Black Friday: Win Lose or Draw

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Waiting five hours to save 24 dollars on a TV set to watch next year’s Sprint Cup has never felt so fulfilling.

Now that the gifts have been purchased, trees set, candles lit and other traditions taken care of, it’s time to look at what has happened off the track that impacts how you might watch the 2014 Sprint Cup, other than watching it in on my new television.

Win: NASCAR

If there’s anything you read other than this column, please review the Jayski statistical review of the 2013 Sprint Cup season. There is a ton of data, but three highlights are intriguing:

  • Five drivers won in 2013 who didn’t win in 2012.
  • There were 127,036 green flag passes, which is more than 17,000 more that last year. That’s more than a 10% increase from last year.
  • The average margin of victory was the lowest since 2005.

Drivers, fans and writers can say anything. This data shows the Gen-6 car paying dividends.

Lose: Tony Stewart

Is Tony Stewart going to run the Daytona 500? This seems like a crazy question to ask. But read the first line of the NASCAR story on Stewart’s recovery.

      “Tony Stewart swears the pain in his right leg feels as if someone is having is hammering in a 100 carpenter nails.” 

Great writing. Stewart is tough as nails. But there’s a difference between getting hurt, being injured and having a physical ailment get in your head. This is the biggest challenge of Stewart’s career, and this is a guy who ditched Joe Gibbs Racing to start his own team.  Let’s hope he overcomes this.

Draw: Talladega

The legendary track is cutting seating capacity from 147,000 to 108,000 to 80,000. The bad news is if you could sell 147,000 seats, you would never cut seating capacity.

The good news is the way we watch racing has changed. Smaller crowds mean fans who need to be there. Plus the digital racing experience is where NASCAR has a competitive advantage over most major sports.

Fans have to think differently about how to evaluate success. Fans also need to hope that means successful drivers have a chance to continue the adventure in 2014. I do want to get the most out of that new TV.