Every year at this time we start to hear more rumors over what will happen with the next season’s schedule for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It’s hard sometimes to decifer what rumor has truth to it and which one is simply what people want.
This year’s rumors, from Mike Mulhern, include Homestead moving from the final race spot and Phoenix taking over the finale. Sonoma being moved into the 10 race Chase, and another road course in Road America taking one of Dover’s spots on the schedule. And the final idea is Darlington and Atlanta flipping dates, which would put the Southern 500 back on Labor Day weekend.
I like some of the moves, I disagree with some, so I thought about putting together my “dream” schedule. As someone who thinks about the teams and drivers I’d actual cut some races completely off the 36 race schedule with hopes to get it down to 30. The problem with that is NASCAR won’t do it and I was having a hard time figuring out how to cut and add new venues.
I’ve excluded the exhibition races, although I’d really like NASCAR to scrap them completely or move them to a Wednesday or Thursday before the main race (Daytona 500/Coca-Cola 600) and/or make it a special race. For the Shootout use the Daytona road course or small oval they used for the Battle at the Beach. For the All-Star race use the dirt track across the street from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Obviously any schedule should start with Daytona and the Daytona 500. Next since it’s early March at this point you really need to either be in the South or the West, and I like the West Coast swing to start the year so let’s go to Phoenix and then Auto Club.
Next I’m a traditionalist and I love when the schedule had a block of short track races, really got the drivers’ blood boiling each week, so Bristol, Martinsville, and adding Iowa to the mix. Texas, Kansas, Richmond, Talladega all stay the same from this year. I’ll take their talked about twist of moving Atlanta to Mother’s day weekend, then Charlotte, Dover, Pocono, and Michigan.
I would have Road America take Sonoma’s June spot, then Kentucky, and Daytona for the fourth of July. New Hampshire would be next then I’d want to see Chicagoland moved out of the Chase. Indianapolis would move back before Watkins Glen, with Michigan, Bristol, and Darlington closing out August.
September would lead with Dover as your finale for the regular season to help boost attendance, then have the Chase open with Richmond, a much more exciting race. From Richmond let’s go back to our roots and go to Rockingham, as a Chase race it should help attendance questions there.
We’ll swing out West for Sonoma next, because a road course needs to be in the Chase, then back East for Charlotte, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix, Homestead, and our new finale spot…Las Vegas. Having the finale in Las Vegas makes since if they’re going to keep the season ending awards show out there, just do it the week after.
My changes drop a race from New Hampshire, Pocono, and Kansas with Iowa, Rockingham, and Road America replacing them. Adding a road course and another short track to the Chase will help bolster the diversity a champion needs.
Those are my suggestions, what are yours?
Below is the full rundown, Chase races in bold:
- Auto Club
- Road America
- New Hampshire
- Watkins Glen
- Las Vegas