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With three of NASCAR’s biggest names stepping away from the sport, many people are wondering where the sport stands.

Only a week removed from the final Monster Energy Cup Series races for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, and the second-to-last race for Danica Patrick, a lot seems to be left unanswered as to what the future has in store for NASCAR.


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Earnhardt has been named the sports’ ‘Most Popular Driver’, for the past 14 years, and odds are he’ll win the award for the 15th consecutive time next week. He’s also won 26 races at the NASCAR’s highest level. Kenseth is stepping away with 39 victories and a championship, while Patrick is leaving as one of the most popular drivers, as well as the most successful woman in the history of the sport.

ESPN NASCAR analysts, asked the question: What is NASCAR without Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Danica Patrick?

“It’s heavily dependent on someone with a charismatic, fiercely competitive ‘I hate to lose as much as I love to win’ personality to emerge,” Ricky Craven said. “OK, perhaps I just described Kyle Busch, but Kyle needs some company.”

Ryan McGee from ESPN.com was short and sweet, “A business that sells a whole lot less merchandise.”

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“It is a lot less relevant to people who watch the sport only occasionally and it is a lot less meaningful to fans of those three drivers, at least in the short term,” Bob Pockrass said.

One thing they all agree on, is that NASCAR will definitely have a void to fill. It’s just a matter of how to fill it and how quickly they can do so.

Despite what NASCAR says, analysts agree the sport faces real challenges Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
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