Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NASCAR: Week in Review (12/15/2014)

 Credit: Christian Petersen/NASCAR via Getty Images  
Welcome to Skirts and Scuffs' new feature, recapping all the hot topics from our sport in the past week. We'll keep you informed about what's going on in NASCAR, so if you missed anything, don’t worry – we have you covered. As always, your comments are welcome on our Facebook page. So, ladies and gentlemen, start your opinions!

Darrell Wallace Jr. wants more in 2015
Darrell Wallace Jr. made a bold move requesting he be released from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Wallace Jr., who won four Camping World Truck Series races in 2014 and finished third in the standings, is an up-and-comer in NASCAR. He appeared to have the world at his feet when it came to 2015. But things began to unravel when Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced lack of full-time sponsorship for him.

Wallace Jr. initially said he wasn’t worried about not having a full-time ride in 2015, stating “I’ll take what I can get,” similar to a comment made by Sam Hornish Jr. in 2014 when he was offered a limited schedule at JGR.

Asking for the release may be a smart move for Wallace Jr., but it has yet to be confirmed that Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) will be his new home.

A lot of people have placed RFR out to pasture, assuming their time as a dominant force in NASCAR has come and gone, but in 2015 RFR will have Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in their stable. It appears RFR is looking to reclaim the dominance it once had. With the possible addition of Wallace Jr., resurgence as a top-tier team is likely.

Is it possible that JGR and KBM will regret letting Wallace Jr. slip through their fingers? Perhaps, and maybe sooner rather than later.

Tracks reduce seats to create a better fan experience
Speedway Motorsports ,Inc. (SMI) announced it will remove 41,000 seats at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 17,000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) to improve attendance in 2015 by creating more demand. AMS even took it one step further, by offering race fans 17 years of age and younger free admittance to the grandstands on Friday and Saturday during race weekends.

This is a trend NASCAR has seen in recent years with track attendance down significantly. Removing the seats can potentially create a better fan experience, but will it do so in these cases?

At Auto Club Speedway, removing approximately 30,000 seats proved to be a smart decision. ACS sold out last March's NSCS race due to the reduction of seats. With the aging of the racing surface, ACS produced some of the best racing, making ACS one of the most sought-after tickets on the West Coast. 

So the question is, will this tactic work for SMI? Only time will tell.

Dylan Kwasniewski has a great new opportunity in 2015
It was announced Thursday that Dylan Kwasniewski will race for a new Xfinity Series team in 2015. Owner Harry Scott Jr., formerly of Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM), has teamed up with Chip Ganassi to create H. Scott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi.

Kwasniewski will share a ride with 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson -- a combination with the potential to dominate the Xfinity Series.

TSM sponsored Kwasniewski in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) in 2014, so the transition should be a smooth one for the 19-year-old. Rockstar Energy Drink was his primary sponsor in 2014 but whether they will make the move with him in 2015 has not been confirmed. 

In 2014, Kwasniewski had an average finish of 17.72 and was running at the end of 29 of the 33 races, impressive statistics going into the new season. His schedule for 2015 is unknown for now, but this is a great opportunity for the young driver.

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