The preseason NASCAR news is normally the same year after year.
It’s a constant barrage of drivers, teams, crews, and owners all talking about how hard they worked during the off-season, how this year will be different than years past, and how excited they are about starting fresh and chasing a championship.
During the 2010 preseason, there seemed to be one more common thread that made an appearance over and over—everything is fine in the NASCAR world.
Even though TV ratings are down, sponsors are pulling out, stands aren’t filling up, etc., it was repeated over and over that the sport is in good shape—that NASCAR fans should be happy and excited about the new year and everything that is going on.
In a weird way, NASCAR’s right.
It might be time for everyone to stop being so negative, and to now focus on all the positive things that will be taking place this year. We all spend so much time complaining and talking about what we don’t like—now that NASCAR has made so many changes, it’s time to keep quiet.
All three NASCAR series will see something new in 2010.
The Camping World Truck Series will be going to double-file restarts, which they hadn’t done in 2009, although the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series had. It’s been a big hit with fans and drivers and has helped provide much side-by-side action.
With the Truck Series, it will just add to the already drama-filled racing.
Another change is on pit road, where they will be going back to traditional pit stops (instead of limiting them to not being allowed to change fuel and tires on the same stop). Pit stops will also now have the option of teams using a new,vented fuel dump can, possibly eliminating the catch-can man.
But that’s not all for them, as they are revamping and reloading their schedule. The track “Too Tough to Tame,” Darlington Raceway, has been put back on the schedule for the first time since 2004.
On a Saturday night in August of this year, the trucks will be rocking around the South Carolina track that last saw Kasey Kahne in it’s victory lane.
A driver familiar with victory lane whenever climbing aboard a truck would be Kyle Busch, who announced two months ago that he’d be fielding his own team this year. He’ll have trucks for himself in the No. 18 (to be shared with Brian Ickler) and the No. 56 for Tayler Malsam.
And in one of the coolest moves, Busch revealed that he’s trying to make it possible to have former series champion and fan favorite, Johnny Benson, return to the series in one of his trucks, if he can find sponsorship.
All of that is just the Camping World Trucks Series.
The Nationwide Series will see their own track additions this season with Road America, a road course in Wisconsin. The event is scheduled for mid-June and replaces the Milwaukee mile.
There are also some familiar faces in new places, as many Camping World Truck Series graduates will now be starting a new chapter for themselves in the Nationwide Series.
The likes of Brian Scott and Colin Braun will join Ricky Steinhouse Jr., Parker Kligerman, and Reed Sorenson, just to name a few.
With 2009 series champion Busch announcing he won’t be returning to defend his title, there’s the potential for a new champion, who will most likely have to go through Carl Edwards, the 2007 title winner.
Edwards is returning for his sixth full year of competition.
Then, upon returning to Daytona in July to kick off the second half of their season will be the debut of their own "Car of Tomorrow". It is scheduled to run in four races the remaining part of the year before what is expected to be a full schedule in 2011.
Of course, we can’t leave out "Danicamania".
Love her or hate her, she’s here and it’s a good thing for NASCAR. While some might say she won’t fill the stands (and maybe she won’t), Patrick has people all over the country talking about the sport.
Publicity is always a good thing. Her debut is much anticipated and has many people now saying, “I’m going to watch NASCAR because of Danica Patrick.” Whether it’s to see her fail or succeed—hey, they’re watching, and that’s the most important part.
It's a lot to digest so far. Are you excited yet?
Once again, there are plenty of things that aren’t going well in the sport we love, but does anyone realize that it takes more energy to constantly be mad about something than it takes to be happy and positive?
Maybe it’s hard to imagine that the main reason everyone should be optimistic is that we have NASCAR to look forward to each Sunday.
Be thankful that, even though things are down, there are cars still on the track.
None of this is to say that we need to ignore, or forget, all the bad; but why are we getting upset over things that we have no control over or can’t change? It’s not good for anyone’s health. So enjoy this dangerous, rough and tough sport while we have it.
Just look at the National Football League (NFL), where there are rumors of a lockout in 2011—just like the National Hockey League (NHL) had in 2004-2005 when there were no games played the entire season.
What if drivers, crews, owners, and teams all just stopped one day and said, “You know what, things are so bad that we just don’t want to do this anymore.” Soon all the garages would be empty and the tracks would be silent … and we’d probably complain about that, too.
It’s simple and probably something that we’ve all heard before, but be thankful and enjoy what you have.
Trust me, things may be bad in the sport, but what in the world would we all do if there was no NASCAR at all? That would be the ultimate worst for the sport compared to anything that’s happening now.
So, if the Camping World Trucks and the Nationwide Series isn’t what your looking for, then hear what’s in store for the big boys that come out to play on Sunday.
NASCAR officials announced they plan on letting them having free reign, so to speak—“boys have at it,” is how Robin Pemberton phrased it.
Drivers are now able to drive their cars the way they please, including bumping all around Daytona and Talladega.
Larger restrictor plates are also on the agenda for this year’s Daytona 500 meaning more horsepower, which kicks off a year that will see the return of the spoiler on the rear of the car.
The wing hasn’t been a hit and will soon be history.
The 2010 season will also see a change that fans and drivers alike have all been asking to be implemented the last few years—uniform start times.
All day races on the east coast will begin at 1 p.m. ET, all west coast races at 3 p.m. ET, and all night events are scheduled for 7:30 ET. Now everyone knows what time they should be home and in front of the TV on Sundays and, hopefully, these starts will help end rain-shortened races.
We also can’t leave out Jimmie Johnson’s historic drive for five straight championships, along with many other great driver storylines.
NASCAR is listening to those that matter and they’re giving us what we want—so why are we still talking and being negative? This is all for the best and is setting up for a great year that’s sure to keep everyone watching.
If none of this puts you on the edge of your seat and shaking with excitement about what the next ten months have in store, you aren’t watching the right sport.