Is NASCAR finished?

No, NASCAR isn't six feet under like some would have you believe, but it certainly is at a turning point.

Jimmie Johnson's third Sprint Cup championship in a row was kind of a 'ho hum' for those who aren't fans of the driver of the No. 48. Heck, I'd venture a guess that it was even a little boring for those who are J.J. fans.

But Carl Edwards sure made it fun to watch. And I still love NASCAR.

I've run into a lot of people who say that since NASCAR has changed so much since the days of Dale Earnhardt that they don't follow it as closely. Maybe they think NASCAR isn't cool anymore. Heck, maybe it never was cool.

But it's a sport of people and very fast cars who really capture my attention.

One of the people who captured my attention years ago was NASCAR driver Dave Blaney, a World of Outlaws champion who drove sprint cars when they weren't Sprint Cup cars with a capital S. They were the 410 variety so familiar to area dirt short-track fans.

Blaney's name is in the news 37 days out from the Daytona 500 as a possible driver for a new team formed by his former crew chief and competition director at Bill Davis Racing (BDR), Tommy Baldwin.

Recently, Davis dumped his race team and engine company, despite Johnny Benson's 2008 Craftsman Truck title, thanks to the loss of CAT sponsorship to Richard Childress Racing.
But since the sale of the BDR team, Baldwin has formed his own team, and Blaney is rumored to be getting behind the wheel of the new car.


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Baldwin is a five-time Sprint Cup and former Daytona 500 winning crew chief with Ward Burton piloting the car.

Baldwin's team, according to a news release, "is aggressively preparing its Toyota race cars with plans to compete in the 51st running of The Daytona 500 in February," hoping to compete full-time in the Sprint Cup series.

With the closure of BDR and the economy the way it is right now, it sounds like a pretty nutty thing to do, but Baldwin is optimistic.

"With tough economic times upon us, the timing for starting this team is right," he said. "Our overhead is low and we have a great group of talented mechanics and specialists to choose from. We can offer sponsors the chance to get into Sprint Cup racing at a fraction of the costs, without compromising on-track performance, due to our low overhead."

Blaney told the Vindicator that going back to racing in the dirt was not an option.

"I've been out of dirt about 12 years," he said. "That's a long time to be out and be as successful as I was. I could do it, but the odds aren't good."

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached by e-mail at sports@yorkdispatch.com.