NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2-Headed Monster: Should the Championship Race Rotate Venues?

Homestead-Miami Speedway has been the site of the season finale for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since the 2002 season. It has also always hosted one event per season.

Should the season-ending championship race rotate tracks each year?

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

The season finale doesn’t need to move from Homestead-Miami Speedway anytime soon.

The track produces some of the best racing all year. It often gets overlooked due to the massive circumstances surrounding the series when it heads south. After all, a championship is on the line every year.

The bulk of the schedule is made up of intermediate tracks, with 11 of 36 points races run on 1.5-milers. Does the bulk of the fanbase (myself included) like 1.5-mile, intermediate tracks? Not particularly. Do I know that Homestead-Miami Speedway is an intermediate track? Yes, but hear me out.

Homestead is its own animal. The ocean air nearby and the Miami sun have worn the surface to perfection. The progressive banking allows for three, four, heck sometimes even five-wide racing in the corners. The scenery around the track is picturesque, and one of the biggest markets in the United States is right down the road.

Homestead has one race per year and has since it’s addition to the schedule in the late 1990s. It creates a build-up for the championship race that NASCAR has never had, and the fact that it’s universally regarded by the drivers themselves, who seem to complain about anything and everything (don’t worry I’m guilty of the fans doing the same, too), can’t stop praising it.

I haven’t met a soul who has a bad word to say about the racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Maybe I just don’t know enough race fans, but the lack of negativity is for a good reason.

Everybody also knows the weather in Miami is nothing short of how the city is: glamorous. It’s also one of the only warm places in mid-November that NASCAR can race. Phoenix, Fontana, Sonoma, maybe Texas and Darlington are also options, but everywhere else is simply too cold.

In what has been an era of change in our sport, this has been and should be, a constant that fans know. Even non-NASCAR fans know that the season starts with the Daytona 500. Why? Because it’s the Daytona 500. And it’s been the same way for decades upon decades.

Miami is becoming one of the top-tier races that mainstream sports fans know. The Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500 are the ones that most know. The FordEcoBoost 400 or, put simply, the Miami championship race is just as, if not more recognizable and important.

Homestead-Miami Speedway is the perfect place for the season-finale championship race. It has the glitz, the glamour, the quality of the product on the track that other facilities around the country envy. And almost every season, everybody comes away from the race raving about it.

It works, it’s fun and it’s a great market plain and simple. That’s why no change needs to be made. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m no mechanic, but Homestead-Miami Speedway ain’t broke. – Davey Segal

Spread The Championship Love

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series needs a rotation of tracks to host its championship race. Homestead-Miami Speedway has been the location of the final race of the year since 2002. Why?

The track is one of the newest on the circuit, and for some reason, after just three years on the schedule was made the ultimate race of the season.

I have nothing against Homestead; it is a fairly unique track for a 1.5-miler and there have been more than a few exciting races there. It is definitely worthy of hosting the championship race, just not every year.

Every driver has the tracks where they excel. For example, many thought Kyle Larson would win this year’s title because he has Homestead figured out. If the championship race rotated, it would prevent drivers who are better at Homestead from having a huge advantage every season.

There are plenty of other tracks that should be considered to host the race.

Obviously, the title race cannot happen at Daytona International Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway because those races are crap shoots and many would question the authenticity of the eventual champion. Road courses are out of the question too because they make up such a small portion of the schedule.

No northern tracks could host the championship race either, as cold weather and potential snow are huge factors in those areas in mid-November. That rules out Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway.

Having previously lived in Bristol, I might even rule out racing there at this time of year for weather reasons.

There are still plenty of other tracks that would make for great championship races. Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the last race of the season for several years. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have it there every few years?

If you want it in a big city such as Miami then put it at Atlanta, Las Vegas Motor Speedway or Auto Club Speedway, near Los Angeles, every once in a while.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is the home track for the majority of the NASCAR scene, so that would be a perfect track to be in the rotation. If it were to go to Charlotte, the All-Star Race would need to be held somewhere else during those seasons to spread things out.

Imagine an action-packed championship battle at the short tracks of Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway. The iconic tracks of Darlington Raceway and Dover International Speedway would truly make a champion earn his title.

Homestead should still be on the schedule on the years that it does not host the last race, but it does not deserve to have that responsibility every single year.

In what other professional sport do we see the championship event hosted in the same spot year after year? The Super Bowl and the Olympics rotate between a few different locations. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have their championships at the homes of the teams that made it in.

NASCAR could spice things up by following either of those leads. Either have a set list of tracks for the race to rotate between or have the driver that wins the regular season title decide what track the last race of the season will take place at. That would add a little more incentive to doing well in the first 26 races.

If MLB and NBA can get set up for their title events in a few days then NASCAR could certainly prep a championship race location in nine weeks.

The bottom line is that the NASCAR schedule is extremely monotonous. It desperately needs change and having a rotating title race could be the first part of the equation. – Michael Massie

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8 Comments
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salb

A better question would be if anyone cares enough about this crapshoot format to worry about where the fianal race is held?

Russ

a better question would be does anybody care about the championship?

Bill B

The question shouldn’t be “should the championship race rotate?”, it should be “should the championship be decided by one race?”.

jim

Call it what it is a…..Chase-Lucky Dog-Waver Around Championship

dewayne

Bill B nailed it!

rg72

What a sentence this is….

“Obviously, the title race cannot happen at Daytona International Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway because those races are crap shoots and many would question the authenticity of the eventual champion.”

DoninAjax

It’s a good thing nobody questions “the authenticity of the eventual champion.”

Brian

So let’s look at the last argument of the pro rotation crowd….
1) MLB and NBA can fired up the championship games because the infrastructure and fanbase is already there in each city. Visiting team fans can either travel or wait for the home games to attend. so not even the same thing so strike 1
2) The venues are substantially smaller and thus are not in need of prep for an influx of unknown numbers of people. There already were preparing for the championship if the team was doing well months in advance. Again already available. strike 2
3) Fans of racing are usually prepared in advance, have the tickets ordered and usually in hand, hotels and rental cars reserved and other arrangements made months if not a full year in advance. Again this cannot happen if venue is not determined ahead of time. thus likely fewer fans. so strike 3

Also, if allowing the regular season champ to choose the track how would it be if that team does not make it? see Kyle Larson during this playoffs as potential example. Also would it play into the hands of another driver as well? Teams at all three levels can go into the season and the playoffs knowing the track and can be better prepared for said track if the team makes it. Again planning trumps all. Struck out with that whole argument.
I am however all for moving the all-star race around the country provided the schedules give the teams the week before or following it off. Be really nice to see that race used as testing for potential new tracks to Cup as it provides a glimpse into how a race weekend would actually work.

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