Should some 500-mile races be shortened? Brian France thinks so — how about you (vote below)?

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Longer races aren’t always the most exciting. Sometimes, they’re, well, too long.

During a Q&A session with the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) last week, NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France says the sanctioning body may be looking at cutting the length of some races in the future.

Most likely to be cut are some 500-mile events.

“I think generally speaking, we want to see shorter events … (but) not in every circumstance,” France said. “It’s no secret that attention spans, especially with the millennial fans, are changing, and we all know that.

“But what we like about it from our standpoint is it makes the actual racing event better because there’s no lull in between the beginning and the end, or there’s a lot smaller lull, so teams have to compete.”

Dover International Speedway began the modern day trend of cutting race lengths back in fall 1997 and spring 1998, when it chopped its two annual races from 500 to 400 miles.

More recently, Auto Club Speedway went from 500 to 400 miles in 2010, while both annual races at Pocono Raceway went from 500 to 400 miles in 2012.

In addition, when it lost one of its two annual races, one of Auto Club Speedway’s 500-milers was moved to Kansas Speedway and became a 400-mile race. Likewise for when Atlanta lost one of its two annual 500-mile races, which was moved to Kentucky Speedway to become a 400-mile event .

By doing so, all five tracks put their race time in a window of between 3 hours and 3 hours 30 minutes, which is more TV-friendly and more fan attention-span-friendly.

“A 400‑mile race will give us, most of the time, a better racing competition,” France said. “And that’s in addition to the time spans and attention spans of millennial fans; those two go together for us to shorten it up somehow.”

There are currently eight 500-mile races on the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule: Daytona 500, Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 (Atlanta), Duck Commander 500 (Texas), Geico 500 (Talladega), Bojangles Southern 500 (Darlington), Bank of America 500 (Charlotte), Alabama 500 (Talladega) and AAA Texas 500 (Texas).

Plus, there’s NASCAR’s longest and most grueling event every season, next month’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Because of its unique history as the longest race in major U.S. motorsports, providing the so-called ultimate test of man and machine, it’s unlikely that race will be shortened any time soon.

Between Charlotte’s 600-miler and the eight 500-milers, that means that one-quarter of this season’s races are 500 or more miles.

If a race is shortened, it typically prompts drivers to be more hard-pressed to work their way to the front sooner, France said.

“We tend to get better (quality of races), and we measure that by lead changes and how close the winning margins (are) and a lot of different metrics that we use,” he said.

 

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Jordan Anderson in fiery crash in Talladega Truck race

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson was airlifted to an area hospital after being involved in a fiery crash during Saturday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Anderson’s car caught fire in the middle of a pack of drafting trucks. Flames burst from three areas around the truck as Anderson tried to slow the vehicle and move onto the track apron. The truck hit the inside wall. Anderson climbed from the vehicle in a cloud of smoke as it came to a stop.

Anderson, 31 and a resident of Forest Acres, S.C., was transported to the infield medical center before being airlifted. NASCAR confirmed Anderson’s trip to the hospital.

Fox Sports reported that a team member said Anderson had burns.

Anderson is a part-time driver in the Truck Series. He has a top finish of 14th this season.

Starting lineup for Talladega Cup race: Christopher Bell wins pole

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Six playoff drivers will start in the top 10 for Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Christopher Bell won the pole for the race Saturday with a speed of 180.591 miles per hour. He was followed by Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe.

MORE: Talladega Cup starting lineup

MORE: Talladega Cup qualifying results

Playoff drivers starting in the top 10 are Bell, Larson, Hamlin, Briscoe, Ross Chastain (sixth) and William Byron (ninth).

Noah Gragson, who qualified seventh, is replacing Alex Bowman, who is sitting out the race with concussion-like symptoms.

Ryan Blaney, starting 19th, is the lowest playoff driver on the starting grid.

 

Christopher Bell wins Cup Series pole at Talladega Superspeedway

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Playoff driver Christopher Bell won the pole position Saturday for Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

Bell, 11th in the playoff standings and below the cutline entering Sunday’s race, ran 180.591 mph to edge second-place Kyle Larson at 180.516.

Playoff drivers took six of the top-10 starting spots.

MORE: Talladega Cup qualifying results

The race is the second in the second round of the playoffs. Any playoff driver who wins the race will automatically advance to the next round.

Joey Logano leads the playoff standings.

Noah Gragson, replacing Alex Bowman, who is sitting out the race with concussion-like symptoms, qualified seventh.

The race (2 p.m., ET) will be broadcast by NBC.

 

 

Sunday Talladega Cup race: Start time, TV info, weather

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Sunday will mark a difficult crossroads for NASCAR. As several of its top drivers express serious concerns about safety, the Cup Series is at Talladega Superspeedway, the circuit’s biggest track and site of many massive wrecks over its 53 years of existence.

Adding to the tension is the fact that Sunday’s 188-lap, 500-mile race is the middle event in the second round of the playoffs. With a win automatically advancing any of the 12 playoff drivers to the next round, the final laps are likely to be frantic.

Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET, NBC) will begin with Joey Logano atop the playoff point standings. Following him in the top eight are Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott and Chase Briscoe.

Below the cutline are Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman. Byron fell below the line this week when NASCAR penalized him for bumping Hamlin under caution during last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports has appealed the penalty.

Bowman will miss Sunday’s race because of concussion-like symptoms he has experienced after a crash at Texas. Noah Gragson will replace him.

Bell won the pole Saturday with a speed of 180.591 mph.

Details for Sunday’s race:

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jimmy Rane, president of Great Southern Wood Preserving, at 1:52 p.m. (ET). … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:04 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Driver introductions are at 1:15 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Barbara Embry, chaplin of Citizens Baptist Medical Center, at 1:43 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by the 313th U.S. Army Band at 1:45 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 188 laps (500 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 60. Stage 2 ends at Lap 120.

STARTING LINEUP: Talladega Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 1 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 1 p.m. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. High of 78. 5% chance of rain.

LAST TIME: Bubba Wallace won last October’s race, which was shortened to 117 laps by rain. Brad Keselowski was second.

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