Okay, it has been almost three months since we said good-bye to the 2009 season of NASCAR. There has been some movement among teams, as far as drivers, and sponsors are concerned. Even NASCAR itself is in the process of making some changes.
Well, while all of that is going on, we the fans have been easing our minds. Calming our nerves. Getting that itchy feeling to have engines blaring around a track once agin.
So while we are only one week away from the official opening of the 2010 NASCAR season.
Let's take one more look at some of the highlights of 2009. And feel free to share any of your favorite moments.
My list of memorable moments starts off with: Mark Martin. What three years ago, the man was on his way to retirement. Or at least his version of it. And here he signs with a new team, and he not only puts them in contention for wins. But they won 5 races, and they were the number one seed when the chase started. Mark Martin proved that it is not how old you, but how good you are that keeps in the winners circle.
Marcos Ambrose, while he did not win any races last year, he showed that he belongs in NASCAR. He increased his exprense level dramatically. Don't be surprised to see this man in victory circle this year.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart at Homestead. What were you two thinking? Did you both not realize that you both had cars that could have won the last race of the year? Especially you Stewart. Call me crazy, but that was probably one of the dumbest things you two could have done to your teams.
Tony Stewart's first year as a Cup car owner. Starting out of the box with basically not one but two new teams. Both teams proved that they were going to be contenders to win each and every week. While Ryan Newman did not find victory lane, his owner did. Not one but five times. Four points paying races and the All-Star Race.
And that leads me to my favorite highlight of last year: 2009 All-Star Race. Since 1999 Stewart had tried to win the All-Star Race. And each year he always came up empty. But in 2009, he was not going to be denied. Capturing the $1 million dollars was just a bonus, to the fact that this organization had its first official win in NASCAR. And then for them to go to Pocono and win that race on fuel mileage. That was just too perfect of a season for a re-built startup team.
What memories will 2010 bring? Will we have a first Daytona 500 winner? Can someone finally take the Cup championship away from the 48 team? Will someone take Brad Kesolowski to school? Will Joey Logano and the 20 continue to build on what they started last year or will they falter? What about Penske, being the only Dodge team left in NASCAR? Will Stewart-Haas finally get Ryan Newman back into victory lane?
Will Mark Martin ever win at Daytona? Or will Tony Stewart finally take that illusive Daytona 500 victory? How will the cars react to a spoiler, instead of the wing?
While I don't know the answer to these questions. Some will be answered in a couple weeks, the rest we will have to wait until the end of the season. Either way, 2010 should be an interesting year.