NASCAR has a good thing with the TV networks. If not for this contract that they’re operating under, there’s no doubt that NASCAR may not have been the leader in the sporting world at getting back going in the midst of a global pandemic.
A 10 year contract with NBC Sports and FOX Sports worth around $8.2 billion allows NASCAR to share that revenue with the teams and tracks.
But, the only bad thing about that contact is shining — start times.
Sunday’s Quaker State 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN) is the first Cup race to run before 3 pm ET all season. That’s a problem in itself.
If the east coast races would have started at Noon or 1 pm ET, like they used to and still should, we would have avoided several postponements.
The Daytona 500, Toyota 500, Coca-Cola 600, Alsco Uniforms 500, Dixie Vodka 400, GEICO 500, Pocono 350 and the Brickyard 400 have all been affected by Mother Nature.
Among those, Daytona, Charlotte, Homestead, Talladega, Pocono and Indianapolis are all Sunday races affected by this. If those races started at Noon or 1 pm ET, they all would have run to completion on their scheduled day.
Granted, the Coke 600 is a scheduled night race, so I don’t blame them. But, the rest have no excuse.
The rest need to move back to a favorable starting time. We need to stop accommodating the west coast viewers when they’re not pulling their weight.
The late starts are to allow for a later start time on the west coast but also allows for a late afternoon East coast time slot. But, if this was working, why are ratings still down? Why aren’t west coast cities having millions of viewers?
The majority of the NASCAR fan base is in the eastern or central time zones. Most of these fans want earlier starts times.
If we start at Noon in Daytona, the race gets in before the rain. Same for Homestead, Talladega, Pocono and Indy.
Then, with this new schedule released, the weekend’s at Michigan and Dover have raced starting at 4 p.m. ET or later. Neither track has lights, so one rain storm takes the race to a new day.
Dover is 4 p.m. ET on Saturday then 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Michigan is 4 p.m. ET on both days.
If the doubleheader weekends stay, maybe move the Cup to the first time slot and the feeder series to after. That way, if a Truck race or NXS race is affected, it’s not as big of a deal.