So much for NASCAR's ballyhooed Chase for the Cup. It's basically a two car 'race' now -- the 24 and 48 have a substantial lead on the field. Only Clint Bowyer is a potential threat but if things continue to go as they are, and with the failure of the DEI-RCR engines last week at Talladega, well, the 07 Jack Daniel's team has to be sweating bullets...There would still need to be a major points loss for both the 24 and 48 teams in order to make this Chase more interesting. Fortunately, we now have playoff baseball and NCAAF and NFL and NHL as alternatives. And a lot of people are apparently looking at alternatives, judging by the ratings.
If the resources of all the other 'chasers' were put together, they still would not be able to compete with the Hendrick teams. And, I'm not talking racing talent. It's equipment, checkbook, and the usual 'gray areas' of the rule book being overlooked for RHR. Any one of the other Chasers (or for that matter, just about any Cup or Busch driver) could compete and win effectively in either the 24 or 48 car. Now, the other Hendrick teams--well, that's another story. Only Kyle Busch has shown he has the ability to compete and win in the lesser Hendrick equipment. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out next season when Dale Jr. takes over that ride. After all, the 5 shop is NOT located in the same area as the 24 and 48 shops. Nor is the 25 team, for that matter.
Television ratings are down for virtually all NASCAR events this season. Look for the last 6 races in the chase to continue to drop in viewership.
It's ironic that the chase was extended to 12 drivers this year, instead of 10, in hopes of Dale Jr. making the field. Well, that didn't work....
Too bad the Busch Series doesn't have a Chase format. Never thought I'd say that...This second season of a Cup driver (this year Carl Edwards, last year Kevin Harvick) running away with the points lead has really put a damper on that. On the one hand, drivers can race for the event win, so that makes Busch racing a little more exciting than Cup has been. Cup racing has been more of a 'don't wreck the chasers' drivers meetings mandate from NASCAR. Who knew that Talladega could be made boring? NASCAR certainly managed to make it so with the use of the car of tomorrow (COT).
For awhile, it looked as though at least the Busch Series' dynamics might change for next season with their using stock cars and not COTs--but if the COT is run in Busch next year, that will certainly not help level the playing field. Hopefully, they will stick to the plan of not using the COT in Busch til 2009. Too bad they can't plan just to not use it all all.
What's the difference between an IROC and COT? NA$CAR couldn't make any money off the IROC Series. It was neutral and competitive.