NASCAR is consumed with making changes at every turn, it would seem. This off season seems to be about as crazy as any I’ve seen lately, and I’m certainly not going to rehash all of the changes we’ve seen in the last few months, because you probably know of them, and quite probably understand them better than I do.
First of all, I’m all for safety. In your home, in your car, in your workplace, on the lake, on the beach, wherever you are is where you should be and feel safe. I applaud NASCAR for its efforts to make the sport safer not only for the drivers, but the crew, officials, and especially the fans. I have been a race fan for a lot of years, and I understand how exciting it is to see cars crash, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more aware of just how fragile the human body is, and especially my human body.
I actually only possess one human body, but then there was that one time…. Ok, never mind…
I understand the need to keep very slow cars off the track, whether they are slow because of a previous accident, equipment failure, or because some doofus like me is driving it. Slow cars often get in the way and often precipitate accidents. If a car is going around and around, maybe 10 or more miles slower than the lead cars, it’s just in the way, especially on short tracks. If that car is also shedding sheet metal, dripping oil, water, or other liquids, it’s just an out and out hazard.
The new 5-minute rule makes sense, from a safety standpoint. Let’s keep the crap-mobiles off the track and let the decent cars race. Sometimes, however, a decent car becomes a crap-mobile, and then the driver is only trying to score points by running laps and finishing in front of somebody else’s crap-mobile. This new rule is going to make that tough on drivers who find themselves in that situation.
Am I a big fan of the new race stages? No. It will be convenient for bathroom breaks, I suppose, but it somewhat takes out that endurance thing that I always thought was a big part of stock car racing. But then again, I don’t like the Chase either. I’m old school when it comes to racing. I say winning is all, hard racing is king, and I get tired of hearing all the excuses for why NASCAR has to fundamentally change every so often in order to keep the fans’ attention. Stock car racing has basically always had my attention, but that’s just me, and every year, NASCAR just seems to be getting a little farther away from what the sport was originally all about. Hey, NASCAR, remember when you had great ratings and sellouts? Look at the rules during those years. Safety measures, excluded, why fix what isn’t broken?
I see that Mark Martin will be climbing back into a race car for the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway in July. Mark is a class act, and I miss seeing him in the Cup series. Mark is one of those drivers that has always somewhat exemplified the old-time race car driver, even though he drove up until just a few years ago in the Cup series.
I see that Jeffrey Earnhardt has a new deal with Joe Falk and Circle Sport/TMG Racing. It’s not a full time ride, but I for one, am for all the Earnhardts we can get on the track. Best wishes to Jeffrey.
Finally, I feel for the family of Kevin Ward, Jr. who was killed in a very tragic encounter with Tony Stewart’s sprint car at Canandaigua in New York in 2014. This event took young Kevin’s life, and my heart goes out to his family. I do think, however, that it might be time for the family and friends of Kevin Ward to move on. After all this time, closure might be for the best, and dwelling on the past, especially a past that cannot be undone, is probably more hurtful than helpful.