By admin | February 6, 2011
By Richard Allen
The Green Bay Packers have won the Daytona 500 of football(I get tired of hearing it said the other way around). The NFL certainly must have enjoyed the fact that things worked out quite well for them having two of their more storied franchises and popular teams playing in their biggest game.
In the coming year, NASCAR certainly needs more than ever for some things to go their way. Going into this season there are a number of potential storylines that could determine just how successful this season will be for the somewhat embattled sanctioning body.
First and foremost, this could well be the most important SpeedWeeks in the history of the sport. With grandstand attendance and television ratings having been on the decline for sometime in NASCAR, the sport needs a good showing from its premiere event. With the track having been newly resurfaced, there is every reason to believe conditions are in place to deliver just that.
According to reports during the Sprint Media Tour, International Speedway Corporation, owners of the Daytona International Speedway, had seen a slight increase in ticket sales for the Daytona 500 up to that point, perhaps in anticipation of a great race on the track’s new surface. However, at the same time ISC reported that ticket sales for their other facilities were down.
A competitive, exciting Daytona 500 with lap after lap of two and three wide racing capped by a thrilling finish could set the stage for the sport to at least hold the line on its recent decline if not even start a turnaround.
The new asphalt in place, which has created a smooth track surface with plenty of grip, there is little reason not to have an exciting race. With each car fitted with a restrictor plate and with all cars able to handle there should be plenty of passing and side by side racing. And more, there should not be any delays to repair potholes in 2011.
With the Super Bowl just completed, another important factor to consider going into this NASCAR season is that there might not be as much competition for television ratings later this season. Should the NFL owners proceed with the planned lockout of the players, racing could find itself as the only option once the Chase for the Championship gets underway. However, there has to be an audience in place to take advantage should said lockout actually occur. If no one has been watching prior to September it is unlikely they will start just because the NFL’s players and owners are not getting along.
Whether or not NASCAR has a successful year in 2011 begins in Daytona over the next two weeks. I do not believe it is an overstatement to declare this the most important SpeedWeeks in the sport’s history since the very first one.
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