Here's what everyone will be talking about as the NASCAR haulers roll into Daytona International Speedway next month for the start of one the most unpredictable seasons in recent memory.
The last time backstretch tickets to the Daytona 500 were this cheap, Sterling Marlin pulled into Daytona victory lane to collect his second consecutive 500 trophy and a young Jeff Gordon went on to finish the season 34 points ahead of Dale Earnhardt to claim his first Winston Cup championship.
That was 14 years ago and America's interest in NASCAR was just being piqued. Corporate America was figuring out the sport's massive potential. Drivers were accessible, candid, genuinely grateful for any media coverage they could generate and still a bit surprised to be recognized by fans West of the Mississippi or north of the Mason Dixon.
It was NASCAR on-the-verge. Just as it is now.
Stories for '09: Will Fans Show Up? originally appeared on Motorsports FanHouse on Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.