Friday, October 9, 2009

NASCAR races in 2010 to Abide to Standardize Start Times

NASCAR always makes the case that they are a sporting body who places the fans' experience first. Providing some of the greatest finishes in auto racing thanks to large fields and tight rules, NASCAR conversely created the still anti-competitive Sprint Cup Car of Tomorrow.

This week NASCAR has made a positive move by promising standardizing the start times for all 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup series events. In Eastern time, opening ceremonies of daytime races will start at 1:00pm or 3:00pm if track is closer to West coast. Almost all night races will begin at 7:30pm with exception given to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May which will remain around 5:45pm. The green flag will drop no more than 30 minutes past these start times.

Three cheers to NASCAR for making this change. During the past few seasons, While helping the all so important paying spectators, this directive is most likely to help television viewers plan their weekends. Before 2001, it was no unusual for Cup series race coverage to begin just minutes before the command to start engines. After 2001, NASCAR obtained control of negotiating deal and made major deals with national broadcast entities. Along with establishing pre-race shows, race starts in afternoons were moved to later start times in order to better accommodate to desirable NASCAR Sprint Cup fan bases on the west coast. Because of this, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series races had habitually been starting later in the Eastern time zone including the Daytona 500 from 2006 to 2009.

Broadcasters also attributed to the race start confusions by resisting to separate their pre-race shows from the time the race started. With 2 hour plus pre-race shows given to the Daytona 500 and the Sonoma, California road race at Infineon Raceway for 2008, the prolonged wait was certain to grind some fans gears. While providing great insight to NASCAR's top series, it would have been nice for FOX, TNT, ESPN, and ABC to supply a transparent race start time in the pre-race shows.

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