Even after an admittedly short, semi-off-season without NASCAR's Chargers and Impalas, it's tough to guard against putting too much stock in the daily results of the Preseason Thunder testing going on this week in Florida.
The NASCAR news for the last couple days has been full of reports of how Kyle the Younger Busch has been faster than anyone in Daytona. Kyle's switch from his Hendrick ride to a Gibbs Toyota would have been the big story most years in the France Republic. But 2007 saw his story barely make the top five, behind the loss of the late Bill France, a couple of Earnhardt related sagas and the Gibbs to Toyota switch.
Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing team and even his manufacturer of choice, Toyota, have plenty to prove to sizable numbers of NASCAR watchers too. Staunch Tony Stewart/Chevrolet followers are going to take plenty of convincing that Smoke's kidnapping by them evil fereners was, in the long run, a good thing. Tony being fast out of the 2008 box would help with that.
I'm sure that Earnhardt Jr feels some pressure to start well and he probably will. How about Michael Waltrip, who may be feeling heat from sponsors and his manufacturer? Do you think that J J Yeley might have a little extra motivation to put that Hall of Fame Racing Camry in front of a Gibbs car or two?
Yates Racing is looking for sponsorship. Gillette-Everham Motorsports sucked last year and has all new sponsors - and partners - to please. On and on and on, throughout the garage the pressure - if it ever let up at all during the shortest winter in sports - is back on in full. Thank you NASCAR.
Picture credit: Sam Greenwood - Getty Images for NASCAR