I did take some time off from watching but am at it again with my son and have a renewed my interest. Always followed the little guy and the dirt guys trying to make it. I put Schrader in that basket, Truex and Blaney now. I do like C Bell and think he will be great when he gets up. Many things have changed over the years but Dale's death had a huge impact. The gate prices for a family had become ridiculous and now they are paying you to come. It is a lot easier to DVR and watch at my pace then travel these days.
Unfortunately, I don't think the next crop of guys are relatable to the average fan and the guys NASCAR was promoting really haven't done much. When you lose Smoke, Martin, Edwards etc retiring and replace with the 18-25 year old guys, its cool to see teh next regime but the only constant in winning is Kyle Busch and maybe Harvick/Brad. At teh end of the day, NASCAR wanted Junior to do well and I think he was nothing but a so-so driver trying to carry dad's flag.
Right now JGR is one of the best organizations and with Busch driving may be unstoppable. I will admit hat Busch playing in teh Xfinity and Truck series does make it a yawner for me but the rule are teh rules. If they are going to let him race then thats what we get.
Just a side note. Winning does turn people off. I remember in teh mid 80s (maybe 1985) being a diehard Flemington supporter with my mom and dad but then Billy got on one of those winnig steaks and we stopped going. My dad said we were not going to go watch teh race for 2nd. We were not fans of his :-)