How difficult is this going to be? There were so many amazing story lines of 2017. We had feuds, fights and goodbyes. We had tender moments. We had stories that infuriated fans. But of all of them, these are the five Alt-Driver fans read most, and now, they get to tell us which was Cup Series Story of the year.
Subway drops sponsorship of Daniel Suarez
This caught everyone by surprise. Suarez participated in (what seemed to be) a harmless marketing effort when he drove around a gold course handing out Dunkin’ Donuts to fans. Subway didn’t see if as harmless, and was so infuriated that Suarez was giving our food from a competitor that they dropped him from the sponsorship. That didn’t sit well with fans, who blistered Subway on social media.
Dale Earnhardt Jr retires
Not much else you need to say here. Dale Jr. the sports most popular driver for 15-straight years, announced this would be his last year, full-time, on the track. We’ll get to see him as a NASCAR analyst, but NASCAR with no Earnhardt is going to feel awfully empty.
Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty, feud
When Smithfield announced it wouldn’t return to RPMotorports, Petty said he had a handshake deal with the company to continue as a sponsor, and lamented that he comes from a time when that’s good enough. Smithfield fired back, accused Petty of lying, and then slammed his product, saying the team just wasn’t good enough. Smithfield has since said it’s coming back to RPMotorsports in some capacity — some reports have said that’s because the team threatened legal action over dropping the sponsorship. No surprise, fans sided with The King in this ugly episode.
NASCAR overtime line rule scrapped
The arbitrary overtime line was confusing, and fans hated it. NASCAR listened. NASCAR made a chance in which the overtime itself will still exist as NASCAR wants every race to finish under a green flag. The new rule, instead of a line at some point on the track, uses the start finish line as the standard. The lead driver will not have to complete a full lap under green for the race to be considered complete. Yeah!
NASCAR TV rating sink
There’s no way around it. There was very little good news about NASCAR TV ratings in 2017. Most of the races were down year-over-year. Even Homestead — the race in which Martin Truex Jr. won the championship and Dale Jr. said goodbye to this on-track career — was the least watched championship race. Ever.
What do you think?