Stewart-Haas Racing

NASCAR hopes for boost after big swings at spicing it up

NASCAR has a new sponsor, a new format and welcomes back its most popular driver, all providing optimism for a series eager to halt a steady decline in attendance, ratings and sponsorship.

Money is down across the board and everyone is doing more with less to try to save a buck.

The on-track product for the stock car series officially reports for work Friday at Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the Feb. 26 season-opening "Great American Race." It will kick off a season of hold-your-breath, we-really-hope-this-works efforts by NASCAR, the networks, tracks, teams and drivers to turn things around.

This season begins with Monster Energy roaring into...