This had to be the most exciting season ever. While I will always fondly
remember the funny cars of the early ‘70s, this season was second to none.
I started going to the drags with my dad in the mid sixties. This year I was
able to take my son to Indy for the first time. A lot has changed since the
early ‘70s, but the racing is more exciting than ever. Watching the finals
on ESPN2 got me to thinking about the points structure.
It seems unique to motorsports that season long point accumulations
determine champions. In stick and ball sports, wins and losses determine a
spot in the playoffs, followed by an elimination process. Drag racing offers
an elimination process at every event, but points are tallied and the most
round wins determines a champion.
What if the top eight or 16 points earners in each category were seeded
to go to the finals as a "playoff," then each winner of the finals
would be your champion? This would create a true championship finals like
the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup. Just a thought.
I know that Indy is our "Super Bowl" of drag racing. It will
always remain the oldest and most prestigious event, but champions are
seldom if ever crowned at Indy. I came to my idea about a final championship
race after watching this year's finals. Funny Car had been sewn up since
Dallas. Pro Stock was won after a first round loss by someone waiting in the
pits for someone else to lose. Top Fuel, while coming down to the final
event, did not come down to the final round.
Think about it -- the Seattle Mariners won more games than anyone else
this year, but were they given the championship because of it? No and they
lost in the "second round." Football has a Super Bowl, the
greatest single sporting event all year and teams play the 16 game season
hoping to have enough wins to go to the playoffs. Once there, however, it is
possible for a 16-0 team to be beaten by a team that finished 8-8. This can
occur because the 16-0 team is not handed the championship at the end of the
season. The system provides the playoffs that lead to the Super Bowl. All
the anticipation of the season comes down to that final game and the winner
is crowned champion.
Look at NASCAR: Jeff Gordon only had to finish 32nd or better in the
final race in order to clinch his fourth championship. It seems silly that a
person who finishes 32nd in the last race is the champion, while the winner
of that race is overshadowed. It seems to me that the winner of the final
race should be champion. They should also take the top points earners, line
them up in order, and the winner of the final race is Winston Cup champion.
Anyway, I think this would make the NHRA finals a true championship. I
think this would make the championship more exciting every year. Teams would
know they had to do well all year to qualify for the finals, then each
qualified team would have the opportunity to be champion at the final event.
Every champion would be crowned as they "won" their final race,
making the finals the most anticipated event all year, just like the Super
Food for thought? Thanks for taking the time to read...
Perry S. Wyatt, Jr.
NHRA member # 36655