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Discussion Topic: Sprint Cup Races Are Too Long

By admin | May 22, 2013

By Richard Allen

With the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule set for this weekend, this would seem to be a good time to discuss the length of races. While I consider myself very much a purist when it comes to many racing related topics, I have come to believe that many events on the schedule are too long.

In my opinion, there are only three races that should maintain a distance of 500 or 600 miles. The Daytona 500, the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 are the only races that should go such a distance. These three races are ‘crown jewels’ and should not be tampered with.

However, I am of the opinion that no other race should run 500 miles or laps. Rather, 400 miles or laps is plenty long enough for all other events. This includes races at Talladega, Bristol, Martinsville and all other “500s”.

Long race distances used to be essential for testing the durability of both man and machines. Now, the cars have become almost bullet proof and rarely drop out due to mechanical troubles. Further, drivers almost never need relief with the modern day comforts of cool suits and power steering available. Quite simply, the distance just isn’t needed as part of the equation.

Also, television and other forms of media are better suited for shorter distances and overall race lengths.

So, what are your thoughts? Are NASCAR Sprint Cup races too long or are they of the appropriate length?

Please respond below or vote in the poll to the right—>

Topics: Articles |

21 Responses to “Discussion Topic: Sprint Cup Races Are Too Long”

  1. Richard Allen Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    From Facebook:

    Michele McNamara: disagree, respectfully, the length is not the problem

    Chris Nicholson: Yes! Yes they are!

  2. Kevin Wells Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Disagree.They shortened races at Dover and Pocono to 400 miles which was a good move.The problem these days is the pansy drivers.You didn’t hear the drivers from back in the day crying about so many races being long.They sucked it up and went at it.The fans whined to get these other races cut shorter.

  3. Terry T Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I am all for shortening some races. Anything that cuts the TV time of people like the Waltrips, Brad Dorkerty and Larry Mac is fine by me.

  4. Richard Allen Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Here are some comments sent in via Twitter:

    @bhambrent: I think it’s got more to do with the track than the distance. Nobody wants to watch 500 miles of single file racing.

    @atoygenius: noone complains about baseball, yaaaaawwwwwwnnn.

    @jasonskelton7: For a casual fan, it’s a chore to sit thru a whole race. Though no different than an NBA game, granted.

    @roadraceparts: problem is while too long for tv - live audience depends on people willing to travel. If shorter will they continue?

  5. Richard Allen Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I agree with what several of you are saying in that the length of the races is not the problem. As I’ve said many times on here, it’s the rules package that’s the problem.

    But that isn’t likely to change. NASCAR is too married to the Gen6.

    IMO, an extra 100 miles just offers more opportunity for some to get bored enough to tune away. And as we all know, through the magic of NASCAR, most races end in the same way with that late race caution and g/w/c.

    Why prolong the inevitable?

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I have a “Hybrid” Answer that is new and original : Yank Green/White/Checker at Certain Venues : Daytona,Talladega, and Road Courses and I would slice and dice an extra 100 Miles Less from the Non Major Races. Lets Say if IRP was an 80 Lapper and that was in response to the Brickyard 400. If we ran Nashville Fair today, we would have diced it to a 200.

  7. Richard Allen Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    More from Twitter:

    @NASCARFansUK: yep they are. I’m fact I wrote exactly the same thing today as well, spooky! Lol.

    @AJBombersports: Most of them are. Keep the big races (Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coke 600) that length, shorten all others.

    @AJBombersports: I still maintain the hardest racing all year has been in the Trucks with 200/250 mile races. No slacking!

    @21alonzo: Yes they are

    @NASCARFansUK: Drivers will push harder when less time to make progress & if less races to do it

  8. Richard Allen Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Another Twitter comment:

    @99MotherTrucker: no endurance is part of it

  9. Tim Smith Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I don t think the races are too long. You pay 150 bucks a ticket. I don t want a short race. The 600 is my favorite.

  10. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Nascar says it wants the 18-34 age group and my two nephews that fit that group are into all the things Nascar doesn’t address.

    Music? Think Anthrax over 50Cents
    Sports? Although both can pretty much tell you every player on every team in all the ‘ball’ sports they are mostly into soccer (not known for it’s constant action and a sport most like Nascar in that it’s mostly about strategies).

    One nephew is a well trained chef that picks his jobs by how good the surfing is near the resturant. And the other just came in second at the chicago tatoo show.

    Even though I did take them to races and as little boys they did work on our hot rods. They still like to work on cars, but neither one gives a fig about Nascar.

  11. Alfredo Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 7:14 am

    It is all about revenue. The longer the race, more opportunities for more commercials on TV and concession stands sales at the track.

