By admin | January 18, 2011
By Richard Allen
Anyone who even remotely keeps up with NASCAR knows that the racing series conducts the longest season of any of the big time professional sports. The Sprint Cup schedule consists of 36 points paying races and two exhibition events which consume ten months of the yearly calendar.
What many may fail to take into account is that a long season equates to a very short off season.
From the ending of the final race of the year in Homestead to the first race of the next season in Daytona Beach there is a space of only twelve weeks to prepare for not only the biggest race on the NASCAR schedule but for the entire season. In that time new cars have to built as well as older ones reconditioned, new engines built, paint schemes laid out, sponsors signed, haulers readied, crew members replaced and the list goes on.
Add to all of those tasks, there are often adjustments to be made because of rule changes, changes in tires and improvements in technology.
After an exhausting season many might think NASCAR shops shut down and crew members and other employees go on vacation. That is hardly the case. Certainly, employees get vacation time but not an entire garage at once. A visit to any of the team facilities around the Charlotte area during the off season will reveal crew members hard at work building cars, practicing pit stops and tending to all other facets of racing.
It is during this short off season that teams can make the greatest strides toward improvement. Richard Childress Racing demonstrated that clearly during 2010. In the previous season that organization failed to win a race or place a single driver in the Chase for the Championship.
After making significant improvements during the off season between ‘09 and ‘10, RCR stormed back to claim five Sprint Cup wins and place all three of their drivers in the Chase. Clearly, they used the previous off season wisely.
The bottom line for NASCAR teams is that there is much to be done and only a short time to get it done. What team will it be that makes the most effective use of their short off season leading into 2011?
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