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Why didn’t NASCAR run the Sprint Cup race on Monday evening?

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.

Topics: Articles |

16 Responses to “Why didn’t NASCAR run the Sprint Cup race on Monday evening?”

  1. Marc Says:
    April 20th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Why didn’t NASCAR run the Sprint Cup race on Monday evening?

    Let me see if I can take a stab at this….

    Maybe because Sprint Cup is the largest series, with the largest fans base plus highest TV ratings between the three top NASCAR series’.

    By running it on Monday at noon they shifted the time in close proximity to it’s original Sunday time of 3pm. Not real close, but closer than 7-8 at night. Additionally it allowed a larger Cup crowd, larger than NNS crowd, to get out of town earlier than if the race was run at night.

    It also allowed a larger majority of Cup teams to get out of town earlier (only 12 cuppers raced in the NNS event)

    But lets be honest, the travel is a non-issue anyway, teams won’t be running the same car at Talladega they did at Texas in all likelihood those cars are in Charlotte being prepped for the trip to Alabama.

    In the end NASCAR made the right call given what they had to work with, much better than in the past, like the Talladega event that was postponed by 2 weeks because of rain.

  2. Bill H Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Well, maybe it had to do with the fans? Those who stayed over had to get back home and leaving at 4PM after the day race facilitated that a lot better than leaving at 10PM after the evening race.

  3. Adrian Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Why? It’s very simple: Fox had new episodes of their juggernauts 24 and House scheduled. No way they would interrupt those for anything.

  4. Justin Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I am not exactly sure what your point is Marc, all you did was reword, exactly what was written in the article. You dont need all those words to make the point, I will sum it up, NASCAR followed their normal protocol, simple as that.

    However, as a fan that never misses a race, I wondered the same thing Rick talked about. If it is all about sponsors, and dollars, etc, running the race in evening, exposes the telecast to more people. 90% of NASCAR fans were at work during the telecast. You run the race later, and 90% of those fans are now at home, just like they are on a sun afternoon.

    The real question is, if you are a NASCAR fan, wouldnt you want to watch the race? I am a fan, and I wanted to watch the race, but like many, I as at work. I think you are the only NASCAR fan, that would rather miss the race, because “thats how they always do it”.

  5. Bill Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Ever heard of that Fox show 24 that just happens to come on Monday night. Fox would never go for it.

  6. Kevin Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    This particular question had never occurred to me, but I must admit it is a good one. I think it would have been a better decision to run the Cup race after the Nationwide race. It could have still started around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and most people would be home from work in time to enjoy the ending.

  7. Glen H. Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    It would have made sense to run the race Monday night, prime time Monday night racing on national TV, but I think Nascar didn’t run it late Monday because they didn’t want to go up against Dancing with the Stars. They didn’t want their ratings to be compared to DWTS.

  8. Ritchie Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I did not see the race on Monday. or the last rained out race. It feels like I have not seen many races this year with the off weekend and such. Out of sight - out of mind. Nascar is slip slidin’ away.

  9. idiot Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    For reasons that should be blindingly obvious…it was far more important to make sure they actually got the Cup race in, no matter what the forecast did or didn’t say. They could have always rescheduled the Busch race, had it rained in the afternoon.

  10. James Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I think it has to do with TV networks. Would FOX and its affiliates really drop thier prime time line up?

  11. Bill B Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I think the main reason was because there are so many Cup regulars racing in the Nationwide Series. If you were an owner would you want your driver running the Nationwide race first and then driving the Cup race second? True or not the perception is that running a race wears down the driver. Had the Nationwide race been first lots of Cup drivers would have been told they need to forget about the Nationwide race and concentrate on the Cup race. This way, they could have their cake and eat it too.

  12. Mike Burns Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I was there, Monday. The sprint cup race had a large crowd that stayed for the whole race. Then the crowd dwindled during the Nationwide race until it was very easy for most of us that stayed for both to exit the track. We just had to fight the normal evening traffic in Ft. Worth, which was as usual, terrible…

  13. Marybeth Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Maybe there was more rain forecast for the evening…? Some drivers had to be at Indy Tues. morning for tire testing…? A couple of years ago the August Sun. Michigan race was tried Mon and fianally run Tues. That was the first window of opportunity.
    For those working, they could tape or tivo the race and watch it before and after DWTS, or whenever they want.

  14. Dan In NJ Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    The nationwide race had to go second because of the ticket situation.

    If people had bought just the nationwide tickets, and then scored a cup race follwing theirs, there would have been a lot of angry people who found someone sitting in their seat for the cup series.

  15. Kevin Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 11:59 am

    That’s a moot point because Texas Motor Speedway allowed anyone who purchased tickets for either race to come and watch both races on Monday.

  16. Steve Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Once the decision to reschedule was made, the main goal was to get the race in. They did follow protocol like someone said. 10am local time is when they start Monday races. What would happen if they waited until 5pm to run the race and it rained. People would be upset that they should have run it earlier. Nascar made the right decision.

    Those complaining because the missed the race because they had to work, ever here of DVR? or even a VCR?

    And who cares about the poor Cup drivers in the Nationwide series. They are not forced to run both races and they know the deal if they want to race both series in one weekend.