Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway lasted just over 2 hours, making it the shortest Cup points race to run a full distance since 2017.
Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s Cup race, which lasted 2 hours, 9 minutes, 35 seconds. The short race was reduced to 312 miles since Cup teams ran twice there this weekend. Michigan races are typically 400 miles.
Sunday’s race is the shortest Cup race since the rain-shortened June 2018 event at Michigan that went 2 hours, 15 seconds.
The last Cup race that ran a full distance that was shorter than Sunday’s event was the 2017 Watkins Glen race that lasted 2 hours, 7 minutes, 3 seconds.
Nine of the 22 Cup races this season have taken less than 3 hours to run, including six races that were shortened this season after the series resumed in May from the COVID-19 pause.
The issue of shorter races has been a topic in the sport for years. The doubleheader weekend in two weeks at Dover will see both those races shortened from 400 miles to 311 miles each.
“The shorter races, seems like it’s been a good thing,” crew chief Rodney Childers said after Harvick swept the weekend at Michigan International Speedway. “Keeps things exciting. Everybody is racing harder the whole time, shorter stages. Not much for people riding around or waiting till the end, any of that kind of thing.
“I think the doubleheaders so far have been good. I think putting two of them in the same weekend has been something that probably saves a lot of money for the teams, you’re able to put on a good show two days in a row. We’ll just have to see how that plays outgoing forward.”
Here are the nine races that lasted less than 3 hours this season:
2:09:35 — Michigan II (312 miles)
2:25:01 — Pocono I (325 miles)
2:29:23 — Charlotte II (312 miles)
2:34:55 — Michigan I (322 miles)
2:37:07 — Auto Club (400 miles)
2:42:23 — Darlington II (284 miles)
2:50:54 — Pocono II (350 miles)
2:58:11 — Las Vegas (400 miles)
2:59:49 — Kentucky (400 miles)