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NASCAR should adopt two-day schedules as the norm

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 16: The crew for the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, driven by Kyle Busch (not pictured) attempt to pass inspection during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2018 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

After two-consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekends with an abbreviated, two-day schedule, the second and third weekends with such a schedule in 2018, the series returns to its traditional three-day schedule this weekend. With the traditional, longer schedule comes an extra (third) practice session and two extra trips through inspection. After seeing the abbreviated schedule in play for three race weekends, so far, this season, I think it should become the norm.

Under that schedule, a practice is eliminated. Are three practices really necessary? No, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure two nearly hour-long practices are sufficient for drivers who are touted to be some of the best racers in the world. There are a few exceptions, though. I’m all for a third practice session on initial trips to tracks that have been repaved or reconfigured. But that’s the exception, not the norm.

With the elimination of that practice session, the normal race weekend for the Cup Series could go from three days to two. After all, the last two weekends were two days each, and they went out without a hitch. Besides, there’s usually only one practice for the Cup Series on Friday on a regularly-scheduled weekend, and remember, we’re eliminating one practice session here. Also, as we’ve seen the last couple of weekends, these cars can qualify on Saturday. Easy, peasy. Talk is, the sport is getting way too expensive, as spending is getting out of hand. One less day at the track means one less day of room and board for a lot of people, both for teams and NASCAR. That translates into cut costs.

The abbreviated schedule also does away with unnecessary inspections. Instead of a pre-qualifying inspection, a post-qualifying inspection, and then, a pre-race inspection, since teams usually practice, again, between qualifying and racing. Under the abbreviated schedule, the pre-qualifying inspection is eliminated; also, the post-qualifying and pre-race inspections are consolidated into one, since the cars are impounded after qualifying with both practice sessions coming on Saturday morning, pre-qualifying. With cars impounded, teams can’t touch them, so there’s no need to inspect cars right after qualifying, and then, turn right around and inspect them, again, pre-race.

At Pocono Raceway a couple of weekends ago, teams and officials were at the track late for those post-qualifying/pre-race inspections, partly because 13 cars failed, four of them twice and a couple three times. Shame on them. Anyway, that problem was solved last weekend at Watkins Glen International with a schedule adjustment that moved inspections to Sunday morning. Again, problem solved.

Okay, so I’m not crazy about a provisional pole not becoming official until the following day, but I’m sure no system is absolutely, 100 percent perfect. And I’m willing to put up with that slight imperfection in the name of the sport streamlining and saving money.

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Posted by on August 10, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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