Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tony Stewart said what ????

   I heard it, but to be honest it's still hard for me to believe who said it.

   Soon after NASCAR Chairman Brian France's announcement of the sport's new scoring system there was a driver on Speed praising the change and concluded his commentary with this: "I don't think there should be too much emphasis on winning."

   First of all, I think such a statement is just silly. Sports is ONLY about winning. Even in NASCAR I've always heard the adage, "Second is the first loser."

   But what was most disconcerting was who said this. It was Tony Stewart.

   Are you kidding me? Tony Stewart, the same driver who throughout his career we've heard nothing but comments about how much he wants to win?

   Tony Stewart, the same driver who has blown off multiple media interviews after races when he came up short because "He's just upset because he wants to win so much"?

   This is the same Tony Stewart who said on Aug. 11, 2010, in an interview with, "For me, racing is not about the money, it's about winning."

   Is this how bad things have gotten? A driver who has been championed throughout his NASCAR career for his passion for winning and had some of his questionable antics defended by those around him for holding that same passion, now suddenly believes winning isn't all that big a deal after all.

   Who knew? That's fine. I guess he'll just have to come up with a new excuse the next time finishing second ticks him off. Can't wait to see what it is.


  1. I said this in the other copy of this post, and I'll say it again here. NASCAR's old points system was stupid. So is the new one.

    I hate hearing all the "consistency" talk. It's the buzz word NASCAR came up with in the '80s when the points system became obsolete. Back in the '60s and early '70s, there were about 45 or so races each year. The best 3 or 4 teams could easily win every race they entered. NASCAR wanted to keep them from showing up for half the races, winning half the ones they entered, and walking away with the title - hence the legend of the meeting in the Daytona bar with the points system emerging from a napkin. By the '80s, they were racing 29 races and there was too much money involved from the sponsors for drivers to run anything but the full schedule. So then they started saying the system rewarded consistency to hide the fact that the system no longer applied to the new environment. The new system doesn't change that at all.

    I liken this system to giving baseball playoff spots to teams with the largest run differential instead of most wins. Using NASCAR logic, the teams that have the largest difference between runs scored and runs allowed are the most "consistent," and therefore those are the ones that should be rewarded.

    That is hogwash. Just like the "new" NASCAR point system.

  2. Tony Stewart has apparantly been corrupted by the points-racing ethos that NASCAR has wrought.

    NASCAR's struggles with point systems is well known and J touches on it pretty well; I would add that NASCAR kept flip-flopping - when James Hylton led mass park-outs in 1971 because purse monies refused to help the entirety of the field afford to keep racing, NASCAR first went the consistency route with the 1972 point system that rewarded completed miles; Hylton nearly won the title that year because he completed so many miles even though he won just one race. So NASCAR increased race-winner points by about 25; it blew up in 1973 when David Pearson won 11 races on a part-time schedule and the underfunded Benny Parsons-L.G. DeWitt combo won just one race and won the 1973 title. So in 1974 NASCAR went to starts times purse money won to require running all the races and also to reward winning. The "problem" here was that system worked - TOO well; Petty began outpointing the entire field in the late summer even as he crashed at Darlington and blew up at Martinsville while Pearson finished a commanding third in points despite running just 19 races.

    That led to the famous Latford System. When it began becoming obsolete in the mid-1980s NASCAR used the consistency argument, and it got help by the tightness of point battles in the 1979-84 period, then after the embarassment of Bill Elliott's non-championship in 1985 NASCAR got lucky in a strong pair of point battles in 1988-9 and then came the 1992 season.

    Yet the obsolescence of the point system continued to become obvious, yet NASCAR seems afraid of the only credible solution - major point bonuses for winning races and leading the most laps. The longer NASCAR keeps denying the reality that performance means wins and laps led with best-average-finish of mediocre value, the longer its popularity slide will continue.