The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup racing season is nearly over, and for me, it seems like the year has flown by. With only one race to go, it appears that Jimmie Johnson will most likely win his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup, and make history in the process.
For many fans, this is somewhat of a sad time, a time to reflect back on what could have been, what maybe should have been, and to know that we won't see the cars back on the track until February, 2010.
For many, this can be an exciting time though. The end of the 2009 season marks the beginning of one of the most frantic times for the teams; the off season.
Much of the usual silly season silliness has shaken itself out, with a few drivers going to new teams for the 2010 season. Now is the time for drivers and crew chiefs to begin to feel each other out, to get to know each other. For many owners, now is a time for finding a new sponsor for next year's races, hopefully a sponsor that will keep the team running the entire year.
For many fans, now is the time to begin to dare hope that 2010 will be a better year for our favorite drivers than 2009 was. I know, because I speak from experience as a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan.
Dale Jr. was not the only driver that seemed to have only one kind of luck in 2009, which of course was 'bad.' Fans of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch and many others understand that 2009 just wasn't the greatest of years for certain drivers. Jeff Gordon fans must be wondering if indeed Jeff will ever win that 'Drive For Five' that has eluded him thus far.
There are teams that won't win the Cup in 2009 that I am impressed with, however. The 14 and 39 cars of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman come to mind. Basically, this team was completely overhauled in the last off season, and both teams have performed superbly in 2009. The 47 car of Marcos Ambrose was another pleasant surprise this year. Bobby Labonte, who just announced that he would be driving the underfunded 71 car next year, pulled off some amazing qualifying efforts and finishes in that car this year.
From now until that last few minutes before the drop of the green flag at Daytona in February, this so called off season will be one of the busiest of the year for many NASCAR teams.