This will tip my bias quite a bit, but I think if you were just dropped here on good old planet Earth, you’d think that Formula 1 fans would have constant chance to make fun of the NASCAR crowd.
But then you look at the situation closer and while NASCAR might have that infamous guy with the number 3 shaved into his back hair and a string of worse, worser and worsest beers, F1 kind of takes the cake for all things stupid.
Blame Bernie Ecclestone if you want. (We want, right?) Medals for wins. DRS. Every season design changes. All the arcane rules that are enforced by the Mundane Eight Ball (TM — Me!). And take your pick on which -gate controversy you want to hold up as the example of how F1 just gets it wrong.
Well, I’ve got good news for you, F1 fans. NASCAR acted like our favorite sport this weekend. And fans are ticked. Here’s how ESPN is reporting it:
CONCORD, N.C. — It didn’t take teams very long to figure out their best shot at winning the All-Star race would be in the first 20 laps.
What few predicted, though, was that the new format would encourage drivers to take it easy for portions of Saturday night’s $1 million race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Now fans are upset winner Jimmie Johnson essentially sandbagged for 60 or so laps before turning it up for a final charge to his third All-Star race victory.
Under the format for this year’s race, the winners of each of the first four 20-lap segments lined up 1-through-4 for the mandatory trip down pit road. Once there, it was a race to simply be the first drivers to get back on the track for the final 10-lap sprint to the finish.
So Johnson claimed the first segment, then faded to the back of field for next three segments. Matt Kenseth joined him at the rear after winning the second segment, and although Brad Keselowski was reluctant to follow the same strategy, he also went to the back when his team insisted it was the best strategy after the third segment.
After Johnson won the race down pit road on Saturday night, he, too, got a good restart and checked out from the rest of the field. Nobody had a chance to catch him in such a short sprint, but Keselowski said Johnson was so good, he wouldn’t have been able to catch him in 100 laps.
Here’s where this scene sounds really familiar: “The idea of making it just 10 laps was obviously to create a frantic, all-out, sprint to the $1 million prize.”
Instead, proof again the trying to create racing and excitement often backfires.
DO YOU HEAR THAT, BERNIE?!!?