By admin | March 2, 2011
By Richard Allen
NASCAR could have hardly scripted a better start to the 2011 season if they had tried(and remember, they have been accused of such things recently). At just about every turn there has been a wave of good feelings for the racing organization.
In Daytona, the track’s new pavement made for fast speeds and an unusual form of racing that created more lead changes and caution flags than the ‘Great American Race’ had ever seen before. The grandstands had plenty of people in them and television ratings were up over last year’s pothole delayed event.
And perhaps best of all, the Daytona 500 was won by a fresh face who went on to become an instant hit with fans. Trevor Bayne also proved to be a media darling which generated an excess of positive vibes from entertainment type talk shows. For an entire week as the Knoxville native made his way around the country, NASCAR was able to bask in the glow of a warm and well intentioned spotlight.
While a young and energetic winner in Daytona offered the opportunity for NASCAR to receive exposure from previously untapped areas, the race in Phoenix gave long standing NASCAR followers something to cling to. Jeff Gordon ended a 66 race winless streak when he and new crew chief Alan Gustafson claimed victory in the Arizona desert.
In what seemed a bit strange to those who may have remembered Gordon as NASCAR’s top villain a decade ago, he was resoundingly cheered as he wheeled into victory lane this past Sunday. Somewhere along the way, Gordon victories have gone from being scorned happenings by racing fans to feel good stories. Perhaps a long winless streak and the emergence of another driver who seems to win all too often can do that for a soon to be 40 year old driver.
The grandstands in Phoenix were also free of the vast open spots so frequently seen last year on the NASCAR circuit. And for a second week in a row, television ratings were higher than when compared to last year when the second race was held at the much maligned Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Now, going into the coming weekend’s race in Las Vegas, the Sprint Cup Series is being led by brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch. The Busch boys are from Las Vegas which will again offer the opportunity for feel good stories leading into the Kobalt Tools 400.
As far as NASCAR is concerned about the only thing they need beyond what has already happened would be a win by popular Dale Earnhardt, Jr. But otherwise, sanctioning body has to feel good about all the feel good stories so far.
But what is it that could spoil NASCAR’s good start? http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1380
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