Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Rating the racing in California and early Chase prognostications
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council gives its input on the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 and which drivers they believe have a shot at making the Chase five races into the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.</p>

by Dustin Long

Five races into the season and a few drivers expected to make the Chase are struggling. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne both are outside the top 20 in points. Last year’s runner-up, Carl Edwards, has not shown the strength he did last season just yet. Kyle Busch, a regular in the Chase, is 14th in points.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Qualifying feedback, rating Las Vegas and NNS viewership

by Dustin Long

Does qualifying matter? Are fans watching? Is there a better way? Those were among some of the questions members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated this week, along with rating last weekend’s Cup race at Las Vegas and if what is happening in the Nationwide Series is leading them to watch more of that series.

Here’s what Fan Council members had to say this week:

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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council gives its input on qualifying, the Las Vegas race and watching the Nationwide Series.</p>

What about qualifying races?
Daytona holds qualifying races to help set the lineup for the Daytona 500. Fan Council members were asked what would they think if NASCAR set the field at some tracks via a qualifying race.

34.7 percent Loved the idea
26.3 percent Liked the idea
24.2 percent Hated the idea
14.8 percent said they Don’t Care

What Fan Council members said:
• In my opinion, NASCAR (and specifically, the Sprint Cup Series) is the top of the food chain when it comes to American motorsports. Let's leave the qualifying and heat races to local tracks. In this economy, teams can't afford to tear up and replace equipment in preliminary events.

• Love the idea for Daytona 500 and love it for other tracks as well!! The more racing the better and it would give it a grassroots type Saturday night dirt track racing where you qualify and then you race your feature.

• I like the opportunity for more races. That way, you know that the best cars that will race will be racing on Sunday. Also, if NASCAR decides to go this way, allow a backup car for the race with no penalty if they wreck in the qualifying race.

• No! No! No! Hate the idea.

• I love the idea of it, but with the top 35 rule, it is blunted somewhat.

• More racing = more fun. I'd rather watch them race each other. It would probably increase the need for backup cars.

• Stop trying to change things that are not needed...

• They do that at Daytona for the 500, and it is STUPID! Why qualify 3rd and have to start 28th?

• That would be FANtastic!

• I'd actually prefer <GASP> the F1 style of qualifying. Some type of knockout qualifying under race conditions as opposed to one car on the track at a time.

Rating Sunday’s Las Vegas Cup race
64.7 percent
called it Good
17.6 percent called it Fair
12.9 percent called it Great
4.7 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• The middle part of the event was a typical 1.5-mile track race; not much excitement. The battle at the end, between Stewart & Johnson made up for it.

• I thought it was pretty good as I attended the race, not sure how it looked on TV. It seemed like the race had a dominant car leading for each quarter. First it was Junior, then Kenseth, Johnson, and finally Stewart. These EFI issues are scaring me though.

• Track position is way too important on mile-and-a-half tracks nowadays, and this showed again on Sunday. It's not fun to see a car lead a large portion of the race and then not be able to pass cars on older tires once back in traffic. Good cars should be able to come to the front.

• Oh here it comes.. You'll get a bunch of boring comments. It wasn't!!! I watched a lot of drivers pass a lot of cars. That is racing! I liked it!!

• I actually found it boring until the last 10 laps. No action.

• Very boring race up until the final 20 laps. Cookie Cutter tracks are always snoozers and I'm glad Las Vegas doesn't have a second race.

• I'm only giving it a good rating due to the way the race ended. There was some serious driving going on behind the wheel of that number 14 and the number 48 and it made for one hell of a show towards the end. The first 240 laps though...well there's a reason the term cookie cutter keeps being brought up with these tracks. They are all different we know and they each drive different but the viewing experience of tracks like Vegas, Kansas, Chicagoland, Kentucky, Michigan, and California are always the same and produce the same results when you watch.

• I thought Vegas was as good as you could get at a 1.5-mile track that isn't Atlanta.

Nationwide Series viewership
The first three Nationwide races have been won by non-Cup regulars with James Buescher winning at Daytona, Elliott Sadler winning at Phoenix and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. winning at Las Vegas. Fan Council members were asked if seeing the Nationwide regulars win makes them want to watch more of the races in this series.

58.3 percent said Yes
37.3 percent said their decision to watch Nationwide races is not impacted by this
4.3 percent said No

What Fan Council members said:
• This is exactly as it should be! Great job by NASCAR and some of the Cup team owners to take focus in the NNS off NSCS drivers.

• I love the Nationwide regulars are putting on a show. Since Kyle Busch isn't such a factor at the beginning of this year, others have a chance of showing what they got. It's exciting, and I love they get the spotlight. It's also fantastic we get to see some new faces and see who the next stars of this sport are going to be.

• I absolutely believe there should be no Cup drivers in Nationwide (and I'm a Kasey Kahne fan.) So I have been thrilled to see non-Cup drivers win in their own series!!!

• I used to watch every Nationwide and Truck race, but once Kyle Busch took over I stopped watching those where he was entered. The more I see the non-Cup regulars win, the more I want to start watching again.

• I don't care whether a Cup guy or a non-Cup guy wins. I think this shows the folly of NASCAR trying to push Cup guys out of the series through their "declare which championship you are running for" rule. Every Cup guy who normally runs Nationwide races except Carl Edwards was in those first three races this season. Things like that just work themselves out.

• There are two reasons for me NOT to watch the Nationwide races this year... one NO Carl Edwards and two TOO much Danica.

• Ever since Danica Patrick has decided to be full time in Nationwide, I started watching every race. Last year, I could care less who won in Nationwide unless Danica won it.

• I honestly could not care less about Elliot Sadler, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or even Austin Dillon. I watch Nationwide races because they are on, not because I have interest in anyone running for a Nationwide championship. You could put 43 monkeys in the drivers seats and I would still watch because it is a race.

Follow Dustin on Twitter: @DustinLong


Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Backseat Drivers Fan Council debates Monday night racing at Daytona

by Dustin Long

The Backseats Drivers Fan Council is back! While NASCAR and tracks have their own fan councils, most people don’t see the results of what fans are asked. That’s why I started a fan council last year where anyone could answer questions about the sport and see the results, along with comments fellow council members made.

So on to Year 2 of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council.

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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council gives its opinion on Daytona Speedweeks.</p>