Why I Love NASCAR: RIGHT NOW by Chief 187™

Being a NASCAR fan for over 22 years has provided me with entertainment, heartache, boredom, and great joy.

As this 2013 season dawns I am rejoicing in my fandom once again with all that is before me.

NASCAR Photography By Darryl Moran via WikiCommons 
First, today marks the 12th anniversary of the passing of Dale Earnhardt, the only driver of whom I claimed to be a fan. Earnhardt was a fan favorite, a hero, and has been elevated to iconic status among his legions of fans who still remember him fondly.

To mark this somber occasion and to celebrate the life of this incredible talent, loving husband and father, and great man, a candlelight vigil is set to take place tonight at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

I am pleased to get to a point when I can remember Earnhardt with smiles and laughter rather than the sharp pain of loss. He is missed daily, but his presence is still felt greatly.

Secondly, Earnhardt’s son Dale Jr. is hugely popular, finding success once again, and seems more content in his life. Earnhardt Jr. is undeniably a factor this season.

Kevin Harvick, Earnhardt’s successor in the Richard Childress Racing team, kicked off the season in good form by winning the Sprint Unlimited non-points race. Even though he is a “lame duck” at RCR he seems to be putting everything out there. We saw the same from Matt Kenseth in his last months with Roush-Fenway Racing. I like seeing the ultimate sportsmanship exemplified by these drivers.

Tony Stewart is becoming much like Earnhardt when it comes to his record at Daytona. Stewart, like Earnhardt, has won nearly every contest held at the track except the coveted win in the Daytona 500. It took Earnhardt some 20 years to seal the deal, but he did do it in 1998. Could this be Stewart’s year? He has brought fast cars from his Stewart-Haas Racing garages.

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR
Danica Patrick burned up the day on Sunday by qualifying on the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. Patrick sets the record for being the first female ever to accomplish such a feat in NASCAR. Patrick, who only competed in 10 races last season in NASCAR’s Cup series, is a rookie this year in that series.

All last year I languished in my own version of Purgatory, wanting Patrick to succeed but grimacing every time something untoward happened to her on the track. No matter how much I tried to strengthen my resolve to not root for her, I always held my breath in anticipation of her breakthrough performance. It was a rough season!

This pole is a glorious sign that perhaps Patrick’s “logged seat time” has helped teach her what she needed to learn about driving a stock car in NASCAR’s top series. It’s a bit soon to tell. All I know is I am drawn in once again. I want Patrick to perform on the track at the level I and the rest of her fans know she can.

There are other stories ready to unfold as we wait breathlessly on the cusp of the 2013 season, waiting for it to commence. Matt Kenseth’s performance with his new No. 20 team with Joe Gibbs Racing, Joey Logano’s rebirth at Penske Racing with the No. 22 team, and whether Kurt or Kyle Busch will explode first – either on the race track with wins or in rage, and the brand new Gen 6 cars – are all factors worthy of our attention.

 I have been a NASCAR fan for over two decades. But “right now” I am most anxious for this season to get started in earnest. Being a fan “right now” is this week’s reason I love NASCAR!

Chief 187™ is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™Chatter. Her column “Why I Love NASCAR” and other articles are featured on Skirts and Scuffs. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.
Why I Love NASCAR: RIGHT NOW by Chief 187™ Why I Love NASCAR: RIGHT NOW by Chief 187™ Reviewed by Chief 187 on Monday, February 18, 2013 Rating: 5