Days like Fontana…those are the days that make fans. They’re the triple overtimes of NBA games, they’re the winning touchdowns getting overturned at the end of NFL games, they’re the days that just don’t happen very often. They’re the days that get people talking. That get people on their feet. That make fans. That do so much for the sport. Days like Fontana, those are the days that NASCAR needs right now. And to think, one of those days came at a track that no one expected it to.
The race at Fontana was complete with all the rivalries, the emotions, the wrecks, the nail-biter moves that were made in the final corners. Even before the last few laps, yesterday’s race was shaping up to be a good one; the events that occurred in those last few laps made it a great race, a race that won’t soon be forgotten.
With so much relying on this year, relying on the new Gen-6 cars that aren’t just “identifiable by stickers”, Fontana was exactly the type of race that the sport needed, and needs to happen again. Already in 2013, attention-catching race highlights have been featured on networks like CNN week in and week out, appealing to new audiences and reaching potential fans. NASCAR is making uncharacteristic leaps and bounds so far this year, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet.
The Hamlin vs. Logano feud that turned into a vicious wreck on the final lap of the race initially stole the spotlight in Fontana yesterday, but a multitude of other events at the conclusion of the race sent viewers and fans on an emotional roller coaster.
For instance, the fist fight on pit road and the heated interviews that followed from Joey Logano and Tony Stewart, with half of Stewart’s interview being bleeped out. Or how about the concern over the absence of a SAFER barrier on the wall at Auto Club Speedway that was hit by Denny Hamlin during the wreck, resulting in an overnight visit to the hospital?
Even two of the sport’s most popular drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick, were basically forgotten in the chaos and distress, with nearly no attention paid to Earnhardt Jr. taking the points lead going into the Easter holiday, and barely any attention on Patrick period.
Needless to say, yesterday’s race at Fontana was the kind of race that personifies NASCAR. The kind of race that leaves people stunned, unaware of what events to discuss first because each was so exciting for its own unique reasons. Yesterday’s race was the kind of race that engages the emotions of viewers and fans, and most importantly, the kind of race that makes lifelong fans.
Days like Fontana…those are the days that will be remembered for years to come. They’re the epitome of motorsports, the brick and mortar of auto racing.
By Alanis King