A Method to Qualifying Madness?

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Kurt Busch looks like this may be tougher than qualifying. Then again, it was two years ago. (John Clark photo)

Kurt Busch looks like this may be tougher than qualifying. Then again, it was two years ago. (John Clark photo)

Clinton, S.C., Sunday, February 16, 2014, 2:46 p.m.

I’m just sitting behind my laptop, and Daytona 500 pole qualifying on. It might as well be The Weather Channel, other than that particular channel not being on DirecTV anymore.

It’s better than WeatherNation.

Joey Logano has sort of put the Sliced Bread behind him now. (John Clark photo)

Joey Logano has sort of put the Sliced Bread behind him now. (John Clark photo)

All those cars – 49, I think – going around twice, all alone, the first lap intentionally slow, all following the same line and looking just alike, even though some were faster than others and that was the whole purpose for going around and around.

In most instances, intricacy and subtlety come into play. The only place that takes place for Daytona International Speedway (or Talladega Superspeedway) qualifying is behind closed doors.

What you see is what you get, and it is boring.

Fortunately, the Sprint Unlimited gave us some opening excitement to whet our appetites. For instance, the pace car caught on fire, which I think was borrowed from a Harold Lloyd silent movie.

So it was a Model T in the original. It’s all relative.

So why, pray tell, is this on network TV? I thought about this at length, and it occurred to me that this is actually more interesting for a larger audience. I wrote about NASCAR for 20 years. I know this too well. If I was a complete novice – if, say, I was channel surfing, and neither cross-country skiing, the Northern Trust Open, nor the Professional Bowling Association struck my fancy – I might look at Daytona 500 front-row qualifying in an entirely different light.

Oh, yeah, the Daytona 500. It’s that car race. Look at that blue and white car. It’s really quite snazzy. Bernice! Come watch. This is sort of neat.

If Herbert and Bernice like this, they’ll think the Daytona 500 is the greatest thing since Joey Logano became Sliced Bread. Herbert’s going to root for Miller Lite, and Bernice is already leaning toward Furniture Row.

[cb_profit_poster Guitar1]

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
This entry was posted in NASCAR and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Method to Qualifying Madness?

  1. Ricci, Jim says:

    It only took a few minutes to wonder why M Waltrip was again boring me to tears and then I muted the noise and just watched the parade go around. Four minutes later I changed the channel and watched a replay of the ladies curling, it was much more enjoyable. I looked for a old John Wayne movie but none was available according to the guide. I went to sleep and dreamed it was just another day in paradise.

  2. Richard R says:

    Watched both the Unlimited Saturday Night and had qualifying on in the background today. A new dream is a Waltrip-free NASCAR broadcast. My 2014 season may be done.

  3. Bobi says:

    I’m no psychic but I knew before a car even hit the track who the pole sitter would be. The more I watch nascar the more incensed I become at how stupid they think we fans are. And to add insult to injury they’re not even subtle about it.

    Yes, this was on the network but the “prime time” duels are going to be on FS1…go figure!

  4. Al Torney says:

    I had qualifying on but wasn’t really paying much attention to it.
    I just read where Tony and Danica will have to start both the Duel race and the 500 from the back. Now if the Duels have the carnage the Clash had it sort of makes the entire qualifying deal worthless. To pull a Monteism, I’ll quote Waylon “it’s been the same way for years, we need a change” from ” Are You Sure Hank Did It This Way”.

    Of course qualifying did produce the conspiracy theorists with a rookie again sitting on the pole. Another NASCAR moment.

    Haven’t read a thing about the really sparse crowd for Saturday’s race. The imaginary fans (painted seats) far outnumbered the real people. Let’s hope that this is not an indication of attendence for the rest of the season.

  5. Monte says:

    You were about like me during qualifying.
    When they showed the blue wind streaks on the back straight, I was wondering when TV will master the art of making empty stands look full.

  6. David says:

    Qualifying has needed to be changed for years. Reserving judgement on new format, but this two laps against the clock needs to go… Even at Daytona.

    Been a proponent for a long time of racing for starting position, using the finishing order of the previous race to set the grid.

    Winner through P16 of last weeks race would automatically advance, starting in that order for Sunday’s race.

    Last weeks winner would get first pit selection, etc.

    P17-43 would roll off in a qualifier as P1-P27. Last weeks failed to qualify would follow, lining up on their finishing order in last weeks qualifier. New entries would bring up the rear.

    Length of qualifying race would be just short of a green flag run so fuel mileage is not a factor.

    First 24 across the line line up P17-P40. NASCAR would fill out the final three with whatever provisional system they think the fans would like.

    Encourages racing and racing for the win. Since all you do is race (no runs against clock) cheaper for teams and a better chance to get cars dialed in.

    Teams can guarantee to their potential sponsors they will race every week (main, qualifier or both).

    Herbert and Bernice might watch this and tune in for the main race.

    Catchy name for the system too

    The Chase for The Race.

  7. Andy D says:

    David, I like your system better than the qualifying system we have now. Even though I haven’t seen the brand new system and have been in favor of it. I think it would offer a bigger incentive to race than the new chase package.

    And since we’ve started the season with “NASCAR conspiracy”, I’ll clue you into the one that will end the season. Jimmy Johnson will not make the Final Four because a Ford “accidentally” ran into him and caused him to finish low in the results. It’s too bad we don’t still have ‘Swervin’ Irvan’ around, he’d be perfect for this job.

  8. Tim S. says:

    Ernie Irvan was aggressive and is remembered as a menace. Kyle Busch is aggressive and he’s “an exciting competitor.” Odd, that.

  9. Monte says:

    Opinions on Irvan were a great deal more divided during his career. No such analogy can be accurately made until Kyle Busch is a memory, too.

  10. Ricci, Jim says:

    Ernie Irvin ran Dale Sr. door to door on many occasions, he was the only one that actually challenged his dominance. They put on some of the most exciting side by side racin that I ever saw and rarely did they ever touch. When Irvin went to Robert Yates 28 ride the Ford Chevy thing was blazing. They packed the stands and infield till the Michigan crash, that was a different era, but buddy did they leave a legacy.

  11. Monte says:

    I was there, Jim.

  12. Don says:

    I like qualifying, I like the commentary. I think I will like the “new format” for qualifying. I will never understand why the duels are on when everybody is at work! I think NASCAR should get rid of the Nationwide cars and only have Sprint and the Truck series.
    Let the left overs run ARCA…..we know that will never happen!

Leave a Reply