The season is now almost a third over and so much has happened. Attendance is up at some tracks and way down at others. The new stages concept has given us better racing, but many are just staying away. Some of the gimmicks NASCAR has tried in order to generate interest have worked and some have not.
Will the retirement mark the end of NASCAR? Of course not. We may see a shift of loyalties (mostly to another driver at Hendrick Motorsports, maybe Chase Elliott) and some fans staying away, but just as was the case when other drivers retired, I don’t think this change will really change the landscape of the sport.
Now that the dust has cleared and a Daytona 500 Champion has been crowned, it’s time to look back at that race and see where we are with the changes made by NASCAR. First, we must understand that Daytona (and its sister track, Talladega) are different animals than the rest of the tracks that the drivers will visit the rest of the races.
Monday’s NASCAR announcement about the new format for NASCAR Camping World Truck, XFINITY and Monster Energy Cup Series season was not only unusual, but might just be the most extraordinary thing that’s happened to the sport since the announcement that the championship would be based on the last 10 races of the season—the Chase.
In year’s past, it seemed that the so-called “silly season” usually started about October and most teams had settled on the next year’s driver lineup by Thanksgiving. Not this year.
I awoke this morning and, as is my custom, I started listening to SiriusXM’s Morning Drive program. It wasn’t long before the news that Carl Edwards would not drive in 2017 hit home. Carl was one of my favorite drivers to talk to at the track or anywhere else.
Once upon a time, Roush Racing (now Roush Fenway Racing) put its five teams – yes, once a team owner could have as many teams as they wanted – in the 10-car Chase. Today, they’ve gone from four cars to three, and with the news of today, now there are only two.
For a long time, the sanctioning body has used gimmicks to attract fans and it is apparently not working. When it first came out, I railed on the “Lucky Dog.” It was designed so that the “average fan” could understand who was leading.
The Sprint All-Star race was pretty much an experiment. Depending on what you believe, Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski came up with the format, so that meant immediately you have to hate it, right? I loved it. I'm not ashamed to say that I saw better racing that I had seen in many moons.
From the moment Tony Stewart announced that Stewart-Haas Racing was switching to Ford, NASCAR’s Chevrolet fans (which make up 75 percent of all NASCAR fans in my estimation) went into a panic.