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MONTE DUTTON: GROWING THE SPORT REQUIRES CULTIVATION

As the NASCAR regular season winds down, I feel like I’m at the ocean. Water is plentiful, but there’s nothing for me to drink.

My mother would say I’m picayunish. She’s said it all my life, and I had to look up how to spell it. News is everywhere. Yet I find it to be “of little value or account; small, trifling.”

Young, apple-cheeked lads are marching into NASCAR like the junior ROTC on parade out on the academy green, running up the flags and standing at attention. There’s a William Byron here, and an Alex Bowman there, Ryan Preece, Bubba Wallace, everywhere a Daniel Suarez.

MONTE DUTTON: THE RUSH TO YOUTH

It’s not like the revered veterans weren’t already riding off into the figurative sunset astride their figurative Palominos.

Jeff Gordon. Gone. Tony Stewart. Gone. Carl Edwards. Gone. Greg Biffle. Rideless. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Saddling up now.

Those five drivers add up to 215 victories (Gordon 93, Stewart 49, Edwards 28, Earnhardt Jr. 26, Biffle 19) and seven championships (Gordon 4, Stewart 3)

CP MOTORSPORTS - 2018 NATIONAL SERIES DRIVER PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES ANNOUNCED

With the emergence of NASCAR’s next generation of stars defining the 2017 season, NASCAR today announced new guidelines that will further highlight the young talent battling for championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Starting next season, drivers with more than five years of full-time experience in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be limited to a maximum of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and five races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 

MONTE DUTTON: YOU CAN FIGHT CHANGE, BUT YOU CAN’T CHANGE IT

I miss the stock car racing of my youth mainly because I miss my youth.

My hero was David Pearson. He was from up the super highway. Occasionally, my dad bumped into him when he landed his twin-engined plane at the Spartanburg Downtown Airport because Leo Sell, whom my father retained as a crop duster, flew in and out of there, too.

Pearson grew up on a mill hill. They called them hills whether they had any or not. My grandfather worked most of a half century in a mill. I worked at one in the summer. Third shift. I went to college so I wouldn’t work in a mill anymore. Pearson raced stock cars.

CP MOTORSPORTS - WOOD BROTHERS RACING AND PAUL MENARD TEAM UP BEGINNING IN 2018

Wood Brothers Racing, the oldest active NASCAR team and one of the winningest teams in series history, and veteran driver Paul Menard, will join forces for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENSC) season, the two parties announced today. The new partnership will see the team continue to compete full time for the coming seasons with Menard driving the legendary No. 21 Ford Fusion.

 

CP MOTORSPORTS - PENSKE TO EXPAND TO THREE-CAR NASCAR CUP TEAM IN 2018


Teampenske.com


Team Penske announced today that Ryan Blaney will join the organization as a full-time driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) beginning in 2018 as the team returns to a three-car operation in NASCAR’s premier series. The 23-year-old Blaney, who also signed a multi-year contract extension with the team, will pilot the No. 12 Ford Fusion, beginning with the annual non-points “Clash” event at Daytona International Speedway in February. 
 

CP MOTORSPORTS - DALE EARNHARDT JR. TO JOIN NBC SPORTS GROUP’S NASCAR TEAM IN 2018


Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images


Dale Earnhardt Jr., the motorsports icon voted by fans as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years (2003-16), will join NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage beginning in 2018, it was announced today. Chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports Mark Lazarus, and NBC Sports Executive Producer and President of Production Sam Flood, will introduce Earnhardt, in a media conference call today, Monday, July 24 at 3 p.m. ET. An advisory with specific information regarding the conference call will be distributed later this morning. 
 

MONTE DUTTON: THE BRICKYARD’S RISE AND FALL

In 1994, when NASCAR first held a major race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was considered the greatest thing since sliced bread (with apologies to Joey Logano, who vitamin-enriched his several years later).

Now it’s moldy, old bread. Its approval rating is right up there with TrumpCare.

I wrote about every Cup race at Indy except one through 2012. I don’t think last year’s race, won by Kyle Busch, was much different from the first, won by Jeff Gordon. Like so much else in NASCAR, the race went out of style. It went from a big deal to a ho-hum. The first Brickyard 400 had the highest attendance of any stock car race in history. Last year’s race had about 20 percent as many. The world’s most famous race track had over 200,000 empty seats.

CP MOTORSPORTS - ​ALEX BOWMAN TO DRIVE NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET IN 2018


Credit: 350213Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

One year after his impressive debut with Hendrick Motorsports, the team has named Alex Bowman full-time driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series with a 19-race majority sponsorship from  Nationwide beginning in 2018.

MONTE DUTTON: LOST IN THE FRUSTRATION

Can you sense a bit of panic in the air?

Gosh. Life is so distracting. A man (or, I hasten to add, a woman) can’t pay attention to any one thing, so, naturally he (she) doesn’t pay attention to anything.

Take NASCAR. Please.

If it’s a great race, the TV ratings plunge. If it’s a lousy race, they plunge. If it’s modestly interesting, guess what happens? An argument can be made that it doesn’t matter. NASCAR fell into Johnny Cash’s burning ring of fire.

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