Earlier this week, NASCAR CEO Brian France indicated that any changes made to the 2015 Sprint Cup Series schedule would be small ones.
“There’s not going to be a dramatic change, but there may be some things that are a little different,” France said to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (to whom he also shared his thoughts regarding the Race Team Alliance).
But if Ryan Newman had his way, there would indeed be a dramatic change – Wednesday night Sprint Cup races.
“I think just realigning it and giving us the opportunity to be on TV and be our own special event on a Wednesday night, especially during football season, would be good for our sport,” said Newman, who also declared that he’d put in more off-weekends and shift the other Cup races to Saturday night and sometimes Sunday afternoons.
Newman later elaborated on the subject further, noting that his Wednesday events would have practice, qualifying and the race itself on that same day.
“Obviously, if you go to a place like Pocono and it rains, like, three-quarters of that day, it changes everything – then you have Thursday to work with,” he said.
“But for situations like that, I think you’d have the crew guys come in on a Tuesday afternoon, let them tech the cars in whatever [time] window it is. Let the guys go back and have a decent dinner with their team, then start practice the next morning – practice, qualify and race.
“You’ve got the people in the grandstands for an entire day of activities and they can sell hot dogs and all the other things that way.”
The Wednesday format appears to be working very well for the Camping World Truck Series’ event at Eldora Speedway, which met with more rave reviews after its second running (won by Darrell Wallace Jr.).
Leading up to the 150-lap Mudsummer Classic feature, the Trucks were pretty much on track throughout the day at Eldora with practice, pole qualifying, five 10-lap qualifying heat races, and a 15-lap Last Chance Qualifier.
But while Newman’s idea on Wednesday night Sprint Cup races is intriguing, one wonders if those would be better off at this part of the year, when the competition from other sports would be light.
A Wednesday night Cup race in the fall would dodge a head-to-head battle on the weekend with football, but depending on the date, it’d have to fight the MLB post-season and the start of the NBA and NHL regular seasons for attention.
However, a mid-week race would definitely provide a new wrinkle to a Sprint Cup schedule that has largely remained the same for some time now outside of intermittent date swaps.