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A New Day Dawning

By | 2017-04-28T03:19:36+00:00 01.24.2017|Tags: , , |42 Comments

Yesterday, NASCAR announced some pretty big changes that are going to impact the sport in a lot of ways. The announcement seemed like the perfect thing to talk about here in my blog, mostly because I’d like to hear your reactions to the changes, and keep the dialogue going about how we can keep improving racing.

Before we jump in, I should say that I was actually part of the exploratory group that helped come up with these changes. It was made up of 15 or so people, all representatives from different branches of the sport—drivers, team directors, tracks, media, and of course, NASCAR. All of us were faced with the same question: What do we need to do to allow the sport to thrive in the future?

For me, the new changes are a big step in the right direction. I’ll explain why.

CHALLENGES WE FACE

To point NASCAR toward a future that makes sense, we had to be honest about where things are for us as a sport. They’re pretty good, but we have a lot of challenges that we can’t ignore if we want to not only stay relevant, but grow.

2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona

For a long time, NASCAR used to be easily the largest spectator sport. With 36 races a year averaging 100,000 in attendance, NASCAR was putting up massive numbers. That’s really changed—not just for NASCAR, but across the sports world. You’re seeing smaller arenas get built because fans want a more intimate experience, and the viewing experience at home is pretty high-quality. Spectator sports are not as strong as they used to be.

Not having as many fans at races creates a whole other challenge for our sport, primarily because seeing a race in person used to be a big way to draw new people in. If you go to a track and hear the roar of an engine, or see a car going so fast it looks like it’s vibrating, your brain connects to racing in a way it can’t from watching TV. You might watch the next race from home, but after being at a race, you know what you’re looking at in a different way.

Without that, you miss out on that sense of speed. You can’t convey on TV what it takes to be a talented race car driver.

There are other challenges that we face at the tracks, too. The coming generation of fans aren’t working in factories the way the generation before them did. They’re much more noise-sensitive, and watching a race in person can be a bit shocking if you’re not used to noise. They’re also not as car-crazy as their parents and grandparents once were. “The car is the star” used to be one of our easiest parts to convey to the sport and its fans.

Finally, there’s more competition in the sports world than ever before. Finding a way to connect to millennials in general is tough. You can play soccer, baseball, basketball and football in elementary school. You can play a lot of that stuff. You can’t play racing.

LIVE SPORTS REIGN SUPREME

But the biggest shift across the entire sports landscape has been in spectator sports shown live on TV. Of the 100 most-viewed shows last year, 88 of them were live sporting events.

Yes, there’s still sitcoms and all that, but 10 or 15 years ago, the biggest TV shows were shows like Seinfeld or Survivor. That’s not happening anymore.

The biggest shows now are things like Football Night in America. They’re spectator sports on TV, live sporting events. So that’s really changed the dynamics. And while our spectatorship has gone down and our TV numbers haven’t necessarily gone up, the value per person to advertisers has gone up dramatically. If I’m an advertiser who wants to advertise on TV today and I want to reach an audience where people are going to be watching, I’m buying a sporting event.

As a result, NASCAR—and all sports—are able to demand rights fees that are higher than ever. Back in the 1990s, somewhere around 10 million people watched the broadcast of the Daytona 500. The rights fees were around a couple million dollars. Well, about the same amount of people watched it last year, but the rights fees for Daytona were worth about $100 million.

Because TV is able to afford higher rights fees, instead of catering to on-site spectators the way sports did 30 or 40 years ago, sports are catering to TV. That’s how sports are being consumed. That’s where the money is.

2016 NASCAR Charlotte All-Star Showdown

THE CHANGES

Everything I just described is why NASCAR is in the position we’re in. To continue to thrive, the sport needs to be more TV-friendly than ever before.

So it’s being changed in that way.

As was announced Monday, we’re essentially going to put TV timeouts into motorsports. But the way NASCAR is going to do it, to me, is going improve the sport in a number of ways.

Each race will be divided into three parts: two stages and the finish. The top driver for the first two stages—which will basically provide the TV timeouts—will be awarded a stage win and one playoff point, while the race winner earns five playoff points, which will carry over to the postseason, adding a whole new incentive to races. Additionally, the Top 10 finishers for each stage will earn additional championship points.

