Groundhog Day

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The dawn of a new NASCAR season is on the horizon. But like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," it seems were stuck hearing the same old story from some.

NASCAR stinks.

Actually, these messages usually read more like "NA$CAR Stinks."

Clever huh?

The contingent I'm referring to is a group that can't find a good thing to say about the sport of NASCAR racing. Whether it's the "Car of Tomorrow," the television broadcasts, the amount of money the sanctioning body generates, Toyota's entry into the sport, officiating, too many "cookie cutter" tracks or the length of the schedule, this assembly will never be happy.

It's sad in a way that something like auto racing can cause so much pain and suffering.

My e-mail box gets jammed with these kinds of observations every week, and we post many of them in our "Fans' Eye View" feature. And there are whole websites on the Internet that exist for the sole purpose of bashing and complaining about the sport.

But in this time of terrorism hanging over our heads and global warming threatening our future, why would anyone waste so much time watching and following a sport that apparently causes so much mental anguish?

My advice to these poor souls is simple - walk away. Don't subject yourself to the stress of another NASCAR season if all you're going to get out of it is an increased Pepto Bismol intake.

Hey trust me; NASCAR is not perfect, far from it. I scratch my head at many things and wonder what in the name of Friday Hassler are these guys thinking from time to time.

Much of this latest wave of nausea for some can be traced to the increased amount of change the sport has undergone the last few seasons. And 2007 is chock full of more changes to the "Chase" and with the COT and Toyota making their debuts.

Has there been too much change? Maybe. But while there have been ups and downs, you can't argue the sport isn't in a better place than it was at the start of the 2000 season. Since then the new TV contracts, new markets and attendance growth has steadily climbed year after year.

Last season saw a leveling off on a lot of fronts, but when you are comparing things from year to year of record increases, of course there will be a stall at some point.

Because television ratings in 2006 were down from 2005, the Chicken Little brigade looked up into the sky and ran for cover. Forget the fact that ALL sports (with the exception of the aberration known as the NFL) have seen smaller television audiences with the fragmented TV society we live.

This year's World Series was the second lowest rated of all time. But it still drew a giant audience and Major League Baseball isn't building itself any bomb shelters.

The bottom line is this; NASCAR is a sport and entertainment. Whether you consider yourself a fan, a stalker or sit on the frontstretch, it should be a reprieve from the day-to-day pressures of our lives, not add another load of stress to it. Watch and enjoy, complain and yell, analyze and ponder.

But don't sign up for another season of pain and suffering.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2007

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