Today’s Season Preview Topic: Will the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) debut at Bristol, be delayed, or completely disappear? When people look back on the 2007 season, what will they have to say about the CoT?
I watched on TV in March as Jeff Gordon shoved Matt Kenseth at Bristol. I saw last year at New Hampshire as Robby Gordon threw his helmet at Michael Waltrip’s car. I watched from row 5 at Bristol again when Ward Burton threw his heat shields at Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in the day. Any fan can recite a list of memorable heated exchanges, whether it is on the local dirt track or the greatest superspeedways. Emotion defines NASCAR; it’s a big part of why so many love the sport so much.
The NASCAR community suffered a second heartbreaking loss with the death of 65-year-old former champion and award-winning broadcaster Benny Parsons after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Parsons’ death early Tuesday comes just a little over a week of the news that veteran NASCAR driver and former Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton Sr. had succumbed to head and neck cancer.
Brett Bodine held a Q&A answer on the Car of Tomorrow at Daytona this week to appease the fans, and recent reports actually state that dozens of cars have been approved. Is this all positive PR spin, or a sign things are actually heading in the right direction?
Not much more than a year ago, the state of wellness at Richard Childress Racing (RCR) had become a legitimate concern. The Cup teams were languishing in points and its premier driver, Kevin Harvick, was rumored to be ready to flee the organization. Richard Childress, despite being a six-time owners’ champion, was a man who had seemed to have his best days behind him in as much as being a competitive NASCAR team owner was concerned.
When driver Paul Dana lost his life last weekend during IRL practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway, race fans not only took the time to remember Dana, but also other famous drivers who have lost their lives on the racetrack.
Former NASCAR Champion and television broadcaster, Benny Parsons, passed away today at the age of 65. On July 13, 2006, Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer, but in October, he announced that the doctors told him it was gone.
“Benny Parsons is not only the person I owe my NASCAR career to but he was a true friend to me from the day we met. I will always appreciate his friendship and what he did for me. Knowing he’s not going to be there to come up and ask me how things are going when I walk into the garage at Daytona is probably the hardest thing to accept.”
Sometimes thinking of a topic for this column is as hard as getting going in the morning without a jolt of caffeine. So as I watched the truck race last Saturday afternoon, I was cheering for Johnny Benson as he battled for his first Craftsman Truck Series victory. Not only because he is a good guy and became the 17th driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series, but because it would make a good Second Fiddle topic, much better than another Mark Martin win.
In the up-and-down world of professional racing, Chris Wimmer has seen both the highs and the lows. After riding the high and planning on participating in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test session at Daytona International Speedway January 12th – January 14th, the Wausau, Wis., native said that might not happen now.
Before I reflect on this past season and talk about the coming season, I want to say that racing very recently lost a true champion. While this has been one of the most exciting and happiest days of my racing career, I also have to say that it’s a sad day, too, because of Bobby Hamilton. We have lost a great competitor, a great champion, and my thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family. I’m still in shock about it.
Thoughts on the passing of Bobby Hamilton. What will you remember about him the most?