It’s been awhile since I’ve appeared in these pages. My trip to Martinsville was a disaster (snowmegaddon), so next on my schedule was Bristol, which despite gloomy skies, tremendous races happened. The crowd was good, but many wanted to make fun of the crowd. No the track wasn’t full, but a good 100,000 was there and Kurt Busch outlasted and outran one of NASCAR’s darling young drivers, Kyle Larson to claim victory, and qualify for the playoffs.
Weather has plagued the NASCAR schedule from Atlanta to Martinsville to Bristol. This weather shows no weather concerns with sunny skies and warmth at Talladega. That’s good news for race fans whether heading to the race or watching on television.
Why Matt Kenseth? You remember the famous move from Roush Fenway Racing and then the more famous move of Carl Edwards to Joe Gibbs Racing, don’t you? Both escaped what they thought was an uncompetitive situation at RFR to the promised land of Toyota’s top team. What happened next was shock after shock.
Friday was a beautiful day. Lots of nice sunshine and a nice breeze. Then Mother Nature stepped in. After watching weather forecasts of sunny weather and low chances of precipitation all week, Saturday turned harsh. I mean real harsh.
Posting from the great state of South Carolina today. I slept during the Bojangles Southern 500 race and awoke late to chronicle the iconic race. It seems like the throwback idea is going to last awhile. The crowd was large and everywhere you looked, the 80s were apparent. Does that show that NASCAR fans want to go back to the 1980s? Maybe.
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.