By Jared Turner
The 2017 Schedule Stinks
In announcing the 2017 Sprint Cup Series schedule last week, NASCAR revealed that beginning next season the schedule will go from three off-weekends to just two off-weekends over the course of the 38-race campaign. Gone from the schedule is the June off-weekend that fell on Father’s Day weekend last year and is doing the same this year. As many drivers as there are with small children, wouldn’t it have been great if NASCAR had decided to make it a tradition for its top series to be off on Father’s Day? This couldn’t happen, of course, because NASCAR is the only sport that apparently has to run virtually year-round with no breaks along the way. And you wonder why the stands are steadily getting emptier and emptier at so many tracks? It’s for reasons such as this. There are simply too many races crammed into a season that is too long. Why not give the hard-working men and women in the sport a break every once in awhile? You’d be hard-pressed to suggest they don’t deserve it. And this year’s declining ratings and ticket sales suggest that, contrary to what NASCAR’s top brass might tell you, fans really will survive if the sport has a weekend off every now and then. In fact, fans might even prefer it way.
The Rules Package Isn’t So Great
Although almost everyone in the sport continues to praise the Sprint Cup Series’ 2016 rules package, it’s clear that this low-downforce package hasn’t done anything to even the playing field. It has done quite the opposite, in fact. How else can you explain one organization – Joe Gibbs Racing – winning six of the first 11 races? While this rules package has some perks, it is not the cure all, fix all that NASCAR wanted it to be – and it won’t be until JGR’s dominance ends.