Sunday, February 17, 2013


What a busy couple of weeks these are going to be!

While most of the racing world will be focused on Daytona and the start of the NASCAR season, a scheduling decision beyond my control (and approval) means I'll be watching NHRA's Mello Yello series Arizona Nationals at Firebird Raceway this weekend. Then, next weekend, NASCAR comes to Phoenix International Raceway for Cup, Nationwide and the first U.S. Mexico series events. That will be 12 straight days I'll be in the paper.

I'll be covering for the Arizona Republic (that's along with Mark Armijo. And, yes, I'm sure I'll be doing a little Twittering -- but only as time and REAL news allows and calls for. For those so inclined, that's @SpinDoctor500 .

I'll have an NHRA notebook this Thursday and a Brittany Force feature Friday before the on-site racing coverage begins. PIR week I'll be doing notebooks starting Tuesday and a Thursday Kurt Busch feature. Mark will have feats beginning Tuesday before we head to the track.

See Unconventional Wisdom above for what I consider to be a total media disgrace at Daytona. (Rapidly approaching cable TV level, which made Marco Rubio reaching for a water bottle into a disqualifier for high office.) This is what "reporting" has dumped into and apparently, based on recent hiring/staffing decisions, what media Powers-That-Be want.

While a lot of space and airtime has been wasted on this, Dale Jr.'s new potato chips and so forth, what quite possibly might be the most significant NASCAR story in at least a decade has been covered but, too often, not placed into necessary context. That's the new, so-called "Gen-6" car. THAT was the elephant in the room -- what will happen with NASCAR if this car doesn't stir the passions of fans? -- in the interview area.

It should be obvious to those paying attention (and it seems many are not) that NASCAR is Betting Big on this car. Brian France has set the bar high, saying he's looking for more lead changes and more "Wow moments." What happens if that doesn't happen? If the TV ratings and ticket sales and overall water-cooler buzz don't reflect a re-energized fan base and a wider public interest? I would think the NASCAR chairman's next move might be drastic, including on the staff front.

It's a huge story impacting stock car racing's short, medium and long-term future. Where are those stories?

Here are links to two Arizona Republic stories. Last Friday's Q&A with Earnhardt, and Sunday's Cup season preview focused on the new car:

[ more next Monday . . . ]