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The Art of Racing 12-23
Revved up for season
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With the start of the 2017 NASCAR season just a couple months away, here are some news tidbits that have been announced for the upcoming season.
The major announcement is Monster Energy has been selected as the sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series.  A lot of speculation has occurred as to whether or not the term “Cup” would be included.  Thankfully it has, and the official name will be “Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.” I will continue to write “Cup Series” when referring to NASCAR’s premier series.
NASCAR has known the 2016 season would be the last year Sprint would be involved as the main sponsor and it has been searching for a replacement for almost two years. Monster Energy’s deal to serve as title sponsor is a two-year deal with a two-year option, worth about $20 million annually.
Sources said that Sprint was paying $65 to 75 million a year in rights so you can imagine NASCAR’s dilemma in searching for a suitable replacement. Any competitors to Monster Energy such as 5-Hour Energy will be grandfathered in.
Many fans have been asking about the future of Nashville Superspeedway, which once figured to be a race track of prominence when it was first constructed.
Dover Motorsports announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Nashville Superspeedway facility to an entity owned by Panattoni Development Company, an international commercial real estate development company specializing in industrial, office and build-to-suit projects. That could mean the end for the race track which has been plagued by lack of attendance.
Most of NASCAR’s Cup Series races have not been sell-outs as noted by the many empty seats during telecasts. Many tracks are addressing this problem by reducing the seating capacity. 
Charlotte eliminated 41,000 seats while Atlanta removed 17,000. Dover will remove 17,500 seats. Indianapolis does not report its seating capacity (thought to be 235,000), so Daytona is listed as the largest with 147,000.  That will change in 2017 with the Daytona Rising project, resulting in a seating capacity of 101,000.  Bristol will take over the top spot with a seating capacity of 146,000. 
Many teams and drivers are changing teams and/ or sponsors. Most notably is Stewart/Haas Racing, which changes from Chevrolet to Ford.
The only announced Rookie of the Year candidates are Ty Dillon, (No. 13 Chevy) racing for the Germain Racing organization, and Erick Jones, (No. 77 Toyota) racing for Furniture Row Racing.
See you in February unless something major occurs!