TALLADEGA, Ala — Sunday’s YellaWood 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) will mark the midway point of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series postseason. However, for most fans, or even casual fans at that, they likely wouldn’t have let that aspect slip into their minds.
That’s a very large problem.
There’s been way too much noise around the motorsports world over the last few months which has taken the attention away from the playoffs. I mean just look at how busy this past week alone was.
At some point, the news cycle has to start slowing and allowing the focus to turn on the on track activity. It can’t just happen on weekends only.
NASCAR is severely missing the boat right now.
A lot of this is self-inflicted. We’re talking tires. We’re talking fires. We’re talking safety. We’re talking injuries. We’re talking penalties. We’re talking 2023 schedules and upcoming driver lineups. What we’re not talking about is how we’ve seen 4 non-playoff drivers win all 4 races so far and the championship being as wide open now as ever before.
I mean Sunday is the penultimate race of the Round of 12. Name me the Championship front runner right now, let alone the top drivers who can make the Championship 4.
You can’t. It’s that wide open. It’s also not being discussed either.
That’s because we head into each week with a fresh slate but by the end of it we’re not even talking about the upcoming race.
This week we started talking about the tire debacle from Texas and what needs to be better. A day later the onus was on officiating and penalties. That debate stayed around for the next 24 hours in the news cycle. Then came Thursday to where Alex Bowman announced he was sitting out this weekend’s race due to concussion like symtoms.
Did anything of this week come out of it to gear us towards Talladega?
What about going into Texas? It was the tires and power steering problems from Bristol. There was more penalty talk about Ryan Blaney. The only thing discussed on Texas was that challenges lied ahead.
What about going into Bristol? It was more geared towards Kyle Busch moving from JGR to RCR and what that means for Tyler Reddick and KBM. It was the 2023 schedules being released and Jeremy Clements’ Daytona win being reinstated. It was Brandon Jones moving from JGR to JRM. More about next season than this actual season itself.
Moral of the story here is the storylines in the most important part of NASCAR’s season aren’t for playoffs. It’s outside of that.
Which is why I feel like the fact that the most commodious season in NASCAR history is being wasted by problems, drama and 2023.
It’s a shame. However, we have 5 weeks left and a chance to rectify this moving forward. Make the news cycles less busy and let the attention go back to the playoffs. That’s why you did this in the first place.