By David G. Firestone
The 2017 racing season is behind us. We’ve all watched racing and we enjoyed it. We had highs, we had lows. We laughed, we cried, we yelled in anger, and we yelled in joy. We are racing fans, and we love watching racing.
Some of the observations I’ve made I’ve discussed here on The Driver Suit Blog, but some things I haven’t. So before I take my December sabbatical, I have a few things to discuss. I’ve been waiting for the season to end to discuss some things.
First off, I’m a fan of the NASCAR Playoff system, I know many people aren’t. But the bracket system keeps the pressure on the drivers to perform. The final race of the season has 4 different drivers who can win the championship. That final race is pressure packed, and the best driver won. Martin Truex Jr. won 8 races, including the final race and the Championship.
I was wondering who would win the Xfinity Series Championship, and it was William Byron. This does not bode well for his Cup career. Historically, drivers who perform well in the Xfinity Series will come to the Cup Series and flame out. This list includes David Green, Steve Grissom, Joe Nemechek, Randy LaJoie, and Johnny Benson. Martin Truex Jr. is the second driver to win the Cup championship after winning the Xfinity Series championship before he was an established Cup star.
Ford pulling out of the NHRA to focus on other racing series was a really dumb move, especially since Chevy won all three Mello Yello Drag Racing Series four-wheeled championships. They also came up short in NASCAR and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. Ford made a really bad decision in this respect, and I hope their racing division is proud of themselves.
If you aren’t familiar with Bill Burr, that’s a shame. He’s a Boston-based comic who watches Formula 1. He did a podcast where he discusses his Formula 1 feelings. He is hilarious, and his observations are great. Even if you aren’t a racing fan, his podcast is great. Bill Burr’s Malaysian GP rant is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.
Starting next year, Formula 1 will move from NBC to ESPN. I’m going to guess that Fox didn’t offer a contract. ESPN has made it clear in recent years that they have no respect for auto racing fans. ESPN had to bring some kind of auto racing back, to boost their sagging ratings. NASCAR and the NHRA weren’t on the table, Formula 1 was on the table. Good luck ESPN, good luck Formula 1, you are going to need it.
Finally, there have been some shake ups in schedules for 2018. NASCAR has moved the Daytona 500 up a week. As a direct result, the next nine races have also moved up a week. The first Dover race has moved from June 4 to May 4. Chicagoland has moved from September to the first week in July, and the summer Daytona race has moved from the first week of July to the second week. Kentucky and New Hampshire have moved up one week. Charlotte’s second race has been moved up, and will use the road course instead of the oval course.
In Formula 1, France and Germany will both host new Grand Prix races. The Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix have switched places on the new schedule. The Malaysian Grand Prix has been dropped from the schedule all together. IndyCar has decided to replace Watkins Glen with Portland. In the NHRA, the Route 66 Nationals and the New England Nationals have switched places, due to NASCAR’s schedule change.
That about does it for 2017. I will spend December working on projects, and will come back in January, ready to go. I look forward to seeing you then.