With the NASCAR teams forming the Race Team Alliance and talking about saving money on costs and drivers now speaking out on changing tracks and days of racing, I figured that I would redesign the schedule for NASCAR and the tracks in the Chase.
I do like Ryan Newman’s idea of racing on Wednesday nights, although that might hurt attendance at the races. Jimmie Johnson had put out there that maybe cutting back on the amount of races. Tony Stewart has advocated bringing new tracks. And there are other ideas out there as well. I am going to use some of the ideas. The one idea that I absolutely agree with is no Super Speedways in the Chase. So that would eliminate Daytona and Talladega from the last 12 races. That doesn’t mean that they won’t play a part in determining who gets through to the Chase. Let’s figure out how to make the schedule a bit better than what it is.
Sunday, Feb 8, 2015 – Daytona. I hate the 500 being the first race, but it is tradition. So instead of getting people mad and moving the Great American Race, we keep it here and have the only bit of tradition left that I am worried about.
Saturday, Feb 14, 2015 – Phoenix. The first of the Western swings would start in Phoenix. It is usually at California, but I like the racing at Phoenix way better and after Daytona, we need to keep some excitement.
Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 – Sonoma. The first of the Wednesday races. Plus a road course early in the season. The first three races are held on really different tracks. Teams save money because the races are four days apart. It also causes a bit of strategy. Do you run the same car at both? Or is your backup at Phoenix designed a bit to be better at Sonoma?
Sunday, March 1, 2015 – Atlanta. After the quirky start to the season, we start to hit the meat of the schedule with a track that everybody knows, Atlanta.
Sunday, March 8, 2015 – Homestead. I know that this is the usual last track of the season. But I don’t have to play by the rules. Besides, if Nashville Superspeedway was active and a NASCAR sanctioned track, that is what would have been here.
Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Darlington. The track too tough to tame comes in here. We have not hit too many 1.5 miles tracks here yet, they are coming, but the first Southern swing has to commence.
Sunday, March 22, 2015 – Texas. Everything is larger in Texas, including how disappointing the racing can become there.
Sunday, March 29, 2015 – Bristol. After Texas, we need to get some fire back into the competitors. A nice Bull ring usually does that.
April 3-5, 2015. No Sprint Cup Races. Easter.
Saturday, April 11, 2015 – Charlotte. Almost everybody’s home track. And a nice track to have a race after a week off to calm down after Bristol. Everybody knows that track, and winter is starting to leave the other parts of the country.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Martinsville. I like the way that the layout of the tracks are going. You can do the Charlotte-Martinsville-Dover races close together. Everybody has been going to these tracks for years. They know how they race. The notes don’t change much and they are close to most of the race headquarters for the teams.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 – Dover. Sandwiching Martinsville between Charlotte and Dover might throw a monkey wrench into the Monster Mile preparation, but it also brings total team strategy into play here. You are close enough (if you are HQ’d in Carolina) to get a new car if your destroyed your car in Martinsville, but far enough away just to go if you don’t need repairs.
Friday, April 24, 2015 – Kentucky. The start of a Midwestern swing of the country. It is far enough from winter that there should not be any snow on the ground even if there is a freak Spring blizzard that rolls through.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – Chicago. A cookie cutter 1.5 mile track. Everybody knows what to expect here. And it is a small jaunt to a new track that I would include on the schedule.
Sunday, May 3, 2015 – Iowa. I understand that the capacity isn’t ideal. But if NASCAR wants to grow and have tracks that can reach people that haven’t been to a race before, you have to go somewhere different. Iowa could be that track that brings in the fans from Minnesota and the Dakotas. I know that there are enough of them here to pack the seats there. And since it is a new track, you could decide to give teams a chance to learn more and move the race back to the following Wednesday.
May 8-10 No Sprint Cup Races. Mothers Day.
At this point, we have 14 races completed. We have had a couple of weekday races with weekends either before or after having a race as well. Those times should save the teams money with travel expenses and hauling costs. And we know that the home life of the crews is basically non-existent during the season anyways. It is nice to have a week off for the teams, so the team members can have some time with the families during the season and allow them to recharge a bit.
Sunday, May 17, 2015 – Michigan. Coming off a weekend of no racing, let’s have the race in front of all the Manufacturers in Michigan.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 – Eldora. Night race, period. Another new track. There isn’t one in Ohio, and Eldora is starting to make noise about wanting a Cup race, so let’s give them one.
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – Concord. New Hampshire is always nice this time of the year. I understand that the leaves are not turning color yet, but this is a perfect place to have this race.
Friday, June 5, 2015 – Richmond. Again, another track where everybody knows the layout and racing.