If you win both stages and the race itself, you’ll wind up with the equivalent of a hat trick or a perfect game, with 40-odd points for the race win, and another 20 to 30 for the stage wins. Maybe NASCAR can have a contest to see what winning two or three of the three race stages will be called.

It’s going to be a huge change, and what I like about it is that it gives us more moments within each race to care about. Right now, you can fall asleep early in the race, wake up at the end and see the ending, and if you only care about who won, guess what: You saw everything you needed to see. You saw the end, the only moment that mattered.

That doesn’t work. We need fans to want to watch the entire race, and now, they’ll have really clear reasons to do that.

As a driver, I like it, too. Every top driver has had races they’ve led for hundreds of laps, only to have a questionable caution come out late in the race and change the outcome. Before, if I was a race leader and debris caution came out of nowhere, all I was thinking was, “Man, what was the point of racing so damn hard? It didn’t mean anything.”

Now, it’ll mean something more, because I’ll have won at least one stage, maybe two.

It will give fantasy racing fans more to care about, too. With live scoring, people’s fantasy racing teams will be picking up points as the race goes on. Especially for the next generation of fans, who have so much competing for their attention, this change is a positive one. It gives them reasons to keep paying attention.

Finally, stage  scoring will also make NASCAR the first motorsport to showcase live scoring instead of being scored solely off the finish, which is a nice point of distinction.

2016 NASCAR Charlotte All-Star Showdown

The other big change that goes hand-in-hand with stages is that all playoff points won during the regular season will carry over throughout the postseason. So instead of having everyone’s point totals reset when the playoffs begin, stage and race winners will have the extra bonus of keeping those points throughout each stage of the playoffs, all the way to Homestead.

I love this, too. It makes winning during the year worth more throughout the entire season, and can prevent top contenders from being knocked out of contention by one blown engine during a critical playoff race.

Now, we have to be careful about our core fan. We don’t want to alienate our diehards, who already appreciate all of the different dimensions of NASCAR, and don’t feel like they need anything new.

For those people, TV timeouts might feel like a bit of a tough sell, and I get that.

At the same time, they won’t be too long, and what we lose for those pre-scheduled breaks in the action, we’ll gain in live action that actually means something. Hopefully, we’ll see fewer eyebrow-raising cautions in the final minutes of races, and the stage additions will just keep everything flowing.

But I’m curious to know what all of you think about these changes. Do they sound like improvements to you? Would you rather have things stay the way they are? Post your comments here or on social media with the hashtag #NASCARChanges. Let me hear what you have to say!

(If you want to read up on the changes, here’s the official post from NASCAR.)

42 Comments

  1. Andrzej Kurdyla January 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Great post Brad. Let me address some of your points.

    “Each race will be divided into three parts: two stages and the finish. The top driver for the first two stages—which will basically provide the TV timeouts—will be awarded a stage win and one playoff point, while the race winner earns five playoff points, which will carry over to the postseason, adding a whole new incentive to races. Additionally, the Top 10 finishers for each stage will earn additional championship points.”

    I’m fine with this because I realize that the TV networks are paying the bills for us, the fans, to enjoy our sport. Stages do not bother me and I do feel it will increase the incentive during the middle parts of the race.

    “If you win both stages and the race itself, you’ll wind up with the equivalent of a hat trick or a perfect game, with 40-odd points for the race win, and another 20 to 30 for the stage wins. Maybe NASCAR can have a contest to see what winning two or three of the three race stages will be called.”

    Good analogy and I like the idea of more points for a truly dominant win.

    “As a driver, I like it, too. Every top driver has had races they’ve led for hundreds of laps, only to have a questionable caution come out late in the race and change the outcome. Before, if I was a race leader and debris caution came out of nowhere, all I was thinking was, “Man, what was the point of racing so damn hard? It didn’t mean anything.”

    Now, it’ll mean something more, because I’ll have won at least one stage, maybe two.”

    This also rewards drivers for a strong performance in the early or middle part of the race but who suffers a DNF.

    “The other big change that goes hand-in-hand with stages is that all playoff points won during the regular season will carry over throughout the postseason. So instead of having everyone’s point totals reset when the playoffs begin, stage and race winners will have the extra bonus of keeping those points throughout each stage of the playoffs, all the way to Homestead.

