Daytona Press Conference
Obviously, the Beach Boy Bubbas haven’t learned their lesson about what happens when you make changes for the sake of change sake. You get lower attendance and lower TV ratings. So here’s the latest blunders from the NA$CAR Blunderbuss to help drive even more fans away.
New Points System
The new points system, 1 point per position, is designed to placate the Short Attention Span Crowd and the casual/fad fans. Once again, appeasing the people who won’t be here next year much less the next decade. The fans who are still left from the 1970’s when the current system was developed can understand the points system. Fans who came along during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s understand the points system. The diehard fans who came along during the first decade of the 21st century understand the points system. So instead of staying with a proven system that fans understand, yet another change to help drive them away in favor of people who don’t have the attention span or loyalty to follow and support what was once a decent, family-oriented sport.
Busch Series Changes
Wow, drivers have to pick which series they want to run in for the championship. This still doesn’t stop the Buschwackers from stealing points, money, sponsorship, and media attention from the few remaining full-time regular Busch Series teams even if the Buschwackers choose not to run for the Busch Series championship. I’m looking forward to seeing how Faux King Brian is going to explain to the media and the few real Busch Series fans how the guy with the most points at the end of the season isn’t the series Champion. I want to see how he can say that the 10th place finisher can be the series champ with a straight face and get the media outside of NA$CAR’s controlled media and fans to swallow it. Just because the Buschwackers can’t run for the championship doesn’t mean they won’t finish first in the points in the unofficial “Cup testing under actual race conditions” series.
Last year, Robin Pemberton stated that they’d be switching to fuel injection full-time around the middle of this coming season. During the Friday press conference, Pemberton stated that the fuel injection will not be used at any points events races. That means the Bud Shootout and All Star races would be the only 2 races in which the fuel injection could be run if what Pemberton stated is true.
The only thing that’s being talked about in returning brand identity to the cars to make them look more like the street versions is the nose. Yes, they are making changes to the plastic noses of the car and so far they still don’t resemble the street counterparts. Nobody seems to be asking about the rest of the body and when that will resemble the street versions. Unless or until the rest of the body is changed, It’s still the same old, ugly generic vehicle being passed off as a race car. As the old saying goes, “You can’t polish a turd”.
Changes to Cup Qualifying
The tradition of the random draw for qualifying may get tossed out the window in order to use the qualifying system that was tested out on the Truck Series. Cars would go out based on their speeds during practice. The problem with this is you’ll find teams who will manipulate the system in order to get a better qualifying spot. As I’ve written before, the Truck Series is the guinea pig for things that will happen in the other 2 series, so take a look back at some of the experiments that have been run on the Truck Series recently, like qualifying and elimination of the catch can man.
On the other side of things going on in Daytona was the testing. Several different things were tried with the broadcast side of things with Speed using streaming video over the internet to broadcast the test sessions and to take questions from fans using Twitter.
Mafia Mike seems to deny that the changes for this coming season are a knee-jerk reaction. Let’s look at the recent past. Matt Kenseth’s championship. The knee-jerk reaction by Faux King Brian was the Chase for the Chumps. Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death. NA$CAR’s knee-jerk reaction was the mandating of full-face helmets, HANS Devices, and the SAFER barriers. Kenny Irwin Jr’s death. NA$CAR’s knee-jerk reaction was the kill switch. Complaints about certain drivers not making the Chase for the Chumps. NA$CAR’s knee-jerk reaction was to expand the size of the field. Fan complaints about the cookie cutter race track races being boring. NA$CAR’s knee-jerk reaction is to use fake speeding penalties, missing lug nuts that aren’t missing, and Ms Terry DeBris cautions to manipulate the races to make them more exciting. Complaints about Johnson being the Chump winner 5 times in a row, the points system being hard to understand by the Short Attention Span Crowd and fad fans, the generic look of the race vehicle. Changes to the points system, changes to the plastic nose piece, and making the last 2 positions in the Chase for the Chumps earned by means other than their actual points position. NA$CAR’s knee-jerk reaction? This coming season’s changes. So for Mafia Mike to deny the changes aren’t a knee-jerk reaction plain and simply isn’t true as NA$CAR has a longstanding, established tradition of knee-jerk reactions.
The streaming video at Daytona seems to be a big success. Fans were able to use Twitter and send questions and comments directly to the various Speed TV reporters and commentators. Some questions were answered on-air, some were answered via Twitter. In a lot of cases, fans asked a lot of good questions and got a lot of good answers from the various Speed TV folks.
One correction I sent in wasn’t addressed or mentioned. Jabber Jaws said that the first time Budweiser was on a car was in 1984 with Junior Johnson’s team. Actually, it was 1983. Budweiser sponsored the #44 Hagan Racing Chevy during the entire season with Texas Terry driving the car. If you check the 1983 Michigan races, you’ll see Texas Terry in Victory Lane in the Budweiser sponsored #44 car. In 1984, Budweiser moved to Junior Johnson’s team because they wanted to win a championship. The 1984 sponsor for Hagan Racing was Piedmont Airlines, which is what a lot of the media tends to point out for some reason. A little revisionist history maybe?
As things wrapped up, Bad Brad had the fastest speeds during testing at 198.6 mph. Right behind him was his teammate Busch the Elder. The slowest car was run by Michael McDowell for the #66 start and park team. While a lot of teams did two car drafting runs, the majority of Ford teams did not and elected to only run single cars. Greg Biffle did have some engine swaps done to get info for the engine shop but did it as a single car. Jeffy Boy changed manifolds on his car and did several rounds of 2 car drafting with other cars from various teams which will provide some good information about drafting with other makes of cars.
Some teams were heading off to test at Dizzy World while others were heading back home to analyze the data they collected, make changes to their actual Daytona 500 and Bud Shootout cars, and in some cases to build new cars totally from scratch. Nobody wrecked although some rear bumper covers will need to be replaced from bump drafting.
The longest tire run was by JPM at 76 laps. If the tires lasted that long, you have to wonder if Badyear and NA$CAR will change out the tires to “make things more exciting”.
There wasn’t much time spent on hyping the ethanol although it was mentioned. Of course, they were already talking about the 2011 Chase for the Chumps and storylines for the year even though the rules changes for the new season haven‘t been formally announced. Based on the storylines put out, Johnson will not win 6 in a row and Hamlin will win his first. So be sure to keep a running tally of the storylines when they start talking about them again when the teams show up for the Bud Shootout.