Why Do You Build Us Up, NASCAR, Just to Let Us Down?

The 2013 edition of the Daytona 500 was ran on Sunday, February 24th with very little action or drama that Cup fans have so desperately been seeking with the brand new Generation Six car, as the 200 lap race featured a great deal of single-lane racing—termed by some as “freight-train racing”—and a finish that saw Mr. Five Time Champion Jimmie Johnson take the lead late from Brad Keselowski and never look back, eventually fending off charging teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. as well as veteran Mark Martin to win his sixty-first race in his thirteenth season (he’s just fifteen wins behind Dale Earnhardt in almost fifteen fewer seasons, for crying out loud).

Jimmie Johnson

While the FOX ratings for the race will support the argument that the fans were content with the race and will feel like the Cup Series may have hit a home run with the new car, the number of viewers is undoubtedly flawed due to the coverage of Danica Patrick, who, despite my predictions, held her ground throughout the race and had a shot at the win before some last lap shuffling moved her back to eighth place. Had Ms. Patrick not been turning laps down in Daytona, you can bet your money that the fans at home would have ultimately decided to turn the channel on a race that seemed as calm as a Sunday afternoon drive, albeit at higher speeds.

The social media reaction to the race’s finish was not exactly positive for those concerned with NASCAR’s future. A brief glimpse of what some of the Tweets that were circulating the site, including one from a future Hall of Famer in baseball, can be seen below:

Twitter Feedback on Daytona 500

It is definitely too early to declare that the Gen-6 car is as big of a dud as the Car of Tomorrow quickly proved to be, but it is safe to say that those who hoped it would bring back NASCAR’s competitiveness and attraction that has been missing in the last ten years at least in the Great American Race were proven wrong on this day. Instead of seeing high-speed action with near-misses and breath-taking drama, fans were instead served the par for course, at least for the majority of the post-Winston Cup era: limited action with races “highlighted” by debris cautions and ended with Jimmie Johnson rolling up in Victory Lane.

Although it seems harsh to highly criticize a driver like Johnson for being “too good” in his sport, it is also hard to argue that the El Cajon, California native’s dominance on the track each Sunday has not driven away some of the people that once planned their Sundays around watching their favorite drivers grueling out 500 miles of action. Some may compare Johnson’s run to teammate Jeff Gordon’s in the ‘90s, but the key difference is that Gordon had a direct rivalry in competitor Dale Earnhardt Sr, who more often than not pushed Gordon to his limits and made him earn his victories. Instead, Johnson has had to deal with some drivers, like Tony Stewart or Matt Kenseth, who come out and win races here or there, but do not necessarily find themselves out to top the #48 for the sole purpose of saying they were able to do so at the end of the time. The lack of this type of rivalry is what has hurt NASCAR since Earnhardt’s death in 2001, and why NASCAR better prepare itself for a steep drop-off in TV ratings when the Cup Series heads to Phoenix.

Gordon and Earnhardt respected each other off the track but fought like crazy to beat the other week in and week out

Gordon and Earnhardt respected each other off the track but each fought like crazy to beat the other week in and week out

Do you agree with the thought that NASCAR still is not as strong as it used to be, or do you think the Daytona 500 was just a fluke that will not fit the pattern for the rest of the season? Leave a comment and let your opinion be heard

Follow me on Twitter @JordanHill1447 

  • OhMyGodWhatDidWeDo

    NASCAR IS DEAD, AND I TELL YOU WHY.

    No wonder somebody like Jimmie Johnson thrives in today’s NASCAR… I mean COME ON… how slick can you be?! The sport has become flat political b*llsh*t! Diversity has always been an illusion, an electoral point, nobody wants it, really. Why should we get chinatowns, for instance, if people really wanted diversity?! Stop this b*llsh*t!!!

    But this goes to show that NASCAR as we knew it is dead. There’s no turning back. Just like oil reserves will deplete (and they will), NASCAR will change or die. Our sport belongs to a world which is dying, and almost already forgotten, a world where people smoked, drank, made love, got hurt, laughed, cried, GRABBED STUFF BY THE HORNS, for heaven’s sake!

    Maybe some day, a series will rise that’s run by punks like France Sr. used to be, and then we may see some racing again. Till then, so long NASCAR!

