Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here

The last three years have seen three major retirements in the sport. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and now Dale Earnhardt Jr.

This leaves to question where our sport is going from here.

Of course there is no shortage of popular young talent, but is there enough to carry the fan base?

I think the best bet lies in the hands of Chase Elliot. The second generation driver has a lot of similarities to a young Earnhardt Jr. He's likeable, has talent, and has a big name father.

Sure his last name isn't Earnhardt, but I'm sure Elliott will do.

The driver needs to pick up his production if he wants the impact that Jr had. He's currently second in points, but is that enough?

NASCAR popularity is built on winning. Elliot, and quite frankly, NASCAR, needs the driver to find victory lane and soon.

If Elliot manages to win one or more this year just wait for his popularity to sky rocket even higher.

Until then, NASCAR will have to make the most of Jr's final season. Attendance will be up for the rest of the year as fans try to get their last chance at seeing him.

Next year attendance and TV will be down. A sport doesn't lose its most popular figure and not see a hit in ratings.

In the mean time, I'm looking at Elliot to take that responsibility. He has the name, the skill, and the sponsors. The questions is, can he get it done?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dale Jr Hanging It Up

2017 will be Dale Earnhardt Jr's last.

The 14 time most popular driver announced Tuesday that he will hang up his helmet at the end of the season.

Not a big surprise considering his previous year.

The big question is where the sport will go from here. With three huge names retiring in three straight seasons, the sport could be in trouble of losing some fans.

No matter the impact after he's gone, the impact Jr had while he was racing is unparalleled.

Jr was loved by many around the sport. He held fans after his father's death and shouldered the load of NASCAR for 18 seasons.

He will be missed.

Rain Rain Go Away

This weekend was the second Bristol race in a row to get moved back a day.

Considering how last season seemed to be a washout every weekend, this year has been relatively dry. It still sucks to have a Sunday race pushed back to a Monday.

It's really noticeable in the stands when there's more empty bleachers than fans. Especially when the racing was as good as it was Monday afternoon.

A big shout out to Bristol track officials for the way they've changed the racing surface. Besides for superspeedways, this may be the best two line track on the circuit now.

Even better, the track changed. Kyle Larson looked unbeatable for the first half of the race, but then the rubber came in

His car began to push and for the rest of the race there wasn't a clear cut favorite.

The track change allowed guys like Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, and Ricky Stenhouse to really make late charges and turn their days into a good finish.

But in the end the best came out on top. Jimmie Johnson showed why he had 82 career wins. He just doesn't go away.

The seven time champ proved his worth yet again.

Bristol you didn't disappoint. Don't ever change.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Asphalt Is Terrible

Jimmie Johnson took home his first checkered flag of the season at Texas Motor Speedway. It was only a matter time before the 48 team would break through.

The biggest story from Texas would definitely be the repave. The speedway laid down new asphalt as well as reconfigured the profile of the mile and a half speedway.

The new surface proved to be a challenge for the drivers all weekend. Fridays practices were spent putting rubber down to try and make the surface able to handle multiple groves.

Saturday's Xfinity race was single file, follow the leader race that did not see the high line come in. The speedway then took all night Saturday to use the Texas Tire Monster and attempt to get the track more rubbered in.

A lot of drivers gave credit to the track for trying. The fact of the matter is that repaves suck. It takes time to get these things to work right. There's no tire fall off and the surface is far too slick for anyone to try and run outside.

It's disappointing that the next few years at this place will be relatively boring but it's the nature of the beast. Texas did not have a choice to keep their old surface, it was too much of a liability with rain.

The two different corner layouts have potential for awesome racing. I even noticed some drivers, particularly Dale Jr., trying out a line a little higher than the bottom late in the race.

The race played out about as expected. The man that has owned Texas ended up in victory lane. Johnson owns seven cowboy hats with several coming in the November race. Typical Chad Knaus, if a track is in the chase, the 48 team will learn to own it.

Toyota seemed to struggle again. The new bodies must be giving these guys trouble. The new nose design is playing with downforce and it's clear more work is needed for these guys to snag more wins at aero tracks.

The biggest story of 2017 outside of Kyle Larson, who would've won if he could've gotten by Logano a few laps sooner, is the resurgence of Ford. Penske has been dominant week in and week out. Blaney had the best car all day Sunday. SHR is competitive. If they can find a way to get rid of Danica, the would have 4 top 10 cars every week. Clint Bowyer is back to his old ways. He was around the top 5 all day Sunday and has been all season.

