5 more opinions/thoughts of mine about 2010, and not all of them NASCAR...
- The outlook for the sport is hinged on what NASCAR does
Granted, the outlook with the economy going into 2010 is in much better shape than when the haulers were heading to Daytona for speedweeks, but NASCAR is at a point where it needs to turn things around. If NASCAR turns back on its promise to let the drivers police themselves more, or if there are a ton of poor races that NASCAR will spin as "great races, you were not looking in the right places", and still treat the fans as nothing more than "suckers willing to spend money on their product", 2011 and beyond could become very painful for the sport. If NASCAR does all the right things, has great races, and keeps on listening to fan concerns, then maybe there is a ray of hope, and the sport could very well be on the rebound. What NASCAR does this season could quite well indicate the direction of the sport, with as many unhappy fans as there is.
- Richard Childress Racing should improve.
There has always been that historical trend for RCR to have setbacks when they initially expand. When RCR went from the 3 car to the 3 and 31, Dale Earnhardt had one of his worst seasons in years (and it didn't help that he was still recovering from injuries the previous season, and Mike Skinner finished 30th in points (though it was his rookie year). The next season, there was some improvement, and by 1999, Earnhardt and Skinner were in the Top 10 in points. When RCR expanded to 3 cars in 2002, Kevin Harvick had a severe sophomore slump, and Robby Gordon and Jeff Green (not good drivers by any means) had, in RCR standards, sub-par seasons. By 2003, Robby Gordon was able to win multiple races, and Kevin Harvick showed remarkable improvement from his 2002 season. This past season, they expanded to a 4 car operation, and not once, did their cars visit victory lane, after having all 3 cars make The Chase in 2008. If history is any indicator, the team should be back to having good stats again.
- The Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year class is the poorest probably ever.
Unless Erik Darnell gets a ride for 2010, this years rookie class is probably the worst ever. This years class consists of a driver who is only in a car because he has a sponsor, and never has been able to put up stats in any of the lower series (Kevin Conway), and a driver who is probably on the downside of his career, in what looks like a Start and Park operation (Terry Cook). I am pretty good with my NASCAR history, but for the life of me, I can not think of a poorer rookie class ever. I do not think, however, this is an indicator of things to come, as there is plenty of good young talent that needs a season or two more in the Nationwide and Truck series, but one does have to wonder if the Cup drivers invading the Nationwide Series like they have been was a factor to this.
- Roush/Fenway Racing will improve, especially David Ragan.
Roush has resources. Roush has experience. What happened last season is just baffling. It did not help that Hendrick and Gibbs dominated at times in the season, but the slump the team had as a whole was just baffling. Seeing how "The Cat in the Hat" runs that team, there is no way Roush as a whole will have two bad years in a row. This is also a make or break season for David Ragan. Going into 2009, David Ragan was a favorite to make the chase, especially after the impressive 2008 season he had. What happened with Ragan was nothing short of jaw dropping, in a bad way. It is not as if the 6 car is on the bottom of the Roush totem pole either (that belonged to the 26), and its not as if David Ragan had anything going on that we knew of, or had any injuries. Even in his 19 Nationwide races, he finished in the Top 10 in all but 4 races (though in a way, it isn't saying much, since he is a Cup driver). If Ragan can not win a race, and is not in Chase contention, expect an open seat after the 2010 season is done.
- Formula One got its new points system right.
From what I seen (unless there is any changes), Formula One is going to a new points system, (25 for first, 18 for 2nd, then 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1). I like it. It rewards very well for wins. Yeah, now more drivers will be earning points, and the final point totals when F1 is all said and done with for 2010 will look much different than what we are used to, but anything that rewards more for wins, and with the structure of the top of the points, is a plus. NASCAR take notes.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.