For some it may be robins (saw a couple yesterday), or swallows at Capistrano ( wikipedia says they haven’t returned for some time ), or buzzards in Hinckley, Ohio.
For me the first hint is the Winter Solstice. The days begin to get longer (so to speak). The holidays come and go quickly leading to the Barrett-Jackson Auction. This is really the beginning. In rapid succession come the Nascar media tour week in Charlotte, the 24 Hours Of Daytona, the Shootout then Pole Day, the Twins, and finally the 500. But wait, there’s more: the Masters; the Derby; the All-Star race; Indy/Coke 600.
Alas, the Summer Solstice arrives and Summer is over. It quickly goes downhill from there as each day gets shorter than the one before (so to speak). We then have plenty of time to decipher and reflect upon Nascar‘s latest rule changes.
Speaking of the Media Tour, the most enlightening ideas have come from Dale Jarrett. He doesn’t see the need to change the point system other than giving a greater bonus to the race winner. In addition, first place money should be more on a par with the amount paid to a PGA winner. That seems like a no-brainer. Of course it’s been a no-brainer for decades, but we still have the disparity. You can read the whole article here.
What’s the opposite of enlightening? Whatever it is, that’s what Fox Sports chairman David Hill’s idea is. You can read it here. Basically, in this age of ADD, he wants races to be 3 hours with a 4th hour divided between pre and post race coverage (aka cruft, drivel, and ads). Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of fans who plan their vacations around a race, or drive for hours (days), or have to pay for a hotel room. Besides, how many football games are completed in the scheduled 3 hour TV slot? Probably close to zero even though there’s about 11 minutes of action in a football game. I’m willing to admit a plus-4 hour race may be a bit much, but I feel cheated when a race is 3 hours or less.
Oh. I forgot. It’s not about the loyal fan base. It’s about TV.