These last few weeks have given the phrase "Silly Season" a whole new meaning.

Like many fans of the sport, in recent weeks I've lost untold hours refreshing my Twitter feed and scouring the Internet attempting to stay updated on which drivers would be chasing a championship, what teams would face penalties entering the Chase and ultimately, how the aftershock would impact all those involved.

At this point, labeling the 2013 race to the Chase tumultuous seems like a bit of an understatement.

And while this latest firestorm has, at times, bordered on volatile, after observing it all I have to admit, I'm encouraged - encouraged and excited for not only the remainder of this season but the future of NASCAR.

The sport has a rich history of fiery personalities, fierce competitors, and impassioned fans - all of which have been on display in recent weeks. These heated debates spark from the same intensity that prompts Tony Stewart to hurl his helmet at Matt Kenseth after an on-track altercation or the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. to rattle a competitor's cage in a last lap pursuit of victory. It is the same fervor that inspires fans to place lofty water cooler wagers on who will take this week's checkered flag or ink their arm with a permanent display of driver loyalty.

It is that undercurrent of emotion boiling just beneath the surface that makes NASCAR special - makes it unique - and while this latest scenario is admittedly less than ideal, the spirited debates and vehement responses stirred in its wake are a testament to the sport's vitality and to the passion of its community which excites me for these next twelve, unpredictable weeks.

Just like the rest of you I'm eager to see who rises above it all and hoists the trophy in Homestead, and I'm equally as eager to hear your reaction after he does.

PS - You could see the 2013 Champion hoist the trophy in Vegas! Click here to find out how!