It’s that time of year where you feel an obligation to write down a few things that you are going to try and accomplish during the New Year.
Weight loss and exercise are rumored to be required in some states as everyone’s first two resolutions. I figured out years ago the best way to list any resolution is with a pencil as it does afford you the flexibility to adjust or in some cases completely erase any resolution that you may have made during a time of high stress. This year I am not going to try and fool myself about the weight loss and exercise. Instead I am going to concentrate on a few things that I wish would take place in the upcoming NASCAR Monster Cup Series season.
My first resolution for the sport would be that the officiating would be more consistent. It seems that NASCAR made calls for infractions such as passing while on pit road during crucial times as the season was winding down, but seemed to look the other way earlier in the season while the same thing was taking place.
Since we are talking about how a race is governed, wouldn’t it be nice to see NASCAR make use of all of the cameras used at the track to broadcast a race? There is no reason why someone in a booth could not look at a replay of a wreck or an illegal pass below the yellow line and make a ruling quickly without having to keep the race under caution while things get sorted out.
Whether you are a Dale Jr. fan or not, you have to admit that the sport does suffer when he does not take the green flag on race day. He is the face of the sport so the hope here is that the Hendrick Motorsports driver has a healthy year without any more problems related to concussions.
Ford needs to have a larger and more successful footprint in the sport and I would like to see the addition of Stewart-Haas Racing’s four-team operation produce some wins for the Blue Oval gang as well as put a few more drivers in the Chase at season’s end. Penske Racing was the flag bearer for Ford in 2016 as both of its drivers made the Chase but had to race against a field stacked with Toyotas and Chevrolets.
Martinsville will never be mistaken for one of the newer tracks with all of the fan amenities, but it does produce exciting short track racing that can’t be seen at the sister short tracks of Bristol and Richmond. Since the track is installing lights, NASCAR needs to put one of the track’s two races under the lights on a Saturday night. That could be the ultimate throwback weekend as it could conjure up memories when the sport used to race on the old bull rings of the South on Saturday night.
Richard Petty has been fielding two teams in the sport but will only field one car with driver Aric Almirola this season as he continues to struggle when it comes to attracting sponsorship dollars. Petty may have as many endorsements as anybody in the sport, but finding a sponsor to put up some big bucks so he can once again become competitive with his famous #43 Petty blue Ford has been hard to come by. There would be no more welcomed sight in the sport than King Richard celebrating a win in victory lane with his trademark hat and sunglasses along with that famous Petty smile.
NASCAR controls every aspect of the sport, but the one thing it has no control over that really played havoc with the sport in recent years is the weather. There is nothing worse than sitting in the stands (or standing under it) waiting for the rain to stop or for the track to be dried. Over the course of a 36-race schedule there is going to be some bad weather, but keeping the fans and those watching at home informed on the time table that track officials are working with would go a long way in salvaging what often times becomes a lost race weekend for the fan.