It’s more than a numbers game

I’m beginning to grow slightly weary of numbers but I’m confident it will pass.

This much horsepower, that much horsepower. The spoiler is this big, the splitter is that big.

Television ratings, attendance figures, green-flag passes … it’s become a bit much.

NASCAR is about more than just numbers, good or bad.

NASCAR is about personalities. Personalities sell the sport. Give me some strong figures, folks to care about and folks who fans can cheer for and root against, and I don’t care if the race has 20 cautions or not the first one.

People care about people.

Lee and Pops and Little Joe and Buck. The King and the Silver Fox and BP and Buddy and Tiny. The Intimidator and Rusty and Wonderboy and Swervin’ Irvan and Sterlin’ and Jaws. The Iceman and Special K, Davey and DJ and is it any wonder the sport became so incredibly popular?

Those folks weren’t setting records in terms of green-flag passes. Or if that was the case, no one knew it at the time.

NASCAR remains popular today. Maybe less so but popular just the same. There are personalities out there, strong ones, but they’re often overshadowed by the noise.

Instead we talk of numbers. And rules packages.

Decades from now, will we tell stories about Kevin and Kyle, Jimmie and Brad, Joey and Clint, Martin and Ricky and Kurt and Denny?

I honestly don’t know. I’d like to think so.

Numbers don’t tell the entire story. They have their place, but their place is not out front, used to sell the sport or to denigrate it.

Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the first for NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series teams with what’s considered the “full” 2019 rules package. All the aerodynamic bells and whistles.

Was the racing better? The numbers say it was – there were record numbers of green-flag passes for the lead (47) and green-flag passes overall (3,345) for the 1.5-mile track.

Those are good things, but do those numbers really register with most fans?

I don’t judge a race by numbers. The TV ratings may show that more people watched Sunday’s race or that fewer people watched Sunday’s race. Those numbers won’t impact my opinion of what I saw take place. Was I entertained? That’s the question.

Did the rules package accomplish everything I expected? Yes, but my expectations were that the racing would be better than before but not out of this world.

There is nothing wrong with better.

It will continue to improve. It will also fall short at some venues. That’s how it’s been forever and how it will continue to be.

The rules package shouldn’t have been the big story on Sunday. There was so much more – Joey Logano winning and Kyle Busch going for a weekend sweep and after three races is it time for some teams to begin to worry? Is it time for others to shake things up?

Numbers aren’t a bad thing. They just aren’t the only thing.

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