Long story short, despite the repave Johnson still owns Texas. Repaves still suck. Ford is still dominant.

Hopefully November brings a better race.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Larson Finally Breaks Through

Kyle Larson finally took home the checkered flag.

His start to the 2017 season has been remarkable. He came close to grabbing the Daytona 500 and has only followed that up with three 2nd place finishes and a victory. 

The Chip Ganassi stable seems to have things pretty figured out this season. Larson's teammate Jamie McMurray is performing consistently in the top 10. It seems the team is benefitting the most from the Stewart-Haas switch to Ford. 

The extra help from Chevy and the lowest downforce these drivers have dealt with since the Car of Tomorrow debuted, has played right into Larson's pocket. The former dirt ringer likes his cars sliding around the track a paper widths from the wall. 

There was never any doubt that Larson had talent. It became apparent in his second ever start in the Xfinity series when he took Kyle Busch to the line at Bristol. His two year and change career in the Cup series has been somewhat up and down. The team admitted they found something during their test at Pocono last summer. Since that test, Larson has been wheeling. 

His win last summer at Michigan seemed to take the monkey off of his back. If it hadn't been for some bad luck, untimely cautions, and some unwanted incidents, Larson would have much more than two career victories. 

This guy is going to take this season by storm. He has the car beneath him to match his driving skill. His combination of speed and aggressiveness is unique. Look out NASCAR, your newest star was born Sunday. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Far I've Come

Blogging Ain't Easy

These days blogging takes effort. Especially when your blog focuses on covering a sport that requires weekly updates. With so many blogs available today, the best ones get their ideas out quickly. It's also important to be entertaining. Grabbing the readers attention and keeping may be the most important part of this whole thing. Starting with a headline that captures them from the beginning, you have to be mindful of the reader the entire post. Blogging is also a growing world. It grows daily and almost everyone thinks they can write one. That makes it even more important to stick out.

Change is Good

In the beginning of my blog I felt it was going to be a simple news blog. Just simple updates from the world of racing. Instead, it evolved into much more of an opinion oriented blog. I enjoy throwing my opinion out there with updates of the sport. The best posts I've written are heavy in opinion. Although I still do some reporting, opinion has turned into my bread and butter.

Blogging and Me

Blogging is very important to my major. I am pro media and am focusing on sports writing and opinion. This blog helps me practice my writing for publishing. It also helps me with getting recognition covering this sport. For future employers it allows to see an archive of written pieces about racing. It may not have an affect on my career a long way down the road, but in those early job hunts it could play a huge part.

An Everyday Fan

Blogging for a sport I love has changed me. It's made me focus more on the daily news of racing. It's taken me from a Sunday only fan, to an everyday fan. I have to pay attention to every little detail of the sport. I can't miss an opportunity to post something, especially something newsworthy. I've begun paying attention to various racing leagues, as well. Although this blog focuses NASCAR, the entire racing world is entwined and this blog has helped me realize that.

Playing For Keeps

The most important lesson to me has to be how this can affect my career. This has given a platform to post in the genre I would most like to work in. Knowing that others have been hired because of their blogs has made me focus on making sure my work is professional. I make sure all of my posts are something that I would want perspective employers to look at. I think that is what has stood out to me the most. Also, the grammar lessons aren't half bad.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blogging in Racing

            In the world of racing journalism, blogging has long played an important role. Arguably, more of a role than any other sport. The website began in the early days of blogging. They have broken many stories that beat other racing publications, even those bigger media outlets.
            Recently, more and more racing journalists have begun switching to their own media coverage on their blogs. Jeff Gluck has had a long career covering NASCAR for many different major publications. This year he decided to leave his post at the U.S.A Today and focus all of his coverage on his blog. The flexibility and time around his family were the reasons for his switch.
            More coverage is another advantage of this trend. The sport is so vast and there are so many levels, the big publications tend to ignore the lower series. With the blogging world becoming bigger in racing, all of the series get covered. It makes it easier to hear about and know the upcoming drivers who will become the future stars of the sport. Blogging is one of the greatest things in the coverage of racing.

            Blogging is important to the racing world and is vital to the coverage of the sport. This trend is not surprising as it has been around since the beginning of the internet. With the internet, racing coverage has become more in depth and has never been better than it is right now. That is all thanks to blogging.