NASCAR is back in the business of feuding, and business is good
Barely a month into a new season, NASCAR is doing what it has always done best. Getting its personalities out of the car.
And into each other’s faces.
Tony Stewart tried to go for Joey Logano’s throat last week, mad because Logano blocked him on a restart.
The week before, it was Logano who was mad — but with another driver. He squeezed through the window to try to chew at Denny Hamlin after the Bristol race, continuing a fight that started on Twitter at Daytona.
And Clint Bowyer isn’t letting go of a feud with Jeff Gordon that started earlier than that — in the second-to-last race last year.
That’s only three of the storylines so far in the young Sprint Cup season, which is off today for Easter but continues next weekend in Martinsville, Va., and then comes to Texas Motor Speedway for the NRA 500.
There are other storylines — the new “Gen-6” car, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s place at the top of the point standings, the Daytona 500 pole by Danica Patrick, the resurgence of Kurt Busch, the drive for a sixth championship by Jimmie Johnson.
But nothing says NASCAR like driver fights, and it all seems right somehow. No one was penalized or fined for the extracurricular activity last week, on- or off-track.
“That’s part of racing sometimes,” said last week’s winner, Kyle Busch, who took advantage of Logano and Hamlin wrecking each other on the final lap. “That’s what this sport was built on. Just ask Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison.”
Viewers know that.
NASCAR’s ratings on Fox have been better than last year for four of the five races. In Dallas-Fort Worth, TMS general manager Eddie Gossage said ratings for the Bristol race increased 73 percent last week despite competition from the NCAA Selection Show.
“NASCAR is enjoying similar explosive growth nationally,” he said in an email. “Twenty-two markets saw a ratings increase of 30 percent or more last Sunday.” Star-Telegram