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What if Sprint Cup racing used a dirt style format?

By admin | June 9, 2010

By Richard Allen

Now that many NASCAR fans have watched the ‘Prelude to the Dream’, I wonder what NASCAR fans would think if the Sprint Cup Series used a dirt racing type format? After all, it was pointed out during the pay-per-view airing of the charity race that a number of NASCAR’s top brass were on hand so maybe they saw something they liked.

When I say dirt racing format I mean something like this. Instead of having qualifying and then running a standard 400, 500 or 600 mile or lap distance the races could be set up a bit differently.

Qualifying could still be held, just like in dirt racing. Then the field could be broken into four heat races, which would be run on the scheduled race day. The heat races could be set at 25 miles or laps depending on the track. The heat races would be used to determine the starting lineup and who actually makes the field.

After the running of the four heat races, the field for the ‘feature’ race would be set and within a few minutes of the end of the final heat, the race would start. The distance of the main event could be set at something like 300 miles or laps.

Think of the racing drivers would have to do in the heats to get that good starting spot for a shorter race. And then, drivers would have to go hard for the entire feature due to its shorter duration.

I am not suggesting that NASCAR switch to this type format for every race. It would make little difference at places like Pocono and Michigan. But imagine the night race at Bristol, one of the races at Richmond or a Dover race employing such a format.

In a way this would be somewhat like the way the field is set for the Daytona 500. Except, the heats and the race itself would be contested on the same day. By doing this, fans would still be getting their money’s worth because they would be watching essentially the same racing distance. For that matter, they might be getting more for their money because the racing would be more spirited throughout the day.

As I said, I am not looking to totally turn the way NASCAR racing is done upside down. But such a change of pace could make things more interesting if used two or three times per year. It’s just a thought I came up with while watching the Prelude.

Is the Prelude really a ‘Showcase’ for dirt 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 |

4 Responses to “What if Sprint Cup racing used a dirt style format?”

  1. Richard Says:
    June 10th, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Another nice addition would be real live trophy girls to present the award to the winner. Something similar to the Monster girls they have on motorcross racing!
    The idea of sprint car style racing format is excellent. Nascar is getting boring and I’ve followed it for 25 years. I’ve had it with this political correctness.
    Racing identical cars eliminates a lot of interest from the fans. Thanks - great artical!

  2. Mike Says:
    June 10th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    You forget who controls NASCAR! The sponsors would all be pissed if they didn’t get airtime because their car didn’t qualify.

  3. Bill H Says:
    June 10th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Why not use this format for every race? Maybe not the road coursee, but something like this would bring me back to stock car racing.

  4. Andy Says:
    June 10th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    This would be perfect!!!! Give each team that qualifies for the main 1/2 hr after their heat to work on the car before the main, then the main can start 1/2 hr after the last heat. Perfect!!!!