By Jared Turner
Although Richmond’s spring race was pushed back from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon last year because of rain, this weekend will mark the first time in many years that the three-quarter mile short track is scheduled to host a Sprint Cup event on a Sunday afternoon. So is the change in schedule a good one or a bad one? Fans and drivers love Saturday night racing because it harkens back to NASCAR’s short-track roots on bullrings around the Southeast. Drivers also love Saturday night racing because it gives them a rare Sunday at home. Even though naysayers argue that NASCAR’s top series has been racing at night for nearly four decades, making it hardly a novelty, the sight of sparks flying on a cool Saturday night is hard to beat. This begs the question of whether moving Richmond’s spring race to Sunday afternoon is really in the best interest of the track and the sport. Time will tell, of course, but don’t be shocked if Richmond is once again hosting two Saturday night races come 2017.
Bristol is paying price of unpopular track changes
Remember just a few years ago when practically every Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was a sellout? Unfortunately, those days are long gone. The latest proof came Sunday when TV cameras showed a relatively sparse crowd in attendance compared to Bristol races of years gone by. The question, of course, is why the steep decline. The most plausible theory is that fans still haven’t forgiven track officials for widening the surface of the .533-mile concrete several years ago – a move that many observers believe hurt the on-track product. Although track promoters have since reversed course in an effort to bring back the “old Bristol,” Sunday’s audience suggests it would have been better for Bristol officials to leave well enough alone in the first place.