Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

September 7, 2007

NASCAR: Cha-Cha-Changes

Quite a few major changes have been going on in NASCAR lately. Here’s my take on a few things:

  • Toyota’s first year in the Cup Series hasn’t been much to write home about. The teams they signed up weren’t very good with their prior manufacturers, so I’m not sure why anyone figured they’d do any good. But this week they announced that they’ve signed Joe Gibbs Racing to run the Toyota next year. Gibb’s seems to change manufactures every few years (if memory serves, he started out with Ford, then with to Pontiac, then to Chevy). This should give Toyota a good benchmark for how good their cars really are.
  • Little Earnhardt will be driving the number 25 next year. Teresa didn’t want to give up the 8, and Yates didn’t want to give up the 38. I wonder why they didn’t go to Team Red Bull and try to get the 83?
  • Another former F1 driver is looking to make the move to “real” racing. Jacques Villeneuve will be driving for Bill Davis Racing next year. I have to say that Juan Montoya is doing better than I expected, and that bodes will for Villeneuve. I guess it’s now official: you can pretty much write off the local stock car tracks as breeding grounds for new NASCAR Cup drivers. Teams seem to want to go with what to me seem illogical choices for drivers. I’d think the learning curve for a driver with several years of oval track stock car experience would be less than for a driver with several years of road course open wheel experience. But what do I know?
  • There’s an Edsel in NASCAR’s future. Edsel Ford II is set to become the newest director on the board of International Speedway Corp. I wonder if it’s wise that NASCAR’s sister corporation have a Vice President of one of the auto manufactures on its board?
  • ESPN’s coverage of the NASCAR Cup races this year has not been up to the standards they set when they were in it before. Jerry Punch is good, and Rusty Wallace is OK. But Andy Petree should go back to being a car owner; he was better at that than announcing. Please, please, please, someone go get Buddy Baker.
  • Speaking of ESPN, they really need to take a page out of Fox’s book when it comes to high definition. They’ve got so much wasted space in the crawl area at the top it’s ridiculous. The crawl should go all the way across the top, not stop about a third of the way from the left side. Plus it’d be nice if they brought back the old scoring pylon that showed the top 10 or 15. They could put that on the left side of the HD screen and not really take up any more screen real estate.

NASCAR returns to Saturday night racing again this weekend with the Cup race at Richmond. It’s on ABC, so it should be interesting to see what the ratings are. TV ratings for races have declined over the years after the “Earnhardt death bump” had inflated them to higher than normal ratings. NASCAR was smart to take advantage of that from a financial standpoint, but I think the racing coverage has suffered as a result of the TV deal. That combined with just the excruciatingly boring racing has caused a drop off in folks watching. Not sure if I’ll be among those watching this weekend. I usually don’t remember Saturday night races are going on until it’s too late. Wonder how many other folks have that problem?

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