@nascarcasm: 2020 season thank you notes
By @nascarcasm | Thursday, November 19, 2020
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The 2020 schedule was a challenge, and that’s putting it mildly. Regardless, we completed a season. And we have many people to thank. And that’s what we’re about to do.
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These folks already spend a copious amount of time on the road. That’s why they deserve limitless thanks for accommodating the compressed schedule. Doubleheaders, midweek races, spending long enough in Texas they had to start paying property taxes there – these folks did it all, and for that, we owe them.
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Because with all the stress and uncertainty 2020 gave us, what we really needed was something else that kept us up at night.
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Man oh man, that Xfinity Series race at the Charlotte Roval was sure something, and we have you to thank. And that was no easy task. You are rain tires – not Book-of-Genesis biblical-flood tires. But you performed admirably. You go where few others dare to tread. HA. Rain-tire pun.
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I still cannot believe we managed to complete the entire season. A huge debt of gratitude goes out to those who revised the 2020 schedule ¬– a daunting mix of weekday races, doubleheaders and venue changes – and the tracks for accommodating them. These folks re-worked and re-scheduled races in an ever-changing pandemic landscape and managed to get all 36 races in, and yet my family hasn’t been able to figure out a time to have a Zoom call for two months. Or maybe they have and just didn’t send me the link. I guess the latter.
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Clint Bowyer is not so much a person as he is a force of nature. I know in my house we have a strict “If Clint Bowyer’s getting interviewed and I’m in the other room, let me know” rule. This man needs to be on camera as much as possible, and in 2021, he will be. He’s the perfect mix of informative and fun. So, Bowyer, thank you for everything, and thank you for heading into the TV booth next year. This is gonna be like watching a race with America’s fun uncle.
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This little mark on the track has added a whole new dynamic to restarts. Furthermore, it eliminated the vexatious “No, after you” jockeying that happened on pit road in order to achieve the desired lane. It’s also really captures the essence of 2020. I wear a shirt that has a choose “V” on it for this very reason. If someone is approaching me, they have to go the the left or the right, and if they make contact with me, there will be SEVERE repercussions.
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When we returned to the track amidst uncertainty, sure, we were back, but big changes had to be made – no fans, qualifying, practice, etc. Would it feel “normal?” The jury is still out, but when Chase Elliott shot this bird to Kyle Busch, life felt normal, if only for a fleeting moment. I spent my entire youth playing Duck Hunt on the Nintendo and never shot a bird with this much dexterity and skill.
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NASCAR is no stranger to aerial phenomena. We have pre-race flyovers, blimps and pre-race parachuters that occasionally get snagged on the catch fence. But the drone camera utilized by NASCAR on FOX gave up some never-before-seen shots that we appreciate. Bring this back next season. And if it’s not available, hand Larry McReynolds a jet pack and a GoPro.
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Jimmie Johnson is one of the three greatest drivers in the history of NASCAR – and the walking, running and cycling embodiment of class. Not to regurgitate a common trope uttered by drivers in Victory Lane, but we can’t thank him enough. He’s not a first-ballot Hall of Famer so much as a don’t-even-need-a-ballot Hall of Famer. Let’s be real – you can send your blazer measurements in now.
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The ubiquitous online-meeting software was our lifeblood, making media availabilities, especially those of Clint Bowyer, somehow more enjoyable and informative than the in-person ones. It’s amazing how much more candid drivers become when they don’t have to wear pants.
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There are a LOT of people who have to be at the track on a race weekend: team members, track personnel, media members, etc. Enforcing safety protocols for this many people was daunting, but thanks to these folks, we just completed 36 races. If it were safe, we’d like to shake your hand. Instead, we’ll wave vigorously from a safe distance.
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This year, we watched Bubba Wallace emerge as a prominent voice on social issues and a leader. Someone who has won six NBA championships should really sign this kid for 2021.
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During the break, iRacing provided a fun, and more importantly safe, stop-gap for race fans. The world had ground to a halt, but thanks to iRacing, the participants, the organizers and Denny Hamlin’s daughter, the Pro Invitational Series provided us with great entertainment when we so desperately needed it.
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I think over the course of the weekend, you completed more laps than the drivers themselves. For three days, you fought an uphill battle that finally culminated in victory on Wednesday. Your contributions to dry pavement will always be remembered. And I promise I’m not just brown-nosing so I can borrow one of those things to blow all my leaves into my neighbor’s yard because I hate raking.