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?