just about ridiculous.

    Sure Patrick is a talented race car driver, and who knows, eventually she may win a race in NASCAR, but until she is running near the front on a more consistent basis there is no need to constantly have the camera on her.

    Many times, Patrick will be running multiple laps down, somewhere in the 20's or 30's, and instead of focusing on the battle for the lead, we are spent watching her for laps at a time.

    Thus far in her brief NASCAR career, Patrick has one top-10 finish, and just four finishes in the top-20 in 17 starts.

    Again, I have a lot of respect for her, but until she is a legitimate contender in some of these races, we don't really need to dedicate half of the race broadcast to her.

6. The Lucky Dog Rule

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    DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 12:  The field follows the pace car prior to the start of the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    A few years ago, in an effort to improve safety, NASCAR implemented the lucky dog rule. What the rule does is allow the first car that is one lap down to get their lap back when the caution flag waves. This rule was put into place to eliminate any racing back to the start/finish line by drivers who were trying to get their laps back, causing an unsafe situation.

    In theory, it is a great idea. But at the same time, it doesn't seem right to just give a driver their lap back. After all, the leaders had to work hard to put that driver a lap down, and now they are just given it back by NASCAR.

    Conversely though, I love the wave around rule. It is right along the same lines, but in this situation, if a driver elects to get his lap back through this method, he is not permitted to go into the pits for service. At least with the wave around rule, some sort of strategy is put into play.

    You can either live with being a lap down and get fuel and fresh tires, or you can sacrifice all of that to get your lap back. To me, having to use strategy is at least better than getting your lap handed to you.

7. Talk of the New Points System

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    RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 11:  (Back row from L-R) The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase contenders Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Crown Royal Ford, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg's/Cheez-It
    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    By now, we are all aware that NASCAR has updated their points system to make it easier to understand. I have no problem with that. The plan worked. The points are much easier to figure out, and I commend NASCAR for putting it into action.

    But, we don't need to hear about it week after week. In theory, while the amount of points that a driver accumulates is different than it was in the past, nothing else really changes. It drives me nuts to hear people say that it is harder to make up points now if you have a bad race finish. No it isn't.

    Whether you use last years points system or this years, if you finish in 40th place it is going to hurt you the same either way. No matter what, you still have to run well the next week or two to make up the ground that was lost by that poor finish.

    Tony Stewart said it best this past weekend when he was asked about the new points. He said that the system you use really doesn't matter, because when it comes right down to it, if you win the race you will be awarded the most points anyway.

8. Kyle Busch's Dominance

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    RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 30:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011 in
    Pool/Getty Images

    There is no denying that Kyle Busch is talented. He is easily one of the most talented drivers in NASCAR, and by the time is all said and done he may be the all time winningest driver amongst the three series.

    At just 26 years of age, Busch has already amassed a total of 94 wins between NASCAR's three top series. And, if you are a fan of the younger Busch brother you love every second of it. But if you aren't a fan, than it has just gotten to the point where you get sick of it.

    When Busch is entered into a Nationwide Series or Truck Series race, it is seemingly almost a foregone conclusion that by the end of the day he will end up in victory lane. That takes a lot of excitement out of watching the race.

    There is nothing wrong with what he is doing. It is job to go out there and win as much as he can, and he does a heck of a job at it. But sometimes, as a fan, it gets frustrating watching the same thing week after week.

    Of course, I wouldn't be complaining if it was my favorite driver who was winning races every week.

9. Jimmie Johnson's Championship Run

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    HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 21:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates after finishing in second place in the Ford 400 to clinch his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2010 in
    Jason Smith/Getty Images

    Again, I will come right out and say it, if my favorite driver were in the midst of five straight championship seasons this wouldn't be an issue. But Jimmie Johnson is not my favorite driver, so that means that I am tired of it.

    This is the same argument as the one against Busch. From a fan's perspective, it begins to get frustrating when year after year we see the same driver constantly winning.

    That is nothing against Johnson, because like Busch winning races, Johnson is paid to win championships, and he does a very good job of it. It's just tiring to come into each brand new season and already feel like you know what the end result is going to be.

    We are currently one quarter of the way through the 2011 season and there is still a lot left to be determined. Maybe this is the year that Johnson's championship run comes to an end. After all, it does seem like the competition is more balanced this year than any other in recent memory.

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Winless Streak

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    RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 29:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Racew
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    Go ahead and call me a hater. I really don't mind. But I can't possibly be the only one that is absolutely sick and tired of hearing about Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s winless streak. And for those of you keeping score at home, it is now up to 102 races since his last win.

    In his three plus years at Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt has scored a total of one win, and that lone victory came as a result of fuel mileage strategy.

    But every week, before, during and after the race we are constantly bombarded with reminders of what the winless streak is up to. I don't know if I am cheering for him to win just so we don't have to hear about it anymore, or if I actually want the streak to continue because I find humor in it. Tough call.

    I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the media treats his winless draught like he is the only driver that hasn't won for a while.

    Mark Martin hasn't won in 54 starts. It has been 64 races since Joey Logano won. Jeff Burton has a winless draught of 86 races. And poor Bobby Labonte has gone the last 261 races without scoring a victory, and yet none of those winless streaks are ever covered.

    I understand that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the sports most popular driver, but we don't need our weekly winless streak updates. It's been a long time since he took home the checkered flag, we get it.


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