As the unofficial kick-off of the 2010 NASCAR season approaches next weekend with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, I wanted to continue with my three-part series of predictions for 2010. In this edition, it’s all about the top 10 biggest storylines to watch in all three of NASCAR’s national series (Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series & Camping World Truck Series).
1. Rule Changes: In 2010, NASCAR will replace the rear wing with the rear spoiler, a change that has been asked for since the first race for the COT. 2010 will also mark the year of Boy’s, have at it…giving the drivers more room to be them. Also double-file restarts will be the norm in all three series, I wonder how long this will last?
2. Danica Patrick: I spoke on Danica Patrick earlier this week and I will be interested in seeing what she can do behind the wheel of a NASCAR racecar. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, but by the time Homestead gets her in November, everybody will know if she can do it or not. The biggest thing for her is just get use the car, log laps, make races and finish races.
3. Track Attendance and TV rates – what the fans will do: 2010 will be a tell tale year for NASCAR, will fans buy tickets at the racetracks to watch NASCAR and will they watch the races, not to mention the practice and qualifying broadcasts on television. I see that most of the tracks have lowered ticket prices, $39 for a Cup Series ticket is a good deal. Fans should look for package deals at the track. As for TV ratings, NASCAR already has big ratings, but I believe it will all depend upon the TV broadcast themselves, namely TNT, FOX and ESPN, can they step up will a good broadcast…
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rebound: Can NASCAR’s most popular driver get back to victory lane and contend for the NASCAR Cup Series championship? I believe he will be running up front on 2010.
5. Sponsorship equals Survival: Many fans might not think of this, but it’s a reality that in NASCAR there isn’t as many sponsors as there once was. The Truck Series and the Nationwide Series has been the hardest hit, blank hoods, quarter panels isn’t a good sign, money equals racing, without it, you’re not racing period.
6. Richard Childress Racing rebound: I’m looking for the three-car team with an alliance to rebound in 2010 with at least one car making the chase. It’s not like RCR not to be contenders every week for the victory.
What do you think the biggest storylines in 2010 will be? I know that I left out the championships, but that’s in the third edition.
1. Part 3 -- Predictions: RaceDriven.com picks Mark Martin to win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
2. Part 1 -- Predictions: Who's going to be 2010's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series breakout star?
3. Top 3 most memorable NASCAR experiences