With Nascar ratings and sales on the decline, Nascar decided to reboot it's playoff format in order to even the playing field and stir up tension to the sport. They have succesfully accomplished that.
Nascar put an emphasis on wins and made them value more as a reward for enhanced points calculations. They created knock out rounds in the playoffs that would eliminate four drivers at each stage of the playofss until there were only 2 mathmatically eligible to win the championship. Now, this goes back to Jimmy Johnson's 6 consecutive championships before being dethroned the last season. In that time period Nascar began to decline. I like to refer to this as the Yankee or Duke basketball effect, which is when there is a team that winss it all the time, spectators begin to hope for someone or for a team to knock the giant off. Nascar has noticed this, hence the need to even the playing field.
Now that we have all the paticulars out of the way let's get to that brawl shall we...
It started this past Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Jeff Gordon was leading the race toward the final laps and Brad Keselowski ran up on Gordon bumped against him and that caused Gordon's rear tire to go down as a flat taking Gordon out of contention for the win. There is a driver's agreement to give each other enough space between cars when trying to pass someone, Keselowski at least in Gordon's mind violated the agreement. Keselowski has had more than a few run-ins with other drivers so there was a go get 'em' Jeff attitude when Gordon got out of his car at the end of the race on pit road to confront Keselowski. The two exchanged worss and with the shove of another driver the brawl brokee out. Fellow driver Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski from behind into Jeff which started the chaos. Punches were thrown, pushing, and the crew members esculated the situation before all calmed down and were seperated. Keslowski claims he was doing what it took to win. Gordon claims Brad was racing wrecklessly and used an explitive to refer to Brad. In order for Gordon to win the championship he must win the next race or be eliminated that is why Gordon was furious he had the best car that day and felt cheated out of a spot that he earned. He can still win the championship, but it is a more steeper task than it would have been had him and Keselowski not bumped into each other.
Nascar came to the conclusion a couple days after the brawl and fined the crews and teams involved, but the drivers since they are in the playoffs were not punished.
I am bias on this one. I am a Jeff Gordon fan, he is my favorite driver. Gordon does not get angry often. Keselowski obviously ticked Gordon off to the point of uncontrollable anger. I side with Jeff on this one.
Nacar has definitely gotten my attention and I will follow the remainder of the playoffs far more closely.