NASCAR Has Their Game Seven & Wastes It On a Sunday Afternoon
I don’t get it. And it is becoming apparent that I never will.
NASCAR created the Chase, their championship playoffs, in order to have an event like they have this weekend at Homestead. Cousin Carl Edwards, the somewhat still fresh-faced star of Subway sandwich commercials, holds a leaky three-point lead over Tony Smoke Stewart with only a singular race remaining. Every position the drivers advance or descend will carry with it tremendous drama as the championship itself might be determined by a few extra seconds in the pits, a bout of tightness in turn three or Brian Vickers sucking the pack up into something awful looking.
And when will this race be run? Sunday afternoon, of course, against the most popular television sport in the history of the world. (If you haven’t seen the NFL TV ratings this season thus far, you might be surprised just how dominant the game has become.) To paraphrase the old axiom, “If NASCAR decides their champion against a full NFL slate, does anybody give a shit?”
The NASCAR fan will watch. And I’ll have my bar throw it on one of the smaller televisions. But the attention and focus the race could have commanded on a Friday or Saturday night will be just another of NASCAR’s wasted opportunities. (If NASCAR followed my instructions and finished their season on Labor Day, imagine the rating this race would give them and the network airing it.) What should be one of the great sporting events of the calendar year will now be relegated to a Sunday afternoon footnote. The second story to the Chargers v. Bears result. And that’s a correctable shame.