(This post was originally featured on the now defunct blog "If I Ran ...", where fans would post their suggestions and ideas for running a team or organization no matter how crazy.)
Admittedly, I am not a NASCAR fan. I figured I would caveat this post by saying you won’t be reading about restrictor plates, drafting, gear ratios or any other technical racing jargon. That said, I do have friends and family who are passionate about the sport. (Note: please refrain from comments on whether NASCAR is a sport or not. For the sake of this post, it is.) I just can’t get into NASCAR. So here are a few things I would do to make NASCAR more enjoyable for me. Here is what I would do If I Ran NASCAR.
Midget Pit Crews – Because everything is funnier when done by groups of little people, I would first mandate at least one driving team feature a pit crew of entirely midgets, dwarves, or any other medical classification of the vertical challenged. Remember how funny it was to watch the oompa-lumpas manage Wonka land? Now imagine a team of little people turning power wrenches, changing tires, and performing other pit duties. Included with this “little person” team is the absolute necessity that they use a trampoline to “hop” the wall separating the track from the crew area.
Weekly Eliminations – NASCAR is perhaps the only major sport in which the worst competitor is allowed to participate in every event from the beginning of the season to the end. The worst pro sports team doesn’t stick around through the championship in any other type of season. Therefore, I propose the gradual elimination of the team with the least amount of points starting after the midway point of the season. After the midway point, if you are last in points, you go home. Simple as that. Not only would this provide weekly drama at the bottom of the standings, it would also open up racing on the proceeding tracks as non-contenders will no longer be cluttering the raceway.
Rename the Award for Best Driver – Despite NASCAR’s best efforts to “flashback” to days of Richard Petty and other legends, the racing community is neglecting a far earlier chapter of its competitive roots. Not longer. As chancellor of NASCAR, my third decree would be to name the award for best driver the Diocles Award, named after famed Roman Charioteer Gaius Appuleius Diocles. Diocles, perhaps the greatest charioteer in Roman history, won 1,462 of the 4,257 four-horse races in which he competed. Top that, Richard Petty.
Hire the Micro Machine Man as The Voice of NASCAR – Remember the Micro Machines? Remember their commercials? If so, then you remember John Moschitta, the Voice of the Micro Machines. According to Wikipedia, Moschitta is considered one of the fastest talkers in human history. Who better to represent one of the fastest sports in America?
See Micro Machine commercial here.
Finally, Hybrid cars – Again, another admittance: I am kinda environmentally friendly. Not an ELF member by any means, but I am a strong proponent in saving the environment, recycling and the like. Therefore, decree number four would be a gradual increase in hybrid technology in NASCAR. My own personal estimate is that NASCAR races use a lot of fuel. Then why not employ hybrid technology and electric powered engines in road-like racetracks? I would understand if the technology lacks the power needed to maintain speeds needed in tracks like Daytona, but some of the road courses have far less speeds and could possibly be grounds for hybrid racing. And, as an additional spill-over effect, hybrid cars could receive a bump in prestige. After watching Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon ride someone in a wall in his bad-ass hybrid, the stereotypical NASCAR fan may not think of hybrids as cars only driven by tree-hugging, commie, city-dwellin’ liberals.
Of course, these wouldn’t be all of my changes to NASCAR. In time, I would adapt and attempt to make NASCAR more and more lucrative. Perhaps even try my hand at expanding NASCAR’s demographic. Think a car sponsored by Snoop Dogg sitting on 24s with rims that don’t spin would do the trick?