Saturday, March 16, 2013

Has NASCAR come full circle?


   Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, never shy on tackling difficult topics, provided an interesting look back on NASCAR history as it pertains to driver criticism, particularly in light of the recent fine of driver Denny Hamlin for making what NASCAR called "disparaging remarks" about the performance of the new Cup series car.

    Told it was interesting he and Hamlin - who have had dust-ups on the track in the past - appear to finally be on the somewhat of the same page, Keselowski offered this introspective:

   “It’s funny how things go full circle, and maybe that’s where this sport is at. I like to look back at the history of this sport. It’s not talked about much, but the 1980s were really tough on this sport, and there are a lot of interesting parallels between that era and where we’re at right now. Hopefully, it’s a cycle – the late 70s to early 80s – and hopefully it will cycle back around for this sport with interesting stories to tell and better and better competition. I was talking to Darrell Waltrip for a while about when they first came out with the short wheelbase car in 1981. A lot of people don’t talk about it, but there were short fields and there were tough times. You look at a track like Pocono and a lot has been made about how it has two events, but a lot of that is out of appreciation NASCAR has for them taking two races when they couldn’t get tracks to take races. I think that shows you how hard of a time it was for them in the 80s and maybe that’s where we’re at now – maybe it’s gonna cycle back around and in 10 years it will be like 1992 all over again and we won’t be able to miss the dart board. I hope so.

    "It’s difficult because we’re looking at other things, and I think the measuring stick we put ourselves up against, whether it’s right or not, is the NFL. But if you look at some of the other major sports, they’re struggling too. You look at the NHL and the issues they had with the lockout. You look at MLB and if you go to one of their games, there’s nobody there. And then I’ve gone to several NBA games this year where attendance has been dismal. Maybe we should be comparing our sport to them, instead of the NFL. I don’t know, but I think things are probably not as bad as they seem, and they’re probably not as good as some people would like to make them out to be. It’s probably somewhere in-between.”

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