NASCAR – By Grant Sorrell
Sports View America Contributing Columnist
In just a few weeks, the ground shaken, ear splitting sound of 800 horsepower engines will invade Daytona Beach for another season of NASCAR Monster Energy, Xfinity and Gander Outdoor Truck Series.
Familiar names and teams will be back. 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Champion Joey Logano will be back in the 22 Ford along with teammates former Champion Brad Keselowski in the 2 car and newer driver to the Penske team Ryan Blaney in the 12 car. Joe Gibbs Toyota team with #11 Denny Hamlin, former NASCAR Champion #18 Kyle Busch and 2017 NASCAR Champion Martin Truex Jr. which changed to the #19 Toyota Camry from the #78 after the championship team deflated and closed shop. Kevin Harvick will ride in his #4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing along with #14 Clint Bowyer and #10 Aric Almirola.
NASCAR tracks and schedules will be changing after this year. Declining viewers and sponsorships have led NASCAR executives to revalue the product they have been watching decline since the death of Dale Earnhardt. The sport changed to speed as a concept to gain viewers at cookie cutter tracks all over the United States leaving their small track Southern roots to rot.
2018 brought new life to the Charolette Motor Speedway by making the oval race a road race by turning half the track into a mini road course. This made fans want to watch a declining race track because of to many similarities with other similar tracks. Charolette, NC is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, by seeing this new road instead of the oval, was like comparing to when Run DMC remade Aerosmith’s Walk This Way. Loved the original, but tapped into a whole new level of appreciation to the old favorite.
2020 will be bringing more shorter tracks with attitude like Bristol and Martinsville. This year will bring new and refreshing changes that could be the electric shock the sport needs. Back to the basics, Southern and Shorter.
Possible tracks could be Rockingham, North Wilksboro, Nashville. A few changes will be the absence of Lowes to the #48 -7 time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson car, long with the long time crew chief Chad Knaus parting ways and Knaus going to the #24 Hendrick Chevy team with William Bryon. Bryon took over the 24 car after Jeff Gordon retired. Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson will have Kevin Meendering to hope to get the 8th and most ever NASCAR Championships before Jimmie rides off in the sunset.
Former Daytona Champion Jamie McMurrary will be vacating the #1 Chevrolet to become a FOX NASCAR broadcaster. Former NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch will leave Stewart-Haas and will be the new driver of the #1 Chevrolet Camaro and also bring the sports namesake, Monster Energy, with him vacating the #41 car. No driver named yet for the Stewart-Haas #41 Ford. NASCAR veteran Ryan Newman will be his #31 Chevrolet and moving to the Roush-Fenway #6 Ford. Cory Lajoie, son of former NASCAR driver, Randy Lajoie, will be driving the #32 Go Fast Ford. #36 Front Row Motorsports Ford will be driven by Matt Tiff.
Upcoming driver, Daniel Hemric, will start in the NASCAR Monster series in Dale Jr’s former famous number #8 Richard Childress’ Chevy. Ryan Preece is also starting as a new driver to the series in JTG Daughtery Chevrolet replacing AJ Allmendinger. AJ is heading to the NASCAR broadcasting booth for NBC Sports. A fan favorite driver Matt DiBenedetto is moving to the #95 Leavine Family Toyota Camery. The #95 team last year was home to another fan favorite Kasey Khane who had to leave because of illness.
Another change to the #95 team is going from a Chevrolet to Toyota this year. Many new things still to be announced with drivers, teams, and sponsors leading up to Speed Week.
We will be providing content from several tracks this year so strap in and hang on!!