The offseason certainly did not provide any off time for several members of the ARCA circuit, as many of the drivers changed teams, and teams themselves changed names. Perhaps the most notable Silly Season move involved Frank Kimmel, who will no longer pilot Larry Clement’s familiar No. 46 Ford — the team which Kimmel won nine ARCA championships with. Instead, the veteran has partnered with Cunningham Motorsports to form Kimmel Racing, and will now drive the No. 44 Dodge Charger. Taking Kimmel’s place in the vaunted No. 46 is rookie Matt Carter, son of long-time Sprint Cup crew chief Travis Carter.
With CoT testing on the intermediate tracks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and California Speedway complete, the Toyotas looked strong, while the Hendrick juggernaut appeared to be struggling with setups. How does this change preseason expectations for these teams — as well as their competitors?
There were no dramatic changes in the point system for the Championship Chase format, nor was there much relief for teams outside the Top 35 that are disadvantaged in qualifying for races. It seems that the rules committee did not deem it necessary to look at further tightening the championship provisional rules, or curbing the increasingly commonplace practice of “team orders” being given to manipulate the final race results. These issues, among others which surfaced during the 2007 race season, seemed in need of more than a passing glance. That’s not to say that the powers that be sat idle in the offseason; however, they seem to have fallen short on some of the rule changes they did make.
10. “We certainly are proud we’ve been able to attract new fans virtually every year NASCAR has been in existence. But we’re also proud of those fans who have been with us for many decades.”
Today’s Season Preview Topic: After a year of declining TV ratings and empty seats in the stands, NASCAR is going to work hard this season to win back the fans. What’s the most important thing they need to do in order to stop the bleeding?
Speedweeks at Daytona starts up this week, which can only mean one thing – a new NASCAR season is finally upon us after some much-needed time off. The 2008 season will once again feature a talented group of rookies who look to hit the pavement for their first full (or almost full) season of competition; and as was the case in 2007, I’ll once again be providing you with an in depth analysis of each driver as they go through the motions of their respective freshman years through the weekly version of Frontstretch’s Rookie Report. Together, we’ll chronicle the ups and down of each driver’s success – or failure – as they adjust to life in the Cup Series.
The 50th Daytona 500. It’s an upcoming milestone for everyone — teams and fans alike — but I’m going to go out on a limb and say some are so busy preparing for the first five races of the year that this 50th anniversary thing is a little detail that may be lost to them. Instead, many are focused on making the magical 35th position in points: owner points, that is. For the new fans out there, owner points are what individual teams get from their respective driver’s performance. When NASCAR talks about granting qualifying exemptions for the Top-35 teams, that means the car and not the driver makes the differentiation. For example, 2007 Chase Cinderella Clint Bowyer would be forced to qualify on speed for the last race at Homestead if he attempted to move from the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet — a car he helped maneuver to third in the owner standings — to the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota that never earned an exemption all season long.
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Which driver is going to be the biggest surprise in the Chase this season?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: As always, 2008 will be a year when several driver contracts are on the verge of expiring. So, which driver starts the season on the “hottest seat,” and why?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: After the success of Juan Pablo Montoya last season, the floodgates opened for a number of open-wheel stars to transition into the NASCAR ranks. But after a win and a top-25 points finish for Montoya in his rookie season, can any open-wheeler in the rookie class of 2008 duplicate that success – especially considering most of them have even less preparation time and stock car experience under their belts?