Finley Factor: The Only Race More Pointless Than The Other Kansas Race

This weekend is my off-weekend from racing as I prepare for next weekend. Oh, you’re telling me that the All-Star race is this week. Tough.

I find the All-Star race to be incredibly pointless. There’s literally only one reason why it still goes on and that is so that Charlotte can keep people in the city for an extra week, something I doubt that most people still do, judging from the lack of interest in NASCAR itself.

Think of how strange that is economically. Who has time to go to Charlotte for nine days just to see five total races? The answer is old people because they don’t have kids to worry about taking to school and they are either retired or comfortable enough in their job to take off a couple of weeks. Doesn’t this contradict the information given in this AP article, about how NASCAR is now really trying to appeal to a younger audience? As a member of that 18-24 age, I can tell you right now that I have no time whatsoever to spend two weeks in a race city.

Sure, I’m not saying everybody going to All-Star race weekend are old. There definitely are families and 18-24-year-olds. But dollars to donuts says that the vast majority of those aren’t staying the whole two weeks. Instead, it appeals more to the older crowd; I’d guarantee the majority of fans doing the whole two weeks are older people. Granted that’s every race now, but I digress.

Here is probably the meat of my argument. Let’s look at what an All-Star event is. The appeal of an All-Star game or Pro Bowl is that this is the only time all year that the sport’s best players are on one field. Last year, when NBC got the television rights for NASCAR racing, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said, “It’s the All-Star game every weekend.” He’s not wrong. Every event in NASCAR is an All-Star event because all the best drivers and teams are on the same field at the same time every single week. In fact, the closest thing to a traditional All-Star event in NASCAR is the Whelen Modified Series when the East and West tour have a rarely combined race, like during Bristol week in August. Really the only three differences the All-Star race has from the 600 the week after is:

  1. It’s a non-points event.
  2. It’s shorter.
  3. David Gilliland isn’t in it.

That’s practically it. The All-Star race used to also be one of the best races in NASCAR, except one year, it just wasn’t. I guarantee you, the reader, that whenever FOX runs commercials for the event, they aren’t going to use footage of Jimmie Johnson winning a boring race or Jamie McMurray in a snoozer last year, they are going to talk about crap that took place 25 years ago. The Pass in the Grass, Kyle Petty wrecking Davey Allison at the line, etc., featuring drivers long since gone from the sport. If they show any modern footage, they are going to just show two things; the Busch Brothers wrecking in 2007 and Carl Edwards destroying his car after winning in 2011.

This is kind of like if the Oakland Raiders were to advertise their preseason games using primarily footage from the 80’s back when they were an actual team, and the only modern footage they show is the 10 man defensive play from a few years ago, the week Al Davis died. It’s fine to use the historical footage, don’t get me out of a job now, but it can’t take up the vast majority of an event’s advertising. It just won’t work.

The All-Star traditionally is all about getting the win, to heck with even second place. The problem is that’s every single race now with the new Chase format. There is no more incentive past the million dollar payday for winning this race, which isn’t going to make people want to go or watch. Hey, let’s watch a millionaire win another million dollars!

The All-Star also suffers from being a night race. I’m going to talk about this more in a couple of weeks, but to make it short and sweet, there are too many night races and instead of being special, now night races are “just another race,” the only difference between it and Sunday is that it’s on a horrible night for television. Before places like Kansas and Texas getting night races, night races were able to overcome this to a degree because it felt special. Kansas got a 1.7 average in the ratings before the rain came in. That’s pretty pathetic and tells you virtually nobody cares about the track and the night anymore.


There are a few changes coming to this article in the coming weeks.

I’ve been super busy with the last month of school, final projects seemingly every week causing me to put the Factor on hold. Starting this week, the Factor will now be weekly again, and starting in two weeks I’m going to start doing book reviews. Book reviews are going to be books that either I use constantly in my research or new books I find interesting that I either buy or are given to me by the publisher. The first of these books will be a new book about the old Riverside International Speedway called, well, “Riverside International Speedway: A Photographic Tour of the Historic Track, Its Legendary Races, and Unforgettable Drivers.” It’s by freelance writer Pete Lyons and although I haven’t looked at much of it due to school, what I have seen has been pretty good.

Next week, the Factor will have a one week only expansion. To celebrate the International Day of Racing (My own name for next Sunday), I’m going to preview the Monaco GP and the Indianapolis 500 in addition to the Coca-Cola 600. It’s going to be an amazing Sunday, and I can honestly say that this is only behind Christmas as the best day of the year.

Also starting next week will be a new weekly article for Speedway Media called “From the Vault”, where I look back at a famous, or memorable to me, race that happened at the track the Sprint Cup Series is at that week. For example, next week I’m going to look back at the 2005 Coca-Cola 600, an incredible race full of just about everything any NASCAR fan could want.

Here are a quick bit of my general thoughts on Danica Patrick so far this season:

-She’s doing pretty well so far, improving greatly over the past two years. That being said, I think this is around her limit as far as being a driver. I wouldn’t get rid of her anymore unless there’s a better driver on the market that wants to run for the team, save for Kurt Busch (Nothing personal, just would be hard to find sponsorship).

-If I were a betting man I’d bet on Danica staying put in Stewart Haas. With Allmendinger locked into a deal now, the only real, better option they have is pursing Denny Hamlin unless Reagan Smith catches fire in the Xfinity Series. Of course, there’s also that crazy rumor I’ve heard recently of Clint Bowyer and Five Hour Energy paying a trip to the SHR shop….

-Danica isn’t going to Formula 1. If she does, I hope Haas is ready to join Caterham in death. Like I’ve said before, this really doesn’t have much to do with Danica’s talent save that she isn’t that great on road courses, which are a lot of drivers in NASCAR. It just has to do with age and now that she is doing decent I don’t see her giving up on NASCAR yet.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. Well, if you want to cherry pick stats which make her look better, let’s use the fan vote for the All Star race, in which she went from eighth last year to first this year, which is a huge improvement. I would say that an average finish of 23rd putting her 27th in points last year, while an average finish of 20th puts her 17th this year, reflects more on a diminished level of competition than it does an improvement on her driving. Why is a driver with an average finish of 20th standing as high as 17th in the points?

  2. You say Dabica Patrick is “improving greatly over the past two years,” but I don’t see it. She has gone from an average finish of 26.1 in 2013, to 23.7 in 2014, to 20.2 so far this year only one-third into the season. Improvement, yes, but “greatly” improved? She finished on the lead lap 33% of the time, improved to 52% and is now at 63%.

    Compare that to Aric Almirola, who in his first full year had an average finish of 20.0 and was on the lead lap 41% of the time, and in his fourth full year has an average finish of 15.6 and finishes on the lead lap 82% of the time.

    Which one has “improved greatly?”

    • Talking year by year Danica has gone from 27th last year to 17th in points and is right on the bubble for a Chase spot.
      Almirola is clearly the better driver but I’m not really comparing them. The reality is that, if I were to compare and hire one of them, I’d still have Danica over him simply because of sponsorship. I doubt many companies would of taken the risk on Almirola if he wasn’t in the 43 for Petty.


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