    I love this, too. It makes winning during the year worth more throughout the entire season, and can prevent top contenders from being knocked out of contention by one blown engine during a critical playoff race.”

    With the current playoff system or even the previous Chase iteration, you are correct in your statement.
    My problem is with the playoff (and previous Chase) system. Why not go back to awarding a season long champion using the new points system and race segmentation? Drive hard every race and gain points during segments and accumulate points through the 36 races and become a champion the old school way without resorting to a contrived elimination system and a 1 in 4 lottery at Homestead if, as a driver, you made it that far. It seems like an artificial attempt to create “moments” and “drama” when a champion should be crowned through having a season of excellence.

  2. STEVE PATENAUDE January 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    When I first read about the changes, it sounded too much like a gimmick. But after reading your blog, I agree with you. It is a TV sport now, and these changes will hopefully make for a better product.
    Here’s hoping…

  3. Donna Musgrave January 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    I am all for changes they keep things interesting. The fact that drivers had a say in this makes it even more exciting. Let’s get this party started and give it a shot!!! TY to everyone involved for all your hard work.

  4. Spencer Neely January 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Nice blog Brad, I like your input. As far as the changes…I’m keeping and open mind. We as humans are creatures of habit and don’t like change but I have faith in a sport that I’ll continue to watch. Yes today is different compaired to the old days but evolve or die. The old timers said this. Rather excited to see what happens. Love speed and the cars as a whole. Still an automotive fan.

  5. Bobby Pinkerton January 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    I don’t like the fact drivers race in the Monster Energy series and xfinity series. It cheats out the younger drivers from moving up to the Monster Energy Series. Just like the minor leagues in baseball & hockey. I feel it would make NASCAR a better sport year after year.

    • Amazing Red Kitty February 14, 2017 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      I agree. Not only does it lock some of the younger drivers out of the race, it gives the cup drivers the advantage of additional track time over the other cup drivers.

  6. Rich Sapone January 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    You say you don’t want to alienate the long time hard core fans. As far as I am concerned NASCAR has already done that. I was a 40+ year fan and I no longer even care about missing a race. Money has ruined the sport but this is not unique to NASCAR. Money has ruined most sports.

    • ML January 26, 2017 at 9:47 am - Reply

      Agreed 100%. Not to mention that one without cable or satellite can’t watch more than 4-5 races a year nowadays anyway. I no longer care.

  7. Blane R January 24, 2017 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I do like these changes, and I believe it will make more fans pay attention for longer periods. I really wish they would also do some major shuffling with the schedule though. This probably isn’t feasible, but maybe there should be some rotating tracks in the playoffs. I don’t speak for everyone, but I definitely get tired of 5 mile and a halfs in the last 10.

  8. Michael January 24, 2017 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Brad, I think the changes are awesome. I really feel for the guy that dominates the whole race just to have it taken away at the end by a phantom caution. I think it will add more strategy and more exciting racing. I’ve been watching NASCAR for 25 years and I am a local short track racer myself. These changes should benefit the fans and the racers, and also give guys more chances to earn valuable points throughout the season.

  9. Vanessa January 24, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    It will be a bit more complicated to follow, but I’m very glad the points will carry over. That was my biggest complaint with the new Chase format. Having a driver that dominated all year get taken out because of one bad race was extremely frustrating as a fan (and obviously for the driver and team as well).

  10. Bud H January 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    I like the “stage” points but not the break as it will destroy continuity and for a race “hot” drive, momentum. why can’t they just score the stage points without the stop

  11. Steve January 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Good read Brad. Curious if anyone has done any regression testing to see what the impact of these rule changes would have been to the previous few years’ results. Who would have been champ? Top 10 in Cup season?

  12. Sylvia Earl January 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your participation in the process. I’m a long time fan who watches every race I can, and I’m not opposed to the changes announced yesterday. I heard about the TV timeouts so that there will be fewer commercial breaks interrupting live action. Call me a cynic, but I won’t be surprised if I’m trying to watch live action in a PIP where the commercial takes 80% of the screen, what the networks like to call “side-by-side”. After all they paid top $$$ for our eyeballs.

