Now first things first we need to figure out what is perfect. After spending 8 long hrs tonight at work thinking of things that are perfect in every way I was only able to come up with two shining examples.
1. The Wheel!!!! Has any invention ever been as perfect as this?
Wait what was I talking about again? Oh that's right racing....
So here it is folks, how can we improve our weekly racing and the way we line up said races? Now this has been a debate that has raged for years, and just because I write my thoughts down I doubt its ever going to change. But first lets think of all the different ways we have decided to line up our features in the past few years.
Handicapping (which I thought was damn near perfect just like the wheel and Mrs. Goodwin here)
some combination of the two....
You get the idea, we have tried to reinvent the wheel for years, yet as a fan the only way that guaranteed great racing was handicapping. Now over the past few years race teams have complained about handicapping because they don't feel its fair that they should start mid pack because they are good. Fair point, and if I was a driver I would probably feel the same way. The drivers ask why they should be penalized not once but twice a night and have to pass some drivers twice just to win a feature event? More valid points. Its not fair to them in any way, but as a fan its what brings me to the race track every week. Close, hard racing action. I cant find anything more exciting then watching the top guys at each race track fighting it out through the pack in a dog fight to the front in 25 laps for the win. That's what I a fan have lived for for the past 35 years.
Now can it be improved? I think so and I think Lincoln has done a great job in doing it. They started a few years ago drawing for starting spots in heat races. Now each driver has a fair shot of starting up closer to the front of the heat races and making that all important top 4 invert for the feature. I can understand the race teams point of having to start in the rear of a 10 lap race on a track that is hard to pass. Go watch any 410 heat race and see how much passing actually happens. Its not a lot, so why not let every driver have a fair shot at making their night just a tad bit easier? I'm all for it. Seems like a win win for everyone.
So is that the wheel we have been looking for?
Not so fast...
Lets look at Time Trials.
Each driver gets two laps on the clock to go as fast as they can. Those two laps will make or break you for the entire night. I detest TT shows the way we do them now because the only thing that matters is the first 2 laps a driver runs. After that heats and consi's are meaningless. How can we improve TT shows?
After TT have the fast timer draw the invert pill for the night, but damn it get rid of that 0 and 2 pill and keep the 4,6,8 and add a 10. I can hear the drivers complaining already. 10 That's not fair!!!! Well suck it up buttercup. Remember were trying to have a good show for the fans, not just increase your win totals here. Now say the invert is 6. The fastest guys would start 6th in their respective heat races and actually have to pass a few cars to make the feature invert. Each heat race is run like a handicapped show, you must finish in the top 4 to get your spot in the feature. That used to be the way it was done, but somewhere along the line we got lazy and said just finish in the top 6 and you get your spot. Now lets make it just a little more interesting shall we? Say the fast timer of the night does not make the top 4, then the driver who timed 7th and makes the top 4 in his heat gets moved into the invert. That makes the meaningless heat races we see at TT shows mean something. And guess what? We used to do that? And wanna know something else? It was way more exciting then the TT shows we have been seeing the past few years.
Are you all still with me? If your a driver reading this your probably ready to strangle me, and if your not you will be soon.
Lets look at Passing Points. Passing points are way to confusing for the average fan to keep track of. Hell the guys in charge of keeping track have screwed it up, just ask Mark Smith. But if your dead set on using passing points, why not use the ASCS passing point system. Whats the difference between the two you ask? Well our system uses the same old top 4 make the invert (once again being lazy), while ASCS uses a system where no matter where you finish in your heats the top point getter move on to the redraw or dash. That's right, it doesn't matter if you finish 3rd or 6th in your heat, if you have the most points you make the feature. Now is that not the fairest way to lineup a feature? Why should a guy who starts 10th in his heat and passes 5 cars in 10 laps not make the feature invert because he didn't finish 1 more spot ahead? How is it fair that the guy who starts first, finishes first, makes it just because he made that so special invert? Seem fair to me and once again it does two things, makes heat races once again mean something, and puts a show on for the fans. Wow imagine that.....
Now I saved my least favorite format for last....Draw show.
Now I will admit I detest Draw shows. I have watched them all season at Trail Way and have not been impressed with them one bit. I can understand using them the first few weeks of the season to help a track set their handicapping for the season, if the still use that format, but other then that or special one off shows like Susquehanna Speedway has drop it. I have watched the same driver start up front every other week and walk away with the win and its just not fun to watch. Why every other week? Because the week after he wins he has to start 10th or farther back depending on the number of entries that week. Its stupid. Why would I as a fan want to go every week knowing a driver has a great chance of starting up front and winning every other week? Now Port Royal has draw shows as well and they have changed it up a little bit this season, but instead of one driver winning every week, they have had the winner come off the front row almost every week. Hell I'm not even there and can check twitter and damn near pick the winner every week. How is that even remotely fun for the fans? From a drivers perspective I can understand it, they want to win as many races as they can every year, and this gives them the best shot at it, but as a loud mouth fan sitting on his rear end in the stands its the drizzling shits.
In closing I understand no format will ever be as perfect as the wheel, but there has to be a way to improve on what we have tried to do here in Central PA and make it a win/ win for both the fans and the race teams. Each format will have great races, good races, and bad races, that's just the nature of the sport. I just laid out my ideas to try and help a sport that is starting to look like this...
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Have a great week and I hope to see you all at the track this weekend.