NASCAR is losing steam. Surprise! It is not exactly news, but this week comments made by the top brass yet again reminded us of what has been going on for about a decade now. NASCAR got its big TV contract in 2001 to bring the action nationwide. It lost one of its legends in that opening race, then his son became part of a very compelling and riveting story line, and a fad was born.
Despite placing fourth on Sunday, no Ricky Stenhouse Jr. No Dale Earnhardt Jr. Neither Austin Dillon or Ty Dillon. No Danica Patrick. A.J. Allmendinger was third at Daytona, outside the Top Twenty ever since. One can have the name, the equipment, the marketing, but results are what matters and for some those results just have not been there just yet.
So, you want a car just like the one that won the Daytona 500, eh? Well, you get yourself a sparkling new Ford Fusion. Splash it up with some red on the hood, and basic black the rest of the way around. Polish it up so it is real shiny and pretty. Then take a Louisville Slugger and beat on that beauty from stem to stern.
Sorry, but this column is arriving a day later than my usual Thursday date. Of course, it has something to do with the race that gives me the data to mess around with did not take place until Thursday. It is not my fault.
Ty Dillon met with members of the media at the 35th Annual NASCAR Cup Media tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed his thoughts about his first full season, being a member of a single-car team, and competing on a limited schedule in his Modified program. Dillon will be driving the Germain Racing GEICO-sponsored No. 13 Chevrolet in 2017.
With more than a month left in the old year, talk about the new is already starting to dominate. Tony Stewart is now retired, with Clint Bowyer no doubt thrilled at the chance to get back into quality equipment as his replacement.
Usually, when a sport enters its playoff phase, there is news galore. While the Blue Jays, Indians, Cubs, and either the Nationals or Dodgers, continue in their quest for a World Series crown, the excitement seems a bit, well, subdued in NASCAR.
Erik Jones continued the dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY series on Saturday by winning the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway in his No. 20 DeWalt Toyota. Jones won his third career race and his third of the season by passing Ty Dillon's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for the lead with 16 laps to go and won the race having led 154 of 250 laps.
It was the Brickyard 400, presented by Kyle Busch. He led the first lap, he led the last one, and led most of the laps in between. If the focal point of a race is at the front, if the drama of a race is to see who is leading the way, this competition was pretty much done when they waved the green flag.