What have we learned during the off-season?
- Well, we know that Jimmie isn't great at saving gas on or off the track.
- We know that Kevin Harvick is the Driver of the Year - as well he should be....and that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is The Most Popular Driver - what a shock that was!
- We know that we'll have to remember to say Xfinity series next year instead of Nationwide and the following year, Sprint will be placed by we don't know who yet. Guesses anyone? Just please don't let it be Walmart.
- We know it will be like old home week at ABC next year with Rick Allen, Steve LeTarte, Jeff Burton, Dave Burns, Mike Massaro, Marty Snider, Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and most recently, Rutledge Wood. Familiar faces all.
- We know Kurt Busch testified in court regarding the domestic violence charges alleged against him and also had surgery for inflammation in his foot. I expect Kurt is anxious for the off-season to be over and a brand new year to start.
- But not so much for poor Brian Vickers who had to have a hole in his heart repaired, and will miss the beginning of 2015. Brian has become NASCAR's hard luck kid.
- We know there will be lots of new sponsors and teams and crew chiefs and paint schemes to get used to, starting with Daytona. For instance, JGR changed things up a lot. Darian Grubb will be Carl's crew chief, Dave Rogers will go with Denny Hamlin and Adam Stevens, from Nationwide, will be Kyle Busch's man on the box. The 20 car will remain the same with Matt and Kevin Ratliff.
- We know Sam Hornish, Jr. will take Marcos Ambrose' place at RPM. He's lucky to get another chance but this will probably be his last bite at the apple. We also know we'll see Bobby LaBonte again next year. More power to him. I really like Bobby but I'm not sure, I'd want to keep racing for progressively lesser performing teams.
- We know they changed the Sprint Unlimited...again. Twenty-five drivers including all the 2014 Chase drivers, 2014 pole winners, Daytona 500 pole winners (Danica!), past Sprint Unlimited winners. Of course, after next year, it will be the Blank Something Race. Will the company replace the Sprint Girls, do you suppose? I hope so. Cutesy little girls is rather a thing of the past.
- We know Hendrick re-upped with Kasey for three years so it isn't his place Chase Elliott will take when he comes to Cup.
- We know there is a Mrs. Sliced Bread now. I hope someone told Joey that you can't do with a wife like you do with a dog and just shit-can them if they turn out to be too much bother.
- We know that any changes to the racing and to the Chase will be minor but sometimes, even minor things can throw a team off for a while so who was good last year may not be so good next year...and vice versa. (Of course, in my heart, I'm hoping this means the 48 will get its mojo back).
Anyway, we have to settle for learning these little bits and pieces of NASCAR news for now to somewhat quench our desire for the real thing.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas to you all (or whatever holiday you may celebrate). Positive thoughts going to Brian Vickers and Steve Byrnes.