After suffering through many weekends of less than compelling racing, NASCAR has produced arguably the best three races in the last four weekends in an awfully long time. Has NASCAR turned the corner? A quick look at the last four Monster Energy Cup Series race and the answer to that question would be a huge YES.
NASCAR is Finally on a Roll
Too often in the last decade of NASCAR Racing, fans have walked away from the track or their TV screens and felt somewhat cheated. At least from the entertainment aspect. Fans reach deep into their wallets these days to attend races. For many, those dollars left after paying bills, food, and such, are precious. Those expendable dollars can be spent on other entertainment venues. NASCAR has found itself in a race to attract those dollars. That’s been pretty obvious by the fans who now attend races dressed as empty seats.
Fans have been waiting a long time for NASCAR’s slump to end. After hitching its wagon to Star Power, NASCAR finds itself without a Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. Today’s NASCAR is more about the on the track product. From my vantage point the grade secured is a solid “A”.
A Rundown of the Races
Let’s start with the race back at Chicagoland Speedway. Often those last several laps can leave a fan with a lasting memory. We’ll all remember that bump from behind on that last lap by Kyle Busch which sent Kyle Larson spinning.
The teams than loaded their cars on their haulers and headed south to Daytona International Speedway which produced a brand new winner. Eric Jones, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, won for the first time in the Monster Energy Cup Series. With only 20 of the 40 cars which started the Pepsi400 taking the checkered flag, Jones hung on to win the race in its second overtime.
After watching Martin Truex Jr. steal the show at Kentucky, the Series moved North for its only visit at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Remember New Hampshire? That’s the track that lost its second race this season, mainly due to poor attendance and poor racing product. That second race was moved to Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Speedway Motorsports Inc. who own both tracks. I wonder if they are now having second thoughts after watching Sunday’s race.
For years we’ve waited for New Hampshire which often acts confused between being a small track or a high-speed track. Sunday it was both as Kevin Harvick, he of his now 6th season wins, bumped current point leader, Kyle Busch, late in the race. After multiple lead changes by multiple drivers, in the end, it came down to the best three drivers this season. Harvick and Busch finished just ahead of 4th place finisher, Martin Truex Jr. The cream once again rose to the top but that’s a totally different story.
What do the NASCAR fans think?
Jeff Gluck of Jeffgluck.com runs a post-race poll asking fans “Was it a good race?” Mind you Jeff’s followers are often fans who are not shy to provide their opinions and who for the most part have not been favourable about NASCAR for the last few seasons. Here’s what they had to say.
Chicago sits atop the poll at 92% yes it was a good race, with New Hampshire sitting in 4th place with 83%. The Pepsi400 race ran at Daytona comes in at 5th with 76% saying yes it was a good race.
I once worked with a person who liked to say, liars never figure and figures never lie. Gluck’s poll is dead on. As racing fans, we should all be happy about the direction NASCAR appears headed.
Thanks for reading. Listen to WTBQ Radio on Monday and Friday mornings at 8:45 as I join the gang on The Frank Truatt Morning Show discussing the world of NASCAR. Tune in to 1110AM, 93.5FM or streamed worldwide at wtbq.com. You can also follow me on twitter @Jimlaplante.