Should the rules for a race being deemed “official” change for the playoffs? – Justice W., Mobile, Alabama
A fair and intriguing question, and especially topical.
On paper, the playoffs should never cut corners. Whether it’s ending a stage under caution to ending races early like we saw on Monday (Oct. 4), neither scenario is the preference. But sometimes it’s the necessity.
It’s a catch 22: stay another full day in Talladega, lose a day to prepare for the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and possibly get the full race in or end the race early per the rulebook and get the heck out of Alabama? Something tells me most drivers and teams would vote for the latter, while fans would prefer the former.
The only likely scenario where the former could be accomplished and most would be on the same page would be at Charlotte or even Darlington Raceway/Martinsville Speedway/any close track to the hub of most teams. But if you’re going to do it for one track or race, you’d might as well do it for every one.
That leads us to the regular season vs. playoffs argument. What if the spring Las Vegas Motor Speedway race ended after stage two, but the playoff race was required to go the distance? No matter of rain, a tornado, dust storm or if the Stratosphere hotel decided to grow legs, walk off the strip and lay down on the frontstretch?
Being the host of the championship race, Phoenix Raceway would be a different situation entirely, and I do NOT envy being NASCAR in a scenario with inclement weather should that arise. But I’d still lean the way of doing everything the same way. Don’t change the race procedure for specific races that may mean more to some rather than others.
There’s enough slippery slopes for NASCAR officials to navigate through these days. They don’t need another.
The postponements this weekend could have been solved if the track has lights. Should every NASCAR track be required to have them installed? Alan P., Los Angeles, California
As NASCAR becomes more and more dependent on television (start times being the biggest factor with this topic), lights could and should be a necessity for hosting a Cup Series race for 2022 and beyond.
As it pertains to Talladega Superspeedway, lights may not have even mattered, as the forecast for Sunday night and Monday evening weren’t great. But for tracks like Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway, lights would likely eliminate any rush to dry the track and start the race before a window until sundown closes … plus, everybody’s favorite reporter Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports wouldn’t need to answer questions every single day about it.
In all seriousness, though, while the cost for installing lights is hefty, the multi-million dollar investment would be worthwhile from the sanctioning body’s and fans’ perspective.
But what about the tracks themselves? Each of the aforementioned venues now have only one Cup race per season. Could they justify spending millions of dollars to install lights at their facilities when dates have been taken away, seats have been taken away and they may use them?
Tough to say. If those races were to become night events, the answer is obvious: install lights. But if they stay during the day, things would get a bit messy and a Talladega situation may rear its head again.
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