Contrary to what seems like popular belief, NASCAR did not die on February 18th, 2001.
It merely tried to evolve.
The introduction of the three-point line changed the way basketball was scored, but in actuality, the game never changed because the ball still goes into the hoop. Fundamentally, NASCAR never changed because going faster than the other drivers is still the primary goal.
I don’t know of any other sport that has taken the inputs of their fans to heart and tried to give them exactly what they wanted. Fans wanted the races to end on a green flag, so NASCAR introduced the green-white-checkered finish. Fans wanted the races to be more exciting, so NASCAR introduced stage racing. (I’m a huge fan of stage racing by the way) And, I don’t recall too many debris cautions after the introduction of the crash clock. Yeah, remember those inconveniences?
But yet, we continue to complain. Why?…
Because you’ve failed to take off the filter titled “good ole’ days.” I don’t know how to tell y’all this but those days are over. The data teams have learned about aerodynamics, engine tuning, and chassis building can not be unlearned. The word stock is now just a moniker to describe the class of cars but not the cars themselves.
I hardly remember watching Dale Earnhardt race, but I do remember Tony Stewart battling Carl Edwards in an epic championship bout. I remember the impact Mark Martin had on the sport after winning for Hendrick Motorsports at Phoenix after turning 50. I can’t wait for my son to ask me about how amazing Jimmie Johnson was when he won 5 championships in a row.
Here’s the thing, I have my fond memories about NASCAR, but what makes your memories better than mine? And to those who keep bashing and degrading NASCAR, don’t you understand that you are the ones that may be depriving young potential fans of ever falling in love with NASCAR? Imagine children never creating their own NASCAR memories because they see your nasty (and that’s being nice) comments and think to themselves, “why bother watching this?”
I’ll tell you why kid because Kyle Busch is worth seeing. Watching Toyota emerge as a serious contending manufacture within this sport is worth seeing. Martinsville, Darlington, and Bristol are worth seeing. The younger generation of drivers, like Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell, are filled with talent and are worth seeing despite what your elders say.
How about that for a get off my lawn speech?
I urge everyone who continues to see NASCAR through the filter of the “good ole’ days” or claim that NASCAR died with Earnhardt to give NASCAR a fresh start. Drivers are looking for fans, and I bet they’d be more than happy to have you root for them. I’m more than willing to offer some suggestions.
Like other sports, drivers don’t race forever. Sports change (unless you’re stubborn like baseball) and they try to adapt with the times. The times have changed, and NASCAR is trying to produce the best product possible. Give them a chance, will you? I think you could be presently surprised.