Odds and Ends as the New NASCAR Season Prepares to Crank it Over

A new season, with a new defending champion, will be soon upon us. Kevin Harvick and the rest of the boys, and girl, will be in Daytona in less than a month to kick things off. According to Jayski, 43 teams have dreams of running full-time in 2015, with more than a dozen seeing drivers with new crew chiefs, and a handful of wheel men changing seats.

Former Daytona winner Trevor Bayne goes full-time with Roush, returning in Mark Martin’s old No. 6. Sam Hornish Jr. makes a return to Cup driving the Petty No. 9. Carl Edwards moves on to Gibbs and the No. 19. Brian Vickers is out of Waltrip’s No. 55 until he mends from a heart repair. Nineteen-year-old Chase Elliot should get some seat time with Hendrick, while driving for Junior in the minor series. In the trucks, Junior will have soon-to-be 17-year-old Cole Custer running about 10 races. Cole Custer. If that isn’t the best damned name in NASCAR, I don’t know what is.

Danica Patrick will be back. She will continue to be back regardless as to what she does, or does not do on the track, as long as fans and sponsors love her and pay her way. You could say she is a lot like Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that way, albeit minus the iconic father, the two Daytona 500 wins, five Talladega triumphs, 23 career victories, and seven appearances in the season’s top ten rankings.

As I mentioned, while Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus continue their most successful racing marriage, others will be in new relationships. Danica, Junior, and Cousin Carl will be amongst those with new crew chiefs. So will Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr. and both Busch brothers. That could prove interesting, especially in the early going.

Some get going, some get gone, and sometimes somebody is not happy the ways things turned out. As none of us were witness to the alleged altercation between Kurt Busch and his ex, we are left following along the court case. To be honest, as long as the guy is shown not to be a menace to society, as long as what may have happened is all that may have happened, I really do not care. As much as it is serious business for the principles involved, it is nothing more than a sideline event for the rest of us. An outcome to take notice of if we so wish, but not much more.

It would be nice to owe millions, if only for having the chance to have spent millions in the first place. We try to live within our means, so that means my family is not bogged down in debt. Still, it would be nice to know that if I completely blew it there might be a bank or two willing to forgive millions in loans they gave me. It must be sweet to be in a position to forgive such a loan.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame has been a white elephant from the beginning, with even its location suspect. It would seem the 25 minute drive from the track in Concord to downtown Charlotte is a trek many are not interested in making. Even the Daytona Experience, rejected as a site for the Hall, closed its doors and it was located right beside that track. I understand it will re-open again next year as the home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. That is irony. Oh well, all is forgiven, I guess, to the tune of nearly $20 million. Now if they can only attract some paying customers, or the Convention Center there might wind up with tons of space for it to expand.

It would be nice to say the new season means a change in the seasons, but for those of us in the lands of snow and ice, it does not. At least it gives us an idea what clear pavement, green grass, and shirt sleeves might look like. That, and a return of our favorite drivers, is good enough.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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