NASCAR: Reddit users provide snapshot of fan reaction to this year’s Chase

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It’s always interesting to gauge fan reaction, and while one Reddit survey won’t tell the whole story on how fans liked or disliked this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, it makes for a nice snapshot.

Earlier today, NASCAR Illustrated writer/editor Kris Johnson tweeted a link to such a post-season exit survey that drew more than 400 responses. The full data can be found here.

Among the highlights…

  • From my perspective, I can’t argue with either one of these. The surveyed fans found that the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – which included the final battle for this year’s Sprint Cup title between Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano – was the most exciting race of the Chase. On the other end of the spectrum, the Challenger Round event/demolition derby at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was dubbed the least exciting.
  • Kevin Harvick, who won three times in the Chase and finished off a run to his first Cup title with back-to-back wins at Phoenix and Homestead, was considered the most impressive Chaser with 33 percent of the votes.
  • As for which Chaser benefited the most from the new format, winless Ryan Newman took that distinction in a runaway with a total of 53 percent of the votes. Jeff Gordon, who was eliminated with one race to go by a single point, was considered the Chaser that benefited the least with an even bigger total: 66 percent.
  • And here’s the two bits that jumped out to this writer. At the beginning of the year, the opinions of those surveyed on the new Chase format ran relatively neutral to negative – 27 percent neutral, 22 percent less than favorable, 27 percent not favorable at all. Favorable (10 percent) and somewhat favorable (14 percent) opinions were not in plentiful supply. But now that the season’s over, the favorable (20 percent) and somewhat favorable (28 percent) opinions on the new Chase have jumped noticeably while the neutral to negative ones have all fallen: 13 percent neutral, 18 percent less than favorable, and 20 percent not favorable at all.

There are plenty of other categories that the surveyed covered, including some non-Chase ones like trust in the NASCAR higher-ups and race officials, and the prospect of weeknight races. The data’s quite intriguing, so check out the link above and draw your own conclusions – and maybe post them in the comments section below (keep it clean, of course).

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”