NASCAR stars push for ‘new’ to enhance state of racing

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22 Jul 2018, 02:48 IST
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LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — NASCAR has been reluctant to make greater than modest tweaks to its schedule. That hasn’t stopped its drivers this summer season from questioning about potentialities in hopes of luring extra followers:

— a Cup race on Eldora grime.

— extra races at quick tracks.

— no extra a number of races on the similar observe.

— strive Iowa; return to Rockingham.

The concept of blowing up a schedule that has largely remained unchanged for a lot of the final decade is hardly a novel concept, and drivers have lengthy lobbied NASCAR to strive one thing new and blend issues up over the staid summer season months.

Denny Hamlin, a 31-time Cup winner, mulled over a number of potential schedule shake-ups till he splashed chilly water on the campaigning.

“None of that is ever going to occur,” Hamlin stated. “Not till these tracks and NASCAR get collectively and are keen to make modifications.”

That appears unlikely within the instant future for a wide range of causes — from sanctioning agreements with tracks that run by way of 2020 to security upgrades and even the specter of litigation ought to a observe lose a race.

The game has resisted even such fan-friendly schedule modifications, like working weeknight races or rotating the location of All-Star weekend.

“It should should take somebody method excessive up saying, ‘We’re making modifications and that is what we’ll do,’ for it to occur,” Hamlin stated. “Nevertheless it positively will not occur within the subsequent few years till that contract’s over with.”

One of many few enjoyable additions over the past decade got here when NASCAR added a Truck Collection race on the half-mile Eldora Speedway grime observe in Ohio. The sequence made its annual cease on the grime this week for the one time this season. Retired NASCAR champion Tony Stewart owns the observe and used his discussion board to push for the game to a minimum of convey the second-tier Xfinity Collection to the grime.

Like most points dealing with NASCAR, few agree on any subject. Kyle Larson, a famous dash automobile racer, stated NASCAR ought to keep above the muck.

“I would not prefer to see Cup on grime,” he stated. “Cup belongs on pavement and actual highway course tracks. If we went to Eldora, yeah, I imply I might be excited as a result of I might be actually quick and I really feel like I might positively have the most effective shot to win. However on the similar time, I feel we’re wonderful not going there.”

The race winner at Eldora is awarded a Golden Shovel, which appears becoming as a result of as of late everyone seems to be piling on NASCAR.

How low can they go? The rankings studies may win a limbo contest with the common bottoming out of all-time lows or decade-worsts for many races. Kentucky had 2.Three million viewers Saturday on NBC Sports activities Community and Sportsmediawatch.com reported it was the 15th of 17 Cup races this season that had its rankings decline double-digits to multiyear lows.

It is not jarring to see empty swaths of grandstands on the observe and longtime company giants equivalent to Lowe’s and 5-hour Power which have helped fund championship drivers are set to sever its ties with NASCAR on the finish of the season.

Kentucky was as soon as NASCAR’s shiny new toy when the Cup sequence moved there in 2011. The primary race was a sellout, although it was marred by site visitors jams that turned hundreds away from the observe. Final week, loads of good seats had been nonetheless accessible for a ho-hum race. The luster had worn off simply because it has at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — which had its date moved this season from July to early September and the ultimate “common season” race.

The competitors has been lowered to 3 dominant drivers: Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have mixed to win 14 of 19 races. Clint Bowyer is the one different driver to win a non-restrictor plate race this season.

No shock, Truex, Harvick and Busch went 1-2-Three on the leaderboard within the remaining Cup observe Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The true enjoyable in NASCAR is available in 280-character bursts on social media as a substitute of 200 mph speeds on an oval.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 15-time hottest driver-turned NBC analyst, posed this query to contemplate, and it had nothing to do with who can beat the Massive Three at New Hampshire:

“Can a driver put on his personal throwback gear? I at all times get bizarre carrying stuff with my very own picture or title on it. Nevertheless it will get murky when it is a 20 12 months previous throwback. Opinions please?” he tweeted.

Greater than 1,500 replies later — together with a number of from energetic NASCAR drivers — Earnhardt nonetheless wasn’t positive if he ought to throw on his personal throwback.

With little buzz on the observe, the tremor on a cellular gadget of a tweet notification from a driver may be the most effective a part of a race weekend for followers.

Tracks try something to duplicate that immediate gratification. New Hampshire — which misplaced its fall race to Las Vegas — launched a “School Nook” this weekend “the place the racing is loud and the get together is lit!”

Cool. However do not anticipate these 20-somethings to simply vote in any Twitter vogue polls — the observe does not have WiFi.

It is as much as NASCAR to restore its misplaced reference to a fading fan base.

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