NASCAR in transition: Will new rules make Jimmie Johnson happy or sad?
NASCAR in transistion: Will new rules make Johnson happy or sad?
Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus pose with the series championship trophy after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, Florida.
Jonathan Ferrey / NASCAR
By Jeff Hammond
I know some folks once again want to lay all the evils of the racing world at the feet of Jimmie Johnson. Now that he has won six championships, there is some talk amongst fans that the Chase format changes are due to him winning too much. I don't believe that for a minute.
I think it really focuses on sports fans today. They are animals when it comes to playoff scenarios. Sports across the board scream for some type of playoff scenario. Look at the changes next year to college football's BCS format. Beginning next year they are going to a four-team playoff scenario for the first time in the BCS existence. It's what the fans want.
Playoff's create that "what if" possibility for your favorite team or player. It creates excitement. It creates that Monday water cooler talk about "hey did you see what happened this weekend?" That's what professional sports as a whole is fostering and promoting.
NASCAR is no different. They've tried different plans and ideas but there is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing to evolve if it makes things better. Until we know for certain what the changes are, then it's hard to speculate about whether it's going to be good or bad for the sport.
I don't care if it's Jimmie Johnson winning the championship for the seventh time or young Austin Dillon winning it for the very first time. I just want to know that our champion fought his or her way through the field and beat the best of the best to become champion. I want to see a driver up on the wheel having to win races to win the championship, so whatever NASCAR has to do to make that happen, well I for one am in favor of it.
Who is willing to go out that Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and throw caution to the wind like we see in the playoffs in other sports? I think that is the direction that NASCAR is headed with these rumored changes. I love the concept that you have to win to be in the Chase. Think about the organizations in 2013 that won, but didn't make the Chase. Now under what we think we know the changes to the Chase will be, how great will it be for those teams and sponsors to know that with a single win, you are in the year-end playoff for the championship?
I have to applaud NASCAR for continuing to push forward and think outside the box to make our sport even greater than it already is.