Opinions

Jeff Gordon: Not Going for Fifth Sprint Cup Championship

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NAPA 500 X Gordon

 

That’s it, I can’t bite my tongue any more.

Jeff Gordon is NOT going for his fifth Sprint Cup Championship! ARRRRGH! 

Nobody else has the guts to say it, but I said it!

Jeff has four Winston Cup Championships and is going for his first Sprint Cup Championship. Two totally different accomplishments.

The biggest and most important difference… the points system. Gordon has never won in the chase format. Back when he won his four championships, consistency throughout the entire year was king, and he ruled the roost. But now, it’s critical just to be in the top 12 to make the chase, then make your move.

Perfect example is two years ago when Gordon had everything locked up and Jimmie Johnson took the brass ring because he squeaked into the chase and ran consistent to finish the year out.

Not only that, but there have been changes to the points system since the inception of the chase. Now wins get more points, so how can you compare championships at all. So really, Johnson’s championships should be distinguished as Nextel Cup and Sprint Cup due to the differences in their point structures.

Then you have the most obvious difference, the constant name changes. First it was the Strictly Stock Series, then Grand National Series, then the Winston Cup Series, then the Nextel Cup Series and now it’s the Sprint Cup Series. Who knows next year it may be the Verizon Cup Series. So many people still perceive it as the Winston Cup simply for the longevity of their title sponsorship.

Let’s quit bowing down to sponsors to the point that it distorts history.

When commentators talk in the booth and when you see the stitched logo on past champions chest, it gives the perception, especially to all of the newly found NASCAR fans, that this is the way it has always been.

Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have 14 Winston Cup Championships combined. Awsome Bill from Dawsonville and Alan Kulwicki are also famous Winston Cup Champions. I am just waiting for the Sprint executives to sit around a table and one will actually say…”Hey I got a great idea to help promote our brand. Let’s use Photoshop and put our slick, silver wave trophy in the hands of King Richard in place of that old, tired wooden trophy they used to use. Especially since they are now Sprint Cup Champions…”

We cannot change history just because the title sponsor changes. Let’s face it, if Winston wasn’t forced out due to advertising regulations, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But since they were pushed out, Nextel took over the top spot. Well Nextel gets purchased. Now we have to switch the name again to Sprint (a horrible choice for the sponsor name due to the lower level Sprint Car Series). Now that Verizon has purchased Sprint, are we going to have to go through this arduous process again next year?

If we have to acknowledge the title sponsor, let’s at least be fair and honest about it. When talking to DW in the booth, acknowledge that he is a three-time Winston Cup Champion. Don’t try to put your marketing spin on everything.

History of the sport is more important than the title sponsorship name.

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About Christopher Smith

A long time fan of NASCAR, he attended his first race as a kid in 1979 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the World 600. Christopher watched Darrell Waltrip drive his way to victory and from that day forward he’s been hooked. As president of RubbingsRacing.com, Christopher launched the site in 2000 and in the past decade, it has grown into a NASCAR-accredited web site hosting multiple podcasts, dedicated writers and race coverage at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned events. Christopher is an official member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).

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