In the 18th and 19th century in North America a game was played with a bat and ball. In some areas this game was called Town Ball. In others it was called “Base” or “Ball”. The number of players on the field was usually more than nine, there was no foul territory. In many versions of the game a player could be put out by hitting them with the ball. This practice was known as “soaking” or “plugging”.
Does this sound familiar? These early games were the precursor to the modern game of baseball. Baseball has evolved many, many times over the past 150 years. Often the changes were made for safety or for other practical reasons. More recently changes have been made to make the game more entertaining and to keep and attract fans. Change, yes even what seems like constant change, is necessary for any sport to grow and to keep fans entertained. Why? Because without fans there would be no sport.
I have heard and read that many people are tiring of all the changes that NASCAR is making. I’m not. I don’t like all of the changes but I do like that they keep trying. NASCAR seems to be working very hard to make the sport more competitive and more entertaining. I love the Chase format and the fact that they have continued to tweak it along the way. Without that tweaking we may not have seen Jeff Gordon running for the Championship in his farewell season. I like the fact that they continue to change the rules on the cars. Without these changes there would be even fewer winners than we have now. Do we really want to see only a few guys with a chance to win every week?
This year, in the Truck series, NASCAR is experimenting with a mandatory caution. It is a polarizing rule. I like it because it adds things the sport needs more of, strategy and greater competition. A lot of my friends who are not NASCAR fans think that NASCAR is just cars going around in circles. They are wrong. They don’t understand the strategy, technology, and research that goes into the sport. These are the things that intrigue me and many fans. However, without NASCAR continuing to work with the rules, formats, and car technology there will be teams that have the resources to run away from the field. The sport will become boring and the fan base will continue to be reduced.
I believe the next rule to be implemented is one that will keep Cup drivers from racing in the Xfinity series. Why? See above. I love racing but even I have been guilty of “fast forwarding” through Xfinity races this season. Too little competition.
NASCAR, please keep working at it. Work at putting rules and formats in place that keep us entertained and watching. There will be people who say they don’t like the change. That’s fine, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Just don’t stop.
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