Failing Successfully

It's too bad NASCAR's "Chase for the Nextel Cup" proved to be such a total failure.

What a shame that the last race of the season had five drivers within 82 points of each other in the closest point battle in NASCAR history.

What a joke that Sunday's Ford 400 was full of great racing, a multitude of dramatic twists and turns and an uncertain outcome right down to the checkered flag.

What a travesty that Kurt Busch beat Jimmie Johnson by eight points to win the title in the closest point championship ever.

How awful it was that NBC drew the largest television audience for a NASCAR race against the mighty NFL and that Homestead's ratings were up nearly 50 percent from last year's to score its highest ever mark.

Sorry to break the news to all the naysayers out there, but the inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup" was a slam dunk, home run, unqualified success. The format did everything it was designed to do and then some.

Media coverage of last weekend's event was on par with a national championship in any other professional sport. There were twice as many media members in Homestead compared to a year ago and I'd guess three times as many that wandered into Rockingham last season to watch Matt Kenseth clinch the title with one race to go.

The critics of the system continue to cry that Busch's title is tainted and should carry an asterisk. These revisionists conveniently forget that NASCAR has employed a variety of point systems since its inception. Should every champion listed in the record book carry a disclaimer?

Every driver in the series ran by the same rules, were given the same opportunities to accumulate points as Busch did. He won this title fair and square. To suggest otherwise is outright ridiculous.

I could understand the hesitance when the format was first announced, especially in light of the many changes NASCAR was set to undergo this season including a new series sponsor in Nextel and a revised schedule. But only the most short sighted can sit back and now say this was a mistake.

NASCAR has become a part of the national consciousness, something that was unheard of as little as only ten years ago. Moving to larger markets, revamping the championship system and network television have all played a part in that growth.

But still there are those that won't have any part of it, still longing for the "good old days." I'll be the first to tell you there are several things about days gone by I too wish were still part of the sport. But in the end you have a choice. Either fondly remember those past times and follow today's NASCAR racing. Or stop watching.

If something makes you so mad and upset, why on earth would you continue to do it? My advice to those who are so vehemtnly opposed to today's NASCAR is to find another interest. Nothing is worth the amount of stomach acid and vile.

The "Chase for the Championship" is here to stay. As well it should be.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2004

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