Monday, April 5, 2010

Top 6 most interesting stories so far in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, as Easter and my chance at getting some more Cadbury cream eggs has gone by; today I want to discuss some of the most interesting stories in the first six races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

1. Good bye rear wing, welcome the “next generation” spoiler. Now when I say new generation spoiler, I mean next generation spoiler. This new piece is a lot like the rear wing, it’s made to NASCAR specs and given to the teams for use. And not made by the teams themselves nor currently adjustable and it comes with a shark fin that runs down the rear window and across the decklid to the rear spoiler.

With that said, NASCAR fans are already welcoming the new change because fans identify with the spoiler, because the spoiler has been a part of NASCAR for decades now. I personally like the look of the spoiler back in NASCAR, but as for the racing aspect goes, that’s a wait and see type deal.

2. Martinsville and Bristol were the two best races so far in 2010. Last weekend’s Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway was the best race so far this season followed by the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In watching both the Bristol race and the Martinsville race the following week, these two races showed what racing is supposed to be all about. It’s the door to door, side-by-side, hard, competitive racing that frankly NASCAR has been looking for, and for some time now.

However the only thing NASCAR needs to change with these two races are the dates. I mean racing at Martinsville and Bristol this time of the year is terrible. The weather is always an issue. Martinsville needs to return to the end of April. And as far as Bristol goes, this race needs to be moved to a part of the schedule that can support a Saturday night race instead of a Sunday afternoon race. Nothing says Bristol like short-track racing under the lights on a Saturday night.

3. NASCAR’s Boy’s Have it”: While I’m going to write a separate article on this shift of power and NASCAR allowing the drivers to self-police what happens on track. I do want to say that some of this has been good for the sport, while other parts of it have given the sport a black eye.

The black eye actually comes from the Carl Edwards giving payback to Brad Keselowski at Atlanta. I believe that Carl Edwards used a lack of judgment here and in this case should have gotten more than probation. Taking somebody out at a 1.5 mile track is going to have consequences period and Carl should have known that. You can read more on this one on my original articles “Carl Edwards makes a blatant payback move wrecking Brad Keselowski in Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta." and “NASCAR’s inconsistency is the most frustrating part of the Edwards, Keselowski incident.”

This should be interesting to see what happens next.
4. The resurgence of RCR racing. Even though RCR has yet to win a race in 2010, I believe that 2010 has been a good year so far for RCR. All three cars are running upfront in the races and in the championship hunt as well as contending for wins every race.

5. Jimmie Johnson winning 3 races in the first six races. Nobody really expected Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team to come out of the gate and win three of the first six races in 2010. But one thing to remember here is that Jimmie Johnson only dominated at California Speedway leading the most laps. However at Las Vegas and Bristol, he mounted a late race charge to win the race. Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR is what people are calling a good closer. And Jimmie Johnson has earned his four-consecutive Cup series championships and 50 wins, so it’s time to give Jimmie the credit he is deserves. He is a champion period.

6. Miccosukee hotel and casino pulls sponsorship after 11th hour vote from Phoenix Racing at KBM and nobody really said a word including NASCAR. When NASCAR got to Daytona, the drama from an unlikely source had already started as I have to say that felt bad for James Finch. Here is a guy that is a racer and was in Daytona practicing for the Daytona 500 with 18 races sponsored and all of a sudden he got the news that the Miccosukee tribe would be pulling its sponsorship effective immediately for both the #09 Aric Almirola for all 18 races in the Cup Series that they had under contract as well as the #1 James Buescher for a full Nationwide Series schedule. The news also affected Kyle Busch Motorsports as well, but they seems to be in better standings.

I couldn’t believe that a company, no less a business or in this case a tribe like this would hold a vote at the 11th hour to determine if they would continue to sponsor teams that they already had a contract with for the upcoming 2010 NASCAR season. But after they elected a new chairman, they did just that and worse yet, they pulled their sponsorship from Phoenix Racing for the 2010 season, you got to be kidding me.

I was even more surprised that nobody really mentioned this news story at the beginning of the season besides FOX Sports online. Now that’s sad. I guess because there a tribe, and there was no recourse, then why talk about it. But neither most NASCAR fans nor I would see it that way, what do you think?

Note: I will address NASCAR’s “Boy’s Have at it” statement in a separate article which will include the Atlanta, Martinsville, and in the Nationwide Series race at Nashville payback/retaliation stuff.

Bottom line, the first six races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has seen some exciting racing and at the same time, seen some lack of judgment and that’s putting it loosely. But even after all of the headlines above, in my opinion is, NASCAR races is here to stay and in most cases is what racing is all about. Now I can’t wait to see what happens next.