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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.

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Comment by Moritz on December 15, 2011 at 4:16pm

Ya, I hear you, it's true.  That's how it works with many sports stations.  If there is no regular race on, there gonna have replays.  It's like the station is dead for thoose months, nothing exciting.  That's why, you can just watch other stations during the off-season.  I mean you've got more than Speed, you can change it up a bit. When the season resumes, they'll have something on every day of the week. 

Comment by Woody Ferrell on December 13, 2011 at 2:33pm

I hear you Ms V, I checked out what SPEED is broadcasting for the next couple of weeks and all they are showing is replays of this years races once a week and a few NASCAR HALL OF FAME BIOS. And that's about it. But as I said, I am shinning up my golf clubs as we speak and getting ready to play this weekend. Sabrina purchased a new chevy and it came with OnStar which has Sirius with it. I listen to the NASCAR channel every time we take her car, its great!

Comment by Vicki Williams on December 13, 2011 at 8:54am

Woody - they were talking about this on Sirius this morning. How you're trying to build a bigger fan base and then everything just goes dead during the off-season. The other major sports have a channel of their own and I think NASCAR needs one too. NASCAR channel on Sirius finds plenty to talk about.

Comment by Woody Ferrell on December 13, 2011 at 7:33am

Girl, you do have it bad lol. I've actually become acclimated to the off season, and spend the time on things I have neglected during the season. Like playing some golf on Sundays, and doing things with the family lol. 

I know Zippy asked Joe Gibbs to be released from his contract at the end of this year, but Joe would not let him go. But Zippy's contract is up at the end of next year. Maybe Tony could have waited, or maybe Tony will make another change at the end of next year. Seems to me that Tony and Zippy were made for each other.

Comment by Vicki Williams on December 8, 2011 at 10:39am

If I was going to watch a sport besides NASCAR, it would be horseracing but I have Comcast and if there's a horse racing channel, I haven't found it. That's why I gave up on the ponies in the first place. Was a huge tracker goer when I lived in CA but in Indiana, there was absolutely no horseracing news so it was pretty impossible to follow except for the Triple Crown. I know there are horseracing stations if you have satellite though.

Comment by Vicki Williams on December 8, 2011 at 7:31am

Yes, Tony, it would be to NASCAR's own benefit to have at least a half-hour show during the off-season to keep us mentally in the game. Of course, we have the computer websites but it's not the same as television.

Comment by Vicki Williams on December 7, 2011 at 3:01pm

I do have Sirius radio which is 24/7 365 days a year but that's only when I'm in my car and now that I'm retired, that isn't so much. Sometimes, I go take a spin around town just to hear some NASCAR stuff....LOL

Comment by Vicki Williams on December 7, 2011 at 12:04pm

Well, Hub, I agree with most of what you say except the Danica part but I guess we've had that particular conversation before so I won't go into it again!

Comment by Duhhub on December 7, 2011 at 9:28am

I find Darian Grubb being fired a dumb move by Stewart-Haas Racing. Tony will regret it later, I guarantee it. He won the championship with the guy, then fires him??? He didn't even change his mind about it??? Come on. Anyways, Denny was really the only driver that Darian could go to, as Mike Ford was forced to leave by JGR and Denny. Mike could CC Danica, but I doubt it. I see Tony Eury Jr. or Sr. going to Cup with her.

We're seeing a lot of owners, drivers, etc. not get any more chances for 2012. Like with Darian, Mike, Gil, Kurt, Joey, and many others. Darian and Gil shouldn't have been fired, both served their drivers well. Mike, eh, I guess from the end of last year his confidence and relationship with Denny was declining. Kurt, he deserved to be fired. Joey needs to step it up or else Dollar General might leave him too, as the Home Depot is cutting back it's sponsorship.

Speaking of  sponsors, I dunno if Matt will get any big ones for next year. He's a sponsor's nightmare, because even when he wins, he's too quiet of a driver, always lurking but never getting much TV time or attention. With Danica's ride when she's not racing, maybe David Reutimann will go over there. I don't think Tony would like Vickers there, and Kurt wouldn't like a part-time schedule or a Hendrick team. The only reason Danica is where she is is because of her looks. She's not that great a driver, and the only sponsors that want her are ones that want her half-naked in a commercial. Really, anybody who drives the race she doesn't (even a superstar like Busch) probably won't get any sponsors, unless GoDaddy steps up and does it.

The offseason is always weird. I still haven't gotten used to no races on Sunday yet. We're headed right into the Christmas season, which is the dullest time of the year for NASCAR. Then, mid-January, the sport goes hurtling towards the Daytona 500, which is always awesome. But personally, I enjoy the bud Shootout more because that's the first time of the year that the new paint schemes and drivers race on the track. It isn't a long race, but the drivers are full-bore the entire time.

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