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Brad Keselowski: Changes overdue to Sprint Cup schedule; offers his ideas

Apr 24, 2014, 8:21 PM EST

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Brad Keselowski had a dream season in 2012, winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Now Keselowski wants a dream schedule on the Cup circuit – and some of his ideas make sense.

Writing a few days ago on his blog at bradracing.com, Keselowski proposes a number of changes for the Cup slate, including increasing the number of races from 36 to 38 (adding Iowa Speedway and Road Atlanta to the schedule), having 10 “doubleheader” weeks (races on Sundays and either the preceding or following Wednesday), and an eight-week Chase (including two doubleheaders) that would wrap the season up by the end of October.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget Keselowski wants to move the Sprint All-Star race from its traditional mid-May date to after the regular season, to become similar to the NFL’s Pro Bowl scheduling.

“Why is the schedule so sacred?” Keselowski asks. “Everything else has been cut, changed, chopped, and rebuilt. Why not that?”

Keselowski proposes a three-race “western swing” after the season-opening Daytona 500 that would have the Sprint Cup Series visit Fontana, Phoenix and Sonoma in consecutive weekends.

“It would also be good for the people the travel the NASCAR circuit,” Keselowski wrote. “They could come along with us for the West Coast tour. We’d be like the Grateful Dead, with people following us everywhere we went.”

Right, and have tie-dyed firesuits, right? Groovy, Brad-io.

After the West Coast swing, Keselowski would like to see – what else? – an East Coast swing that starts in Homestead, Darlington, Martinsville, Bristol and then out to Texas.

As for the doubleheader idea, it’s intriguing – and something that fans have proposed for years, namely mid-week night races in prime-time on TV.

“Here’s why,” Keselowski said. “Like I said, there’s such a dead stretch in the middle of the season. Turn on SportsCenter on a Summer Wednesday, and what are they talking about? Tim Tebow in training camp? The only major sport that’s in full swing is baseball.”

Tim Tebow in training camp? Uh, Brad, I guess no one told you, but TT is no longer playing football. Just sayin’.

But this doubleheader idea has a lot of merit.

“We race twice a week,” Keselowski wrote. “We start hitting double headers at some of these marquee places that are not that far from each other on the map, and we do it for three weeks in a row. Michigan and Pocono. (Okay, they’re not that close, but roll with me here.) Iowa and Kansas. Dover and Loudon.”

For the record, Brad, you had me at “We race twice a week.”

While it would be hard for race teams, not to mention what happens if rain pushes race day back a day or two, but we still like the concept a LOT.

“During that stretch, everything moves to a two-day show,” Keselowski said. “You practice and qualify on one day, and race on the next. Teams that are running really well would get on a roll. Teams that are running poorly would risk falling into a slump.”

But there’s one thing that might draw the ire of some of Keselowski’s fellow Cup regulars, folks like Kyle Busch or Matt Kenseth.

“I want to take a quick moment to point out an added benefit of doing two Cup races a week — it would discourage Cup drivers from driving in the Nationwide as much,” Keselowski said. “To me, that’s a good thing. Right now, Cup drivers have financial incentives to drive in the Nationwide Series. Personally, I also like the added opportunities to keep my skills sharp. But if you’re driving double headers, it’s Cup racing, all the time.”

Check. We like that idea, too, Brad.

Then Keselowski proposes nearly week-long back-to-back stays for summer races at Daytona and Indianapolis, followed by four straight weeks of what have the prospect of being grueling doubleheaders: Kentucky/Atlanta, Pocono/Michigan, Bristol/Road Atlanta and Richmond/Talladega.

An interesting idea, indeed, although we have to question why Brad would put Talladega as the final Chase-qualifying race instead of Richmond.

Speaking of the Chase, Keselowski continues the doubleheader concept by starting the playoffs with back-to-back races at Loudon and Watkins Glen (moving a road course race into the Chase).

After a single week’s race at Chicago, there’s more back-to-backers with Kansas/Martinsville, a single race at Charlotte, a doubleheader at Dover/Texas and Phoenix.

Then, Keselowski proposes to run the All-Star race and vary its venue each year.

But we’re not done. After the All-Star race, there’s a two-week layoff before the season finale at Las Vegas. And as an incentive, the team that wins the All-Star race sits on the pole for the season conclusion in Sin City.

In other words, have a two-week buildup to the championship-determining race like the NFL has with the Super Bowl.

Keselowski admittedly makes some pretty decent points. What do you think? Leave us your thoughts on Bad Brad’s “dream schedule.”

Do you feel all dreamy about it, too, or is it one of your worst nightmares come true?

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. selmonfan63 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    So, NASCAR cant sell tickets to the races they have and you want to add more? Maybe they should reduce the number of races to 30 and actually make it a desirable ticket to have.

    Nobody is going to show up in the middle of the week for a four hour race.

