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Move of Budweiser Duels to Night Could Have Negative Impact

By admin | February 21, 2013

In 2014, the Budweiser Duels will be run at night. 

By Richard Allen

NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway announced on Thursday that the Budweiser Duels will be contested under the lights in 2014. It will be the first time in the history of the Daytona 500 that these qualifying races won’t be run during the afternoon. This will mark another break with tradition for the sport.

For a number of reasons, this writer sees the move to night as a bad decision.

First, there is more racing going on around the central Florida region during SpeedWeeks than just NASCAR. The UMP and World of Outlaws Late Models hold a week long series of events at the Volusia Speedway in Barberville. One of those races usually takes place on Thursday night. Moving the Sprint Cup qualifiers to the night may force some fans to make a choice, even though there are for the most part two very different groups of people who follow each.

Area asphalt tracks also hold races throughout the week and will be infringed upon.

Any time the paying customers are forced to make a choice, both sides usually wind up getting hurt in the end.

Secondly, these races have always served as a valuable test session for teams as they prepare for the Daytona 500. If the “150s” are run at night, much of that ability will be taken away as there is a significant difference between day and night racing. ‘The Great American Race’ will likely maintain its afternoon start time.

And lastly, if this is just another short-sighted attempt to gain a larger television audience, a look at the ratings for Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited will show that simply racing at night does not guarantee high viewership. That race drew the smallest audience in its history with two million fewer viewers than in 2012.

I know there are many more people out there who will have the opportunity to watch when the Budweiser Duels are run at night. But based on recent ratings, I’m not sure that means they actually will watch. And at the same time, tradition and other forms of racing will be impacted because of the move.

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5 Responses to “Move of Budweiser Duels to Night Could Have Negative Impact”

  1. Russ Says:
    February 21st, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Doubt that they really care about anybody else. They are grasping for any straw within reach. IMHO.

  2. Richard Allen Says:
    February 21st, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    The two Bud Duels on Thursday were not exactly great advertisements for the Daytona 500. Probably best no one could see them.

  3. Chris Fiegler Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I think it would be great to move the Budweiser Duels to Primetime At Least We can all see the Races. Maybe the Duels will be Sold Out.

  4. Steve Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 10:38 am

    My feeling is that people didn’t watch because of the gimmick of having people vote on the format and essentially turning it into another all-star race. I was less than enthused about watching this when I found out it was going to be broken up into Segments. We all know how the All-Star race worked out last year using this gimmick.

    I find it funny how Nascar wants segments for these short races, but won’t look into heat races or split features of shorter distances for their main events to spice up these races that have become borefests. Maybe the lack of quality racing is finally catching up with Nascar.

  5. Tony Geinzer Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I feel that it is a welcome change, and maybe, I don’t want to artificalize the Twins further, but, why not 1st Twin Winner Wins Pole?