This week, more the 230 members of the motorsports media will descend upon Charlotte, North Carolina for the 34th annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom.
From Tuesday until Thursday, NASCAR teams will promote the upcoming season and explain why they will end the year hoisting the Sprint Cup Series trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
FOXSports.com will be on hand all week to bring you extensive coverage from the event, but here are five things you need to know ahead of the annual preseason media tour.
‘Excited’ about ‘excitement’
If you had a dollar for each time a driver, crew chief or team owner said the words "excited" or "excitement" on the annual media tour, you would be quite rich. Obviously every team and driver is eager to get the new season started and each feels they have what it takes to win the championship.
Attempting to keep tally of how many times the word is said has become a sort of game among the media tour participants, but it truly shows that despite the grueling length of the season everyone is eager to get back to work.
New faces in new places
The media tour is the first official time new team-driver-crew chief combinations are introduced. For the second season in a row, Joe Gibbs Racing enters the season with a reshuffled crew chief roster. The team made it work in 2015, but can they repeat the same success?
Clint Bowyer moves over to HScott Motorsports for the 2016 season, before moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017. Can Bowyer help this team make the transition into a more competitive organization during his short time there?
The 2016 Sprint Cup rookie class will also face a host of questions. The rookie crop is one of the best in years and is sure to feature a heated battle between Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher and Brian Scott.
Almost every year, NASCAR announces some major changes to the sport that cause long-lasting affects. From the introduction of the Chase format to the changes that have shaped the Sprint Cup title fight since 2004, the media tour is often the time NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announces big changes for the sport.
One of the big changes that may be announced this week is the introduction of a Chase-like format for the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. While the Sprint Cup Series has decided the champion under an ever-evolving Chase format since 2004, the two lower divisions have not.
In November, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell confirmed the idea was under consideration and conversations were taking place with the competitors. This week we’ll see if those conversations led to actual change.
Movement on the RTA front
While the introduction of a Chase-like format for the NXS and NCWTS may be announced, many are wondering if any news will be made on the ownership front. It is no secret NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance has been working closely to reshape the ownership structure in the Sprint Cup Series, and have been doing so for quite some time.
Will the new structure look more like franchising than the current ownership model? Will there be guaranteed starting spots for teams that compete on a full-time basis? The discussions have been taking place behind closed doors for months, and it is possible Brian France reveals the conclusion of those discussions this week.
Sound bites galore
Aside from all of the "excitement" and breaking news, the annual media tour provides plenty of funny, offbeat and interesting stories. With drivers answering questions all day from multiple media outlets, the seriousness of the situation can only last so long.
Rivalries will be brought up from last season, drivers will have fun with one another at each other’s expense, and the mind games will begin in full force for the 2016 campaign.