By admin | April 20, 2010
By Richard Allen
Rainouts at a race track, any race track, are bad for all involved and there is little anyone can really do about it.
With that said, a friend of mine asked me a question today that I did not really have a good answer for. Why didn’t NASCAR run the rain delayed Samsung Mobile 500 on Monday evening instead of so early in the day?
Normally, I would understand why postponed races are run as early as possible the next day. The earlier the races are run the earlier teams can get back to their shops and begin preparation for the next race. However, this was somewhat of a unique situation. Rather than one race to run, there were two.
Had NASCAR decided to contest the Nationwide race at noon on Monday it would have given those teams the opportunity to be done and gone by the time the Sprint Cup race was getting under way. Nationwide teams are the ones who needed the most time anyway. They have a shorter turnaround this week with Saturday’s upcoming race in Talladega. Their first practice session for that race is on Thursday where the first Sprint Cup practice for the next race isn’t until Friday.
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, more people would have had the opportunity to watch the Sprint Cup race live on Monday had it started in the late afternoon or early evening. That would have been better for fans at home and sponsors alike.
A prime time showing of a NASCAR race run on a Monday might have scored a better than expected rating and might have offered the opportunity for exposure to a whole new fan base.
Obviously, the people most hurt by the rain delay were the fans who bought tickets and were unable to stay over. However, there was a pretty decent crowd to watch the Nationwide race. At least that many, if not more, would have been on hand for a similarly timed Sprint Cup event.
It just seems in the oddity to have occurred over this past weekend that flip flopping the two events would have worked best from a logistics standpoint as well as from a business standpoint.
Unfortunately, based on this coming weekend’s forecast for Talladega, NASCAR may again have a chance to plan for Monday racing.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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