Sunday, June 14, 2015 – St. Louis. The only race at Gateway International Speedway this year. Gets the teams out of the South.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 – Talladega. A Super Speedway and the only appearance of the Sprint Cup there during the year. Drivers hate the pack racing, so time to cut one of those races out with the shortened schedule.
June 26-28, 2015 – No Spring Cup races.
At this point we are at the End of June. 20 races have been completed. The schedule has been completely been revamped. There are a couple of weeks that might be tough for the teams, but overall I don’t think that it would be that bad.
Saturday, July 4, 2015 – Daytona. Another tip of the cap to tradition. The only track that keeps both races at the same time every year under my scheduling.
Saturday, July 11, 2015 – Charlotte. All-Star race.
Sunday, July 19, 2015 – Fontana. The one time outside the chase that I have the teams do one race way outside of the Eastern or Southern part of the country.
Sunday, July 26, 2015 – Indianapolis. The Brickyard keeps it timing in my schedule. It is important to the teams, so keep the tradition.
End of July. We are at 23 races run. If we keep the 36 race format, there will be three more races. If I were doing the schedule, the Brickyard is the last race before the Chase for the Cup. So the 12 race chase begins now.
July 31 – August 2, 2015 – No Sprint Cup Races. When is the last time that you had four weekends off from Cup races?
Sunday, August 9, 2015 – Chase Race 1: Pocono. Drivers know the track but haven’t been here yet this season. Could cause some slipups.
Sunday, August 16, 2015 – Chase Race 2: Watkins Glen. A Road Course in the Chase is a must.
Watkins Glen satisfies that requirement.
Sunday, August 23, 2015 – Chase Race 3: Kansas. Another track that we will be at for the first time.
Cookie cutter, but once in a while it needs to happen.
Sunday, August 30, 2015 – Chase Race 4: Atlanta. Many great races have happened at Atlanta over the years. Keep it in the Chase.
Saturday, September 5, 2015 – Chase Race 5: Homestead. I do have a heart. While Homestead would not be the finale of the season, I would keep them in the Chase with this race.
Sunday, September 13, 2015 – Chase Race 6: Las Vegas. The first time at this track for the year. Only one race there should help fill the stands, with it being a Chase race and all.
Sunday, September 20, 2015 – Chase Race 7: Darlington. The Lady in Black needs to be in the Chase.
Sunday, September 27, 2015 – Chase Race 8: Concord. I debated about this track. I think that it is a good Segway into the short track part of the Chase. Imagine being in the chase trying to win the title and having three consecutive short tracks. You need to have luck and nerves of steel.
Saturday, October 3, 2015 – Chase Race 9: Martinsville. The paperclip will have tempers getting a little bit hot. And easy track to get revenge and possibly have some not-so-nice tactics by drivers. But it is not the best short track that we can have in the Chase.
Saturday, October 10, 2015 – Chase Race 10: Bristol. Imagine that the Championship contenders are angry at each other and you know that there are only two races after this. Do you try and take the other guy out and damage his championship chances or do you try and get out unscathed? And at Bristol, is there anyway to try and get out unscathed?
Sunday, October 18, 2015 – Chase Race 11: Texas. I know that I complained before that it is usually a boring race. But after the three short tracks in a row, we need somewhere that the competitors aren’t beating and banging lap after lap.
Sunday, October 25, 2015: Chase Race 12: Charlotte. . Three races at Charlotte seems a little bit of overkill, but it allows the teams to have the final race of the season at their home track after a long season, and one of those races is the All-Star race which should be bid on by the tracks. Besides the celebrations at the race facilities of each team will allow them to include more people from the team to celebrate their accomplishments.
With this schedule, you have 35 races. Three less than the 2014 schedule. I do include more tracks than what is currently on the schedule. If I could have figured out how to include Memphis, Nashville, and Milwaukee, I would have. Some tracks do get a second race taken away and some get added. It is what I believe would make the best racing for the series. Adding Eldora is a no-brainer. Anything under a mile lets the fans feel more excitement because there is less space for the cars. Beating and banging have always been a part of racing, so instead of having Mile-and-a- half tracks become the norm, intermix those with a couple more short tracks.
I would think that NASCAR would love to have more tracks to race at. It allows more fans to purchase tickets get involved in watching the sport and to sell more merchandise which in turn would bring in more TV ratings and bring in more TV revenue after the next deals are up next decade. You need to recruit more fans and going to the same tracks twice a year doesn’t really follow that model.
I know that this is fantasy scheduling, but it is fun to think about what you would do to increase interest and make it better for the teams participating. And this is only one of many solutions out there. I did shorten the length of the season by two weeks and added more breaks during the season. I also caused some stress on the teams when I did do weekday races. That is a challenge that they haven’t had before, so it would be interesting to see what happened during those stretches.