Kansas Notes: Changes Could Affect Fans
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Kansas City, Kan. – Word is that NASCAR is eyeing two future schedule changes which would affect television viewers and would affect viewers in the grandstands.
Grant Lynch, chairman of Talladega Superspeedway and International Speedway Corporation’s vice president of strategic operations, has heard about both and talked about both on Saturday.
The first is standardization of the starting times of Sprint Cup races.
Lynch says, good idea.
“From what we’ve been hearing from fans, that move would be real positive,” Lynch said.
Currently starting times vary. This year, there have been 16 races starting at 2:00pm, five at 3:25-3:30pm, six from 7:20-7:30pm, two at 8:00pm, as well as other races starting at 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:00pm, 5:45pm, 6:00pm and 8:30pm.
The standardized starting time being talked about most for Sunday races is 1 p.m. Eastern.
Lynch likes that.
The late starts, he said, mean “fans are having a difficult time getting back home after races. Some don’t get home until 3 in the morning” after the latest of starts.
Lynch also thinks a standardized starting time would aid those who watch from their couches.
“It’s become harder and harder to know when to tune in,” Lynch said.
Also getting attention are reports that NASCAR may try to insert more two-day shows onto the schedule. That is, cut out action on the tracks on Fridays and have the Cup cars qualify on Saturday and race on Sunday.
Lynch liked the concept but said at some tracks two-day shows may not work.
“I think anything we can do to shorten things up would be good, but, I don’t know if we can get everything done” in just two days, he said. “Especially at the big tracks.”
Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson are first and second respectively in points heading into Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 Sprint Cup race, but in the final practice at Kansas Speedway on Saturday they were second and first respectively.
And third fastest was Matt Kenseth, who was bumped from Chase contention at the final pre-Chase race of the season.
Kenseth and his Roush Fenway Racing team seem to have found some speed over the past couple weeks. At Dover last Sunday, Kenseth finished third.
Kenseth was asked if his team is back on the way up after Happy Hour and said, “Practice times are often who gets ouf first and who gets a good lap. The fast lap on teh sheet isn’t always a real good indicator of what’s going to happen tomorrow. But, our car did have good speed the whole practice.”
Also picking up the pace after missing the Chase has been Clint Bowyer. Bowyer finished 10th in the first Chase race, which was at New Hampshire, and 15th in the second Chase race, which was at Dover.
On Friday, Bowyer, a Kansas native, qualified eight fastest and said he thought the could have done even better than that. He says his team put a very nice car together for him this week.
“They know this is an important race for me,” Bowyer said. “They brought me a very good race car.”
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments