Saturday, February 11, 2017

Racing Against Time

NASCAR season starts a week from today, and I could say I'm looking forward to it.

But I'd be lying.

Let me explain: I've been a diehard NASCAR fan since I was 8 years old. I've been a staunch defender of the sport..but every year they make changes just for the sake of making changes, and I'm really afraid that this year is the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, with me being the said camel.

It was bad enough that the points system has really been meaningless for several years now, essentially invalidating all but one race of the year.

This year, the changes they've made are many and asinine. First, the race will now be broken up into three segments...which sounds fairly stupid but might not be bad IF they can get the commercials to mostly be in the breaks. But they have already said not to expect that, though they did say it should cut down on race action missed for commercial, so I am holding out hope for this. They tried taking a halftime break in the early truck series and nobody liked it, so I'm not sure why they thinking taking TWO breaks is better, other than the fact that it was Brian France's idea so since he is the be-all-end-all in NASCAR since he says it, it goes.

Halfway point no longer means the race can be considered complete, they now have to finish the first two segments, or roughly 60% of the race. (it varies by track)

What really angers me is that now, if you get into an accident, you basically cannot fix your car and return it to the track. You have a five minute window to make repairs, but you can't repair sheet metal. Also, if you send too many men over pit wall to work on repairs you are parked for the day. There has been a rule for years that you only had a certain number of men allowed over the wall, with the penalty that you would be dropped to the rear of the field, losing your track position, which, with the current aerodynamic rules, is more important than anything, however, most teams would still be willing to take that penalty to get the car in better shape. Now, you are parked for the race.

The official line is that "parts fall of the car causing cautions, which we want to eliminate"...yet NASCAR is known to call cautions even when there is no debris on the track just because they want another restart, which, since circa 2007's rules package introduction, is the only time you can really pass.

I see no valid reason for this change other than change for the sake of change, which NASCAR does every year....almost never for the better. (I can only think of one change for the sake of change that was an improvement, that being double file restarts)

So to say I'm looking forward to the season would not be accurate. In the past, I've always picked NASCAR and gave up the NBA All-Star weekend festivities. I'm not sure I'm going to do that now...especially now that I have a phone and tablet I can watch stuff on and not just be limited to the TV, neither of those devices I had at this time last year. I'm probably going to have both on like I did during the 24 hours of Daytona and the NHL all-star game.

I have to wonder, it me just being resistant to change? I definitely do not like when things I love are altered for no real reason, but I have not been loving the sport for a while now...It's gotten to the point where I have begun to resent the fact that I will be tied to my TV every weekend until Thanksgiving. But I can't bring myself to walk away, as I briefly covered in last week's post, because I did that with the NBA, and now consider it one of the worst things I've ever done. I realized in retrospect that the problem I had with the NBA was really on me; while it's true the game was different from when I began watching, it wasn't that different, and certainly not bad enough for me to walk away. I regret that immensely, now, and I'm afraid if I bail on NASCAR, I will regret it in the future...I also don't want to miss the tail end of my all-time favorite driver's career, Dale Earnhardt Jr, who has not talked about retiring yet but has in the past said he does not see racing to age 50...and he's 42 already. As I said last time, I feel I'm at a bit of a crossroads with what used to be my favorite sport, and I don't really know what to do about it.

Maybe my initial reactions will be wrong and it will turn out to be good changes. The race being broken into thirds has potential if it cuts down the commercials, which in the past few years has seemingly been televised more than the actual race. I don't really believe that but I can't just give up without seeing it, yet.

So I finally get to my point. In the past couple of weeks I've been making a concentrated effort to get my NASCAR cards edited and posted to the Trading Card Database. I had previously scanned the fronts of all my NASCAR cards, from 2009-12. But...I did not do a very good job. I hadn't yet learned to scan them with a green back drop so I have been doing a lot of correction of crop work that I don't have to do on new scans. I also accepted "close enough" back then so I am finding myself having to rescan some cards where parts were cut off of the scan but I accepted anyway. And then there's some that scanner #2 just did a crappy job with. There's a reason I used it for the least amount of time of any scanner, and not just the fact that it barely works now.
Here's an example of the exact same card scanned by scanner #2...
and with scanner #4. You can see that Scanner #2 did a craptacular job.
Much better...although not fully properly rotated. I'll fix that before I post it to the Database.

And that's just one example of hundreds.

The project is going quicker than it could have because I am only picking out specific cards to do, the ones not yet on the Database, not all of them in my collection...the ones already posted by other people are getting set aside to be done at a later date...most likely after I finish scanning all my NBA cards that don't have either side yet done.

Why this is a race against time is that I'm afraid when the new season starts the new changes will totally kill my passion for the sport, and I won't want to do anything with NASCAR at I'm trying to get as much of it done as I possibly can in the week before the season starts.

The set this Ricky Rudd card comes from is one of my biggest hurdles, at 300 cards, one of the largest sets ever issued for the sport (Tied for 3rd largest) and more than 100 of them have be rescanned because they are similar to the first image posted. I probably have two days worth of work on this set alone ahead of me...and I still have 6 and a half of the 1100 card Jammers plastic cases ahead of me of other sets...I know I won't finish before the 2017 season starts, but I'm going to do as much as I can in this next week...


  1. Billy -

    I think your concerns with NASCAR rules are justified. As a baseball fan, I'm very upset with the rule changes that they are making lately; pitch clocks, adjusting the strike zone, starting extra innings with a runner on second base, etc. It frustrates me to no end. The game is not that same as it used to be, and we as a society are tailoring our sporting events to the money time and again. It is truly sad to see. I was never a huge NASCAR fan although I had an immense collection of 1:64 diecasts growing up (unfortunately they're all unpackaged and scraped up; I liked to re-enact races on my bedroom floor!). I try and watch it when I can on Sunday afternoons, but ever since the Chase was initially input into the formula in (I think) 2007, I've lost a lot of interest. Couple that with Jeff Gordon retiring (the only driver my dad and I would watch on Sundays) and it just has no appeal to me, although I may get back into it one of these days. Maybe it's a male thing about seeing whose car is faster, but racing is always entertaining! Phew. Rant over. I enjoy reading your blog posts and conversing with you about cards on many platforms. Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks Jason! I have never been a fan of the Chase either, and Jeff was one of my favorites as's certainly not the same without him, he led the first lap I ever saw, which was also the first lap he led back in 93. Maybe it will not turn out to be as bad as I fear, I hope!

  2. Jason shared my thoughts regarding the changes in baseball. I think though, money isn't the only reason changes are being forced on the game. Something has happened to our attentions spans...

    1. NASCAR even mentioned that specifically in their news conferences! I've got a long attention span, I like my games to last a long time- more game = more fun to me

  3. I can say that reading and listening to IndyCar reporters talk, they are liking what they hear from NASCAR. They think it's ridiculous and it's giving optimism that open-wheel may be able to gain some viewership. I don't know if I buy that, but there's a lot of optimism on the open-wheel side.

    1. I could see it. The racing in Indy car has been better for several years... Problem is the series is too small, not enough races.

    2. We will have to agree to disagree there. While I'd like to see another 2-4 races, I don't want racing every weekend. NASCAR's season is the most ridiculously long in all of sports. The races are too long. There are too many cars racing that have no shot of winning. I like IndyCar for those (opposite) reasons.