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Holding A Pretty Wheel

Why Fans Should Watch The K&N Pro Series – Even Though NASCAR Isn’t

Why Fans Should Watch The K&N Pro Series – Even Though NASCAR Isn’t

The racing is perfect. The schedule is great, and the tracks on the schedule are varied and exciting. There are haves and have nots, but money doesn’t always guarantee success. The sanctioning body is fair and consistent most of the time. Teams can be competitive on a modest budget. This may sound like a fantasy world to many NASCAR fans, where the complaints about the sport run the gamut from “boring racing” to “bad calls” to “big budget teams winning all the time.” A racing series where racing rules the day, the officials make good decisions, and they don’t race on cookie-cutter tracks? "Sign me up," most would say in an instant. "Where can I find this too-good-to-be true racing? Is it ARCA, ASA, USAC, a new series from a galaxy far, far away?" No. It’s NASCAR. Read More »

Racing? At Victory Junction, Earnhardt Is About So Much More

Racing? At Victory Junction, Earnhardt Is About So Much More

Sometimes, it’s not about the racing. In fact, at Victory Junction it wasn’t even allowed to be on Saturday -- the ground rules for the press conference, according to host Kyle Petty, included, “No stupid racing questions.” And everyone complied, because despite the principals being all about NASCAR, driving fast and turning left wasn’t on anybody’s mind. To some, the day represented a gift -- one given from the heart. To others, it was an opportunity to meet their hero, who was glad to oblige. To more, it was about escaping reality for a short time, and enjoying a fleeting childhood for a little while longer. Read More »

Bristol Singalong: What Drivers SHOULD have Chosen

Bristol Singalong: What Drivers SHOULD have Chosen

It was one of the most anticipated events of the season so far. No, wait - that was the race. But Bristol Motor Speedway has something besides great on-track competition. As of last year, they might just be able to boast the greatest driver introductions in NASCAR. OK, OK, that’s nothing much when you look at the grand scheme of things. But it’s become somewhat of a mini-tradition already and a heck of a lot of fun to follow along with. Here's the deal: Bristol, unlike other tracks, allows drivers to select a 15-second clip of a song of their choice for their walk across the stage. In the face of three hours of intense focus and general mayhem, it's a nice, frivolous way to lighten things up before the green flag. Read More »

NASCAR 2010: Better Racing, But Stay In Your Own Series

NASCAR 2010: Better Racing, But Stay In Your Own Series

With four races on the books so far in 2010, it’s looking like a whole new ballgame in NASCAR. The races have been very good - even Fontana wasn’t as boring as usual, and that’s saying something. With the series in an "off week," here are a few of my observations on the year to date: *The racing is better, but…* The schedule still needs drastic improvement. While the races this year have been decent, NASCAR needs to seriously revamp the schedules for all three of its national touring series. A few of the cookie-cutter tracks, like Fontana, Michigan, and even Atlanta, need at least one date replaced - just not with another cookie-cutter like Kentucky. Read More »

NASCAR Needs a Rivalry-But Are Those Days Gone?

NASCAR Needs a Rivalry-But Are Those Days Gone?

The last couple of years in NASCAR have been ones marked by race fans looking for more. More competitive racing, more consistency, more excitement. And NASCAR, to their credit, has tried to give fans some of the things they have asked for-the spoiler will return in a couple of weeks, start times are uniform, and the racing rules made the Daytona 500 memorable. But there is one other thing fans want, and it’s the one thing the sanctioning body can’t make a rule change to give them. NASCAR needs a rivalry. The sport’s history is dotted with rivalries: Petty-Pearson. Yarborough-Waltrip. Waltrip-Wallace. Earnhardt-Gordon. Read More »

Teams That Cannot Be Forsaken: Vegas Shows NASCAR Needs Independents

Teams That Cannot Be Forsaken: Vegas Shows NASCAR Needs Independents

While four-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was cashing in his chips in Las Vegas after a second win of the 2010 season for one of NASCAR’s wealthiest teams, beating his four-time champion teammate in the process, there was another race going on at LVMS - one the sport would seemingly rather bury under the rug. Not that the television broadcast showed them very often, but there were cars in the field scrapping for every position they could get in the running order, run by drivers who do not fit the current mold of stock car success but give it their best effort just the same. Unlike the Hendrick and Roushes of the world, these small-time organizations don’t come to the track for a Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series race with money to spare. Heck, sometimes they can’t afford enough tires to finish a race. Read More »

UNqualified Failure: Racing Isn’t About Speed Anymore

UNqualified Failure: Racing Isn’t About Speed Anymore

While 43 race teams prepared their cars for Saturday’s last practice sessions and Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway, what was happening to three other teams told an entirely different story. As race preparations began, the No. 90 Keyed-Up Motorsports entry driven by Casey Mears, the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet driven by Johnny Sauter, and the No. 46 Dodge of Whitney Motorsports and driver Terry Cook were packed up and pushed onto their haulers for the long trip home, having qualified 44th-46th for 43 spots. It happens every week, and it’s never fun to watch. But the slowest cars have to go home, right? Read More »

Holy Chasms, Batman! How Will the Daytona 500 Be Remembered …

Holy Chasms, Batman! How Will the Daytona 500 Be Remembered …

It made for some good jokes passed around on Twitter, while giving a couple of drivers the chance at a needed pit stop (and not for the car). But really, the hole that appeared in Turn 2 at Daytona was symbolic of so much more: the gulf NASCAR has dug itself into over the past several years. It’s really too bad, despite the efforts the sanctioning body has made to improve the racing -- bigger restrictor plates, no-holds-barred bump drafting, etc. -- that the 2010 Daytona 500 will be largely remembered for the track breaking up. The fact the race had a record number of different leaders (21), and that it showed everything still right about NASCAR, will, in the end, become secondary to something beyond anyone’s control. But that’s exactly what will happen. Read More »

What Kind of Fan Will You Be? An Open Letter to NASCAR Fans

What Kind of Fan Will You Be? An Open Letter to NASCAR Fans

I suppose the 2010 season has officially kicked off. The Budweiser Shootout, at least, is behind us and in a scant three days, the field for the Daytona 500 will be set. The whole season - 38 weeks' worth of racing - stretches ahead in front of us. But there are no points winners yet, and nobody has succumbed to mechanical failure and heartache. It all feels like new, and anything can happen as the eternal optimism of a clean slate lies before us. Read More »

“Spoiled:” Do NASCAR’s New Rules Take A Bite Out Of Safety?

“Spoiled:” Do NASCAR’s New Rules Take A Bite Out Of Safety?

NASCAR made a good call—maybe. The changes our sanctioning body made over this offseason were designed to improve the quality of racing, and that was a great move for a sport taking heavy criticism from all sides, battling slumping television ratings and suffering from dwindling numbers of fans at the track. After all, the bottom line in any of NASCAR's philosophies should be that racing - quality racing - attracts and keeps fans. Poor racing does not. To that end, the sport made changes to the rules at both Daytona and Talladega that will allow drivers to bump draft wherever they like, and in essence, to reap what they sow if they use bump drafting too aggressively. The Cup cars will also scrap the wing on the rear decklid in favor of a more traditional blade spoiler later this season. Read More »