If you’re a casual NASCAR fan, you might catch a race every now and again.
You probably know the names of the sport’s biggest stars, like Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.
But, unless you pay close attention to the sport week after week and year after year, you might not be able to keep up with all the changes over the past decade.
In the “olden days,” races started, ran for their set number of laps, and ended.
Since 2017, there are multiple stages to races and it’s possible a NASA mathematician tallies the points.
There also are multiple checkered flags, and only the last one is black and white. The others are green and white and signal the end of a stage.
NASCAR is constantly evolving, which helps keep it vibrant and exciting.
After Jimmie Johnson’s run of five consecutive titles from 2006-10, NASCAR has done a good job of changing things up so one star won’t be as dominant. In fact, since Johnson’s fifth in a row in 2010, no driver has won back-to-back titles.
Yet, all these rules and changes can be confusing to the casual observer.
Another ever-changing part of NASCAR is the All-Star race, which will be run this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, just a stone’s throw west of Dallas.
But how does a driver qualify for the race? And what is the format?
To help sort all this out, Zach Dean and Ken Willis of the Daytona Beach News-Journal will be joining me on the latest “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast,” powered by the USA Today Network.
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Dean is the Sports Editor and motorsports writer at Daytona Beach, recently taking over the leadership role, and he’s been with the paper for five years.
Willis is a columnist who has been with the News Journal since he was a teenager in 1981. The first race he covered was the 1982 Firecracker 400 as a college sophomore working part-time for the paper.
They’ll tell us about this year’s All-Star race format, who’s been tearing up the track and what to expect as we work our way toward the regular-season finale at Daytona on Aug. 28, followed by the 10 playoff races.
The podcast can be found on all of the USA TODAY Network’s 17 Florida sites.
It also can be found wherever you find your podcasts. Or, simply type, “The State of Florida Sports Podcast” into your favorite search engine and several options come up for you to listen.
Go ahead, give it a try. It’s a great way to pass the time while you’re driving, cooking, or doing just about anything!
If you like it, listen to previous episodes, which include interviews with FSU coaching legend Bobby Bowden and two-time shuttle astronaut Winston Scott.
Walters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org