To energize its dwindling fan base, NASCAR has unveiled a quirky and controversial set of rule changes that depart radically from the 72-year-history of the sport.
The changes range from only running races when rain falls, increasing noise levels of the cars, and awarding the largest paycheck to the actual winner of the race – rather than a contestant who finishes 10th or 20th.
“NASCAR’s entire sport needs to be re-imagined into something more refreshing, counterintuitive and borderline off-the-wall,” said Wally Jimmie, the organization’s executive vice president. “What we’ve been doing hasn’t been engaging fans. Our ticket revenues and TV ratings are plummeting. We need to upend conventional thinking and depart from our old and tired ways.”
Driving in the Rain
Throughout its history, NASCAR has suspended races once it starts raining. But going forward, the races will only be held in rain — and that includes torrential downpours. No races will take place while the sun shines.
By Wednesday of each week of the season, NASCAR officials will go to weather.com and ascertain in what city it is most likely to be raining the hardest at race time on the upcoming Saturday. The race will take place at a track in the city with the highest probability of rain with the most total volume of precipitation.
“It has never made sense that the best stock car drivers in the world need to stop driving when it rains,” added Jimmie. “They ought to be able to drive in the rain. It will be fascinating to see how the bald tires handle on the wet tracks. More fans will definitely tune in because it will be more exciting to see the drivers swerve down the track and battle the conditions.”
Fans can expect a significant percentage of the races to take place in Seattle because it rains in that city more than any other place in America. And drivers will not be allowed to use windshield wipers.
If they spin out into the muddy infield grass, no one will be allowed to rescue them. They will have to drive their way out or, with the car in neutral, push the car out of the muck by themselves. If they remain stuck, they will get a “Did Not Finish” (DNF) next to their names on the race scoreboard.
And fans will no longer have to waste time at the track sitting out rain delays. If it stops raining, however, the race will be delayed until the rain returns.
If the rain doesn’t re-commence, fans can leave and come back when it starts raining again to watch the race without having to pay for another ticket.
“I’m concerned about driving in the rain all the time,” said Jimmie Johnson, one of NASCAR’s top drivers. “We will need to practice our hydroplaning skills. Driving at 200 miles per hour without windshield wipers will be especially tough. But as long as no one gets wipers, at least the playing field will be level. Whatever it takes to bring fans back to the sport is what we have to do.”
Increasing Noise Levels
Anyone who has attended a NASCAR race knows the noise levels can be twice as loud as an AC/DC rock concert. But instead of lowering the noise levels, NASCAR will jack up the noise to above 1,000 decibels – the highest in the history of the sport.
“Fans get a physical rush throughout their bodies from the blaring noises at races,” added Jimmie. “We want to intensify that physical sensation they feel by boosting the noise to seriously loud levels never reached at any sporting or rock concert in world history.”
First Place Finisher Wins Most Money
Fans have become increasingly bewildered with the new rules in NASCAR. For example, the driver that crosses the line first often does not win the largest purse because team sponsorships and other incentives pay drivers depending on how they finish.
Different segments of the race have “stage winners” who may not end up finishing first overall but collect more total cash than the overall race winner.
“There will be no more of this cheesy stuff in which, say, the 17th place finisher makes more money than the 1st place finisher just because of some bogus team sponsorship payment deal or incentive plan,” added Jimmie. “The most money should go to the first-place finisher – period. We don’t want fans wondering about all these other rules and incentives drivers get that muddy the event and drama of the race. NASCAR is on a crusade to be less confusing.”
Tom Brady, who announced this week he would be investing in NASCAR, supports the new rules:
“As long as I get a chance to beat Belichick’s cars, I don’t care if it’s raining, snowing, or hailing,” he said. “And as for the noise levels being raised, that’s the right way to go. I’ve played in Super Bowls in super loud domes. The environment rocks your abdomen as the ground below you vibrates and shakes your feet and calves. Fans will get a biological thrill from those sensations.”
To be continued…
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