  13. Darren Henderson January 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    If NASCAR *REALLY* wants to address the elephant in the room, they need to once and for all do something about the glut of mile and a half race racetracks that dominate the schedule, but produce piss poor racing. Go to Iowa. Resurrect Rockingham. Hell, expand IRP and ditch Indy (GASP!). Do whatever it is you have to do to make the on track product, the RACING, better. You can have a break every five minutes, but if the cars are single file within 3 laps, what difference does it make?

  14. Korby Kasperski January 24, 2017 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    I’m 26 years old and have watched religiously with my dad and his friends for 16-18 years now. I’m from Illinois and have gone to Chicagoland every year since 01, when the track opened. I’ve also been lucky enough to attend Indy, Bristol, Michigan, Kansas, and Kentucky. As I’ve gotten older and been able to camp at Chicagoland with my friends and been able to socialize amongst fans from all over few things remain extremely consistent. Few fans enjoy the chase, most would love to see 36 races and whoever has the most points is the champion. I know there are fans who enjoy the chase and probably will enjoy this new formant. But whenever I hear about ratings or each year when I’m at Chicagoland and see the stands get more and more empty it’s heartbreaking to see. I honestly believe if the egos of the sport could admit they screwed up and go back to a 36 race to a championship and qualifying one time it would help tremendously.
    Another thing I believe that has hurt this sport is the schedule. Not that it’s to long but to many mile and a half tracks. Darlington should have a second date again. Then of course it is a great debate on what track should or shouldn’t have their second date pulled. I understand their are some logistics that go on behind closed doors. But tracks like Iowa, Rockingham, ORP, and other short tracks old or newly created would put excitement back in the stands, TV, and other media outlets. I also believe “night races” have completely lost their niche. It use to be the 600 then Bristol, which made that Bristol race so special and rare. Now we have Texas, Kansas, Charlotte, Daytona, Kentucky before we even get to Bristol.
    One last thing is the cars. I can remember as a youngster, the cars looked directly like what you could get out of a lot. Then another blunder that occurred was the COT. Now, I completely understand safety, and it’s great seeing some of the spectacular wrecks and seeing you boys climb out that car. But if there is any way the cars can get back to brand identity that would be an extreme upgrade, and would have fans talking. Those are three topics I frequently hear fans talk about and what I would love to see happen in this sport. Hope to hear a respond from you, i gave a quick generic response. Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you in a email or other way.

  15. Josh January 25, 2017 at 3:19 am - Reply

    I am absolutely a fan that was hooked from my first at track experience. I always liked my local short track races growing up, but I was by no means a diehard fan. I was fine with the system used in 2011, and felt like the chase was a cool idea but needed to shuffle the chase tracks every year to really reflect the season (obviously not practical even from just a WX perspective, but would have kept it fresh). I try to keep track of the line drivers are running, how their car is performing, the fuel milage, and strategy plays, so some sort of points to keep track of for me wasn’t needed, but I do know quite a few fans that turn the race on, go do house chores, and then check back in toward the end and I can see that the new points system might give them something to look at.
    I like the idea of the playoff points moving past the first round of the playoffs. It seemed like a race team with bonus points from wins in the most current points system was most likely good enough to get through the round of 16 even with a bad race and not need the points.
    I just hope that these made for TV breaks aren’t long and drawn out, that was my least favorite thing about the heat races that the Xfinity series did. It killed the momentum and took way too long to get back to racing.

  16. Jaimie Whisman January 25, 2017 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Great read…I am taking a wait and see type of attitude on this years changes.

    As someone who attends multiple races per year, I can say, part of the enjoyment/appeal is the no pause, start to finish racing. Really gives fans the true prospective on how grueling a race can be and just how talented drivers/crews have to be to be on top of their game for that long. Plus with the days of technology, as a fan, there are ways to not miss any part of the race…RaceView mobile for example. I never watch a race without it.

    I like the staging points idea . Fans and drivers won’t feel cheated when their car dominates the entire race and a caution in the last 10 laps leads to a disappointing outcome. It will be interesting to see the how these fit in with the car packages NASCAR has come up with at different tracks like MIS and Kentucky for example.

    Overall, while the Chase races are fun to watch, I was not a fan of the format. Extremely disappointing to watch a driver dominate all season and not be rewarded with the championship because of one race in the chase.

    I cannot wait for the season to start and am looking forward to seeing how these changes impact the race from a fan prospective.