  2. gbart22 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    I absolutely love it and feel like it would be on par with other sports. The dude prior says people won’t show up in the middle of a week but people show up and tune in, myself included, every night for baseball, football, basketball, hockey for 3-4 hour events so his point holds no water. Can they sell out 120k seats? Probably not but they can still draw 90k+ on a regular basis which is more than any other sport so don’t know what he is talking about. Probably someone who still lives in the past

  3. chad4208 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Some racers have families and just dont have the time and or people to do that. So it may be fine for mr bachelor, racing for big team penske but for most people it would would not work…. And not enough people are going to show up for a mid week, 4 hour night race to make that end profitable. May not change tv habits but that isnt everything

  4. selmonfan63 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Gbart, can NASCAR survive with 25k fans on a week night at a major race, week in and week out? Good luck with that. The only sport that can pull big numbers every week is football because there are only 16 games in a regular season. Living in the past would be a time when NASCAR actually sold out races. Just sayin.

  5. kitnamania13 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    I think having a couple of Wednesday night races is a great idea. They don’t need to sell out the joint. In fact, they don’t even have to sell any tickets at all. If they get a good TV rating, which is very likely if all they’re going up against is reruns and baseball, they’ll make money. The key is to not overdo it. They need to do something like what the truck series did at Eldora.

    • indycarseries500 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      The tracks don’t even need to sell one ticket to make a profit on the event either

      • bru308 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        Exactly. Put cardboard cut-outs in the seats and call FOX.

  6. markdartj - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:54 AM

    I’ll wait until this child grows up before I really give a #### about what he thinks.

  7. matt33fl - Apr 25, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    I consider Brad to be one of my favorite drivers, mainly because of his honesty and outspokenness. While I agree with many points on his proposal (Sonoma in March, an Iowa Cup race, moving Watkins Glen and Vegas into the Chase), I’m skeptical as to what kind of an impact mid-week races would have on the working-class folk who make up the majority of at-track spectators. Here’s my proposal:
    Feb 22—-Daytona#
    Mar 01—-Homestead
    Mar 08—-Phoenix
    Mar 15—-Sonoma
    Mar 21—-Texas*
    Mar 29—-Bristol
    ———-OFF(Easter)——-
    Apr 12—-Martinsville
    Apr 19—-Talladega
    Apr 26—-Fontana
    May 02—Richmond*
    May 09—Atlanta*
    ———-OFF———-
    May 21—All-Star
    May 24—Charlotte#
    May 31—Dover
    Jun 07—Kansas
    Jun 14—Pocono
    Jun 21—Road America
    ———-OFF———-
    Jul 04—-Daytona*
    Jul 12—-Indianapolis#
    Jul 19—-Loudon
    Jul 26—-Iowa
    Aug 01–Kentucky*
    Aug 09–Pocono
    Aug 16–Chicagoland
    Aug 23–Michigan
    Aug 29–Bristol*
    Sep 06–Darlington#
    ———-OFF———-
    Sep 19–Richmond*
    Sep 27–Watkins Glen
    Oct 04—Loudon
    Oct 11—Kansas
    Oct 18—Martinsville
    Oct 24—Charlotte*
    Nov 01–Talladega
    Nov 08–Texas
    Nov 15–Phoenix
    Nov 22–Las Vegas

    *=Saturday night #=Sunday day-to-night

  8. bru308 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    I’m not saying I’m in favor of his schedule, but the concept would work.

    1. Currently, all other sports have weekday events and those sports/teams/venues do just fine for the most part. They make money and people tune in.

    2. Yes, a midweek race would be aimed at the TV viewers, not the track attendance. But remember that the tracks are not owned by NASCAR, so certain track owners would have to agree on any midweek event. That owner would assuredly get a cut of the additional TV profits from added events, or else it wouldn’t be profitable. Unless, NASCAR pulls a power move- which they could……

    3. NASCAR crews and drivers are nothing but entertainers. Their jobs are to race when they’re told to race. If they don’t like it, they can a race a limited schedule, or allow someone else to take their place. Many actually race during the week already in Sprints, Late Models, etc. I don’t like going to work 5-6 days a week, but that’s my job, so I do.

    In the end, if it makes money, they could and would do it. But does NASCAR want to add midweek events or even need to? Probably not.

    • bru308 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      Also, I do want to add that I think it’s ridiculous that posters here think they know more about racing and racing politics than Brad Keselowski. He grew up in NASCAR. He drives in NASCAR. I would take his opinion over any of these posters.

  9. safaber3 - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Two years ago when the Daytona 500 rained out and the race was run on a weekday night (if you remember, Keseloski’s tweeting, Montoya’s jet dryer collision, and big TV numbers),Fox did well. A few midweek races would swell TV ratings, but I am afraid the crowds would suffer. Tracks need buts in the stands to make money and racing not on Saturday or Sunday when most folks are off is scary from a business standpoint. I would love it, as it gives me something to look forward to on a Tuesday or Wednesday night (much like the Monday and Thursday night NFL does), but I think it would be economical disaster for the tracks. NASCAR would clean up with better TV ratings, but the tracks have to do well also.

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