Saxton: Searching for solutions for NASCAR’s troubles

Let me share with you some of the comments and thoughts received from readers of my various columns on motorsports … mostly covering NASCAR.

Many readers feel that the segment racing has been a plus but most of them feel they are getting cheated out of some green flag racing when it takes NASCAR officials so long to get the next segment racing.

There are many fans that would like to see the season for Cup racing shortened. It is pretty much the longest season in sports, running from February to November. It would be tough to shorten, having to decide what races stay on the schedule and what races go, but a shortened season just may be the salvation of Cup racing. My wife has often said that it is better to leave them wanting more.

This did not come a reader but I think NBC’s Steve Letarte, a former NASCAR Cup crew chief, is right with his thoughts. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Pete Pistone dropped by NASCAR America Wednesday for his weekly appearance on the show.

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Pistone discussed with Nate Ryan and Steve Letarte his thoughts on a possible “cone rule” that would determine the lineup on restarts (and prevent drivers from stopping at the end of pit road) and also a SiriusXM NASCAR Radio fan poll about who is Toyota’s top driver of the moment, Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Busch.

On the cone rule: “I’m against another rule, that’s kind of where I am here. … Its gamesmanship, I get it. … I would hate to think that NASCAR has to intervene, guys, to save them from themselves. I personally think this is something that would take care of itself.”

Letarte agreed, saying such a rule would be “impossible to enforce.”

“Enough already with the rules,” Letarte said. “This is about competition. If I want to slam on the brakes on that pit road for the name of competition. So be it. That’s like saying a quarterback can’t take a knee. ‘No, you have to have a real play. You can’t just take a knee.’ Enough is enough and the rulebook is already thick enough.”

Think about this suggestion from a long time reader: NASCAR should mandate that only Toyota can run in Cup races. They seem to be doing so well that perhaps an all Toyota field would make the race so much more exciting. And NASCAR could get Toyota to sponsor the series.

Readers keep telling us how difficult it is to get autographs from Cup racers these days especially the younger ones. All racers should take the time to find and listen to MRN’s “Road to Royalty Presented by STP” which covers the legacy of Richard Petty. When you have drivers that go out of their way to avoid people seeking autographs they should hear how Petty feels about fans and autographs. Every racer should be doing everything they can to improve the relationships between fans and themselves.

The announcement by Brad Keselowski that he will not field his truck teams in 2018. He was losing a million dollars a season. That does not bode well for the truck series which I feel had some of the most exciting racing being offered in NASCAR.

Many readers have expressed their disappointment that Dale Jr. will not be in the playoffs as he finishes his Cup career. Hard to figure what went wrong with the team? One top five finish to his credit as this was being written. Interesting to note that his poor performance on the track has not seemed to take away from his popularity.

I do not share the enthusiasm for road course races that many of the Cup fans do but several of our readers would like to see more Cup races on the road courses. I like to be able to see the entire track and the only way that seems to be possible is if you are watching the race on TV and they have a large number of cameras in place.

Dave Caldwell, who wrote for the New York Times some years back, pens a column on Forbes.com from time to time. Just recently he wrote that he thought it would be a great idea to revive the race on Daytona Beach itself. I doubt that would or could happen but if it could it would be something to see. Not many that were there back when races were run on the beach are still around to share the stories.

In fact when I am at our Ormond Beach, Florida home, next to Daytona Beach, I often get to chat with some of those old timers that are still hanging. One told me about his exploits on the beach. There were no seat belts and other harnesses. He explained to me that when he raced on the beach he used rope that was wrapped around him and his seat. And if the vehicle was in an accident and rolled over he would use the knife that was taped to the dashboard to cut the rope and hopefully crawl to safety. Not the only story we have heard like that.

Many readers feel that NASCAR has gotten carried away with far too many rules. Only the NASCAR Foundation seems to benefit from all the fines that are collected.

And a long time reader finds it surprising that NASCAR needs to put PJ1 TrackBite traction compound on different tracks. It is supposed to provide additional grip in an effort to create side-by-side racing. The reader questions the need when supposedly NASCAR racers, especially the Cup talents are supposed to be the world’s greatest racers.

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The final point races of the season are set to take place at Grandview Speedway on Saturday featuring TP Trailers 358 Modifieds, BRC Late Models and NASCAR Sportsman. Race night is sponsored by WNPV-AM Radio. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m. This will be the final opportunity for Modified racers, racing in two 30-lap features, to tune up for the $30,000 to win Freedom 76 Run in Honor of the late Bruce Rogers on Saturday, September 16th.