  17. Janice Mahr January 25, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I watched the announcement Monday night and it sounded a little confusing at the moment because there was a lot of information to digest at one time. I like most of the changes and it will be fun to see how they play out. It was good to see participation from teams, drivers, NASCAR , the Media and drivers all involved, but one group seemed to be missing. Where were the Crew Chiefs? It appears that they will be effected quite a bit . The pit stops will be more important than ever. I can’t wait to see this play out!

  18. Tony Stano January 25, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

    What will happen, by the middle of the season, if one driver has an insurmountable points lead that they carry into the playoffs? Will the champion potentially be crowned in the middle of the season? I like the changes overall but worry about the playoffs not being quite as dramatic.

  19. Larry Burk January 25, 2017 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Very well said, I think you hit the nail on the head. Looking forward to seeing how these changes work out. And I enjoyed watching you at the press conference, glad you are part of the drivers council.

  20. Chris January 25, 2017 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Hi Brad. I think you could do a couple more things to make it more exciting for the viewer.

    1) reduce the fuel cell size to force the teams to pit more often. Let’s face it having to go down pit road into uncertainty creates drama. This is good for viewership on TV and at the track.

    2) Change the compound of the tires so that they wear out faster so you have to hang on to get to that pit stop. You could go the other way and make them last almost 2 runs and get gamblers to take tires every other run also or rake them every time and try and chase down the guys who take tires every other time. This would add a lot of on track excitement.

  21. Jeremey Henries January 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Great blog Brad. I think as a fan from the early 90s and growing up watching the sport I’ve adapted better than most. I’m 30 years old, and I love seeing things change for the better. I watch many old races on YouTube where you have someone dominate the race and you have multiple cars laps down (where is the excitement in that). What I really like about this change is it gives someone with an early season win a reason why they can’t just lay back until the chase. Take last year for example Denny wins the Daytona 500 he didn’t have to worry about anything else for the next 25 races. Now you better get those stage wins because those bonus points might make the difference if you make it to the next round or not. What most haven’t touched on about the stages is, if an under funded team can win one of these stages (yeah the bonus points might mean nothing for them) but look what it does for their sponsorship having recognization and something fans will be talking about on Monday. Also could this open up new sponsorship opportunities? Ex: stage one of today’s race will be sponsored by Jack links jerky? I’m very excited for this season and excited to see what monster will bring as well.

  22. Ray wade January 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    It will be very interesting to see how the new rules play out this year. I think the time outs will be a good way to keep the commercials down during live action. It seems that a lot of times a caution comes during a commercial so you lose seeing live what caused the caution. I also think there are many reasons why fans at the tracks are down. My feeling is the biggest reason for this the fantastic tv coverage. Cameras everywhere so you rarely miss the action via live or replay. At the track especially the large tracks it easy to miss some of the action. We like to attend two times a year. One new track and once at our home track in Michigan. All the rests I attend in my fluffy recliner were I catch all the action.

  23. Matt Gross January 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    I like all of the changes that were announced this week, but the one that makes it all work is the carryover of all bonus points throughout the playoffs until the final race. Since 2014 I noticed my interest in Cup races waning in the middle of the season because once my driver won nothing really mattered again until the playoffs started. This helps address that.

    I’ll frankly always hate the notion of playoffs in racing, but I therefore support any efforts to make what happens throughout the season more relevant in the playoffs. I’m excited to see how this works!

    The next thing NASCAR has to address are the tracks. There are too many boring tracks and not enough road courses. I understand why we’ve been stuck with these tracks because of the conflict of interest between NASCAR and ISC (which could prompt a hell of a lawsuit from SMI if the aren’t careful). However, for the long-term health of the sport they need to figure out how to get you guys on more tracks where you can put on a good show. Short-term financial loss for what will hopefully be a long-term gain,

  24. Danny Lewis January 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Brad, I don’t know what this will do to help I’ve noticed that the seats were nowhere near full at many of the races last year…I’m old school what made stock car racing so interesting back in the day was that they used cars everybody could own, I would like to see a real stock car right off the assembly line race. Because what won Sunday sold on Monday, so if when the cars got too fast back in the day they cut it back to a 358 c.i.d engine max…then when those got over 200 mph.they started using restrictor plates…Now most of the auto companies have a good 6 cylinder motor and 5 & 6 speed transmissions. Let’s see them develop their 6 cylinder motors for unrestricted races…with a stock body!!! But I will keep an open mind about these changes this year, but I will keep a eye on the grandstands too..you also may know my family in racing Harold Fair Sr. and Jr…I’ve been watching NASCAR since the 60’s when he was running in the Grand National races…

