Before I jump into what I thought about the action is past weekend at Daytona, I have to do some house cleaning first. With this site I’ve admittedly neglected it over the past year. Without diving too much into, I needed a break and needed to re-find my focus on what I wanted to do with Start ‘N’ Park Blog. When I started this many years ago the mission was simple, give unfiltered opinions. Then I tried to be an information hub re-posting press releases, which was fine but a lot of work. These teams put out a lot of press releases beyond the news. Then I became unfocused and drifted around until taking a break last year.
I’ve always had a goal in mind for what the site should be, but never had a way to execute. I have and still want to combine the best parts of Racing-Reference.info, Jayski, and Wikipedia all in one. A place that houses stats, history, and some news. That is still the goal, but I’ve found a way to make part of that a reality. Recently I stumbled upon an app that will allow me to more cleanly create driver and team pages. The hard part is going to get all the information in there, so I apologize in advance that things will be unfinished for a while.
The good news I don’t work for anyone, so I can take my sweet time doing this and do it right. Until that point, I will try to keep up on the 2018 season and work my way backwards. Hopefully ya’ll can enjoy it and get some useful information out of it.
On that note, I do want to give a shout out to Rick Houston and the work he’s doing with Scene Vault. His mission not only combines the best publication to NASCAR I’ve ever seen, NASCAR Scene, but the history that is shared is amazing. If he can get his site up and running, I suggest you all pay/donate/whatever you can do to keep it going. I think it will blow everything else out of the water and will be fantastic for fans who might be sick of the current state of NASCAR.
Now the real post, which won’t be new takes, but wanted to get them all down in one place.
The Future Looks Good
With experienced and recognizable drivers retiring or being shown the door before they wanted there was much fear that NASCAR would implode. Well, it won’t, because the crop of young drivers that are here will be superstars and like any years of transition, they will not miss a beat. In the late 1980s many fear NASCAR was over with drivers like David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, and a declining Richard Petty leaving or on their way out. The next class of Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Davey Allison, and others picked up the ball and kept running with it. They gave way to the Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton era, which then gave way to Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, era. Change is inevitable it’s just a matter of embracing it or not.
With Ryan Blaney winning his Duel race and dominating the Daytona 500, Chase Elliott winning his Duel and looking strong before his wreck, and Austin Dillon cashing in on the win, one could argue the changing of the guard is now. That said, it’s still only one race into the season and we’ll have to see if these young guns can keep the momentum up.
The Future Does Not Look Good
So the Charter System finally did its job and now we have an era with just 36 (maybe less depending on BK Racing) teams going to the track. I had previously held the belief that I’d rather see 5-6 Hendrick Motorsports teams than teams that show up for the paycheck and leave. I still believe that, the issue is there is no sponsorship to even entertain teams to expand (I know, there’s a 4 team cap) so if anything we will see the “super” teams potentially downsize. As much as I like to see 36 strong teams, that will never be the case, and now there’s going to be a log jam of drivers which will lead to it feeling a bit stagnate. I’m not sure NASCAR will scrap the Charter System, but there needs to be a drastic cut in costs which is the number one barrier to entry. It’s just not cost effective for non-Charter teams to even try to make races.
Getting sponsorship will also be harder because TV ratings are down and fans are just not as passionate as they used to be. Me personally, I used to try my best to only use products that sponsored in NASCAR. Now there are very few, if any, I can align with. I call myself a Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr fan, but I’m not going to go out and rent CAT equipment and I’m not going to Furniture Row. When there were more sponsors fans could connect to, I think that helps both the teams and the sponsors.
Wallace Better Keep It Up
I’m really happy that Darrell Wallace Jr had the run he had at Daytona. This was very important as the focus of not only NASCAR Nation was on him, but the whole nation. The only thing I worry about is if he stumbles out of the gate after Daytona. While he doesn’t need to be winning every week, solid top-20 races are need to not only help his confidence, but to keep people from dismissing his second place run as a fluke. I think he has the ability, I just don’t want to see him run out of time before he can live up to that.
Who’s The New Villain?
It used to be automatic that Kyle Busch was the villain in NASCAR, now I’m starting to doubt he is the unanimous choice. There seems to be a growing discord for Austin Dillon who is doing his best to be like Dale Earnhardt. I get what everyone is saying, there won’t be another Intimidator and he earned the right to drive rough. Until Dillon fills out his resume more, which is actually pretty good versus a lot of other drivers, he’ll continue to hear it for any rough driving he does. Everyone should just cue up the “he ain’t the real 3” meme right now. The other driver in the running for most hated is Denny Hamlin. Between dumping Chase Elliott last year, talking up Adderall, and confronting Darrell Wallace Jr, Hamlin is doing himself no PR favors. I get why he’d be steamed after Wallace’s comments, but he shouldn’t have been making Adderall jokes earlier in the week. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson, but then again when you start off a Twitter defense of your actions by calling fans idiots, I’m not sure anything was learned.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images