INDIANAPOLIS — NASCAR is a pioneer again. The sport announced on Thursday that they will resume their season in two weeks from now at the Darlington Raceway. They’re the first major sport to start activity back up again and on the forefront of this. But, even saying that, the series returning to racing isn’t going to look like it did 70 days prior.
When Joey Logano won the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 8, we may have witnessed the last race run under that overall racing package. No, the racing package of the cars aren’t changing again, at least I hope not, but how the race and even the race weekend was run, well that’s changing for the foreseeable future. My question is, how much of these new changes are here to stay even after the COVID-19 threat ends?
We know that live pit stops were discussed as not being used. Eliminating them wasn’t part of Thursday’s announcement, but it could be taken away in the future. That move though, is to eliminate the need for so many crew members at the race track during these newly scheduled races. Plus, we were also already trending that way anyways. The NASCAR Xfintiy Series as well as the NASCAR Truck Series were going to experiment with controlled pit stops in certain events already in 2020. Plus, we’re moving towards a single lug nut soon as well.
Maybe live pit stops are a thing of the past, which not only helps teams not need as many crew members for race weekends, it also means a larger cost saving measure.
Then there’s this, weeknight races. We’ve long clamored for them and now we’ve got them, for now. If the TV ratings are large enough for these couple of races run next month and the interest is there from the fan base, I don’t see why we don’t get more of them for 2021 and beyond. Especially for races that are close to the teams bases in Charlotte. That shortens the season quite a bit too if we can do so, which as of this year was supposed to end on Nov. 8. Shortening it a couple more weeks gets us into October. That’s a big win.
Also, we know we have at least one IndyCar-NASCAR shared weekend in July at Indianapolis, why not more? NASCAR makes a ton of money from the TV contract and a track hosting NASCAR, can make more money by sharing the weekend with IndyCar’s too. Better exposure for both series, the tracks eliminate stand alone weekends throughout the year for both, which increased ticket sales, plus the TV providers are happy as well.
Finally, one-day shows. We’ve been trimming more and more days off race weekend’s. Why not practice, qualify and race all in one-day at some tracks? We’re eliminating the practice and qualifying element out of this for now, so it’s proven now it can be done. I can see more of this in the future too.
That’s why these new measures put in place for safety and health for the coronavirus may actually stick for when we resume without limitations too.