While I was growing up, I wanted to be a race car driver. I’d still like to do that, but the realistic option is gone. It was pretty well gone when I realized that race car driving was dangerous – I could get hurt!

Still, I like racing. Pretty much anything going fast, but focused mainly on NASCAR. My first hero was Richard Petty – the king. He won 200 races, finishing in front of President Ronald Reagan.

After he retired, I moved to supporting Darrell Waltrip, #17. He had a mouth, he had an attitude, and he had the championships to back it up.

When he retired, Tony Stewart moved into my top spot. He had a temper, he would sometimes sometimes cross the line, but he also had the skills to win championships.

Tony Stewart retired a year ago. For me, nobody has taken his place. Some don’t make the list – Logano and Keselowski, I’m looking at you. Jimmy Johnson – nice guy, but no passion from me (maybe because he exercises). The replacement in Tony’s car, Clint Boyer, doesn’t have a spark.

The racing itself has changed, with stages and weird end-of-race rules, not to mention artificial cautions to bunch the field up.

Bottom line, I’m done with NASCAR. it just isn’t worth the investment of my time. I’ll still watch a few races – Daytona to start the season, the World 600 as part of the Memorial Day triple header. The Indy 500 is the only Indy-car race I watch.

The first race in that triple header is the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco. It’s always been fun to watch, with the long underground chute leading into the blinding sunlight, the tight corners and the water right there!

This year, I watched that race with different eyes. I saw internal struggles, man against machine and man against man. The incredible power and incredible fragility of the cars. The money spent and the technology used.

And I started watching F1 races, enjoying them more than I expected. Even the practices are fun, with David Hobbs mentioning the occasional “argy-bargy” in his understated English way.

So in 2018, I’m dropping NASCAR and switching to F1. It isn’t necessarily permanent, but it will take a lot to turn me back.