Pre Season Thunder-Day 1

The first day of testing at Daytona is over.  It wasn’t real exciting by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t care.  The boys were back on the track.  The cars weren’t all stickered up but you really didn’t need all the stickers to know who was who.  There are a couple of changes to keep track of though.  Kasey Kahne is now driving for Red Bull in the #4.  Kurt Busch is now in the Shell Pennzoil #22.  It was strange to see Kurt in the yellow/red firesuit instead of Kevin Harvick.  Brad K. is now the driver of the #2 car.  I was glad to see Brian Vickers back behind the wheel of the #83.  I bet he has been itching to get back into his car and racing.  I see that Trevor Bayne is driving the #21 for the Wood Brothers.  Both Paul Menard and Marcos Ambrose are settling in their new teams with RCR and Petty Motorsports respectively.

I was happy thrilled beyond belief that Speed TV was streaming video from Daytona.  It was a little difficult to keep my mind on my work, but I managaed.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one today who was multitasking.  It has been a few years since any kind of pre season testing had occurred.  I don’t know about other NASCAR fnas, but I am pumped for the 2011 season!

Speed TV did show some of the interviews in the media room at Daytona.  I did get to see Tony’s interview.  It was pretty much what I expected from Smoke.  He was calm and very direct when it come to questions about the incident in Australia.  I felt like he was honest with his answers about everything.  In my opinion, he seemed ashamed of his behavior in Australia.  But I have to give the press some credit, they didn’t constantly ask the same question over and over.  But as we all know, I sure as Daytona gets closer and with the demands of Media day, these questions about the incident will come up again.  For this Tony fair it is over.  Turn the page and move on to better items about Smoke. 

I like the look of the new nose on the cars.  I was a huge fan of those metal splitters in the front of the car.  Now it looks like a normal race car.  How it will react one cars begin drafting one another is another story.  Speaking of drafting, I was a little disappointed that several of the teams weren’t going to work on drafting today.  But there are a couple more days of testing and perhaps they will try out things tomorrow or Saturday. 

The nose isn’t the only thing that is new for the 2011 season.  Drivers now have to declare which championship they want to race for.  There is no longer an option for drivers to race for multiple championships.  I am sure this is NASCAR’s way of preventing Cup regulars from winning the other championship more specifically the Nationwide championship.  Cup drivers can still race in all three series, but can only use their points towards one championship.  How this will all shake out is still left to discuss for another post.

There is possible changes coming to points system.  On the surface it seems easy to follow.  If a driver wins a race, he will receive 43 points, for 2nd place-42 points and so on all the way to the 43rd driver who will receive one point.  I am thinking NASCAR wants to make the racing more exciting by reducing the amount of points the drivers can receive on any given Sunday.  But these things haven’t all been “officially” announced by NASCAR.  I like this idea.  I would like a few more changes to the points system however.  I would like points for leading a lap either under green or caution to go away.  I don’t mind give points for the most laps lead, but just a lap, no.  If NASCAR has to leave in the poinst for leading a lap, give them only 1 point for a lap led.  Give the person who leads the most 3 points, and if you win 5 points.  I am not a fan of the 10 points bonus for a win because not all drivers can take advantage of those bonus points.  If you give them 5 points the day of the win, boom…you may have drivers will to drive just a little bit harder to get those 5 extra points.  So on any given Sunday, a driver could possible end up with 52 points if they max all the bonus points from the race.  

Now onto the Chase…I think the leader of the first 26 races should be in first.  That should be his reward for winning the regular season.  I think all the drivers should be reset to the same amount of points at the start of the Chase.  It puts everyone on the same level.  The regular season allows the driver to into the Chase.  If you are winning in the first 26 wins and running consistently, you will be in the Chase.  Can you imagine the first race of the Chase where all the Chasers have the exact same points?  It would definitely create some excitement.

Well…that’s about it for now.  Tomorrow is Day 2 of Daytona testing and this race fan needs her rest.