SPORTS w/The Jock 2-17

by Tom Weppel
On Sunday the NASCAR season will begin down in Daytona, as they race the 500. It is one of the few major sports in which the marquee event is at the BEGINNING of the season, as opposed to the end.
The Daytona track has been repaved since last years’ race, and the new asphalt has certainly made things more interesting for the drivers and their cars. The racing has been faster than before, causing cars to drive in ‘tandems’…two car-packs…as opposed to the ‘trains’ of seven, eight, or nine cars we had seen in the past few years.
Hopefully, the track will be more fun to race on for the drivers, hence, creating more excitement for fans.
Sitting on the front row for the race will be Jeff Gordon, arguably the most popular driver on the circuit. While Gordon has won it three times, he has not done so since 2005. NASCAR would love for him…or a handful of other ‘name’ drivers…to win it this year, and stay competitive throughout. There’s a simple reason why.
In case you haven’t heard, NASCAR has been slumping lately, in both their track attendance for races, and also their TV ratings. The combination of the two means that interest has waned…fans are wondering if things are ever going to get juicier and interesting, both on and off the race track.
NASCAR is acutely aware of this, and so they have made changes, with the intent on turning things around. Jimmie Johnson won the Series Championship for the fifth consecutive year last season. While he does have a solid following, there are plenty who don’t care much about him.
And so there will be a change in the points tabulations for each race, all to try and make things more interesting and competitive. Of course, NASCAR has also made changes and restrictions, to and for the cars, apparently for safety, they claim. It looks like the cars will be a little slower because of those changes.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought this sport was called RACING! Isn’t the idea to go fast? Isn’t that why fans come out…to watch drivers and their cars go real fast around the race track?
And I hate to say this, but you simply cannot tell me that fans don’t dig watching a couple wrecks during each race! If they didn’t, then crashes wouldn’t be part of each highlight reel every week!
So, we’ll see how things go this weekend. A number of guys can win this thing. I’m sure we’ll hear plenty about the 10th anniversary of the Daytona crash that killed Dale Earnhardt as well.
Should be captivating…

This weekend the NBA will have their All-Star festivities going on in Los Angeles. Along with the game, we will also see the 3-point shooting contest, and the slam-dunk contest.
Saturday night gives us the skills contests. Each year, the anticipation is apparent, as fans are wanting to see NBA players show us what they can do. The last contest is the dunk event. This year could be a little more interesting, since Clippers F Blake Griffin will be participating. If you’ve watched, Griffin has been a part of a lot of the highlight alley-oop slams this season. It makes you wonder if he will be able to come out with anything to get fans jacked-up and screaming!
Of course on Sunday, we have the All-Star game. Each year, this game tends to lose its luster…at least from my view. This game features ZERO defense, and up-and-down transition playing, finishing off with reckless shooting. Its fair to say there is a complete lack of discipline by all those involved.
That said, the weekend is and will continue to be popular, especially since it is being held out in L.A. we’ll see how things shake…