Harvick Moving Close To Hall Of Fame?

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 6 2018

Kevin Harick hasa won the last two races and continues to build on a racing resume that is reaching Hall of Fame caliber. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Three takes from an abbreviated schedule of racing over the past weekend:

– This could be the season in which Kevin Harvick establishes himself as a lock to be elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Perhaps on the first ballot.

Victories in two of the first three races of the season have given him 39 for his Cup career. He also now has 100 victories across NASCAR’s top three series. He also has that Cup championship which is essential for any driver making plans to earn a berth in the Hall.

Those are all things he already has. The way he and his Stewart-Haas Racing people performed in the second half of last season and so far this season, the potential is there for a really big 2018. They are already locked into the playoffs and are looking particularly good at 1.5-mile intermediate tracks – the kind that are most numerous on the Cup schedule.

Harvick has been a late-bloomer but has found comfort and success with the Stewart-Haas organization. It could work out famously.

– NASCAR and Fox Sports got more bad news from the television ratings folks as the Las Vegas Cup event sunk significantly.

The race was a dog and the ratings were even bow-wowier as they dropped from 3.3 last year to 2.8 on Sunday.

Ratings for NASCAR’s “Super Bowl”, the Daytona 500, were embarrassing this year. It had fewer than 10 million viewers for the second time in over 30 years. The second race of the season, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, television viewership was less than half of that. Yes, the race was slammed by a 90-minute rain delay, but still; 5 million viewers?

With popular stars like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon retiring, some drop off in popularity is to be expected. But viewership even before those retirements was alarminlyly bad.

And it appears the non-stop introduction of gimmicks into the sport is failing to increase NASCAR’s draw on television or the grandstands.

– With non-compelling racing, and television rankings and attendance at events scraping the bottom, Fox has responded not by working on giving fans more of what they want – fewer commercials – but by cramming increasingly obscene amounts of ads into the broadcast.

Key moments in races – notably important green-flag pit stops – are missed because Fox is stuffing its pockets. And please, don’t counter with an argument that “side-by-side” of having commercials and racing on the screen at the same time mitigates the problem; they are distracting and interrupt the flow of the event.

Fox is obviously going for quick returns and seems quite willing to incur the wrath of dwindling television-viewing fans.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 6 2018
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