  25. E Kern January 25, 2017 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    IMO best part of the post is “Seeing it live”. Just remembering my first live Cup race from many years ago. Charlotte, when they came out of turn 4 balls to the wall on the first lap and I swore I could hear the tires pounding off the pavement. Chills then, chills now just thinking about it. Keep up the good work. Henry would be proud.

  26. Michael Daly January 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    It was an eminently fixable problem in 2004 – all NASCAR had to do was keep the old point system – the Latford Point System – and simply add 125 bonus points for winning each race and 100 bonus points for most laps led – this way the drivers had no alternative but to go for the lead regardless of anything; to “points race” would be to cut their own throat. The other issues of television and intimacy of experience are oversold – a compelling competitive endeavor will always bring in crowds.

    • Andrzej Kurdyla January 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Great observation. I agree. NASCAR has built a Rube Goldberg machine to catch a mouse when they should have adopted a KISS philosophy (kept it simple, stupid).. Return to a 36 race point system without all the gimmicks and machinations and reward a true champion.

  27. Fishing Guy January 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I think mile dirt tracks across this country should be put back to use, since Nascar used to run dirt in the old days.

    • Amazing Red Kitty February 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      I would love to see these guys on the dirt a couple times a year. Many of the drivers got their start on the dirt, and I know that winning on the dirt leads to winning on asphalt when they move up to the big leagues. Tony Stewart is only one example of that. When I was a pro motorcycle racer way back in the day, the championship was awarded on both your dirt and roadrace performance.

  28. Vicki January 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the explanation Brad. You and the group that worked on this project hit the nail on the head. “It’s all about the money” and no one seemed to care that the racing was deteriorating. We use to go to one of the Michigan races every year. But, over the last couple of years the racing, in general, has become very boring, so it wasn’t worth the time and money to head down to the track for five days. We even stopped watching some of the races on TV, after being race fans for some 30+ years. It just seemed like it wasn’t about racing it was about sponsorship. Realizing that it takes a lot of money for the sport to survive, I think you may be on the right track. I am actually excited to watch Daytona this year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for “all” of us that these changes help! Thanks for listening to the fans!!

  29. bob ed January 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    i have been around when mr. petty ran dirt tracks like fonda speedway , nascar changes the rules every year ,nothing is consistant any more . I been going to nascar tracks every year and my last venture to new Hampshire was a total discrace!! I have been there since it opened , been a busch series pit crew, for the fans ? you have campers closer to the track rather than the fans that come for the day parking close. I don’t want my son seeing a guy come out the trailer scratching his b===, not family style to me u have to walk down between the first turn to get tshirts etc so much empty space behind the stands MAKE IT MORE FAN FRIENDLY THAN WORRING ABOUT TV TIMEdo they stop a soccer match for a tv time out , do they stop a Saturday night race fore intermission be more creative at the fan level and the fans will come family = fans or make it pay per view !!!

