So has been the woes of NASCAR and the teams within what’s said to the nation’s most popular participation sport. We knew that in these dire economic times changes would be coming fast. And they have in the most unusual of ways. The sport’s hierarchy has seen fit to restrict testing and preparations with regard to races. That being said with the sport’s most popular even just around the corner in the guise of the Daytona 500 just around the corner. It has to be said that this upcoming season will be one of surprises and a whole lot more.
Dale Earnhardt Jr gets up close and personal with the fans whilst in the garage at Daytona prior to the Daytona 500. The race is the most prestigious on the NASCAR calendar. picture appears courtesy of ap/Tom Kressey ……………………….
Last year history was made as Jimmie Johnson swept to victory in winning his third consecutive NASCAR title. And whilst Johnson has his own legion of fans, he’s also got a legion of naysayers who question the ability of the driver as well as his demeanor. I doubt the driver himself is overly concerned with what the fans think at the end of the day. In annals of history within the sport he’ll be judged a winner. And when it’s all said and done who are we to really judge the guy ? I know that the vast majority of fans have their allegiances to certain drivers from Tony Stewart to Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr and others. Say what you will NASCAR as a sport with its fans are just as fickle as any other.
Ryan Newman leads the Daytona 500 and in the race he would go on to win in 2008. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Raymond Shaw……….
Much has been made that the sport is facing not so much an uncertainty but the dire economic times that it faces. The thinking must be what sort of changes will be at hand by NASCAR’s hierarchy as a whole ? Mike Helton and Brian France have acknowledged the situation that the sport is facing. But I also believe that France is looking at the situation through rose colored glasses. He’s of the opinion that the sport can possibly survive without one of the Big Three domestic manufacturers. Either he really believes that or that was just a mere sound byte for the press to get a hold of to have something to write about.
Jeff Gordon’s Lowes’ Du Pont Chevrolet is taken in for some work by his pit crew prior to the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fl. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Phil Matthews …………………………
And whilst the upcoming season will be one filled with a great deal of suspense. It has to be said that if something so acute should happen as to either Ford, Chrysler or GM deciding to leave the sport permanently. It may not set the death knell for the sport as we know it. But it’d most certainly change the whole competitive nature and balance of the sport as a whole. Much has been made of the financial bailout that has been afforded to the three. It has to be said that the Federal government will be looking for the manufacturers to spend this money being given prudently. And if the auto manufacturers are to avail themselves of this money and at the same time remain in the good graces of the government. Then they’d better not follow suit as to the maneuvers made by the financial industry. Who it can be said have completely blindsided the government and the public alike with the aid of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
And if as such this season is to be one of fulfilled ambitions then it is hoped that the sport’s top drivers are able to perform at their best. The seismic shifts across the sport at present haven’t gone unnoticed by the fans. Teams are merging and drivers are either deftly moving from one team to another. Or merely being fired or bought out of their contracts. Merely because of financial constraints that teams are now placed under. Corporate sponsors also want more bang for their buck. And many may no longer feel that the sport is still able to afford them that. Advertising and budgetary restraints have gone a long way in explaining the tumult being caused across the sport. So much so that in many respect that once the season starts there may well be one or two teams that may choose not to run a full season within the Sprint Cup season.
Ryan Newman shows some attitude having just won the Daytona 500 with the customary doughnut spin. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Byron Presscott …………………………
And as much as we may lament the woes of the sport we ought to be thankful that there’s still a season ahead to begin and to speak of. If nothing else the stark choices that could’ve been made by NASCAR would have been crippling to the sport itself. And it would surely have left many of the sport’s most devoted fans disillusioned. Many I believe already are as they’ve voiced their disapproval as to many of the changes that have been placed within their midst. The last thing the sport really needs at this juncture is a fan base that no longer appreciates the sport for what it represents and its history.