New 2012 NASCAR Season – Here Sooner Than You Think

Charlotte, NC (January 9th, 2012) – While the calendar says the Daytona 500 is more than a month away, the 2012 season will actually take the green flag this week when Sprint Cup teams invade the 2.5-mile oval for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Testing.

The tests – set for Thursday-Saturday, January 12-14 – will set the stage for the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 26. And while first on-track action of the year normally draws plenty of attention from race-starved fans and media observers, this week’s practice sessions will be more closely scrutinized as a new rules package designed to reduce the ‘tandem racing’ on superspeedways will debut.

Off the track, January will also be a full month for teams and drivers starting with the 30th-Annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. The event will draw scores of motorsports media members from across the nation and be a precursor for what is becoming one NASCAR’s biggest events – the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions.

NASCAR is reviving what many remember as the “Winston Cup Preview” with the “NASCAR Acceleration Weekend” on January 20-22. The weekend will kick off with the induction of Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, January 20.

On Saturday, the NASCAR Preview 2012 will feature current Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series driver autograph and question and answer sessions. There will also be show cars, simulators, games, prizes and interactive activities at both the Charlotte Convention Center and Hall of Fame making this event an instant must-attend for all NASCAR fans.

So, if winter and the lack of stock car racing is bumming you out, never fear – the 2012 NASCAR season rolls off this week.

That’s not a minute to soon for us.

Lack of Teams?
In recent weeks, we’ve heard quite a bit of discussion concerning the number of fulltime teams – or lack of them – currently competing in the top three divisions of NASCAR. The prevailing wind seems to be that the sport is lacking in fulltime participants, but a closer look at the statistics indicates there are still plenty of teams coming to the racetrack each week.

Consider these numbers –

In the Sprint Cup Series, a total of 41 different teams attempted to participate in all 36 events last season.

The numbers for the NASCAR Nationwide Series reveal 32 teams attempted to earn one of the 43 starting spots in all 34 NNS races in 2011.
Meanwhile, 26 fulltime teams attempted to run the entire 25-race 2011 Truck Series schedule – where 36 starting spots were available in each event.

Bottom line – 62 different teams fielded Cup Series entries in 2011. In the Nationwide Series, 78 teams entered events last year while the Trucks had 80 different entries listed in the final 2011 owner’s point standings.

While there’s plenty of room to debate the variance of strength of those teams top to bottom, there can be no doubt that there are still plenty of organizations coming to the track each week.

New Look For –
In case you didn’t notice or if you are new to Close Finishes, today marks the debut of the updated version of the company’s website –

We’re really excited about the new site’s look that prominently displays vintage/historic NASCAR, Hot Rod and Custom, and early Wisconsin Stock Car Racing images from the Close Finishes archive.

Of course, we’ll continue to feature timely editorial content Close Calls column every week and we’ll soon be adding a Vintage Store – an E-Bay based web shopping mall – that features unique motorsports and rare automobile memorabilia.

Let us know your thoughts about the changes by dropping us a line on our Contact Us page and, as always, thanks for supporting Close Finishes.

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