I am trying to figure out why NASCAR fans are focusing on all of the Negative, and not the positives. I know that the NASCAR Fans are some of the most passionate fans out there, but it seems odd that so many are up in arms. There have been many Reasons to Cheer, in all 3 Divisions of the Sport.
I can agree that Brian France has made some terrible decisions. He definitely seems to be trying to HIT home runs with all of his decisions instead of just getting lots of base hits. He is Dave Kingman right Now. He may hit .215, but he will smack 30+ home runs. The problem is with all of the issues in NASCAR, batting .215 is totally unacceptable.
The COT seems to be at the core of most fans disdain. I have mixed feelings about it myself. I believe although we have seen some of the most horrific accidents in a long time, we have seen excellent results. The COT is so safe, but so dangerous at the same time. I think the COT is apt to have a more significant accident because of the way it is built. It gets airborne so much faster than the car of yesteryear. I think the weight of the COT needs to be more evenly distributed, so it will not so easily take flight on the Super Speedways. Free Agency also has been tough on the Fans, who have always been Loyal. Too many changes so fast, the Silly Season, is just crazy. And of course, all the volatility surrounding Sponsorship is changing the look and feel of our beloved Sport.
Ok I promised a reason to love NASCAR. First of all another 50 year old became a 4 time Champion in the Camping World Truck Series, Ron Hornaday. He has run just 250 races and has won 45 of them, has 122 top 5’s, and 178 top 10’s. Ron Hornaday’s stats are very impressive indeed, including the 5 million dollars he has earned in his career, in the Series. Also Kevin Harvick Incorporated, Hornaday’s Team Owner, has won the Owners Championship. Harvick also was victorious in the race for his second win a row, in the Series. It looks like The Series Rookie of the Year will go to Johnny Sauter. Sauter, in his first full season in the Series won once, had 7 top 5’s, and 13 top 10’s. He finished the race 7th
, to finish 6th
in the Final standings. Also in just 15 starts Kyle Busch racked up 7 wins, 11 top 5’s, and 13 top 10’s. The other Drivers to finish in the top 5 were, in order, Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner, “The Onion” Todd Bodine, and Colin Braun.
The Nationwide Series, which has been getting more interesting as we go will Crown Kyle Busch as the Champion today, regardless of where he finishes. Love him, hate him, and talk about him, which is what NASCAR Fans do. The whole Danica Saga, the Denny/Brad feud, The Guitar Smash. It has all been keeping folks interested. There has really only been 3 contenders all year, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, last year’s Series Champion, and Kyle Busch. They have really crushed the competition. All three of them have at least 22 top 5’s, 28 top 10’s, 4 wins, and at least 1.25 million in earnings. Anyone of the three could have won the Championship. Although still winless in 38 career starts, Justin Allgaier will be crowned, the Series Rookie of the Year. He did earn a pole and had 3 top 5’s, and 12 top 10’s. Jason Leffler will finish 4th, and the 5th place spot is still up in the air, with today’s race on tap. It will either go to veteran Mike Bliss, who has had a successful Season, and ROTY probable Justin Allgaier, separated by just 14 points. Steven Wallace and Jason Keller can mathematically could still finish 5th, but that isn’t very likely. I hope Denny and Brad don’t do anything to hurt one of those two driver’s chances. It should be a very interesting race.
Last but not least, we have the “Chase for the Sprint Cup”. The fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch are non factors has a large portion of the Fan Base disinterested. There were a lot of great stories still to consider. Tony Stewart, who agreed to terms to leave JGR to start his own team (SHR) which has had immediate success. The International Fan Base has had lots to cheer about as well, Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya, although both still winless had phenomenal seasons. The fact that Montoya has a chance of finishing 5th
in the Final standings, says just how far he has come as a Driver. The Old Man, Mark Martin looking for his first Championship, Jeff Gordon going for hid fifth Championship, and of Course Jimmie Johnson looking to rewrite NASCAR history.
Talk about parity only 5 drivers had 3 wins or more. Last Season, three drivers had 24 of the 36 wins and only 4 wins came from drivers outside of the top 12. This Season only 6 Drivers are repeating in the Chase and 10 wins came from outside the top 12. Three of those wins, were the First Career Win for those Drivers. There are many fans that would have 4 or 5 different Drivers inside the Chase at the beginning of the Season. There have been 3 drivers that have had what I would consider a great Season. And only 5 or 6 drivers were what I consider extremely consistent all year long.
Even with HMS dominating again, a few teams made some strides, and some went backward. RCR had added a team and had not one driver make the Chase. The 88 and the 18 teams after they both missed the Chase have replaced their Crew Chiefs. RBR had Brian Vickers make the Chase even though they started the Season with a late race crash at Daytona in February, making him one of two drivers to make the Chase for the first time. EGR returned to the Chase and SHR had two brand new teams make it. It looks like Joey Logano will walk away with the Rookie of the Year Trophy, as he will finish inside the top 20. He has an up and down year and has lots of growing to do as a Driver. But he is now the Youngest Driver to win a Cup event, kudos to the kid.
Well as the problems rise, the fans moan, and NASCAR promises to make changes, this seems to be a good Season in whole for NASCAR. No credit going to Mr. France of course. It is still the very passionate Fans who make this sport. Love it or Hate it, we live it, we breath it, we talk about it. Two men wait to see who will be the Sprint Cup Champion. In my opinion it will be the 48 team, so Congrats to the 48 team, Cheers to making History. It has been one hell of a ride.