The New Modern Era
by Adam Sewell
August 22, 2002

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Darrell Waltrip helped launch the Modern Era in 1972, making his first ever start at Talladega in this Mercury.
Photo: MSI/Nigel Kinrade

The popularity that NASCAR enjoys today can be traced back to 1972, commonly referred to as the Modern Era in stock car racing. But over the last three years NASCAR has seen a similarly huge increase in both the fan base and the television ratings, which leads us to ask, are we entering the New Modern Era?

The Modern Era began in 1972 when three events took place that forever changed the face of NASCAR.  Possibly the biggest change was when Bill France, Jr. was given control of the sport from his father.  The other changes was the adoption of the current points system that awards consistency more than race wins, and the shortening of the incredibly long schedule down to around 30 events for the season.

Countless millions have discovered NASCAR in it's New Modern Era.
Photo: Ford

The last few years have seen an enormous amount of changes in Winston Cup racing.  Within the last 2 1/2 seasons, we have seen a flurry of changes to the cars, the tracks and or course, the television coverage.

The changes that have been made to the cars are probably more numerous to mention all of them.  We have seen NASCAR try numerous aerodynamic packages on the superspeedways.  They’ve also tried several shock packages to try to slow the cars down.  Several safety devices have been added to the interior of the cars to protect the drivers.  And of course, the two biggest rules to come down from the NASCAR headquarters this season have been the one engine rule and the very new 13 gallon fuel cell for Talladega and Daytona.

The tracks of the circuit have seen a land slide of changes.  The seating capacity of the older tracks have nearly doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.  The schedule has been extended to include several new tracks, and new safety equipment has been installed at several of the tracks, whether it is soft walls or better catch fences.

Where ever the sport goes in the next few years, you have to look back over the last couple of seasons and think that NASCAR’s future has never been brighter.

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Others by Adam

The New Modern Era 08/22/02

The Great Plate Mistake 08/05/02

Gordon's Streak Continues 07/17/02

Don't Count Out The Over 40 Gang 06/28/02

In the Spirit of NASCAR

NASCAR Strikes Back

The Price Of Chemistry 05/23/02

Enter The Iron Man 05/15/02

Here Come the Night Races 05/03/02

Early Surprises on the Tour

Can a team get a bigger restrictor plate

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