Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Changes in NASCAR coming

They won't be sweeping, but they will be noticeable.

NASCAR is in the process of nailing down its 2011 schedule, and the Twitterverse is blowing up with the revelations and announcements.

Say hello to Kentucky on the cup schedule, and say goodbye to 1 race at Auto Club Speedway in California (thankfully). Say goodbye to one Atlanta race date, and welcome Chicago into the final 10-race Chase format. Plenty of things happening here, but based on what I am seeing, it seems NASCAR could use a little geography lesson here.

For the life of me, I will never understand why NASCAR insists on going out west after the opening week of the season in Daytona. This year it was California, next year, it will be Phoenix. Sure it's warmer, but does it make sense for teams to spend 2 weeks in Florida, and then head back to the shops, and have the quick turnaround out to Arizona? Couldn't NASCAR decide to go to Atlanta after Daytona? As it is now, with nothing set in stone, the schedule looks to be shaping up like this.

Las Vegas

Those would be the first five races on the schedule, which would be using the 2010 final points standings to determine the top-35 for qualifying, if those get rained out (if that system is in place at all next season as well).

Forgive me for a moment, but I thought NASCAR was a "Southern" based series?

Another gaffe on this schedule is making Chicago a Chase race. NASCAR is big in Charlotte. NASCAR is not nearly as big in Chicago. Given the time of the year (the Chase beginning in September), the Sprint Cup series will be lucky to grab any kind of significant headlines in the Windy City. In September, my hometown of Chicago is completely immersed in a football team known as the Bears. Home or away, the Bears run Chicago in the fall. They run the city more at that time of year than a Cubs team on a pennant chase (as infrequent as that is). Chicago is a football city, not a NASCAR city. Having your "playoff" races begin there is an error of monumental proportions.

Kansas is getting a 2nd date is 2011, which will be good for them. Kansas becomes the new Pocono, with 2 races crammed together within a short span of time. Pocono gets 2 races in 2 months, Kansas with get 2 races within just over 3 months. Thing people are most excited about when it comes to Kansas? The casino that is there. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the racing facility, which is why the series will go there in the first place.

Ah, NASCAR. Thanks for giving us something to chat about, once again.

Mike Solarte

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