With the Sprint Cup embarking on its final off weekend of the season (boy, those are the saddest words I've written this year), I too am taking a short respite, so I'll be MIA for the next week or so.
I used to think NASCAR should have an off week prior to the start of the Chase, but I've tweaked my thinking slightly and now feel the final off week should come could prior to the final week of the "regular season".
And I think the Brickyard should serve as the final race of the regular season rather than Richmond.
Here's my thinking ...
Being the final race of the Chase has neutered Richmond. It used to be a race of bumping, banging and hot tempers. But with Chase spots on the line, drivers have become much too cautious, knowing that there will be no more races to make up for any mistakes they might make. The win isn't as important as simply finishing and that has ruined the race in my opinion.
You wouldn't have that with the Brickyard. A win at the Brickyard is so coveted that you know teams and drivers are going to give it all they've got. They won't be simply content with a top 10. Plus the Brickyard doesn't have the reputation of tearing up cars (though it can definitely bite you).
Anyhow, by making the Brickyard the final race of the regular season and putting an off week before it, you have two weeks of build up not only for the event itself, but for the Race to the Chase as well. The importance of the Brickyard is magnified.
And then with the Brickyard as the lead-in, NASCAR should carry a ton of momentum into the start of the Chase.
The only wrench in my plan -- the dictatorship known as espn.
They want to launch their coverage with the Brickyard, which is why the race date was moved up a week last season. But once again, I'm smarter than everybody else, because they'd be much better off moving Richmond or Bristol to this date and launching with some Saturday night short track racing. With a short track race at this point in the season, I think drivers would be much more likely to throw caution to the wind and that's what fans want to see at these tracks.
The Brickyard is a high-profile event, but it's not a great showcase for stock-car style racing like Richmond or Bristol where you're more likely to see some heads butting.
I know, it's pure genius, please hold your applause.