On the 2-car tandems vs. pack racing at the plate tracks:
I attended the NNS race on Saturday at Talladega as well as the ARCA race that morning. It was very interesting to take in both the pack-style and tandem-style racing within a few hours.
On one hand, the pack style (ARCA race) made it easier for me to follow what was happening. There was one pack of racing to watch. You could see what was happening for almost everyone involved. Probably a lot easier on TV folks as well. The biggest drawback was a lack of passing. It took a lot to pass and move up in the field.
On the other hand, it was really great to watch a tandem (NNS race) get hooked up and move to the front. Action was all over the track and passing was easy and frequent. That was the real “high-speed chess match” that we hear so much about. The biggest drawback was that at a 2.66 mile track, things got really spread out, and it’s got to be a beast for TV to cover.
I guess the biggest issue here is “what do the fans want?”.
They got 88 lead changes among 26 drivers on Sunday. But the first 177 laps were largely seen as “boring” by most accounts. I had no problem with the race. I think that’s a lot better alternative than the possible 43-car train riding around the top groove to click off laps.
I think it really has to do with perception from the “traditionalists”. The same ones who rake NASCAR over the coals for moving the Southern 500 from Labor Day and taking races away from North Wilkesboro.
I’m new to NASCAR having only been following the sport heavily since the 2007 Daytona 500. I see no problem with the new car, I didn’t care about the wing, and I have no issue with fuel injection coming to the sport. I’m the “new fan”. I also understand the importance of races in larger DMA’s and larger seating capacities.
All that to say, no matter what happens with the plate racing (or any other decisions the governing body makes) some people will be upset. I do not envy your position. The easy fix is to just make the bumpers not line up on the new car in 2013 or make a change to the current car this offseason or before the Coke Zero 400.
No matter what you decide, please know that not all the fans hate the tandem racing. I’m fine either way. The racing I despise is the strung out stuff on the intermediate tracks when nothing happens for 40 laps or more (or at least when TV makes it feel like that).
Thanks for all you do to further the sport. Good luck with what I know will be some tough decisions in the coming days and weeks.