Statistically, NASCAR will be losing two drivers are the end of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season that combined, have never won a championship on NASCAR’s top level. Combined, they have 26 wins, all by one of the two drivers himself. So, on paper, it’s not a big loss. But, their presence, that is where NASCAR is really losing big.
Unfortunately, people should associate NASCAR with names like Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and guys like that. But, two of arguably NASCAR’s most popular drivers worldwide are Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. One of which is retiring at seasons end and the other just announced that they don’t have a ride for 2018.
Can NASCAR stand losing Earnhardt and Danica in the same year? That comes after losing Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon last year. Can they really risk losing that much star power or name recognition in a span of two years?
Think about it. When you think of NASCAR since 2000, you think Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. Seriously, those are the most iconic names of this 21st century in this sport.
In 2018, all could be gone.
With attendance and ratings falling, that’s a lot of power missing.
Take it a step futher too, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are all free agents too. It’s like two of which also won’t have a ride for 2018.
If you ask any non regular NASCAR follower, I’m talking the casual fan or even someone that doesn’t watch, to name some current drivers, Earnhardt and Danica are really the ones ones listed. While Jimmie Johnson has seven championships, he’s just not recognized outside of our world. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano aren’t even names people associate with unfortunately. Kevin Harvick isn’t a big name outside of the NASCAR circus.
That’s why this young generation of drivers is coming in. They’re trying to change that narrative. Unfortunately, despite not having a ton of on track success, NASCAR could show up to Speedweeks in Daytona and not have an Earnhardt on the track. They also may be losing their only female driver too. Add to the fact that Richard Petty’s future looks bleak right now, and NASCAR has a major problem on their hands.