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Did You Notice?

Did You Notice? … Six Things We Learned About NASCAR In January: Part I

*Did You Notice?...* For everyone involved in this sport, the word “February” serves as an automatic wakeup call of sorts. Speedweeks, the sport’s Super Bowl at Daytona and the start of a daunting, 36-race regular season are now a few short weeks away, vacation over as the calendar turns towards 2012. Typically, the start of those early practices is enough time for everyone to get caught up on an offseason’s worth of news; after all, stability with the sport’s top organizations combined with an uncertain sponsorship climate have made the list of changes each season short enough to fit on those awkward, airplane napkins you get with your free drink. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Bad Boos, Crew Chief Questions, And 2012’s Top Priority

Did You Notice? … Bad Boos, Crew Chief Questions, And 2012’s Top Priority

*Did You Notice?*… Regardless of your opinion on how to fix it, NASCAR’s audience and its business model are heading in two very divergent directions. Clearly, on the heels of Stewart-Edwards it seems the six-year decline NASCAR’s been involved in, through both ratings and attendance may be bottoming out. The ratings for the season finale alone, released Tuesday provided the highest viewership ever seen for NASCAR since it moved back to ESPN in 2007. With a television audience of 6,799,000, it was the perfect capper on a Chase that posted year-to-year increases in seven of ten televised events. Even if you include the rain-postponed Chicagoland event, posting half of its typical audience the ABC/ESPN numbers increased sharply from 2010 lows. Read More »

Did You Notice?… What Other NASCAR Stars Have To Fight For At Homestead, A Stylin’ Corvette And Quick Hits

Did You Notice?… What Other NASCAR Stars Have To Fight For At Homestead, A Stylin’ Corvette And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?...* All the attention showered on the championship this week? Considering the three-point gap between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards, the national media scrutiny is well deserved. But you’re sadly mistaken if you believe those two are the only ones with something to fight for this Sunday. Here’s a look, going down the standings list at some other streaks, goals, and major accomplishments your Sprint Cup faithful are looking to achieve... Read More »

Did You Notice? … Cookie-Cutter Cautionary Measures, Wasted Crew Chief Shuffles And A Junior Surprise

Did You Notice? … Cookie-Cutter Cautionary Measures, Wasted Crew Chief Shuffles And A Junior Surprise

*Did You Notice? …* The degree to which the mythical “debris” caution has taken over at intermediate tracks? With eight races down in the Chase, I decided to turn a hunch into hard numbers. Let’s study the yellow flags for the four 1.5-mile ovals, races that were dominated by track position, not side-by-side competition this playoff... Read More »

Did You Notice? … Cash Over Loyalty, Three Winless Drivers Who Could Cash In And System Shutdown

Did You Notice? … Cash Over Loyalty, Three Winless Drivers Who Could Cash In And System Shutdown

*Did You Notice?* … 5-Hour Energy and Aaron's Rents, combined are giving Michael Waltrip Racing funding for a total of 38 races next year? More than anything else, that sobering reality is why Reutimann will be packing his bags and heading to the sidelines for 2012. Despite being signed to a multi-year deal, rumors are running rampant at press time 52-year-old Mark Martin has been signed to take over the No. 00. The car will then scale back to a partial schedule, likely under the Aaron’s sponsorship while some of those contingency, smaller primary deals like Best Western can be used to help fund the No. 15. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Roush’s Damage Control, Cale Gale’s Swan Song, And Schedule Shenanigans

Did You Notice? … Roush’s Damage Control, Cale Gale’s Swan Song, And Schedule Shenanigans

*Did You Notice ...* That yet again, Jack Roush and his public relations team got to doing damage control way too late in the game following the much- ballyhooed story of Ford's team orders edict for Talladega ... a storyline that came to a head when? Rewind back to Pocono in August, after a month-long saga regarding Carl Edwards and his contract negotiations. After this episode lingered for the better part of the summer, with the No. 99 team lagging and rumors running wild that Edwards would be leaving the team that gave him his break for Joe Gibbs Racing, the contract finally got signed. Read More »

Did You Notice? … A Cost-Cutting Idea, Toyota’s Five-Year Plan That Wasn’t, And Points Projecting

Did You Notice? … A Cost-Cutting Idea, Toyota’s Five-Year Plan That Wasn’t, And Points Projecting

*Did You Notice?...* All the panic when Toyota entered the Sprint Cup ranks? Within five years, American patriots feared a foreign automaker would be dominating the NASCAR circuit, piling up championships while running Ford, Chevy, and Dodge out of town. If you believed some prognosticators, right now we’d have a grid of 25 Toyotas, a rundown 1995 Ford Taurus, some Chevy Luminas and, well, that’s about it. Except that hasn’t happened. Chevy collected their ninth straight manufacturer title Sunday, making Toyota 0-for-5 in their bid to reach the top of the NASCAR ladder. They also have yet to win a single Cup Series championship – Jimmie Johnson controls that hardware – and have just two drivers in this year’s Chase, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, with neither one looking capable of breaking that ugly streak. Read More »

Did You Notice? … As The Turner Disintegrates, Pit Stall Shenanigans & NASCAR Nasty

Did You Notice? … As The Turner Disintegrates, Pit Stall Shenanigans & NASCAR Nasty

*Did You Notice?* … In the most competitive Chase in history, teams and drivers will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Stay out on fumes to lead a lap, take two tires with an ill-handling car for track position, “play nice” with start-and-parkers in front of them to help their pit selection… Huh? Yeah, that last one doesn’t seem to fit. But one has to wonder what was going on this weekend between the No. 14 of Tony Stewart and the No. 46 of Scott Speed. Read More »

Did You Notice?… Ratings Up, Johnson Down And Anything But Tandems

Did You Notice?… Ratings Up, Johnson Down And Anything But Tandems

*Did You Notice?...* That for all the talk of just how boring Sunday's race at Loudon was, lacking much if any side-by-side racing, NASCAR scored a major TV ratings coup. The numbers, released Tuesday show a 19% increase - yes, 19% in viewership over the Fall Loudon race of a season ago. And this was on an NFL Sunday, no less! Frankly, after hearing those numbers I'm shocked Brian France and Co. haven't put out a press release already, describing how fans have accepted the Chase and all its glory of the past seven years. And, love the Chase or hate it, love the racing or hate it, that kind of showing amongst TV viewers is a major plus for the sport. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Pressing The Panic Button, NASCAR “Independents” And Quick Hits

Did You Notice? … Pressing The Panic Button, NASCAR “Independents” And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?* … The Chaser pressing the panic button this week should be *Jeff Gordon?* Sure, Denny Hamlin sits 41 points back but I don’t think anyone realistically expected that operation to be a contender. Heck, the Fed Ex team is already running 2012, TRD developmental engines knowing they come with a horsepower-or-hand grenade without warning warranty! That’s hardly playing it safe, the Chase mantra even with this new points system as the team realized making some gambles was the only way they’d realistically have a shot. Read More »