Nascar will begin the new season doing what it likes to do most – messing with the rules. I do believe they would “leave well enough alone” if they could ever decide what “well enough” is. Of course in this day and age when the stakes and competition for the entertainment dollar are so high, the mindset may be that “well enough” is not “good enough”.
Maybe the problem is they view the two terms as synonymous. To excel, we all know “good enough” just won’t do. “Good enough” implies that you can do better. And if you wish to excel, you must do better. “Well enough must be different than “good enough”, otherwise the saying would be “leave good enough alone”.
According to The Free Dictionary, to “leave well enough alone” is to allow something to stay as it is because doing more would not improve it. We have seen this advice ignored by Nascar many times in recent years. For its first 40 years or so, they did a pretty good job. Maybe because they weren’t trying to be the NFL or, since they were still a quasi regional sport, suspect changes went largely unnoticed.
I understand the need for change and adaptation, but change should occur with vision, deliberation and expertise. Not out of fear, ignorance and knee jerk response.
Broadcast TV suffers from the same disease. They believe they can’t allow time for new shows to develop an audience. They’re either immediate hits or they’re cancelled. There are probably dozens of examples of what became ( or might have become ) great shows because they were (or were not) allowed time. Let’s just take Seinfeld as one. If the current network mentality existed 20 years ago, Seinfeld would have been gone in less than a month.
Nascar is a giant and mature ship. Properly changing the course of such an entity is necessarily a slow and deliberate process – unless you dare to run aground or into an iceberg. They ain’t no Google or Facebook, companies full of vibrant engineers. Such companies have the wherewithall to keep throwing stuff at the wall and see what sticks. It seems lately one of the few things Nascar has thrown at the wall and stuck good is the S.A.F.E.R. barrier. But of course they took due time and utilized great expertise before installing it.
For a professional take on the subject, you can read Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter and his thoughts here.
Now, if you’re in need of a goosebump fix, visit the Nascar Hall Of Fame. And if you can make it between 4pm and 6pm through Jan. 14, admission is free.