  30. Rob January 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I really appreciate that you took the time to explain not just the changes but what you feel drove them. Its nice to hear an up front and honest “Its about TV and money” at the expense of the live racing fan. I get it and I can’t argue against it. What I will disagree with is your assessment about cars, new fans and not being able to race. Its an area I think NASCAR is screwing up and needs to look into.
    Im a Ford guy. Im also a Honda guy. I don’t like Chevy, don’t like Toyota and it pained me when the Blue Duce was a Dodge. Back in ancient times we all knew which cars were which. The Thunderbird had a distinct shape just like the Mustang does in Xfinity. If NASCAR wants to get younger car guys involved then need to go back to something closer to STOCK cars that put the S in NASCAR.
    When I race autocross I see a ton of young gear heads who love cars and love racing. I see Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers squaring off (and getting roasted by Scion FR-S!). Ford just about destroyed an entire class with the Focus ST and the Focus RS will probably require its own class. Honda guys like me a re chomping at the bit to get the Civic Type R so we can finally compete with those Focus boys.
    I would love to see NASCAR return at least one division to true stock. Ford has a race ready Mustang that you can buy off the lot. Its the one that is killing it in IMSA GT. You want fans to come to the races? Put a car they can actually buy on the track. Heck sell it at the track too! Get a series going with true stock cars and you KNOW Dodge will want to be in it. Mazda has shown that people want to race and they are having no trouble selling the race ready Miata.
    Run a 50-100 lap true stock race during race weekend. Make the tickets super cheap or free with purchase of a Sunday ticket. Get younger guys there watching cars they can own race and get them to stay for the pros. Nothing makes you appreciate how fast NASCAR is than seeing a street legal car on the same course. Im not advocating factory cars in Cup competition. It wouldn’t be safe at the speed fans are used to and at a safe speed the CocaCola 600 would take 8 hours. But move back to distinct shapes and reinforce that with actual stock races. The casual fan no longer identifies a driver with a manufacture and even hard core fans don’t care as much. Thats not good.
    Again, thank you for your insights. I am on the fence about the changes but I love racing and anything that keeps someone from missing 1/3 of the races from being called Champion is good in my book.

  31. David January 25, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your perspective, Brad. It helps to shed light on these changes and why they were made.

    I love the stage bonus points. NASCAR has been sorely lacking an adequate way to reward in-race performance for too long. My problems are with the segment-ending cautions (though I vastly prefer them to random questionable cautions), and to a lesser extent, awarding points for the Duels. But overall, I’m more than willing to give this format a go. I only speak for myself here, but I’ll remain a NASCAR fan for life regardless of the changes.

  32. Karen Kernaghan January 26, 2017 at 10:07 am - Reply

    One major complaint I had last year occurred when 3 JGR racers lagged behind in a race because they were already set in the chase. Now this won’t happen. Also you and Martin having car troubles at the end of the season prevented you going to Homestead. For me that was the end of the season. Way to go Brad and the committee. Can’t wait to start the new season!

  33. Eric Dawalga January 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Brad, excellent article, as always. Very informative.

    I’m all on board with the changes. Something had to be done to make all portions of the race more watchable, and this will certainly address the (taking a nap until the end) issue. Along with Monster Energy’s branding, I’m excited about what 2017 has in store.

    I will say however, that while I like the format changes, this wasn’t the number 1 problem with the sport right now. The biggest problem has already been stated 1000 times over……the schedule. While I don’t believe it’s necessarily “too long,” it’s simply too much of the same. The excess of 1.5 milers with very little character is not only bogging down the show, but the overall season. Charlotte, Atlanta, Kansas, Chicago, Michigan, Kentucky, Texas…etc, multiple visits to most of those tracks….sure, the corners may be banked a little differently, but for the most part the racing plays out the same way on the same exact kind of track for nearly half the season.

    Road courses on the other hand are an entirely different story. Both Waktins Glen and Sonoma are road courses, yet they both couldn’t be more different when it comes to characteristics, thus making them more distinguishable. The twist, turns and elevation changes along with the fact that they are challenging with more room for error makes for an exciting show. You and Ambrose at the Glen…..that was NASCAR gold.

    If we broke the season down into “3” stages, the first 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12 should all have at least 2 road races in my opinion. Wouldn’t hurt to try out a dirt race once or twice a year either. It’s been as blast to watch the trucks do it…it’s a major missed opportunity for NASCAR to have not expanded upon that momentum with it’s upper series.

  34. Peter January 27, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Brad……All.NASCAR had to do is look at the F1 format and adopt it with a few tweeks…nobody.wants to see 40 cars go im a circle for 4 to 6 hour with no action. NASCAR needs to go back to its core business model and review the history of why people love to watch a race. Its accidents, its drivers fighting, throwing helmets, teams getting it on….NASCAR has eliminatwd all that for “safety reasons” but its more due to corporate pressure to clean up the sport. What y’all need to do is get rid of the 1.5 mile tracks and go back to short track racing and add more street courses. Do it like F1 and race on real streets in big cities. People would come out to see that. Lastly, y’all need to let the fans walk into the garage area just like the NHRA without charging an arm and a leg to do so. I can buy a $20 tickets for an NHRA event and walk up to any garage and any driver….thats probably the biggest thing that NASCAR gets wrong.

