The blogosphere’s all blown up today over the perceived dullness of last night’s All-Star Race. That started me thinking about what I’d do if I could change the race format, which seems at the heart of fans’ ire.
My solution’s simple. Keep the heat race format, but every heat pays, say, 250K. I dare drivers to sandbag with a quarter-mill on the line. Sorry, but if it was me, most drivers would most certainly crash your grandma and mine for that much money.
Then invert the field. After every heat.
If one driver can win all the heats plus the 10-lap finale, well….how about an extra five/ten million? After all, the Winston was established to pay one driver a then-ridiculous amount of money to win, yes? Money’s value has depleted over time; therefore, Humpy Wheeler and NASCAR could address the issue by pumping more money into the event. It’s a thought, anyway.
Racers are racers, but all the same if you hang enough money in front of them, they will charge for it. Personally, I’ve kinda been a fan of the so-called “Dolly Parton” approach to purses—big up front—but in our current economic moment when 50M salaries are no longer shocking (about 99% of us will never know what that must feel like), even NASCAR has to provide better bait.
Consider this: Earl Baltes dreamed for decades of staging a race that paid a million dollars to win. He did it twice—once for late-models, once for sprints—and the electricity in the stands could’ve powered the world for decades to come. I really think NASCAR might want to consider going large/r next year to sustain and grow further interest in a grand idea: truly showcasing the best stock-car drivers on the planet in a Saturday night format.