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Brian France continues to put his own stamp on NASCAR.  He’s done away with (or doing away with) the wing on the Cup cars, replacing it with the spoiler that adorned the cars for decades.

But while giving a nod to the past with the spoiler, he wants to usher in the future by abandoning carburetors and going with fuel injection in 2011. That should be interesting to police.

So, in the spirit of the new NASCAR “populism”, I have some suggestions to improve the sport.

  • Since there are so many empty seats at Talladega and Daytona nowadays, why not just eliminate the first 10 rows and move all those folks back from the track. Then you could eliminate the restrictor plates altogether and not have to worry about a car getting into the fans.
  • Eliminate the stupid “chase” gimmick. Last year, Jimmy Johnson won most of his 7 races in the 10-race Chase. The year before, Kyle Busch won all of his 8 races leading up to the Chase, and had a commanding lead until they reshuffled the points. He ultimately finished in tenth place. The Chase format allows a driver to pretty much coast his way into a championship scenario, and then start really racing in the last ten races. That’s how Johnson has won his last two championships; he’s done enough to stay in the top five all year, and then once the Chase starts, they kick it up a notch. Or, a driver who dominated all season can have a couple of bad races and pretty much end his chances at a championship. If all 36 races had the same level of importance, then a driver wouldn’t be able to coast to a championship, or a couple of bad races wouldn’t hurt him so bad.
  • Stop competing against local tracks. The Saturday night races kill attendance at the local tracks. NASCAR seems to be doing its best to eat its seed corn. Sure, a few high profile drivers have come from the open-wheel ranks, but it generally takes those folks several years to get acclimated (if they ever do) to cars with fenders. You just don’t hear about drivers coming up from the local tracks like you used to. I think that’s because NASCAR has abandoned its roots. Sure, it might be interesting to watch Danica Patrick and see how many cautions she brings out, but I’d much rather see someone like Casey Atwood in that car.
  • Actually enforce the multi-car rule. You’re supposed to only be able to own four teams, but with all the weird deals going on, you have owners like Hendrick who have an interest in teams that are supposedly owned by others (e.g. Stewart/Hass). I’d be happier with a two-car rule per team, which would allow as many as 20 or so owners. Right now the four-car limit also limits the number of owners to around 10. That’s too few.
  • Eliminate the “diversity” program. It’s racist. NASCAR shouldn’t be basing diversity on skin color.

I’m sure I’ll be able to think up a few more changes that NASCAR should make as the season starts, but this’ll do for now.

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