The top-ten in Sunday’s Cup race was a diverse group. The drivers came from nine different teams, three different countries, all four manufacturers, and they ranged in age from 27 to 40. And your winner? Well, he was doing backflips.
On Saturday, it was an old face in victory lane and a history making moment by a new face (at least in NASCAR) just a few spots back. There was even a fight in the garage on Friday night – too bad there weren’t any photos.
Add to those moments 20-year-old Trevor Bayne winning the Great American race for the sport’s oldest team, and fan favorite Jeff Gordon ending a 66-race winless streak and you have three weeks of fantastic storylines.
NASCAR President Mike Helton agrees saying:
NASCAR has a lot of positive momentum right now. That undoubtedly has played some part in the big TV ratings bump (up double digits in each of the last three weeks) and sellout crowds. And with the backdrop of the “Millionaires vs. Billionaires” fight in the NFL and lockout fears in the NBA, NASCAR’s looking pretty good right now.
The fact is, the product is as good as it’s ever been. Races are close, the competition is close and the personalities have made it all pretty entertaining. And wouldn’t you know it, good storylines and good numbers all mean a more positive atmosphere throughout the sport. People are feeling good about the 2011 season.
Even with all the positive feelings there is a bit of apprehension given what everyone has been through for the last several seasons. After all, we’re just three positive weeks in to years of tough times.
Not helping matters though is this off week for the Cup and Nationwide Series. Fox isn’t happy about it – and you better believe with this momentum NASCAR isn’t too thrilled with it either.
Still, while the season is young and I’ll admit it’s a little early to be calling a turn around, I’m cautiously optimistic – what we’ve seen so far is a very good place to start.