What's New in NASCAR?
In the meantime, there have been personal developments amid the drivers, most prominently with the announcement that Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, will welcome a baby to their family in the summer. Elliott Sadler and his wife are expecting, news that was announced prior to the end of the 2009 season, and prior to the Kevin Harvick Inc announcement that Elliott will share seat time in the second KHI Truck entry with Kevin Harvick. Carl Edwards and his wife, Kate, may also already have a new addition by the time the Daytona 500 gets underway.
Speaking of Carl Edwards, he has come out 100% in support of one of NASCAR considered changes, that of the replacement of the rear deck wing with the more commonly seen spoiler from previous years. The change won't likely come about until sometime in April. NASCAR will have a test weekend over the Easter weekend in Charlotte, allowing the teams to analyze the workings of the spoiler on the current car configuration.
Another positive move, at least in the eyes of this fan, is the reduction of the race length at California speedway. This race is the fourth race in the Chase and one of the most boring races on the circuit. The race has been reduced to 400 miles and will be known as the Pepsi Max 400. Conversely, Phoenix International Raceway has been given additional laps. Although the two tracks are only a few hundred miles apart, and shaped with the same D-oval configuration, they couldn't be more different when it comes to the actual racing. The Phoenix race will gain 63 laps, to be 375 miles in length, but the name will reflect the distance in kilometres., to be known as the Subway Fresh Fit 600.
And finally, in just the last couple of days, ABC and ESPN made what I view as a devastating announcement for Canadian NASCAR fans. ESPN will virtually take over the broadcasting of all NASCAR races in their contract, excepting three night time races. ESPN partners with TSN in Canada, but TSN has no obligation to broadcast any races live, and in fact, will willingly time delay a NASCAR race in order to get in the completion of curling, darts, bowling or poker. One can only hope that TSN will realise there are an abundance of NASCAR fans in Canada and will actually have someone paying attention when we call and tell them so.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Robby Gordon has been competing in the Dakar Rally, this year in South America. A few days ago we wrote that motorcyclist Luca Manca, competing in the rally for the first time, suffered serious head injuries in an accident last Thursday. Less than a week after the injury it was announced that Luca was out of the induced coma and responding to directions from his physicians. I continue to pray for his speedy recovery. Oh, and by the way, even though Robby has suffered incredible bad luck, he is currently running in tenth overall. Never say give up Robby!
One month until the Daytona 500. That's all we have to wait. I'll have another report in approximately a week, to keep you in the know. In the meantime, SPEED is continueing to show updates and past races, just to get the adreneline pumping. It isn't the same, but it's a start.