  • Jamie

    I am a die hard NASCAR fan of about 15 years, I used to get out of my chair and jump up and down, the only time I got excited at Sunday’s race was when JR was charging for a win. To see JJ there instead of a total snore. I have loved these races and my family and friends know how much this woman loves her NASCAR. But, I don’t understand what is happening. Everything seems fixed and paid for now. I liked seeing Dancia race and get a top 10, but that charge at the end was really the only true racing I saw. I guess I am a Nationwide fan, not because of the terrible wreck, but because those guys and girls were really out there racing! It was almost like on Sunday, the racers were told to keep it safe or something WTF?

  • http://yardbarker.com vic

    that race really sucked what happen to the old days when you could be 20th on last lap and still win the race nascar will lose many fans if thats the kind of racing we are going to see gen6 car sucks big time

  • Gary M.

    I have been a Nascar fan since the late sixties and this had to be the worst Daytona race I’ve ever seen. I like the looks of the Gen 6 car but who in their right mind enjoys watching a 190 MPH parade. And now if we choose to watch we’ll have to endure 3 more parades this year! Why watch! Way to go Nascar! Hope you don’t F-up my favorite sport any more. There’s other forms of auto racing we can watch. Maybe we’ll all start following them instead! Not sure what you did to that car but you need to fix it before it’s too late!

  • Beth Atwood

    I thought this race was by far the worst race I have seen, not so much for the racing but the coverage also. Really they should have renamed the race the Danika 500. Its all I heard from the pre show til the end. Hello there are alot of other drivers out there putting out the same effort and need to be recognized too. Even after the race they ran right off to interveiw her before they even interviewed the folks that finished above her. I respect her and hope she does well but if she is going to be the spotlight of NASCAR from here on out then I will choose not to watch or attend any races in the future. I spent my time watching the ticker at the top of the screen to see were people were due to it all being about one driver. On another note the race was not competitive I dont know if its the Gen 6 cars or not but I want to see a race not a single line of cars lap after lap.

  • bob

    guess with no big wrecks the race was to boring for some people. cant have it both ways. after saturdays accident and fan injuries people are crying about the danger involved in high speed racing and more needs to be done. well if you want the crashes people are going to get hurt somewhere, in the car or in the stands. cant have it both ways.

    • RW

      It’s not all about the wrecks, I like to see good racing with out seeing wrecks all the time. I was not happy with the race because all I saw were racers driving in a single line around the track and then had to race off pit road in order to gain any spots. If I wanted to see cars drive in a circle with not much passing I can look out my window at the highway.

  • Sterling Barbour

    I just hope Daytona was not a true indication of the Gen 6 car’s raciness because it was pathetic. Saturday’s Nationwide race was way more entertaining and I do not mean the wreck at the end. They were racing 3 wide and passing all day long while the cup race was a true snoozer. Outside of a hood and front bumper, the new Gen 6 car does not bare any resemblance to the production car it is designed after either. What a total flop.

  • ferd

    I gotta complain about the TV coverage too. Although racing action was sparse, there were too many commercials. The “side-by-side” pictures were a waste of time since it was hard to see that little racing picture. There were several “little guys” running near the front, and three finished inside the top ten, yet there was hardly any mention of them and no video of them – and no interviews. Way to support your next generation of racers – NOT!

  • ferd

    Disappointed! What a yawner. Nobody wanted to try any moves because they had to have help (that they couldn’t count on) to avoid getting shuffled back. Danica did okay and I respect her effort but she didn’t live up to the hype. NASCAR has strangled itself with too many rules and too much control over the cars. The cars aren’t supposed to be equal – half the battle is about who can build the best car.

    We’ll see the real Cup season start next week. Daytona has become too specialized to really demonstrate the strengths of the series (if there are any). If we continue to see freight train races then NASCAR TV ratings and crowds will tank… if Danica returns to the back of the pack then NASCAR will lose even more credibility.

    A warning to the France family (although this is old news now that they’ve been ignoring for years): once rabid fans like me now find you boring. You barely got enough cars for a full field at what you claim is your biggest race. Way past time for some serious review and changes.

