A Christmas Wish List for NASCAR 2024

Motorsport.com's Nick DeGroot shares his wishes for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.


An improved short track package

NASCAR fans are hoping for improvements in the racing at short tracks and road courses. While the Next Gen car has proven successful at intermediate tracks, the racing at venues one-mile in length or shorter has suffered. The recent aerodynamic changes have not had a significant impact on the on-track product. There have been suggestions for more horsepower or a different tire approach to improve the racing.

Many believe that increasing the horsepower could make a difference, but NASCAR has shown no interest in doing so. Denny Hamlin has suggested exploring different tire options from Goodyear to create more fall-off during the run. NASCAR needs to find a solution soon to enhance the racing at short tracks and road courses.

Denny Hamlin continues to embrace the role of NASCAR's villain

Denny Hamlin had quite a year in 2023, becoming NASCAR's villain. He escalated feuds with fellow drivers and reveled in being booed by fans. His post-race interview after winning the Bristol Night Race was a highlight of the season, displaying his antagonistic nature. With few drivers willing to take on the role of the 'bad guy', it would be great to see Hamlin continue to embrace it in 2024.

Another international racing star gives stock cars a try

The presence of international racing talent in NASCAR has been exciting for fans. In 2023, we witnessed F1 World Champions, Le Mans winners, Supercars champions, and even Travis Pastrana participate in Cup races. These crossovers generate interest and highlight the collaboration between different racing series. It would be fantastic to see more international racing stars competing in NASCAR, as well as NASCAR drivers venturing beyond stock cars.

For example, Kyle Larson will attempt the Indy 500/Coke 600 double, which hasn't been done for a decade. More collaborations like this would be beneficial for all forms of motorsport.


The Brickyard 400 to be a success

After a hiatus, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will return to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The road course experiment at the iconic oval provided exciting races, but the absence of the traditional event left a void. The hope is that the current Cup car will deliver better racing on the 2.5-mile speedway, offering a memorable and well-attended event. A successful Brickyard 400 will ensure that it remains a staple on the NASCAR calendar.

The Daytona 500 to have a clean finish

Recent editions of the Daytona 500 have ended with chaotic finishes, marred by crashes and controversies. Fans are hoping for a clean finish in 2024, with thrilling racing and minimal wrecks. It's a tall order considering the nature of the race, but a green-flag finish without any race-ending crashes would be a welcome change. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's biggest race of the year, and a smooth, exciting finish would be ideal.

An actual ROTY battle

The Rookie of the Year battle in recent years has been one-sided and lackluster. Fans are eager to see a competitive fight for the title between talented rookies. The 2024 rookie class, featuring Josh Berry, Carson Hocevar, and Zane Smith, shows promise for an engaging battle throughout the season. If the Spire Motorsports drivers step up, there could even be an intense competition between teammates.

A close ROTY battle adds excitement to the season and showcases the talent of upcoming drivers.


Brad Keselowski finally snaps his winless streak

Since joining Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK Racing), Brad Keselowski has revived the team's performance as a co-owner. While Chris Buescher found success with three wins in 2023, Keselowski has yet to win a race for himself as a driver/owner. With 35 career wins under his belt, breaking his winless streak would be a significant accomplishment. The RFK Racing team has shown improvement, and Keselowski's victory would be a culmination of their efforts.

Getting back to victory lane would be an emotional and rewarding moment for Keselowski and the team.

Stewart-Haas Racing finds its footing

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) faced a challenging year in 2023, going winless for the first time since its inception. With veteran Kevin Harvick stepping out of the car, the team relies on four young drivers with limited Cup level victories. The struggles of SHR have been hard to watch, particularly for a team that was once dominant. Fans hope that SHR can turn things around in 2024 and regain their competitive edge.

The success of SHR would bring back the strength of one of NASCAR's top teams.

Chase Elliott returns to form

Chase Elliott had a challenging 2023 season, failing to win a race for the first time since 2017 and missing the playoffs. His injuries and suspensions further hindered his season. Regardless of fans' affiliation with Elliott, the sport benefits when its Most Popular Driver is performing well. The battles between Elliott and his teammate Kyle Larson have provided thrilling moments, and fans are eager to see Elliott return to his competitive form.

The resurgence of Elliott would add excitement to the on-track rivalries and create more intense competition.


A DTS-esque response to Netflix’s NASCAR documentary

The success of Netflix's Formula 1 documentary series Drive to Survive has generated increased interest in the sport. Fans are hopeful that a similar series focusing on NASCAR can introduce stock car racing to a wider audience. The documentary would follow the ten-race playoffs and showcase the personalities of the current star drivers. Netflix has the potential to highlight the drama, action, politics, and personalities that make NASCAR captivating.

Reaching a younger demographic is vital for the growth of the sport, and a Netflix series could assist in those efforts.

Honorable mentions

Other wishes for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season include an improved FOX Sports broadcast, a finalized new charter agreement, and the announcement of at least one international Cup race for 2025.