All is back on the right track in NASCAR world heading to Talladega

Chase Elliott is back. The penalties have been resolved. The appeals process is fixed. NASCAR is back on track heading into Sunday’s GEICO 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN) at the Talladega Superspeedway. On Tuesday, the TV numbers came in and it showed that for the first time all year, they had an increase in viewership in comparison to them going backwards.

In fact, since Elliott was injured and missed weeks 3-8, the numbers dropped week over week to which saw them double digit decreases in viewership. Last week was up almost 11% which saw 2.218 million viewers tune into Kyle Larson’s win in the NOCO 400 at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway.

Granted, that 11% gain wasn’t all on Elliott’s shoulders. A big chunk of it I truly feel was. However, this race was on a Sunday afternoon compared to a Saturday night event a year ago. This showed me two things. NASCAR fans want Elliott in the race and that they want it on a Sunday afternoon.

What’s impressive is, this race went head-to-head with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Long Beach which was a prestigious race on network TV (NBC) and they still had a double-digit increase.

That’s a big win.

Also is the fact that there were no penalties to discuss. The drama was spared for a week. We weren’t talking louvers or greenhouse’s or cheating or manipulation or even appeals. We were able to discuss NASCAR and it paid off.

To further that point, the final appeal for Kaulig Racing was heard on Tuesday and the appeal board got this one right too. They gave them their points back and did so with NASCAR’s urging. NASCAR went to bat for a team to make this penalty similar in nature to Hendrick Motorsports’ from Phoenix.

It worked.

Now, we head to Talladega without any outstanding penalties or appeals and with ratings trending up for the first time all season and the five-time defending Most Popular Driver in the field. Elliott by the way, won the last time out in Talladega and likely has to win a race over the next 17 weeks to get into the postseason.

Last year, we came to Talladega talking about safety of these Next Gen’s and penalties. This year, we come to Alabama discussing what’s important. It’s about time.

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