The NASCAR season is somewhat underway, as Speedweeks have started before the big race on Sunday.
This season is starting out to be like many others, with no real things to note. (No, it’s not eventful that Jimmie Johnson had a part confiscated since that’s happened at previous Daytonas.)
But here are five things that I will be watching as the NASCAR season unfolds:
Can Tony repeat?: Despite what Johnson did for five straight years, it’s very tough to repeat as a Cup champion. Granted, Tony Stewart’s win in November was his third title in his career. But its so hard to get back to the championship. He sure got a good start winning the first of the dual races. But can he do it again? This will be interesting.
WWDD (What will Danica do): As if you haven’t figured it out with the current sports web sites, the season will be all about Danica Patrick and how she does after leaving the Indy Racing League for NASCAR. Pretty much everything she does will be chronicled now that she’s going to be full-time in the grand national series, which may lead to Danica overload. But she’s the story, so get used to it. You know NASCAR loves it.
Busch brothers behavior: When we last saw both of the Busch brothers, they were trying to repair their image after ugly incidents that caused them to take two steps back in the public eye. Big brother Kurt Busch lost his ride with Penske Racing after a profanity-laced tirade with ESPN’s pit reporter Jerry Punch after the race at Miami. Little brother Kyle was parked for the rest of the Atlanta weekend after retaliating against Ron Hornaday Jr. in the truck race. How good will each of those guys be? (And I don’t mean on the track.) Along with that…
Phoenix Racing an upgrade for Kurt?: After losing his Penske Racing job, Kurt Busch was accepted at Phoenix Racing, which is a minor player in the NASCAR circles. Jim Finch last year in the Cup? He ran all 36 cup races but with four different drivers. Phoenix Racing is a huge step down from Penske, and is definitely not the same as Roush-Fenway and Richard Childress Racing. If Busch can be competitive, that’s a whole different ball game. If not, we may have seen the last of the former Cup champion.
Will Junior win?: After a somewhat successful stint at Dale Eaarnhardt Inc. Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved to Hendrick Motorsports in an attempt to win championships. Since his move he has won zero races. Everyone is now questioning whether he made the right move to go to Hendrick despite making the Chase for the Cup last year. If he wins, all those questions go out the window. Junior is going to have to end the questions sooner or later.