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Motorsports 101 Debate: How Should the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule Look?

October 23rd, 2013 at 11:20 AM
By Mark Eddinger
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule will look very similar to the 2013 version. However, all signs are pointing towards big changes to the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Whether anything major happens is up in the air but Motorsports 101 debates about how the 2015 schedule should look.
Date Swapping and Iowa – By Clayton Caldwell
There is no doubt every season should from here until eternity start with the Daytona 500 in February. I don’t think one race fan has an issue with that weekend. Other key dates that have to be kept are the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend and the Coke Zero 400/ Firecracker 400 on July 4th. There is so much tradition in those races on those weekends, you can’t move those.
The first race I would move is the Atlanta race from Labor Day Weekend and would bring that date back to where it belongs which is at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. There would still be a huge fan base angry with NASCAR for moving that date but the wounds will heal over time and all will be well.

That would require Atlanta to move into the Chase, since they are a single race date and they do not have a premier date. Homestead-Miami would stay in the Chase but would no longer be the season finale. That date I would move to Las Vegas, since Bruton Smith is dying to get that track a more attractive date. He’s threatened to take a date away from Charlotte and moving Las Vegas to the last race would keep him happy. 
I also think that Iowa will make its way onto the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule as there are rumors that International Speedway Corporation has bought Iowa Speedway. If that is the case a Sprint Cup Series date would soon be coming to Iowa, which would be a great thing for all short track fans across the country. 
By adding Iowa you would have to take a date away from an ISC track and my pick would be Michigan. I understand the manufacturer presence in NASCAR is important but Michigan has been devastated by the economy and the attendance has shown that. That track would benefit with one race on the schedule. 
While it gets extremely complicated as to what dates would change those are the basics. I have also heard NASCAR say that they would not rule out mid-week races, which sparked interest. What race would I run in the mid-week? Easy. I would run the Coke Zero 400 on July 4th every year no matter what day of the week it falls on. I would put an off weekend before the race. You could still do it under the lights and watch an entertaining race really making a great tradition and a great atmosphere for the sport of NASCAR. 
The changes that NASCAR could make to the 2015 Sprint Cup Series schedule are interesting. These are just a few of the changes I would make to the schedule and I think a lot of fans would be very happy with those changes.
Let the debate begin.
Road Course Turns – By Mark Eddinger
NASCAR will be starting a new television deal in 2015 where the networks of FOX and NBC will broadcast the full schedule for the Sprint Cup Series. ESPN has decided to get out of NASCAR due to the ratings dropping. Also at track attendance has been falling across the board. All these things point to much needed change in NASCAR.
The schedule is something that always gets a lot of scrutiny but even changes to the schedule will not fix the on track product. But certain changes would help some. Would NASCAR be better off shortening the schedule? IndyCar just announced their 2014 schedule which will be compacted to about five months. In 2014 NASCAR will still have their 36 race schedule spanning nine months and with only two off weekends during that time.
Certainly cutting back on the number of races and shortening the length of the season would help some and be something to look at for 2015 but it just won't happen. NASCAR has said they like the 36-race set up right now and the fact is they need to keep two races at a lot of the tracks which makes shortening the schedule almost impossible. There are also television deals that would have to be changed.
So what can change for 2015 since there was virtually no change for 2014. One thing that should happen is the addition of a road course to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Of course that means one track would lose one of the 10 Chase races. If NASCAR can add Sonoma Raceway to the Chase then it should be one of the five 1.5 mile tracks that gets the boot. That would be between Chicagoland, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas, and Homestead-Miami. The most likely ones would be Kansas or Homestead-Miami the latter if NASCAR would decide to make another track the season finale.
As far as new tracks go Iowa Speedway needs to make it on the schedule and since road course racing has been producing some of the best races of the season adding Road America to the schedule should happen. The problem with adding races is that the schedule is already too long which means some other track will have to lose a date and in this case two tracks would. Your guess would be as good as mine as to which tracks would give up one of their second dates but maybe Pocono, Michigan, or New Hampshire.
Seeing the Sprint Cup Series on dirt at Eldora would be awesome but that is something that will not come already in 2015. NASCAR needs some changes but really the schedule is not what is going to draw more attention to the sport. The on track racing needs to get better and hopefully that is something that can happen as the Gen-6 car goes into year two and then year three.

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Tags: Bruton Smith, Chase for the Sprint Cup, Clayton Caldwell, Coca-Cola 600, Coke Zero 400, Darlington Raceway, Iowa Speedway, Mark Eddinger, Motorsports, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Road America, Sonoma Raceway

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