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3 Weird Tidbits From The Midseason NASCAR Fan Council Survey

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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Just past halfway through the 2023 NASCAR season, the NASCAR Fan Council has completed their mid-season survey. And the results are…odd to say the least. The survey itself focused on four things primarily: Playoff Predictions, Championship Favorites, Favorite Cup Series Races So Far, and Remaining Races Most Looked Forward To. Well, the results are in! Let’s talk about them.

#1: Playoff Predictions

Okay, the way the Playoffs Predictions are listed here is inherently flawed. Here, we have a list of drivers with a percentage of the possibility of them making the playoffs based on fan opinion. What’s wrong with that is, for example, Kyle Busch, according to this graphic, has a 97% chance of making the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs. He has 3 wins so far on the season, tied with William Byron for most in the series so far. That means that 3% of the fans do not think it is likely that Busch makes the postseason. That’s absurd. At the moment, Kyle Busch sits fifth in the overall point standings. Not absolutely incredible but, the way NASCAR’s Playoffs are formatted, if a driver has multiple wins, especially 3+ on the season, they’re locked into the postseason, full-stop. It’s not really up for a debate and, I hate to break it to you, this is not 2022. The drivers have a better understanding of the NextGen car and we’re not going to have as much parity this year as we had last year. It’s just not going to happen.

So, if we’re being super realistic about it, all drivers with multiple wins should have a 100% chance of making the Playoffs. That’s Kyle Busch (3 wins), William Byron (3 wins), Martin Truex Jr. (2), and Kyle Larson (2). Those are the top-4 drivers on the season and they’re all locks for the postseason.

Next, the one-time winners so far on the season who have run a little more consistent have a 99% of making the post season. These drivers are Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney. Blaney has been easily the most consistent Team Penske driver so far this year. Next are the inconsistent drivers with 1 win: Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, and 2023 Daytona 500 champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. I’d say they all have a 98.9% chance of making the playoffs. On the year, we have 11 different winners. That leaves over 5 spots at the tail end of the playoff field. So, it’s not completely out of the question that things might get a little dicey around 15th or 16th in points, but the odds of it happening are slim to none. These inconsistent winners still have an excellent shot to make the postseason. It’s even very, very likely.

TheRealCeeser00 questions why on earth only 60% of voters think Stenhouse will get into the postseason. Yeah, as stated before, that’s a very, very low percentage. SoothedSnakePlant points out that it is still mathematically possible to get 17 winners on the season. But is it likely? Not with the year we’re having so far.

Rocketman1555 can’t believe the number of people saying that Bowman will get in over Reddick. Yeah, that’s a bit insane. Reddick is a winner this season while Bowman has been consistently inconsistent. Go figure. Into_the_wenisverse points out that it’s all a popularity contest. There is work that tends to show that.

Thi31 points out that the survey takers must not understand how the playoffs in NASCAR work. I think that’s a fair criticism.

Yeah, jlenny68, yeah, that’s not how the system works, is it?

#2: Favorite Cup Races So Far/Remaining Races Most Looked Forward To

Another aspect of the 2023 season the survey took a gander at was the fans favorite races through the season so far and what races fans are most looking forward to. Let’s first take a look at the top-5 races so far:

  • #1 Daytona 500
  • #2 Coke 600
  • #3 All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro
  • #4 Spring Talladega
  • #5 Spring Kansas

Now, if we were looking at strictly TV ratings, I could totally see this being the ranking. Or, at least something that looks kind of like it. The Daytona 500 is almost always the most watched race of the season and, the Coke 600 taking place on a holiday weekend and being on the crown jewels, I could see it not being too far behind.

As for the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, there was a lot of hype around it. Fans were excited to see NASCAR return to their roots. The truck race on Saturday was fantastic. I’m not denying that at all. But we’re talking about CUP races here. And…the All-Star Race left a lot to be desired.

The same thing goes with a lot of the superspeedway races these days. The NextGen cars and the packages NASCAR uses at short tracks and superspeedways do not blend well. At the former, it’s so hard to pass that there’s a lack of comers and goers. Once Kyle Larson got the lead at North Wilkesboro, he was gone, baby, gone. Meanwhile at the latter, it’s essentially train racing around the top until its nonstop, nonsensical crashing at the end for an absurd unlimited amount of GWC’s.

