The blitz is about to begin.
The 2014 NASCAR Media Tour takes place next week, though there really is no tour. Everything will take place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. News leading into the week always tends to be positive, hence no need to talk about people who lose or draw. Still, there are different degrees of winners from the week, enough to merit the following countdown.
Winner #3: Michael Waltrip Racing
The Ty Norris suspension ended Thursday. Norris, who was general manager at MWR, received an indefinite suspension for Richmondgate. ESPN documented the massive Waltrip penalties, including a 15 percent reduction of the MWR workforce and loss of NAPA as a primary sponsor.
This penalty will sting for years to come. The whole team will have to answer questions next week and again at Daytona. But the final punishment has finally been served. A page can be turned. A company has a chance to rebuild. That’s a big win for a team in need of one.
Winner #2: Kurt Busch
Busch has a chance to win the Sprint Cup in 2014. He also has a chance to run in the Indianapolis 500 according to ESPN. Busch went from almost out of the sport to having a chance to make history in less than 18 months. Both events also give Busch a chance to answer other questions than the “How is everyone going to get along at SHR in 2014…” that he can expect next week.
Winner #1: NASCAR
They better win leading into this week. While many can be critical of new qualifying or points systems, NASCAR’s biggest win is on the sponsorship front.
It’s not just the big names. Seeing Richard Petty Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports, BK Racing and other teams retain or find new sponsors is essential for the sport’s growth. It also validates the new point systems that give the little guys a bigger shot at making the Chase.
The 2014 Sprint Cup season hasn’t even started yet, and one can already argue NASCAR’s new changes are paying dividends. That’s the kind of news this sport needs as it moves into a critical year in the sport’s future.