  35. Kris Miller January 27, 2017 at 9:33 am - Reply

    I’ve been watching NASCAR for many years. I watched it as a kid with my dad, and then as an adult I started watching again. I watch the Cup series and also the Camping World Truck series and the Xfinity series. If I can’t watch them live, I record them. I try to attend the 2 races in Michigan each summer. I’ve been to one of the races at Bristol too.

    I liked the races at Daytona and Talladega the most until they stopped allowing tandem racing. I was EXTREMELY disappointed. NASCAR said they changed it because the fans didn’t like it, but I for one loved it and found those races very exciting and looked forward to them. I’m glad there have been safety advancements because no one wants to see drivers get hurt, but unfortunately no wrecks makes the races less exciting to watch, in my opinion. The no-tandem racing was the first change that made me enjoy watching races a little less.
    I also didn’t like it when the Chase format changed to the win-and-advance 12-8-4 system. Your driver can be rocking the entire season, but then if your driver doesn’t win a race in one of the 3-segments and doesn’t advance to the Chase, it makes it less exciting to watch the remaining Chase races. I still watch them, but it’s must less compelling when you know your driver isn’t going to advance to the next level.

    I’ll wait to see if I like this new stage format, but I don’t like it during duels so I’m inclined to think that I won’t like it now either. For that matter, when they started the 20-minute clock for yellow flags in the Camping World Truck series, I didn’t like that either. How are those younger drivers going to get experience running longer races if they get a break every 20 minutes or so? How will they fare when they move up to Xfinity and don’t have those breaks anymore? Will they be able to handle it?

    I also don’t like the newer format for green-white-checker overtimes. I liked it better when there were 3 restarts allowed. I remember seeing a race in this new format where the first and second drivers raced each other like hell toward the finish line but a caution came out due to a wreck at the back of the track. Although the top 2 drivers were able to cross the finish line, the driver who crossed it first didn’t win the race because he wasn’t in the lead when the caution came out! It was so disappointing!!!

    About attending races in person: it’s hot and sunny in June and August in Michigan when the races are held there. Because there is no shade at all in the grandstands, I’ve actually had to leave the race because I was going to pass out from the heat! Baseball and football fans don’t have to sit in the blazing sun all day, but race fans do. I realize it is probably not economically feasible for race tracks to build covers over the grandstands because there are only 1 or 2 races at a given track in a year, but it’s still hard to sit through an entire race in the blazing sun, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. It makes it much more attractive to sit in air-conditioned comfort and watch the races from home.

    Finally – I wish NASCAR would air reruns of older races in their entirety. Sometimes during rain delays they will air an older race, but they edit out a lot of the action (i.e., wrecks), which again makes them less exciting to watch.

    I’ll get off my soap box now but I wanted to voice my opinions. Maybe other race fans agree with me.

  36. Michelle March 3, 2017 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Hi Brad,
    I love these new changes. In my opinion it has made the race more competitive and exciting. Thank you for keeping integrity in racing. Have fun this season and kick some booty!
    Michelle

  37. Christian March 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    If the future of Nascar is as a TV sport then we need improvements to the TV product. As much as I like Dale Jr. we’re still getting 15 minute ride along’s with a guy that is a lap down a lot of the time. Meanwhile, drivers like Jamie Mac are tearing through the field with no mention from the broadcasting team. The broadcasting team also runs with their favorite/fan favorite drivers while i’m sitting there wishing I could follow your progress in getting back to the front.

    *Jeff Gordon has been fantastic and gives fans very detailed driver insight. We need more of this.

    *There are times when an in-car camera and insight from Jeff would be perfect. I would have loved for this to happen in the context of Harvick’s dominance. Would have a perfect opportunity for Jeff to watch the in-car with us and weigh in on where he was finding the speed.

    The worst part of it is that Jeff is gone for the second half of the season and we don’t get the same quality of driver commentary. NBC needs to work something out with Nascar and Fox so we get more Gordon.

  38. Emmett Jennings March 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Changes occur on every racing circuit.I live in West Liberty ohio where we have a quarter midget track nicknamed The Bullring.I understand you raced on this track as a youngster.So of your fellow driver have also.Safety has really improved over the years do the all the changes at the top.Thank you and all involved making racing safer.

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