By David G. Firestone
The start of the 2016 racing season has brought a number of changes. In the NHRA, the Pro Stock division has new car designs, and the broadcast team has a new color commentator in the form of Tony Pedregon, and a new deal with Fox. In NASCAR, for the first time since the 1992 Hooters 500, Jeff Gordon will not be in a car, but in the broadcast booth.
A lot of people didn’t like Tony Pedregon as color commentator for the Circle K Winternationals. He didn’t seem as relaxed and natural as Mike Dunn did. I’ll say this, Mike Dunn was a broadcaster for 14 years, and was used to playing the role of color commentator. Tony Pedregon isn’t used to his new role yet. He did a good job, in my opinion, and he will get better over time.
Jeff Gordon, on the other hand, seemed much more comfortable in his new role. I’m thinking it has something to do with his acting roles. He’s done commercials, movies, tv shows, and the like. He is used to being in front of the camera. Again, like Tony, he will get better over time. I like the chemesty that Darrell Waltrip and Jeff have with each other, and Mike Joy works well with them both.
My biggest gripe was Pro Stock. The teams did not, in my mind, have a good event. The teams didn’t have the time to do proper testing, outside of dyno testing, and it showed. I like Pro Stock, but watching that event was painful. There weren’t that many good runs, and the ones that were, you could tell, that the drivers were somewhat apprehensive about their cars. What should have happened was that the announcement last year should have been that the fuel injected Pro Stocks should have started in 2017, so that proper testing, and proper development could have been done.
While I have my gripes, I’m looking forward to the racing season, and I can only wait for IndyCar and F1 to start back up.