NASCAR has been looking to regain its footing in recent years. The sport has gone through falling popularity across the board for the most part of the last decade. They have bounced around with new ideas, format and performance changes to try and gain some of its once boasting fan base.

Some of that excitement was regained last season in the form of great racing and photo finishes, but the numbers didn’t show that. Some of the low TV ratings and empty seats could have been pointed to Jeff Gordon not being around for most of the early months of the season after retirement, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being out with a concussion for the last half of the NSCS season. It seemed like, other than the great racing on the track, everything else just didn’t have the momentum. Whether it was rule changes, pit road penalties, Sprint leaving the sport or teams failing post race inspection, they just couldn’t find momentum.

Then comes Monster; the Energy Drink company was named the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top level. This has given fans a new excitement about the sport and the 2017 season. Top level executives from Monster have said they intend to bring a show and more of an event based scene to NASCAR events this season and in the future. Along with the title sponsor’s announcement, last week, many people within the sport came together to announce format changes for the 2017 campaign. A three stage system will award points to the Top 10 and enhances the meaning of a drivers regular season performance.

With all of these changes and the even lower down force package for 2017, this could be the season that we finally see the excitement in the sport, transfered to actual numbers through attendance and TV ratings. It could be the year that puts NASCAR back on the map.