The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has 36 points, stretching from February 23 at Daytona International Speedway to November 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
With the Sprint Unlimited, Budweiser Duels and the Sprint All-Star race, the long regular season gets extended.
Outside the official schedule, there are many days of testing and frequent sponsorship duties for drivers and teams. Include, too, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour, Daytona Media Day and other media days, plus the awards banquet. Simply put, open NASCAR weeks get scarce. Engines don't stay cool for long. Drivers and team members can't afford to be lazy.
Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Years is sometimes the only sure time off for many drivers, crew chiefs and team members.
So with such a calendar-packed agenda, do drivers favor any specific time of the long NSCS season?
Since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with NNS and NCWTS drivers and teams were already in DIS for Preseason Thunder Fan Fest and testing the second week in January, it was good timing to ask questions and seek answers.
It's a long season for these guys. I asked them if there is any part of the season that they like better than others and if there's any part that gives them more energy.
Busch was quick to define the start of the season.
"The beginning of the season is always just—you're sort of the freshest," Busch said.
"It's a lot easier to come out of the gate and feel revived and refreshed and ready to go and tackle a whole new season. It's a fresh start."
Edwards agreed with Busch about the beginning of the racing year.
"The start of the season, there's always a lot of energy," Edwards said. "The Daytona 500 is huge. That day is probably one of the most energy-filled days in all of motorsports."
Kenseth seemed to have thoughts that chimed with those of Busch and Edwards.
"I really look forward to going to Daytona," Kenseth said. "I really look forward to Thursday, getting in the duels and kind of getting ready for the 500. I look forward to that a lot, getting the season started."
Pemberton shared his thoughts of the brief offseason.
"You always look forward to the downtime, then when you're down, you kind of get geared up to come back."
Drivers seem to prefer the beginning of the season. Edwards, Busch and Kenseth shared their views on the sometimes grueling season
Edwards talked about the grind.
"The whole year there are times where it just depends on how you run," Edwards said.
"There are times it feels like a real grind and then there are times when you literally can't wait to get to the racetrack to go race again."
Busch pointed to the potent segment of the season
"It's on from Weeks 6 to 26 essentially," Busch said. "So you've got 20 weeks to prove yourself and make it in the Chase."
Kenseth added his take on the fast starting.
"Once Speedweeks is over, I almost feel like the season starts," Kenseth said. "The beginning of the year—kind of like its own season, it seems like."
The content of these comments indicates that the NASCAR season is an energy-packed venture that exceeds even the roar of numerous powerful engines. It also points to the popularity of the "World Center of Racing" at Daytona International Speedway, the revered track under grandstand reconstruction for fans.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.