Jul 6, 2013; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races to the finish line to win the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NASCAR: How NASCAR Has Changed Over 20 Years

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COMMENTARY: If you look at videos of football, baseball, hockey, basketball from 1993 you will notice that they are basically the same thing you see now. NASCAR however has evolved as a sport since 1993 and has changed in so many ways. Some of those changes are for the better and some for the worse.

This season there are 19 teams that run (or attempt to run) a full schedule. In 1993 there were 33. That is a big difference and something that NASCAR has really lost over the years. Most teams ran only one or two cars. Rousch only had Mark Martin and Wally Dallenbach. Hendrick Motorsports had Ricky Rudd, Jeff Gordon and Ken Schrader. Hendrick was the only team to field three cars. Also something that might surprise some newer fans but the drivers were already in their cars during the national anthem.

Getting the obvious out of the way the series was called the “Winston Cup” Series instead of the “Sprint Cup Series”. The only difference is every week everything that you see that is yellow or has the word “Sprint” on it would have been red and had “Winston” on it. The first race of the season was not called the Sprint Unlimited it was called the Busch Clash. Also there was no “Chase for the Championship” like we have now. The chase didn’t start until 2004 and the only way to win the championship before that was to be consistent throughout the entire season instead of the last 10 races.

There were two tracks that the Sprint Cup Series no longer races at anymore that were raced in 1993. North Wilkesboro saw its last Sprint Cup race in 1996 and Rockingham saw its last one in 2004. Also there were fewer races held at night. For example the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona was run during the day. Earlier than 1993 the race was run at 11 AM to try to beat the Florida heat. There were also only 30 races in a season instead of the 36 we have now. Also Texas, Fontana, Kentucky, Chicago, Las Vegas, Kansas and Homestead did not exist yet. The safety of the cars were also different. There were no Hans devices, open face helmants were still allowed and there were no SAFER barriers. Talladega did not even have a catch fence around the turns! That changed in 1993 when Jimmy Horton few out of the track in the Sprint Cup Race.

The TV broadcast were also different back then and many fans that watched it back then really miss the commentary. The main commentators were usually either Bob Jenkins or Ken Squier and the analyst was usually Ned Jarrett. Mike Joy who is the lead commentator for FOX was a pit reporter then. Neil Bonnett also did some commentary during the 93 season.

The cars obviously had different body shapes then they do now. There was the Ford Thunderbird, Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevy Lumina. There are currently six drivers that raced in Sprint Cup in 1993 that still do today. They are Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte.

NASCAR has evolved so much over the past 20 years. Some of the changes were for the better and some for the worst.

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Tags: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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