Tis the season when hopes and dreams fill so many heads.
None more this holiday season than NASCAR fans, who look to a changing future with anticipation.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps has twice said publicly since late September that “everything is in play” when looking at the NASCAR Cup schedule in 2020 and beyond.
Since this is a time of hopes and dreams, here are five things NASCAR should do:
1. Move the All-Star Race to Eldora Speedway
It’s time for Cup to get dirty again. While there has been talk of connecting to grassroots racing — Phelps said in September that “we want Kyle Larson to talk about NASCAR racing and dirt racing and things that are his passion” — it’s time to turn words into action.
Take Cup to the dirt track for the non-points race.
But it will take away what makes the Truck race there unique, some might say.
Maybe so, but the fact is NASCAR runs more on what happens in Cup than the Truck Series.
This is a time to be bold. Put Cup cars on dirt. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t but you don’t know if you don’t try. Start off with this special event and if the fans like what they see, then it can continue as an All-Star event or eventually become a points race.
2. Have a doubleheader at Martinsville …
In the playoffs.
Take one of the playoff venues out and have two Martinsville races on back-to-back days.
And cut the race from 500 laps to 300 laps each day. That way there is little time to ride around. Make these short races so drivers have to go.
Can you imagine the potential for two rough-and-tumble finishes with a spot in the third round at stake? Drivers upset with one another on Saturday? Why wait until a couple of weeks later at Phoenix for payback when one could possibly do it the next day?
With the shortened distances there could be less patience. Doesn’t mean it will be a free-for-all. Drivers still have to protect their fenders. Still, makes one wonder what it could be like.
3. Midweek races
The time is coming for these. It’s just a matter of how many. I suggested earlier this year that NASCAR have a summer series of midweek races and suggested the first one should be at Martinsville. Move that track out of its March date for at least one year and have the oldest track kick off this special series.
For these midweek races, tracks can truly make it a doubleheader. Maybe run a Truck or Xfinity race during the day. Or be creative and add some other series or event that can attract fans.
4. Better cell and wifi service at tracks
Some places are better than others but in this era when people share their experiences over social media, it is disappointing that fans can go to an event and not be able to send photos or videos or such to others.
This should be among the top priorities for fans in 2019 and beyond.
5. Be aggressive
This is no time to be timid. That doesn’t mean the sport makes radical changes on a whim but there needs to different mindset on how to approach ways. Methodical is good but it also can be slow. Sometimes, one has to try be willing to take a chance to see if something will work.
It is that time.