Monday, December 08, 2008

Here's one top stories list

It's the time of the year when those of us in the media start voting on our 10 biggest stories of the previous year.

We're planning to start our year-in-review stuff on this week's That's Racin' page with a look back at the Nationwide and Truck Series, followed by a two-part look at the year's top 10 NASCAR stories. I am also working on a story about the biggest non-NASCAR stories for Charlotte and the Carolinas for an upcoming Sunday column. asked the folks registered on that site to choose the year's top 10 stories last week and the results are now out. More than 180 people voted.

The problem with the stories nominated on that site, of course, is that the list was limited to "competitive" stories -- stuff that happened on the track. That means that a half-dozen or so of the stories that will make most year-end top 10 lists -- the economic woes, tire problems at Indianapolis, issues with the car of tomorrow and former official Mauricia Grant's discrimination suit -- weren't among the nominees this time.

Anyway, here's how the voting turned out. It's not my list, so don't kill the messenger:

1. Jimmie Johnson wins a record-tying third straight championship (75 first-place votes, 1,727 points)

2. Kyle Busch wins 21 races in the Cup, Nationwide and Truck series (13 first-place votes, 1,574 points)

3. Tony Stewart leaves Joe Gibbs Racing

4. Carl Edwards wins nine Cup races and finishes second in the Cup and Nationwide standings.

5. Jeff Gordon goes winless in Cup for the first time since 1994.

6. Ryan Newman gets his first Daytona 500 victory and the first for car owner Roger Penske.

7. Johnny Benson edges Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the Truck Series title.

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. snaps a 76-race winless streak after moving to Hendrick Motorsports.

9. Clint Bowyer wins the Nationwide Series title.

10. Joey Logano makes his Nationwide debut and wins at Kentucky Speedway


Monkeesfan said...

It's too bad they didn't go with off-track stuff because that is what ultimately mattered more than the on-track stuff, especially with the failure of the COT and the semi-collapse of the sport's economic illusions.

The Dale Jr. story I think missed the real story of him this year - the fact he went to Hendrick Motorsports and ultimately did not perform as a lot of people expected.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sports' fan, not just NASCAR. I wonder about the unhappiness of many NASCAR fans that I don't read about in NFL, NCAA (except BCS Bowl), NBA, MLB, etc.

I mean as an NFL fan, I never hear other fans saying that they will quit going to games/watch on tv if Roger Godell doesn't do thus and such. No one says "we made the sport" so you owe us.

Another thing, we don't boo someone because they don't come from a NFL background. I love Archie and when his kid Payton came around I was an instant fan. Okay so then comes pretty boy Tom Brady--good grief--we didn't start hating him. (Like Dale Sr and Jeff Gordon)

What makes NASCAR fans tick? Why don't they accept us from the big city out west?

Anonymous said...

AMEN Anonymous! AMEN!!!!

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #2, interesting points raised. With regard to the NFL, parity is not just a marketing slogan, not with nine different Superbowl winners in the last twelve games (Green Bay, Denver twice, St. Louis, Baltimore, New England three times, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and the NY Giants) and a lot of other teams showing genuine muscle at varying spots over this decade alone (most notably Tennessee, Atlanta, Carolina, Philly, Jacksonville, Seattle, San Diego, and Chicago). So with so many teams in contention year after year a lot of fans' vitriol is dulled.

I'm pretty confident NASCAR fans' vitriol would be dulled greatly with more teams winning races and the races themselves more competitive than they've been.

Monkeesfan said...

Anon #2, there is one area of disagreement - I have seen a great deal of hatred of Tom Brady - Steeler fans even launched the Bernard Pollard Fan Club after Brady was lost for the season - and of the Patriots in general. In that sense a lot of people have hated the Pats the way they've hated Gordon and Senior.

Anonymous said...

Top stories? Doesn't each fan have his or her own top story based on what they think of the teams or drivers?

I think the most pervasive story of the year is how much the fans feel NASCAR is out of touch with the fans themselves.

Anonymous said...

In light of what's going on around and in NASCAR racing, this sounds like the media contemplating its navel.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, you are right, there are great rivalries in the NFL. I'm in Chicago and we hate the Packers. But we still watch all the games. (There's like a 100 year waitng list for season tickets). Many people were mad that Tom and the Pats were winning so much. Their tv ratings were still off the roof. The highest ratings for any MLB post season were still for the Yankees. Even though lots of people hated them.

In NASCAR, some fans say that if JJ keeps winning they'll quit watching! Wild kid of fan!

In the NFL, fans in Detroit are not mad at the Giants or the Titans for winning, they are furious at the Lions for being so awful. I would think fans should be mad at awful drivers/teams, not the good ones!

Just don't get.

Anonymous said...

I've been surprised that two "Top Stories" didn't get more play. The first is the Goodyear tire debacle that came to a head at Indy and Atlanta. The second is NASCAR's pig-headiness in fixing the COT. The car is a joke. You can't race side-by-side with it,there is no suspension movement with coil bind/bump stops/3" sway bars,etc. Racing used to involve trading paint and big wrecks at the end of the race. Now it's pit strategy and fuel conservation where the winner coasts at 60mph for eight laps to win the race. You'll have to excuse me while I catch my breath!

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