No. 984
February 20, 2018

About The Autoextremist


Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

Follow Autoextremist





By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. When it comes to the ongoing train wreck/crash-fest that has come to define NASCAR on its biggest stage, there's no point in sugarcoating what went on in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. I have read the social media posts by the NASCAR apologists and other assorted fanboys (some even masquerading as journalists), and it's clear to me that they were watching an entirely different race than I was, because I needed a shovel to wade through the superlatives bandied about concerning a race that was nothing short of another flat-out embarrassment for NASCAR.

Here's a neat summation of the race: Start. Drone on. Pit stops. Drone on. Pit stops. Then
 continue droning on until Lap 190. Then it's run, crash, run, crash, red flag, run, crash, red flag, overtime, checkered flag. Done. And they deign to call this "The Great American Race." Really? I'd say a more accurate moniker would be "The Great American Shit Show." There is no excuse for the orchestrated insanity that NASCAR puts on for its biggest race. It is not compelling, nor is it riveting. Instead, watching the inevitable carnage unfold and the millions of dollars in equipment relegated to the scrap heap has become excruciatingly tedious and predictable. And once again the people who actually force themselves to watch are left to hope everyone involved in the inevitable "big one" is okay.

There are talking points being floated around by the NASCAR Media Manipulation Machine that this Daytona 500 will be the last race with the "old" restrictor plates and that from here on the racing will be positively improved due to a new rules package (including a new tapered restrictor plate) coming into play with next weekend's race at Atlanta. But the notion that everything will be instantly fixed like flipping a switch is incredibly naive. 

The glacier pace with which the NASCAR brain trust moves is simply stupefying at this point. Remember, despite the fact that the "stick and ball" media still thinks NASCAR is the only form of racing currently in operation in the U.S., this racing series has been on a downward spiral for going on twelve years now. Many of the major high-dollar sponsorships have dried up, the in-person attendance continues its decline, the TV ratings do the same, and because of that the current presenting sponsor of the series - Monster Energy - was able to acquire the deal for $0.20 on the dollar in a fire sale.

Yet, what was all the buzz at Daytona? That the "Gen 7" car coming in 2022 will be really something. In fact, the "Gen 7" version of NASCAR itself is said to be dramatically reinvented, and that a radical redo of the way NASCAR goes about its business will come to the fore. But let's think about that for a moment. I don't care how radical the transformation is for the future of NASCAR, because we have three more seasons of the most ridiculous schedule in all of sports, the repetitive visits to the same tracks, and the relentless tedium of a series whose prime has long since passed to look forward to.

Same as it ever was, unfortunately.

It's hard for the people directly involved in NASCAR - and their auto manufacturer chief enablers - to step away from the series and look at it from an outsider's perspective. You can tell that because much of the happy talk emanating from Daytona revolves around the hackneyed phrase "it won't be long now!"

And that's really too bad, because it will be a long, long time from now. Three years in fact. And there's a real question as to whether or not NASCAR can survive that long in its present guise.

And that's the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

(Ford Racing archives)
Daytona, February 27, 1966. Cale Yarborough (No. 27 Banjo Matthews Abingdon Motor Company Ford) finished second to Richard Petty (No. 43 Petty Enterprises STP Plymouth GTX) in the Daytona 500. David Pearson (No. 6 Cotton Owens Southeastern Dodge Dealers Dodge) finished third.