Blog Entry

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:39 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 3:36 pm
By Pete Pistone

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(Patrick is already locked into the 2012 Daytona 500 thanks to a deal between SHR and TBR)

You most likely already know Danica Patrick is making her full-time move to NASCAR in 2012. 

But without yet even turning one competitive lap in a Sprint Cup car, Patrick has already locked herself into a starting spot for the season-opening Daytona 500. 

How is this possible you ask? 

Just chalk it up to NASCAR math. 

The annual ritual of swapping points, creating alliances and trumping up partnerships to manipulate the rule allowing teams finishing in the Top 35 of the point standings last season a guaranteed start in the first five races of the new campaign has once again reared its ugly head. 

Only this time it’s not just a simple transaction between owners swapping points accrued by one to allow another to field a car in the biggest race of the season.  The latest maneuvering is a shell game of epic proportions that somehow puts Patrick in car technically owned by Tommy Baldwin Racing while still employed by Stewart-Haas Racing. 

A room full of Philadelphia lawyers would take days to figure out the legal machinations that created this “collaborative partnership” between SHR and TBR. But at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how things ended up but rather the path that allows this ridiculous practice to happen in the first place. 

When NASCAR first instituted the Top 35 rule a few years ago the intent was to provide a guarantee for teams and sponsors that support the entire series. Basically if a team stays inside the first thirty five of the standings they are locked into the next race and don’t have to worry about qualifying to make the field. 

While NASCAR contends the rule “protects” teams and sponsors as well as fans, who are ensured the “stars” of the sport will compete in every event, it has done so at the expense of competition and credibility. 

By trying to serve the business side of the sport, all NASCAR has done is compromised the competitive element and its own integrity. 

Qualifying has been reduced to a simple placement of cars into the starting line-up with none of the drama remaining that used to draw sizeable crowds to some tracks in anticipation of the racing weekend. 

The popular Gatorade Duel qualifying races at Daytona, once one of the most exciting days of the season and certainly of Speedweeks, is now only a shell of its former self. The inclusion of the Top 35 policy into the equation of who already has made the race and what drivers have their Daytona 500 lives on the line with a bad finish – all part of what made the Thursday before the 500 so special – is now a convoluted mess that requires a slide rule and a calculator to help decipher. 

The easy solution is to allow the fastest 36 cars in qualifying into every race and then seed the remaining seven spots with provisionals based on the point standings. That system worked for decades before the dollar signs from potential upset sponsors blurred NASCAR’s vision. 

The world would also continue to rotate on its axis if Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson or Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed a race. Other sports have proven they can survive should a star not be up to the necessary level of performance on a particular weekend. 

Should Tiger Woods fail to make the cut on a Friday (a scenario that has lately happened plenty of times by the way), oh well the PGA Tour goes on. The legendary John Force has missed qualifying for NHRA events before and drag racing has somehow found a way to survive. 

Then to make matters even worse there is the blatant bending of the rules to shift around owner points every January. 

To be fair to Stewart and Baldwin, they have not done anything “wrong” or that several other owners haven't executed in the last few years. Richard Petty, Richard Childress and Roger Penske are just a few of the names that massaged the rules to their advantage in order to lock in new entries in their stables. 

Just last season both Steven Wallace and even Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne were beneficiaries of their owners working out deals to get them into the biggest race of the year. 

However having the lightning rod Patrick involved this time around has certainly taken the practice to a much greater level of awareness. 

Quite frankly it doesn’t do much for Patrick in terms of trying to prove herself as a stock car driver when she literally gets handed a coveted spot at Daytona. In many eyes, she’s done nothing to earn the position except to work for a team owner who obviously has a creative business mind. 

Last week NASCAR took a major step forward by announcing it was outlawing “secret fines” and making all penalties toward drivers who made derogatory comments about the sport public. It was the right move and one that brings more transparency to a sport that sometimes desperately needs to show skeptical fans all is on the up and up. 

Now NASCAR needs to eradicate the Top 35 rule or at the very least enforce teams follow a "use ‘em or lose ‘em" policy the following season. No buying, selling, swapping or other game of smoke and mirrors allowed.

If not just save your money. Perhaps with a large enough checkbook even you can buy your way into starting the 2013 Daytona 500.

As is the case with Patrick, no experience is necessary.

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Since: Feb 13, 2007
Posted on: February 6, 2012 8:44 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

'secret fines' or not it's not helping NASCAR's credibilty when they fine drivers for critizing the sport PERIOD. The reason it has taken so long for safety innovations and improvements to take hold is the FEAR of critizing the sport and getting fined.

Remember roof flaps? Penske and Rusty Wallace were the first to use those, they GOT FINED for it. Fined for a SAFETY invention.

Not to mention thier blatant rules tamporing year in and year out to benefit France family favorite GM and Hendricks cars over other competitors.

Face it, like it or not NASCAR is a very shady organization, it has been for a long time. See: Curtis Turner

Since: Aug 30, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:28 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

He isnt lol, but im tired of his drama over meaningless crud!

Since: Nov 18, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:10 am

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Sure good to know that Pete Pistone is responsible for improving pit road safety... 

