I found out I’m not a racing fan anymore

Well, at least I don’t think I am a fan of major american racing series anymore.  Today is the last day of the NASCAR season.  The championship race.  It all comes down to this, and I can’t be bothered to even turn the TV on.  I would rather clean the gutters on the house or do graphics work than waste the time.  Last week was the end of the champcar season, and I had the same feeling.  I would say that almost without a doubt, I am no longer interested.

According to the TV ratings, I am not alone in turning NASCAR off.  Viewership in the US is off by about 10% this year from what I can tell, and many of the races have seats available on race day, walk up and buy a ticket on race day.  2 years ago you would have had to kill people to get tickets to most of the races.

There is little innovation, nothing new… 50% of the races are run on cookie cutter track that, except for the skyline in the background, could all be the same track.  The entire race often hinges on who can save gas to avoid a pitstop or who put the right 1/4 pound of air in that right front tire.  480 miles of nothing to get 20 miles of racing, in a series who’s point system rewards average and doesn’t give anyone a real reason to win.  The artificial “race to the chase” and “the chase” tries very hard to create some tension and stop run away seasons, but all it does is turn 33 drivers into lame ducks too scared to race anyone in the top 10, and turns the top 10 in boring bots too scared to race in case they screw up their average points finish.

When racing stops rewarding winning, people stop wanting to win.  They race for points, they race for scoring better than average, and all they do is aim to be slightly better than average, because that is all it takes.  Make the chase, and even at 10th place, you are only 50 points behind. 23% of the drivers make the chase, so you only have to be in the 77th percentile to make it in.

Champcar and the IRL are no better at this point.  Champcar is packed full of no-names and lame brains, unsponsored cars, stupid street races on tracks so tight nobody can pass without a major incident, and short fields that would make my local circle track cancel a class for lack of competitors.  IRL has the names and the Indy500, but a bunch of other cookie cutter races and all the competition of a pin the tail on the donkey contest.

I still enjoy F1 from a totally technical stand point, I enjoy how strategy, driver skill, and the choices of others all interplay.  But that is a sport of billionaires… and it is pretty hard to swallow at times.

Too bad… I really use to enjoy racing. :)