This off-season seems even more unsettled than the ones before, leaving room for lots of discussion and many questions to be answered. Kurt is out at Penske and we're still waiting to see who will replace him (though it appears it might be David Ragan). And a speeded-up version of the Crew Chief Shuffle is taking place what with Darian out at SHR and still waiting to see where he lands (though it appears he might be Denny's new crew chief). And where does that leave Mike Ford? Used to, it seemed like most of the mega-changes were in mid-level teams trying to climb the ladder but now the biggest shake-ups are in the top tier. How much better can a crew chief do than winning the championship but he still ends up losing his job? Can that be right? One year of sub-par performance (although the 11 team has made the Chase every single year), and Mike Ford is out the door? Three years of "only" finishing 3rd in the Chase and Gil Martin is kicked to the curb? And speaking of crew chiefs, who is Danica's crew chief going to be?
And then there are sponsorship questions. Will Matt Kenseth find one? So far, he's without despite a strong 2011. Will Home Depot be patient enough to give Joey another year to bring that team's performance up to expectations? Why are he and Zippy still a pair anyway? They always seemed like the odd couple to me. Will Carl Edwards suffer from the Second Place Blues next year or does that only happen when Jimmie beats you? In 2012, will NASCAR allow the bogus points-selling farce it's approved in the past? I detest that but on the other hand, I would like to see Danica not have to race her way in. Of course, that will happen anyway if Tony can't sell a sponsor on funding the races she's not running. If that happens, who will the other driver of the 10 car be? Is Red Bull really gone since there's been no announcement about a savior showing up?
I bring all this up for one reason and that's because I hate the way NASCAR fans get treated by television during the off-season. NASCAR Now goes black. Well, that's no surprise. They give us short shrift even during the regular season, bouncing that show around so you never know when it's going to be on. Sometimes, it's 2:00 a.m. or not at all if there's an exciting Tiddley Winks competition going on. And Inside NASCAR shuts down. I pay for Showtime just for this single show (which lost 15 minutes this year) even though on race-less weeks, they don't bother having a program at all, like there's no other NASCAR news to talk about for a freaking half-hour! But my biggest disappointment is in the Race Hub. They bill themselves as the premiere NASCAR show but during the off-season, they tuck it in and put it to bed along with all the others. Speed features hundreds of hours of idiotic game shows and stupid car tricks but they can't find an hour of news about NASCAR from December to February? Okay, cut the time in half for the duration but give us NASCAR fans something to keep us going until racing starts again! Maybe SPEED should hire me as a consultant. I could suggest plenty of NASCAR issues to talk about.