Tha Sports Junkies 101

NASCAR has Built Positive Momentum in 2017

The winners this season are just one way NASCAR has built positive momentum in 2017


If you follow a lot of NASCAR personalities on Twitter, it would be easy to think that the sport is in trouble. However, NASCAR has built positive momentum in 2017.

Stage Racing is a Success

One of the biggest ways NASCAR has built positive momentum is with their new format. Despite the outcry when the new stage format was announced, it has been largely successful so far. The stages have certainly created more stories in the early going, and the natural breaks are excellent for both the TV viewer and the fan in the stands to make sure they’re not missing too much action. It seems as though NASCAR has a hit on its hands for the first time since 2004. The only tweak this format may benefit from is to stop counting caution laps between segments, but that is a small request compared to the scale of what NASCAR has accomplished otherwise.

The Young Guns

Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here. Ryan Blaney nearly won the Daytona 500, and has been a major player in the top-10 each week since. Kyle Larson ran out of gas while leading the 500 at the white flag and has finished 2nd or 1st in every race since. Chase Elliott is the leading driver at Hendrick Motorsports, and has also been a fixture at the front of races. Rookie Erik Jones has made his presence felt each and every week, and was in the top-5 all day at Fontana until a penalty relegated him to 12th. And Daniel Suarez has begun to gel with his new team, with two straight top-1o’s.

Parity is the Name of the Game

If you said that RCR and Ganassi would have wins before HMS and JGR, your pants are currently on fire. The truth is, while neither HMS or JGR have been terrible, they haven’t been dominant either. This has to be refreshing for a fan base that has made it very clear they are sick of the same teams winning all the time. In addition to the young guns, Ricky Stenhouse and Jamie McMurray are vastly outperforming their 2016 results. Ryan Newman won a race for the first time since 2013, with a team that hasn’t won a race since 2013! The Toyota slaughterhouse has also shut down. Chevy and Ford have won 2 races each, while Toyota has just one victory thus far.

NASCAR has Finally Loosened the Leash

It comes as no coincidence that NASCAR officials have allowed drivers to show more personality this year. After all, their new title sponsor’s slogan is “Unleash the beast”. But Monster Energy never could have predicted what has happened so far this season. Forget their driver winning the Daytona 500. The events at Las Vegas were a huge litmus test. In the past, Kyle Busch would have been fined for swinging at Joey Logano. Not this time. NASCAR elected to do nothing except say that cars were not weapons. Austin Dillon got away with side-swiping Cole Custer under caution at an Xfinity race (although it did earn him a stern warning). Those events sent a message. Confront each other on pit-road. Race someone harder than normal, but do not intentionally put people in harm’s way by wrecking them at speed on a hot track. Knowing where the line is, is an important part of drivers being able to express themselves.

All told, NASCAR has put itself in a very good position so far this season. With the abundance of parity, the surging youth movement, and a great on-track product, the future certainly looks bright. It may take time for ticket sales and TV ratings to reflect it, but NASCAR has built positive momentum in 2017.