  12. Ronnie Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 7:31 am

    2 words; Heat races. You can still fill the same 3-4 hour time slot, the fans at the track still get their moneys worth, and it would make for much better racing. Have 2-3 heat races, a last chance qualifier, then a short feature. It will work. NASCAR wont listen.

  13. Richard Allen Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I don’t ever remember my life without NASCAR being a big part of it. And ten years ago I would have argued vehemently against shorter races. But now, I even find myself getting bored with the seemingly endless parades followed by the predictable finish.

    Actually, the TV networks have asked to have some races shortened. Fox took some heat last year by asking that the 600 be cut back.

    As I said in the intro, I believe the 600 and the other two races mentioned should stay the same. Others should be cut.

  14. GinaV24 Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I come down on the side of - yes, the races are NOW too long. If the racing itself were better, I’d probably think differently, but I’m only willing to watch follow the leader races for a shorter period of time.

    Until NASCAR improves the race car, stops boxing in the innovation and produces a “product” on the track that is worth watching, both in person and on TV, then shorter races are the answer. Watching the drivers ride around for lap after lap knowing they will only really race in the last 50 laps or so doesn’t keep me interested.

    The TV networks have their own bucket to carry in this mess. There is so much race interruptus going on that it is impossible or at least IMO not worth following via tv. I use my computer and the radio feed and get better info without having to listen to the booth babble and that is from ALL the broacast partners.

  15. Ken Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 9:33 am

    If you shorten the races, do you expect fans to drive thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to see a race I person? If you want to see emptier stands, go ahead and make the races shorter for TV.

  16. Richard Allen Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Do you all really think people wouldn’t go to Bristol, Martinsville or Talladega because the race is a 400 instead of a 500?

    And are the 400s in Vegas, Miami and Kansas worse than the 500s in Charlotte and Texas just because of the distance?

    I just don’t think it would make that big of a difference, imo.

  17. JimB Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Can’t do heat races. All the sponsors have paid millions to have their logos on the hood for a specified amount of time. If we eliminate cars with heat racing the sponsors don’t get what they paid for. How do any of these garages afford to race without these sponsors? That said, a couple of long heat races followed by a main race that is about the same length might be acceptable at a few of the cookie cutter tracks where longer races usually become snooze fests. If more people are watching on TV, maybe this could be sold to the sponsors. I go to my local 1/4 track five times a year and I think all of the races there are too short, but I really like the heats and main format. I just wish the mains had enough laps to allow anyone in the race a chance to win if they are good enough. Lets leave the big leagues alone and talk about how to bring more sponsorship and TV to the local tracks, where the money is desperately needed.

  18. GinaV24 Says:
    May 23rd, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Rich, I agree. 400 laps at Bristol & Martinsville and Talladega, too, would probably be fine. At RP tracks in particular, they don’t really race until 10 laps 2 go.

  19. Carl Watson Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 2:26 am

    “Why prolong the inevitable?” <——- THIS Right here. One sentence, four words, a pound of pragmatic wisdom. Print it, trademark it, tattoo it, wear it, bumper sticker it!

    The days of many unique track layouts, more short tracks on the schedule, the many single (at most two) car teams being competitive throughout the year, comers and goers after every pit stop, mechanical grip that mattered far more than aero, and so on, all of the things that made watching a 500 mile race on a Sunday so enjoyable are gone and aren’t coming back. Time to accept reality. Many of the tracks are boring in similarity and sleep inducing as well, and when coupled with the COT, produce racing that resembles parade laps for 80% of the event or more. This isn’t going to change, but at least with a shorter event, it might put more urgency into the drivers and teams to get up to the front sooner.

    I’ve been watching NASCAR since the 1970’s. I trudged through all those horrible years of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” watching gymnastics, swimming, and other things I couldn’t care less about in order to catch moments of a race in the years before ESPN come along. Speaking of which, ESPN’s coverage back then trumps this garbage we have today. It’s hard to listen to the racing coverage today (TNT I’ll give some props too) and settle for it, just as it would be hard to eat porridge every meal for the rest of your life after you’ve tasted steak.

    The point is that as a fan, I’ve paid my dues and given my loyalty. Perhaps it’s because I’m older, but I have other things I could be doing, need to be doing, should be doing, or just would rather be doing, than watching parade laps for 80% of a race or more.

  20. Tyler West Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 7:20 am

    The races are perfect!! These damn “new” fans don’t know jack about this sport or it’s history!! 500 miles or more is a real race. Everything else is a gimmick!!

  21. Michael in SoCal Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Three races should be longer than 400 laps / miles: the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 (at Darlington, not the bastardized version that plays at Atlanta these days), and the World 600. Everything else the races should be no longer than 400 laps / miles.