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Ryan Newman says he’d add Wednesday night races to Sprint Cup calendar

Jul 25, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

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Earlier this week, NASCAR CEO Brian France indicated that any changes made to the 2015 Sprint Cup Series schedule would be small ones.

“There’s not going to be a dramatic change, but there may be some things that are a little different,” France said to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (to whom he also shared his thoughts regarding the Race Team Alliance).

But if Ryan Newman had his way, there would indeed be a dramatic change – Wednesday night Sprint Cup races.

“I think just realigning it and giving us the opportunity to be on TV and be our own special event on a Wednesday night, especially during football season, would be good for our sport,” said Newman, who also declared that he’d put in more off-weekends and shift the other Cup races to Saturday night and sometimes Sunday afternoons.

Newman later elaborated on the subject further, noting that his Wednesday events would have practice, qualifying and the race itself on that same day.

“Obviously, if you go to a place like Pocono and it rains, like, three-quarters of that day, it changes everything – then you have Thursday to work with,” he said.

“But for situations like that, I think you’d have the crew guys come in on a Tuesday afternoon, let them tech the cars in whatever [time] window it is. Let the guys go back and have a decent dinner with their team, then start practice the next morning – practice, qualify and race.

“You’ve got the people in the grandstands for an entire day of activities and they can sell hot dogs and all the other things that way.”

The Wednesday format appears to be working very well for the Camping World Truck Series’ event at Eldora Speedway, which met with more rave reviews after its second running (won by Darrell Wallace Jr.).

Leading up to the 150-lap Mudsummer Classic feature, the Trucks were pretty much on track throughout the day at Eldora with practice, pole qualifying, five 10-lap qualifying heat races, and a 15-lap Last Chance Qualifier.

But while Newman’s idea on Wednesday night Sprint Cup races is intriguing, one wonders if those would be better off at this part of the year, when the competition from other sports would be light.

A Wednesday night Cup race in the fall would dodge a head-to-head battle on the weekend with football, but depending on the date, it’d have to fight the MLB post-season and the start of the NBA and NHL regular seasons for attention.

However, a mid-week race would definitely provide a new wrinkle to a Sprint Cup schedule that has largely remained the same for some time now outside of intermittent date swaps.

  1. manik56 - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Pocono does not have lights. They are not the only track with this problem. Do you risk attendence at the track for the potential of more TV sets? Eldora attendence works because it is a special event. Wednesday night at Kansas is not a special event. If NASCAR (or IndyCar) tried this, it would have to be well thought out.

  2. wrlegrand - Jul 25, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Hickory Motor Speedway on a Wednesday night would work like nothing we’ve seen…

  3. wethog66 - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Wed night races work if they are short tracks. Tracks that keep the cars close and provide tight racing and the occasional (ok frequent) collision.

    I like the idea so long as it gets more short tracks and night races on the schedule. NASCAR could own Saturday night in the summer time with races under the lights. Add a couple more road courses while they’re at it.

    Just to many mile and a half large ovals on the schedule. Those races turn out to be more about fuel endurance than actual side by side racing. Just plain boring.

    And The Chase needs more track diversity. More short tracks, a road course and even a super speedway. If The Chase is the “Playoffs” of NASCAR then the final 10 races should have as much track diversity as possible so a true NASCAR Champion is crowned.

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