On New Beginnings

The annual NASCAR Media tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway began Monday and today it will be wall-to-wall driver interviews from morning (9 a.m.) until evening (4:45 p.m.). By the looks of the rotation, there are 30 drivers scheduled to drop in and be asked about the upcoming racing season.

That, folks, is a lot.

I’ll not be there today but not by choice. Off to be poked and prodded a couple more times, a final tune-up I hope before a new journey and new season begins.

Won’t bore you with results, but I will let you know if I pass tech or have to make another trip around the garage.

In the meantime, this is our first gathering here at kennybruce.net and I hope you see something you like. Your time is valuable, your interest is appreciated.

Folks sometimes ask and I wish I could recall but there’s no recollection of the first media tour I attended. Let’s say it took place in the 1980s and move on.

Which I only bring up because during two separate conversations Monday I was asked how I felt about the “new and improved” media tour.

First of all, it’s not really a tour in the sense that media members no longer board buses and visit race shops, engine shops, the occasional wind tunnel, etc.

Yeah, it got mighty uncomfortable spending the day on a bus, but we went to Dawsonville, Ga., one year and Fort Worth, Texas another (not by bus, thankfully), and Daytona Beach and Stuart, Va. and Spartanburg, S.C., and it was fun and informative and good grief did you ever learn things.

All you had to do was walk into a Hendrick Motorsports or a Richard Childress Racing, a Team Penske or Roush Fenway or Joe Gibbs Racing and you immediately knew why those organizations were successful. Sheer size, spotless shops. Buttoned up and so impressive. Dynos and set-up plates and pull-down rigs and always, always rooms that were “off limits.”

Then you’d make a stop at another competitor’s shop and it would be painful trying to wedge 100 or more media in the door. Run by folks who tried just as hard to win races but it was clear how much they had to overcome. But when they did? Man, those were stories.

They didn’t all start that way – big and spotless and impressive. Very few of them did in fact. We watched a lot of them grow and that was fun and it was news. We saw a lot of them that didn’t and eventually they would be gone and that wasn’t any fun at all.

You met with drivers and owners and crew chiefs and guys that did nothing more than clean parts. You couldn’t help but learn.

Today is different. There’s no travel, except for an occasional run out to CMS. It’s a chance to see drivers a final time before heading to Daytona and the season-opening SpeedWeek program gets under way.

That’s not to say there is no value in the tour, no questions to be asked. There have been changes among organizations and drivers who have changed teams and moves made involving the auto manufacturers. There are new faces in old places and old faces in new ones and the “tour” may have changed but it still has value.

I can’t imagine that ever not being the case.

Thanks for stopping by.

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