Wednesday, August 6, 2008

500 mile fantasy

I have some questions about the logic an ESPN.com column about shortening NASCAR races. It’s fitting that columnist Ryan McGee wrote it before the Pocono race, which every fan knows is way too long. And I agree NASCAR should chop off 100 miles off that marathon just like it did at Dover a few years ago. But what about the rest of the schedule?

Under McGee’s plan, the races at Atlanta, Bristol, California, Martinsville, Pocono, Talladega and Texas all would be drastically reduced. Sure, some of these events are a little long, but that’s what makes NASCAR so challenging. It tests the endurance of both the car and the driver. It gives plenty of opportunities for the complexion of the race to change each lap.

The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte runs for more than five hours, but it’s so unique. And would fans want to see 100 fewer laps at Bristol? If I had my way, I’d add another 100 laps to Thunder Valley. I’m still disgruntled they only run 400 miles at Darlington nowadays.

McGee makes the point that our fascination with “500” has led us down this path that is based more in tradition than logic. But we as Americans have always been attached to traditions. To put his suggestion into context, imagine Major League Baseball shortening the games to seven innings. It’s true there have been complaints in recent years that the games need to move faster, but the only ones who would lose are the fans. Not to mention, when would they sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”? Shorten Pocono, please, but leave the rest of the NASCAR races alone.

2 comments:

"Matt" said...

I thought that article would get you fired up. You can thank me later.

Mike Jones said...

His plan did keep Daytona at 500 miles. Which is good, because the Great American Daytona 450 just doesn't have the same ring.