Let’s be honest. Holidays are great. Most holidays mean time off work, time with family, and the best part – at least for me – good food!
However, for those of us who devote much of our time to racing, it also means there is a slight void. The afternoons we usually devote to watching side-by-side competition are now wide open. This past weekend was especially empty seeing as almost no major racing series was on track for our enjoyment. There’s just … nothing.
It’s especially troubling for the select few, like myself, who don’t have many (ahem … any) interest in sports outside of this one. To me, the “Final Four” is the last four tire pit stop of the day and the only “Shockers” I know of are when Paul Menard gets back to Victory Lane. Also, a “Bracket” reminds me of the days when I had braces and I’d really rather not think about that. I still can’t look at rubber bands the same way…
Don’t get me wrong. It was a beautiful Easter day in my part of the country. Sunny and in the high 60s, I broke out my tank tops and jeans and basked in the glow of the sun I’d begun to doubt the existence of after a long winter. I always enjoy the family time, and having a race on this day would likely have lessened that time to a degree.
Still, as I obsessively checked the Twitter app on my phone for updates on a nonexistent race, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why not one?” Why not a Saturday afternoon Nationwide Series race or Friday night Trucks? Most of the teams would still have the week off, but racing could still be on the TV and the kids could still have their Easter Egg hunt on Sunday.
If that’s not an option, there has to be a dirt race somewhere. Send a camera crew out for a one day/night event and get one of the dirt track guys (Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, etc.) in the race to generate some hype.
In other words … give us something! It’s not just about our insatiable desire to hear the engines roar and the sparks fly. It’s more than that. See, NASCAR has had quite a booming start to the season. What has been a ho-hum start, at times in recent years was filled instead with expectations, excitement, and tons of storylines to follow – and others that have already paid off. NASCAR went mainstream, for both good and bad reasons, and it became a part of the general audience’s conversation. Diehards and casuals alike saw good, quality competition and people who normally don’t give NASCAR a second thought were talking about it.
In other words, I don’t think this off week could have come at a worse time. Everyone – everyone – was enjoying this sport. The only people who were complaining were those who are just generally never happy. Yes, people were angry, but for once it wasn’t at NASCAR. It was at Tony Stewart, Joey Logano and, up until recently, Denny Hamlin. As the back injury was making widespread news, it simply replaced earlier headlines of a now-fading Danica Patrick, adding to a variety of other things which had put NASCAR on the front page of many of the most read websites out there who don’t normally cover it.
Yes, I know there are some of you who are still ticked about the Chase, the drivers, the sponsors, or any variety of things. I doubt any of us will ever say the sport is perfect. But the general consensus is that the season has been off to a booming start and will likely get even better from here. Why stop the train when it’s finally left the station?
The good news is that this weekend was the only “full” off week we will have for the rest of the year, and other series like IndyCar and F1 will be around for awhile, too. Still, I would think that an effort needs to be made to keep racing in the conversation as much as possible, this time of year even if that means having one of the developmental series on track. Is that too much to ask?
OK, that’s it … I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to flush some Skittles down the toilet or something and pretend it’s Bristol.
(I hope everyone had a very happy and blessed Easter, though I’m already ready for the next green flag to fly!)
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