The Post-NASCAR Cup Banquet Hangover

So the banquet has been held. Checks handed out. Trophies given. Awards given. Kudos given. Drivers retired.

And now the off-season begins and Silly Season continues.

So what’s new? Brian France announced Martin Truex, Jr. and quickly left the stage, not even offering a handshake. He did much the same for Dale Earnhardt, Jr, NASCAR’s most popular driver who is retiring from the sport.

Thankfully, we got to hear from Truex about what Dale Jr. has meant to him. We sure didn’t hear from King Brian about what Earnhardt has meant to the sport.

Talk about awkward.

So there will be new pit stop rules in 2018. There will now be a common lug nut gun. There will also be one fewer over-the-wall crew member for pit stops. This is all supposedly to help keep costs down and for added safety on pit road by removing about 40 people. I never knew that those 40 people were causing a problem, but I applaud NASCAR for thinking of safety measures. Teams will adapt and you can be sure that teams are already hard at work on the choreography of the reduced team. I also expect to see a few more pit road penalties regarding crews over the wall too soon, loose lug nuts, loose tires, etc. until they get the bugs worked out of the system.

Chevrolet will be turning to the Camaro for 2018 Cup. The SS never caught on with the car buying public and the Monte Carlo is gone. The Impala would have been another good choice, but the Camaro is the defacto street rod for Chevrolet with the Corvette saved for sport car racing.

Bud Moore passed away and HOF driver Jack Ingram was injured in a car accident.

Jimmie Johnson said it is time to buckle down in the off-season. So that means more time in the shop and away from family for the 7-time champ. While 3 wins and a 10th place finish for the year would rank high on many teams lists, it is not the case with the 48 crew. Johnson will surely make the playoffs in 2018 and hearing that he is redoubling his efforts to compete for a title surely can’t be good news for his competitors.

Speaking of his competitors, there are still a number of drivers without a seat in 2018, most notably Kurt Busch. While everyone expects him to return to Stewart-Haas Racing, it will be under a new financial arrangement. As Earnhardt pointed out so well late in the season, the economics of NASCAR are coming home to roost. The sport can only take falling attendance so long. The next TV deal will probably not be as rich and NASCAR has yet to find a way to make significant income on social media events or Internet viewing. With falling rating, NASCAR hasn’t been able to quantify how the 2nd screen is bringing in sufficient viewers so they can sell that to sponsors. Personally, I don’t think a lot of people are watching a race on their mobile device. If you are, I want to hear from you!

So how are you spending the off-season and what are you looking for the most in the 2018 season? Sound off!

6 Thoughts to “The Post-NASCAR Cup Banquet Hangover”

  1. KnowsNASCAR

    Every fan has a breaking point and NASCAR pushed me over mine in 2017 with the worst season of racing I have seen in the 30 years I have followed the sport. When a journeyman mid-pack, mid-talent driver dominates every practice, every qualifying and every race, something is seriously wrong with either the integrity or competence of the sport’s officials. It was bad enough having to sit through the Saint Dale Junior Endless Farewell Tour of Irrelevance, but seeing the Martin and Sherry Lifetime Movie define the championship was the last straw. I’m outta here, along with tens of thousands of others as NASCAR continues to circle the drain. Hopefully, the end will be quick and painless. I used to think NASCAR could return to the level of “niche sport,” but now I don’t believe it is salvageable by an means. It won’t even be missed.

  2. Chuck

    So you were not pleased with the stage racing or the final champion? Truex has spent a lot of time paying his dues and the team got it’s act together in 2017. Don’t forget, that team has been steadily improving over the years including the Kurt Busch years. I am not trying to change your mind, but to call Truex a perennial journeyman driver is a bit harsh and doesn’t recognize his improvement throughout the years, nor his Busch Series titles. It’s not like he is Elliott Sadler.

    What would you like to see as changes in the sport to return it to what you think is relevant?

  3. Fran Akridge

    I use Raceview on my computer.

    1. Chuck Abrams

      Let me ask why do you use Raceview over watching it on TV? Is it not having cable? Do you feel like you miss anything from the TV broadcast?

  4. Joe Jacalone

    As much as I don’t want to, i would have to disagree with KnowsNASCAR about Truex. He won 2 Busch championships, and regularly beat his teammates at DEi in the Cup series. He also won in the IROC series. That being said, I do agree with him on most everything else, including the sappy season long Martin & Sherry soap opera. Many of us in the public go thru even much worse, and without the riches and fanfare. It is curious that a team based in Colorado with almost unheard of people can dominate the sport the way they did this year. There is so much wrong with NASCAR right now, several thick books could be written on it. The corny TV productions, trying to make heroes out of nobodies like Patrick, common templates, and talk of spec motors.

    1. Chuck

      I don’t find the Truex cancer story sappy. It is something that has been playing out over the course of a couple of years now and they have been relatively private about it. The media went over the top when he won though, I do agree with that. The little team in CO is a great story. They have been putting together a great team over the past several years and Truex was the right driver to bring in and help them be consistent. KuBu was just too about himself to get them over the hump. I do agree without the TV broadcast, they get way too corny in trying to appeal to people who have no idea what NASCAR is about. Danica is certainly not a nobody in the sport of racing. I guess it depends on your definition of a nobody. The common templates are a real challenge to most hardcore fans. Spec motors have been talked about for years but I don’t see that happening any time soon. If they do, then we are just left with an expensive IROC series.

Comments are closed.