Should NASCAR Reconsider Adjusting The Schedule?

Dale Earnhardt,Jr.

(WOMR file photo)

Didn’t the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series just visit Pocono Raceway less than two months ago?

Of course it did. And if Dale Earnhardt Jr. hadn’t won that particular race, no one would remember much about it except that it sure wasn’t Daytona or Darlington or Talladega or Bristol.

A second Sprint Cup race at Pocono in less than two months greatly illustrates the need for NASCAR to seriously look at overhauling its schedule.

But then, you already know that’s not going to happen.

Less than a month after telling the world that NASCAR was going to take a “robust” look at schedule changes in 2015, befuddling Brian France, the governing body’s head honcho, backtracked and said not to expect any major changes in 2015.

Let us review this once again!

On July 7, France told media assembled at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, prior to the running of the Coke Zero 400 that this season’s revamped format to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, coupled with NBC taking over the second half of the television schedule next season, provided NASCAR with a unique opportunity to make scheduling changes perhaps as soon as 2015.

“There will be a robust discussion that will be for those reasons a more comprehensive look at what the best schedule will look like,” France said then.

Then on July 27, less than three weeks later, France did an interview on SIRIUS/XM Radio in which he said of potential 2015 schedule changes (via’s David Caraviello): 

“It’s not going to be a dramatic change, but there will be some things that are a little different.”

Apparently, the “robust discussion” didn’t last very long, didn’t include many parties and, quite frankly, wasn’t all that robust!

It’s understood that schedule changes aren’t easy to come by in NASCAR. Tracks are involved. Television pays millions to call at least a good portion of the shots. NASCAR, as in the governing body itself, seems perfectly willing to change anything and everything else about its sport. However, for some strange reason, is very reluctant to make significant changes in the annual schedule.

Drivers, fans, and common sense, all appear to be tied for a very distant fourth place in NASCAR thinking.  Because if you listen to the chatter that’s out there with drivers, team owners, and fans alike, there is a growing groundswell of opinion that a major overhaul of the schedule is exactly what should be in order for a sport that is struggling to satisfy its old fan base, as well as mostly failing to bring in new ones.

In the past decade all most everything has changed, the cars, SAFER barriers, HANS devices, and next year the motors, etc.  Things have cut, chopped, changed, and rebuilt. Why not re-evaluate at the schedule and make it much more climate and user friendly?

It has become more than obvious that Pocono Raceway is one of several NASCAR tracks that no longer deserve two race dates per year on an already bloated schedule, that would better serve its goal of driving fan interest by cutting the current 38-week season (36 points races plus two exhibitions) short by several weeks.

However, it appears that Brian France is at the head of a an ever shrinking minority which believes otherwise.  And after all, Brian France controls NASCAR and his sister, Lisa France Kennedy, who controls ISC, the race track portion of the France/NASCAR empire.


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