Sports are supposed to be entertainment and an escape.

But, for those of us in the NASCAR universe, we are in a second straight year of the real world smacking us in the face.

Last year it was the cancer battles that continue for friends like Steve Byrnes, Holly Cain and Sherry Pollex.             

This year, it's been the various health-related concerns that have sent Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Kyle Larson to the sidelines.  And, only one of those is tied to an on-track incident.

And, that doesn't include what J.D. Gibbs is dealing with.

You hear us often refer to the "family atmosphere of NASCAR".  But, we're seeing that it extends to more than just the folks who work in and around the sport.  You, the fans, are part of it as well.

There are very few professional athletes who connect with their fans like those in NASCAR.   That shows in the concern that fans express when the kinds of news we've gotten lately keeps coming out.

It may be an escape for many fans, but the emotional investment makes them as much a part of the family as the rest of us.  The nice thing is: it just multiplies the prayers.