For the first time in a very long time — longer than I’ve been around, anyway — NASCAR will not hold a “State of the Sport” news conference during this year’s NASCAR Media Tour.
In the past, those events have been when NASCAR unveils major changes or makes important announcements about the season.
This year, there is nothing scheduled. And in all honesty, it probably wasn’t necessary — because there’s nothing to announce.
“We feel like we’re coming off a really great year of competition on the track,” NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell said Monday at a Charlotte Motor Speedway event. “Certainly, you always want to see improvements. But we’re going to head into 2018 confident that we’re going to continue to put on great racing. One of the things our fans have asked for is not too much change, and we’re listening to that and ready to go for ’18.”
O’Donnell said even the one big significant change that had been discussed last year — the potential to not count caution laps during stage breaks — won’t end up being implemented. There was an industry meeting last week, he said, and the consensus was “we were really comfortable with how things played out last year, so we’re going to continue on.”
“We’ll certainly try to speed it up a little bit in between (stages), but it’ll be the same process,” he said.
Other than that? Changes like a spec pit gun, the reduction in pit crew size, the Hawkeye inspection system and potentially more two-day shows have already been announced.
And NASCAR is feeling good about its positioning heading into the year, despite the departure of even more stars like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Danica Patrick.
“The mood is really positive,” O’Donnell said. “(There are) a number of changes with drivers, a lot of younger drivers coming through the system. From our perspective, it’s a new NASCAR. We’ve got a lot of new, fresh faces who really want to reach out to the fans and get going with the season, which is refreshing.
“Then when you look at some of our veterans we may have lost, they’re still connected to the sport. Dale Jr. is still connected, which is a great thing. And when you look at the crop of veteran drivers we have, I feel like (they) are really vested in the sport and want to work with those young drivers to say, ‘Let’s go in 2018 and let’s make this a big year.'”
No news conference needed, apparently; that’s the state of NASCAR heading into this new year.
NASCAR Media Tour news conference highlights in the Brian France Era:
2017: Stage racing format is announced, along with playoff points.
2016: Playoff format comes to Xfinity and Trucks; caution clock arrives in Trucks.
2015: Pit road officiating system with high-tech cameras unveiled.
2014: Elimination-style playoff format announced, along with expansion to 16 drivers.
2011: Points system changes to one point for each position; wild cards added to Chase.
2010: “Boys, have at it” policy announced.
2007: Chase expands to 12 drivers and bonus points are added for a win.
2004: The original Chase format is revealed.
5 Replies to “NASCAR Media Tour Day 1: No news is good news”
How many more days until the Daytona 500?
Oh now that they’ve loaded the sport with nonsense, now they’re going to take the advice of fans to not make changes , so their stuff is locked in now. Great.
…would YOU hold a “state of the sport” news conference if YOUR “state” was not that good?
I mean the REALITY is that this sport is in a FREEFALL in attendance, TV ratings and social significance. In example: I can’t remember the last time I saw ANY coverage of the sport in my local TV news-AND I LIVE 80 MILES SOUTH OF Daytona….
Here is another aberration: Its less than a month til the Daytona 500, yet there are PLENTY of GREAT tickets still available! This after the number of seats were cut down to about 101,000.
I remember when this race was sold out a year in advance. The best you could do if you did not have tickets to the 500 is MAYBE get to see the Twin 125’s or the Bud Shootout…..
Now, it as easy to buy Daytona 500 tickets as it is to go to a local movie…
…and don’t get me started about other evidence of NASCAR’s downfall such as attendance at the Brickyard 400, or the fact that Monster Energy has STILL not exercised its sponsor option, or the fact that Dale Jr is gone, or on and on about several other issues that are elephants in NASCAR’s room….
No! The fact that there will be no (sad) “state of the sport” address during the ‘media tour’ is not at all ‘good news’, but rather reflective of what is really going on with how ruinous my formerly favorite sport has become…..
…too bad the Camaro came back when I decided NOT to fork out the hundreds of $$ it took to renew my seats…..I would have loved to see it race LIVE….
I guess I will have to suffer through occasionally watching the sport on my big screen TV for FREE…..
NASCAR R.I.P 1948-2017
PS: Its not that I do not believe that the sport can’t be “resurrected”-Its just that I believe that NASCAR’s current leadership is SOOOOO OUT OF TOUCH with the fans that made this sport so great in the past, that it truly might take its complete and utter failure to see “the light” of possibly actually DOING whats needed to bring this sport back into its former prominence….
The only reason no news is good news is because it means NASCAR’s leadership won’t be making another goofy change that undermines the competition in favor of a hokey gimmick.
“NO CHANGES” ???….Guess not they’ve done enough to the sport….What’s left ???
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