Not all changes in NASCAR are created equal and while NASCAR’s new damage/repair rules have been met with praise, it’s not 100 percent positive.
Of course there are those rule changes that have a special place in everyone’s heart. Those rule changes that systematically altered the course of the sports history and brought it into the mainstream for more fans to enjoy. While there is always the possibility of good rule changes, there is unfortunately there is also the possibility of bad ones as well.
That’s the problem that NASCAR fans are now facing after NASCAR announced their new repair rule policy, which will allow teams five minutes to fix a damaged race car and get it back out on the track. If the team is unsuccessful in getting the car back on the track or decide they must go to the garage, their day is officially over and they can’t come back into the race.
With that being said, there are positive aspects to this new rule and if implemented correctly, could even make the new rule a favorite amongst fans. But for this article, we will only be focusing on the negative aspects of the new rule and how NASCAR’s overreaching new rule format will only serve to hurt the sport more then it will actually help it.
Believe it or not, the new repair rule will affect team and driver sponsors in a big way in 2017. While teams used to be allowed to continue to compete with a damaged race car and continue to get their sponsors the attention that they pay good money for, all that will be next to impossible due to the new repair rule that NASCAR announced on Wednesday.
In fact, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that sponsors are going to realize that they are at the disadvantage here and start to draw back some of their sponsorship money for their respective teams. This means that teams will compensated less and less for displaying a sponsors brand on their car and could ultimately lead to many big time sponsors leaving the sport completely.
Think about it! Sponsors aren’t going to pay good money if their respective brands aren’t being displayed in front of the entire NASCAR audience and that’s why many brand names are going to start to consider pulling back on funding, especially if a particular driver has a bad DNF record and isn’t making it in front of the camera enough.
Unfortunately this will affect smaller teams more than anyone else and may unintentionally act as another barrier that prevents them from receiving adequate funding for races. In the end, it’s all about the eye balls on the brand and no one is going to viewing them from the garage area.
It’s the big day! You take your seats by the start finish line for what you hope will be the experience of a lifetime. You’re a diehard NASCAR fan and absolutely cannot wait to see 40 cars fly by like white lighting, all battling for the coveted Daytona 500 win and trophy. The engines later roar to life on pit road, the command has been given, and you and thousands of other fans are ready for some action.
Five minutes later your favorite drive gets caught up in a multi car accident and while they would have been able to continue under normal circumstances, they now have five minutes to repair the damaged racecar, can’t replace sheet metal at all and if they go to the garage, their day is done. You’re ultimately devastated that your favorite driver didn’t fix the car in the amount of time and it ruins the race for you.
Not only is this new rule a complete disservice to the fans in the stands, it also is unnecessary in a lot of cases, but that will be explained in detail in a later slide!
Which is it NASCAR? Do you want drivers to risk it all for a chance to make it to victory lane and get their team in that year’s playoff, or would you rather each team play it safe and conservative to make sure that they are still in it at the end of the race. With valuable points on the line in every single race and the addition of the repair rule, it comes as no surprise that drivers might resort to sandbagging during segments.
That’s not what fans wanted and that’s not what NASCAR needs as a whole. How can NASCAR, a sport that has been making very outside the box changes lately, do the one thing that will force drivers back into a conservative mindset during every race! Yes, playoff points are a valuable reward for drivers at the end of each segment, but is it really worth risking points to get you into the playoffs to do it?
For example, someone who already has a lot of championship points towards the playoffs has absolutely no motivation in order to risk it all for more. It’s the same as thing as the problems that plagued the All Star race for many years. Drivers will do well at the beginning of the race, rack up a win and sandbag until the final segment. Apply that problem to an entire season and you’ll know why it’s a bad idea.
It goes without saying that NASCAR should really have offered some exceptions for this rule to help balance out the needs of the drivers, teams and even the fans. Unfortunately for all parties involved, NASCAR over thought this whole safety thing once again and has made things unnecessarily safe at the expense of drivers.
Don’t get us wrong, safety is a good thing when the right actions are taken and in the right way, but to sit there and offer a blanket rule that does not account for specific track types, certain race day scenarios and the competitiveness of the sport. In fact, the blanket rule that was handed down by NASCAR on Wednesday could hurt the sport in several key ways.
For example, what if there are a lot of incident throughout the race and several cars end up dropping out? While a wreck or two isn’t going to have too much of an effect on possible positions, when there are multiple wrecks at places like Talladega and Daytona, it takes away an opportunity to make up those points and could have championship implications as well.
With that being said, it would really be a good idea if NASCAR decided to put exceptions to the rule in order to balance things out. One thing NASCAR could do would be to not have the rule in place during the first round of the race, which will allow drivers at least one mulligan a race and let them repair their car for the next round.
NASCAR wants to talk about safety, but decides to create a high pressure situation where accidents can become more common place on pit road. Under NASCAR’s new rule, pit road will now become a hive mind of activity during cautions and come become very unsafe as drivers pull in and out of pit road while other teams scramble to fix the car within the time limit.
Not only could that kind of chaos increase the likelihood of an injury on pit road, the rule doesn’t even seem to account for something like that happening and just gives teams a five-minute clock to work with no matter what. What if there’s any injury? Does the clock stop or are teams forced to keep going in that event.
What about cars coming in and out of pit road? If your favorite driver is boxed in between two other cars during a pit stop, how will each team be able to enter pit road, get into the right stall and leave without colliding with other crew members, other drivers and anyone else that is unlucky enough to be on pit road at this point in time.
In all honesty, the rule does have its advantages and could work to create even more of a do or die, old west kind of battle for the drivers in each Series. It’s something that will add excitement to each race, make every lap more interesting and its something that’s going to be talked about throughout the season. With that being said, which side do you fall on when it comes to NASCAR’s new repair rule?