Craig Murto

Craig Murto

The playoff system is the best thing NASCAR ever did.

I can hear the negative Nellies now, questioning my intelligence and/or my sincerity in no uncertain terms. But I assure you that my intelligence is intact for the most part, and I am sincere.

The playoff system, including the stage breaks in every race, lead to excitement and drama. The fans have been crying for excitement and drama for ages; now that we have it, all they do is complain.

Th racers have a reason to race for as much as they can get at each stage break. Points are valuable. Sometimes the racing at the end of each stage break is better than the race for the win. Like I said, the points are valuable.

And what the social media warriors sitting in their parents’ basement complaining all the time about how NASCAR is ruined don’t want to tell you, the drivers and car owners helped devise this system. It rewards consistency throughout an entire race.

If a driver wins stage one and stage two, but has a mechanical failure in the final stage, he and his team still leave the track with some points to reward their performance earlier in the race. The points they leave the track with better represent their performance than they did before the stage system.

The playoff system itself is constantly under attack. But it is good enough that the National Hot Rod Association has devised its own playoff system. The Championship Racing Association has devised a similar system to crown its champion, and seeing the excitement such “gimmicks” create, IndyCar added two double-points races to its calendar (including the Indy 500) and even Formula 1 is discussing adding qualifying races to its race weekends.

We’ve seen a lot of action and drama in the playoffs. Nothing is more conducive to getting a driver to show exactly what he will or will not do to advance to the next round and race for a championship.

I understand people not wanting to accept a championship race where the four remaining drivers have only one race to battle for the title. But it’s just another way of determining a champion. Richard Petty won the title under numerous point systems, and nobody heard fans complain about the fact that the system changed.

And face it; if you are a fan of the sport, you pay attention to the playoffs. The current point system brings what it was meant to bring, excitement and drama. And the drivers like it (for the most part) because the stage system rewards consistency, something they’ve been asking for a long time. Stop complaining about it and enjoy the drama and excitement. We’ve had the best racing we’ve ever seen.

Roger Penske, known as “The Captain,” has seen some of the best racing in the world. And his Team Penske has won many of the great races in the world. It has ventured out around the world, including Australia, where it teamed up with Dick Johnson’s team in 2015 to make a go at the Australian Supercar Championship.

The Bathurst 1,000 is the biggest race on the Australian continent. It is their Indy 500 and Daytona 500 rolled into one. It is a race that drivers attempting for the first time normally leave just shaking their heads at the difficulty of the event. And now it is a race that Team Penske has won.

The 1,000 kilometer event features two drivers per entry. The race is run on the Mount Panorama course, a mountain course made up of public roads. The race usually lasts at least six-and-a-half-hours.

The Penske Ford of Scott McLaughlin qualified on the pole, and in the end became the first Ford to win Bathurst since 2014. In a one-lap shootout after the final and eighth caution period, McLaughlin beat Shane Vanginsbergen to give himself and teammate Alex Premat the win and the coveted Peter Brock Trophy awarded to the winner.

Veteran motorsports columnist Craig Murto is a Linden resident.