It was a tale of two cities, two countries, and two completely different races. But those two checkered flags converged into one defining story, leaving fans both delighted and disappointed by the future of diversity in a sport that’s lacked it for far too long. The events were held outside the country, on opposite ends of the world; but considering the morals of the topic at hand, it’s ironic they were held so far apart.
Q: Glad to see that the drivers are speaking up about the Carl Edwards infraction. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler and others were vocal in their opinions that Jack Roush and Edwards were not being forthright concerning their knowledge of intent about the oil box lid. Maybe NASCAR telling the guys that they could show more personality is actually working. In the past, drivers merely gave canned answers so as not to rock the boat. This infraction has brought about a much more decisive reaction and pointed comments out of some.
Did You Notice? That back in July, one of the things new owner George Gillett repeatedly emphasized for his new Dodge teams was a need to expand from three to four cars. That, more than anything else, appears to play into this move to “partner” with Robby Gordon’s No. 7 over at GEM. Trust me, Petty Enterprises was not the only team Gillett pursued in a merger over the past six to eight months; I’ve been told of at least one other car owner who was on the table but never publicly mentioned in the fall. By the end of the season, though, it was all Petty, all the time – and even after the public denial of a Gillett merger by the Pettys late in November, Gillett’s expansion dream never died. He just started looking elsewhere, and a deal appeared to fall into his lap when Gordon lost $4.5 million following the cancellation of the Dakar Rally a few weeks back.
Growth is the primary goal for any American enterprise, and NASCAR is the epitome of an American business. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that, when you look at this year’s TV ratings, NASCAR’s popularity has not grown one bit. If anything, it’s actually declined. Ratings are down in all but two races this season, and it appears fans are looking for some new energy to rejeuvenate their interest in the sport.