Since: Nov 18, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:03 am

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Your lead statement is an opinion, not fact.  By virtue of his success last season, Tony Stewart can put Danica Patrick in the show.  That's the rule until it's not, and it's good for racing.  Did y'all want to see more of Blaney or Nemechek, or any Wallace you can name?...  

Danica Patrick is a compelling story, much more so than anything going on in NASCAR today.  And she has plenty of experience.  I have not heard reports of the other drivers complaining about her.    

NASCAR does not need to worry about what you or I think.  However, it might want to keep an eye on IndyCar and CEO Randy Bernard... that dude thinks in unconventional ways and will make a difference in his sport's popularity. 

Since: May 25, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2012 8:10 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Pistone was again stands up for the Moron population. Everyone in all types of racing have been fighting sponsorship issues. This is a chance for some extra exposure for NASCAR.

Since: Aug 30, 2011
Posted on: February 5, 2012 4:15 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Oh and one other thing "tiger" Pete Pistone, I have an idea for you to gripe about in your next dramatic post, one that actually matters.

There is one thing in NASCAR that bothers me, and its their blatant lack of safety during qualifying sessions at several tracks. Since I was your age Pete (12 years old), I have always voiced concerns that NASCAR has way to many people in harms way during Qualifying sessions. They will line up all the cars on pit road on tracks that have no outer pit wall and then they allow crew men and drivers and family and Jerry Punch and everyone else to waltz up and down pit road while cars are traveling at 200 MPH on track. Normally this might not be a big deal, but what happens when the day comes that someone has a heart attack coming off turn 4 and they just black out and die and their car which is set up to pull to the left just pulls to the left at 180+ right into a pit road full of idiots with their backs turned?

On the same principal I think when the race ends and the Winner crosses the start finish line, I think the idiot crewmen that jump onto the still live Pit Road to celebrate should be suspended for being morons. Mark these words Pete, If NASCAR keeps living under the false dream that the drivers are always in control of their cars to the point that pit road is so safe that idiots can stand there during Qualifying or before the other 35 cars have finished the race on the last lap, the day will come in which they are picking up whats left of some dumbass with a shovel, because its inevitable that it will happen, its just a matter of when..........

To anyone who needs proof, maybe try youtubing Brett Bodine at Michigan I believe it was, he hit the outside wall and got knocked senseless, so then his car proceeded full throttle across the track towards the inside tire barrier I believe it was at well over 120+ MPH, had that accident played out just a hair different, he may have been traveling down pit road at 120+ unconcious!!!!!!

So why dont you get on this bus Pete, you can actually do something productive then like maybe save a life!!      
;     &nbs

Since: Aug 30, 2011
Posted on: February 5, 2012 4:02 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

Hey Pete, get a life. You are always posting that this or that is a huge blow to NASCAR but thats just you being dramatic. Nobody cares about any of this, the race length, the swapping of points, the undisclosed fines, the change in how points are awarded, the change in chase formats all the time, we dont care about any of it, you know why? Because we are race fans and all we want to see is cars race, the rules are the same for everyone, so they can change what they want when they want and it means NOTHING because in the end all teams and drivers play by the same rules using the same system.

 Sure to your casual noob race fan (that would be you Pete) maybe it gets confusing, but who cares about those people anyways, they probably are only going to watch 1 or 2 races all year anyways and probably never go to one in person unless they are getting free tickets through their work, so all you do is keep fueling fires that arent even there and nobody cares about anyways.

As far as the Danica points saga go's, good for her!!! A car funded by a real sponsor that intends to run the entire race and the entire season deserves to be in the race, would you rather some clown like Derrick Cope makes the race so he can park it after 7 laps with "brake" issues. There isnt enough competative cars to even fill the field, so good for NASCAR for trying to keep the people who intend to actually race make the field!

If you cant handle that Pete, maybe you should lobby NASCAR to be like your local short tracks that are all going out of business, and just have the fastest 43 cars make the main event and send the rest home, that would be the most fair way to do it, so your bright idea about going back to the fastest 35 followed by 7 provisionals is just a waste of time. In the end these rules hardly effect anything, once in a blue moon they keep some clod like Kevin Lepage from making the show, WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!

Oh and Danica may not be the best driver, but I have seen enough to know that she is as good as half of these other guys, and she will be great for the sport, I cant wait to see her and Jeff Gordon in a pushing match after she dumps him at Richmond........   &

Since: Aug 11, 2009
Posted on: February 5, 2012 2:35 pm

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

yankeesallthewa brings up a very interesting scenario - suppose Danica does win?  What will it do for NASCAR's reputation?  Wouldn't it be increased significantly?  Wouldn't it prove that this type of driving is a skill oriented sport?  Wouldn't it prove that strategy, skilled driving, determination, and resourcefulness are the true keys to success in the sport?  I shall venture to guess that the impact of such a victory would be a great result for the circuit.

As for Danica it would be even more enriching.  She makes a great deal of money in commercial endorsements and is likely to make FAR more in NASCAR as it is a bigger and more popular circuit.  Therefore, as long as her presence doesn't deny anyone an entry into the race, I suggest her presence in it is a good thing for everyone.

Since: Sep 11, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:40 am

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility


Since: Sep 11, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:40 am

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

I'm pulling for ......she's hot!

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