In a sure sign of the coming Apocalypse, I got a rather cheerful email from my old buddy Jeremy Sellers the other day. “Have you seen the Nationwide COT?” With almost a childlike excitement, Sellers was singing the praises of what he had seen as he checked out the 2010 paint schemes. If you’ve read his posts here, then you know this is very un-Jeremy like.
No one at this site has aired their grievances quite so passionately as Sellers has. Given that, I’d say it’s “Mission Accomplished” in terms of NASCAR achieving its goal of developing a new generation NNS car that fans are happy with, a needed “win” for the sport, given the frustration fans have aired with strong emotion of late.
As if that’s not enough, then there’s word this week that NASCAR is re-thinking the wing on the Cup car. While not real passionate on the matter, I’d join the chorus of those who would say that wings belong on airplanes, or better yet, smothered in “buffalo sauce” on my plate. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says the 14 drivers (who they are and what they drive is unknown- just askin’) polled seemed to be on board with it.
But wait, there’s more. Poston further adds there may be yet more changes in store. He says the powers that be are talking about loosening up the “no bumping” rules and doing away with the yellow line? What??? Yep, that’s what he said. Do you think he’d say that if they weren’t all but going to do it? He knows better than to float that trial balloon if they aren’t serious about flying it.
I have no illusions, nor do I think NASCAR leadership believes that these are magic bullets that pull NASCAR nation back into Happyland. After all, the Sprint Cup car still looks like a flying brick. Economic woes are negatively impacting sponsorships and team dynamics. While I still say that the likes of Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick spice things up, there’s still that undeniable perception on the part of many fans that the driver of today is a corporately crafted automaton. Then there’s the tracks. I’m o.k. with a “technical” track, a fuel-mileage win, and a race decided in the pits now and then, I just don’t want them every week.
And NASCAR has to follow through. I expected more than I got from Brian France’s pronouncements of “going back to basics” prior to the start of 2008 season. I know a lot of you are concerned of the death of real journalism this week with the announcements concerning NASCAR Scene. I understand that.
While this has always been, and likely will always be, an opinion site, a la sports talk radio, my intentions are to take this little soapbox and attempt to keep it real. When I think NASCAR makes good calls, and when I see a good race, I’ll say it. When they blow it, I’ll say it. You won’t always agree, but I’d like to think you could say I’ve allowed you to speak your piece when you do.
What I’m hearing really sounds good, and like you, I’ll be watching with great interest to see how and if they’ll follow through. I sure hope so. When you couple these things with the changes to the broadcast team at ESPN and the consistent start times, I see steps being made in the right direction. Small steps, but small steps add up.
We’ll do our best to hold NASCAR accountable. Here at Bump Drafts, I’ve got a great, well-rounded panel of guys like Jeremy, Dawg, Jackie and Patrick to keep my feet on the ground.
Sporting events like NASCAR races are supposed to be an outlet, an escape from the drudgery of life. We could use some feel good stories in 2010. Let’s hope they come to pass.