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NASCAR Cup: Saturday qualifying, Sunday race schedule idea promising

On-track action during the I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 6, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

On-track action during the I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 6, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

NASCAR may be gravitating more toward a “qualify on Saturday, race on Sunday” regular schedule for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, according to NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell on “The Morning Drive” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday.

“Tend to like the qualifying, if we’re going to move it, on Saturday,” O’Donnell said. “I think that is a really good experience for fans in terms of having that support race and being able to see the Monster Energy Series drivers qualify, so we’ll probably continue to look that way. The biggest thing for us is to creating those unique, fun fan experiences around the drivers and open up the access as much as we can.”

The last two race weekends, NASCAR has experimented with a two-day schedule for the Cup Series, with practice on Saturday and qualifying and racing, both, on Sunday. NASCAR is expected to utilized that type of schedule one more time throughout the remainder of 2017.

A traditional schedule has teams practicing and qualifying on Friday, practicing again on Saturday and racing on Sunday. With the modified, shorter on-track schedule, fan activities promoting driver-fan interaction have been scheduled for Fridays.

“I think the key for us is to really create some fun activities for the fans with more driver access on Fridays, if we can,” O’Donnell said.

NASCAR went with the “qualify on Saturday, race on Sunday” schedule as recently as the Brickyard 400 weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late July. The series returns to its traditional schedule for the Aug. 11-13 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

“I think some of the feedback from some folks in the garage is that still is really tough to qualify, get ready for the race (when both are held on Sunday),” O’Donnell said. “Folks like it, but I also think Saturday also gives you the opportunity, maybe, to plan a little bit more on race prep that you need for the car. It will be a balance, as we look at both of those to see what is the best solution going forward for the teams.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 8, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured. 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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