I was browsing the NASCAR headlines today and came across several articles about some of the ideas NASCAR officials have tossed around for the 2011 season. Most of them revolve around 3 main topics – the schedule, the Chase format, and the future of the Nationwide Series.
First, the schedule…
Schedule topics being discussed included shuffling the last 11 races of the season. This would mean that Chase races would be at different tracks on a revolving basis. Scheduling races so that there would be less traveling back and forth from coast to coast was also brought up. Six tracks were mentioned as candidates for realignment as well – Kansas Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Motor Speedway. Some of the tracks will be vying for a second race, while others risk losing one. We won’t know where each track stands until the 2011 schedule is announced in September. Do I hear more races?
The Chase format….
While no specifics were given, it’s clear that NASCAR wants to add some extra drama to the Chase and create a type of system that could add some “Game 7” type excitement to the end of the season. In reference to the Chase, Brian France said "We like the playoff-style format for sure.” France spoke of "having a lot on the line at one moment" in the playoff format. In other sports, elimination comes along with playoff games….does this mean we’ll see the same thing in NASCAR next year? That could certainly shake things up!
The Nationwide Series….
The Nationwide Series is supposed to be a place for new owners and drivers to get their feet wet and gain some experience in hopes of one day advancing to the Sprint Cup Series. However, with so many Sprint Cup drivers also regularly driving in the Nationwide Series, it’s becoming harder and harder for new owners and drivers to get the experience they need. That’s where the changes come in. Brian France’s wish is for the Nationwide Series to evolve into NASCAR’s version of college football – a place where owners and drivers can begin building their identities. According to France, the owners and drivers in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series support keeping the Nationwide series developmental. So next year we could see limitations on how many NNS events Sprint Cup regulars can drive in. Carl Edwards had a few suggestions of his own on improving the series including limiting practice time for Sprint Cup Series regulars that also compete in the NNS and starting Sprint Cup regulars from the back during NNS races.
Who knows which of these proposed changes will actually take place, but they certainly add some excitement to the sport and get everyone talking!
We want to know, what do you think of the proposed changes? Which tracks are your favorites? What do you think of the Chase format? Post your comments here or on our Twitter or Facebook pages – we’d love to hear what you think!