On Friday night, in a caution-filled truck race, Truck series standout William Byron was pacing the field, leading the most laps, appearing to head towards his seventh win on the season, and a ticket into the Final 4. Sadly, his championship dreams went up in smoke with ten laps to go, handing the win to Daniel Suarez, who earned his first career Truck Series victory.
This is one of the many reasons why the playoff format is an absolute disgrace to NASCAR. If the season is allowed to play out naturally, the championships would come down to Johnny Sauter and William Byron in the Camping World Truck series, Elliott Sadler would have clinched the championship by Phoenix in the Xfinity Series, and the Cup title would be decided between Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Even if the championship is decided before the season finale, it is for the good of the sport that the title fight plays out naturally instead of using a gimmicky playoff format that the fans did not want, yet the powers that be insisted on having that “Game 7” moment and expanding it to the lower series.
Even though the playoff format gives underdogs such as Blake Koch a better chance of contending for a championship, we don’t need a “chase grid” in each series to determine the champion. NASCAR is not a stick and ball sport and never will be. The absurdity of this format is driving a lot of the hardcore base away from the sport in order to appeal to the casual fans. It is not right for a driver to have a dominant season and have one bad race eliminate him or her from the championship.
In order for NASCAR to turn around, it would behoove them to drop the playoff format and go back to determining the championship over the duration of the entire season. But the brass likely won’t listen. All us NASCAR fans can do is hope and pray that things change.
But I’m not holding my breath.