@Conover wrote an interesting post about the Kansas cup race. He liked it, and he criticized races from the low downforce period as "Formula 1 lite." I disagree with some of what he said, but it got me thinking about what makes for good racing... and does Nascar have that in 2019. Sorry this post is so long. Here's the TL;DR: Nascar has sacrificed one of its great attributes but it maintains strong appeal even for a purist race fan like me in several other key attributes. It is an attractive product versus other racing series I follow. I am all about racing being a contest of skill... and the greater the degree of difficulty, the more I like it. When it is a skill-based meritocracy, that is what entertains me. Below I break down "skill-based meritocracy" into its key component parts, and use that to assess which racing series have it and which are lacking IMO. To analyze what makes for great racing versus good or mediocre, I have four main criteria. The first two are most important, and the other two carry lesser weight. The four main criteria are: (a) the driving skill required to be quick; (b) the intensity and importance of being effective head-to-head against others; (c) the depth and quality of the field of competitors; and (d) is the outcome often in doubt to the end. Single-car degree of difficulty... Cup'19 ... IndyCar ... [Cup'18, F1, Indy500, WoO] ... MotoGP This is highly important to me, and is my only major beef with the 2019 cup rules package. The cars drone around WFO, don't slow for corners, don't accelerate off corners. Cup racing 2019 is at the low end of the scale for single-car difficulty. In 2018 with low downforce, we had ludicrous entry speeds with heavy braking, rotors glowing cherry red; feather the gas through the apex, on the razor's edge of grip, feather it feather it almost forever; and finally get back to full throttle gaining 50 to 60+ mph on the straight before the next corner entry. Cup racing 2018 is near the high end of the scale, tied with F1 (that may be charitable to F1), the Indy 500, and World of Outlaws in the difficulty of being quick. Only MotoGP is higher in the skill required to be quick, IMO. (The IndyCar entry is road and street courses and short ovals, with the Indy 500 being a separate entry.) Head-to-head competition intensity and importance... F1 ... IndyCar ... ... [Cup'18-'19, Indy500, MotoGP, WoO] Intense hand-to-hand combat has always been a hallmark of Nascar, and it remains so in 2019. This is the greatest failing of F1. IndyCar drivers work very hard to make a difference, but it usually comes down to the timing of cautions versus pit stops. (Last Saturday was a welcome exception to the rule.) In Nascar, 2018 started off all about "The Big Three" as Gibbs and SHR dominated the first half of the year. But in the second half, HMS found speed, Penske found speed, and we had numerous great races. I saw plenty of passing, plenty of comers and goers. Good racing means that passing is possible, not that it is easy or frequent. If passing is easy or frequent, then each pass is meaningless, I believe. Some argue that Nascar has ramped up head-to-head competition even higher in 2019, by slowing the lead car to keep the pursuers closer. I was happy last year (once HMS and Penske came awake). I ranked it a tie, at the high end of the scale. Deep field of potential winners... F1 ... IndyCar ... [Indy500, MotoGP, WoO] ... [Cup'18-'19] Always been a great strength of Nascar, and still is. Every year seems to have 12 to 14 winners. There are at least 8 to 10 guys that expect to contend most every week, and another 8 or more who could win on merit. The other series don't have this depth of quality teams. Outcome often in doubt to the end... F1 ... IndyCar ... [Cup'18, Indy500, MotoGP, WoO] ... Cup'19 Any racing series can have a runaway winner. I believe Nascar with low downforce will have that more often than under the 2019 rules. The race is more "in the hands of the driver" and the handful of elite drivers will do what they do whenever they can. It's the nature of a meritocracy based on skill. The Bottom Line... F1 ... IndyCar ... Cup'19 ... [Indy500, WoO] ... Cup'18 ... MotoGP Points awarded 1, 2, 3, or 4 with equal points to ties. Double points to the first two criteria. F1 = 3+1=8+1+1 = 10 IndyCar = 2+2=8+2+2 = 12 Cup'19 = 1+4=10+4+4 = 18 Indy 500 = 3+4=14+3+3 = 20 WoO = 3+4=14+3+3 = 20 Cup'18 = 3+4=14+4+3 = 21 MotoGP = 4+4=16+3+3 = 22 The totals are closer than I expected, but they match my viewing preferences and how I think about the various forms of racing. And it explains why I'm still watching Nascar despite my belief that the reduced driving skill to be quick under 2019 rules is a big step in the wrong direction. Even with that wrong step, there is still a lot there for a purist fan such as myself to like. So far, there is no perfect auto racing series to draw me away.