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The Pit Stop


November 21, 2008 10:58 PM

NASCAR year in review for 2008....

This is a total look at the major news and events in NASCAR for the 2008 season.

Toyota came in and fully dominated in the year winning races all over the place in the top two divisions.  The mauled the Nationwide Series for nineteen wins and pulled in 10 wins in the Sprint Cup series.  

Kyle Busch started of the year hot and was going to attempt to win all three series in one year, but as the season went on he had to dump that idea to focus only on the Sprint Cup series.  At the start of the chase though his Sprint Cup season went from bad to worse as bad finishes killed his chase chances though.  In the end he had 8 Wins in the Sprint Cup series, 10 wins in the Nationwide Series and 3 wins in the Craftsman Truck series.

Carl Edwards on the other hand finished a full season in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, bringing both of the down to the final race of the season to decide the winner.  He took home nine Sprint Cup wins which was the most by any drive this year.  He also picked up seven Nationwide Series wins.

Jimmie Johnson continued why he is magic in the Sprint Cup series by winning his third championship in a row.  He also was able to pick up seven Sprint cup wins.

His teammate though Jeff Gordon went winless for the first time in well over a decade, but was able to make his way into the chase.

Ryan Newman started the year off right with a win at the Daytona 500, but the rest of year did not go his way.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. got off on the right foot for Hendrick Motorsports as he won the Budweiser Shootout.  The rest of the year did not go so well for him even though he made the chase, but way able to pick up one more win.

Morgan-McClure Motorsports that had been a staple in NASCAR since 1983 did not even start the Daytona 500 and the rest of the NASCAR season due to sponsorship problems.  Then Larry McClure at the end of the season winds up with a jail sentence over tax evasion.

Yates Racing was a surprise team this year doing way better than expectations with drivers Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland.  The team though wound up sponsorless for many races this year and wound at the end of the year getting a bunch of different sponsors for only a few races at a time.

The NASCAR silly season got off to a big bang as Tony Stewart jumped ship to form Stewart Haas Racing and then picking Ryan Newman as his teammate.  Other drivers making moves have been Casey Mears over to Richard Childress Racing.  Hendrick Motorsports picking up Mark Martin for a full season.  Reed Sorenson moved over to Gillett Evernham Motorsports.  Paul Menard moved over to Yates Racing.

As we got later on into the season it got into more serious talk as to how many teams are going to be back for the 2009 season and how many do not have sponsorship threatening fields of under 43 cars for a race.  In the Nationwide Series it was Bobby Hamilton Jr. spending 380,000 of his own money just to finish the final three races of the season.

Ratings for the chase races continued a downward trend and as the economy weakened so did attendance at NASCAR events all over the USA.

This season also saw some major mergers as Chip Ganassi and the DEI teams merged.  The Petty Enterprise camp wind up in a partnership with Boston Ventures.

NASCAR this year wound up with a major problem this year at the Brickyard.  Massive tire problems caused caution after caution to check for tire wear ruining the race.

The year also saw some major wrecks in the year.  The two biggest of the season were Michael McDowell at Texas in a qualification run that saw his car take a wild ride totally destroying his car and the other one was as Watkins Glen by the Entrance to pit road that saw a major pile up that caused a long red flag for clean up.

It was the year of open wheel drivers trying to survive a full year in NASCAR.  Dario Franchitti became a bust and the team totally shut down for a good portion of the year.  Sam Hornish Jr. survived a full season, but not qualifying for the final race of the year killed his chances to win the rookie of the year title.

The year started out okay with the rain delays for qualifying, but then at the season they just came in bunches. A grand total of ten of them on the year.

The first race at California this year was a complete disaster due to rain.  Rain killed qualifying for the Sprint Cup race.  Then rain caused an over 2-hour delay for the start of the Sprint Cup race.  Next rain stopped racing at lap 88, but NASCAR kept thinking that the race could start again on Sunday.  They kept on attempting to start the race, but at 11PM EST it was not started.  Then around 1:55 AM EST while a whole load of people were sleeping FOX finally comes on air to say the race would start again on Monday.

Both races at Phoenix this would up with crazy moves by the network carrying them.  The first Phoenix race on FOX wound up starting 16 minutes late due to a Yankees/Red Sox Baseball game.  The second race on ABC wound up going so late for the network that for the people on the East cost had to finish the race on ESPN2.

It was also the year of Nationwide Series Young Guns as Joey Logano and Brad Keselowki were lighting it up in the series.  Joey was able to win a race in only his third start.  Brad on the other hand was able to race a full season and finish the season third in points.

In other Nationwide Series news the race in Mexico City got dumped for Iowa Speedway.

The Craftsman Truck series went down to the wire again with Johnny Benson getting the title by seven points.  Speed TV wound up with a great year having 19 out of 22 races having better ratings than last year.

In other truck series news NFL Star Randy Moss bought into a truck series team and Krissy Wallace started races in the Truck Series for the first time this season. 

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