  • Nancy McKnabb

    THE MOST BORING RACE IN YEARS!! Sadly… I believe NASCAR’s days are numbered…. who wants to watch 40 cars drive around in circles for 4 hours… not me… and I have been a fan for more than 40 years!! REST IN PEACE, NASCAR!!

  • http://Yardbarker.com Ann Thompson

    So far not a big fan of this so called great Gen6 car. Maybe it will be better on the shorter tracks. This idea of not being able to pass at any given time is just going to turn off race fans. And if i hear the name Danica Patrick one more time, no more nascar for me. The guys in the booth just went crazy over her. Danica will not help nascar.

    • Nancy McKnabb

      I was thinking the same thing about D. P.! Those guys praise a handlful and the rest of those drivers are never mentioned. LOVE that so many that were ignored through the whole race ended up in the top 10 and the ‘superstars’ never even contended. :P

  • bud beldin

    i AGREE with your statements. NASCAR, the TV people and some drivers still do not get it!

  • David Richardson

    I was a big fan in the late 80s & 90s because of #3. I went to 3 or 4 races each year, don’t go now. It’s just not the same. A few things about Nascar: watching on tv, you miss approximately 1/4 of the race due to commercials. Do you ever see a MLB, NFL, NBA, or a college football game break away in the middle of the action for a commercial? Their Chase playoff system stinks. In all other sports if you don’t make the playoffs, the losers go home. Not so with Nascar, they still stick around and you have to race amongst them. Send the losers home! Finally, the racing is so boring, it’s like an NBA game, just turn it on for the last 5 minutes. Give more incentive for leading green flag laps (only), draw names every week for the starting grid and eliminate qualifying, find incentives to make them race harder during the race and not just the last two laps, and more incentive for winning.

  • Ron

    What is NASCAR today compared to the past- over priced, over rated and a bunch of over paid whiners. I rarely watch any races or even part of a race any more compared to I taped every race and watched them flag to flag 20 years ago. You watch 40 minutes/hour of commercials now compared to 40 minutes/hour of racing 20 years ago. NASCAR’s super speedways are way more dangerous now for the driver and spectator with restrictor plates than what they were without. Supercrashways now and look at what happened Saturday because of the pack/freight train racing!!!!!!!!!

  • Dantheman

    It is very sad when the Nationwide race on Saturday is better than the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Guess more people should run out and buy Mustangs and Camaros vs. Fusions and Camrys. They haven’t even released that ugly SS.
    Gen 6 is another dud brought to us by the Farce family…I mean France family.
    BTW, How many times do I have to see Darrell Waltrip do the Icky shuffle?

  • jarod

    I thought it was a pretty good race. It reminded me of the 500’s in the 90’s.The cars at the front were the best set up, strongest cars in the field. In years past it’s been a constant random scramble for the lead. This year passing for the lead was difficult, but not impossible. I like auto racing not a demo derby and I hope the pack racing breaks up further so that good cars don’t get taken out in someone else’s mistake (Stewart and Harvick). Thumbs up and see you in Phoenix.

  • autobahnracing28

    The most boring Daytona race I have ever watched and I have watched many. I would really love to see a stock car race again.

  • http://google stephen

    These NASCAR races are no longer “STOCK” cars any more. They are just the same bodys with different decals. BIG FEFFEN DEAL. Why doesn’t the Franco boys go with true STOCK vehicles. Then I may tune in to watch some racing.

  • mcc

    Daytona and Talladega are always the worst races-either super boring or horrifying. Nascar has become very boring.

  • Dean

    NASCAR wins but the fans don’t. No more tandem racing! No more lead changes that come with tandem racing! Single file with little chance of the “big one”! The best races in the series Daytona & Talladega, will now be the most boring! Oh what joy … NOT. Please NASCAR, Leave the Nationwide series alone, BEST RACE OF THE WEEKEND (Record lead changes, leaders, wow what a finish!!!

  • GH

    Pretty sure, other than the first lap after the caution laps, I didn’t see a single pass on track in the first 100 laps. I have NEVER seen a race where the entire field was nose to tail,… until today.

    Love the look of the car, but really,… that race may have just ended any hope that NASCAR gets exciting again. Races are way too long, I really could care less about the whiny drivers, and the racing itself just isn’t interesting except for maybe the last 1/2 mile of every race.