As the stars of NASCAR storm into Kentucky Speedway, the theme of this weekend’s racing action seems to be centered on the end of an era for racing veterans as well as the official launch of the latest and greatest “Young Guns”. In fact, several announcements were made this week, which left two major NASCAR veterans without rides at Kentucky Speedway.
The first of these announcements involved past Camping World Truck Series champion, Todd Bodine who made the announcement on Twitter that he would be replaced in the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Toyota by NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular, Brett Moffitt in tomorrow night’s UNOH 225.
28-year-old former NASCAR Camping World Series driver, Cale Gale would be the next young gun to earn a ride in this series at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow. Competing in the No. 30 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado for Turner Scott Motorsports, Gale captured his first NCWTS win last November at the 2012 season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. After which, Gale would be out of the seat and on top of the pit box as the crew chief for 15-year-old developmental driver Brandon Jones in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East division. Not willing to give up on seat time, Gale continued to compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at his home track – Historic Bowman Gray Stadium, where he has won two races this season. Tomorrow night, Gale will have a chance to prove that he still has what it takes to win in one of NASCAR’s top series.
Sprint Cup veteran Bobby Labonte would also make startling news during a chat on the website of his JTG Daughtery Racing team. This past Sprint Cup Series champion will break his streak of 704 consecutive starts when AJ Allmendinger replaces Labonte in the JTG No. 47 in this Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.
NASCAR fans have also been inundated lately with news about up-and-coming young competitors like Jeb Burton, who sits second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series new young hot-shot, Kyle Larson.
While this fan always enjoys seeing young, talented drivers receive their shot at a dream come true, I can’t help but feel a little sad to see the exciting past of this sport come to an end. Those veterans who made NASCAR the success that has been seem to be fading faster than what used to be the true focus of this sport – the competition.
Although I am happy to see AJ Allmendinger have a chance to return, I have to admit that hearing Bobby Labonte’s disappointment, I couldn’t help but feel a pang for NASCAR’s yesteryear. Let’s just hope that these new hot shots remember those drivers who they once wished they can be and earn both their and long time fans respect as they move forward in the NASCAR world.