NASCAR changes full of irony
When NASCAR powers that be announced its new points system on Monday evening, aside from trying to absorb the changes and understand them — and granted, it was confusing at first, until I saw it written on paper and was able to read about the format for myself a couple of times — I was struck by the irony on at least a couple different levels.
By touching on said irony, I’m by no means criticizing the new system. Maybe at least part of the irony was necessary. I’m not really going to judge this new system until I see it in action for a few races, especially since I want to make sure I understand it fully before I pass significant judgement. Besides, at least on paper, the changes may be a move in the right direction, considering how the new system seems to address criticisms recently expressed by a significant portion of the fanbase.
That being said, here’s the irony that I noticed:
Simplicity, or lack thereof — Back when NASCAR announced the points system with a base of awarding one point per position, the reasoning publicly given for the change was simplicity. How hard is it to understand that each position is worth a point? That made a lot of sense.
This new system, though, is anything but simple. Sure, the basis of one point per position was kept for most of the race fan, but now, there are championship points and then there are playoff points. For example, stage winners receive a playoff point, but those same stage winners also receive 10 championship points and the other top-10 finishers receive championship points based on their positions within the top-10.
The subject of stages brings up another point relating to the lack of simplicity. Points are awarded at multiple points in a given race and in different quantities. More championship points are awarded after the race, as well as additional playoff points to the race winner.
Head spinning, yet? Don’t worry. We’ll figure it out. Besides, if you don’t want to do the math, you don’t really have to. I’m sure TV and radio coverage of races will give fans a rundown of who is where in terms of points at the end of each race. Still, I thought the irony of the seeming importance of simplicity was ironic, considering the change to fairly complicated ahead of 2017.
Chase is out; playoff is in — Follow me, here. Back when NASCAR first rolled out its Chase for the Nextel/Sprint Cup, officials urged media, fans, etc. to NOT call it a playoff. This was the Chase, not a playoff.
Now, NASCAR has dumped the moniker of Chase and replaced it with what? We’re calling this thing the playoffs, now.
I guess in all fairness, maybe the first incarnations of the Chase weren’t playoffs, since there weren’t eliminations every three races back then. Still, not everyone made the Chase, so those early Chases were still playoffs, I guess, kind of.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it? I’ve also been finding some irony in some of the criticisms of this new format the last couple of days. But that’s a subject I’ll tackle in the coming days. One thing I will say is that fans still hating on the Chase got their wish. With a change in terminology, the Chase is gone; we have playoffs, now. Okay, I know that’s not what those critics mean by their calls to eliminate the Chase, but I couldn’t resist that jab.
Keep in mind, by pointing out the aforementioned ironies of this new system, I’m not criticizing it. Actually, my preliminary opinion is that this may be a step in the right direction. It does, as I mentioned earlier, address issues expressed by fans and competitors in recent seasons. Besides, I’d like to see this system at work for at least a few races before I develop a more concrete opinion.