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Head2Head: Is parity better than domination in Cup?

May 28, 2012, ,

One-third of the 2012 Cup season is already in the books with 12 "official" points races turned, and we have nearly that many winners.

Is parity better than domination in Cup?


So far, in 12 points-paying races, nine different drivers have gone to Victory Lane in the Cup Series -- and it has put a little entertainment into a somewhat boring season. The lack of cautions this season have led to some long green-flag runs and a lack of excitement, but this season has more parity than we have seen in quite some time.

In 2010, just 13 drivers went to Victory Lane with Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson winning 14 of the season's 36 races. In 2009 it was more of the same with just 14 drivers victorious and five drivers winning at least four times. The 2008 season was even worse with just 12 guys earning a trophy and three drivers -- Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson -- winning nine, eight and seven races, respectively.

In fact, since the Chase's inception in 2004, each season but one has seen at least two drivers win five or more races in that season. The haves went on a tear; the have-nots didn't have much hope. The one season to not follow that trend, last year, which saw an unusual number of first-time winners (five) and a phenomenal Chase to the Cup.

Only Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart have two wins in 2012 and none are showing signs of flat-out domination. This season is wide-open ... and in a year where there is a drought of excitement, not knowing who will win each week makes me want to come back each and every Sunday.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Well, Charlotte provided us with yet another winner ... and, therefore, another yawner in Victory Lane. So, Kasey Kahne is the newest Golden Boy of the week -- that is until he's not in just seven days.

What this NASCAR season is missing is The One. The best Cup seasons have always had the top dog and then everyone else trying to take it away. Off the track as well as on, the highest value comes from one singular King of the Coop and then those Fighting Followers trying to take the crown for themselves and, in turn, providing that intrinsic excitement.

In the ever-changing globalization of sport, which NASCAR knows about all-too well, having a brand leader and proven winner is of the utmost importance. That brand and sport is built by either current or sustained winning by one or a small few circle of winners.

Look at the other major sports. Baseball has Jeter, basketball has Kobe, golf has Tiger, tennis has Federer, football has the Mannings and NASCAR has ... Kasey Kahne?!

Do they have a marketable star? Yes, but he can't win (and she can't stay on the lead lap). And when they did have a winner, he wasn't that marketable. Still, even a vanilla ice cream cone like Jimmie Johnson ended up being decent business for the sport by always showing his face near the checkered flag. Now, if Junior could only get into Victory Lane. Because Kahnes and Biffles and Newmans aren't going to put this season or this sport on the right path to continued excitement and success.

Nick Margiasso, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

The history of NASCAR has provided us with both ebbs and flows from the winning multiplicity of the current age to the singular dominance of the ages of Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt and even the recent quintet of Jimmie Johnson. Race fans have seen both before and will see both again. But which is truly better: Parity or dominance?