Motorsport News

NASCAR’s Alumni Network Benefits Everyone

2024 Cup Darlington I pack racing IV - Tyler Reddick, No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, No. 6 RFK Racing Ford (Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images via NASCAR Media)

NASCAR did a good thing.

Giving credit where it’s due, NASCAR’s newly-launched Alumni Network checks all the boxes of something that’s long overdue. Announced in April, the program is open to former drivers, crew, owners and other industry insiders, focusing on those with 100 or more races on their resumes. The idea is simple: to allow the people who have been a part of the sport remain in touch with the sport—and each other.

The plan is to also keep them in touch with race fans.

The program held its first gathering at Darlington Raceway this past weekend. Some veteran drivers spotted at the track included Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace along with brothers Mike and Kenny, fellow HOF member Terry Labonte, Rick Mast, Greg Biffle, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner and Dave Marcis. Some participants met with the media, some with drivers and teams. Labonte joined the broadcast booth for part of the race.

Future events are in the works with fan appearances on the to-do list.

This is a program with the potential to be good for everyone. It will allow fans to meet some of the drivers they didn’t have the chance to see race in person—newer fans may have never seen the group from Darlington race, but now they’ll have opportunities to put faces to the names they read in the history books, the ones their mothers or fathers or grandparents cheered for.

That’s not just a cool little thing—that’s massive.

Sports fans, by and large, become sports fans because of a personal connection. They watch with a friend or family member as a way to spend time together. Parents take the next generation to the track in hopes that the experience will be as meaningful as it is to them. And for some of those youngsters, it sticks.

Having other generations of drivers and crewmen available to meet in person can only make the connection deeper. The stories are better when told by those who lived them. And we’re all better for hearing them.

The media, too, benefit.

Having a variety of drivers available to tell their stories makes things easier, yes, but they also give us perspective. They give new angles on old questions. Today’s NASCAR is so vastly different than even 20 years ago that understanding how the sport operated and how teams navigated it from primary sources is a valuable tool. And while it’s true that many drivers and crew are available to those who ask, the opportunity to ask questions in person is important. Faces…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …