Not only is that evident by the fact that a lot of fans have sworn off the sport from good, but also by the constant barrage of changes that NASCAR officials keep feeling justified in making. While some rule changes have actually helped the sport in one way or another and even contributed to a better on track product, there are others that have sent it into a tailspin.
With that being said and NASCAR still in a state of panic due to lack of fan support, decreased marketability and some of the most bonkers rule making ever seen in the sports history, here are ten of the dumbest rules changes that NASCAR ever concocted and will now doubt be a black mark on the sports history for years to come.
5 constant all star format change
Few things were as painful to watch as NASCAR’s repeated attempts to create an interesting all-star race and while officials finally made the right changes in 2018, it took a very long time to get there. Of course all mainstream sports have struggled with how to make their respective all-star events more interesting for fans, but that problem was especially hard to deal with for NASCAR.
With that being said, NASCAR has made many changes to The All-star race over the past decade, but they seemingly kept missing the mark when it came to excitement. Not only was that evident by the fact that a driver would literally run away from the field at the beginning of the race and be impossible to catch, but also by how lackluster the racing actually was.
NASCAR tried to compensate for this problem by doing everything from making the final segment of the race to a ten lap shootout, to rewarding drivers that won a specific segment by guaranteeing them a spot in the top-five on the final restart of the race. Neither of these things really worked though and the lead car always ending up just pulling away again at the end.
With that being said, NASCAR’s all-star race has been a joke for a while now and all the gimmicky changes they continued to make over the years definitely didn’t help things at all. If nothing else, it showed just how gimmicky NASCAR itself is and left a bad taste in fans mouths that yearned for more excitement then a single file parade for 70 or so laps.
4 The Car of tomorrow
The Car of Tomorrow was a very controversial time in NASCAR’s history and while the sport had the intention of trying to make the sport safer, the car’s boxy design and poor handling turned a lot of NASCAR fans off when they first debut. In fact, moments after winning the first Car of Tomorrow race in 2005, Kyle Busch told reporters that he hated the car and that it didn’t drive well.
With that being said NASCAR didn’t fully implement The Car of tomorrow until 2006, which was only one year after NASCAR tested the new design at a variety of race tracks throughout the season. While that was probably a smart thing to do on NASCAR’s part, especially since it gave them time to improve upon it, NASCAR using two different designs in the same season was a bit controversial.
In the end, NASCAR finally made a change in 2013 by introducing The Gen Six car, but the damage was already done and a lot of fans left the sport over the issue. In fact, the introduction of the car of tomorrow, along with the implementation of the first playoff format in 2004, seemingly caused a domino effect of poor decisions made by NASCAR.
3 Brian France
When Brian France took over control of NASCAR in 2003, some wondered what the future of the sport would hold. Unfortunately for a lot of longtime NASCAR fans, it turned out to be a disaster as France implemented change after change that drove the fans way. His first action as CEO was to disallow drivers from racing to the line under caution, which really upset a lot of fans.
Things only went downhill from there with France becoming less and less visible during each race weekend and even instituted a playoff system that was perceived extremely poorly. While the playoff format was the first step towards the awesome playoff system that we see today, it still had many problems that were too hard to overlook.
Then there was NASCAR’s move to NBC, which while it was a lucrative tv deal for the sport, it also hurt the quality of the product as well .not only did fans have to deal with constant commercials, subpar commentary and some of the worst television execution in the sports history, it also aired a majority of its races on a channel that fans couldn’t get without a special package.
The final straw came during the 2016 Championship award ceremony, where France presented Martin Truex Jr with the series championship, shoved it in his hand and quickly walked off. Fans later speculated that he snubbed Martin Truex Jr at the award show and that this indefinitely proved he no longer cared about the sport.
In the end, he has made a lot of questionable decisions over the course of his time as CEO and it has played a key role in driving fans away from the sport in droves.
2 Repair rule
NASCAR officials making bad decisions is nothing new, especially with the string of changes that they made following the acquisition of Monster Energy as a primary sponsor, but the worst of them all had to be the repair rule they tried to implement in 2017. The rule made it so teams only had five minutes to get a car repaired and back on the track before it was ruled out of the race completely.
Not only was the rule controversial due to the fact that it ran the possibility of forcing drivers to retire from a race early, it also seemed like NASCAR just did it to manufacture excitement throughout the season. In the end, the rule was changed to a six minute clock at the start of the 2018 season, but there still seems to be little to no need for the rule to exist at all.
1 Moving to NBC
NASCAR struck a deal with NBC worth 4.4 billion dollars to air the second half of The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season over the next ten years and while the deal was good for the sport, it wasn’t good for the fans. Not only were fans subjected to some of the worst television execution in the sports history, some fans couldn’t even watch the race due to it not being on a main channel anymore.
Of course part of the deal with NBC allowed for a certain number of races to be broadcast on NBC, which would give the sport a chance to appeal to a new fan base, but it was not fun for longtime fans at all. In the end, NBC continues to air less and less races on their main channel every year and that should be a sign more than anything that this partnership isn’t panning out how NBC has hoped.