Similar to how Formula 1 operates, I liked NASCAR’s two-week break this summer for the Olympics. Do you think the break should remain on the schedule moving forward? – Tony L., Dayton, Ohio
Absolutely, it should. To beat a dead horse, I’m as big of a “less is more” person when it comes to NASCAR as anybody. Shorten the season, shorten the races, do everything to drive up the appetite for the product. A break in the heart of the season to not only drive up the demand but also allow drivers, teams and everybody associated with the sport a much-needed and welcome break is a good move.
Thirty-six races is a hell of a year. It’s long, grinding and can take a lot out of you. Heck, going to a handful of races per year tires me out, let alone 36 (and 14 in a row to end the season). Breaking up the longest campaign in professional sports won’t necessarily hurt the on-track product.
“I’d rather have a summer break and not have all the breaks at the beginning of the year,” Kevin Harvick said via NBC Sports. “I’d take it off the front end because everybody’s fresh and energized. I think having this two-week break really allows these guys in the shop and on the road to be able to actually have two, for-sure weeks off that they can plan around. That’s something very important to the families of those individuals.”
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch called the off time “good” for all involved.
“I think it’s about time for us, a good summer break anyways to be able to go out and do things in the summertime that typically you’d always have to wait for the wintertime. I can’t tell you how many winter vacations I’ve been on and places that I’ve gone in December, January versus actually being able to go somewhere far away in July.”
In a vacuum, Rowdy’s comments can be viewed as a first-world problem (which it is), but other drivers echo both Harvick and Busch’s sentiments. Breaks can be good, and in this case I believe it is.
If you enjoyed the two-week break or if you missed NASCAR during the two-week break … well, either way you just proved my point for me.
First off, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Busch is rumored to be slotted into 23XI Racing’s second car (assuming they’re able to obtain a charter), and with Chastain’s announcement today (joining Trackhouse Racing), it paves the way for Busch to head on over to 23XI.
But it’s entirely too early to handicap which driver will have a better 2022 campaign. Chastain is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, Busch (on the heels of his Atlanta Motor Speedway win) seems to be coming on at the right time and Chip Ganassi Racing is hoping to go out with one final hurrah before the closure of their NASCAR organization at season’s end.
Trackhouse has impressed with Daniel Suarez in their maiden season and, with Richard Childress Racing’s uptick in performance (and help developing the NextGen car), are poised to continue their upward trajectory next year.
As is 23XI, though, with another year under their belt being associated with Joe Gibbs Racing and theoretically a stronger base to expand to two teams. But with each driver headed to a new team (and one likely with a new manufacturer), some schedule tweaks expected and the obvious unknown variable of the NextGen car, who’s to say what Trackhouse and 23XI (and Chastain and Busch) will A). deem a success and B). perform like?
It’ll take several races into the 2022 season to know where each driver and team stand. But with Chastain’s never say die attitude (and career path) as well as this next stop likely being Busch’s last in the Cup Series, both drivers should be rather happy and content with where they stand.
About the author
Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.
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