I don’t remember much about Kansas so maybe that alone means it doesn’t deserve to be on this list. But, giving it the benefit of the doubt, with how the intermediate package has seemed to help those kinds of tracks, maybe it was good. Fine, at the very least and that’s more that can be said for four of the five races on this list.

Then, of course, there is the outlier. The Coca-Cola 600, 2023 edition, was a great race. I mean, it had its obstacles but you’d be hard pressed to find any race this year that hasn’t had some sort of rain and/or lightning delay. For being run on a Monday, the ratings were pretty darn good and it saw a very deserving winner snap his winless drought in Ryan Blaney. I’ll give them that one.

For the tracks fans are looking forward to the most, let’s run through them real quick:

  • #1 Fall Talladega
  • #2 Bristol Night
  • #3 Fall Daytona
  • #4 The Southern 500 at Darlington
  • #5 The Roval

Again, the superspeedways are on there. I suspect that they’ll be much of the same. Bristol Night, I’m partial to. I’ll be going to it and it’s my home track but don’t expect great racing out of it. It’ll be impossible to pass just like all the other short tracks so far in the NextGen era. Darlington’s my favorite track and the Southern 500 is a crown jewel so, yeah, I agree with that.

The Roval as a gimmick has run its course in the eyes of many, if not most, NASCAR fans…which brings into question who this council really is. With how great the Coke 600 in both 2022 and ’23 were, many fans and NASCAR influencers, like Dale Earnhardt Jr., have called for them to go back to the oval for the fall event. Honestly, I wouldn’t hate that decision.

NASCAR142002 says that the superspeedway package will never change now with how they have dominated this listing. Man, I hope that’s not true.

Joshjarnagin says that the fans didn’t witness the same races they did. I don’t know, maybe it was better on TV? No, wait, I watched them and they weren’t.

The Sky is Bloo argues that Wilkesboro was a great race, the field just got spanked by the No. 5 team. No, it wasn’t. Because, if a driver was up front but got screwed because of a slow pitstop, they didn’t just race their way back to the front. They were more-or-less stuck. The ONLY team that was able to do that was that No. 5 bunch, which makes them exceptional…but not the rule.

Moppyploppy and Eliott_fan_9 can’t understand the appeal of ‘Dega and Wilkesboro. They’re not alone.

48for8 says that the short track package being as bad as it is has hidden some of the flaws in the plate package. Hmm…perhaps that is true?

Nathan92299 is concerned about the NASCAR Fan Council, citing the top-5 favorite races as the biggest concern.

WheedMBoise states that we need to do a better job at representing the fan base. I agree, I agree.

Newyorker38 says to replace Wilkesboro with Dover, move the 500 down, and replace ‘Dega with Auto Club. Auto Club was a great race…for two years in a row. Wow, did I really just say that? INSANE!

#3: Championship Predictions

When it come to championship prediction, it’s impossible to predict anymore. You can predict your top-5 favorites or even the Championship 4 but, when they roll into Phoenix, it’s usually a crapshoot. Here are the top-3, according to the Fan Council:

  • #1 Kyle Busch (25%)
  • #2 Kyle Larson (21%)
  • #3 William Byron (16%)

Pointing out the obvious here, while 3% of the Fan Council don’t have Kyle Busch on their playoff grid at all, a 25% plurality of them have him crowned as champion. Well, at least the two drivers who have won the most on the season so far made the top-3. Kyle Larson has done well this year, despite him being relatively checkers or wreckers. Again, the championship these days is impossible to predict so I’ll leave it at that. These picks aren’t awful.

Crypto6g states that the Fan Council should be the sole authority on who become the champion. Clearly, they’re a Kyle Busch fan and that’s cool. AneeshVegi94 says that that is the only reasonable outcome. I agree.

My point exactly being reiterated from SuperMarioBrother64: it’s impossible to predict a champion anymore.

What do you think, NASCAR fans? Should the NASCAR Fan Council be considered a sort of authority? What do you think of these results? Let us know!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts